CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.
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CHICAGO – “Q.U.B.E.” Director’s Cut is the definitive extension of 2011’s “Q.U.B.E.” (Quick Understanding of Block Extrusion), and it is an utterly compelling game with an elegant mix of gameplay, storytelling, and aesthetic. Those elements, for the most part, combine to make an extraordinarily intriguing and mind-bending puzzle adventure.
CHICAGO – “Journey” is a gentle breeze. It approaches gradually – alighting your skin and igniting your thoughts with its poetic brilliance. It’s as much a game as it is an exercise in interpretive storytelling and emotional art design, and everybody – gamer and non-gamer alike – should play it.
CHICAGO – After playing Life is Strange shortly after its launch, I thought it was the type of game that would make a minor splash then fade relatively quickly into obscurity. The concept was genius, but the execution, particularly in terms of visuals and dialogue, was severely lacking.
CHICAGO – Double Fine Productions delves into the deepest, most repressed parts of the imagination and brings the wonders it finds into our reality. I took a long while to play and review “Broken Age,” the company’s Kickstarter darling, not because it was long or overly difficult, but because I was left thinking about the game constantly once I finished.
CHICAGO – Dontnod Entertainment struck potential conceptual gold with “Life is Strange.” Iterating on Telltale’s point-and-click episodic narrative adventure formula, they’ve crafted a truly intriguing world that begs to be explored through the lens of protagonist Max Caulfield’s eyes.
CHICAGO – I was a 8 or 9 when I found myself in front of a Phillips CD-I display at Sears, playing the “Sesame Street” game like it was my job. The Count, Big Bird, Bert and Ernie all talked and animated in a way I had never seen in a game before. There was a guy in a suit talking to a lady behind me and he asked what I thought.
CHICAGO – Years ago I took a game development class and pitched a game that was “Harvest Moon” meets “The Sims.” Instead of farming, your options included being a taxi driver, store clerk, handy man, stay at home parent, etc - all with accompanying mini-games and domestic troubles, a bit like the now-freeware “Cart Life.”
CHICAGO – 2014’s “The Golf Club” gave sports games a proper kick in the arse, booting out the pretentious hubbub of PGA Tour, its Pros, its Courses, and its ‘Majesty’ and ‘Prestige’, and replaced them with a Norm MacDonald-sounding caddy and a streamlined game of golf that let you play 18 holes in under an hour.
CHICAGO – When I first opened Turtle Rock Studios’ “Evolve,” I was fully prepared to rage quit matches and yell at the screen. My gaming skill lies more in the realm of platformers and adventure games than strategic shooters. My first few matches following the short tutorial were exactly as I expected. I fumbled around the arena doing little to help my teammates.
CHICAGO – Playing “Dying Light” in co-op mode began a tale of two different gamers with two different lives and two different tastes. My co-op partner, Matt, is an Internet networking guru with a brand new Xbox One and not much to play on it beyond “#IDARB” (which is fantastic and free). He sunk his teeth into it like like an Asgardian at an all-you-can-eat buffet. He loved the open world, the graphics and the gruesomeness.