Sometimes all you need is a good story. Whether you’re reading one or writing one, the power of an event unfolding in your mind can not be underestimated. An entire world can come to life right in front of you. Things that are far away can feel like they are right there, if only just for a moment. You can’t have them but you can feel them. Through stories, people’s actions can exist long after they’ve been performed. History can be preserved. A single moment can become its own feeling to go back to. Sometimes you need a bit more though. Sometimes you need a good videogame.
What Remains of Edith Finch is a slow-paced adventure game that takes you to the large Finch family mansion, surrounded by dense forest. Many tragic events have happened here and it has resulted in every Finch family member dying in different ways, and you’re there to investigate what this curse is all about. With no real knowledge of who you even are or what’s waiting in the house, it has a very curious feeling right from the start. All you really know is your character “inherited” this place but hasn’t come here in years. Why would you not visit your gigantic house? It’s this detail that gives a subtle hint of danger and intrigue. How bad could it be? Continue reading “What Remains of Edith Finch – Time Well Spent”→
What is time, but an egg. You can hard-boil your long-term plans or shatter that shell on a hot plate of opportunity. But what happens to time when it shatters? The correct explanation of time travel is that there is none. Quantum Break successful proves how ridiculous it would be, as a concept and a reality. At the same time it accomplishes a thrilling narrative and theorises how it could be possible and what the effects would be in the human world. What happens at the end of time? What happens when time is broken? Is your reality poached or sunny side up?
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.
It all starts with an oof. When the first humans walked the Earth and saw each other they said oof. When they rolled out of bed for the first time they said oof. Then again the second time. When cowboys got trod on by their horse they said oof. Or was that hoof? We’ll never know. Like those great moments in history, it’s also how the Ys series started.
Forty years ago, revolution swept Iran. The western backed autocrat, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi was ousted from power by a popular coalition of forces and an Islamic republic, led by Allah’s apparent representative Ruhollah Khomeini, was established. 1979 Revolution: Black Friday tells the story of Black Friday, a turning point of the revolution, through the lens of fictional photo journalist Reza Shirazi. It’s less a traditional video game and more a kind of edutainment interactive historical drama, with developer iNK Stories borrowing heavily from the Telltale Games formula to immerse the player in the chaos of revolution.
This game starts off in the most disorienting way possible, with a dramatic climbing sequence in the snowy mountains full of quick-time button prompts. Press A. Press X. Twirl the stick and mash Y. It’s a great way to not learn how this game plays at all. It’s not too hard, just confusing. You’ll be holding up on the analog stick most of the time, watching Lara jump perfectly across gaps and grab her wall of choice. You are left guessing which direction Lara is going to jump as the camera swings wildly on its own. Just press A and hope for the best. Press X to grab the wall. Oh, okay. I did that I guess? Oh no, I fell. Wait, I’m meant to fall. Really got me there, game. The whole scene is just overly stressful despite barely any button inputs happening at all. It gave me a horrible first impression as the game felt very phony and I hadn’t even played a Tomb Raider game before and didn’t know any backstory to this game. I was ready to delete the game after this and move on.
We’re approaching the end of 2018 and I’ve just got myself a brand new Xbox One S, five years into the lifespan of Xbox One. It’s a new world for me as I’ve been playing nothing but Nintendo stuff for the last few years, having a great time it must be said. I never had a PS4 either so this is my first time dipping into the 2013 “next-gen” console family, which is now this-gen, or half-gen to the Pro and X which will be last-gen again next year. Phew. Whatever you want to call it, I have a lot of gaming to catch up on and I thought this was a unique perspective worth a little writeup. I was lucky enough to get my XB1S bundled with Red Dead Redemption 2 and Forza Horizon 4, two very expensive new release games. The whole bundle was $100-200 AU cheaper than a Switch or PS4 by themselves, which is ridiculous. Xbox is priced very well and has huge support in Australia, and I was in a good spot to take advantage of it. It just felt like the right time with Nintendo’s Switch holiday lineup mainly focused on two games I’m not that interested in. I got home with my new Xbox and it felt like Christmas again. The old, fun, child-like Christmas, not the new HD remake “Adult Christmas” which is full of disappointing social engagements. This was going to be fun on my own terms.