The Steam Thanksgiving holiday sale has kicked off. A new selection of games will be on offer every day until November 30th. On top of that, 30 users each day will recieve the top 5 games in their wishlist.
Today's selection of offers expires in seven hours at the time of writing, and includes some pretty fine deals. There's 75% off the Deus Ex Collection and Alpha Protocol, and 50% off Borderlands and Prototype. You'll find all of the deals displayed over on the Steam store. While you're browsing, it's worth putting together a wishlist. There's a chance that you could be among the 30 Steam users picked each day to win copies of their top 5 most wanted games. To be considered for the offer you have to have at least ten games in your list. I've already hastily put together my top ten, but more importantly, what's in yours?
Nov 25, 2010
But more importantly, she taught me that the hardest roles of my career wouldn't involve emotional death scenes, historical research, or any kind of physical and emotional transformation.
The hardest roles would be playing the attractive, heroic leading lady.
Not because the scenes are demanding in the least. In fact, they're usually some of the easiest: Smile, look pretty. Shoot gun, look pretty. Play hard to get, look pretty. Pouty-lipped reaction shot. Repeat.
My acting coach meant that it's easy to fall into the trap of just going through the motions as the ‘pretty girl.' I mean, who cares about my character's subtext (the emotion underneath the words) as long as I had a low-cut shirt, flat abs, and body oil, right? True – and there's nothing wrong with sex appeal – but it's the job of real actors to take something superficial and give it depth.
This same concept applies to video game heroines.
In the original Tomb Raiders, Lara Croft needed nothing more than D-cups and 9-millimeters to satisfy her demographic. But now that the bar of characterization has been raised, what makes a good heroine?
Personally, I compare it to what I've learned in acting: Leading ladies have to be tough, but accessible. Beautiful, with a vulnerable, ugly side. A strong woman and a scared little girl at the same time. Not to mention outfits and overall style need to make sense. And what about throwing some humor in there? A sense of humor makes her relatable. In other words, female protagonists should be well rounded… and not just in the physical sense.
These high standards of mine are the reason I still don't have a favorite video game heroine. The funniest thing, however, is that each of my requirements have been met – only with different characters.
So, I'm breaking all the rules, throwing on my mad scientist goggles, and splicing together some Frankenstein monsters, to see if I can create my perfect female lead.
Monster #1 – The Witty, Complex Beauty
Elena Fisher's humor (Uncharted series) + Lara Croft's style & weapons (Tomb Raider series) + Bonnie MacFarlane's emotional strength (Red Dead Redemption)
No firearm compares to Nathan Drake's arsenal of one-liners, and while he's not the first wisecracking hero, he's one of the first to have a sarcastic female counterpart who can shoot the jokes right back. Elena's sense of humor could very well be the most lovable thing about her. Combine that charming personality with Lara Croft's short-shorts and pistols, and – well, talk about a firecracker!
You can't deny that Lara Croft's body is as classic to video games as Mario's red hat. I loved her style in Tomb Raider: Underworld, and frankly, I'd wear the same thing if I were chimney jumping like a spider monkey in a hot, sticky jungle. To top off a beauty like Lara with the quick wit of Elena, I'd add Bonnie MacFarlane's full range of emotions.
Bonnie is a real, relatable woman in a man's world. We see her as a protective landowner and a respectful daughter. We watch her take a liking to John Marston, which turns into a silent love, and eventually… we see her realize that love can never develop, as she kicks the dirt like a sad little girl.
While Elena's humor and Lara's style are good first steps toward creating a dynamic heroine, it's really the imperfections and heart of Bonnie that round out this Frankenstein monster.
Monster #2 – The Hot, Parkouring Zombie Assassin
Zoey's relatability (Left4Dead) + Faith Connors' acrobatics (Mirror's Edge) + Rubi Malone's fashion (Wet)
The Zompocalypse is going to happen. We've all accepted it.
While we know virtually nothing about Zoey from Left4Dead, gamers are obsessed with her. I realized it's because she is one of the most relatable female characters around. She's extremely normal – a girl you could easily run into on the street. I guarantee if the outbreak happened tomorrow, I would be Zoey personified… but I'd wish I had the skills of Faith Connors.
Imagine being a survivor among zombies with the ability to parkour. Talk about a game-changer! Faith's unique, real-life free-running ability given to a sharpshooter like Zoey produces a character that's only missing one thing: some sexy style.
Wet wasn't exactly Game of the Year, but its star, Rubi Malone, knows how to dress. Her style is practical, sexy, and gives off a "Don't screw with me" vibe. Why do I think my down-to-earth, Apocalypse-surviving heroine needs more than just jeans and a hoodie? It's the classic saying, "Look good, feel good," because hell, if I looked like Rubi at the end of humanity, my ass-kicking ego would be bigger than a free Lady Gaga concert.
