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    This Week In Gaming 4-14-20


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    Many articles and videos on Final Fantasy 7 with Patrick Holloway detailing how the marketing of the original helped make RPGs viable in the West, Skeleton considers how growing up changes your view on Midgar, Grace shares how it tells a resonating story on gender, and New Frame Plus looks at the animations in both games. Jimmy Maher covers the history of Trilobyte’s FMV adventure The 7th Guest, a new XCOM releasing next week that is neither sequel or expansion, Resident Evil 4 is being remade, ESRB rating now to warn of in-game purchases, for EGM's last feature Stephen K. Hirst shares the unique perspective on a global pandemic he gained through gathering an international Mario Kart group, Heather Alexandra on what remakes decide to change says about the current gaming culture, Eurogamer put together a list of 40 of their best articles, why Overwatch pros are considering switching to Valorant, eurothug4000's analysis of life simulator games, and 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)

     

    New XCOM game coming April 24 with a twist on turn-based gameplay

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    The game focuses on a group of 11 named characters, brought together in a new location called City 31 to form the special operations team called Chimera Squad. Events take place five years after XCOM 2: War of the Chosen. All characters are combat veterans pulled from the ranks of human and alien forces alike. They include sectoids capable of mind control and mutons with overwhelming strength and agility. Together, this hybrid group of special operators is tasked with enforcing an uneasy peace after the fall of Advent.

     

    Valorant's Mix Of Hardcore Action And Magical Powers Kicks Ass

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    Riot Games’ latest project, the hero-focused shooter Valorant, kicked off a closed beta today. After playing plenty of matches, it’s clear that while it invites inevitable comparisons to other games, Valorant can stand on its own as a shooter that will scratch players’ itch for a tactical experience.

     

    Capcom is working on a Resident Evil 4 remake

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    Development is being led by Osaka-based M-Two, the new studio founded by former PlatinumGames head Tatsuya Minami, which has been preparing for the project since 2018.

    Resident Evil 4 remake team larger than 2 and 3, carefully considering fan feedback – report

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    New details about the rumoured Resident Evil 4 remake have come to light.

     

    Gears Tactics - Official Launch Trailer

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    Outnumbered and fighting for survival, recruit and command your squad to hunt down an evil mastermind who makes monsters in this turn-based strategy game.

     

    Xenoblade Chronicles Future Connected Is Set a Year After the End

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    One of the highlights of the Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition is a new epilogue being added for the Nintendo Switch installment. However, it is still a rather mysterious thing. At least now, we have a better idea of when it takes place. The Xenoblade Chronicles Future Connected storyline is set a year after the game ends, according to Nintendo of Europe.

     

    Fishing Spirits Switch Localized as Ace Angler

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    If you’re outside Japan and are interested in the Switch port of Fishing Spirits, you’re in luck: Bandai Namco wants to reel you in, hook, line, and sinker. The company has announced it will be localizing Fishing Spirits in English. The game’s title will be changed to Ace Angler for the English-language edition, and it’ll be sold in Southeast Asia.

     

    Obsidian's Grounded will enter early access in July

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    Obsidian Entertainment tonight announced an early access launch date of July 28th for Grounded, their craft-o-survival game about teenagers shrunk down smaller than ants and turned loose in a back garden. If I’ve learned anything from the oeuvre of Rick Moranis, is that those kids are in for a tough time. It’s a surprising game to see coming from a studio known for RPGs including The Outer Worlds, South Park: The Stick Of Truth, and Pillars Of Eternity, but who are you to pigeonhole them? While we’ve mostly heard about the four-player co-op so far, tonight’s new look focused on the singleplayer side. Observe!

     

    The launch of horror game Hellpoint has been delayed due to the coronavirus

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    Survive aboard a derelict space station overrun with horrors—but not until a little later in the summer.

     

    Dev Diary #22: A Medieval Tapestry

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    Hello everyone! Today Virvatuli and I are bringing you a Development Diary about how we’re catering to different player fantasies in CK3. We will also showcase some of the content and gameplay you’ll encounter!

     

    Preview: shape nations and annoy kings in Old World, the new 4X from Civ 4's Soren Johnson

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    I booted up the preview build of Old World expecting a game much like something from the Civilization series. Probably not unreasonably, given that lead designer Soren Johnson is well known as having been co-designer on Civ III, and then lead designer on Civ IV, before starting his own studio, Mohawk Games, in 2013. And for sure, this game, which is about founding and growing an ancient empire, certainly looks the part. There’s hexes, and cities, and goats and crabs and the like scattered around the map, along with groups of spearmen towering above the trees.

