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Legolas_Katarn

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    Anla'shok Na
  • Birthday 09/09/1990

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    Learning about video game industry and design history, translation, and effects and influences on different countries and culture. Sleeping, Tabletop RPGs (Pathfinder, Numenera, Call of Cthulhu, Star Wars Fantasy Flight, Pendragon, D&D 5th, etc), spicy food/hot sauce, sleeping, intersectional feminism, history in general, sleeping, cats, and not going outside when the sun is out.

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  1. This Week In Gaming 1-15-19

    Critical Distance's retrospective on 2018 in video game blogging and criticism, Bungie splits with Activision, Randy Pitchford counter-sued by former Gearbox lawyer and talks about how he doesn't know how orgasms work, Ed Smith examines the humor of Hitman 2, Jamie Geist on exploring gender identity in MMOs, Heather Alexandra on Metal Gear 2 as a game about invalidating player achievements, Colin Campbell discusses what he learned while taking a game writing course, Ars Technica speaks to Glen Schofield about the development of Dead Space, Nadia Oxford on Red Dead Redemption 2 use of an antisemitic trope to deconstruct Arthur, Dean Takahashi interviews Cory Barlog about the creation of God of War, Ethan Johnson on the developers and pioneers that we lost in 2018, RollerCoaster Tycoon ride lasts for 12 years, 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) Kingdom Hearts III Has An Epilogue That Will Be Patched In After Launch Why Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Doesn't Have Online Multiplayer Exclusive Gameplay From Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice's Hirata Estates New, Exclusive Details On Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Here's What You Can Do In Sekiro's Hub Area Total War: THREE KINGDOMS - A Hero's Journey Trailer Meet the Warlords Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 explains its three grand campaigns Commanding a fleet that wants to eat the universe in Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 Resident Evil 2 Remake trailer shows off two fan-favourite characters https://youtu.be/02HW13yUjb4 My Time At Portia, the Harvest Moon-inspired farm RPG, leaves Early Access next week Sega Brings Catherine To PC Without Enhanced Edition Content Anthem: Interceptor Javelin Gameplay Profile - IGN First New Gameplay Today - Onimusha: Warlords Remastered Left Alive Shows The Garmoniyan Invasion In Its Latest Trailer EA Cancels Open-World Star Wars Game Ubisoft will only release The Division 2 and other titles on the Epic Games Store and UPlay Small town murder-mystery adventure Rainswept gets a release date and a new trailer Chaos;Child brings another Science Adventure VN to PC next week Civ 5 designer Jon Shafer opens up about the personal struggles that delayed his next game Super Robot Wars T second trailer Our World Is Ended’s Updated Version On PS4, Switch, And PC Gets Its First Trailer Six minutes of Arc of Alchemist gameplay Record of Agarest War: Mariage launches February 1 2D action game Dark Devotion is coming soon, so let's watch some fights Real-Time Syrian Refugee Game Bury Me, My Love Is Now On Switch And You Should Play It It looks like the Dark Souls Trilogy collection could finally be coming to Europe Battlefield 5 battle royale lets you kill with tractors More details on Celeste’s free DLC, but no release date yet Rocket League Now Has Cross-Play Across All Consoles Monster Hunter: World x The Witcher Crossover Dated for Next Month All-devouring Tyranid swarms arrive in Warhammer 40k: Gladius this week Tencent takes minority stake in Warhammer: Vermintide developer Fatshark Valve slaps Wandersong, a very real game, with fake-game restrictions Former Gearbox Lawyer Accuses CEO Randy Pitchford Of Taking Secret $12 Million Bonus In Lawsuit Gearbox Calls 'Absurd' Red Dead Redemption 2’s Pinkerton agents are at the center of a lawsuit Valve announces 8 changes coming to Steam in 2019 Bungie Splits With Activision, Keeps Destiny Mike Morhaime is leaving Blizzard for good in April Epic Games store establishes new refund policy Epic, Improbable team up for $25 million fund to bring SpatialOS developers to "more open engines" Unity explains Improbable license revocation, says SpatialOS creator's claims "incorrect" Unity say Improbable games don't need to shut down after all, as Epic offer devs cash to go Unreal Epic sued over yet another Fortnite dance, this time by Orange Shirt Kid's mom Microsoft Removes Carlton, Floss Dances From Forza Horizon 4 AGDQ 2019 hits $1 million with 2 days to spare AGDQ 2019’s 10 best speedruns from a record-setting week Longtime Twitch Streamer Summit1g Tops Ninja's Subscriber Count UK industry braces for no-deal Brexit The 8-player co-op mod for Skyrim is entering closed beta Esports News Competitive Halo Goes Old School With The Halo 3 Classic Tournament FIFA's fight to join the "big three" of esports Content I found interesting this week (interviews, recommendations, think pieces, history, music, culture, design, art, documentaries, criticism, etc) THIS YEAR IN VIDEOGAME BLOGGING: 2018 THE LAST OF US How to write a video game story Critical Values: In Defense of Prey and Those Who Made It Text format of one of the videos I had in the best of 2018 list. How 'Slime Rancher' Made a Ton of Money And Stuck to 40-Hour Workweeks GAMING’S HIDDEN TOXICITY How Gaming Helped Me With Gender Dysphoria Trans Identity in Eorzea Old is the new new The Power of Glove The Millennial Burnout Conversation Also Applies to Gamers How Red Dead Redemption 2 Successfully Uses an Antisemitic Trope to Deconstruct Arthur Morgan Gris and the problem of symbolic hurt To Be Gay in Mass Effect Is An Act of Rebellion Metal Gear 2 Retrospective: The World Spins Without Snake The Eternal Castle: Remastered is a remake of a game that never existed “Splitting Sides,” by Ed Smith Romancing The Code: the unknowable love of Heaven Will Be Mine How Dead Space's Scariest Scene Almost Killed the Game | War Stories | Ars Technica What Makes a Good Metroidvania? Daria Reviews Snatcher (Sega CD) - The Films that Made Snatcher Odd Time Signatures in Video Game Music Noclip Podcast #04 - Mikey Neumann Things I Missed From Previous Weeks God of War full interview — The definitive story behind the crafting of God of War 2018: The Losses Things I found entertaining throughout the week relating to the game industry Watching Someone Beat a Mario Game Without Pressing Right Is F'ing Wild RollerCoaster Tycoon Ride From Hell Lasts 12 Years
  2. Critical Distance's retrospective on 2018 in video game blogging and criticism, Bungie splits with Activision, Randy Pitchford counter-sued by former Gearbox lawyer and talks about how he doesn't know how orgasms work, Ed Smith examines the humor of Hitman 2, Jamie Geist on exploring gender identity in MMOs, Heather Alexandra on Metal Gear 2 as a game about invalidating player achievements, Colin Campbell discusses what he learned while taking a game writing course, Ars Technica speaks to Glen Schofield about the development of Dead Space, Nadia Oxford on Red Dead Redemption 2 use of an antisemitic trope to deconstruct Arthur, Dean Takahashi interviews Cory Barlog about the creation of God of War, Ethan Johnson on the developers and pioneers that we lost in 2018, 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) Kingdom Hearts III Has An Epilogue That Will Be Patched In After Launch Why Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Doesn't Have Online Multiplayer Exclusive Gameplay From Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice's Hirata Estates New, Exclusive Details On Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Here's What You Can Do In Sekiro's Hub Area Total War: THREE KINGDOMS - A Hero's Journey Trailer Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 explains its three grand campaigns Commanding a fleet that wants to eat the universe in Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 Resident Evil 2 Remake trailer shows off two fan-favourite characters https://youtu.be/02HW13yUjb4 My Time At Portia, the Harvest Moon-inspired farm RPG, leaves Early Access next week Sega Brings Catherine To PC Without Enhanced Edition Content Anthem: Interceptor Javelin Gameplay Profile - IGN First New Gameplay Today - Onimusha: Warlords Remastered Left Alive Shows The Garmoniyan Invasion In Its Latest Trailer EA Cancels Open-World Star Wars Game Ubisoft will only release The Division 2 and other titles on the Epic Games Store and UPlay Small town murder-mystery adventure Rainswept gets a release date and a new trailer Chaos;Child brings another Science Adventure VN to PC next week Civ 5 designer Jon Shafer opens up about the personal struggles that delayed his next game Super Robot Wars T second trailer Our World Is Ended’s Updated Version On PS4, Switch, And PC Gets Its First Trailer Six minutes of Arc of Alchemist gameplay Record of Agarest War: Mariage launches February 1 2D action game Dark Devotion is coming soon, so let's watch some fights Real-Time Syrian Refugee Game Bury Me, My Love Is Now On Switch And You Should Play It It looks like the Dark Souls Trilogy collection could finally be coming to Europe Battlefield 5 battle royale lets you kill with tractors More details on Celeste’s free DLC, but no release date yet Rocket League Now Has Cross-Play Across All Consoles Monster Hunter: World x The Witcher Crossover Dated for Next Month All-devouring Tyranid swarms arrive in Warhammer 40k: Gladius this week Tencent takes minority stake in Warhammer: Vermintide developer Fatshark Valve slaps Wandersong, a very real game, with fake-game restrictions Former Gearbox Lawyer Accuses CEO Randy Pitchford Of Taking Secret $12 Million Bonus In Lawsuit Gearbox Calls 'Absurd' Red Dead Redemption 2’s Pinkerton agents are at the center of a lawsuit Valve announces 8 changes coming to Steam in 2019 Bungie Splits With Activision, Keeps Destiny Mike Morhaime is leaving Blizzard for good in April Epic Games store establishes new refund policy Epic, Improbable team up for $25 million fund to bring SpatialOS developers to "more open engines" Unity explains Improbable license revocation, says SpatialOS creator's claims "incorrect" Unity say Improbable games don't need to shut down after all, as Epic offer devs cash to go Unreal Epic sued over yet another Fortnite dance, this time by Orange Shirt Kid's mom Microsoft Removes Carlton, Floss Dances From Forza Horizon 4 AGDQ 2019 hits $1 million with 2 days to spare AGDQ 2019’s 10 best speedruns from a record-setting week Longtime Twitch Streamer Summit1g Tops Ninja's Subscriber Count UK industry braces for no-deal Brexit The 8-player co-op mod for Skyrim is entering closed beta Esports News Competitive Halo Goes Old School With The Halo 3 Classic Tournament FIFA's fight to join the "big three" of esports Content I found interesting this week (interviews, recommendations, think pieces, history, music, culture, design, art, documentaries, criticism, etc) THIS YEAR IN VIDEOGAME BLOGGING: 2018 THE LAST OF US How to write a video game story Critical Values: In Defense of Prey and Those Who Made It Text format of one of the videos I had in the best of 2018 list. How 'Slime Rancher' Made a Ton of Money And Stuck to 40-Hour Workweeks GAMING’S HIDDEN TOXICITY How Gaming Helped Me With Gender Dysphoria Trans Identity in Eorzea Old is the new new The Power of Glove The Millennial Burnout Conversation Also Applies to Gamers How Red Dead Redemption 2 Successfully Uses an Antisemitic Trope to Deconstruct Arthur Morgan Gris and the problem of symbolic hurt To Be Gay in Mass Effect Is An Act of Rebellion Metal Gear 2 Retrospective: The World Spins Without Snake The Eternal Castle: Remastered is a remake of a game that never existed “Splitting Sides,” by Ed Smith Romancing The Code: the unknowable love of Heaven Will Be Mine How Dead Space's Scariest Scene Almost Killed the Game | War Stories | Ars Technica What Makes a Good Metroidvania? Daria Reviews Snatcher (Sega CD) - The Films that Made Snatcher Odd Time Signatures in Video Game Music Noclip Podcast #04 - Mikey Neumann Things I Missed From Previous Weeks God of War full interview — The definitive story behind the crafting of God of War 2018: The Losses Things I found entertaining throughout the week relating to the game industry Watching Someone Beat a Mario Game Without Pressing Right Is F'ing Wild RollerCoaster Tycoon Ride From Hell Lasts 12 Years
