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How far have relationships come in Video Games?

This issue is rated


Why Censored? Originally our cover had the words ‘sex & love in video games’ - but this was flagged by our host site even though our content really is nothing more than PG related material. It seems that anything to do with violence is fine, but mention the S word and it gets noticed, flagged, and censored.

Gamers are unique. We spend hours, days and sometimes months and years playing a particular game. Some games lead us on journeys to different worlds, battling aliens or fighting the forces of evil. Often these games have us partnering with a NPC (non-player character). Sometimes these characters become our “friends” and when they die or get injured it can affect you emotionally. So what happens when games become even more real? When games have us perhaps even fall in love with our partners within the game? Like the movie, Her, where the main character falls in love with his OS, (operating system) we might end up head over heals in love or deeply depressed if we get dumped or they “die”. This month we take a look at love and sex in games. How do publishers handle the tricky situation of sex in video games? Should there be sex and love in games? After all there’s incredible amounts of violence, so why can’t adults experience love or sex? Or is murder and death ok, but

INSIDE 22 36 58 76 THE LIVE TEAM Feature: I Love Video Games Reviews & Previews

Pop Culture


not the expressions of love? Is being aroused worse then blood lust and vengeance? One day, someone will create a game that has you deeply connected to your in game partners. You might just fall in love with them and want to spend more time with them then in the real world and perhaps that’s could be the problem. Wanting to stay in a virtual world where you’re happy and content rather then a world where you’re struggling and unhappy… We also look at the issue of cosplay and sexy costumes. Are we viewing girls wearing risqué costumes as sex objects rather then the artists they are? We asked some top cosplayers and cosplay photographers their thoughts. We hope you like our special issue… we loved putting it together. Rob Jenkins Editor

Publisher: Rob Jenkins (Gametraders Operations Centre) Art Director: Giselle Capozza (Gametraders Operations Centre) Game Review & Preview Editors: Nick Getley & Kylie Tuttle (Sticky Trigger) Retro Writer: Paul Monopoli Board Games: Jess Wilson Comics: Scott Sowter Sticky Trigger Writers: Kylie Tuttle Nick Getley Alex Holmes Sam Babu Nick Pearce Aaron Milligan Ben Rachow Elliott Buddo Bridget Sweeney Sean Fox Miranda Nelson Tim Arnold Matthew Raspe Sasha Karen Liam Church


The Legend of Zelda: A Link to

the Past is an adaptation of the beloved, internationally bestselling video game originally released for Nintendo’s Super Entertainment System. Long out of print, this stunning, full-color graphic novel by manga legend Shotaro Ishinomori is now available once again! In full colour and in Western left-to-right reading orientation! A young boy named Link must go on a great adventure when the Princess Zelda summons him to save the Kingdom of Hyrule from the evil wizard Agahnim. To find the Master Sword that will defeat Agahnim, Link must travel through both Hyrule and its mirror copy, the Dark World. Will Link find the courage needed to defeat the wizard and restore peace to Hyrule, or will his adventure lead to certain doom?

Get it at Gametraders from June 10!

Ask staff for details.


HOT NEW BOARD GAME! Take on the role of an ambitious demigod who is trying to claim a place at the summit of Mount Olympus. Recruit heroes, acquire artifacts, undertake quests and earn the favour of the gods. When your allies fulfill their destiny, they enter Elysium, and contribute to your legend. Once all the tales are written, a single demigod will join the Olympians. The goal of the game is to earn as many victory points as possible. Victory points are won mostly with the legends that players will write through the cards that they have transferred to their Elysium, but also by employing the powers that they have assembled throughout the game by the means of specific cards. Elysium is due to hit stores 1st July 2015.




MAGIC THE GATHERING: MODERN MASTERS 2015 EDITION! Modern Masters 2015 presents magic fans with a heap of reprints for modern, making many difficult to acquire cards more easily available. These high powered cards are sought after for competitive play in modern. Also, we get the opportunity to draft a set that has challenging archetypes and a high level of complexity, which creates some exciting interactions. This is great fun for casual and organised players looking for a special challenge and a new experience. Modern Masters 2015 is available in stores now!

HARRY POTTER POPS! Product images have finally been released and we are loving them! Pre-order in store now so you don’t miss out! Due to arrive late June 2015.


Gametraders want your games and consoles, and when you trade, you’ll save even more on anything in store! We have a huge range of pre-played games and consoles at discounted prices.

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MICROSOFT HOLOLENS Blending the digital world with the real world, Microsoft promises us new ways to visualise our world, our work, new ideas and play. The HoloLens is basically a set of goggles or glasses that fits over your eyes and constructs holograms and images and video in front of you and it can blend with your environment.

and shape holograms, you will have a new medium to express your creativity, a more efficient way to teach and learn, and a more effective way to visualize your work and share ideas. This means your digital content and creations will be more relevant when they come to life in your world.”

Microsoft says:

With it’s own CPU and GPU not being powerful enough, Microsoft added a third processor the Holographic Processing Unit that gives the device the realtime ability to understand where you’re looking and to also under-

“Our vision for holographic computing is to transform the world with holograms – seamlessly connecting the digital world with real life. With the ability to design

stand gestures and to map the world around you (from the HoloLens site). It also features “spatial sound” to ensure that what you hear works in such a way that it’s coming from where you would expect it to originate from. A microphone is also in the device to capture commands. No details on pricing or release date as yet but it’s an exciting device that could be an amazing gaming accessories that, if used right, would change the way we interact with games.



LILY So you’re a cosplayer or action sport enthusiast and want some cool footage of yourself.. maybe you can’t afford a photographer or it’s a last minute thing you want to do - well the new LILY is here. LILY is a drone camera that follows and shoots video. It has four blades for flight and is sold as a camera. It’s got a 20 minute flight time and a waterproof rating of IP67.

LILY flies at a max altitude of 15 meters and a max speed of 40kmh. The camera is 1080p 60fps / 720p 120fps using the H.264 codec and MP4 format. It can also take photos at 12mp. and has built in image stabilisation and a fixed focus. If you want to know more - check out the video here:

It’s quite a cool device and would be amazing for people who want to film themselves for training purposes or for just having fun. Available as a pre order for $499 plus $20 shipping (U.S pricing) but Lily ships world wide according to the pre order page on their site.

NINTENDO BUNDLE! m Console iu m re P n o to Wii U Spla mium and re P U ii W s e d (inclu ario Party 10 Splatoon) + M for only Amiibo Bundle




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01/06/2015 LEGO Jurassic World

PC, XB1, PS4, PS3, 360, PSV, 3DS, NWU

01/06/2015 Harvest Moon The Lost Valley


01/06/2015 Until Dawn


09/06/2015 The Elder Scrolls Online Tamriel Unlimited PC, XB1, PS4 11/06/2015 Payday 2 Crimewave Edition

PS4, XB1

12/06/2015 Operation Abyss New Tokyo Legacy


12/06/2015 F1 2015

PC, PS4, XB1

23/06/2015 Final Fantasy 14 Heavensward Bundle


24/06/2015 Batman Arkham Knight with Preorder DLC

PC, PS4, XB1

25/06/2015 J Stars Victory VS


27/06/2015 Yoshis Woolly World


30/06/2015 Fossil Fighters Frontier


GUITAR HERO LIVE ANNOUNCED! Activision and FreeStyle Games have announced that they’re returning to the rhythm genre with Guitar Hero Live, the next iteration in the Guitar Hero franchise. Guitar Hero Live features live action footage said to fully recreate a live band experience, discarding the previously used 3D animated characters from other Guitar Hero games. The live action footage is split across two modes; GH Live and GH TV. GH Live aims to recreate a traditional rock show experience by having a first person footage of a nervous guitar player walking onstage with a band to a crowd. Here, the visuals reflect directly with how you play; if you play poorly, the crowd will boo you and your band members will look at you disapprovingly. Likewise, play well, and the crowd and your band will approve. GH TV operates as a constant broadcasting of music videos, where players can pick a channel and start playing. Hundreds of videos will be available at launch to play along to, with the promise of new songs added to GHTV over time.

GH Live can be played offline, but GHTV requires an Internet connection.

focus on drums or vocalists, last seen in previous Guitar Hero games.

The controller featured in Guitar Hero Live will not have the five coloured buttons that has been seen in previous iterations for years, but instead features two by three rows of black and white buttons, closer to a real guitar. Only three of the six buttons will be used on the game’s easiest difficulty, but on the harder difficulties all six buttons will be used, simulating chords. Guitar playing will be the focus of Guitar Hero Live, with no gameplay

Artists included in the in-game setlist are ,The Black Keys Blitz Kids, Ed Sheeran, Fall Out Boy, Gary Clark Jr., Green Day, The Killers, The Lumineers, My Chemical Romance, Pierce The Veil, The Rolling Stones, Skrillex, and The War On Drugs. More artists are set to be announced at a later date. Guitar Hero Live will be available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U, and select mobile devices later this year.





In a recent announcement on Dead Island 2s TwitLonger post, developer Yager has confirmed that the first person zombie game Dead Island 2 has been delayed for a 2016 release. The follow-up to Techlands Dead Island and Dead Island Riptide was originally set for a spring release. However given the high hopes from both the developers and fans, Yager went ahead and decided that delay a was in order to reach the games expectations. “We have been looking at the

game long and hard, and we have decided we didn’t reach that goal we set out to achieve quite yet,” said Team Dead Island 2 . “This is why we have decided to delay Dead Island 2 to 2016. Right now we are focusing purely on development, and we will have more info to share at a later stage.” The development team went on to say that given the extra time, they’re more confident in delivering a better game to play as a result. Dead Island 2 is now expected to arrive on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC in 2016.

DRAGON AGE: INQUISITION GETS FREE MULTIPLAYER EXPANSION Get ready, dragon slayers! Dragon Age: Inquisition is set to get a fairly impressive multiplayer expansion, and best of all – it’s free! BioWare’s latest content expansion for Dragon Age: Inquisition includes: - Dragonslayer Multiplayer Expansion adds thrilling dragon battles into the multiplayer dungeon-crawling experience alongside an expansive new destination and three new playable characters: an Avvar Skywatcher with fierce elemental magic and melee mastery; ZITHER!, a Virtuoso whose music is deadly; and Isabela, the Raider Queen of the Eastern Seas. - The Black Emporium provides more ways to customize your Inquisition by adding four high-level stores which sell epic weapons, powerful accessories, new crafting materials and other hard-to-find items. Players can also change their facial appearance with the Mirror of Transformation. This new area will be accessible through the war table.


From the creative team who brought you Banjo and Kazooie and Donkey Kong Country comes Yooka-Laylee, a new 3D platformer that has been recently funded through kickstarter and is being developed by Playtonic Games. Yooka (the chameleon) and Laylee (the bat) are a unique duo created by Steve Mayles, the same person behind original designs for Banjo and Koozie. Combining each others strengths, Yooka-Laylee carry with them a wide range of special abilities that can be used to tackle a variety of platforming challenges that lay ahead. Harking back to the golden era of classic Rare games, players can search and seek out hidden items and collectables across 5 gorgeous open world environments.




