In 2013, the Ebola virus broke loose across West Africa. It was the most destructive outbreak the of the virus in history, with over 28,000 cases and 11,000 deaths reported (which accounts for only 17-70% of all infections). It was one of the most severe biological epidemics in recent memory, causing widespread panic and paranoia as countries scrambled to close their borders in the hopes of containing the virus to African countries (a move which no doubt resulted in even more unnecessary deaths and reflected our inability to respond to catastrophes like this). The outbreak lasted until 2016, though cases are still being reported and the effects of the outbreak will continue to be felt for years. Continue reading Alien: Covenant and the Horror of Humanity
Keyboard. Paintings. Wires. Window.
I return to these objects again and again as I circle the dark room. Besides myself, they are the only thing between these four towering walls, the only clues as to the room’s purpose and significance. I brush up against the desk on which the keyboard is resting, behind which glowing blocks bearing my messages are carried up towards the ceiling and off to who knows where. I curse my inability to jump, to touch, to see more than a few inches into the impenetrable black that is smothering me, choking out my hold on reality. Continue reading 2016, Games Criticism, and The Inescapable Madness of BUY2BILLIONFOLLOWE
Perhaps it was the wine. Or the holiday sentimentality. But as I sat next to our sparkling pine, gifts spread out beneath like some form of decorative roots, I was struggling to hold back tears as I presented Maple with her present and she failed to hide her disappointment. It was, of course, entirely my fault. She had been telling me for days what she really wanted (though what that was remains lost to memory), but as is so often my tendency I failed to take note, treating her along with so many others as somehow unworthy of even a moderate amount of my attention. Continue reading Life Through Childlike Eyes in Animal Crossing
The year was 2005. Probably. I believe it was Fall, likely mid-October. The specifics do not matter other than that it was a Sunday, which I know because I was hiding from my parents who were attempting to corral our five-piece (and counting) family into the car to head to church. As an uncooperative ten-year-old, I was far more interested in hunkering down in our addition, which held all manner of toy but, most importantly, our TV and video games. I picked up Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal (2004), my current obsession, and placed the disc in our beloved and well-worn Playstation 2. Continue reading The raccoon that stole my heart, or “I had a crush on Sly Cooper”
To quickly recap the past week, the long awaited mobile spin-off of Nintendo’s perennially popular monster collecting RPG, Pokémon Go, was finally released to the world at large (whether officially or otherwise), and seemingly everyone with a smartphone is now racing to catch them all. That race is actually fairly literal in this instance, as Go’s hook is sending players to real world locals in order to discover what Pokémon have congregated around various landmarks. It’s a fantastic concept (albeit, dubiously effective here), but where Go both succeeds the most and misses its biggest opportunity is in this same conceit that makes it so compelling: exploring the area around you. Continue reading Pokémon Go isn’t about collecting Pokémon, it’s about collecting places
A lot of games came out in 2015. You probably don’t need me to tell you this, as chances are you have your own pile of shame somewhere nearby to remind you of everything you didn’t have time to play. It’s ridiculous to expect to be able to play everything that comes out in a year, even restricting yourself to only the most critically acclaimed releases (which I’ll be the first to tell you is a terrible way to choose what you play), but the downside of this is a lot of great games, smaller games tend to go by entirely unnoticed. So rather than write up a typical best-of-2015 list (which, having missed out on a lot of this year’s heavy hitters would probably feel incomplete or reaching), here are some of the best games to come out over the last twelve months that chances are you never got around to. These games are weird, and awkward, sometimes completely beyond categorization, and represent some of the coolest games I had the chance to play this year. Continue reading The Best Games You Might Have Missed In 2015
This piece didn’t begin as what it eventually became. I had just finished Rain, House, Eternity and was attempting to outline my thoughts on paper, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that what I was writing was less a review of a particular game and more a discussion on its creator’s full body of work. Continue reading On the many works of Kitty Horrorshow
It feels like far too long since I’ve been as excited for a game to release as Jenny LeClue, so you can imagine my excitement when a playable teaser for it was recently released and I finally got a chance to play it myself. If you missed the Kickstarter or are otherwise unaware of what exactly Jenny LeClue is, it follows a titular young detective as she explores a colorful world, hunts for clues to prove her mother’s innocence, and humorously corrects the narrator when he gets things just a little off (the idea is you are playing through a choose your own adventure novel). Continue reading Indie Impressions: Jenny LeClue (Playable Teaser)
Warning: this article contains vague spoilers for Persona 4.
Persona 4 released way back in 2008 on the Playstation 2, but as with so many games I’ve only just begun playing it (the excellent Vita re-release “Golden” to be exact). It’s an exceptional game that’s completely devoured all my free time and which there is a lot to say about (most of which has likely already said), but one thing in particular has stuck out to me over the 40 odd hours I’ve put into it so far, and that’s in the way it approaches time. Continue reading The Catharsis of Inaction in Persona 4
Last week Valve unrolled a feature that would allow people to sell Skyrim mods on the Steam workshop. It wasn’t a mandatory requirement all mods be paid or listed on the marketplace, but there was now a legal infrastructure to allow modders to be paid for their work. A few hours ago Valve announced they would be removing this feature and issuing refunds to anyone who had purchased a mod. Continue reading Valve Removing Paid Mods Is Everything Wrong With Gamer Entitlement