  3. Completed: The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel Platform: PC PC version adds more voice lines and improved the graphics. Detailed battle system with a lot of options and characters to use, but easy to understand. Added turbo button can speed up everything, quick travel around towns and schools, good detailed maps make navigation easy. I assume turbo must speed up the in game clock as well both when moving and when skipping animations because I beat the game in about 58 hours, my Steam profile says I've had it on for 62 (just leaving it on while not playing), and the in game save files says I was playing for 83 hours. Cast of characters is likable, mostly cliche at first but better over time with a good supporting cast. Story is a bit slow being the first in a tetralogy and even adds an entirely different kind of battle system and type of playable unit during the very last fight. Hidden quests and items that you basically need a guide for. Poor battle initiation system where you attack enemies from behind or run into them from the back for bonuses in the fight, pretty much every enemy is alerted to you and runs at you immediately, making the strategy to run away until it gets to its set distance then attack it in the back when it turns while also using your characters with ranged attacks on the exploration field. Not really a problem but poorly thought out and that would have been a lot of wasted time without the turbo option in this version.
  4. Not really. It's more puzzle based so I don't know how you personally handle different kinds of puzzles.
  5. With the nominations and voting being over and the best of articles up, here's what I had written down for my top 10 games of 2018, in no particular order. Hitman 2 Hitman 2 takes my GOTY of 2016 and makes it even better with improved AI, graphics, and mechanics. It also takes that 2016 game and puts it all into this one, along with the sequel's improvements to the old areas. Both games include some of the best designed levels I've seen; with a lot of ways to kill your targets, to learn about the area and characters, and even amusing secrets and activities that can bring you closer to your targets. Continues with strong dark humor and a gameplay approach that acts more as a puzzle and social system than a traditional action or stealth game, all taking place in a huge playground. Made all the more impressive with what happened to the developer and them still putting out an improved sequel with as many features and upcoming content as this has. The first of the timed contracts with Sean Bean was even the best one that they have done compared to the prior season. Marvel's Spider-Man Makes you feel like Spider-Man, and I don't mean that just because you can swing around a city and can move a bit like him; his daily life, characterization, friends, enemies, how Spider-Man is viewed, how he views the importance of his Spider-Man persona, and his emotional state are all very well captured throughout the entire game with attention to small details and through major plot and gameplay elements. The game tells a significantly better Spider-Man story than any of the movies or what most writers do with him, with an often more heartfelt feeling story than almost any other AAA game I've played by making Peter feel like a real character due to his relationships and use of characters like Octavius and MJ. This is on top of often nailing the humor of the character and the fun of swinging around a beautiful and well designed city. The story really only falters in the incredibly tone deaf use of Rikers inmates as an enemy faction and Peter's weird thoughts on criminals based on his character and upbringing with him sounding more like a Frank Millar esque Batman at times, and mechanically the odd choice of a melee system where your blows only effect the first enemy hit by a strike in a game where you have super strength and that can easily have you attacking the wrong targets. This is the best Spider-Man game we have gotten and with its gameplay, storyline, and addition of some interesting moments apart from the character of Spider-Man or from the use of his gadget it also serves as a strong foundation for sequels. Battletech An excellent use of the Battletech license with some of the best thought out gameplay I've seen in a turn based strategy game. Battle mechanics will have you making use of a variety of strategies while really having to plan out your movement, turn order, manage your mechs heat and stability, and knowing who to aim at, where to aim, and what weapons to use. Campaign has a good story supported by a good diverse cast of characters, fitting (and at times amusing events) and mission descriptions, backed up by a strong score, though the campaign can make it too easy to abuse certain mechanics later on. Updates have continued to make improvements to the game and balance things. Not only a great game for single or multiplayer but a strong foundation for future content and sequels and easy to recommend for Battletech fans or for people that want a turn based game with strong gameplay that fits well with an established franchise. Pillars of Eternity 2 Deadfire Shows off a large new area of the setting's world, important people, and factions with a story focused around working with or against the native people of the Deadfire, foreign merchants and imperialist powers, pirates, and another foreign power looking to exploit and conquer their native homeland, all while tracking down a revived renegade God for other members of the pantheon. The ability to dual class and each class having sub options give you a lot of character options and chances to make interesting character types. A variety of difficulty and level scaling options let you play how you want. Post release updates to the game have been adding free content and making improvements, making some nice UI changes that weren't their at release. An easy game to recommend for CRPG fans that want to have a variety of combat options, a well written cast of main characters, and a setting full of interesting people and lore, though it's not that interesting as a ship captain/pirate game as some early previews focused on. Celeste Mechanically, Celeste is one of the best platformers I've played. It controls well, perfectly introduces each new gameplay concept, the stages are varied with their own gameplay elements with each one being enjoyable to play, and there are alternate more difficult versions of levels for those that want a greater challenge. Narratively Celeste has a well done portrayal of someone suffering from anxiety and the themes, plot, mechanics, and score all blend together perfectly. It does offers a variety of accessibility options that can be used to alter how the game plays if you want to play the game in a different way or a way that is more in line with how you want to engage with it. The Council An adventure game dealing with conversation based confrontations with choices being based on your developed skills and your findings from exploring or talking with people. Puzzles solutions and story elements can be found out through exploration and with the help of your abilities. Entertaining story dealing with supernatural forces and your character joining an event hosted for world leaders and important figures while searching for his missing mother. Different events and endings in each episode that end up leading to some very different situations. The finale chapter felt rushed and while it can end in an interesting way or with at least some conversation events, mine didn't really require me to do anything, and no matter what it is followed by some narrated character epilogues that make it sound like they weren't sure what to do if certain choices were made. The MISSING: J.J. Macfield and the Island of Memories Supported Swery65 due to my love of Deadly Premonition, not knowing what to expect from this. Found a beautiful and bloody puzzle game with a plot supported by its mechanics that tell a story of a gay transgender woman's efforts to navigate the early stages of a relationship, her identity, and her relationships with family and friends. With its short length it explores more themes through narrative, metaphors, and mechanics focused around societal violence deterring you from becoming who you are in a more frank way than usual, telling a violent story on queer existence without the expected exploitative content and conclusion often found in similar media. Return of the Obra Dinn Well constructed mystery game making use of a beautiful early PC art style. Requires you to pay attention and to make more reasonable deductions while cross referencing known and logically assumed data, all while allowing for different ways of getting to the answers without the forced hand holding of most mystery games, making it one of the best uses of the genre since Her Story. Valkyria Chronicles 4 Improves on the first while taking some of the better features added to the PSP sequels. New gameplay elements help to make levels feel more interesting and many of the levels allow for and are designed in a way to encourage different tactics and surprises. Tells a decent and mostly more serious war story and the side stories that star supporting characters have some very strong or entertaining moments. Art style still looks beautiful with more effects on the battlefield than past games. Doesn't completely fix some of the trial and error or easily exploitable tactics of the previous games, early actions and strangely placed reminders of his personality keep killing the likability of one of the main characters, and the in game Valkyria and bosses are still used poorly for the most part, but it is the best the series has been since the original and continues to offer a very unique and enjoyable strategy game. Yakuza 6 Acts as a good send off for the character Kiryu and his story and features the perfect mix of humorous, heartfelt, and badass moments the series is known for. Probably the only game in the recent trend of "Dad games" to show a father/father figure engaging in activities that can mirror reality as well as showing the caring side of Kiryu that he is known for in a series that has always been focused on the people you consider family, as opposed to just being about another angry bearded guy with some kid following him around that they eventually grow to like or learn to show emotion towards. Like everything else, it could have used more Majima.
