Horizon Forbidden West: Vast World, Shallow Worldbuilding

Horizon Forbidden West: Vast World, Shallow Worldbuilding

Taking place just six months after Aloy defeats the corrupted Hades AI in Horizon Zero Dawn, Horizon Forbidden West is a direct chronological sequel that expands on Zero Dawn‘s groundwork. Forbidden West is bigger in every possible way, from the narrative ambition to map size to collectible items to the number of machines, weapons, and mechanics. More often than not, this works to its detriment. In multiplying the scope of the world, Horizon Forbidden West also magnifies the problems inherent in its narrative. Because it reproduces real-world politics in a way that is at odds with what the story is trying to say, Horizon Forbidden West presents a disjointed story with incohesive worldbuilding. (more…)

Horizon Forbidden West, Authorship, and Identity

Horizon Forbidden West, Authorship, and Identity

In addition to being about saving the world from an incomprehensible environmental threat, Horizon Forbidden West is a game that is deeply concerned with identity. Born a motherless outcast, protagonist Aloy begins Horizon Zero Dawn trying to figure out what her place might be within her matriarchal community, the Nora. Instead, she’s thrust into an adventure during which she alone must prevent a malignant AI from destroying the world. Throughout Horizon Zero Dawn, Aloy’s search for her place in the world becomes a major theme, something that persists throughout Horizon Forbidden West. The focus on Aloy’s identity is discordant with Horizon Forbidden West‘s ideas about authorship, creating an overall disjointed experience. (more…)

Grow Up: Unlikable Characters in Jenny LeClue: Detectivú

Grow Up: Unlikable Characters in Jenny LeClue: Detectivú

Grow Up is a series in which I evaluate whether games called young adult actually fit the definition and explore why that matters.

“Unlikable” is a word that comes up again and again when discussing characters. It’s a fraught idea to begin with—I love a deeply flawed character myself, while others prefer a character they can look up to—but especially so in fiction for younger consumers, such as young adult and middle grade. Is there room for selfish, mean, or otherwise unlikable characters in fiction for younger audiences, or should young protagonists serve as role models? (more…)

Super Cat Tales: The Deceptively Cute Mobile Game for “Hardcore” Gamers

Super Cat Tales: The Deceptively Cute Mobile Game for “Hardcore” Gamers

Super Cat Tales, also known as Super Cat Bros on Android, is a series of mobile platforming games that I found when the second game was featured as the Game of the Day in the App Store’s “action” section. A brightly colored game featuring cats running around, driving tanks, dodging giant fish, braving sandstorms, and all the like in various Mario– and Kirby-esque environments. It all looked pretty rad. I was especially interested in not just the reviews praising how ads were kept to a minimum, but also the Game of the Day writeup’s focus on retro inspiration and ’90s platformer nostalgia. (more…)

Red Dead Redemption 2’s In-Game Journal is an Underrated Mechanic

Red Dead Redemption 2’s In-Game Journal is an Underrated Mechanic

I was a reluctant latecomer to Red Dead Redemption 2. Before my husband insisted that I play it, I was certain I wouldn’t like it—I’d been disappointed by recent critical darlings in the AAA sphere, I’m always hesitant about Rockstar games (I conveniently forget how much I enjoyed the first Red Dead game as well as L.A. Noire and Bully, though their labor practices are still terrible), and who has time for a 60+ hour game, anyway? (more…)

FromSoft, Give Me Money to Adapt Bloodborne Into a Series!

FromSoft, Give Me Money to Adapt Bloodborne Into a Series!

The leaves are changing, the air is crisp, and sweet scents waft through the air. It’s that time of year for the night to stretch long and for ourselves to prepare for the chill of Winter. Though Halloween has passed, I would argue the darker months have their own spooky charms and haunted visions. Hollywood doesn’t stop putting out horrors (or Marvel movies), so let’s imagine our own show we’d like to curl up with by the fire!

That’s right, time for us to dream of a video game movie/series we’d love to make! With the success of The Witcher, I feel more hopeful about such things. For myself, I’m gonna choose my well-tread fave, Bloodborne, and give my top picks for casting.

So come, let us sit about and speak feverishly, chatting into the wee hours OF MY WONDERFUL NIGHTMARE!!

(more…)