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Cibele Review –The Complexities Of Love In The 21st Century

In the Internet era, people are forming complex
relationships, uttering "I love you," before ever being in the same room
together. Even so, one universal truth remains: Relationships are hard. Cibele
is an honest look at Internet communication, love, and sex. The tale is highly
personal, but it evokes an eerie feeling of déjà vu. You've probably had a
similar experience or know someone who has formed a bond this way.

Cibele is unlike anything I've played. The story unfolds in
pieces as you read emails, look at photos, and play games on a personal
computer in 2009. The narrative is split into three acts (taking around two
hours total), allowing you to check the computer for new files to see how the
relationship has grown between two characters: Nina and Blake.

Each act has you logging in to a fictional MMORPG,
mindlessly attacking monsters as you listen to the voice chat. The MMO action
is simple and effective; you click on enemies to auto-attack, and you don't
have a health meter to worry about. This conveys the automatic process that MMO
players develop without getting bogged down in mechanics. Plus, it lets you
focus on the dialogue between the two main characters. These exchanges get
progressively more flirtatious and revealing, leading to sexy photo exchanges
and more innuendo. Watching the relationship unfold is exciting as you're
wondering just how much further it will go – it has a "will they or won't
they?" appeal.

Cibele's biggest strengths are that it's raw and honest. The
narrative is based on a true story, and developers Nina Freeman and Emmett
Butler play the roles of the main characters in the live-action scenes. The
live-actions scenes and voice chat conversations play out naturally, making the
experience feel all the more real. This story is Freeman's, and she puts
herself out there, showing her class poetry assignments, personal photos, and
old website templates. At times, you almost feeling like you're invading her
privacy because it gets so intimate. Freeman lets you get a glimpse into her
life that most people would hide under lock and key, which is admirable – but
at the same time, it makes me feel voyeuristic.

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My favorite moments are when the two converse in the MMO's
private chat, discussing everyday topics at first and eventually going deeper. Many
people form connections playing games together, and Cibele's simulation of that
experience works well. While playing the MMO and chatting, you get messages
from other players and email alerts, putting you in the moment and making it
feel genuine. There's also something to be said about the intimate
conversations; the chats start to get more sexual and involved, but you're
still always left wondering just how much these two people revealed about their
real lives to one another. This mystery kept me hanging on, intrigued to see
the tale through.

Unfortunately, the finale doesn't end up as satisfying as
watching the relationship unfold. The ending is abrupt, providing you little
closure. We see so much of the relationship evolve, but the later part of the
arc is missing and left unaddressed. It feels like someone yelled, "Cut!" too
soon. I liked how Cibele is set up to explore the digital age and
relationships, but it doesn't let its characters offer much reflection on the
subject matter. In addition, some of the live-action video feels like a missed
opportunity to flesh out the characters, since they don't add much to the
journey beyond the growing sexual nature.

Games are continuing to evolve. Just like with
other media, such as movies and books, various genres are surfacing. Cibele
shows an intriguing direction for games to become representations of their
creators' real lives, almost like confessionals. As we've seen more in recent
years, developers are confronting tougher topics, such as sex, depression, and
death. This is an enlightening movement that's still in its infancy. Much like
Cibele, these early lessons have revealed a few stumbling blocks, but I'm glad
they're happening. – The Feed

‘The itch to make and nothing to say’ – Creative significance and games

Paul Kilduff-Taylor recently suggested that developers concentrate on “creatively significant work” — but what is that? What does it mean? He tackles the topic here. …

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Video: ‘The future of the PlayStation’ from Phil Harrison, in 2000

Former and longtime Sony exec Phil Harrison’s fascinating GDC 2000 Sony keynote, given ahead of PlayStation 2′s Western launch — right before the console went on to win the world. …

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Rumor: More Evidence Of Upcoming ‘The Taken King’ Destiny Expansion Surfaces

In early May, Bungie registered a trademark for something called "The Taken King." At the time, we posited that it could be something related to Destiny, or might be related to another Activision game (based on previous trickery).

An photograph has surfaced that seems to indicate that this is, indeed, the name of an upcoming Destiny expansion. The photo below is an image of a case of Red Bull. It bears The Taken King logo in the color (oxblood) specified in the trademark filing.

Additionally, another image has appeared online showing another angle of the box. As you can see below, it references Red Bull-sponsored pro gamer Michael "Flamesword" Chaves and includes his likeness.

We've reached out to Activision for comment. We'll update should we receive a response.