  6. Welcome to the AJSA
  7. This Week In Gaming 1-8-19

    Imran Khan talks to Yoko Taro, Takahisa Taura, and Keiichi Okabe about life, death, and opportunity. Jacob Geller's Love Letter to Beat Saber, Noclip starts podcast series to discuss games and industry culture with developers, previews for Sekiro and Anthem, Charlie Hall covers Elite's upcoming eight month expedition, part three of Ludocriticism's look at Arkane Studio's games, Game Maker's Toolkit on why 98' was the year of stealth games, designing Mutant Year Zero, Lee Yancy on the year long plot to blow up a notorious EVE Online space station, Paradox buys Prison Architect, and more. The best writing and the best videos of the year lists were recently posted. Gaming News (Announcements, previews, release dates, interviews and writing on upcoming games, DLC and game updates, company and developer news, country news, tech, mods) We Translate The Yakuza Creators' New Game As We Play It In Afterparty you can get drunk with Satan and vomit up your conscience Anthem: 15 Minutes of Lost Arcanist Gameplay (Interceptor, Storm, Colossus) - IGN First Anthem CES 2019 trailer Discussing My First Time Playing ANTHEM Persona Q2 Dungeons And Bosses Are Packed With Personality Open world paint 'em up Eastshade arrives February 13th Bright Memory is a stylish Chinese shooter/melee hybrid coming to Steam next week Demon's Tilt battles hell with the power of pinball this month Shenmue 3 double the length of prior games, side quests no longer separate from main story Tropico 6 delayed again because it's "not outstanding - yet" How Progression Works In Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Metro Exodus - Story Trailer The next episode of The Walking Dead: The Final Season has got a new trailer Olympic-style volleyball hits consoles, PC with Spike Volleyball Hitman HD Enhanced Collection announced for PS4, Xbox One A Bunch Of Former Top Hearthstone Designers Are Making A Marvel Game Cultist Simulator expands beyond immortality January 22nd DMCA Injunction DENIED in Stardock's Star Control Lawsuit Star Control makers defend DMCA takedown against Star Control: Origins Paradox buy Prison Architect, might make their own Architect games Lego: The Hobbit and Lego: The Lord of the Rings pulled from digital stores Independent Games Festival 2019 Finalists Announced, Return Of The Obra Dinn Leads The Pack Undertale Creator and Game Theory’s MatPat Clash on Twitter Over Misleading Heartbound Stream Past history and a lot of threads and posts going around of MatPat not crediting games or people involved with the videos he makes. More Shakeup At Activision Blizzard, As Blizzard CFO Leaves For A New Job GRIS Advertisement Rejected By Facebook For "Sexually Suggestive" Content Twitch Re-Suspends Alleged Domestic Abuser After Fan Outcry Top Smash Player Gets Temporary Twitch Ban For Drinking Too Much On Stream Games After January 1, 2019 Must Have Accessible Communications Under CVAA Legislation LGBTQ Video Game Exhibition Opens In Berlin Blizzard names and shames 18,000 South Korean Overwatch accounts banned for toxicity Japan makes it illegal to resell game keys or distribute save editors Esports News Overwatch Team Says Player Questioned About Identity Was Impostor After All Overwatch Contenders controversy has once again made things more difficult for women in esports ‘Overwatch’ Contenders Ellie controversy angers gaming community PUBG suspends cheating pro players, but most of the teams will stay in PEL Pro tennis embraces videogames as the Australian Open hosts a $500K Fortnite event Crowdfunding News (not sharing everything I find, just ones that look interesting, have known talent behind them, and a chance to succeed) One Step From Eden - Deckbuilding Action Roguelike Content I found interesting this week (interviews, recommendations, think pieces, history, music, culture, design, art, documentaries, criticism, etc) Talking To Yoko Taro, PlatinumGames' Takahisa Taura, And Composer Keiichi Okabe About Life, Death, And Opportunity The Roots of Compile – 1998 Developer Interview Everyday bisexuality in video games Ducking up the game design of Mutant: Year Zero Good For What Ails You Cowboys, Cowardice, and Contradictions Far Cry 5 ignores both Montana's real history of fascism and its victims I think I like Below the most when I'm not actually playing it Worry less about children's screen use, parents told Diversity is important because a video game is much more than its gameplay The Year-Long, Undercover Plot To Blow Up EVE Online's Most Notorious Space Station I Unexpectedly Made A Lot Of Money Telling Fortunes In Final Fantasy XIV Elite’s Distant Worlds 2 expedition: Packing for a trip to the edge of the Milky Way “Richly Deserved,” by Reid McCarter A Love Letter to Beat Saber Smashing It: Dishonored & Arkane | Arkane Ludography 3/5 | CRITIQUE/REVIEW Resident Evil: Code Veronica Design | Road to the Rocket Launcher The Year Stealth Games Got Serious | Game Maker's Toolkit The History of Star Wars: Republic Commando Top 5 character designs in gaming of 2018 || [error corrected] Behaviour Trees: The Cornerstone of Modern Game AI (AI 101) | AI and Games Noclip Podcast #01 (Story) - The Steam Spy Noclip Podcast #02 (Story) - The Return of Theme Hospital Noclip Podcast #03 (Story) - The Dunes of Arabistan The Fans Reviving the Halo PC Experience - Installation 01 | Gameumentary Why Did Geoff Keighley Create The Game Awards?
  8. Imran Khan talks to Yoko Taro, Takahisa Taura, and Keiichi Okabe about life, death, and opportunity. Jacob Geller's Love Letter to Beat Saber, Noclip starts podcast series to discuss games and industry culture with developers, previews for Sekiro and Anthem, Charlie Hall covers Elite's upcoming eight month expedition, part three of Ludocriticism's look at Arkane Studio's games, Game Maker's Toolkit on why 98' was the year of stealth games, designing Mutant Year Zero, Lee Yancy on the year long plot to blow up a notorious EVE Online space station, Paradox buys Prison Architect, and more. The best writing and the best videos of the year lists were recently posted. Gaming News (Announcements, previews, release dates, interviews and writing on upcoming games, DLC and game updates, company and developer news, country news, tech, mods) We Translate The Yakuza Creators' New Game As We Play It In Afterparty you can get drunk with Satan and vomit up your conscience Anthem: 15 Minutes of Lost Arcanist Gameplay (Interceptor, Storm, Colossus) - IGN First Anthem CES 2019 trailer Discussing My First Time Playing ANTHEM Persona Q2 Dungeons And Bosses Are Packed With Personality Open world paint 'em up Eastshade arrives February 13th Bright Memory is a stylish Chinese shooter/melee hybrid coming to Steam next week Demon's Tilt battles hell with the power of pinball this month Shenmue 3 double the length of prior games, side quests no longer separate from main story Tropico 6 delayed again because it's "not outstanding - yet" How Progression Works In Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Metro Exodus - Story Trailer The next episode of The Walking Dead: The Final Season has got a new trailer Olympic-style volleyball hits consoles, PC with Spike Volleyball Hitman HD Enhanced Collection announced for PS4, Xbox One A Bunch Of Former Top Hearthstone Designers Are Making A Marvel Game Cultist Simulator expands beyond immortality January 22nd DMCA Injunction DENIED in Stardock's Star Control Lawsuit Star Control makers defend DMCA takedown against Star Control: Origins Paradox buy Prison Architect, might make their own Architect games Lego: The Hobbit and Lego: The Lord of the Rings pulled from digital stores Independent Games Festival 2019 Finalists Announced, Return Of The Obra Dinn Leads The Pack Undertale Creator and Game Theory’s MatPat Clash on Twitter Over Misleading Heartbound Stream Past history and a lot of threads and posts going around of MatPat not crediting games or people involved with the videos he makes. More Shakeup At Activision Blizzard, As Blizzard CFO Leaves For A New Job GRIS Advertisement Rejected By Facebook For "Sexually Suggestive" Content Twitch Re-Suspends Alleged Domestic Abuser After Fan Outcry Top Smash Player Gets Temporary Twitch Ban For Drinking Too Much On Stream Games After January 1, 2019 Must Have Accessible Communications Under CVAA Legislation LGBTQ Video Game Exhibition Opens In Berlin Blizzard names and shames 18,000 South Korean Overwatch accounts banned for toxicity Japan makes it illegal to resell game keys or distribute save editors Esports News Overwatch Team Says Player Questioned About Identity Was Impostor After All Overwatch Contenders controversy has once again made things more difficult for women in esports ‘Overwatch’ Contenders Ellie controversy angers gaming community PUBG suspends cheating pro players, but most of the teams will stay in PEL Pro tennis embraces videogames as the Australian Open hosts a $500K Fortnite event Crowdfunding News (not sharing everything I find, just ones that look interesting, have known talent behind them, and a chance to succeed) One Step From Eden - Deckbuilding Action Roguelike Content I found interesting this week (interviews, recommendations, think pieces, history, music, culture, design, art, documentaries, criticism, etc) Talking To Yoko Taro, PlatinumGames' Takahisa Taura, And Composer Keiichi Okabe About Life, Death, And Opportunity The Roots of Compile – 1998 Developer Interview Everyday bisexuality in video games Ducking up the game design of Mutant: Year Zero Good For What Ails You Cowboys, Cowardice, and Contradictions Far Cry 5 ignores both Montana's real history of fascism and its victims I think I like Below the most when I'm not actually playing it Worry less about children's screen use, parents told Diversity is important because a video game is much more than its gameplay The Year-Long, Undercover Plot To Blow Up EVE Online's Most Notorious Space Station I Unexpectedly Made A Lot Of Money Telling Fortunes In Final Fantasy XIV Elite’s Distant Worlds 2 expedition: Packing for a trip to the edge of the Milky Way “Richly Deserved,” by Reid McCarter A Love Letter to Beat Saber Smashing It: Dishonored & Arkane | Arkane Ludography 3/5 | CRITIQUE/REVIEW Resident Evil: Code Veronica Design | Road to the Rocket Launcher The Year Stealth Games Got Serious | Game Maker's Toolkit The History of Star Wars: Republic Commando Top 5 character designs in gaming of 2018 || [error corrected] Behaviour Trees: The Cornerstone of Modern Game AI (AI 101) | AI and Games Noclip Podcast #01 (Story) - The Steam Spy Noclip Podcast #02 (Story) - The Return of Theme Hospital Noclip Podcast #03 (Story) - The Dunes of Arabistan The Fans Reviving the Halo PC Experience - Installation 01 | Gameumentary Why Did Geoff Keighley Create The Game Awards?
  9. Completed: Front Mission 4 Platform: PS2 Focus on a new link system where multiple characters chain attacks together or help to defend. Larger battles with allies. Story is decent, the usual political/revolutions/military affairs of FM setting, not as much time with characters as the story is split between two groups. Always a fan of overthrowing US backed dictatorships, or a game's equivalent. Nice to see unit XP shared based on everyone who had done damaged or healed damaged taken from destroyed enemy units. Sounds good and portraits look nice but the environment are often dull and it would be nice to have more active battles like FM2 (but with acceptable loading times), look of fights are improved with multiple units attacking through the link system though. Weather and day/night cycles as stages go on with different effects. The random ability activation has always been an odd series feature that makes it unlikely that you would want to use certain abilities. No eject/capture in this game, didn't get huge use but it would have been nice to see it kept and used in a more interesting way. Dull combat simulations that take up a lot of your playtime but likely to want to do them for the experience. Fun, but was kind of hard to go back after Battletech. I'll have to play the fifth game at some point. Only one PS2 game left that I own to beat. Completed: Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number Platform: PC Didn't really like the first one when it came out, and didn't enjoy this one either. Enemies tend to be really easy to exploit by getting them to rush you. The controls don't work very well (at least on the One controller), with the look button now working well, lock on not likely to do what you want, and certain character actions like rolling being tied to the same button as attacking downed enemies. Never liked that the primary way you are likely to die being that you can't see what is shooting at you thanks to the limited view.
  10. Welcome to the AJSA
  11. Best Videos and Video Series of 2018

    Included in this article are some of the best and most interesting game related videos that I've seen throughout 2018. Put together with the goal of highlighting some of the best content creators and videos that can enhance your knowledge of or bring up interesting viewpoints on the industry, developers, events that happened this year, or on individual games. Each section might include a single video, a single video series, or videos that might be from different people but focus on a similar idea or subject. The ordering does not signify better or worse quality. All mentioned creators are worth following and all of them were likely to have produced other content worth viewing on their channel this year. Some videos are from older channels with a large number of followers and supporters, while some are new and could use more support. Many of them are able to work due to the donations of their Patreon supporters, if you enjoy the content and would like to donate this can usually be found in their Youtube video description or linked social media profile. The Best Games Writing of 2018 can be found here. Previous Best Video and Video Series Articles 2016 2017 Storytelling Videos focused on analyzing and discussing the stories of games, their themes, the way they are told, and how and if their mechanics and interaction with the player helps to tell those stories "It's still relatively rare to see a game use their mechanical foundation the combination of interactivity and repetitive action to deliver an explicit message to the player, which is why NieR Automata is one of the most meaningful and moving games I've ever played. This game has already gotten lots of praise and even more analysis and critique, but 18 months after release I still haven't seen anyone fully explain just what makes this game so special. So here I am, I'm Michael Saba and I produce video essays about the transformative potential of games, movies, and pop culture, a series I call Dreaming In Neon. Come with me if you want to live, because this is a story about the joy of being alive, a story that could only be told by a video game." How NieR: Automata Tells the Ultimate Humanist Fable (By Michael Saba) Michael Saba's analysis on how a game of clashing tonal elements, references to and subversions of eastern and western philosophy, themes of attempting to find the meaning in existence, and an understanding that its perspective could only be expressed through video games became one of the best games ever made. "In this video, I'd like to take Rule of Rose and its convoluted and controversial narrative apart piece by piece. To unravel just how well thought-out, how consistent and coherent its narrative if, if you look at it up close and how much understanding and respect it actually shows for the disturbing themes at the heart of its melancholy tale. I'd like to show you that Rule of Rose is truly an underrated masterpiece of psychological horror storytelling that never stoops to exploitation of dark topics for mere shock value, but that was written with a message of compassion at heart; a message to survivors, to those who, themselves, might have been mistreated, disenfranchised or ostracized at any point in their lives. A message to all those who can find even a little bit of themselves in Jennifer." A Journey Through Rule of Rose | Monsters of the Week (By RagnarRox) RagnarRox explains why Rule of Rose, one of the rarest PS2 games after a moral panic in Europe, is an underrated masterpiece telling a story through its design, writing, and world building focused on exploitative societal structures, bullying, and power abuse. A Lord of the Flies that not only shows the how but why. "Iconoclasts serves as a reminder of what Celeste aims to say. Celeste takes the player on a pilgrimage through which its protagonist comes to a realization of their personal spirit. Iconoclasts reminds the player that religion is really about that spiritual fulfillment on a person-to-person level." Peering Into Celeste and Iconoclasts | Expressions of Faith (By Hepyrian) Hepyrian on the ways that Celeste and Iconoclast explore the nature of faith. "So this frickin banana picker has no value to anyone in the game, it's all just the principle of the thing, and that's the entire plot of The Secret of Monkey Island." Three Short Arguments on The Secret of Monkey Island (By Innuendo Studios) Innuendo Studios on the narrative themes and philosophy of The Secret of Monkey Island. "So seldom does a game aim to make the player feel a complex negative emotion. And I often think that this is what hold back a lot of video game writing, why video game writing has a reputation as being less serious than other mediums. Video games will often go for big operatic moments of loss and grief but they will almost never explore the tremendous damage that an empty promise in a misplaced trust can cause." Scars & Stories [Planescape: Torment vs. Torment: Tides of Numenera] (By Noah Caldwell-Gervais) Noah Caldwell-Gervais covers the themes and characters of the Torment games. "Far Cry 5 doesn't have a view from nowhere, it's not a completely vacuous nothing, even though it's clear it wants to be that with how much it pulls its punches on its subject matter. But by focusing on empty surface level player empowerment and refusing to take a stance on anything, either through narrative or gameplay, Far Cry 5's more incidental ideas come to define the game's worldview." Far Cry 5 and the Art of Saying Nothing (Spoilers) (By Errant Signal) Errant Signal looks at Far Cry 2 and 5 and the things that a game ends up saying when it desperately tries to say nothing. "But in the end, ultimately, this is yet another testament to the author's ability to effectively draw horror from real world issues most games would never dare to tackle. Because why invent monsters, when life is already full of them." The Cat Lady and the Parasites of Mental Health | Monsters of the Week (By RagnarRox) RagnarRox on the psychological horror game The Cat Lady. He covers the story, themes of depression and anxiety, how the game's villains and fear inducing elements are grounded in modern society, and the design choices that improve the mood and narrative of the game. "David Cage is a bad, thoughtless, irresponsible writer. He takes ideas and imagery with deep history and meaning behind them and incorporates them into his story at the most surface level possible and then turns around and says that it doesn't mean anything at all because he's not actively trying to send a message. The problem is he's sending one anyway, a muddled one to be sure, but a really really bad one, precisely because there's no thought put into it." Detroit: Become Human - The Worst Civil Rights Allegory (By Mother's Basement) Mother's Basement covers the themes, misuse of imagery, irresponsible messages, simplicity of gameplay, and general lack of understanding of world events both in game and in real life found in Detroit Become Human, as well as examining David Cage's own contradictory words regarding his work and the need for writers to have some understanding of the context of what they are writing. "Where we live will always define our lives to a sizable degree, one way or another, and cloud bank is begging us to ask the question, 'What would happen if the culture of where we live were democratized?' And the answer it comes back with is that culture of such a place would always be changing on a dime to suit the majority, but that also means, by definition, the culture will always be ephemeral, just a temporary distraction before the next thing takes its place. Imagine how often culture changes over decades in the real world, building and expanding on itself until the public fascination with it begins to fade before being inevitable lost to time. Then picture all of that occurring within days of each other. We don't know how many different cloud banks there have been. This is a town that has no history because everything that could denote its history has been painted over a million times." Transistor & How Change Prevents Change // Codex Entry (By Codex Entry) Codex Entry discusses the narrative, themes, and setting of Transistor and what you have left in a world where nothing ever changes. "We are granted intimate knowledge of Nico's life and it breaks down normal barriers we may find in a game that doesn't break the fourth wall at all. The lines between the reality of the game and what you're doing sitting behind the computer are rather blurred at this point, making it easy to find ourselves incredibly attached to young Niko after the time we've spent with them. This is similar to how people have grown attached to characters like Sans in Undertale or the Judge in OFF, often growing attached to characters that they've spent a lot of time with. This can even help change a person's perspective on the world at large if your media is far reaching enough." Parasocial Relationships in OFF, Undertale and OneShot (By Red Angel) Red Angel explores the topic of Parasocial Relationships. How players and characters develop their relationship with each other and the world they inhabit in games that address the player as a separate entity from the controllable protagonist. Interviews and Documentaries "Intrigued Stein tried the game for himself, he wasn't a gamer, but he couldn't stop playing Tetris. It was a surefire hit, he immediately went to the director of the institute and inquired about licensing. But the director sheepishly admitted that the game wasn't theirs. If Stein wanted to license Tetris, he would have to make a deal with the Soviet Union, but that was easier said than done." The Story of Tetris | Gaming Historian (By The Gaming Historian) The Gaming Historian tells the story of the creation of Tetris, how the game spread, and the battle to secure the rights. "The crunch on Darksiders 1 was something I don't ever really want to repeat. Now I look back on it certainly with some fond memories because it was, it was a bit like going to war and winning the war. I think that's what it had felt like, if we had shipped a game that didn't do well or flopped or wasn't something that everybody as a group was collectively proud of it might have felt like going to war and losing and maybe the complete opposite feeling. I think that's always what kept us going was even in the darkest busiest dreary eyed hour was ok it's gonna be a good game we just got to get it out the door." Darksiders: The Documentary | Gameumentary (By Gameumentary) Gameumentary's Darksider documentary looks at the making of Darksiders 1 and 2, the creation and concepts behind them, how members of the team got into games, the art, and the long hours spent by the young team to ship the final product. "It seems the government is content to let the people of Havana operate SNET as long as it doesn't abuse its privileges. The "alcohol in a paper bag" of connectivity." Cuba's Underground Gaming Network (By Cloth Map) Cloth Map travels to Cuba to learn about their internet and the free home made and maintained network that gamers have created. "At that same time I remember one of those guys, they came to the studio, they did the tour, they looked at what we'd been building, and his reaction was interesting. It was, this is the best looking free to play game I've ever seen, you will fail." Warframe Documentary Series (By Noclip) Noclip's documentary on the history and survival of studio Digital Extremes and the creation of the sci-fi phenomenon that nobody wanted. "The first Larian team was built in '97 in a small electronics shop which had no windows but one, the entrance window, I wouldn't want to go back there. And our furniture was made of Coca-Cola boxes with the wooden planks on top of it. That was the benches, and we always joked that that was our reserve cash, because you could take the bottles and bring them to the supermarket and they would give you some money for it, and we actually had to use it once." Divinity: Original Sin Documentary | Gameumentary (By Gameumentary) Gameumentary's documentary focuses on the struggles faced by Larian Studios and their work on the Divinity series over the years before moving onto detailing the creation of Original Sin 2. "Behind closed doors, Nintendo knew the end would be near for the 8-bit Family Computer and NES, but that the 16-bit machine was not yet ready. So Nintendo of America, with a completed game in hand, spent 1989 rolling out a plan to promote Super Mario Bros 3, in sever stages, for an entire year and release the game in 1990, by which time awareness of the game would be very high and demand for a video game, would be the highest ever." The Story Of Super Mario Bros. 3: 30th Anniversary Retrospective - Gaijillionaire’s Club - GTV (By Gaijillionaire) Gaijillionaire researches the history and stories surrounding a variety of games, consoles, and other forms of entertainment. For the 30th Anniversary of Super Mario Bros 3 he talks about the game's development, Nintendo's brief switch to disks instead of cartridges in the mid 80s, how it was marketed in Japan and in the US, its original US appearance on the PlayChoice-10 arcade system, Japanese myths that influenced parts of the game, and the game's legacy over the past 30 years. "I reach out to Valve a few times but never heard back. Nobody responded, but I got the message. Half-Life is a difficult topic for them, unfinished business, a story left untold, and asterisks that qualifies everything the company has achieved since. It sort of hangs over their legacy like a rotten smell that just won't go away but the influence of this series won't go away either. It radiates outwards from the blast 20 years ago and its effects can still be felt today in the design of countless games, the work of modders, the legacy of eSports, and the passions of a fandom that still persists today, in spite of the deafening radio silence from its creators. So then i thought, "To hell with it," let's just do the documentary anyway. If we can't talk to Valve then let's talk to all of those people whose lives were changed by Half-Life, the contemporary developers whose work was inspired by Half-Life, and the crazy ones who are attempting to finish the story themselves." Unforeseen Consequences: A Half-Life Documentary (By Noclip) For the game's 20th anniversary Noclip dives into the legacy of Half Life and the community it created that was inspired by it and that keeps it alive. Systems, Level, and World Design Videos focused on the design, mechanics, and worlds of games and how they get the player to interact with them "Not only do I think title is a reflection on a grief told through the story of a world you failed to save, but it also presents an optimistic vision of a post-post apocalyptic world you could choose to build - in one of the games finest side quests From the Ground Up. Of all opportunities in the game this is one that guarantees that, even once you're gone, there is a piece of you in Hyrule left behind." A Tale of Tarrey Town (How Breath of the Wild Builds a Better Future) (By GAMESD) GAMESD looks at how Breath of the Wild bucks the trend of post-apocalyptic fiction with its most thoughtful side-quest. "And this is where I hope the epiphany occurs, in Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy frustration is the intended aesthetic goal. You play Getting over It to experience frustration in the same way you read a tragic novel to experience sadness or watch a scary movie to experience fear. Negative emotions are a integral part of artistic experiences, so why can't frustration be as well?" Getting Over It | An Exercise in Compassion (By Eric Taxxon) Eric Taxxon on the games Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy and Celeste, player experienced frustration being a part of the artistic experience, and the message of Getting Over It and how it motivated and inspired them. "The remake changes the tone, both in the sense of changing the quality of the colors in hue and shade and in terms of the more evasive mood in melancholy. The remake is warmer, more inviting, it asks you to be in awe of it, to photograph it and to share it. To be a tourist in The Forbidden Land." What the Shadow of the Colossus Remake Doesn't Understand About Art [siegarettes] (By siegarettes) Amr Al-Aaser on how the changes to mechanics, collectibles, controls, and art style frame the world and characters of Shadow of the Colossuss (2018) in a different way than the original game, how it causes you to experience the game with a different mindset, and what obsession with new tech and remakes can mean for art history. "And it feels so hollow. And the game does all this to be honest with you, and to show you just how fragile you are. What these fantasies are built on is so simple, so easy to exploit. So if everything about the player stays the game but the game just doesn't pat you on the head, what does that effect, what changes? Well, pretty much everything, it would seem. What reward can you give yourself? Can you provide your own reinforcement if one of the of this scale just stops pretending? Can you do this on your own? To say that this gets to me is an understatement; this game scares me. While barely ever breaking the fourth wall, it aims right at me. It feels so intimate, so personal. It understand me and how precious I am with this medium. It feels like it looks me dead in the eye while it covers us both in gasoline, lights a match and says it won't flinch if I don't. And, my God, I think I'm a coward." Ico and Mechanical Connection, Colossus and Narrative Construction, and What Walt Williams Taught Me (By Micah Edmonds) Micah Edmonds' series of videos on the connections games make with the player, both through mechanics and control and through narrative. He covers the mechanical connection the player has to the characters of Ico and the narrative construction for games and the premise and approach Shadow of the Colossus takes to connect the player to the game's world and its character. Micah also talks about game writer (Spec Ops The Line) and author (Significant Zero) Walt William and what he learned about game creation, player fantasy, and the relationship between player and designer from his work and book. "It's at this moment you realize that the world of Dark Souls is very different to most other games. It's not a linear series of zones - but a complex, maze-like world that branches off into different areas, than loops back around on itself through shortcuts and elevators. It seems to snap together like a fancy 3D jigsaw puzzle, and exploring this world feels like navigating a Metroid map, or a Zelda dungeon." The World Design of Dark Souls | Boss Keys (By Mark Brown) Mark Brown talks about the world design of the first Dark Souls and how it causes the player to explore and get to know the world that they inhabit and the advantages and disadvantages of this kind of world design. "In each situation, you're presented with an inherently comedic contradiction, meaning that the game's sense of humour isn't purely a product of Peter's charming witticisms-it's in your actions as well, how you physically navigate Spidey through these moments, serving as a reminder that writing in games goes beyond the text on a screen; it's in how everything surrounding those words is contextualized." Spider-Man: Bringing Joy Back to Games (By Writing on Games) Writing on Games discusses how Marvel's Spider-Man and the way that you traverse its world helped rekindle his love for a medium that he had been growing tired of. "For many people, videos games are one of, if not the, primary source of their media consumption and in-turn is a critical pillar of their cultural awareness. When we consider that games could be the first medium through which younger generations are informed about the events that transpired in the great wars - plus the likes of Vietnam or even the Gulf conflicts - there is a responsibility to acknowledge the very politics of those events and make an assertion as to the ethical and moral issues throughout. This industry's adoration of violence can be problematic, but if it is framed to better inform us of the consequences of such action that can be progressive and in-time a positive for our cultural understanding. While I was rather surprised by how well some of these games managed to address this, I fear it's something that will only get worse over time." Disposable Heroes: Designing