Another week, another Wednesday, another cornucopia of gaming news. I spent the weekend at PodCon in Seattle (which was lovely), and spent all of my phone battery playing Reigns: Her Majesty, the sequel to Reigns (which emeritus editor Al Rosenberg loved). It’s a wickedly smart and funny game, one that had me repeatedly chuckling to myself at the social commentary embedded within. I like a game that makes me question myself and my intentions every now and then. Anyway, let’s get to the news!

GOTY? This Year’s Games are More Like the GOAT

Forbes has announced the winners of the 2017 Game Awards, which pretty much aligned with expectations. Despite everything else going on in the world, this year has been fantastic for games. The question of which game deserves game of the year is a tough one; some games exhibited technical excellence (Super Mario Odyssey) while others moved us (NieR: Automata) and still others made us think long and hard about our fears and biases (Night in the Woods) or play with violent, visceral catharsis (Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus). Let’s hope next year’s games are as weird and delightful and thought-provoking as these.

But The Game Awards aren’t just about what’s out now; they’re also about what’s next. We have a new trailer for Death Stranding, also known as:

And my personal favorite, Campo Santo’s In the Valley of Gods, which appears to be about cool ladies making a documentary in ancient Egyptian ruins, AKA incredibly my jam.

You can check out the full list of awards, announcements, and so on at IGN.

While The Game Awards may have been fairly predictable, they’re not the only way to gauge this year’s great games. Itch.io has also compiled a list of their favorite free games of the year, and you really can’t beat free. Some of these might be new to you, so check them out!

Sometimes, Things Work Out

Wizards of the Coast decertified a judge after allegations of sexual harassment, which is commendable in itself, but how they did it is also worthy of discussion. The decertification, done by a Judge Conduct Committee for Magic: the Gathering tournaments, came along with a public statement that also includes conduct for those who might feel compelled to speak up on behalf of the accused. They wrote:

This is painful for everyone – and I understand you may have strong desires to reach out to Chris to provide “emotional support” during this “rough time.” Please understand that I believe the decision taken by the JCC was absolutely correct and necessary. We have (at least) one victim to keep in mind here, and I’d like to ask you to avoid any actions that might be meant as “emotional support” but could be misinterpreted as support for Chris’s behaviour. If you are unsure how to thread this particularly awkward needle then I suggest erring on the side of the victim and not lending any public support to Chris at this time.

As @SlothFactsAsh pointed out on Twitter, this is something other communities can stand to learn from.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was very much the multiplayer game of the summer. Due to exit Early Access December 20, PUBG is still undergoing frequent updates that tweak the content of the game, sometimes returning to old models and sometimes venturing into new ones. Sometimes those models include a visible camel toe.

The creative director of PUBG later clarified that the model came from an outsourcer and had not been updated in two years. The visible labia seem to have appeared on the test server, where the lighting on the menu has changed. Thankfully, the visible crotch (which is modeled into the normal character map) is already being addressed and patched.

Gaming Tidbits

Dating in the workplace requires navigating a minefield of power dynamics. Somehow, Failbetter’s Lottie Bevan and Alexis Kennedy made it work, forming a powerful working relationship as well as a romantic one.

Ataribox (Atari’s answer to the NES and SNES Classic) goes up for preorder tomorrow! What does preordering get you? No idea, because Atari hasn’t announced any games for it, nor a concrete release date.

The loot box saga just won’t end. The chief financial officer at EA, Blake Jorgensen, told investors last week that microtransactions may not return to Star Wars Battlefront II. This comes after some states considering banning them altogether as a type of gambling. It’s an important time for the industry; how Hawaii’s proposed bill to ban the sale of loot boxes to those under legal gambling age will affect microtransactions and loot boxes throughout the industry is worth keeping an eye on.

Games Bleat

Hey there, I’m Joesph, your local games warlock, and you know what that means. It’s time for Games Bleat! This is the weekly section were I clue you in on the hot pulsating lifeblood of Sidequest, which is to say the games we’re excited for.

The titillating deals for this week are pretty GOG heavy. In fact, that’s where most of them are coming from, but we have some pretty hefty steals for PlayStation 4 and a couple for Xbox and Nintendo Switch as well.

PC

PS4

Xbox

  • The Jackbox Party Quadpack $74.99 (I know this is a hefty price, but if you and some friends go in for it together the laughter you share will make it well worth the investment.)

Switch

Now, I am absolutely pumped for some of the games coming out right now. This week I’ve been toying with Reigns: Her Majesty, which is as entertaining as it is time consuming. Honestly, I never thought I’d be drawn to a phone game more than my Steam library. Also available is Getting Over It: With Bennett Foddy on Steam. It’s been out on Humble for a few months now so you may have heard of it, but it’s a great take on the issues related to chasing success and ambition, and also a game about a sledgehammer man trapped in a cauldron. Finally, while I was skimming the Steam new releases list I discovered A Day For a Kitten, which just looks really cute.

Have a great week, and don’t forget to come back next Wednesday for more!