MAY 2015

In addition, the game comes packed with an awesome soundtrack collaboration of some of the greatest game composers of Rare. With the help of David Wise (Donkey Kong Country series), Steve Burke (Kameo: Elements of Power) and Grant Kirkhope (Banjo-Kazooie series), players can expect a genuine auditory treat, with previews already giving us an idea of the playful nature expected within this newest title. Having reached its end funding goal of £175,000 in under 40 minutes, the game is now expected to launch day one on Windows, Mac, Linux, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and WiiU. The game now stands with over £1,202,915, and is expected to run for an additional 43 days. Backers who pledge £10/$15

can expect to pick up a digital copy of the game when its finally released. Extras including digital soundtracks, boxed versions, and a special 64-bit special edition are listed as well as part of the games many pledge awards. Yooka-Laylee is set for release later in 2016. If you would like to pledge to the games funding or see some of the development progress, feel free to check out Playtonics kickstarter page. FPS gamers who missed out on Ubisoft‘s excellent Far Cry 4 will be delighted to know that the game is being bundled with all of its DLC for the Far Cry 4 Complete Edition. That’s a lot of elephants, yetis and open-world mayhem for your buck!



Ubisoft has announced recently that their upcoming third person shooter, Tom Clancy’s The Division, has been further delayed once again.

This comes from the official press release:

five new weapons including “The Impaler”, Hurk’s harpoon gun.

“The FC4 Complete Edition includes Far Cry 4 full game as well as the Season Pass composed of 5 downloadable contents. This new unique retail bundle gives access to all missions, weapons and environments of Far Cry 4. This Complete Edition will be released on June 18, 2015 on Playstation®4 and PC in Australia and New Zealand. Season Pass content:

- Overrun DLC allows players to team up as Rakshasa or Golden Path to swarm conflict zones, and overrun their opponents in maps based on Kyrat’s countryside.

- The Syringe DLC: Players must find a rare and potent recipe before Pagan Min’s forces use it against the rebels.

For more information on Far Cry 4, please visit: and

- Escape from Durgesh Prison DLC: Without anything to defend themselves with, players will have to complete a series of challenges to reach an extraction point. - The Hurk Deluxe Pack contains five missions and an arsenal of

- Valley of the Yetis DLC: After crashing in the Himalayas, players must explore a new frozen landscape and discover the secrets behind a mysterious cult.

Having been scheduled for a 2015 release, it was revealed in their publisher’s report that the game is now set for an early 2016 release. The Division, in case you missed our 2013 E3 coverage, is a game set in a post-apocalyptic United States. A nationwide pandemic has struck the country hard, and society has collapsed following the events. As a member of the Strategic Homeland Division, it’s up to you in restore order back to the streets of New York City. The game is currently being developed by Ubisoft Reflections and Red Storm, the main developer behind the more recent racing title, The Crew. Codevelopers behind the Far Cry series have also been reported to be working on it as well. Currently operating under the new Snowdrop engine, the third person shooter is set to incorporate some role-playing aspects and online multiplayer. The Division is currently set for release on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.

ACTIVISION CONFIRMS TONY HAWK’S PRO SKATER 5 A new Guitar Hero and a new Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater? All these franchise resurrections are making older gamers dizzy with excitement! Earlier this week, Activision, Tony Hawk and Robomodo announced that Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 will be coming to the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 in the near future. This comes from the official press release: ““Skateboarding has always been about the freedom of ripping with your friends, and creating a game that captures that feeling has been a vision of mine since the Pro Skater series began over 15 years ago,” said Tony Hawk. “I’m beyond excited to see that dream finally come true with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5, which takes the old-school attitude of the original games online in a big way.” Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 rekindles the signature style of classic Pro Skater games in a brand-new set of levels with the same infamous focus on daring

objectives, fine-tuned controls and high-score tricks – including manuals and reverts – for endless shredding. New items like power-ups and projectiles change up the core skating experience in a variety of fresh and entertaining ways. Tear up the pavement as one of today’s top pros, including Tony Hawk, Nyjah Huston, Riley Hawk, Aaron “Jaws” Homoki, Ishod Wair, Leticia Bufoni, Chris Cole, David Gonzalez, Andrew Reynolds, and Lizzie Armanto – or customize your own character. Online multiplayer is where Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 truly takes off, letting players drop in and out of online skate sessions with friends and challengers from around the world for the first time. Complete missions, unlock new content and level up online or offline, or go head-tohead on the fly against all takers in competitive matches. Players can also build their own imaginative skateparks to share with the community.

Robomodo and Disruptive Games are developing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 for PlayStation®4 system, Xbox One, Xbox 360 games and entertainment system from Microsoft, and the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system. The release dates for the various versions will be shared in the upcoming weeks. Join the community on Facebook at and on Twitter and Instagram at @tonyhawkgames. Editor’s note: Now while the announcement of a new Tony Hawk game is exciting, the last few entries with Tony Hawk in the title have been absolutely woeful. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD had an engine that performed worse than the original, and the less said about Bam Margera Jackass-ing up Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 the better. Here’s hoping that Robomodo have learnt their lesson with a rushed Tony Hawk title.

NINTENDO ADMITS AND APOLOGISES ABOUT AMIIBO PROBLEMS Nintendo announced in May that there has been issues with dealing with the distribution of amiibo, Nintendo’s venture into “game-connected figures” with select Wii U and Nintendo 3DS titles, and strategies on how they plan to deal with these issues. In a statement, said they “understand how frustrating” it can be to try and find unavailable amiibo, to which they apologised. There are plans to increase current shipments. Nintendo said that they are looking into re-release out-ofstock amiibo, and to improving communication about amiibo, through future press announcements, updates on social media and working with retailers. This has come out after Nintendo‘s Third Quarter Financial Results Briefing in February, which Nintendo CEO and President Satoru Iwata announced that over 5.7 million amiibo had been shipped at the end of last year, with amiibo sales doing particularly well in Canada, the U.S., and Australia. Despite this, Australia receives only 3% of the world’s supply of amiibo, yet sells through 90% of said shipment. At this briefing, Iwata mentioned that it was difficult to promise continuous shipment of amiibo. Future plans for amiibo include the release of more amiibo series, and software to interact with the amiibo, such as the recently

released free Wii U download amiibo tap: Nintendo’s Greatest Bits, which presents three minute demos of NES and SNES titles unlocked via tapping amiibo. Various scenes are available to be played out in these demos, giving a variety of gameplay to try. Other titles coming out soon that have amiibo functionality include Code Name: S.T.E.A.M., with amiibos from the Fire Emblem franchise in the Super Smash Bros. amiibo series unlocking characters, and Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, adding daily different gameplay mechanics. At least three different amiibo series are planned to be released throughout this year. The Super Smash Bros. series includes new additions, such as Greninja and Jigglypuff, available on May 29th, Palutena, Dark Pit, Ga-

nondorf and Zero Suit Samus, available in June, and Olimar, Bowser Jr., and Dr. Mario, will be available in July. Other amiibo series that are planned to be released soon are the Splatoon, Yoshi’s Woolly World, and the Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer series. The Splatoon series includes Inkling Boy, Inkling Girl, and the Inkling Squid, all due to coincide with the release of Splatoon on the Wii U on May 30th. Yoshi’s Woolly World series of amiibo will be three plush Yarn Yoshis in green, light blue and pink, due to be released later this year. Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer series of amiibo will be released as amiibo cards and will be released alongside Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer for the Nintendo 3DS later this year.

For more gaming news head over to G



MAY 2015




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We’ve all said those words – some of us say them all the time. But have you ever wondered if it’s possible to actually fall in love with a video game character? That is, to actually feel those emotions towards lines of code, voice acting and an entirely fictional character? While we gaze to the future, it’s always important to learn from the past. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at how relationships have been portrayed in video games in the past, as well as the present.

HUMBLE BEGINNINGS THE 80S Early video games were completely devoid of relationships, and it wasn’t until Shigeru Miyamoto tasked players with rescuing Pauline (originally named Lady) from the maniac ape Donkey Kong that we saw one of the earliest relationships of a man and woman depicted in a game. After that, we had a more detailed relationship portrayed in The Legend of Zelda for the Nintendo Entertainment System, though this yet again more of a damsel-in-distress based relationship than a proper romantic one.

liest of places. Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards was a DOS adventure game that featured Larry Laffer, the original 40-year old virgin who traveled to the city of Lost wages to finally lose his virginity. While this beginning plotline and the promise of some pixelated nudity might have been a somewhat controversial selling point of the game, Larry actually loses his virginity quite early in the game. Realising there really is much more to life than sex, he then embarks on a quest to find true love.

Funnily enough, it was in 1987 (only one year after Zelda on the NES) that we received a male protagonist in search of love, and in the unlike-

Though the game was primarily a comedy, the emptiness Larry feels after having meaningless sex was conveyed perfectly through the

game’s “narrator”. It struck a chord with the player and while Larry’s “true love” didn’t actually last all that long (there were sequels to be made, after all), it felt rewarding to finish Larry with a truly “happy ending”. During this time, Japan saw a surge in visual novel games. While many of these were strictly adventure games (or even “eroge” games), many of these explored romantic relationships. Many of these, however, did not make it outside of Japan and therefore, did not influence how romantic relationships are portrayed in the majority of video games today.

A BUDDING ROMANCE – DEVELOPERS BEGIN EXPLORING RELATIONSHIPS As PCs and consoles became more advanced, developers were able to create more complex video games and as a result, deliver deeper narratives. Soon Japanese developers would be developing RPGs with hugely evocative stories, though few could match the emotional storytelling found in Square Enix’s (Squaresoft) magnum opus, Final Fantasy VII. From a narrative and relationship standpoint, Final Fantasy VII was unmatched at the time. Here we had a game where characters had rich backstories and pre-existing relationships. The characters of Cloud and Tifa were childhood friends before the events of the game, though the events and their

interactions during Final Fantasy VII have had many a gamer speculating if there was more to the relationship than being simply friends – which is probably due to how well the game’s narrative and dialogue was written. Since Final Fantasy VII, Japanese developers have explored romantic relationships to a much greater extent, though limitations of the JRPG subgenre have become more apparent over time. For one thing, many JRPGs have an art style which has anime or manga-based roots. While the personalities of characters make them relatable, it can be hard to invest in an interactive romance where the two characters look like they’ve been ripped out of an anime.

Japanese RPGs also have a tendency to be quite linear, with environments being closed-in, and stories having little to no player choices, and the dialogue between characters having no player interaction. Essentially, you are playing the battles between the events of the story, like reading a novel that requires you to punch the pages in order to turn them. The seeds of romantic relationships in games had well and truly been planted thanks to JRPGs, and it wouldn’t be long before Western developers began exploring romantic relationships as well.

IT MUST BE LOVE – HOW THE LAST TWO GENERATIONS PORTRAYED RELATIONSHIPS It might seem like we’re skipping through time rather drastically here, but in the grand scheme of things, exploring romantic relationships realistically is still pretty new to video games. When video games first emerged, the audience was primarily young males, and it wasn’t until the last ten years that we saw a surge in female gamers. In fact, according to an article on The Guardian, the balance has shifted – 52% of gamers are women, and 48% are men. Perhaps gamers grew too quickly for developers and publishers to keep up. Publishers went from being able to safely recycle the same game every year for one demographic to having to appeal to a number of different demographics with future games. In any case, the gaming community had become richer and more diverse over the

years and the time for romance and more complex relationships was overdue. So which franchises explored relationships? Bioware have a knack for romantic subplots in their games, with titles such as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 1 and 2 offering players the chance to experience romantic trysts with characters in the games. With romance being forbidden for the Jedi order, the players faced difficult decisions for themselves and their romantic partners. In later years, Bioware would explore relationships again within the Mass Effect trilogy of games. With the ability to create a male or female protagonist, and the ability to have multiple romantic relationships with both female and male characters, the Mass Effect games offer perhaps some of the most realistically

portrayed relationships in games today. Combine that with the fact that each potential romantic partner has a truly unique personality and you’ll find that Bioware truly did raise the bar for other developers in regards to how relationships are portrayed. Last generation saw a number of games explore relationships, but few have visions quite like Peter Molyneux has for his games – though they never turn out the way he describes. Molyneux might have promised much more than he could deliver with Fable 2 (something he has become quite known for), but Fable 2 offered the completely optional side activities of dating, marriage and procreation. Fable 2 even offered the opportunity for samesex relationships, though it wasn’t until Fable 3 that Albion’s same-sex couples could adopt a child. Still, progress is progress!