AI Characters for War Games | Design Dive (By AI and Games) With the arrival of the 100th armistice day, AI and Games looked at the depiction of AI controlled characters in games based off of real world military conflicts and discusses how these kind of depictions can be framed in a way that can enrich cultural understanding. "Places carry the weight of their past in their architecture and, somehow, Ueda has imbued a wordless history within his own surreal and inhospitable worlds." The Architecture of Fumito Ueda (By Jacob Geller) Jacob Geller heartfelt video on the architecture of the games of Fumito Ueda. Feelings evoked by the games, what they might say about the world, the longing for places that never existed, and why everything crumbles into the sea. Music and Sound Design "You experience Madeline's struggle in climbing the mountain through the challenging platforming, but the theme of anxiety is also explored in perhaps a less obvious way: the music. Composer Lena Raine has put so much of herself and her own personal struggle with anxiety into the soundtrack in order to tell Celeste's story through its music." The Anxiety of Celeste and its Music | Game Score Fanfare (By Game Score Fanfare) Game Score Fanfare on the music of Celeste and how it is used to enhance the themes of the game, the physiological effects of music and how Celeste creates a balance between being stressful and peaceful, and how the game's composer relates to the game's main character. "In a game, if we want to have the player thin more abstractly, a low frequency is going to be best. Hyper Light Drifter's soundtrack is electric and bassy, the low pitches invite you to reflect on what the wordless story is all about. Is it a statement on society, on the human condition, or simply a sad tale. It's up to you to decide, but the soundtrack will only encourage you to think abstractly about it. On the other hand, Braid's higher pitched violin might simply prime you to think concretely about its mechanics and focus solely on their utility." Why Frequency is the Secret of Adaptive Music | Psych of Play (By Daryl Talks Games) Daryl Talks Games channel focuses on the interaction between psychology and video game design. Here he covers the effect that adaptive music and frequency can have on how you play a game and what your focus is on while playing. "Known for scoring every Final Fantasy game up until 11, I would consider Uematsu to be right up there with Koji Kondo as the two pillars on which the entire culture of video game music rests. Basically, if Koji Kondo is video game Mozart, Nobuo Uematsu would be video game Beethoven. And like Beethoven, Uematsu music feels meticulously crafted to the point where every note feels like it's been placed exactly where it's supposed to be." Final Fantasy VI Analysis Series PART 1: Development of Melodic Ideas (By 8-bit Music Theory) 8-bit Music Theory's covers the work of self taught composer Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, Smash Bros Brawl, Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey) in this three part series. Earlier this year, Uematsu stepped away from work to deal with an illness he has been suffering from. Designing Games Videos discussing the processes and theories behind game design "Miyamoto was one of the first great game designers to see Nishikado's breakthrough for what it was. In an interview with Time magazine, Miyamoto was asked which one game revolutionized the video game industry. His response was: "Space Invaders. Before I saw it I was never particularly interested in video games, and certainly never thought I would make video games." In his first game, Donkey Kong, Miyamoto put Nishikado's design structure to work, but he also made his own important discovery." The History and Evolution of Videogame Design - The Game Design Extracts (By Patrick Holleman) Cadences: Finding the Voice of Any Level's Design - The Game Design Extracts Episode 2 Patrick Holleman spent seven years researching and writing six books on game design, this series looks to put the ideas that he discussed in those books into more easily accessible videos. "But your strongest frames are always the key frames, which act as the foundation for the structure of your animations." The Importance of Key Frames // 3-Frame Run Cycles (By Dan Root) How to Animate a Fighting Game Dan Root's channel focuses on discussing game animation, the above videos focus on the importance of key frames and how they can relay a feeling of energy and excitement that can be lost with more detailed animation and the ways that characters are animated in fighting games to give more power and spectacle to their move-sets. "Because when developers offer certain options or make certain design choices, disabled people can suddenly find themselves able to enjoy a game that would be otherwise impossible to play. Which means these often cheap and simple choice can open a game up to an entirely new audience of players." Designing for Disability (By Mark Brown) Mark Brown's Designing for Disability series focuses around ways to develop games that will make them more inclusive to people with disabilities. Long Form Analysis Videos covering multiple facets of a game from its design, ideas behind and history of their creation, legacy, themes, narrative, and mechanics "Far cry 2 is not a game about Africa, so much as the amorphous Western idea of a mono Africa. Hazy and anxious and soaked to the bone in blood and sunlight. Not naming the country helps to solidify that dreams-cape sense of where you are, not a real place, but an artificial concept of a place. In this frame, the chaos of combat systems make perfect sense. Of course there are no civilians. Of course every car you encounter on the road pulls a screeching 180 to chase you down until you're dead or they are. Of course nothing you do makes a positive impact on the war if any impact is made at all. Of course your character choice doesn't matter, it could be anybody, it will always be somebody. We see Africa on the news, and it's always on fire, here in the digital dream world of Far Cry 2 we sit among the flames and burn with it." A Thorough Look At Far Cry (By Noah Caldwell-Gervais) Noah Caldwell-Gervais looks at the entire Far Cry series, covering Far Cry 1-5 and the spin offs Blood Dragon and Primal. He cover the ideas the games explore with their mechanics, design focuses, stories, antagonists, and by their stated authorial intent. How Far Cry and its Xbox port served as the foundation for Crysis and elements of it being a product of its time. The uniqueness and attention to environment detail in the programming of Far Cry 2, its subversive design, and why it ends up being the subject of academic papers and developer presentations. What happens when you blend the serious and subversive FC 2 with the fun focus of FC 1 to get a more easily marketable title with Far Cry 3, one where the developers now want to use the fun as the uncomfortable and subversive element rather than the mechanics. What the game says about masculinity, what it uses the game of Poker to say about its characters, and how it is remembered vs how the developers wanted it to be remembered. Blood Dragon's shift to a sincere 80's action nostalgia that allows you to have fun while maintaining a harmony of tone and action. How Far Cry 4 is the least ambitious but the most thematically consistent. The pulp horror of the Valley of the Yetis DLC. Why Primal is his favorite of the series, how it makes a graceful transition mechanically to its setting, the enthusiasm behind the game, and what you can do with the limitations of the medium. How Far Cry 5 attempts to bring together all elements of the past games which leads to a disjointed game that fixates on a broken America while refusing to name its subject. "Games with stories to tell - and I suppose it is a change of pace. No substitute for action, but there's no harm in an alternative. After all, the original Monkey Island came out at a time where most preferred the instant gratification of arcade-style games. The very idea of going for 10 minutes without shooting something was alien - until the precipitation of a new acceptance of adventure games. Ultimately, it's all thanks to Monkey Island, SCUMM, Maniac Mansion - and their creator." RetroAhoy: The Secret of Monkey Island (By Ahoy) Ahoy covers the adventure game genre, with a large focus on The Secret of Monkey Island and LucasArts, but also covering game development, sales and markets, developers, engines, companies starting to borrow from LucasArts' influences rather than Sierra's in their own adventure games and even in other genres, and gives some history on the rise and fall of genre and technological advancements. The Game Industry, Connected Industries, and Culture Videos looking into different aspects of the game industry, companies associated with it, discourse, Youtube, funding, hiring practices, etc "We keep hearing stories like this over and over again." Getting into the games industry (By Chris Bratt) People Make Games tells the story of one man's difficult journey into the games industry and where he ended up. "Gaming culture is largely unable to conceive of this level of socio-economic criticism, of analysis of systemic problems and wider issues with society beyond one person's individual failings, and therefore cannot accurately fathom exactly what is damaging the things they love. Instead, they have to fantasize about their very own Lisa hiding somewhere in EA, trying to kill art like some kind of fucking Disney villain. This is why people hate CAD so much. Not because it's bad, no, bad things come and go all day every day. CAD is such a focus and aggression with millions and millions of words written about how awful it and its creator is because it's an embarrassment, it makes everyone else near it look bad, because as bad as it is, it managed to be honest." CTRL+ALT+DEL | SLA:3 (By hbomberguy) While being hunted by an axe wielding creature, hbomberguy reflects on what art says to and about the people that consume it and the need for self criticism to be a part of media critique. He talks about gaming webcomics, how they can be written and consumed while often holding similar attitudes found in films like The Room, EA's business model, and the unreflective nature of gaming culture and what can be learned from it. "So, establishing the character isn't the same this as establishing a theme and, similarly, communicating the event of the story isn't the same thing as communicating a theme. Again, themes are the main ideas that text is trying to communicate, to use these terms interchangeably is simply bad practice and it predictably leads to this kind of confusion." The Most Abused Term in Videogame Criticism (By SolePorpoise) SolePorpoise discusses the original article that lead to the popularity of the term ludonarrative dissonance, what it meant in its original context, how it was frequently misused afterwards, how it contrasts with ludonarrative harmony, and asks if the term is now beyond redemption. "The true strength of Pathologic's nonlinear storytelling is how it manages to render "The Plague" itself, this ungraspable catastrophe of seminal proportions; a villain that