[Source: via Agrios Endendros on Twitter, The Destiny Blog]


Our Take
These box shots seem quite convincing, down to Flamesword's likeness. Of course, the possibility exists that these could be fakes. If not though, I suspect Activision is going to have some stern words for Red Bull. – The Feed

Bungie Registers Trademark For ‘The Taken King’

Bungie has registered a new trademark with United States Patent and Trademark Office for something called “The Taken King.” While our first hunch might be the name of an upcoming Destiny expansion, history suggests we might want to think more broadly.

The trademark was filed on April 28, and includes a logo (as seen above). The applicant is listed as Bungie attorney Jim Charne.

While we’re tempted to link this directly to Destiny, one thing gives us pause. Activision pulled a clever head-fake with The Dark Below, Destiny’s first expansion.

That was registered by Blizzard and, at the time, we thought it might be the name of a Diablo expansion. As history shows, that subterfuge worked perfectly.

We’ve reached out to Activision, and we’ll update should we receive a response. What we do know for sure is that Destiny’s second update, House of Wolves, is due out on May 19.

[Source: USPTO via NeoGAF]


Our Take
The logo seems like it could be connected Destiny's Hive enemy faction. The naming has the right cadence for the Destiny universe. If not for history, I’d be pretty convinced. Fool me once, though… – The Feed

Magic Leap is ‘the only safe way forward’ for VR/AR dev, says CEO

Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz shed a bit more light on what sets the “cinematic reality” startup apart from competitors like Oculus VR while taking part in a brief AMA thread today on Reddit. …

Gamasutra News

‘The Faces Of Skyrim’ Showcases Tamriel’s Most Beautiful Portraiture

It’s almost hard to believe that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is over three years old already. It still appears on Steam’s top 10 most played games list and modders continue to make the game more beautiful.

Andy Cull shared with us his work curating some of the most beautiful images taken from the snowy wilds of Skyrim. Cull tells us that all of the images have been taken directly from the game with no touch-up work in Photoshop or other image editing program. There are two galleries of character portraits featuring many (but not all, sorry Khajiit and Argonian fans) of the different races of Tamriel. 

In addition, Cull has assembled a gallery of Skyrim landscapes, featuring snowy mountainsides, hazy forests, and craggy ruins. A separate gallery houses images of Skyrim's gorgeous vistas.

You can see the Faces of Skyrim galleries here and here. For the Dawn’s Beauty landscapes (the Aldmeris name for Tamriel), visit this page.

For those interested in beautifying their Skyrim adventure, there are a number of options available. The Steam Workshop includes a number of different mods to tweak and enhance the experience.

For those looking for something a bit more technical, last year I spent a weekend going through a process called the Skyrim Total Enhancement Project (STEP). This includes dozens of mods that change visuals, sounds, textures, and menu elements.

While my results aren’t quite as striking as what Cull has assembled, the visuals are still a big improvement from what the game manages on its own. You can read up on STEP on the group’s website.

[Images: Rahna by Dovahqueen (top), TESV 2014-05-25 20-49-22-78 by Wanako Works (middle), Heading in by Pangaliosr (bottom)] – The Feed

First Evil Within DLC ‘The Assignment’ due in early 2015

The Evil Within’s first piece of downloadable content will launch early next year, Bethesda announced. Named “The Assignment,” the add-on is one of two pieces of content that follows Juli Kidman, the partner of Detective Castellanos, the game’s main …
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WB uploads Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor “The Wraith” gameplay trailer

San Diego Comic-Con brought us the scoop that the identity of the Wraith in Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is Celebrimbor, the “greatest Elven smith of the Second Age”. The Wraith offers a dimension to the gameplay that will allow you to find out your enemies weaknesses and exploit them, to which Monolith and WB say will offer “different experiences with every playthrough”. This sentence scares me, because this has 10-15 hour story written all over it (although I can neither confirm or deny that this is indeed the case).

We decided to save you the time and effort of clicking through to YouTube by just posting the trailer below. A Liam Neeson sounding narrator will give you the low-down on the Wraith.

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor will be available September 30th for PS4, PS3, Xbox One, and Xbox 360, and October 2nd for PC.

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Put those goats to use in Tropico 5′s ‘The Big Cheese’ DLC

Mmm, cheese. Tropico 5′s first DLC pack is called The Big Cheese, and it involves actually making cheese in El Presidente’s very own artisan factory, The Creamery. The Big Cheese is available now for $ 4, or free for those who pre-ordered the game via…
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