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Thu, 19 Mar 2015

Revolution 60: A Girl Gamer's Fantasy

by Lori Jareo

Revolution 60 is the most fun "movie" that I've ever played through on my iPhone. I had been getting tired of playing Halo and Injustice: Gods Among Us on my Xbox, and Angry Birds on my phone. This game is different from the first-person shooters and 2-D scrollers with little plot; Revolution 60 allows each individual user to decide how to move the story forward. This game was created a small company called Giant Spacekat, which was co-founded by game developer Brianna Wu of Boston, Massachusetts.

Revolution 60 centers on the efforts of four women hand-picked to right an orbital weapons platform drifting in space over China. These women are part of a spy team directed by the AI entity Chessboard. The main character, Holiday, is the muscle in the group. Minuete is the commander, Amelia is the engineer, and a red-head named Valentina is also part of the crew. Lurking in the background is the mysterious Crimson 09.

At several points in the story the player is directed to make a choice in how the action will move forward. The player can be "professional" or the player can be "sarcastic." According the game, the gamer has choices and the choices have consequences. Strategic finger taps on the screen can mean the difference between success and failure in the moment.

The cutscenes in Revolution 60 are lengthy but fun. The four characters' dialogue can be funny at times, and the music--scored by Elizabeth Lim--adds to the suspense. The combat scenes are based on a grid format, and the power-ups that a player chooses will have a direct impact on her success. The combat increases in difficulty throughout the game and the combat primer is helpful.

Revolution 60 is designed to be played on the iPhone 5. I am playing this game on my iPhone 4s with the iOS 7 and it works pretty well. The game takes up 1.2 gigs on my device; I had to off-load all of my photos and most of my other apps. This game is more expensive than most, but at $5.99, it thankfully does away with in-app purchases. The companion iBook, entitled "Revolution 60: The Chessboard Lethologica," does little to enhance the gaming experience. The writing has a repetitive subject-verb-object style with little nuance (though the graphics are excellent).

It's unfortunate that Gamergate has overshadowed the success of this game. Because this game is woman-centered, misogynist Gamergate trolls have issued death threats against the developer and her team. Brianna Wu and her supporters have had to back out of many conferences and speaking engagements. Many of the developer's supporters do not believe that law enforcement is taking these threats seriously.

In part because of the Gamergate trolls, I'm looking forward to the sequel for this game, Revolution 62. The developer has stated that she will use more realistic body types for the characters, perhaps with the voice talent of actress Felicia Day. Perhaps this sequel will even be ported to Android, and perhaps it will earn its developers another "iOS Action Game of the Year" award from iMore, as its precursor did in 2014.

What will become of Holiday and her crew? I await the sequel in Revolution 62.

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Tue, 18 Dec 2012

The Ghost of Christmas Past

The small family business that uses iPhones may also allow younger family members to use iPhones as well. And iPhones can get lost. At Christmas. Read on...

The annual discussion of what-do-do for Christmas Present-2012-began at the Thanksgiving table, which it always does. Lori mentioned that the cannoli she wanted for dessert figured prominently in The Godfather, and Kevin said that they should watch all three movies when they got home. Lori then replied that she'd be making notes for Christmas Eve dinner reservations and/or putting away leftovers as the movies ran. As Kevin and Lori left their favorite Italian restaurant, they both checked to make sure they both had their iPhones, and also made sure each of their boys had their iPhones.

Lori made their Christmas Eve reservations on her iPhone, just as she had last year. Same restaurant, too. She had visions of white linen tablecloths, clinking wine glasses, delicious food, and one more thing ...

The boys sat with Kevin as he watched The Godfather movies. They saw the old-fashioned buildings, cars, and telephones. Kevin told them that phone numbers used to have place-names in them. Then the capo Clemenza said, "Leave the gun, take the cannoli."

"Boys," Kevin said, "we need to remember to hang on to our phones this year." The younger boy nodded.

Lori walked into the room with hot chocolate for everyone. "Kevin? Did you say something? It sounded like, 'leave the phone and take the cannoli.' They don't have iPhones in this movie."

"I was just reminding the boys to hang onto their phones. They can't goof around and lie down on the seats and have their phones slide out of their pockets. It's better to forget the cannoli and keep the phone."

Lori set down the cocoa. "I was thinking the same thing. I just got our reservations; same place. I don't want to be calling AT&T to brick the phone at four o'clock on Christmas Eve."

"That's right, boys. We turned it into a lump of coal so no one could run up our phone bill."

The Godfather showed a Christmas tree, all lit up with lights and presents underneath. Snow covered the ground outside. The younger boy watched the bad guys coming around. "Dad, here they come."

Lori finally sat down. "Guys, if someone had an iPhone they could call 911." She took a sip of her cocoa and a bite of her leftover cannoli. Her older boy also took a bite. "I bet his iPhone was in the pocket of a crooked elf by midnight."

With that, the Ghost of Christmas Past flew out of the house, with the Ghost of Christmas Present taking its place on the couch.

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