March Roundtable: Oscar Season (but for Games)

March Roundtable: Oscar Season (but for Games)

It’s Oscar month! This has no impact on games whatsoever, because games are not movies, but that doesn’t mean we can’t dip our toes into the discourse anyway.

One of the things I love most about awards season is getting irrationally angry about what gets awards and what doesn’t. This month, we’re going to channel that energy into our own slightly irritated awards show! We’ve nominated our choices for each given award below, but you can add any awards you think deserve discussing in the comments. Time is not a factor—you can nominate games from years past or current games! (more…)

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…)

April Roundtable: Fools

April Roundtable: Fools

It’s April, the season of fools. As a group of people who both play and write about games, we are the real fools—but this isn’t about us. This month, we’re talking about gaming’s biggest fools, dinguses, and clowns, and what function they have in context.

(more…)