CURRENT GENERATIONS – LOOKING TO THE FUTURE So after taking a look at how romantic relationships have been portrayed, it’s fair to say the like comedy, romance is subjective. What some might find romantic or appealing, others may not. I’ve heard people use the “L” word for video game characters as far back as games on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, but it’s hard to look back at those sprite-based characters and agree with them. As far as the current generation is concerned, the flames of romance have died down from a roaring fire to a few flickering embers. There a

few games with decent romantic relationships (Dragon Age: Inquisition, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt), though the majority of games see publishers falling back on their strengths – usually shooters that don’t explore relationships. It’s something that disappoints me, though I can’t exactly blame developers for not taking risks with a new console generation. So where do we go from here? What does the future hold for romance and relationships in video games? Will we ever truly fall in love with game characters?

THE FUTURE IS ALMOST FRIGHTENING, THANKS TO VR It’s hard to say where games will go from here (in regards to romantic plots and subplots), but one would think if the demand is there, that the games will come. Now more than ever though, it seems as though developers and publishers have a hard time listening to gamers. We’re going back to the future with Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, we’re getting a new Guitar Hero with live action footage and Skrillex on the soundtrack, and we’re still getting games that have seen graphical downgrades and features cut before release. Thankfully, indie developers work outside of the constraints of publishers and marketing trends. In fact, there is a video game being

developed right now that draws inspiration from romance novels, and in particular, those written by female authors. That’s just one example, but there are many indie developers who are looking to tell the stories less experienced in games, with romance being a major source of inspiration for them. Another thing to consider is that Virtual Reality is extremely close to becoming a household staple. We will have personal movie viewers, VR video conferencing, VR social networking and of course, video games that will make use of VR. Virtual Reality opens up the potential of interacting in a virtual environment, and being immersed in video

games like never before. If a developer was to predominantly focus on exploring relationships in a virtual environment with complex characters, we could see the first relationships between man and program form – people could date and form romantic relationships with video game characters and people simulators. Suddenly all those movies like Surrogates and Minority Report don’t seem so far out, do they? So what do you think, has a video game ever touched you in that special way? Has Cupid’s 8-bit arrow ever struck you in the heart? Or are we truly yet to see a convincing romantic relationship in video games?


with Dr Polly Gonne Some of gaming’s couples are bound to stand the test of time. Their endless love and blissful romance is a roaring fire of passion. Other couples though, are beginning to see cracks in the veneer. Their once-glorious fire is now dangerously close to being snuffed out, like a Charmander on critical health. We’ve contacted Dr Polly Gonne, a reknowned video game pyschologist and marriage counselor to video game couples everywhere. She’s co-authored a number of books, including Bowser’s ‘A Villain’s Guide To Dating: Capture That Romance’ and ‘Donkey Kong’s Guide To Swinging’, and has even conducted research alongside Dr Robotnik and Dr Wily. She’s taken a look at some of gaming’s most well-known couples, and offered her advice to them.

GUYBRUSH THREEPWOOD AND GOVERNOR ELAINE MARLEY (THE MONKEY ISLAND GAMES) When Guybrush and Elaine first met, it was a tale of love at first sight at all. In an attempt to pass one of the three trials from the Pirate Leaders, Guybrush attempted to break into the Governor’s mansion and steal a valuable idol, only to be caught (and attacked) by Fester Shinetop, the town’s sherriff. After Elaine breaks up the fight, her curiosity gets the better of her and she attempts to get to know Guybrush – only to render Guybrush completely speechless. Their initial awkwardness aside, Guybrush and Elaine did end up together, though

trouble has a habit of finding Guybrush. During their time together, Elaine has been kidnapped multiple times, and even turned to gold thanks to a cursed ring that Guybrush used to propose to her. While he claims to be a “mighty pirate”, Guybrush’s true strength lies in his determination, and that no matter the danger, he would travel to the ends of the earth for Marley (and treasure). Dr Gonne says: “It’s my professional opinion that Guybrush and Elaine take a break from their respective

professions in order to reconnect as a couple. Guybrush has a tendency to be rather accident prone, and at times, inept in his pirate ways. Elaine knows all of this and most importantly, knows patience. It’s for this reason that I see Guybrush Threepwood and Governor Elaine Marley as a particularly strong couple, taking a vacation together will help them get away from it all – it also means Elaine is far less likely to be kidnapped or turned into a solid gold statue”. Relationship Status: Safe, but in need of some rekindling.


Rarely in games do we see the committed couple. Much more interesting is the new spark of love. Seeing two people grow closer over a long journey, overcoming enemies, trials and inner demons on their path to bliss is a deeply interesting premise, especially against the backdrop of saving the world. As a puzzle game framed with adult relationship drama, Catherine’s mostlymundane focus allowed it to delve into much deeper territory. Our hero, Vincent Brooks, is a man stuck firmly in the everyday. He has a job that’s okay, he goes out drinking with the guys a little more than he should, and his longtime girlfriend Katherine McBride (subtlety) has been pressuring him to take the next step: the dreaded marriage. Happy with things as they are (or just too lazy to change), Vincent is in no hurry to shake up his comfortable world.

Then along comes Catherine, a buxom blonde bombshell who is exactly his type. Flirtatious, energetic and equally reluctant to be tied down, a few drinks turn into something much more. Vincent finds himself torn between the stability of Katherine and the freedom of Catherine – and faced with the troubling task of making sure one doesn’t find out about the other. Obviously, cheating is inexcusable. It’s in the moments in between which makes Vincent’s relationships with the two women shine. A far cry from the indulgent harem scenarios of other games – a fantasy world where every woman is attracted to the main character and nobody is ever possessive or jealous – Vincent is wracked with guilt, drowning himself in drink and assaulted by lethal puzzle-platforming nightmares nightly. But this struggle, and Vincent’s choices, form

the true strength of the relationship: whichever woman is chosen in the end, Vincent has grown and faced the consequences of his actions, able to take control of his life once more. That’s a better ending than most romantic comedies already. Dr Gonne says: No good can ever come from cheating. Vincent needs to lay off the booze and face the responsibility of a single, exclusive relationship. It says a great deal about the man when he turns to booze and has horrific nightmares in times of stress. My opinion ladies, give Vincent the boot and get a man that respects you! Relationship status: Dead in the water – unless Vincent can learn to dedicate himself to one relationship. He should seek counseling immediately.

THE PRINCE AND FARAH (THE PRINCE OF PERSIA) There’s no getting around it: the Prince is kind of a dick. As a young, arrogant royal, the Prince accompanies his father on his latest war campaign, thirsty for the glory of battle. Things hit a small speedbump when he is instead tricked by his father’s evil vizier (are there ever good viziers?) and releases the Sands of Time, turning everyone into sand monsters. The only ones spared are himself, the Vizier himself, and Farah, the outspoken princess, now their captive. As one might imagine, turning an entire city into monsters and enslaving her people has given Farah a poor opinion of the fledging Prince. The two bicker and fight through most of the game, barely united by their desire to reach the Vizier and seal away the Sands of Time once more. Conflict brings unity through this, and respect begins to grow, then closeness, then love. Like Vincent,

the Prince’s arc is one of maturation: privy to his inner monologue, we see him slowly come to admire Farah’s commitment and self-assuredness as much as he does her beauty. The two challenge each other, growing to become something better. By the end, the Prince is even able to admit his attraction to Farah to himself without reservation, the trials of their journey having slowly sloughed away his layers of pomp and self-importance. Unfortunately, this is a time travel story. As one might expect, the ending has the Prince turn back the block and restore the city, leaving himself as the only one with any memory of what had happened. Two games later, this leads to a rather awkward situation when he meets Farah again, already utterly in love despite the two having never really met. Through this, their relationship becomes something more

than just falling in love: it becomes proving to her and to himself that he can be a prince, not just a man, and act as a worthy leader to his people. It might take a few twists of time, but by the end, the Prince and Farah have truly become who they were destined to be. Dr Gonne says: “The Prince’s growth stands as a positive example of what can be achieved when a person sees what is truly important in a relationship. Though he already knows Farah when they meet for the first time (in a strictly chronological sense), he does not use his knowledge he learned traveling time to take advantage of her. There are men out there who could rewind time constantly and still manage to get the foundations of a relationship wrong. Kudos to you, Prince!” Relationship status: Blissful

MARIO AND PRINCESS PEACH (C’MON, YOU ALREADY KNOW) The first and the best: Super Mario and Princess Peach. The nucleus of the Nintendo family,this stalwart plumber and kidnap-prone princess have never been anything but wholesome. Traversing worlds upon worlds of danger to save the Princess never netted Mario anything more than a kiss or some cake, but our moustachioed hero has never complained, happy to be of service to the kingdom. For all that, it’s hard to nail down exactly what Mario and Peach are to each other. Is he her bodyguard, brought along for protection? Is he the hero of the Mushroom Kingdom, his focus on defeating Bowser as

much as saving Peach? Are they friends who enjoy karting, partying and 3D-landing together, or more? Clearly the relationship is more than professional: more than that, it appears utterly devoted and not entirely one-sided. Peach might have created some of the most golden moments in the Super Mario RPG/ Paper Mario series, actively trying to escape on her own and smack down her captors, but when the man in bed busts into Bowser’s castle, there’s always a certain swoon in her voice when she calls Mario’s name.

ness. Mario will always be there for Peach, and Peach always for Mario. Sometimes, that’s enough.

So it’s not really clear, nor will it ever be. What matters is the close-

Relationship status: Unconfirmed, but happy if they are indeed a couple.

Dr Gonne says: “While I’m sure their family and friends are dying to know, there’s something to be admired about the private relationship between Mario and Princess Peach. After a lifetime of partying, tennis and golf tournaments, Gokarting and kidnappings, Mario and Peach are still very close. It’s my professional opinion that if they are a couple, they’d be a very happy one.”

SONIC AND AMY Quite opposite to the steadfast couple of Mario and Peach is the perennial pair of Sonic the Hedgehog and Amy Rose. More stalking than a relationship, Amy’s entire personality can be summed up as ‘Sonic’s selfproclaimed girlfriend’. No amount of rejection or outright revulsion can deter the pink hedgehog from going after Sonic. It could be because she’s 12, it could be she’s a little unhinged, or it could just be that he keeps saving her life, confirming her delusion that he truly, really loves her. Though she befriends everybody she meets and has a relentlessly optimistic view on life, Amy’s priorities still lay solely on that which is blue and spiky. She follows Sonic, enters competitions to be near

Sonic, makes up boyfriends to get Sonic jealous…the list goes on. In a somewhat concerning twist, the Saturday morning cartoon Sonic Boom actually offers her most fleshed-out portrayal. The archaeologist and organisational head of Team Sonic, she’s tasked with keeping the group together amongst their various adventures, her crush on Sonic relegated to a mere facet of her personality. Still, learn to read the signs, Amy. If a guy is actively shoving you away from him when you try to kiss him after stalking him to a whole new country, maybe take that one as a ‘no’. Dr Gonne says: “In my expert opinion, Amy suffers from a classic case

of Hedgehog fever. We saw a surge in this during the 1990’s, though eventually people caught something much worse though ultimately more fleeting: Bandicoot-fever. Amy is also unable to accept the fact that Sonic is not currently looking for a romantic partner. This creates awkward situations for both herself and Sonic, though she unfortunately cannot see this. She needs to give Sonic some breathing room and focus on herself. If you love Sonic, Amy, let him go.” Relationship status: Non-existant. Amy should seek professional help immediately.

