Zaewen

Feminist gaming blog with a heaping dash of science and politics

The Last of PAX: The Indie Games that caught my eye

I realize this is a severely late review of games from PAX, seeing as PAX ended over a fornight ago, but I definitely wanted to spend some time on these delightful gems.

When I’m at PAX I always take a moment to peruse Indie Row to see the games that are flying under the radar. (I don’t however spend much time at the PAX10 because they seem to get plenty of limelight and press). This year Indie Row was packed. Usually its the place to go to get away from the crowds, but this year it was a struggle to get in to see anything of the games. As such most of my knowledge of these games comes from cinematic trailers and art pieces. The developers were constantly swamped with people talking to them and the demos all had lines. Totally different from my previous years’ experiences, but I’m sure its really great for those devs! Now, as with most of my PAX reviews of non-demo’d games, what piques my interest is the presence of, and subsequent representation of, women in the games. So I can’t tell you how most of these games play, but I can sure tell you that their take on gender put them far out ahead of the crowd.

Armello

Armello

This is the one I’m most excited for. The art style is gorgeous and the game play seems really great and like it would make a fantastic addition to my iPad library. What caught my eye though is that the four animals (so far, I think more might be added later, not sure, like I said didn’t get to talk to any devs really) are not heavily gendered. Most animals in this kind of game would have definitive gender markers to dictate how the audience is supposed to read the wolf and rat as masculine and the wolf and rabbit as feminine, but it’s entirely possible to read every animal either way. It’s really refreshing to see a game design that doesn’t feel that gender differences are something that need to be highlighted, underlined, bolded and possibly have a few exclamation points thrown on top for good measure.

Banner Saga

Banner Saga

This was another game that caught my eye because of its stunning visuals. The game is classically animated. Yes, as in freaking Disney Sleeping Beauty type animation. It’s jaw droppingly beautiful. Much like Armello its not a game focusing on women, and in fact women only make up a small part of the game as they are only 2 of the 5 units that I saw in this tactical type game. However, they are beautifully rendered and aren’t sexualized. Which, again, sadly separates them from the rest of the pack. Also the story seemed pretty deep and had a real sense of epic-ness from the cinematic that I watched. I’m not a big tactical game player (she says in a review of games that are nothing but tactical type games), but this one definitely has my interest just for the animation and story line.

Telepath Tactics

Telepath Tactics

Last, but not least, is this lovely find. I actually got to play a bit of this game which definitely falls outside of my usual genre interest as a Fire Emblem type turn based game. However, I did enjoy the game play and definitely recommend it to people who like that genre of games as it has its own unique spin on game play. The really great thing about this game, though, is that the story line follows the heroic journey of a pair of sisters as they fight to rescue their father. That’s right, ladies are the heroes and women working together. All sorts of stereotype breaking ideas here. On top of that, they’re actually wearing, *gasp*, armor.

There were a bunch of other games on the Indie Row that looked fantastic and like they had some good gender representations, but I just couldn’t get to them through the crowds. I’m really glad Indie games are enjoying just a surge in popularity as they are seriously the best hope for our gaming future in realms even beyond gender and feminism. Hopefully at the next PAX they will have planned around this huge increase in interest in Indie games and I’ll get a better look at 2014’s crop of fresh, original game ideas.

About these ads

2 responses to “The Last of PAX: The Indie Games that caught my eye

  1. alpharevolvergames September 23, 2013 at 4:24 am

    Will need to keep an eye out for these games. Really nice find and thanks for sharing. Hopefully one of our Indie Games will make it there. We are creating a game for Smartphones.

  2. ArcadeMint September 23, 2013 at 8:47 am

    Banner Saga is already out! It’s super fun! :D

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 253 other followers

%d bloggers like this: