A game’s qualifications for this loosely-defined series of mine usually begin and end with my belief that not enough people have played it. And while Rune Factory 2 is far from an indie game, I doubt the cross-section of audiences that enjoy both intensive dungeon crawling and Harvest Moon-style farming-and-relationship simulators is all that large. […]Read more "You Might Have Missed: Rune Factory 2"
At its core, Spider-Man: Homecoming grasps two fundamental truths that have largely escaped the Marvel Cinematic Universe up until now. First, that comic books and the masked avengers that inhabit their pages are intensely political—that superheroes not only embody the politics of their time, but that the best comics, the ones that remain relevant decades after […]Read more "Punk Rock and Peter Parker: The Disctinctly Comic Book Politics of Spider-Man: Homecoming"
It was an fortunate coincidence that I ended up playing Prey and SOMA at virtually the same time. It wasn’t even back to back—I played them more or less alongside each other, and finished each (the first a ~25 hour immersive sim in the mold of System Shock 2, the second a 9 hour, linear survival-horror venture at the […]Read more "SOMA, Prey, and What it Means to Be Human"
Each episode of Dontnod Entertainment’s Life is Strange begins with a disclaimer—that you, the player, are about to make choices that will affect the characters’ past, present, and future. And while the latter two seem like common sense in a branching path game, the first made me wonder. Was I about to see that storied […]Read more "A Reading: The Shared Trauma of Life is Strange and Ocarina of Time"
If you’re at all a follower of indie games, you’ve probably at least heard of Bastion—the isometric, hack-and-slash RPG from Supergiant Games that quickly after its release in 2011 went on to become one of the most popular and acclaimed indie games of all time. While known for many things, Bastion’s most distinctive component (for most gamers, at […]Read more "Bastion: Thermodynamics, Entropy, and the Physics of Fantasy"
Your Name (Japanese title: Kimi no Na wa) is one of those rare pieces of art that defies genre classification—that breaks every assumption and expectation of science-fiction, fantasy, and coming-of-age narratives, and that takes our reductionist approach to film and fiction and shows that nice, convenient labels are never necessary in creating powerful works. It simultaneously melds body-swapping and time […]Read more "Your Name: A Film on Reality, Seen through Fantasy"
So Breath of the Wild is the apex of open-world design. It’s filled with secrets, and it makes exploration itself feel rewarding. Its narrative has depth and resonance, and its characters feel three-dimensional and relatably real. It takes the tropes of post-apocalyptic fiction to a new level—depicting a world not irradiated and destroyed, but retaken by wilderness. And in […]Read more "An Exploration of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Part V: The Heroes’ Legacy"