JOHNNY CAGE AND SONYA BLADE (MORTAL KOMBAT) When these two first met, Johnny was a young, egotistical brash hothead. Sonya was a tough and unforgiving member of the Special Forces. Since then, they’ve had a child (Cassie) and grown older, and little else has changed. Both set in their ways and especially stubborn when interacting with each other, Johnny and Sonya have a strangely endearing relationship that has endured countless assassination attempts from Outworld, the stresses of saving the world through winning the Mortal Kombat and perhaps most hellish of all, raising a child.

Even though they are no longer together, there’s hope for the Johnny and Sonya yet, as their daughter Cassie reminds them at the end of Mortal Kombat X. If only Outworld would stop attacking long enough for them to realise that! Dr Gonne says: “Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade are the relationship equivalent of when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. Here we have two very strong-minded and stubborn individuals that while constantly bickering, manage to bring out the best in each other. Sonya’s leadership and sense of re-

sponsibility rub off on Johnny, and Johnny manages to break through Sonya’s hard outer shell to find her softer side. Johnny, Sonya, it’s time you two stopped fighting each other and had some fun like you used to have. Take a day off, head to the countryside, and rip out some ninja spines. You know, fun stuff.” Relationship status: Safe, but in need of some TLC. These two need to focus on their Friendship, not their Brutality.






borderlands: the handsome


collection REVIEW




CT CARS review

REVIEW Some years ago, Namco and Slightly Mad studios posed each other an interesting question: “why don’t we ask the people who play our games to help make the next one?” I know right?! A game for the fans, by the fans. And, after several years of input from people just like you and me, along with several professional racing drivers, here is the fruit of their/our labour: ‘Project CARS’. Project CARS lets you create your own driver and identity, then lets you loose in the big wide world of auto racing. Choose a starting series, and you’ll earn invites to events and find yourself surprised at how quickly you unlock a host of different cars from different disciplines. CARS goes a long way to making sure you’re immersed in the life of an auto racer – you’ll receive emails from your driving team as well as potential sponsors, not to mention special offers to various events that help break up the routine. There’s also a calendar of all the race meetings on each month, letting you see when your next race is, as well as what other events are on that weekend. You can skip practice and qualifying sessions, and adjust the sessions length, the AI level, and whether or not you can restart. Along with the usual championships, once you prove yourself you’ll end up being invited to invitational meets as well, which can help you advance into other series and gives you a nice break from whatever discipline you’re currently competing with. Another nice touch I liked is the ‘Fan chat’ that appears beside the menu for your career. It’s very twitteresqe, with posts about the coming season, and how you’ve been doing. Seeing people cheer for your team, congratulating you on win streaks, and being able to prove wrong the people who write you off,


CARS is all a part of the experience. The characters are well thought out as well; you can almost hear the regret in your engineers voice when you tell him you’re leaving for another team next season. The game itself is quite pretty to say the least. It’s hard to remember at times that you aren’t looking at real photos of places, or that you aren’t watching the replay of a real race. With a full 24 hour day and night cycle, and a host of weather effects that can come and go even during a single event, the world of Project CARS is without a doubt the prettiest place I’ve ever raced. Many famous circuits are a part of the tour, including our very own Bathurst (a track that is fast becoming a pre requisite for racing sims.) There are street circuits, road rally stages, real world tracks and fictional ones, all designed to test you and your machine. Sand traps actually work as they should, grass is your enemy if you drop a wheel, and I highly recommend staying clear of the ripple strips, unless you want to have a bad time. It’s highly detailed; from

the plumes of smoke you can leave as you slide out of corners, the little pieces of rubber that fly off your tyres, and little things like the realistic sun glare, rain drops that race each other down the windscreen, and the constellations that change throughout the night sky.

But of course, the real star in game with a name like Project CARS is of course, the trees. Yes, the trees are very well textured, and several tree experts were brought in to oversee their…oh wait, wrong game. I meant the CARS! Whilst the list isn’t as long as other titles, they have tried very hard to give you diversity in all disciplines. Heck, when it comes to Le Mans prototypes, they have even built their own models of cars to race with, alongside the more established names in endurance racing. Everything from karts, road cars, supercars, touring cars, GT, open wheel (including F1/not F1 because copyright etc) is at your disposal. It really is as simple as deciding what you want to start in, and where you want to go.


PROS: The handling can be a bit of a trick at first; open wheel cars demand precision and gentle inputs of throttle, the legendary Group 5 cars are as every bit of a handful as they should be, and even the supercars twitch and fight, like a wild horse you’re trying to tame. If you’re used to the more relaxed Forza and Gran Turismo titles, you might be frustrated at first. But it’s a good feeling when you finally tame the beast, and whoop the field with it. Slightly Mad studios have a long and esteemed history with sim titles, and they know what they’re talking about when it comes to making cars as they should. I own a BMW 1 series coupe like the one in this game, and you know what? Project CARS is the first title where they’ve nailed it-the sound, the feel, the handling, it all feels familiar to me. Project CARS has been in development since 2011. In that 4 years Namco and Slightly Mad have taken

the time and effort to listen to the pros, and listen to you, so that they can make a game that we actually want to play. Not many other companies do that. They asked us what we wanted, and delivered it the best they could. And thinking back on my gaming career, thinking of all the racing titles I dearly remember and love the most, there are little things in this game that remind me of all of them at one point or another. They’ve captured what a racing sim should be; taken the sort of action those PC mater race jocks brag about and put it in a game for all to enjoy. Whether you’re a novice who is just starting, or a pro settling in for another season, it’s all about your choice, your race, your career. Where you want to go is entirely up to you, and considering Gran Turismo 5 took about the same amount of time to develop, believe me when I say this guys.... you did it much better.






E L A S ! N O W O N





















There’s no denying the immense popularity of the Borderlands series. Upon its debut in 2009, Borderlands quickly established itself as a fun and unique shooter, blending elements from open-world games, other FPS titles, as well as role-playing games like Diablo.

offered. Thankfully, both sequel and pre-sequel (still technically a sequel) have been re-released for the current console generation, in the ‘Borderlands: The Handsome Collection‘.

The series currently stands at three games (not including the episodic adventure game from Telltale Games) – Borderlands, Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Presequel. Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The pre-sequel were both released towards the end of the last console generation, meaning that many shooter fans missed out on all the addicting mayhem that they

Ultimately, nothing is new here. You are getting two fantastic FPS games in a single package, as well as all the previously-released downloadable content for those games. The graphics are still cel-shaded and stylish, though the games now run in 1080p resolution and at a buttery smooth 60 frames per second – even with 2 player split-screen multiplayer! From a visual perspec-

So is there anything new?

tive, Borderlands doesn’t get much better than this! While two-player splitscreen running as 60FPS is impressive, so too is the fact that The Handsome Collection can be played with up to three friends, making for a fourplayer split-screen lootfest! Who says couch multiplayer is dead?

Is it worth getting? With the ability to port your existing last-gen console saves across to the current-generation of consoles (Xbox 360 to Xbox One, PlayStation 3 to PlayStation 4), existing vault hunters will be able to hit the ground running, and find that the


the handsome



PROS: SPLIT-SCREEN MULTIPLAYER ENGAGING CAMPAIGNS TONS OF BANG FOR YOUR BUCK LOOKS GREAT AND RUNS BUTTERY SMOOTH games are just as fun as their original releases, if not more, given how well the game performs on the new hardware. If you haven’t played Borderlands 2 or Borderlands: The Pre-sequel, there’s no better time than now. Both Borderlands 2 and The Presequel received favourable review scores upon their release, with Borderlands 2 having a score of 89/100 on Metacritic (from 38 critics) and The Pre-sequel having a score of 75/100. They are an absolute blast to play, especially in multiplayer, and the RPG and open-world elements are integrated in a clever and refreshing way. While other developers shoehorn in game mechanics

with the subtlety of a bull in clogs, 2K manage to meld genres in a very organic way – they belong and complement the chaotic shooting perfectly. Ultimately, Borderlands: The Handsome Collection packs a ton of explosive value into a single sexy package. Both games are a ton of fun to play and thanks to modern console hardware, run like a dream. While it’s loot-centric shooterama gameplay might not tickle everyone, You’d be hard-pressed to find this much story, action and brilliant game design in another FPS. The Handsome Collection is well worth checking out!



JUNE DVD OUT 10.06.15 29.95




5 29.9


















































IDE review

REVIEW It’s not very often, if at all, that you come across a dedicated motorcycle racing game for consoles. So naturally when Ride arrived, the newest bike game to hit the shelves, they naturally got me… the touring car driver. The guy who has never ridden a bike, and never even played Road Rash. So, am I riding off into the sunset? Or is it two wheels bad? Ride features more than 100 different motorbikes, from many of the world’s most famous manufacturers. There’s street bikes, lightweights, modified and of course the full blown race spec machines. There are hundreds of ways to customize both the bike and yourself. New outfits, gloves, helmets and accessories, so you can strut your stuff (or look cool when you inevitably high side.) Bikes can have the wheels, exhausts, handlebars and other cosmetics altered to your liking, and although you can paint your ride the options are a bit limited. There’s plenty of performance parts as well, and it’s quite easy to understand the tuning options available. No vinyls though; sorry folks – this isn’t NFS Undercycles. There are several world-wide circuits to race around, a nice mix of fictional street circuits, and dedicated tracks that are famous for Moto racing, such as England’s Donington Park. The game itself looks quite pretty, not that you’ll have much time to see it though. The AI will certainly keep you busy; even on the easier settings, they can easily keep up, and pass you when you least expect it. I quickly began to regret blowing my starting budget on shiny things and cool paint. Thankfully though, money is easy to come by in the world of Ride.

RIDE Payouts throughout the world tour are quite generous. Win one race and you’ll already be able to afford some of the bikes on offer. Even in quick race or time trial modes, you still earn credits for turning laps. So it’s worth perfecting your skills before trying it out against the rest. Earn enough reputation, and you’ll also advance up the worldwide leader boards, eventually unlocking invites to elite events with the world’s best. Don’t expect to find me there though.

The game itself is very user friendly. There are many options for the humble beginner like myself, to the seasoned bike veterans who want to feel every bit of gravel as you slide off the track. Assists, AI adjustments, tutorials and many more options. You can bump a bit in the easier settings, but if you want to be a pro then get the elbows up. This isn’t Gran Turismo…hitting walls, and opponents, or going off track can have catastrophic consequences. Whilst rewinds are available, you can’t use them back to back. So if you make a mistake, don’t think you can just try the same thing over and over again.