    Old World - Official Developer Walkthrough Trailer

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    Designer Soren Johnson guides you through Old World, a new 4X strategy game from some of the developers of Civilization IV and Offworld Trading Company. It is due to launch into Early Access on the Epic Games Store in Summer 2020.

    11 Minutes of Old World Gameplay

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    IGN contributor T.J. Hafer walks you through 11 minutes of gameplay from Soren Johnson's new 4X strategy offering, Old World.

     

    Cyberpunk 2077 on track to meet September release

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    In its most recent financial report, CD Projekt Red said that the upcoming RPG should not be delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

     

    Dordogne is a promising watercolour adventure game with a stunning trailer

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    It made me a little emotional, this beautiful trailer for Dordogne: an upcoming adventure game that seems to be deeply in love with nature and the outside world. You remember the outside, I hope, a place of stunning watercolour scenery and childhood adventuring, or at least, it is in the distinctly French Dordogne.

     

    Face Sakura Wars’ Demons With Enemy Intel and a New Trailer

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    Sakura Wars isn’t just a game about romance and music. It’s also about beating up bad guys. But these aren’t just any enemies. There are all sorts of Sakura Wars demons out there. To help people better understand what these enemies are like, details about the two foes leading the charge, screenshots showing the enemies off, and a new trailer have all been released.

     

    Indie shooter sequel Receiver 2 is launching next week

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    The realistic gun handling shooter will be out April 14.

     

    Remnant: From the Ashes expansion Swamps of Corsus is on the way

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    New DLC for Remnant: From the Ashes is on the way, and it will include a rouge-like survival mode, over 50 new armor skins, new gear, an upgraded biome with side dungeons and more.

     

    Fortnite Chapter 2 Season 3 release date delayed over a month

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    If you’re looking forward to the start of the next season of Fortnite, you’re going to have to keep looking forward for some time to come. The Fortnite Chapter 2 Season 3 release date has been delayed well past its original April 30 release, in what Epic is calling an “extension” for Season 2.

     

    Square Enix warns coronavirus will "significantly impact" Final Fantasy 14's development schedule

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    The chief developer of Final Fantasy 14 has warned the coronavirus outbreak has put a dent in the game's development schedule.

     

    Google Launches Two Month Free Trial of Stadia Pro Featuring Nine Games

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    Stadia is also adjusting its base resolution to reduce bandwidth use during the pandemic.

     

    Over 1,100 Steam games earned at least $10k within two weeks of launch in 2019

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    That's up 18% from last year, while new game release totals were up 11%

    Steam applies its own definition of 'success' to indie games

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    The practice is "irresponsible," says Nicholas Laborde of Raconteur Games.

     

    RICK MAY, THE VOICE OF PEPPY AND ANDROSS IN STARFOX 64, HAS PASSED AWAY FROM CORONAVIRUS

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    We are unbelievably saddened to tell you that Rick May, the voice behind Peppy Hare and Andross in StarFox 64, has passed away. Rick suffered a stroke in Feb. 2020, and had been moved into a nursing home for his rehabilitation. While there, Rick was exposed to the coronavirus, which ended up taking his life while he was in the care of a Swedish hospital.

     

    Introducing a New Interactive Element: In-Game Purchases (Includes Random Items)

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    In April 2018 the ESRB began assigning Interactive Elements to physical video games with the In-Game Purchases and Users Interact notices. The In-Game Purchases Interactive Element informs parents and other consumers of when a game offers the ability to purchase additional items without leaving the game. To provide even greater transparency about the nature of in-game items available for purchase the ESRB will now begin assigning a new Interactive Element: In-Game Purchases (Includes Random Items).

     

    China bans sale of Animal Crossing: New Horizons after it becomes a haven for Hong Kong protesters

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    China is taking on Animal Crossing: New Horizons, blocking its sale on the country's version of ebay.

     

    The Most Iconic Gaming Journalist in Latin America, Gus Rodríguez, Has Died

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    Gustavo “Gus” Rodríguez, the most famous gaming journalist in Latin America who was responsible for introducing and spreading a passionate love for video games to millions of people, has died. He passed away on April 10, 2020, at the age of 59.

