Muse Games is Creating a Unique Experience with “Guns of Icarus Online”

Written by: Stephanie Hsieh

Indie video game developer Muse Games is defying categories with their newest title, “Guns of Icarus Online”, which incorprates elements from a variety of genres to create someone wholly unique

“Guns of Icarus Online” is the spiritual predecessor to Muse Games’ previous release, “Guns of Icarus”. “Guns of Icarus” followed the adventures of the pioneering airship captain Gabriel as he captained his airship through the skies of a post-apocalyptic steampunk-inspired wasteland. The game contained a solo and cooperative mode, where up to three other players could join a player on their ship. “Guns of Icarus Online” takes the cooperative mode of its predecessor and expands on it with its Skirmish mode, which is a full player-vs.-player experience wherein airships—and more importantly their multiplayer crews—face off in the skies.

Screenshot from the closed beta of Guns of Icarus Online.

Taking aim at enemy airships in post-apocalyptic steampunk skies.

In Skirmish mode ships are piloted by crews of three players, each of a different character class. The Captain is in charge of marking targets and coordinating the crew’s efforts. The Gunner is responsible for manning the airship’s guns and attacking enemy ships. The Engineer is in charge of putting out first, both literally and metaphorically, and is essential to keeping the airship running. It is possible for crews to choose to play against AI-controlled ships as opposed to ships manned by other players in Skirmish mode. Players unable to find a full complement for their ship may also round out their crew with AI-controlled crew members. However, Muse Games cautions in its FAQ that players who choose to use AI crew will find themselves at a “noticeable disadvantage.”

Adventure mode is slated to be released later as downloadable content. It’s in Adventure mode that Muse Games hopes to incorporate more traditional MMO elements, such as trade, factions, and a world map dotted with towns. Leveling up and going on missions are more MMO elements that Muse Games intends to release with Adventure mode. However, Muse Games is adamant that despite these comparisons they don’t consider “Guns of Icarus Online” to be an MMO. As noted on their website, they “set out to innovate and make a game that doesn’t fit into any established genres,” and feel that the term MMO brings with it preconceived notions that “Guns of Icarus Online” doesn’t necessarilly fulfill.

In light of their statements, trying to pigeonhole “Guns of Icarus Online” in any of the currently-defined game genres seems counter-intuitive and misses the point of what Muse Games was trying to do with their latest project. However, only time will tell if their innovation and genre-bending will pay off.

89.3 The Current’s Seventh Annual Birthday Bash

89.3 The Current Birthday Bash

Brother Ali performs for a sold-out crowd at last year's Bash

Happy Birthday!

89.3 The Current Celebrates Seven Years on the Air at First Avenue

Tickets for the radio station’s two-day birthday bash at First Avenue go on sale this week.

Written by Agathe Panaretos. In celebration of its seven years on the air, 89.3 The Current announced its plans to host a two-day birthday party at the iconic First Avenue in Minneapolis. Tickets go on sale this week.

The shows are slated for January 27 and 28, 2012. The two night lineup includes a number of Minnesota favorites and music spun by The Current DJs.

The Friday night show will feature a headlining set from Tapes ‘N Tapes and critics’ darling Low, as well as local favorites Dead Man Winter and Night Moves. The lineup for Saturday night includes Polica, Suicide Commandos, MC Sims from Doomtree, and the angelic Haley Bonar.

Jim McGuinn, program director for The Current, made the announcement on December 19. “We’re really excited to showcase some of the best up and coming and legendary bands from our music scene,” he said. “Over the past few years The Current’s Birthday Party show has really become a chance to meet up and share in the great music produced in the Twin Cities all year long. We’re really looking forward to it.”

Tickets will be first made available to members of Minnesota Public Radio, the member supported organization that broadcasts The Current. Members will be able to purchase up to two tickets per night online at starting January 5. A small number of tickets will also be available to purchase at First Avenue’s Depot. All members must provide their membership card valid before December 31, 2011. Remaining tickets will go on sale for the public the following day on January 6. All tickets are $15.