I had a lot of fun learning the game, and although it can be a challenge, winning the first race felt just that bit better knowing that you had to work for it. A lot of my frustration with the game came simply from the fact I’m dumbfounded by a machine that has half the wheels I’m used to. I’m not much of a bike person, but Ride does go a long way to immerse you in the world of motorcycle racing. The feeling of speed, the freedom, the way the bike twitches when you push it, as if you’re trying to tame a horse. This horse won’t kick, but it will throw you if you’re off guard…I ended up with more high sides, low sides, wall sides and god knows what sides in an hour than I’ve seen in 10 year Moto GP highlights. It really does feel like Forza with bikes. The large career mode, the many difficulty options to cater for just about anyone, the customization, and many more things combine to make Ride very worthy of being called a racing sim. Even for a car guy like me. It’s a well polished title, and is sure to keep you entertained for quite some time. Now, if you will excuse me, I have to do and dig my Ducati out of the gravel trap…again.










Street Fighter Bishoujo Statue





“Now, the world don’t move to the beat of just one drum. What might be right for you, may not be right for some”. To those of you born after the 1980s, this is the theme tune to 80s sitcom “Diff’rent Strokes”. Useless fact: That theme tune was partly composed by Alan Thicke, who played the father in another 80s sitcom “Growing Pains” (and is Robin Thicke’s father in real life). So why am I sitting here, typing about 80s sitcoms? Good question. As the theme tune to “Diff’rent Strokes” says “Everybody’s got a special kind of story”, and none could be truer than the cast of “Diff’rent Strokes”

The saddest part of that show is what happened to the children of the cast following its cancellation. That could be a whole article in itself, but that’s a story for a ‘non video game related’ magazine. Today we’re going to look at Dana Plato, who played ‘Kimberley’ in the show. Dana’s career took a large nosedive after the show, and she turned to drugs and ended up acting in some dodgy movies. She also starred in a very dodgy video game which is what I’m here to talk about today. Let’s take a look at the thriller, that wasn’t very thrilling, “Night Trap” Originally designed to be released on the “Hasbro Nemo” system (which never saw the light of day), Night Trap, released on the all new Mega CD system in 1992, was an attempt at being an interactive movie.

The plot involved a group of young women who are staying in a house for the night. The problem is that the last lot of girls who stayed there disappeared. You have to work with Dana, who plays “Sega Control Attack Team” agent ‘Kelly’ to protect these new girls. Spoiler alert: Some near-vampires called ‘Augers’ are the cause for the disappearing girls! Yes, the story is lightweight and the gameplay is questionable. Why are the girls staying in a house that has recently had some mysterious, unsolved disappearances take place? Who knows? The game received a mixed reception upon release with scores ranging from downright abysmal, to 80%-90%! Essentially, Night Trap is an experiment in voyeurism. You have a house full of girls in their nighties and bras and you’re just there watching them, flicking between scenes and finding the vampires. The game teases you with possible hints at something overtly sexual happening but it never does. If you play this game looking for a cheap thrill you will be disappointed. Sorry! In 1993 the game garnered some controversy when the US Government was looking to place blame on the corrupt youngsters of the 90s. Video games were seen as the devil and Night Trap was one of its primary scapegoats. Consequently the game was pulled from the shelves.

There had been plans to convert Night Trap to other systems (with the Sega references removed) but these were put on hold. A hearing was held, and it was clear that those involved had not actually played the game, seeing as they could not even describe the concept of Night Trap. Documents from the hearing stated that the game was about “trapping and killing women”, when the actual objective is to protect them from this. Any efforts to actually explain what he game was really about fell on deaf ears. No one wanted to know about it. The Government had its scapegoat and it was going to run with it as long as it could. Thankfully people have a short memory. The controversy eventually died down and the game was released on PC, Mac and 3DO in 1994 and 1995, with an enhanced version released for the 32X/ Mega CD combination also getting a release. So what is my personal opinion? I’m glad you asked! Flicking between screens gets very samey and the traps keep repeating themselves. Where do these traps even lead to? Holes in the floors, secret walls… It doesn’t make a lot of sense. Even Dana Plato walking around in a bra, giving constant ‘knowing’ looks to the camera does very little to make me want to play this game again. So while I’m not a fan of the game, as the theme tune says “It takes, Diff’rent Strokes to move the world”!




Street Fighter Bishoujo Statue


This month we take a look at the latest from Kotobukiya and their amazing Street Fighter Bishoujo statue. You can get these at Gametraders and if a store doesn’t have them in stock they can order them for you. Ok on to our review. Kotobukiya describe’s the figurine as there “ new art collection” designed by Shunya Yamashita, a well known Japanese illustrator and game designer, famous for his beautiful female characters. Bishoujo Juri is a member of S.I.N and is well known for her impressive kick attacks as well as her Feng Shui Engine eye. They statue looks strong and powerful and is posed gracefully on one foot with her other ready to strike out with a kick. The billowing pants and wide sash belt, fingerless gloves and her chest harness are all well detailed and look incredible. The

stand is solid plastic and comes with a decal/sticker you can apply to the base to give an even better display. The figurine comes with a quality box and plastic packaging. The facial details are very good with nice hair details too. Fingers and toes are well defined and have painted nails with no imperfections. The stomach is flat and the skin is smooth, clothing too is nicely done with her pants billowing as it would be in a fight situation and her facial expression is cute and cheeky, almost tempting the opponent to attack. If you’re a fan of Kotobukyia then this is a must have, particularly if you’re into Street Fighter characters. The box also says that Sakura is coming soon!

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COMICS Lets talk about it… yes, the more adult side of comics. The romance, love making and serious side of our favourite heroes! You see when a man loves a woman... Or a man loves a man... Or a woman loves a woman... It’s all very complicated after that and I don’t think you are old enough for me to tell you how it all works. But I can talk to you about three very interesting facets of love and romance in comic books. Firstly, there is the sensualisation of superheroes, the way they are drawn. There is the love and romance itself within the pages of the story. Finally, there is the sexuality aspect of the characters. There is no denying that comic book characters have always been drawn in, well, interesting proportions. The men are nearly always ripped, barrel-chested, square jawed ideals of masculinity. The women... well, large breasts, slim waists, long legs, and most importantly very revealing outfits. There are many complex reasons as to why this is, people have been reading into it for years. It is a trend that has outraged many people. Feminist groups feel it objectifies women (which is a fairly accurate assessment) men’s groups feel it presents an unrealistic expectations for the male body. I for one, have a very simple explanation for as to why this is the way it is… it helps sell comic books! At the end of the day comic book companies want to make money. What better way to do that than give young men (the main readers) what they want, hot babes in next to nothing kicking butt. As a younger man I always remembered having a crush on Mary Jane. Peter Parkers long time girlfriend, the “ultimate girl next door”. I was certainly effected by the images of the beautiful red-headed beauty who always stood up for Peter and always had his back. It’s interesting to the degree in which

SUPER HAVE FEELINGS TOO... these characters and they way they are drawn can leave an imprint on us. Another popular theory as to why heroes are drawn in the evocative style is that heroes are inspired by the heroes of times gone by. The heroes of Ancient Greece are always drawn or sculpted as large, strong brutes nearly always naked. Another interesting idea when delving into adult situations in comic books is the love scenes themselves. Two in particular come to mind, both of which present the same very warped idea. In Alan Moore’s classic comic book “Watchmen” Silk Spector and Night Owl engage in some very raunchy love making in the cockpit of Night Owl’s ship. The interesting part is that they keep their costumes on. Night Owl himself prior to this moment had been suffering from a case of erectile disfunction, but after coming out of retirement, suiting up and saving some lives with Silk Spectre, well... It really gets him in the mood. Both characters keep their costumes on during, which presents some very interesting fetishistic ideas about sex in comic books. The other example is in a very recent comic. In an issue of the New 52 Catwoman comic, Catwoman and Batman get together, once again though, keeping their costumes on. Looking at these two interpretations

of love making in comic books it is easy to see how the image of really kind of messed up individuals is presented. These “heroes” are so focused on their false identities that they cannot connect with another human being in the most intimate way possible without keeping their costumes on. It goes to show that even deep down the heroes are a little messed up. While for a long time comic book characters have always been viewed through a heterosexual lens, we are now in an age where homosexual comic book characters are becoming more and more common. Which is fantastic! It is great that young gay people can now pick up a comic book and find a hero they can connect with on a different level. Heroes that are just like them. A couple of years ago comic books saw its first gay marriage. The X-man Alpha Flight married his long time boyfriend Kyle and it was spectacular. The issue featured a full cover spread and was a point of pride for Marvel. It was great to see every spectrum of life represented in comic book form. Sex is one of the most important aspects of life, and comic books are a great way to explore those ideas. I can’t wait to see what else comes our way as the world becomes a more tolerant and open place to talk about these things.


Images from Wikipedia.


board games


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What is it about board, card and video games that makes us strive for victory? Do we feel that we want to support and help the other players to give us more of a competitive game or is there always a driving felling to completely annihilate our opponents? For me it depends on the game we are playing and whom I am playing against. In this article we take a look at what drives us to feel the need for victory and why supporting other player’s is beneficial to the game and also our relationships. Playing board games helps us to improve our relationships and connection with others. The laughter and fun resulting from play reinforces intimacy, compassion, empathy and trust with our peers. Board games can also help to improve our relationships with strangers. They can help to break the ice helping to create new friends. These points mentioned above are the basis for why we crave victory when playing. Fun and laughter is shared between all players while playing a competitive game. This feeling of enjoyment urgers on our need to win as we can hold on to the feeling for longer than if we were to lose. Winning and the urge to win gets our emotions flowing showing others how much it means to us. This could be seen as a weakness but it can also be seen as a strength. Showing our emotions to others make people feel safer and closer to us, they learn more about us with our actions then with our words. Our determination and passion shows a side of us that others can feel safe

in knowing how passionate we can be in regards to things that are important to us. Losing at a game can also shows others how you deal with conflicts in your life. The trust and empathy we learn about others while playing board games comes from supporting others during the game. While learning to play a new game I feel it is always important to support others as it makes the learning process easier, especially if it is quite a complex game. Supporting others while playing can also help to ensure a competitive game is played. The more competitive a person is in life will determine their feeling towards winning an easy game with no competiveness over an edge of your seat, one move will could result in you being victorious or losing everything type of game. When winning a game that isn’t a challenge you do not get that all consuming feeling of achievement or satisfaction then when you win a hard fought, tough slog of a session. Someone who doesn’t care about the challenge and just wants to win to have bragging rights would not get to hold on to that winning feeling for as long as someone who appreciates a win. Teaching and supporting also helps to improve our cooperation with others resulting in better relationships. I love to support the other people I am playing with while learning to play a new game or while playing a game that we have played countless times. When playing a game that is a family and friends favourite I don’t

feel the need to win as I know I may have won this game many times. It just becomes a time of fun and enjoyment that I love, spending time with people who are important to me. There is one however one game that I do not like to lose at. It is not a board game but a video game. Mario Kart is my exception. I am determined to win while playing and I do not like to lose. An overwhelming desire to see Yoshi place first time and time again overcomes me and it is all I am focused on. All loyalties go out the window while hunting down the person who has managed to get into first place before me. We play board, card and video games to connect with others around us, help relieve stress and too of course have fun but they are also important in improving and developing our relationships with others. Winning at games is always great but don’t let the aim to win consume you resulting in you missing out on spending time with those you love. Bringing people together, sharing laughs, experiences and connecting around the kitchen table for an afternoon or night is an amazing thing board games can do. They are something I look forward to and I hope many other people also appreciate the magic they create.



