Jason de Kanter

Jason de Kanter

Jason grew up a PC gamer from the days games came on cassette tapes. He has worked as a writing teacher, and knows his continued interest in gaming creates a shared vocabulary with young people. Jason loves bringing new players into the gaming hobby. His preference is for multiplayer games–particularly ones where players can form their own communities to work together. You can catch him blathering on at length about various issues with geek culture at KitschKobold.blogspot.com.

railroad tycoons

Railroad Tycoon: Learning Economics Through Games

Posted by | Opinion | No Comments

While I was working at the Pixelkin booth at the Seattle Retro Gaming Expo, I chatted a bit about the earliest games I played growing up. One game I played with my brother was the 1990 classic Railroad Tycoon, an economics simulator where players got to manage a railroad from the early 19th century through the Gilded Age. The computer-controlled opponents attempted to beat players by connecting cities with resources and buying out their rivals’ shareholders.

This game, with its balance sheets and stock options, was actually loads of fun and a big success in its time. Read More

Wildstar screenshot

With Heels Built Right In: Questioning Sexism in New Release Wildstar

Posted by | Opinion | One Comment

Wildstar, NCSoft’s new space fantasy MMORPG, was released this week. With the game’s cartoonish graphics and former Blizzard developers on board, Wildstar clearly hopes to make a play for World of Warcraft’s coveted player base. The game owes a good bit of its art style and gameplay to World of Warcraft.

Players can join either of two warring factions seeking to colonize the new world of Nexus. Nexus turns out to be the ancient home of the well-organized and financed imperial Dominion faction, but the rag-tag Exiles faction manages to land on the planet first. Exile players must help their people settle a new home, while the Dominion players work to evict the Exile squatters and learn about their own history on Nexus. Each of the factions are portrayed as good and just to the players within them but villainous to players in the opposing faction.

In my book, the Warcraft influence is mostly a net positive, but Wildstar seems to have brought along some of Warcraft’s baggage too. Despite making its debut a whole decade after World of Warcraft, Wildstar still struggles with the same sexism issues that its spiritual predecessor does.

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The Secret World

There’s no Monopoly on Heroism in the Real World, or in The Secret World

Posted by | Opinion | 3 Comments

We have all imagined what it would be like to be gifted (or cursed) with the ability to see a spirit world that ordinary people cannot. The Secret World is an MMORPG on the Windows PC platform that lets players visit such a world—a modern world inspired by the writing of H.P. Lovecraft. It is a world where all the legends about haunted houses and ancient evils are true. While The Secret World is certainly not the first game to pit players against zombies and other such horrors, the game manages to distinguish itself through excellent and unique storytelling with diverse and believable characters.

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Elder Scrolls Online

Elder Scrolls Online—Fairly Progressive Game; Fairly Regressive Community

Posted by | News | One Comment

Last month saw the release of Elder Scrolls Online on the PC and Mac platforms. Release on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 is set for later this year. Set in an era several centuries before Skyrim, Elder Scrolls Online is the franchise’s first foray into the MMO arena. If you and/or your kids enjoyed adventures in Tamriel before, you might want to try Elder Scrolls Online to experience the game world together as a team. The game’s mechanics and character building have been streamlined to better fit into the multiplayer mode, but the gameplay is largely the same as Skyrim. Read More