Mouse Smash

JC Lau's blog about geekery, gender and other rants

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Review: Falling Skies: The Game

The skies are falling so I'd better point my gun upwards.

The skies are falling so I’d better point my gun upwards.

Generally, video game spinoffs of TV shows are not very good. Falling Skies is no exception. Falling Skies: The Game is a turn-based tactical shooter where you command members of the 2nd Mass in their fight against Espheni aliens across a grid-based map. In between missions, you also manage resources, train your soldiers and upgrade their weapons.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because this game is essentially a watered-down clone of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, with cheaper-looking graphics and shoddy animation. Frustrating camera angles also make it difficult to do simple tasks such as taking cover, so your minions are left standing next to cover and get attacked. Additionally, the voice acting is laughably bad: when attacked by enemies, one soldier astutely exclaims “Ow! That hurts!” in surprise. Next, he’ll be telling me that fire is hot. Continue reading

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The (Social) Justice League


Amongst the hostility of current Gamergate debacle, there have been positive, creative and humorous responses. The Doubleclicks, for example, offered internet trolls their own love song. Nonadecimal developed asatirical battle game about arguing online. And this year, Sarah “Chip” Nixon brought 150 sets of social justice class buttons with her to GeekGirlCon. Continue reading

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This book should be required reading before you respond to someone on the internet

Ad hominem

Ad hominem

I’m going to try very hard to keep this general, but it should be almost immediately obvious how this relates to a very current and heated shitshow going on in the gaming world.

As a philosopher, it really makes me cringe when I see arguments comments like the following: “some particular person is not a real gamer. She is a horrible stupidhead and shouldn’t be saying anything about video games.”

Common sense would tell you that that’s just false. The fact that someone isn’t knowledgeable about a topic doesn’t mean they ought not to talk about it. Sure, they probably shouldn’t talk as if they are an authority on the issue, but that’s different. Interpreting this charitably, for instance, it might be that someone is trying to learn about a topic, and they can’t learn about it without talking about it. Think, for example, about how hard it would be to understand quantum mechanics if you couldn’t discuss quantum mechanics. Continue reading

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Review: Shelter


Shelter is part parable about the cruelty of nature, and part parenting sim. You play a mother badger guiding her cubs across a vast wilderness fraught with danger. You cannot control the cubs, but they waddle alongside you, and it is up to you protect them from dangers such as wildfires, starvation, raging rivers and other predators. Continue reading

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The Sand Snakes: What’s with Nipples on Armor?

Snakes1As any good GoT fan knows, the Sand Snakes are the bastard daughters of Oberyn Martell, who met his demise at the end of Season 4. After the death of their father at the hands of the Mountain, the oldest of the Sand Snakes, Obara, Nymeria and Tyene, take action to declare war in retribution.

A few days ago, Watchers on the Wall revealed the first images of the Sand Snakes on location in Seville. They have reportedly been filming a fight scene.

Two things immediately came to mind:Snake-Whip

1. Why do they all look the same?

2. Why are their nipples on their chest armor? Continue reading

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UPDATED: Marvel’s Avengers 2 Trailer is Here!


Marvel planned to debut the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer during Agents of SHIELD next Tuesday, but it looks like the trailer has leaked online. It’s since been taken down, but not before it was posted elsewhere. The trailer can be found here, albeit in rather poor quality.

A few things to look out for in the trailer:

  • Iron Man in the Hulkbuster suit
  • Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver
  • Captain America’s broken shield
  • Thor picks Iron Man up by the throat… what? (Also, Hulk then fights with Iron Man… also what?)

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Review: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Come Mr. Talion, Tally Me Banana

Come Mr. Talion, Tally Me Banana

You know the old saying: One does not simply walk into Mordor.

…Unless your name is Talion and you’re a ranger on a revenge kick and have a powerful elf wraith by your side.

Click here for my review of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, written for Short Game Review.

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The Pacific Rim Trilogy?


So we know that Legendary Pictures has greenlit Pacific Rim 2, with a release date of April 7, 2017. But now Guillermo del Toro has announced that he’s planning to make a third Pacific Rim movie which will continue immediately from the conclusion of Pacific Rim 2.

In an interview with Collider, del Toro confirmed that the first draft of the Pacific Rim 2 script is now complete, and he expects to begin pre-production on the film August or September 2015, with shooting to take place toward the end of the year in November and December.

However, Pacific Rim 2 is going to be a “different experience” from the first film. Del Toro said:

“Some of your favorite characters come back, some others don’t because we have decided that we’re going to shoot ambitiously and say ‘Let’s hope we have three movies,’ so some characters come in at the end of the second, hoping that it will ramp up on the third one.”

This makes it sound like Pacific Rim 2 will end with a cliffhanger to be resolved in Pacific Rim 3. However, as long as the experience still involves giant robots fighting giant alien sea monsters, I think we’ll be okay. There will also be an animated series leading up to Pacific Rim 2, so it looks like the franchise will be expanding in all directions.


Rinko Kikuchi as Mako Mori

As for which characters return for PacRim 2, del Toro hasn’t been specific, but here’s hoping that Mako Mori (played by Rinko Kikuchi) will feature with more story arc and development. After all, she has her own version of the Bechdel Test to pass.

Pacific Rim 3 has not been greenlit yet, so perhaps it’s appropriate to be cautiously optimistic. After all, Hellboy 3 got nixed, and sometimes less is more: just because something is successful as a standalone movie doesn’t mean that it should be expanded into a trilogy (I’m looking at you, Matrix).

Pacific Rim made three times as much at the international box office as it did domestically.

Continue reading