The Austin Chronicle

Video Game News Bites

By James Renovitch, December 11, 2014, 3:30pm, Picture in Picture

If our Video Game Gift Guide isn't keeping you busy, there's all sorts of video-game-related news happening around town. Make sure you know what's up in case you need some dinner conversation at that ugly-sweater party.

LGBT Gaming Convention Set for Next Spring

It's been a tough year for gamer inclusion. Hopefully Haven Con can change that a little bit in 2015. Spearheaded by Shane Brown of Gay Austin Geeks the convention hopes to bring the many subsets of the gay community together (straight folks are encouraged to attend as well) to revel in comic books, video games, sci-fi, cosplay, and more. Several sponsors have already gotten on board, but Brown is still looking for more funding to ensure the event exceeds expectations.

Haven Con is scheduled for April 4-5 at the Holiday Inn Midtown. Passes can be purchased on the convention's Indiegogo page with a portion of sales going to OutYouth.

SXSW Announces Hosts for Gaming Awards

We're not gonna lie, we felt a little old at last year's SXSW Gaming Awards. Those YouTube whippersnappers (Smosh and iJustine) did a fine job in the ceremony's first year, but some of the scripted bits fell a little flat. Next year, SXSW is tapping another YouTube sensation Markiplier and actress/comedian Janet Varney. The latter is best known for his Let's Play videos about survival horror games and has almost 5 million subscribers to his YouTube channel. You may know Varney as the voice of Korra on Nickelodeon's The Legend of Korra or perhaps you remember her adding some color commentary to films as part of TBS' Dinner and a Movie series.

The other big news for the awards ceremony is that it will be held at the Moody Theater. They pulled out all the stops this past year – including a performance from Cirque du Soleil – so who knows what's in store for 2015.

Also if you want to submit your game to SXSW's Gamer's Voice Award, the deadline is Friday, Dec. 12. So get cracking!

New and Local Releases

StudioBean (aka Michael Molinari) just released his unique take (or takes, really) on basketball to Steam. BasketBelle turns the sport on its ear with each level as you battle blobs and take your ups to new heights.

The latest from Renegade Kid hit PCs and Nintendo 3DSes today. Xeodrifter plays to the small company's strengths of making hard-as-nails platformers with an 8-bit aesthetic much like its last game Mutant Mudds. Just remember that frustration makes victory that much sweeter.

If you have a decent sized Android device, a few dollars, a large piece of cardboard, and respectable X-acto skills, you can try out Caaaaardboard! It's a virtual reality game that involves jumping off buildings and performing various tasks on the way down. The game requires the Google Carboard app and something to keep your phone to your face without breaking yourself or your mobile device. Instructions can be found online.

Kingdom Games Acquires 4Soils

Local faith-oriented developer Kingdom Games has acquired children's Bible app producer 4Soils. Our heathen phone could probably use a little religion. We're hoping for the best, because we haven't played a good Christian game since El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron, and we're pretty sure that one's not canon.

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