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Heterodachi Life

Nintendo’s ‘apology’ for not including same-sex relationships in Tomodachi Life is both unsettling and disappointing to me.

For those who aren’t aware: Tomodachi Life is a social game for 3DS which involves Nintendo’s Mii avatars. It was announced relatively recently, but my understanding is that the game’s already seen release in Japan and will be coming to North America and Europe soon. Its brilliantly bizarre trailer paints a picture of personalisation, pets, concerts and other fun activities, with the Miis developing relationships with one another. However, those relationships are glaringly heteronormative, and when challenged on the point, Nintendo stated that same-sex relationships weren’t allowed.

Tomodachi Life

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StarCraft II

I’ve been playing StarCraft II for a few weeks now, and I am impressed. This is the first Blizzard ‘RTS’ (real-time strategy) game I’ve played, and it’s easily changed my perspective on the genre and modern-day gaming. I’ve long enjoyed RTS games, but have typically played the same titles for a few years at a time. My experience of RTS games is pretty limited as a result. I tend to fare poorly in single-player games, and have usually leaned on co-operative modes for fun instead.

StarCraft II is beset by an audience of keen veterans; this much I knew from the beginning. Though I was excited about the game prior to its release, it was really only because the game looked glitzy and because I’d come to enjoy Blizzard games through my time in World of Warcraft. I haven’t played the first game, or any of its fantasy counterparts in the Warcraft series. Fortunately the game has been designed with newcomers in mind, and while the online matches can be a hostile place indeed, the single-player campaign serves up some friendly scenarios to help orientate us.

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‘Real’ ID

Having let my World of Warcraft subscription lapse for a little while, it’s taken until now for me to experience Blizzard Entertainment’s Real ID system first-hand. I am not in the least bit amused by it.

Since money is tight, it’s taken my friend’s kind donation of a StarCraft II guest pass for me to try this strategy game sequel out; these 14-day, 7 hour trials are included in retail copies of the game. The installer is a hefty download, but once set up it allowed me entry to a thoroughly polished game.

“StarCraft II” ‘s profile screen and Real ID rollouts.

Real ID, Blizzard’s new cross-game social system, comes into play quite early and is integrated heavily into the game’s UI. I was asked to sign in with my established credentials when the game launched, was invited to create my ‘character name’ (“Sinnyo”, naturally), and found myself signed in to the Real ID service. The tool appears in the bottom right of each screen, and works like most other IM messengers. You can view your contacts list, set away statuses, broadcast messages and create chat sessions with individuals and groups. These groups can also form multiplayer games, making it a powerful tool for co-operative skirmishes and competitions online.

Real ID also displays my ‘real’ name to the internet without my having a say in the matter.
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