Category Archives: Video Games

Stop that game!

Mafia II is a third-person action-adventure video-game following the fictional story of a man of Sicilian descent who joins an Italian crime family in the period around 1950, a time when Italian crime families were near the height of their power and influence. It’s a familiar theme, having been portrayed in books, games, movies and television for decades.

UNICO National, the largest Italian American service organisation in the USA who have never seen or played the game, nor apparently been in contact with anyone who has (because at the time of their complaint, it had not been released) are calling it “a pile of racist nonsense” and demanding that the game not be released until all Italians and Italian-Americans are removed from it.

It strikes me that this would result in a rather substandard story.

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Play it now — Alganon: After the Dawning

Way back when, I wound up with a place in the Alganon MMOG closed beta. I really liked it. I haven’t really played it since launch, though, and there’s been a lot of water under the bridge at Quest Online, the developer. A change of management, bringing in Derek Smart (of whom I understandably have mixed feelings), lawsuits and more.

Anyway, Alganon went free-to-play last Friday, so I figured it was time for another look.

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Play it now — Thief

Before there was Sam Fisher, there was Garrett.

An orphan in a sprawling ancient city that teeters on the uneasy knife-edge of steampunk technology and magic, Garrett grew up on the streets picking pockets and cutting purses. One day, he tried to cut the purse of a Keeper.

The Keepers are a secretive organization that strive to maintain a balance of the various forces and factions, their own powers revolving around mysterious, powerful glyphs, and a jumbled series of prophecies foretelling what is to come. The Keepers have a substantial complex within the city, but it is guarded by their glyphs, and nobody ever notices that it is there.

Likewise, a skilled Keeper may pass unseen through a crowd, not invisible, but unnoticed. So, that Garrett saw the Keeper at all, let alone got close enough to try to snatch his purse, it was remarkable indeed.

The Keeper lured Garrett with the promise of a better life, and Garrett became an acolyte in the Keeper order.

There, he was trained, was subjected to the Keeper’s strict rules, learned little of their secrets, and heard much of their lies.

Garrett abandoned the Keepers and returned back to the streets, exercising his new skills as a professional thief. An amateur steals for themselves, a professional steals for another, and the decadent old city was full of intrigue, and jealousy, and all manner of things that people with money wanted for themselves, but that could not be bought.

Garrett delivered. When he was hired to acquire something through his network of fences and contacts, that thing softly vanished from its place. Walls and guards and locks and hiding places did not stop him.

He was, as some said, the greatest thief the city had never seen.

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Play it now — Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine Online (Aeria Games)

Yesterday, Kerry Johnson was fishing around for alternative MMOGs and asked me what my favourites were. Well, top of my list right now is Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine Online, operated by Aeria Games.

SMT:IO (which everyone more or less just calls Megaten) is a free-to-play/freemium Eastern MMOG based roughly around the console games of the same name (Shin Megami Tensei). It’s post-apocalyptic, a few humans struggling on in what was once Tokyo, in a world now infested with spirits and demons.

Right at the moment it’s on my every-day playlist, though – as you’ll see – it isn’t for everyone.

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