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    This Week In Gaming 12-31-19


    With the release of Rise of Skywalker Emily Rose considers the effects of mining nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake, how modern film discourse relates to the current state of games, and how we got to games as a service business models. Chris Schilling covers the making of Fable 2, Nic Reuben plays through Disco Elysium exploring where the fascist options take your version of the protagonist and where it took the like-minded characters you interact with, Critical Distance shares their year in game blogging list, Skeleton considers the apocalyptic visions of the shoot em up genre and how ZeroRanger allows you to break free, DavidOZ examines the approaches games have taken to their presentation of sex, after the release of the show more people are playing The Witcher 3 on Steam than at its release, Dia Lacina on the rise of photography modes in video games and where they have ended up, Brian David Gilbert's idea for a Waluigi game, more.



    Gaming News (Announcements, previews, release dates, interviews and writing on upcoming games, DLC and game updates, company and developer news, country news, tech, mods)


    Dramatic visuals abound in new Star Citizen Squadron 42 teaser


    Epic music and beautiful spaceships for a holiday treat.


    Yakuza: Like a Dragon latest gameplay trailer


    Yakuza: Like a Dragon is due out for PlayStation 4 on January 16, 2020 in Japan, and in 2020 in the Americas and Europe. A demo is available now. Read more about the game here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.


    Iron Harvest – End of 2019 Gameplay


    A look back at what we did in 2019 and new ingame shots. We can't wait to show you much of what we have been working on over the next few months! Thanks for your ongoing support and a Happy 2020 everyone!


    Final Fantasy VII Remake demo introduction scene leaked


    Watch the footage below. (Backup download here.)


    More People Are Playing The Witcher 3 On Steam Today Than Ever Before


    The Witcher 3 was a popular game back when it came out in 2015. But the recent release of the Netflix show has lead to a huge surge in popularity for the Polish RPG. And it just set a new active player count record on Steam today, with over 93k players.




    Remilia, The First Woman To Compete In The League Of Legends Championship Series, Dies At 24



    Remilia made history in 2015 when she became the first woman to make it into the League Of Legends Championship Series while playing for Renegades. However, in 2016 she left citing harassment and stress as the main reasons for leaving.


    Content I found interesting this week (interviews, recommendations, think pieces, history, music, culture, design, art, documentaries, criticism, etc)





    The works you see featured in This Year in Videogame Blogging have two main sources: our weekly roundups and submissions from you, the reader, sent in via Twitter and email. My curation process is essentially unchanged from how Eric handled TYIVGB in the past, though I would like to thank current senior curator Chris Lawrence in particular for their assistance with creating the longlist.


    Game Hihyō (ゲーム批評) / Game Criticism Magazine


    As we entered the 90s, hardware segregation increased and many game magazines that were on the market each took their own specialist route. One result from that trend was that magazines began to rely on companies for exclusive screenshots and pre-release software for their articles. This potential for conflict of interest eventually led to the staff of Game Criticism creating their own magazine, one that could be openly critical of video game companies, as they felt that being unable to criticize advertised games wasn’t a healthy publishing environment. Game Criticism’s mission statement — not publishing ads or taking money from game companies — was touted on both the front and the back of every issue.


    A Programmer Lost A Game He Made As A Kid, Until Someone Streamed It On Twitc


    If you’re interested in game design, you’ve probably made a few side projects or prototypes. If you were lucky, you might have had the means to start early in life and made a few games as a kid. These usually end up deleted or lost on rotting hard drives. You definitely don’t expect them to show up twenty years later on a random live stream.


    How the Photo Mode Became a Homogenized Feature of Commodified Games



    Photography means "light drawing" but is that truly what we are doing? Is photography generative or is it merely recordative? Is it creation or acquisition? But what is game photography? Or really, what should game photography be?


    Best Games Architecture of 2019



    I’m not really a big fan of lists because I find them to be overly reductive. The only thing worse than a list in my book is a grade or some sort of score. This might sound strange coming from somebody who clearly just made one, but architecture featured prominently in games this year, so I decided to swallow my pride and put together a list of the top ten examples. In order to pretend that I’m still holding onto my principles, though, I decided to make it an unranked, strictly alphabetical list. Without further ado, these are what I consider to be the top ten games of 2019 from an architectural perspective.