The Current first went on the air in Minneapolis and St. Paul in 2005. The non-commercial, member supported station became an immediate hit and later spread outside Minnesota’s borders through its online stream.  Broadcasting some of the best new music not often played on commercial stations, The Current fuses some of the latest hits with the classic and legendary sounds that inspired them. In 2010, the FMQB Triple A Conference named The Current Station of the Year and director Jim McGuinn Program Director of the Year.

The station has utilized the birthday celebration to showcase some of the best local acts of the preceding year. The show has increased the lineup each year and has completely sold out every event. Tickets are expected to be gone by Monday.


Fashion Forward: Why Retro Look is Never Out of Style

“Written by Kathleen Mulvihill”

Mom was right. Never throw anything out; eventually your clothes come back in style. That’s why retro fashion is always hot. When designers run short of innovative ideas they can always reach back into the closets of yesteryear and come up with a look with a new twist. Voila – fashion that is both nostalgic and hip. Some examples:

The pencil skirt is the new hobble skirt of the 1920s; bootcut is the new bell-bottom; spandex is the new girdle; ballerina shoes are the new flats; the chunky high-heeled oxford is grandmother’s shoes from the fabulous 40s; capris are the new pedal pushers; and black is, well, the new black. Call it indie, vintage or retro, it all adds up to apparel that is timeless.

Labels by designers such as Marc Jacobs, the master of mash-up fashion, define the retro rack. In a New York Magazine article, Jacobs was quoted on his passion for the past: “I like romantic allusions to the past: what the babysitter wore, what the art teacher wore, what I wore during my experimental days in fashion when I was going to the Mudd Club and wanted to be a new wave kid or a punk kid but was really a poseur. It’s the awkwardness of posing and feeling like I was in but I was never in. Awkwardness gives me great comfort.”

Retro fashion is the brainchild of the “retro chic” concept of the Parisian avante garde. Today it refers to apparel that imitates a previous era associated with a post-modern stylistic trend. While vintage spans the 1920s to 1050s, retro or indie represents the pre- and post-1960s fashion. Look around – it’s everywhere. If not in consignment shops (the new thrift stores), then look for a vintage store in your metropolitan area, even in suburbia. There’s a plethora of sites online, including which offers the top 20 retro fashion sites with popularity ratings.

The fashion truth is: The way we wore is the way we are. Retro is here to stay.  So if you’re feeling the pinch in these troubled economic times, there’s no need to fret when it comes to your closet. Take a close look, visualize that 80s ribbed knit sweater with a long wrap-around scarf, and you just got a new leash on an old look. Dress it up with a piece of glam jewelry from your grandmother, slip into those skinny jeans and any kind of boots and you’re ready to step out on the town. Looking good has never been so easy.



Indie Folk Reinvented

Mumford and Sons

Mumford & Sons

There is an individual song in each of us that comes from some hidden chord buried deep in our psyche. It is the tune that we hum and the song that we whistle. It is the rhythm in our stride and the medley of our day.

For me – as I am sure it will be for you – “The Cave” by the UK indie folk Band Mumford & Sons is such a song.

Somehow, someway, Marcus Mumford , Country Winston , Ben Lovett , Ted Dwane  have been able to hear the song within themselves and record it. With strong lyrical songs like “Little Lion Man” and heartwarming themes like “Winter Winds” it is the same for all the songs on the band’s debut album “Sigh No More”.

What gives the band its unique sound is its willingness to use a strict assembly of acoustical instruments such as the dobro, the double bass, and the banjo. The simple beat you hear on some of the tracks is done by the lead singer and guitarist of the band, Marcus Mumford, after who the band seems to be named. Marcus uses a bass drum for one foot and a tambourine on a foot pedal for his other foot. This combination of simple acoustic instruments and a bare minimum in drums creates a steady pleasant rhythm in all their songs and concerts.

It comes as no surprise then, that a band this great that formed in 2007 and released a debut album as recent as October of last year has already performed on late shows with David Letterman and Craig Ferguson. They have also been rated number one on music polls world wide. This is definitely the beginning of a long and historical legacy in Music.