Picture yourself in the era of discoveries: after a long voyage of great deprivation, your ships have finally reached the coast of an uncharted island. Its name shall be Catan! But you are not the only discoverer. Other fearless seafarers have also landed on the shores of Catan: the race to settle the island has begun!











Check with staff on availability and release dates. Can’t see the Pop! you want? Ask our friendly staff - they’ll order it in for you!





















COSPLAY Hi and welcome to Live Magazine! Tell us about how you got into cosplay. First of all thank you for this opportunity! My name is Guillaume Fortin and I’m a graphic artist/ designer/painter from Montreal, Canada. I got into cosplay about 3-4 years ago, I was researching for a Halloween costume and stumble across the costuming club, the Mandalorian Mercs Costuming Club (MMCC). From there, I discovered a totally new world, one where I could let my creative juices flow through something else other than drawing and graphic design. I always loved dressing up, but since then, I’ve been able to take it to another level. I love it! I wish I had more time to spend building and wearing costumes. You have awesome Boba Fett inspired costumes, tell us how long you’ve been creating those.



I’ve created at least 5 or 6 complete Mandalorian costumes over the past 3 or 4 years. As well as helped with a lot more. Most were commissions for people I met through facebook or the MMCC forums. A build can take up to 2 or 3 months to complete (mainly because I can’t work entire days on costumes, with work, training, my girl friend, my family). I would say, if I could work all day on a costume, it would take maybe a week from start to finish...

A LOT! I mean no costume is really finished in my case. I’m always upgrading my stuff. That is one of the reasons I don’t have a ton of different costumes. I work hard to build as much stuff as I can for each of my costumes (not that I look down on people who buy their costumes, not everyone has the time or wants to put all the effort needed to build from scratch) so I become attached to each. The more I add to a costume, the more I like it and the more I want to add stuff to it... And so on and so forth.

How much work goes into making your costumes?

Do you go to any cons and which are your favourites?

I go to conventions, maybe 4 to 6 a year. And I plan on having this number grow in the coming years. My favorite convention so far has been the one from my own city, Montreal. I’ve been to Ottawa, Toronto, Providence, etc... I’m planning to hit New York City this year, we’ll how that turns out! What about photo shoots - do you do any and how do you prepare? Yeah, photo shoots are the best. I love to see how talented photographers see my work, the imagery they can come up with always amaze me! I usually work on some upgrades the week before

Photographer: Nicolas Fortin-Blanchette |

a shoot. Even if it’s something very subtle, it’s a great way to “mark my progress”. Any tips for male cosplayers starting out?? I feel like I am starting out myself, so I don’t know how I feel about giving other people advice about that. I see so many talented people out there, and I fell like it’s me who should be asking advice!! lol, but seriously, I would say the same thing I say to anybody cosplaying: Have fun! Be creative! Finally where can our readers go to see more of your cosplay? Folks can follow my builds, photo shoots, nerdgasms, rants and other adventures on my facebook page at KelanOrd. I always like interacting with people, talking about movies, cosplay (of course) and whatever kids are into these days! Hehe! They can also follow me on Instagram @000wil000 (although I must admit I do not post nearly as often as I should over there...)

Photographer: Nicolas Fortin-Blanchette |

Photographer: Jocelyn Thibault |

Photographer: Erik Paredes |

Photographer: Erik Paredes |

Photographer: Ghost Monkey Productions

Photographer: Eric Lajeunesse

I always loved dressing up, but since then, I’ve been able to take it to another level. I love it ! I wish I had more time to spend building and wearing costumes.

- Kelan Ord




Hi and welcome to Live Magazine, Tell us how you got started in cosplay?

and what have been some of your most memorable past moments at cons?

Friends of mine were cosplayers but the thought had never crossed my mind to do it myself. The idea of me doing a cosplay didn’t hit until I was in I was in an army surplus store in Japan. I saw a few pieces from a costume I had seen In Captain America and I thought to myself, “I might as well give it a go”.

This year the only con set in concrete is Sydney Supanova but if time and money allows I’ll try to get to others.

What are your favourite cosplays you’ve done. All my costumes are my favourite in different ways, but if I were to chose one overall it would have to be my Bucky rescue Captain America. What cons are you attending

The two most memorable moments would have to be, the first con I attended as a cosplayer. My cosplay was really well received and it was just a great first experience all around. The second is a little disappointing but none the less funny. The first con I took my Rick O’Connell costume to not a single person recognised me as him, they did however think I was Captain Mal from Firefly. Do you find being a male cosplayer that you have to work harder to promote your work?

Yes and no. I do feel as a male cosplayer you do get a little less recognition and it is harder to gain an audience. But if you’re cosplaying for the fun of it then that shouldn’t matter. Any tips for other male cosplayers just starting out? Don’t limit your costumes to characters or costumes that you think will be popular with other people. Cosplay for yourself, cosplay characters you like, avoid cosplaying for others and you’ll always have a good time. Where can readers go to find out more about you? I have a number of places that you can find me, but the best place to start would be my Facebook page under ‘captain cosplay’.

Photographer: KJ Photography | Edited by Captain Cosplay

Photographer: KJ Photography | Edited by Captain Cosplay

Photographer: KJ Photography | Edited by Captain Cosplay

Photographer: KJ Photography | Edited by Captain Cosplay

Photographer: KJ Photography | Edited by Captain Cosplay

COSPLAY Hi Sofia! Tell us abit about yourself, where you are from and how you got into cosplay? My name is Sofia and I am 23 years old Buenos Aires the capital of Argentina. I’ve been cosplaying since I was 8. At first, I did not know much about it, until I went to conventions and saw people with cosplay and I loved the idea of acting and dressing as a character.<3 What is the cosplay scene like in Argentina? Are there many cosplayers/cosplay events? It’s very good. There are several events per year and some are large and important, like Comic Con. The Cosplay community grows every day, it’s very cute !. Each day more young people try cosplaying. Do you make your own costumes? Yes, this is the fun part. I Study design to know what I want to make. How do you choose which characters to cosplay as? I usually cosplay characters that I identify with or admire. I like to spend my time and money to represent them. No Elego characters for fashion or for their costumes, only if you chose to come to find that “something” be it a part of me or respect for them.




Looks like you do lots of photoshoots - tell us abit about them.. The photos are important for a cosplayer, since you can see the work that you invested so much time into. In my case, I usually always take pictures with friends or photographers I know well, because it is important for me to be comfortable. Luckily I have met many photographers who are friendly and we have a good relationship so we understand each other. What is the game everyone is talking about right now in Argentina? Do you have an all

time favourite video game? Right now we’re all anxious for the Mortal Kombat X. I personally own games from popular franchises such as Tomb Raider or Resident Evil, which are games that grew with me. Of course many more, but those are main games that I always followed and collect. Finally where can our readers go to find out more about you? I use many networks but the main one I use is Facebook. You can Follow my page in , I use other as Instagram and DeviantArt too.

Photographer: PH4 Studios |

Photographer: Angello Cueva

Photographer: Estampida Fotografia |

Photographer: Matt Redfield



I usually cosplay characters that I identify with or

- Sophie Valentine Cosplay

Photographer: Eduardo Mendez

Photographer: Enyaz Fotografia |

COSPLAY Hi and welcome to Live! Firstly tell us how did you start cosplaying? To be honest, it kinda just happened. It was my first time at Sydney SupaNova back in 2010 and I decided that I wanted to go as of one of my favourite anime characters for fun with a group of friends. What characters were your first costumes? I did Reno from Final Fantasy VII and The Ridder from Batman Forever in 2010. You’ve done a few photo shoots – what were they like and how do you prepare? I’ve always had a blast with photo shoots mainly because of the phenomenal people you get to meet and work with. As for preparation, packing all your gear the night before and double checking it is essential also I find that getting there early is extremely helpful; especially if makeup is involved. Overall, it’s loads of fun. What’s been your been you’ve visited? Hands down: PAX 2014. The atmosphere down in Melbourne was unreal, plus it was well organised with plenty of space to move around. PAX also has this great mix of cosplay and hardcore gaming, which really appeals to me as both a gamer and a cosplayer. Tell us three things you love about cons and three things you hate... Pros: Definitely meeting up with old friends and making a whole lot of



new ones. Admiring the workmanship and skill in other cosplay.

rest of this year regarding cosplay?

I always happen to find an awesome souvenir. (I really like Artists Alley at SupaNova and Smash for the showcase of great talent.) --Cons: Queues for days! Cosplay creepers. These people really get on my nerves. They go to events to perve and harass women and it really needs to stop. Con food can be a bit pricey at these events.

There’s a few big projects coming up this year, but my main focus is finishing Wilhelm from Borderlands and Marquis from Battleborn, both of which are by video game publisher 2K.

You keep in good shape – What’s your secret? I’m a carpenter by trade, so that keeps me very physically fit. I also find time in my schedule to eat healthy and make the gym 5 days a week for at least an hour. Plus paintball training most weekends. I lead a pretty active lifestyle! What do you have planned for the

Do you have any tips for new cosplayers starting out? Easy one: Give it a go. I see too many people quit because they don’t think they can do it. The cosplay community is super friendly and there are so many people out there who are willing to help. Where can our reads go to find out more about you? I have a Facebook page (Night Haunter) which is cosplay focused and an Instagram (N1ght_haunter) for the rest of my day-to-day shenanigans.

Photographer: J.J. Maher |

Photographer: J.J. Maher |

Photographer: J.J. Maher |

Photographer: Soul Capture

Photographer: Soul Capture

Photographer: Cry Havoc Media |

Photographer: E Photography

Photographer: E Photography |

Photographer: JMJ83 |

Photographer: J.J. Maher |

Photographer: Soul Capture |

I’ve always had a blast with photoshoots mainly because of the

phenomenal people you get to meet and work with.

- Night Haunter

COSPLAY Hi Ashari - tell us abit about yourself, where you’re from and how you got into cosplay? I’m from Montreal actually, and I got into cosplay through a convention held here annually called Otakuthon. I went by chance once with a few friends and we all made simple, fun cosplays, and a few years after I started getting into making bigger and more challenging works! The details in your costumes are amazing - do you make them all yourself? What materials do you mainly use? Well thank you! Yes, I do make all my costumes that I present at conventions from scratch. I used to struggle trying to sew and design more fabric-y cosplays, but then discovered my love for worbla and other thermoplastics and never looked back! I also use a lot of pink insulation foam for my props/wings. Do you have any tips in terms of making costumes for other cosplayers out there? Plan. Everything. Out. And research materials like crazy before diving head first into costumes ! Had I actually allocated budgets/ planned out what I needed for my Aether Wing Kayle cosplay, would have costed a LOT less than it did and caused me a lot less stress when I was struggling with materials I wasn’t sure how to use. Also don’t be quickly discouraged. You will learn quickly from mistakes



Who inspires you? Actually the cosplayer who started my whole armor cosplay love is Kamui Cosplay. I would always admire her beautiful work and aspire to one day make something like her, and then I realized she had so many available tutorials/ books to help people, and it gave me the courage to make costumes I never dreamed possible. I super highly recommend her books to anyone starting out! How do you choose which characters to cosplay - any favourites? It changes from costume to costume. Sometimes it’s someone jokingly said I reminded them of

a character and I make it (more simple costumes), but for my more elaborate works, I usually pick from series/games I really enjoy. I feel I can’t put my heart into a big project when I don’t care about the character. What challenges do you face as a cosplayer? A lot of it is just simply being pressed for time. Trying to balance school / work / costume and setting money aside for materials is always challenging. There are of course the issues a lot of cosplayers face where people feel the need to insult the costumer for either their costume quality/ the costumer’s physical

Photographer: Something Something Photography |

appearance, but while the occasional rude comment used to get under my skin, I grew to realize that the feedback from people who matter most to me and from the con-goers who truly appreciate cosplaying for what itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s meant to be meant way more to me than internet negativity .