    The Video Game Vending Machines That Defined a Decade


    From 'Fallout 76' to 'America's Army,' one of the few constants in video games from the past decade were places to get a cold drink.


    Fable 2: how Xbox's most-ambitious exclusive game changed the rules for open-world interactivity



    Breadcrumbs, Buffy and bucolic Britain: the story of Lionhead’s most magical Fable of all


    The Defining Chinese Video Games of the 2010s



    Since then, we’ve seen the lifting of a decades-long ban on console gaming, the subtle shift in Chinese game studios from pure “outsourcing” to a more engaged presence in game development, the dominance of China in esports, the import of the “culture wars” in gaming discourse online, censorship and moral panics, and between it all — some incredible games.


    How a Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy mod became a 16-year passion project



    When it comes to the art and honour of lightsaber duelling, you’ll find fewer players more dedicated than Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy’s various Jedi and Sith. I know this, as one of the first things I did in the game was to annoy one. After getting Jedi Academy for Christmas, following its release in 2003, I was so eager to dive in I never bothered to check if I spelt my username, Jedi Kight, correctly – nor did I bother to think of a better one. [Does this piece have anything to do with Jedis? – Ed.]


    The diary of an RNG Hitman, part 1



    I never get the most out of sandbox games, because I’m always looking for the ‘right’ way to do something. If a game like Deus Ex has optional stealth, I will do everything I can to ghost that sucker, while if a game suggests a way of completing an open objective, I will follow that method to the bitter end. Nowhere have I struggled with this more than IO Interactive’s recent Hitman games. Their sandboxes are bigger and more choice abundant than most, yet I cannot bring myself to mess around with any of it.


    How Disco Elysium Mocks Fascists By Letting You Play As One



    In Disco Elysium, choosing to play as a racist doesn’t hurt your chances of success. In contrast, it’s a viable solution to at least one major puzzle. But it does fuck with your soul in a big way. Where a CRPG in the vein of a Baldur’s Gate might equate positive morality with lawful, tidy actions, Disco rewards oddness and chaos. Where it draws the line is deliberate cruelty towards anyone kind enough to show a wretch like Harry sympathy. There’s enough alienation in Martinaise already, and the only way to really fail in Disco is to willingly create more of it. Most importantly, it makes Kim Kitsuragi sad. If that doesn’t bother you, you never had a soul in the first place.

    Disco Elysium Is a Kind of Self-Loathing I Can Understand


    At the very least, Harry has the decency to feel shame and bears no entitlement towards the forgiveness he doesn’t deserve. It doesn’t make him a good person, but it does mean he’s not a bad guy. I may not terrorize innocent villagers or skip out on hotel bills, but I know what it’s like to be too ashamed to look at the monster in the mirror.


    Destiny 2 Shadowkeep: The Past Haunts Us



    Destiny 2 is at an interesting point in its life right now; it’s broken up with its longtime partner and is trying to thrive in a different way. Last year, I wrote a small love letter to Destiny 2’s DLC launch of Forsaken in 2018, which is my favorite campaign launch from Destiny to date. This love letter comes from a different place, considering the change in pace of the releases and also the change in content. Ever since Bungie broke from Activision, things were different. They had the freedom to listen to what the fans want, and really implement these things in game. With the release of Shadowkeep, we got a taste of how the year 3 content in Destiny 2 would be like moving forward as an independent game company.





    Start from square one and take a deep breath, no matter what – the apocalypse can only happen behind you. ZeroRanger is entirely defiant of the player conquering it, never yielding or throwing in a breather boss. It escalates in a way that the best classics of the genre rarely did, despite their best efforts. IT IS WORTH POINTING OUT that occasionally when faced with a giant-skull or a multiplying army of space Buddha, that ZeroRanger will play music. My best efforts have been often unable to determine if this music is cheering on my success or my destruction. The road to enlightenment is fraught, and occasionally may require starting over.  Undulating digital tones greet you softly at the title screen (something you might well prepare to see frequently) before kicking you back out into the galaxy. A gentle flight over the ocean while a synthesizer choir sings a hymn of destruction.