Monster #3 – The Loyal, Independent Phasewalker… with a Sword
Lilith's Phasewalk (Borderlands) + Alyx Vance's complexity and independence (Half-Life series) + Lightning's gunblade (Final Fantasy XIII)
Video games are fictional, and the best thing about fiction is that you can give characters unrealistic features, such as incredible super powers. Lilith's Phasewalk in Borderlands allows her to turn invisible and slip out of danger, then reappear in the center of the battle with a shockwave of pain. Yet, this amazing power is given to a character that's hard to get close to. Imagine this power given to a strong, sassy, beautifully complex character like Alyx Vance.
Alyx, more than Gordon Freeman, is the face of Half-Life 2, giving us a real human with which to connect as we control a voiceless hero. Maybe I'm just a sucker for that wink of hers, but Alyx's personality is a breath of fresh air in the video game land of superficial beauties.
Lilith and Alyx? They're all about guns. So, we'll stick with what they're familiar with and throw in a sword. The Gunblades from Final Fantasy are undeniably cool, and the one wielded by Lightning is probably the most gorgeous of all. Lightning's weapon, Alyx's depth, Lilith's powers – yeah, I'd play that game.
There is an obvious shortage of multifaceted female protagonists. Even in Game Informer's "30 Characters Who Defined a Decade," only six were women. In our male-dominated world of games, I'd love to see more female heroes that break the shallow mold and show us their gritty, even ugly side. And hey, a few more funny girls wouldn't hurt, either.
So, those are my creations – what are yours?
Lisa Foiles is best known as the former star of Nickelodeon's award-winning comedy show, All That. She currently works as a graphic designer and writes for her game site, Save Point. For more info, visit Lisa's official website.
Nov 24, 2010
That's Mikey Neumann, writer on Gearbox's megahit Borderlands, smashing up living room furniture for the debut episode of "Anthony Saves The World." His mom did not actually give him that table. It's from IKEA - it's got cardboard in it.
But they are in fact filming in Mikey's home. "Anthony" is Anthony Burch, another Gearbox writer. And the episode's director of photography is Brian Thomas, Gearbox's cinematic director. The music, also, is done by Danny Baranowsky, who composed the soundtrack for Super Meat Boy.
Mikey promises more episodes are coming, so be sure to check back at his YouTube page.
Nov 18, 2010
Gaming on the Mac improves later this year when Gearbox Software's shoot 'n' loot hit Borderlands comes to Apple computers courtesy of publisher Feral Interactive, shipping complete with everything a Vault hunter would need.
This is the "Game of the Year Edition" of Borderlands, which includes add-ons The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned, Mad Moxxiʼs Underdome Riot, The Secret Armory of General Knoxx, and Claptrapʼs New Robot Revolution. All that Borderlands will be available to Mac OS X gamers on December 3, thanks to Feral, which will charge you US$49.95 if you're in the U.S., £34.95 in the UK and €39.95 in the rest of Europe. Borderlands for Mac is available for pre-order from the publisher right now.
Welcome to the club, Mac people.
Borderlands [Feral Interactive]
Nov 3, 2010
Last week we mentioned that Borderlands was about to receive an update that would raise the level cap, adding even higher level monsters and even more ridiculous loot. The update is now live! If you have Steam the update will apply automatically the next time you boot up the game. If you have the Windows version of the game, you can download the patch manually from the Borderlands site. Now you'll be able to take on level 58 Badass Loot Midgets and battle even harder Skag monsters. It'll all be worth it when that level 58 rocket-loaded shotgun drops.
Shacknews - Brian Leahy
The 1.41 patch (details here) for Borderlands, which raises the level cap to 58 for all users and to 69 for owners of The Secret Armory of General Knoxx DLC, is availble now for the PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.download the patch manually. German gamers will need this patch.
Steam users will be auto-updated as is Steam's standard operating procedure.
Oct 28, 2010
The next free update for Borderlands will allow players to fight to level 58. Enemies will also scale to higher levels, meaning more powerful loot for veteran Borderlands players. Read on for the full details on the patch.
Gearbox have posted the patch notes on the Borderlands forums. Here they are in full:
Level cap increase for all players of 8 levels. That means that all Borderlands players will now be able to achieve a new maximum level of 58.
Owners of The Secret Armory of General Knoxx can achieve a record setting increase to a maximum level of 69.
End game players that have completed playthrough 2 will see enemies scale to the new levels up to the new level cap. That means that if you’ve completed everything, you can play through the game again and again at a challenging level in order to find better and better loot.
Item drops (with the exception of COM Decks) will also scale with higher level enemies to the new level cap. That means that this Title Update features the highest level weapons to date!
Other fixes, including DLC4 Achievement/Trophy glitches that have affected some users and will be corrected to properly award players for obtaining these achievements no matter which order they were completed in.
The patch is almost ready to go, and Gearbox have announced that the update should land in the next few weeks.
Shacknews - Brian Leahy
Gearbox has detailed the upcoming patch--or title update if you're a console gamer--for its loot-filled shooter Borderlands. As previously reported, this is the patch that will raise the game's level-cap. It was initially thought to be releasing alongside Claptrap's Robot Revolution.
- Level cap increase of 8 levels
- That means that all Borderlands players will now be able to achieve a new maximum level of 58.
- Owners of The Secret Armory of General Knoxx can achieve an increase to a maximum level of 69.
- End game players