I began writing this post, a review of two (now three) games that dealt with the end of the world about a year ago. In what remains of the draft, I had the line; “it’s the end of the decade, we don’t have time for details.” Eerily prophetic because in the time since the world really is ending and it’s doing so as T. S. Elliot suggested, not with a bang, but with a whimper.
As a species, we have been contemplating the end times since the beginning times. Poems, films, video games, even whole religions are based around imagining what it will be like when there no coming back, when progress reverses and we enter terminal decline. Something I’ve been thinking about, during our very real unfolding apocalypse, is that I need to finish things I start because at some point, this is all going to come to an end. So here’s three short reviews of three short games and their take on the end of the world.
STAY is the story of a therapist named Quinn who was abducted in the early morning and woke up to find himself in a dank basement with seemingly no way out and a computer hooked up to a private instant message conversation with you on the other end. You talk Quinn through the challenges he faces and the game also tracks how long you are not playing for, inviting you to ‘stay’ with Quinn long as your absence affects his mood and trust in you. It’s an original and interesting premise that is unfortunately let down by almost every other aspect of this game. If anything you should stay away from this game.
Sometimes I forget that game demos are a thing. That some games offer little tasters of the full product to try before you buy. It honestly feels like a bygone era, like the demo discs you could peel off game magazines. I must’ve played tons of the Fury3 demo back in the day. You have to wonder why all games don’t offer it in today’s world of digital marketplaces. Well after a recent harvest of demos from the Switch eShop, I can see why many don’t.
Developed by the worker owned cooperative Pixel Pushers Union 512, Tonight We Riot is a side scrolling crowd brawler with a retro-anarcho-communist aesthetic. Set in 20XX, Tonight We Riot depicts a society at breaking point under the oppression of capitalism, with the working masses living precarious lives in service of the capitalist owners whose power is entrenched through owning the media and political institutions. So pretty much like right now, without the global pandemic.
Before we go on, a big trigger warning for any reactionary readers we might have who prefer their video games to not contain politics; Tonight We Riot is unashamedly political, featuring not only women but people who are not white too.
During a decluttering phase in 2018 I found a deal that seemed too good to be true. A New Zealand based online store, Fishpond, would stock, advertise and sell my used games and give me a portion of the revenue. All I had to do would be post a box full of stock to them, they’d even cover postage and just take the costs from my first $15 of revenue. So a found a Hello Fresh box, filled it with almost all my remaining DS games, half my Wii collection, piles of DVDs and posted it to Auckland 5000kms away. The scheme was too good to be true and after 18 months, Fishpond emailed me to say that they were shutting it down and offered to post me back my remaining stock for the cost of postage. The DVDs could stay, but I asked for my games back. And then the world as we know it ended.
With our lives suddenly controlled by social distancing and quarantine, my boyfriend and I are spending dramatically more time together. I thought this might be a wholesome bonding experience, however he’s dedicating almost his entire time to some game called Animal Crossing. I don’t know if you’ve heard about it? I hadn’t, but it’s popped up in my socials a bit and apparently it’s a bit of a big deal. So anyway, I thought I’d sit down and watch a bit, and after just 5 min I am 100% convinced this game is intricately connected, if not entirely responsible, for the covid19 pandemic. Let me explain:
Originally released alongside Hydro Thunder Hurricane in 2010’s “-Insert hemispheric appropriate season- of Arcade”, Limbo would escape the bounds of Xbox Live Arcade and go on to become a darling of the indie gaming world, collecting accolades and praise, from critics and gamers alike, on every platform it was released on. But in an unusual twist, Limbo is set to become unavailable on a platform for the first time, as macOS will cut support for 32-bit applications when new update drops next month. On the eve of this gaming purgatory, let us look back on Limbo.
Pokémon trainers around the world were shocked to learn that not all their carefully raised Pokémon, their friends, will be able to accompany them on their next journey. This news came from game director Junichi Masuda who sheepishly admitted at E3 that the full roster of Pokémon wont be playable after a lengthy preamble to soften us up with excuses. A week on, with the frenzied backlash dying down, this article will examine exactly what the culling of Pokémon means, evaluate the reasons given by the developer Game Freak, and make recommendations for how both Pokémon fans and The Pokémon Company can rectify the situation.
I don’t yet know what to make of The Friends of Ringo Ishikawa. Seemingly developed by one guy in Russia, The Friends of Ringo Ishikawa sees you play as a directionless high school thug who is threatened with expulsion from his school, which he hardly attends due to spending all his time getting into gang fights. It’s like a tribute to NES classic River City Ransom or some sorta slice of life anime like Cromartie High School which I’ve never watched but Deguello says is a parody.
Fear Effect and it’s sequel were breakthrough hits at the turn of the millennium. Releasing late in the life of the original Playstation, they stood out with their stylish cel shaded graphics and sexy bisexual lead character, which was a big deal at the time. And then the series died. 15 years later Square Enix, who inherited the property after buying out Eidos Interactive, put out an open call for expressions of interest in bringing Fear Effect back. A (barely) successful kickstarter followed and last year French developer Sushee shat Fear Effect Sedna out.
The Legends of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a great game, by any measure one of the greatest ever made, but the final instalment of DLC inflicted the most egregious assault I’ve ever seen on a video game. At the end of an uneven extra quest Link is rewarded with a motorbike. I invite you on a personal journey with me to learn about why the bike is so bad, how it came to this, and the personal toll it inflicted on me.
1:18pm For a while now the thumbstick on my left Joycon has been acting up, drifting up mainly but it can do other directions if it feels like it. I blasted it with some compressed air which fixed it for a couple of weeks but now it’s worse than ever. A few weeks back, thumbstick drift caused me to lose the final Smash Bros Ultimate Challenge, and even when I play Tetris 99 the drift can cause me to target other players are random. So I ordered a replacement thumbstick off ebay and found a guide on iFixit and thought I’d share my repair journey as I go. This would be a liveblog but we don’t have that WordPress plugin, also traffic to this site probably doesn’t warrant it, so instead you can follow my progress by looking at the timestamps I provide.
I can’t win any matches of Fortnite or Apex Legends because the whole scene is dominated by zoomers pepped up on amphetamines and decked out in microtransactions. So it’s nice to play a real game that real gamers like me, who suffer early onset arthritis in their thumbs, can win once in a while.
After the massive success of sharing my goals, and importantly my plan, to complete the Pokédex last year, I’m going to repeat this with my gaming and blog goals for 2019. I found it very helpful to have a plan to refer back to to keep myself on task and written justifications for motivation. Even if you don’t read it, having it publicly posted will be enough to keep me accountable to avoid the embarrassment of not following through. But hectoring me in the comments helps. Like last time, this post will be updated to cross things off as they’re completed and modified if things go awry.