utters no word and can never be confronted in a conversation or a confrontation. Pathologic makes this the actual central figure, the true protagonist and antagonist of the story." The Plague (and how it Scarred our Myths and Culture) ✯ Monsters of the Week (By RagnarRox) RagnarRox covers the history and effects of plagues and how they have influences our myths, cultures, games, and movies. "They've all made the same fuckin video. There were more Youtube videos made about these tweets than there were tweets. This outrage isn't real, it was constructed to get clicks using the oldest advertising trick in the book, 'Do what I say because someone you don't like doesn't want you to do it.' The psychology behind this meta outrage industry is pretty sad really." DOOM: The Fake Outrage (By Shaun) Shaun covers a topic similar to his Cuphead video that was included in last year's best of list. The industry of Youtubers and tabloid sites attempting to create fake outrage narratives surrounding gaming products, how they all copy each other, why they do it, what it leads to, and how games are marketed. Always a useful thing to be able to spot with Youtube's terrible search and recommendation algorithms. Those kind of videos best summed up by Venture Beat's Jeffrey Grubb, "This has led to a large group of creators on YouTube jumping from one controversy to the next. If they find a topic that reliably gets views, they stick with it until their audience grows old. Then they move on to the next one. If the next controversy doesn’t exist, YouTube creators manufacture one." "What is this "Great Assumption" I keep antagonizing you with? I hope it's obvious now that it's the paradigm of received knowledge which states that video games are first and foremost supposed to be ludologically gratifying and that a failure to uphold that promise is invalidating. But the more important thing, its consequence, is the inability to deal with the growing number of deviations video games are displaying which the universally accepted paradigm can't explain." Critical Values: In Defense of Prey and Those Who Made It | REVIEW/CRITIQUE (By Ludocriticism) Ludocriticism's critique and defense of Prey (2017) and how it manages to weave together the ludonarrative in a way that hasn't been done in the genre before and the culture of criticism that ends up hurting the ability of critics, players, and developers to critique, engage with, and create games. "One important thing to remember about art, in my opinion, is that it is not a passive reflection or document of history, but it is rather an agent of history, and the connection between the Hudson River School and Manifest Destiny is a prime example of that." How Red Dead Redemption 2's landscapes are connected to 19th century art (By Clayton Ashley) Polygon looks at the way art has influenced the romanticized image of the American West and how that influences games like Red Dead Redemption 2 by discussing The Hudson River School of Art, Luminism, and philosophy of the sublime with the associate curator of American Art at the New York Historical Society. This was done in the above video by Clayton Ashley as well as in an article by Arthur Gies.
  12. Included in this article are some of the best and most interesting game related videos that I've seen throughout 2018. Put together with the goal of highlighting some of the best content creators and videos that can enhance your knowledge of or bring up interesting viewpoints on the industry, developers, events that happened this year, or on individual games. Many of these have been shared in my weekly This Week In Gaming articles. Each section might include a single video, a single video series, or videos that might be from different people but focus on a similar idea or subject. The ordering does not signify better or worse quality. All mentioned creators are worth following and all of them were likely to have produced other content worth viewing on their channel this year. Some videos are from older channels with a large number of followers and supporters, while some are new and could use more support. Many of them are able to work due to the donations of their Patreon supporters, if you enjoy the content and would like to donate this can usually be found in their Youtube video description or linked social media profile. Previous Best Video and Video Series Articles 2016 2017 Storytelling Videos focused on analyzing and discussing the stories of games, their themes, the way they are told, and how and if their mechanics and interaction with the player helps to tell those stories "It's still relatively rare to see a game use their mechanical foundation the combination of interactivity and repetitive action to deliver an explicit message to the player, which is why NieR Automata is one of the most meaningful and moving games I've ever played. This game has already gotten lots of praise and even more analysis and critique, but 18 months after release I still haven't seen anyone fully explain just what makes this game so special. So here I am, I'm Michael Saba and I produce video essays about the transformative potential of games, movies, and pop culture, a series I call Dreaming In Neon. Come with me if you want to live, because this is a story about the joy of being alive, a story that could only be told by a video game." How NieR: Automata Tells the Ultimate Humanist Fable (By Michael Saba) Michael Saba's analysis on how a game of clashing tonal elements, references to and subversions of eastern and western philosophy, themes of attempting to find the meaning in existence, and an understanding that its perspective could only be expressed in through video games became one of the best games ever made. "In this video, I'd like to take Rule of Rose and its convoluted and controversial narrative apart piece by piece. To unravel just how well thought-out, how consistent and coherent its narrative if, if you look at it up close and how much understanding and respect it actually shows for the disturbing themes at the heart of its melancholy tale. I'd like to show you that Rule of Rose is truly an underrated masterpiece of psychological horror storytelling that never stoops to exploitation of dark topics for mere shock value, but that was written with a message of compassion at heart; a message to survivors, to those who, themselves, might have been mistreated, disenfranchised or ostracized at any point in their lives. A message to all those who can find even a little bit of themselves in Jennifer." A Journey Through Rule of Rose | Monsters of the Week (By RagnarRox) RagnarRox explains why Rule of Rose, one of the rarest PS2 games after a moral panic in Europe, is an underrated masterpiece telling a story through its design, writing, and world building focused on exploitative societal structures, bullying, and power abuse. A Lord of the Flies that not only shows the how but why. "Iconoclasts serves as a reminder of what Celeste aims to say. Celeste takes the player on a pilgrimage through which its protagonist comes to a realization of their personal spirit. Iconoclasts reminds the player that religion is really about that spiritual fulfillment on a person-to-person level." Peering Into Celeste and Iconoclasts | Expressions of Faith (By Hepyrian) Hepyrian on the ways that Celeste and Iconoclast explore the nature of faith. "So this frickin banana picker has no value to anyone in the game, it's all just the principle of the thing, and that's the entire plot of The Secret of Monkey Island." Three Short Arguments on The Secret of Monkey Island (By Innuendo Studios) Innuendo Studios on the narrative themes and philosophy of The Secret of Monkey Island. "So seldom does a game aim to make the player feel a complex negative emotion. And I often think that this is what hold back a lot of video game writing, why video game writing has a reputation as being less serious than other mediums. Video games will often go for big operatic moments of loss and grief but they will almost never explore the tremendous damage that an empty promise in a misplaced trust can cause." Scars & Stories [Planescape: Torment vs. Torment: Tides of Numenera] (By Noah Caldwell-Gervais) Noah Caldwell-Gervais covers the themes and characters of the Torment games. "Far Cry 5 doesn't have a view from nowhere, it's not a completely vacuous nothing, even though it's clear it wants to be that with how much it pulls its punches on its subject matter. But by focusing on empty surface level player empowerment and refusing to take a stance on anything, either through narrative or gameplay, Far Cry 5's more incidental ideas come to define the game's worldview." Far Cry 5 and the Art of Saying Nothing (Spoilers) (By Errant Signal) Errant Signal looks at Far Cry 2 and 5 and the things that a game ends up saying when it desperately tries to say nothing. "But in the end, ultimately, this is yet another testament to the author's ability to effectively draw horror from real world issues most games would never dare to tackle. Because why invent monsters, when life is already full of them." The Cat Lady and the Parasites of Mental Health | Monsters of the Week (By RagnarRox) RagnarRox on the psychological horror game The Cat Lady. He covers the story, themes of depression and anxiety, how the games villains and fear inducing elements are grounded in modern society, and the design choices that improve the mood and narrative of the game. "David Cage is a bad, thoughtless, irresponsible writer. He takes ideas and imagery with deep history and meaning behind them and incorporates them into his story at the most surface level possible and then turns around and says that it doesn't mean anything at all because he's not actively trying to send a message. The problem is he's sending one anyway, a muddled one to be sure, but a really really bad one, precisely because there's no thought put into it." Detroit: Become Human - The Worst Civil Rights Allegory (By Mother's Basement) Mother's Basement covers the themes, misuse of imagery, irresponsible messages, simplicity of gameplay, and general lack of understanding of world events both in game and in real life found in Detroit Become Human, as well as examining David Cage's own contradictory words regarding his work and the need for writers to have some understanding of the context of what they are writing. "Where we live will always define our lives to a sizable degree, one way or another, and cloud bank is begging us to ask the question, 'What would happen if the culture of where we live were democratized?' And the answer it comes back with is that culture of such a place would always be changing on a dime to suit the majority, but that also means, by definition, the culture will always be ephemeral, just a temporary distraction before the next thing takes its place. Imagine how often culture changes over decades in the real world, building and expanding on itself until the public fascination with it begins to fade before being inevitable lost to time. Then picture all of that occurring within days of each other. We don't know how many different cloud banks there have been. This is a town that has no history because everything that could denote its history has been painted over