     

    Esports

     

    ESPN becomes the official broadcast home for League of Legends’ Spring Split Playoffs

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    League of Legends’ 2020 Championship Series (LCS) Spring Split Playoffs have a new home in the United States: ESPN.

     

    Sure looks like a lot of Overwatch pros are ditching the game for Valorant

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    The launch of Valorant‘s closed beta this week created a massive wave of interest from Riot fans, as well as shooter players in general.

     

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

     

    Let your mind wander with 40 of our best reads

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    We've been lucky enough to publish some wonderful work on Eurogamer over the years, written by some wonderful writers, and we thought pulling some of it together at a time like this would be a nice thing to do.

     

    A Pandemic, Seen From Rainbow Road

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    To cope with quarantine, I organized an international Mario Kart group. It’s offered a unique insight into the world in the time of COVID-19.

    (Blank spots above would be a tweet that was deleted because it lead to outlets thinking all of EGM was going away when it was just the featured/freelance writing)

     

    The (7th) Guest’s New Clothes

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    Today, we remember 1993 as the year that Cyan Productions and id Software came to the fore with Myst and Doom, those two radically different would-be blueprints for gaming’s future. But we tend to forget that the most hyped company and game of the year were in fact neither of those pairings: they were rather Trilobyte and their game The 7th Guest. Echoing the conventional wisdom of the time, Bill Gates called The 7th Guest “the future of multimedia,” and some even compared Graeme Devine and Rob Landeros, the two “wizards” who had founded Trilobyte together, to John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Sadly for the wizards, however, The 7th Guest had none of the timeless qualities of the Beatles’ music; it was as of its own time as hula hoops, love beads, or polyester leisure suits were of theirs.

     

    How making Final Fantasy 7 changed over two decades

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    We talk to Square Enix about how the world has changed in the past two decades

     

    Getting the hate out of games

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    "If we're building this interactive space, how do we not just kick out the worst of the worst, but what is that pathway to radicalization, [or] the pathway to reforming folks in these spaces? It's a super interesting question," Kelley says. "It requires more research, and it requires more transparency from the game industry to say, 'We tried X and it didn't work. Or it did work, and here's how you can replicate it in your game.'"

     

    Is This the Most Virus-Proof Job in the World?

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    Pro video game streamers are used to spending their days in isolation. And a huge new audience is at home to watch them play.

     

    Hey History Games, The Nazis Were The Bad Guys

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    There’s a fascination with the German armed forces in 1939-45 that has its claws in deep in communities like this, not necessarily (or at least primarily) for their political views, but also for more superficial reasons. Let’s be real: the Nazis had cool uniforms. Cool tanks, cool weapons, cool aircraft, zany secret weapons. If you’re playing a game where you need to assume the role of a faction, and one of those were the guys with the slick grey uniforms and badass tanks, a lotta folks will choose the Germans!

    Then there’s the matter, as Rob Zacny put it so well in his Vice story last year, of situation. The Germans had all that cool gear, and all those early victories, yet the Germans also ultimately lost the war to a bunch of nations with enormously superior amounts of resources, equipment and manpower.

     

    What We Remake

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    From fan-made revamps like Black Mesa to the highest of AAA productions like Final Fantasy VII Remake, enhanced, often reimagined takes on familiar games packed the early months of 2020. Remakes tug at nostalgia and deliver a comfort that players seek desperately in complicated times. But many of these games forge new paths, interrupting the comfortable ritual of returning to our youths in favor of messier, bolder ambitions. What designers choose to remake faithfully, and where they forge new pathways, creates both excitement and tension. The end result might not be what everyone wants, but it’s what we have. And often, what we think we know about the old games doesn’t really apply anymore.

     

    Meet the Final Fantasy 14 players who marry in the game - and in real life

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    It all starts with a ritual called the Ceremony of Eternal Bonding, a special rite of passage for two individuals who wish to pledge to each other a lifetime of devotion in massively multiplayer online role-playing game Final Fantasy 14.

