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Showing posts with the label Electronic Games

Home Media for the Holidays

Another holiday season is upon us, and hopefully you’re reading this on the cusp (or in the middle) of some well-deserved time off where you can enjoy some media and games. But the clock is always ticking, and if you take too long to decide what to go with, you might not get to enjoy anything! This week, we thought we’d talk a little about strategies to help work out just what it is you want to experience when your available time is concentrated, but limited, whether it be film, books, television, or games of both the electronic and tabletop varieties. B : For me, the most significant starting point is always going to be tone and feeling. Even if you’re focusing on things specifically relating to the current holiday, you’ll still have a lot to choose from. Sometimes I’ll want something breezy and uplifting to inspire holiday cheer, but sometimes (most times, if we’re being honest), I’ll go for something darker and bleaker that fits the colder weather and shorter days - the first Dishon

...Spins a Web? Any Size?

Spider-Man, Spider-Man, Does whatever a spider can Spins a web, any size, Catches thieves just like flies Look Out! Here comes the Spider-Man. Spider-Man has been a pop culture stalwart since the early 60s, with no signs of that slowing down. He's had numerous comic series, spin-offs, cartoons, blockbuster movies and, of course, video games. His appeal is unquestionable, as most people can relate to his dilemma of power and moral responsibility. The Atari 2600 Spider-Man from 1982 may not have been a masterpiece, but electronic gaming has come a long way over the years. After a break from video games since the PS2 generation, Marvel's Spider-man seemed a perfect fit for Captain Jumpy Andy's return to consoles. Little did he know when he picked up a PS4 and the game early in the 2020 pandemic just how appropriate the game's plotline would be... Prophetic or not, what does Never Say Dice have to say about this incarnation of the world’s favorite web-slinger, and how

The Nostalgia Monocle

We often speak of “wearing nostalgia glasses” when we look at things from our pasts. I suppose the etymology comes from the phrase "wearing rose-colored glasses." Regular glasses should make your vision clearer, but nostalgia glasses, rose-colored or otherwise, tend to render things softer and easier to palate. This may mean we need some sort of revolutionary Nostalgia Monocle, allowing us to focus one eye on nostalgia while keeping the other out for... less than savory aspects. Earlier this year, Bugsy took a look at the subject of nostalgia in the context of his 40th birthday. As I turn 40 myself, I look to do the same, through the lens of fatherhood and with the help of my two young boys. Hopefully, I can build on Bugsy’s answer on What to do with Childish Things. If you haven't have a chance to read Bugsy’s nostalgia post, his conclusion was that it's okay to like the stuff that you like, even the things you liked at a young age. This is something I think we all

Restless Dreams: Horror, Fantasy, Gaming, and Emotional Logic

The calendar tells us that it's October, and while it may not feel like it outside, this is officially the season for spooks and scares. Given the time of year and the twenty-year anniversary of its release (and also of my owning it) the next game in my backlog playthrough was obvious: 2001's Silent Hill 2 . Much has already been written about this game (there's a reason it's on so many "Best Games of All Time" lists, after all), so this post will be neither explanation nor analysis, but rather a exploration of the way horror blurs the lines between the world that we know exists, and the way we feel it exists... and the way that games, both electronic and tabletop, are uniquely capable of embodying this dichotomy. Given my love of horror and all things surreal, it's kind of surprising that it's taken me this long to actually finish the game. At the outset, it was because I felt obligated to play the original Silent Hill first, even though I was va

Star Trek v. Star Trek: The Starship Enterprise's Fifty-Year Confusion

The question "what was your first Star Trek" carries a very different weight today than it did thirty-five years ago. All the classic (i.e., pre- Discovery ) series are instantly available across multiple streaming services, and the films aren't much harder to find - they were some of the first shows to be made available via streaming, in fact. And even before then, there were both broadcast and cable reruns, along with physical copies for sale and rental. For today's viewers, the question usually means "which show or movie is the one that 'clicked' for you, that made you want more?" And, from there, we can deduce what they like about the franchise - stylistically, thematically, and tonally, since Star Trek can be a lot of things for a a lot of people. But it wasn't always this way. For a while, Star Trek was only available sporadically. Even while the movies were doing well at the box office, prospective viewers were at the mercy of whoever mad

Thoughts on the American Withdrawal from Afghanistan, Primarily Informed by MGSV

Afghanistan's a big place. It's become something of a cliche to say that recent events are " just like Metal Gear games ," but this is often the case with science fiction. Good works are always about the time in which they were made, but with a focus on exploring certain aspects. Where it might go. As time goes on and these aspects develop, science fiction can feel eerily prescient. The Metal Gear series has incorporated real-world politics since the 2D days, portraying the governments of western nations, particularly the United States, as duplicitous and capable of monstrous atrocities... all while playing a character working on those governments' behalf. 1998's Metal Gear Solid was fundamentally about the fallout from the Cold War arms race, the dangers of the weapons created for a war that never came (which included Snake himself), and lengths to which the military-industrial complex will go to maintain its fiscal and political dominance in a world without

Fun With Murder: The Narrative Ethics of Assassination Games

It's funny. As someone who views "detective" as an integral part of their personality , I sure have a lot of crime games. Well, crime media in general, especially movies, but games have certain... implications. You're the one committing the crimes , not watching other characters do them or following a protagonist as they piece together criminal events through evidence and investigation. You're right there, doing all the bad stuff yourself. Recently, in the ongoing quest to tackle my massive game backlog, I've been playing the first Tenchu game, released in 1998. I bought it because the creators would later go on to make my beloved Way of the Samurai series, but if one looked at my shelves, they could easily assume I chose it thematically, as Tenchu 's neighbors include numerous Hitman , Assassin's Creed , and Dishonored games - a subgenre we'll call "assassination games." I've seen it remarked that there's an irony that, while

Gaming Out Stress

It's been a tough week, a tough month, a tough year... If your lives are anything like ours, things are a bit hectic right now. Whether it's climate anxiety, the "open everything up" push running smack into the Delta Variant, the conflicts and contradictions of school reopenings, or plain, everyday, run-of-the mill chaos, it all gets to you. This week, we thought we'd return to the topic how real-life stress intersects with gaming... and the stresses gaming can bring. - B   A : The fighter just went down and is starting to bleed out. The magic user appears to be out of spells and seems to be floundering on what to do next. The rogue? They're looking pretty rough, and without the fighter to play off of, they might be brown bread after the next assault.  The Big Bad Evil Guy looks like he may be on the ropes, though.... but maybe they're faking? What do you do? Should you rush to the fighter and dump your last healing spell on them? Perhaps you should launc