Do you attend many cons? More so recently! My main cons have always been Anime North and Otakuthon, but Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m starting to make more compact yet detailed works to bring out to American Cons and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll see what happens from there.

Thanks for your time - where can our readers go to find out more about you? I like to keep it simple, you guys can come see me at ! Thanks for the interview, and to the cosplayers reading this; Keep it up! :)

Photographer: Novii Photography |

Photographer: Theorem Productions |

Photographer: Lexa One Photographie |


...but then discovered my

love for worbla


and other thermoplastics and never looked back.

- Ashari Cosplay & Props

Photographer: Novii Photography |

Photographer: Geek Inked Magazine |





Sometimes our favourite characters show a little more skin that we’re comfortable baring – but that doesn’t mean we have to miss out on cosplaying them! Here are a couple of tricks to fake some of the trickiest aspects of revealing costumes!

Gravity-Defying Underboob Whilst we love anime for so many reasons, the gravity-defying underboob is not one of them. How do they stay put? How is that much skin on show without seeing a nipple? Never fear – it’s very possible to fake your own anime style underboob! Make the size and shape of breast form that you want out of EVA foam

or Worbla, cover it with a thin layer of springy mattress foam, and then cover with flesh coloured spandex! You can leave it there for a simple, easy breast form, or for maximum realism, paint a layer of liquid latex over the top, and then airbrush in shadows and highlights! Sugoi~

No time for the gym? Maybe you haven’t got the perfect 6-pack abs for this costume, maybe it’s going to be cold when you wear it, or maybe you just don’t want to show your midriff at all! Even this can be faked, with a flesh coloured bodysuit or leotard, and convincing enough painting skills! Make the bodysuit

in your skin tone, and then airbrush in details like abdominal muscles, a belly button, and even some small imperfections for true realism. Paint soft and subtle for a believable midriff, or go for cartoonish abs for more muscular characters. You can even use a touch of liquid latex at the belly button, using your own as a ‘mould’ underneath, and giving your fakemidriff bodysuit a realistic 3D element!

‘Cheeky’ Costumes Pantyhose are a must for most legbaring costumes, but what do you do when the costume shows a little bit of cheek as well? Most pantyhose


come with a tell-tale control top, giving away that your legs aren’t really that flawless – so look for dance tights instead. These are super thick tights that come in flesh tones, and they are always sheer to waist! Dancers wear them under their leotards – so why shouldn’t you! As many butt-baring costumes are disallowed at conventions, even with thick tights underneath, you should always check with your chosen convention whether this is an acceptable compromise!

Anything Else! Got any miscellaneous bit showing that you don’t want showing? As you can tell, liquid latex is one of my favourite solutions for all of these tricky situations! Aside from silicone, it is one of the closest materials to mimic human flesh, and so it’s useful to fake all sorts of skin parts. Take Morrigan from Darkstalkers – she has a small heart-shaped cut out, right where a bra would be showing through the costume when worn. For my own take on this, I spread a small patch of plaster on my skin to make a ‘mould’ of my skin texture, and then painted a small patch of liquid latex over that, and backed the latex piece with a small square of fabric. Sewn into the costume and dabbed over with the same shade of concealer that I use on my face, it’s barely discernible as a fake! Now go forth and be risqué to your heart’s content – without showing a thing!


COSPLAY special report


At any convention you attend these days, cosplayers are a given. What would you do without the hundreds of Disney princesses, stormtroopers, superheroes and monsters of all varieties? Cosplayer numbers are rising steadily – and while their colourful, crazy costumes breathe life and fun into the convention scene, not everyone knows how to properly interact with these dazzling creatures. Cosplayer attendance has slowly been growing for years, and there has always been a set of unofficial rules around interacting with cosplayers at conventions – always ask for a photo, ask before you touch any part of their costume, prop or person, above all, treat them with respect. However as pop culture conventions emerge into the mainstream, attendance at conventions is skyrocketing, and not everyone is aware of these unwritten rules. For the average person, costumed characters are only encountered at places like Movie World or Disneyland, where actors in costumes are paid to entertain the crowds and be an attraction. For cosplayers, the reality is much different – they are most often paying attendees like everyone else, trying to enjoy their own time at a convention, as well as enriching other people’s experiences. More troublingly, in the atmosphere of large conventions where the line between fantasy and reality are already

blurred, harassment of the sort usually reserved for anonymous internet forums somehow creeps its way into real life – and this is why the CONsent movement was born. Back in 2012, I made the hallowed geek pilgrimage to the mother of all pop culture conventions – San Diego Comic Con itself. SDCC is one of the oldest and largest comic conventions in the world, regularly selling out within minutes of ticket release, and packing the streets of San Diego for more than 5 days of crazy festivities. The convention is no longer confined to the convention centre, instead spreading out through the entirety of downtown San Diego. The scale of this convention has to be seen to be believed. It is an unfortunate truth, then, that harassment at SDCC is on a scale to match. Within moments of stepping into the convention centre in my highly accurate and somewhat risqué Slave Leia costume, I was accosted by a grinning YouTube ‘comedian.’ He held a mic towards me and asked how I made my costume – as my Slave Leia was one of the most technically difficult costumes I’ve ever made, I was understandably keen to describe the intense effort that went into creating it. “I had to take a plaster cast of my body to sculpt all the pieces from scratch,” I offered eagerly - just what he was waiting

for: “And is there a video of that I can watch somewhere?” he quips, leaving me dumbstruck as I realise that I have been set up for humiliation and objectification, and in the harsh, disabling glare of the camera I am unable to even act in my own defence. Watching the video that was later released, I got off easy – in the end of the video, he ends up ‘spontaneously’ motorboating a Powergirl cosplayer, who stares into the camera with a pantomime expression of shock – clearly uncomfortable, but not wanting to protest on camera for fear of being seen as the killjoy. A similar issue occurred at a local convention here in Sydney, where a YouTuber tricked cosplayers into kissing him, by asking for a kiss on the cheek – and turning his head at the last minute. Whilst the problem is amplified by the inclusion of a camera, forcing cosplayers to ‘act’ and to seem like they’re okay with these acts of harassment, these videos are the perfect examples of the culture of harassment growing within our favourite conventions. Geeks for CONsent started as Hollaback!Philly, a branch of the larger anti-street-harrassment Hollaback! movement, but ended up branching out as they decided to tackle the issue of harassment within convention spaces. They identified the same problem that I encountered at San Diego Comic Con, and


reached out to this convention with a simple idea – a clear code of conduct, defining what constitutes harassment, and clear signage to deter would-be harassers, and let victims know what they can do about it. They were laughed off by SDCC, but it didn’t deter them from reaching out to other conventions. New York Comic Con was one of the first to institute this policy with great success – they employed highly visible signage of ‘COSPLAY IS NOT CONSENT,’ complete with their harassment policy, entreating fans to ‘be respectful, be nice, be cool and be kind to each other.’ They even have a function on the official NYCC app which allows attendees to report harassment, sending a member of security straight to their location to help. NYCC’s anti-harassment signs were designed by professional comic book artist Amy Reeder, who expressed her exasperation with the whole issue when she said “I almost wish artists would design better costumes in the first place.” As we’ve learned in this issue, the combination of geek culture and sexuality is nothing new – but the way that women are portrayed in sci fi and fantasy is one of the factors that leads to such a culture of harassment being created in the first place.



When women in comic books, video games and movies are offered up simply as something pretty for a male audience to ogle, it is no wonder that they believe the same rules apply at conventions, where women are portraying those very same characters. Of course, for those cosplayers, dressing up as their favourite characters can be an empowering and amazing experience – a rare chance to be a superhero, a princess, a warrior or just an all-round badass. The CONsent movement exists so that cosplayers can still enjoy that feeling – without having to worry about what

negative attention their costume has the potential to attract. Locally, Oz Comic Con is the first Australian convention to institute clear and concise anti-harassment signage – taking a leaf out of their parent convention NYCC’s book – while others are no doubt soon to follow. While a handful of signs seems like a poor answer to an insidious and sometimes dangerous culture of harassment, they are a highly visible reminder of a code of conduct that often goes ignored. Not just there to deter harassers – they also inform

cosplayers that they don’t have to put up with people acting inappropriately towards them, that they can do something about it. It empowers cosplayers to enjoy their time at a convention, to know that they are allowed to do something as simple as saying ‘no’ to a poorly timed request for a photo. At its core, it is a simple reminder that, although conventions can be a wondrous fantasy world, the people who populate it are more than just NPCs – and by respecting that fact, everyone’s experience will be enriched.



25 J



COSPLAY special report

ON FILM Remember the old Duran Duran song… caused quite a storm when it first came out for showing a lot of nudity and was banned by the BBC. Simon Le Bon, the singer from the band, commented in an audio interview that video overshadowed the message of the clip which was the exploitation of fashion models. Cosplayers too can sometimes be misunderstood by people who are not into the pop culture of the characters being portrayed.

dressing scantily and only interested in showing skin for “likes”

We’ve seen comments on a number of cosplay articles complaining of everything from sexism (the site featuring the article being sexist for showing cosplay photos) to the actual cosplayers being accused of

The point the cosplayers want to make is that just because they are dressed in a costume that accurately portrays a character in a revealing costume, doesn’t mean people have the right to grope the cosplayer. Cos-

We’ve also seen the “cosplay does not equal consent” movement where cosplayers have publicly spoken out about harassment at conventions with some fans being over enthusiastic and touching the cosplayers without consent. This could be considered assault in some cases and creepy and inappropriate in other cases.

player Ardella goes further in pointing out that “no consent = no consent.” She rightly states that, “Whether a person is in costume or not, everyone has a right to be safe and not harassed. Costumes have nothing to do with it all in my opinion.” Browsing some cosplayers on social media you’ll see a real mix of posts and comments. Some well known cosplayers seem to get bombarded with comments about their body simply because they’ve posted a revealing costume photo. Some comments are requests for marriage, more skin, dates and discussion about body parts. It seems with some cosplayers the comments are less about the cosplay and more about the persons body and how much skin they show.



Some cosplay costumes are quite sexy and revealing, what do you do to ensure you get to your event safely … if you’re travelling by car I guess it’s fine but what about those using public transport?

people or cosplays. I see so many photographer pages now which such a huge array of cosplays - everything from super conservative, massive armour builds or those that are deemed a little sexier.

I think the best way to safely get to an event is to wear clothes over the top of the costume or get changed into the costume at the Convention. If it’s a form fitting costume, you can easily wear a pair of trackies over the top and a hoodie or t shirt. It might not be real glamorous but it lets you blend into the crowd during transit :).

How do you handle those situations where a photographer might get over enthusiastic and ask for poses you may not be comfortable with?