     

    Why Final Fantasy VII’s Trans Story Resonates

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    After an incoherent and injured Cloud falls into the literal blood of the earth (FF7 is wild y’all), his story is told a third time. Clouds – yes, plural – guide Tifa through a tour of their mind. We revisit multiple scenes: Tifa and Cloud’s childhood, his return to his hometown, and his confrontation with Sephiroth. In this sequence, Cloud reveals a deep-seated childhood anxiety about his masculinity. Unable to save Tifa from a childhood accident and too small to stand up for himself, he took it all as a personal failure. He says, “I wanted to be noticed. I thought if I got stronger someone would notice.” He left his hometown to prove himself, but found only more disappointment. He never got into SOLDIER. After the terror of watching Sephiroth destroy his hometown, and nearly dying fighting him, he retreated into a masculine delusion. He imprinted on Sephiroth’s actual SOLDIER companion, Zach, whose sword Cloud now carries. This ties Cloud’s initial characterization to a hegemonic, masculine order. The military preyed on his anxiety to make him into a cog. He would only ever serve “greater men” than him. To heal, to be himself, Cloud must move past his desire to be part of that. He must accept himself, failures and all.

    Because The Night – DEEPHELLDOTCOM’s FF7 Remake Analysis

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    Most of us wont ever know the best nights of our life when they’re happening. That’s what makes getting older hard for so many people out there. History is a short change, it’s easy to feel like no more good nights are coming. Living in the ones that are half remembered. Running through the streets with friends. Living right means having just a few of these to get through life.

    Remaking the Past: Final Fantasy VII and the Psychology of Nostalgia

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    Final Fantasy VII is an avatar for nostalgia in gaming. It’s one of the most frequent fixtures on lists of the greatest games of all time, and it’s arguably generated more hagiography than any of the other games it appears alongside. Square Enix has been more than happy to cash in on our collective desire to return to Midgar, rereleasing the game on PS3, Vita, PS4, PC and mobile—and now a full ground-up remake, five years in the making.

    In Midgar’s Shadow

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    Much like Cloud’s memory, Final Fantasy VII‘s significance has gotten a bit muddy as time goes on. Debates about the actual game—whether it’s overrated or if it still holds up—have raged on for over two decades, but there’s much more to Final Fantasy VII‘s legacy than what was burned to three PlayStation discs back in 1997.

    I Adore Final Fantasy 7 Remake's Dorky Eco-Terrorists

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    Much like the original, Final Fantasy 7 Remake follows Cloud, an edgy dude with a giant sword. When we first meet Cloud, he’s joined up with a small cell of eco-terrorists known as Avalanche to destroy a power plant siphoning energy from their planet. This is not an ideological fight for Cloud. Many of his early lines revolve around being there just for the money. Cloud is annoying in the way many protagonists of the era were: efficient, emotionless, and obviously nursing a less-than-rosy past meant to justify his shitty attitude.

    Avalanche team leader Barrett similarly failed to make much of an impression on me. He’s loud for the sake of being loud, another trope that reveals the age of Final Fantasy 7’s narrative’s. He takes Cloud’s brattiness and returns it tenfold. The back-and-forth sniping the two share during battles is so grating that I almost considered turning dialogue off altogether.

    It wasn’t until a few hours later, when I saw Cloud interact with childhood friend Tifa and Barrett reunited with his daughter Marlene, that I finally started to warm up to them. The true highlight of my first few hours with Final Fantasy 7 Remake has been the rest of the Avalanche squad.

     

    Eternal Content

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    When the first two DOOMs, games about killing demons in a Martian space station, released in the 1990s, players had to fill in the narrative blanks using their imaginations. Aside from what’s gleaned from all those inverted crosses, the menagerie of roaring monsters, and the MIDI speed metal soundtrack, the game supplies only a thinly detailed premise through its manual and in-game, episode-ending text crawls. DOOM, we know from these sources, is about a sci-fi marine forced to fight off waves of demons that had slipped through a futuristic teleportation device set up on Mars’ moons. Later, in the sequel, the demons invade Earth and the anonymous marine manages to return to his home planet and defeat them.

     

    Bizarre Brutalism

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    I’ve always found there to be something slightly unsettling about the style of architecture known as Brutalism. With its geometrical forms and patterns, Brutalism looks so artificial to me that it seems almost supernatural. Take a look at some structures in the style and you’ll soon see what I mean. They definitely look man-made, but these buildings just don’t seem like they were created by human hands. Something about them is a little bit bizarre.

     

    A funny kind of freedom

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    The multitude of adventures that make up Akitoshi Kawazu‘s SaGa series tend to be titles I enjoy from a safe conceptual distance but struggle to actually play; including the focus of this blog post, Romancing SaGa. My hope was that coming back to it post-Baldur’s Gate with a slightly better understanding of the best way to approach these more free-form RPGs would make my time with the game go far more smoothly than it did the first time around.

