Do We Really Need Combat? Systems of Interaction in AAA Games

Do We Really Need Combat? Systems of Interaction in AAA Games

If you’ve been involved with any sort of political conversation surrounding video games for the last twenty years, you’ve probably heard a lot of people harping on about violence: specifically, that violent video games lead to violent behavior in real life. While that claim has largely been debunked by research, there’s no denying that violence is an integral part of most high-profile titles. A tight and fluid combat system is a major selling point for a major release from an AAA studio, and a game with poor combat is lambasted with bad reviews. For better or worse, combat can be how players define a game: it determines how we view its quality (sometimes privileged over other concerns like graphics and narrative), and how fun the process of violence is in a game is the point by which we decide whether or not to play. (more…)

GYGO: It’s Still Basically All About Cyberpunk

GYGO: It’s Still Basically All About Cyberpunk

Warning: This GYGO contains discussion of death threats and other gross behaviors from entitled people at all levels of power within the gaming community. (more…)

GYGO: It’s Still Basically All About Cyberpunk

GYGO: Cyberpunk Crunch and A New Challenger Approaches for Smash

This week in gaming was one of distinct industry highs and lows, with some longstanding issues for the gaming community seeing new airtime as execs do what execs do best. But all is not lost, with some charming news for gamers of beloved franchises. Let’s get started! (more…)

Using Platformers to Cope with Trauma: An Easy Ten-Step Process

Using Platformers to Cope with Trauma: An Easy Ten-Step Process

Content note: This piece contains descriptions of depression.

It’s 2017, and you’ve just separated from your spouse and partner of eight years; you decide to download the remastered Crash Bandicoot in your newly much-emptier apartment. Or you’re in a hospital lobby, waiting for a surgeon to come tell you what you think you already know: that your father has lung cancer. Shovel Knight keeps you occupied in this clinical, quiet space. Or it’s the present day, and you were just told that you are not supposed to leave your apartment for the foreseeable future, and you are never going to see your students in person again, and all you have to keep you company is a copy of Celeste. In all of these clearly universal and not at all deeply personal situations, there is a commonality: grueling platformers providing grounding and a sense of purpose and achievement. Anyone can use this notoriously difficult, frustrating, and demanding genre to solve your problems, provided you follow this simple ten-step process.

(more…)