If there is absolutely no way you can get changed at the Con or wear clothes over your costume, then it’s definitely worth getting a group of people together and having a group of you go. Even though people might pass comment, you should be much safer in a group, and people will generally figure out there is an event going on somewhere :). Do you find male photographers zeroing in on the more sexily dressed cosplayer? I can’t say I’ve really specifically noticed male photographers zeroing on cosplayers that are dressed a little sexier. That being said, I think part of human nature - both for males and females - is that we are drawn to what society sort of stereotypes as ‘sexy’. People can’t help what they like or are drawn to, and I think both male and female photographers may gravitate towards those which they are naturally drawn to. That being said, the cosplay photographer scene is great in that photographers are really trying to not get into that sterotype or target specific looking

I’m very lucky in that I’ve never really been in a situation where I’ve felt uncomfortable - whether that’s because I’m pretty laid back or because I have built a rapport with a few photographers I’m not too sure LOL. But I think the most important thing in this situation is communication, and making sure you and the photographer are staying true to the character being cosplayed. By that I mean just because someone is dressed in a sexier cosplay, doesn’t mean that the character parades this or does poses that really emphasize this. For example take Lara Croft - many people instantly think sexy or boobs when they think Lara...but those who truly know the character know that she really doesn’t do anything to outwardly push that...she wouldn’t pose bent over with the lady bits falling out all over the place or sit down with her legs totally spread eagle LOL. It’s an assumption that people naturally make, but the cosplayer definitely needs to make sure they really know their character so they can relay this to the photographer (if the photographer isn’t familiar with the character). If there’s a pose a photographer is asking that I felt really didn’t fit the character or made me super uncom-

fortable, Í would politely let them know. Most photographers don’t realise that the poses might make people feel a little uneasy so it’s up to us to let them know. Even to let them know what you’re not comfortable with before you start a shoot can’t hurt either. I think as cosplayers we also need to be responsible for who we cosplay and the assumptions people will likely make based on what the character is like. We can all cosplay who we want and there is nothing wrong with that, but if someone is very timid and conservative, maybe reconsider cosplaying a character who is super out there and the total opposite of conservative if you aren’t comfortable portraying that. We need to be aware that there will be an assumption that we are ‘in character’ when cosplaying. For example if I cosplayed Juliet Starling from Lollipop Chainsaw I would expect people to ask for certain poses - some of which some people may be uncomfortable with. Knowing the character and the style / poses she does, I wouldn’t cosplay it if I wasn’t comfortable in taking those images. I’m definitely not saying don’t cosplay it, but just be aware that people often won’t realise that a cosplayer might potentially be the polar opposite of the character they are dressed up as. Assumptions is what every human on the planet is guilty of, so communication is vital to ensure people aren’t put in a situation where they feel uncomfortable :)





Some cosplay costumes are quite sexy and revealing, what do you do to ensure you get to your event safely … if you’re travelling by car I guess it’s fine but what about those using public transport?

our hot bods. A lot, though, see the range of costumes presented at an event and take photos regardless of ‘sexiness’, especially if there’s someone dressed as a character they love or an idea that inspires them.

If I’m traveling by public transport or walking to where I’m going to be, I’ll usually dress over the costume and have the rest in a bag. Mentioning it to a photographer or friend before can mean that they might be able to suggest a place to change if they’re familiar with the area. Long coats are helpful in cooler weather and l’ve even zipped a hoodie over a corset. Honestly, get used to half-changing in a bathroom or a park – it comes with the gig. I rarely travel completely ‘dressed’; most costumes are difficult to drive in and who wants to chance getting stuck on the side of the road while dressed as Elektra?

It’s a bit of a vicious cycle – photos of attractive/sexy cosplayers quite often get more likes and attention, so photographers will take more of those photos so that their work gets the attention, which leads to more of the photos being of ‘sexy’ cosplayers, which leads to people feeling that they need to be a sexy cosplayer to get noticed. I do think there are a lot of photographers who take photos of cosplayers they’re inspired by, sexy or not, but until society makes some sort of giant change, we’re going to keep running into the same thing.

Do you find male photographers zeroing in on the more sexily dressed cosplayer? I find males of all kinds zeroing in on sexy costumes and cosplayers, professional photgraphers or not. Photographers will shoot what’s most interesting to them and for many it’s

How do you handle those situations where a photographer might get over enthusiastic and ask for poses you may not be comfortable with? I think rapher them. I I won’t

it depends on the photogand your relationship with will do poses with some that do with new/random people

because we have a level of trust. I have my limits and I find that enforcing them will vary depending on the person. I might laugh it off and say “not until we’ve known each other for more than ten minutes” or “what do you think my husband will say?”. If it’s rude, a straightforward no is the best way to communicate. I’ve gone into shoots laying out specific rules and I’m happy to have always had them respected. How should a photographer build trust so as to get the best photos from you? Forming a genuine relationship is the best possible way. I’ll do the most insane things and hold the most ridiculous poses for the photographers I know and trust. It doesn’t have to be a friendship, but there needs to be a genuine connection, even if it’s just appreciation for each other’s work. I’ve seen the progression in some of my photos with a photographer I’ve worked with over the last few years – his work is fantastic, but as we get more comfortable with each other and grow a relationship the photos just get better and better.





Ardella is a well known cosplayer from Sydney best known for her comic book cosplays. She’s dedicated to her art and regularly produces amazing costumes. We talked with her about costumes, cosplay and respect.. Here’s her thoughts on traveling dressed up: I catch public transportation to most events and have never met with any issues. I strongly believe that respect and dignity are due to a person no matter what they are wearing, so whether or not my costume is revealing it does not play a part in my transportation decisions. For practicality though I often wear a long coat or jacket over my costume for warmth. If you do feel uncomfortable though, I suggest travelling with a friend or as a group.

On photographers who may concentrate on the more risqué costumes:

to stop. If they do not, report them to security so no one else has to be bothered by them either.

I have never paid attention to a photographer’s gender in relation to their actions. In my experience, photographers are drawn to costumes they find interesting to look at, well constructed or unusual. The amount of skin showing has very little to do with it.

Getting the best photos and working with trust:

On dealing with over enthusiastic photographers: I find that simply saying “I’m not comfortable with that” works wonders. I always recommend practicing poses in front of the mirror so you have a set of them ready to go that you are already comfortable with and know look good. As always, if anyone makes you feel uncomfortable feel free to assert yourself and politely ask them

Photographers tend to get the best photos by communicating with their subjects well. Let the subject know what you’re aiming for. If you ask them to raise their chin, explain that it makes their neck look slimmer. If you ask them to step back, explain that it’s because the light is better there. Keeping your subject in the know results in much better photos. There doesn’t need to be a personal relationship there, but trust comes from doing right by your subject. Let them know ahead of time how the photos will be used and what your intentions are. Get permission before selling the photos, be careful not to post unflattering or overly gratuitous images of them, that sort thing.





Illisia Cosplay is an amazing cosplayer based in Spain. She’s a quality artist who works hard at creating costumes that are accurate and authentic We took a few minutes to talk to her about the cosplay and consent topic. Illisia, how do you go about traveling in cosplay? I usually don’t wear too sexualized characters because I don’t feel completely comfortable, but usually when coming to a convention I go with more friends or wear a jacket over the cosplay (especially if the weather is cold!). Do you feel sexy or risque costumes get more attention from photographers? Sexy cosplays usually get more attention, but not only from photographers but in general. Many times is just convention attendants. However, big costumes or dresses algo get a lot of attention. What about over enthusiastic photographers, how do you handle them when they want poses that you’re not comfortable with? Usually photographers at a con don’t ask you for poses but just let you pose as you like, and when it comes for a photoshoot, I only work with photographers I know and trust and who doesn’t ask for anything that might be uncomfortable for me. What about building trust with a photographer? First, I think is important that a photographer lets you come with a friend, who can help you with the wig or fixing any part of the costume. It is great when a photographer suggest you poses, but not to insist on a specific pose if the cosplayer is not satisfied with it. Another great

point is to show the cosplayers the photos while doing them: it will help them see what they are doing right and wrong, and improve poses and expression. Apart from that, respect and trust to tell each other what they expect from photos to achieve the best result!


WHAT THE cosplay photograp




phers think...

t David y u o k c Che Cospla : w e n ’s Love n book o i t i s o Comp n Amazon! now o

Photographers also face challenges when working with cosplayers. Some costumes and the characters are sexy. They do wear skimpy outfits. How does a photographer go about doing a photo shoot with trust and integrity. We spoke to David Love, a photographer in Oviedo Florida U.S.A and asked his thoughts: David, what do you do to ensure your cosplay subjects feel comfortable when photographing a risqué costume? First thing I do is try and take their minds off what they are wearing and get them to focus on the goal of the image. Most of what I shoot is action stuff so hard to feel sexy when you’re kicking and screaming with a gun or sword in your hands.

When photographing a costume that would be considered a bit sexy, how do you go about posing ... do you create the poses or is it more of a collaboration with the cosplayer wanting to keep in character?

it and that’s not very fan like.

I shoot it the way I would any clothing. Only difference is I can add smoke or shadow to hide anything we don’t want seen in the image. We don’t really sexy up characters, we try to think of pivotal scenes in their stories and create something viewers will relate to if they are fans. I does drive me nuts when people add to a costume or dumb down the sexiness. If you’re not comfortable with the costume then choose a more safe character. People want to see the character as they know them. By altering a revealing costume you’re basically saying you don’t agree with

I don’t mess with the models except to retouch really. I just try and light them well and then add what needs to be added to bring the character to life.

Finally do you photoshop skin to help build that look from the character and is this something you and the cosplayer talk about and agree on ... how does that work?

David’s worked hard on building a trusted name among cosplayers and has now just published a cosplay book - Cosplay Composition, where he talks about his favourite images and gives insight into how they were created. You can check it out on Amazon.


WHAT THE cosplay photograp



phers think...

We grabbed a few minutes with Kris from What a Big Camera, one of the most established cosplay photographers in Australia and certainly one of the best. Kris has been photographing cosplayers for years. We asked Kris his thoughts on photographing cosplayers who are wearing costumes that are revealing... How do you approach a shoot when the cosplayer is in a risque costume based on the character they are cosplaying? If you approach cosplay photography just like you would any other kind of portrait then the amount of

skin coverage has very little impact on the way you should be thinking about your shoot. The only new considerations in planning would be where it is socially acceptable to be wearing the costume and where the cosplayer feels comfortable. I’m a strong opponent to body shaming in all it’s forms. We all have bodies, it’s sad that some people think it’s within their freedom to control how others feel about themselves or even have a say in what they do. As a photographer that has done many cosplay and modeling shoots, do you feel that the genres sometimes overlap?

Photos of people is my favourite discipline and I find myself thinking of cosplay shoots as a highly themed fantastical portrait opportunity that comes with it’s own story, history and theme. Having a known character gives you a starting point to plan your location and your look and to decide if you want to try to stay close to existing art or create something different. A lot of skills learnt in both modelling and cosplay photography can cross over and greatly compliment each other. Thanks Kris… see his work at:




This month we have special guest photography, Kris Ezergallis from W

ng the feel...

What A Big Camera with some comments on how he created this awesome image:

I’d been playing quite a bit of Borderlands when Night Haunter and I shot together. I had a location in mind and when we got there we walked around a bit to get a feel for the place and to check for bystanders. I wanted to move away from the more posed glamour style for this shoot. NH stood on top of a pile of building debris while I crouched next to it. We tried the shot a few times with the available light but it wasn’t very dynamic and so added some flashes. For the shot NH took one big step into my focus zone resulting in the natural looking movement and muscle activity. It’s a good thing he was wearing heavy footwear, it made stomping around in piles of broken glass and torn metal a fairly normal seeming activity! I’m fairly certain he’s got a character accurate expression behind the mask but masks can be a real barrier to emotion in photos that you have to overcome with the other elements at your disposal.


BY kris ezergallis

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June Live Magazine  

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