     

    Get Equipped With Righteous Violence in Treachery in Beatdown City

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    There’s a satisfaction to putting your fist into someone. And not just anyone, but an existential threat. It’s been years since I’ve gotten embroiled in an honest-to-god brawl, but the last one I remember was a guy laying hands on his girlfriend outside of a bar. I put my hand on his shoulder and he turned and swung wildly. So I swung back. Mine connected. It went quick, thanks to some big-as-shit EMTs who ran over from across the street. Find a crew when you can if you want to win.

     

    Anatomy of a DOOM Eternal Fight | Game Maker's Toolkit

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    A DOOM Eternal combat encounter might only last five minutes, but they’re five, utterly intense minutes: filled with quick movement, smart decision making, and more. In this episode of GMTK, I’m going to break down just one fight in the game to see how it works, and how it makes players act.

    Support Game Maker's Toolkit on Patreon - https://www.patreon.com/GameMakersToolkit

     

    FF7 vs FF7 Remake: Animation Comparison

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    A professional animator breaks down the opening cutscene in both games to show why the original sequence worked so well and how the remake makes it even better.

    To request an episode topic, support New Frame Plus on Patreon! http://www.patreon.com/newframeplus

     

    The Outer Worlds: From Concept to Creation - Documentary

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    In the first video exploring the design of The Outer Worlds, we sit down with Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky to discuss how a team of fewer than 75 developers collaborated to create their sci-fi RPG. Noclip's work is 100% crowdfunded.

    Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/noclip

    Writing the Characters & Companions of The Outer Worlds

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    In the second video exploring the design of The Outer Worlds, we sit down with the writing team to explore the process of writing NPC's, quest givers and companions.

     

    What Makes a Good New Game Plus? ~ Design Doc

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    From Chrono Trigger to Nier Automata, from Zelda to Undertale, New Game Plus has extended the life of games for decades. But that same label can mean so many different things. Let's unpack four categories of what goes into a New Game Plus and see how developers put their own unique spin on the same postgame concept.

    Support Design Doc on Patreon: http://www.patreon.com/designdoc

     

    The Anxiety of YouTube // HeavyEyed

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    Awesome Possum: Tengen's Failed Mascot | Gaming Historian

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    In 1993, Tengen wanted their own Mario or Sonic. They created Awesome Possum. On the surface, it's nothing special. But behind the game is a story about climate change, possums, and a ridiculous lawsuit.

    Support the show on Patreonhttps://goo.gl/pQaU9N

     

    What Makes Doom Eternal Different?

    Quote

    Doom Eternal came out, and it's been a little divisive - some players love it even more than Doom's 2016 reboot, but some fans just can't get to grips with all the new features, crazy new story and weird focus on platforming - which is weird, because the games both look virtually identical, what changed?

    Support the channel on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/ArchitectofGames

     

    The Extraordinary Ordinary - Exploring Life Simulators

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    From the success of Animal Crossing New Horizons and Stardew Valley to the high school lessons of Persona, join me as I talk about the Extraordinary Ordinary - a video essay and analysis on life simulators.

     

    Fear of Depths

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    We are going to tell you what lies underground, why you should not disturb this place, and what may happen if you do.

    Support me: https://www.patreon.com/JacobGeller

     

    How Homeworld Almost Got Lost in 3D Space | War Stories | Ars Technica

    Quote

    On this episode of War Stories, Ars Technica sits down with Rob Cunningham to revisit the groundbreaking 1999 3D real-time strategy game, Homeworld. When Rob and a group of friends founded Relic Entertainment, they set out to marry the gameplay of Command & Conquer with the feel of Battlestar Galactica - all in a full 3D environment. On top of the everpresent memory limitations of the day, the team needed to get creative in figuring out how to orient players when, in space, no direction is up.

     

    How Great Horror Sounds Are Made || Waveform

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    What's the scariest sound in a game you've ever heard?

    Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/marshallmcgee

     

    Things I missed from previous weeks

     

    Final Fantasy VII - A Literary Analysis

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    Just in time for the remake, the Game Professor takes an in-depth look at the story and themes of one of the most beloved games ever made.

    Enjoy the series? Support it on Patreon! http://www.patreon.com/gamesaslit101

     



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