    The Art Of Letting Go – The End Of Nostalgia Bait



    With the release of the hyped final entry in the most recent Star Wars trilogy, eyes have turned to the lackluster reception and immediate backpedaling present in the subtext. With numerous concessions made to comply with fan backlash since the first entry, heated debates about the appropriate level of fan service, the responsibilities surrounding a reboot or revival, and arguments on who should helm one of the most established contemporary pop media franchises, has finally culminated in one tumultuous yawn. Not quite a failure, not quite a success- just a lingering bitter taste in the mouth of those with expectations cultivated beyond reason. The impossibly high bar of quality demanded induced by runaway marketing strategies, artifically assembled as a sort of bulwark, a last ditch defensive effort by media corporations against cynical counter-culture.


    Mutazione: You Are the Mirror In Front of Me



    I kept seeing my reflection while playing . Being alone somewhere new, it’s so easy to be cold and  stunted. This game forced me to stop asking so many questions, and see that maybe having the unknown flourish in front of you can be a one-of-kind experience. The slow process that is making friends, then opening up to each other and realizing that even though you two  seem worlds apart, there are impossible things you thought no would ever understand that you both can relate to, and it makes the friendship that much stronger.


    Luigi’s Mansion 3 Isn’t Just A Haunted Mansion Ride, It’s the Whole Damn Park



    The Year of Luigi was back in 2013, celebrating the 30th anniversary of Luigi’s debut in Mario Bros., but 2019 was the year Luigi was cemented in our hearts as Nintendo’s most endearing character. He may be fierce on the racing track, but watching him grow from scaredy-cat to the saviour of his friends is the wholesome journey we needed this year.


    Channel Recommendations


    Please consider supporting the channel through

    Patreon to help improve the quality of research, editing, footage capture, animation and overall production of each episode: www.patreon.com/DanRoot


    An Analysis of... Sex in Video Games?


    This is an in-depth examination of all of the different approaches video games have to sex and intimacy in their presentations.


    Nier Retrospective | A Difference of Perspective (Part 1)


    A video rambling about what made Nier so special.


    The History of Grand Theft Auto


    Please consider supporting us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/GVMERS


    Portal Retrospective


    Portal, as a series, has left an astounding impact on the world in many ways and is both a gateway into gaming and one of the most intelligent games that a player of any skill level can enjoy. This video aims to address why that is.

    Like my videos a ton? Consider becoming a Patron: https://www.patreon.com/liamtriforce


    IndieWatch: Top 10 Indie Games of 2019


    We're at the end of 2019, and that means it's now time to take stock of some of the indie games that I kept coming back to all year, whether it was to recommend them or to revisit them as a player.


    The Writing on Games 'Top Five Games of 2019' List


    It's difficult to believe this is my fifth time doing this. Time flies. Let's wrap up the decade by discussing the best games of 2019 (with some honourable mentions for good measure)!

    Support the show on Patreon - http://patreon.com/writingongames


    The Best Video Games of 2019 | Cannot be Tamed


    2019 has been a great year for games, it was a struggle to narrow this list down to just 10 of the 31 releases I played this year. But I did it. Here are my top 10 games of 2019.


    Fantasy & Themes | So You Wanna Be A Game Designer? (#7)


    When creating games, we should think about not only about the mechanics, but also in what context these mechanics are wrapped in, as well as what deeper questions we would like to discuss.

    Support Farlands on Patreon - https://www.patreon.com/farlands


    Things I found entertaining throughout the week relating to the game industry


    Waluigi, Unraveled


    Dear Doug Bowser, I made this video for you. Please make a Waluigi video game.


    Things I missed from previous weeks


    I Played Disco Elysium as an Absolutely Gigantic Fascist



    He is also a lens through which Disco Elysium deals with its themes of bigotry. The game provides a whole host of dialogue options to define your character in a number of ways: the aforementioned doom-saying crackpot, a person who is sorry about absolutely everything all the time, and even a fervently nationalist, misogynistic fascist. The last option gave me pause during my initial playthrough of the game, as I kept seeing these occasional dialogue options to blame economic woes on The Foreigners, extoll my white character’s believed biological superiority, or express skepticism of “the homo-sexual underground.” You can say some pretty nasty stuff in Disco Elysium, but exploring these options reveals a portrayal of prejudice that is surprisingly thoughtful about both its origins and its repercussions.

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