a million times." Transistor & How Change Prevents Change // Codex Entry (By Codex Entry) Codex Entry discusses the narrative, themes, and setting of Transistor and what you have left in a world where nothing ever changes. "We are granted intimate knowledge of Nico's life and it breaks down normal barriers we may find in a game that doesn't break the fourth wall at all. The lines between the reality of the game and what you're doing sitting behind the computer are rather blurred at this point, making it easy to find ourselves incredibly attached to young Niko after the time we've spent with them. This is similar to how people have grown attached to characters like Sans in Undertale or the Judge in OFF, often growing attached to characters that they've spent a lot of time with. This can even help change a person's perspective on the world at large if your media is far reaching enough." Parasocial Relationships in OFF, Undertale and OneShot (By Red Angel) Red Angel explores the topic of Parasocial Relationships. How players and characters develop their relationship with each other and the world they inhabit in games that address the player as a separate entity from the controllable protagonist. Interviews and Documentaries "Intrigued Stein tried the game for himself, he wasn't a gamer, but he couldn't stop playing Tetris. It was a surefire hit, he immediately went to the director of the institute and inquired about licensing. But the director sheepishly admitted that the game wasn't theirs. If Stein wanted to license Tetris, he would have to make a deal with the Soviet Union, but that was easier said than done." The Story of Tetris | Gaming Historian (By The Gaming Historian) The Gaming Historian tells the story of the creation of Tetris, how the game spread, and the battle to secure the rights. "The crunch on Darksiders 1 was something I don't ever really want to repeat. Now I look back on it certainly with some fond memories because it was, it was a bit like going to war and winning the war. I think that's what it had felt like, if we had shipped a game that didn't do well or flopped or wasn't something that everybody as a group was collectively proud of it might have felt like going to war and losing and maybe the complete opposite feeling. I think that's always what kept us going was even in the darkest busiest dreary eyed hour was ok it's gonna be a good game we just got to get it out the door." Darksiders: The Documentary | Gameumentary (By Gameumentary) Gameumentary's Darksider documentary looks at the making of Darksiders 1 and 2, the creation and concepts behind them, how members of the team got into games, the art, and the long hours spent by the young team to ship the final product. "It seems the government is content to let the people of Havana operate SNET as long as it doesn't abuse its privileges. The "alcohol in a paper bag" of connectivity." Cuba's Underground Gaming Network (By Cloth Map) Cloth Map travels to Cuba to learn about their internet and the free home made and maintained network that gamers have created. "At that same time I remember one of those guys, they came to the studio, they did the tour, they looked at what we'd been building, and his reaction was interesting. It was, this is the best looking free to play game I've ever seen, you will fail." Warframe Documentary Series (By Noclip) Noclip's documentary on the history and survival of studio Digital Extremes and the creation of the sci-fi phenomenon that nobody wanted. "The first Larian team was built in '97 in a small electronics shop which had no windows but one, the entrance window, I wouldn't want to go back there. And our furniture was made of Coca-Cola boxes with the wooden planks on top of it. That was the benches, and we always joked that that was our reserve cash, because you could take the bottles and bring them to the supermarket and they would give you some money for it, and we actually had to use it once." Divinity: Original Sin Documentary | Gameumentary (By Gameumentary) Gameumentary's documentary focuses on the struggles faced by Larian Studios and their work on the Divinity series over the years before moving onto detailing the creation of Original Sin 2. "Behind closed doors, Nintendo knew the end would be near for the 8-bit Family Computer and NES, but that the 16-bit machine was not yet ready. So Nintendo of America, with a completed game in hand, spent 1989 rolling out a plan to promote Super Mario Bros 3, in sever stages, for an entire year and release the game in 1990, by which time awareness of the game would be very high and demand for a video game, would be the highest ever." The Story Of Super Mario Bros. 3: 30th Anniversary Retrospective - Gaijillionaire’s Club - GTV (By Gaijillionaire) Gaijillionaire researches the history and stories surrounding a variety of games, consoles, and other forms of entertainment. For the 30th Anniversary of Super Mario Bros 3 he talks about the game's development, Nintendo's brief switch to disks instead of cartridges in the mid 80s, how it was marketed in Japan and in the US, its original US appearance on the PlayChoice-10 arcade system, Japanese myths that influenced parts of the game, and the game's legacy over the past 30 years. "I reach out to Valve a few times but never heard back. Nobody responded, but I got the message. Half-Life is a difficult topic for them, unfinished business, a story left untold, and asterisks that qualifies everything the company has achieved since. It sort of hangs over their legacy like a rotten smell that just won't go away but the influence of this series won't go away either. It radiates outwards from the blast 20 years ago and its effects can still be felt today in the design of countless games, the work of modders, the legacy of eSports, and the passions of a fandom that still persists today, in spite of the deafening radio silence from its creators. So then i thought, "To hell with it," let's just do the documentary anyway. If we can't talk to Valve then let's talk to all of those people whose lives were changed by Half-Life, the contemporary developers whose work was inspired by Half-Life, and the crazy ones who are attempting to finish the story themselves." Unforeseen Consequences: A Half-Life Documentary (By Noclip) For the game's 20th anniversary Noclip dives into the legacy of Half Life and the community it created that was inspired by it and that keeps it alive. Systems, Level, and World Design Videos focused on the design, mechanics, and worlds of games and how they get the player to interact with them "Not only do I think title is a reflection on a grief told through the story of a world you failed to save, but it also presents an optimistic vision of a post-post apocalyptic world you could choose to build - in one of the games finest side quests From the Ground Up. Of all opportunities in the game this is one that guarantees that, even once you're gone, there is a piece of you in Hyrule left behind." A Tale of Tarrey Town (How Breath of the Wild Builds a Better Future) (By GAMESD) GAMESD looks at how Breath of the Wild bucks the trend of post-apocalyptic fiction with its most thoughtful side-quest. "And this is where I hope the epiphany occurs, in Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy frustration is the intended aesthetic goal. You play Getting over It to experience frustration in the same way you read a tragic novel to experience sadness or watch a scary movie to experience fear. Negative emotions are a integral part of artistic experiences, so why can't frustration be as well?" Getting Over It | An Exercise in Compassion (By Eric Taxxon) Eric Taxxon on the games Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy and Celeste, player experienced frustration being a part of the artistic experience, and the message of Getting Over It and how it motivated and inspired them. "The remake changes the tone, both in the sense of changing the quality of the colors in hue and shade and in terms of the more evasive mood in melancholy. The remake is warmer, more inviting, it asks you to be in awe of it, to photograph it and to share it. To be a tourist in The Forbidden Land." What the Shadow of the Colossus Remake Doesn't Understand About Art [siegarettes] (By siegarettes) Amr Al-Aaser on how the changes to mechanics, collectibles, controls, and art style frame the world and characters of Shadow of the Colossuss (2018) in a different way than the original game, how it causes you to experience the game with a different mindset, and what obsession with new tech and remakes can mean for art history. "And it feels so hollow. And the game does all this to be honest with you, and to show you just how fragile you are. What these fantasies are built on is so simple, so easy to exploit. So if everything about the player stays the game but the game just doesn't pat you on the head, what does that effect, what changes? Well, pretty much everything, it would seem. What reward can you give yourself? Can you provide your own reinforcement if one of the of this scale just stops pretending? Can you do this on your own? To say that this gets to me is an understatement; this game scares me. While barely ever breaking the fourth wall, it aims right at me. It feels so intimate, so personal. It understand me and how precious I am with this medium. It feels like it looks me dead in the eye while it covers us both in gasoline, lights a match and says it won't flinch if I don't. And, my God, I think I'm a coward." Ico and Mechanical Connection, Colossus and Narrative Construction, and What Walt Williams Taught Me (By Micah Edmonds) Micah Edmonds' series of videos on the connections games make with the player, both through mechanics and control and through narrative. He covers the mechanical connection the player has to the characters of Ico and the narrative construction for games and the premise and approach Shadow of the Colossus takes to connect the player to the game's world and its character. Micah also talks about game writer (Spec Ops The Line) and author (Significant Zero) Walt William and what he learned about game creation, player fantasy, and the relationship between player and designer from his work and book. "It's at this moment you realize that the world of Dark Souls is very different to most other games. It's not a linear series of zones - but a complex, maze-like world that branches off into different areas, than loops back around on itself through shortcuts and elevators. It seems to snap together like a fancy 3D jigsaw puzzle, and exploring this world feels like navigating a Metroid map, or a Zelda dungeon." The World Design of Dark Souls | Boss Keys (By Mark Brown) Mark Brown talks about the world design of the first Dark Souls and how it causes the player to explore and get to know the world that they inhabit and the advantages and disadvantages of this kind of world design. "In each situation, you're presented with an inherently comedic contradiction, meaning that the game's sense of humour isn't purely a product of Peter's charming witticisms-it's in your actions as well, how you physically navigate Spidey through these moments, serving as a reminder that writing in games goes beyond the text on a screen; it's in how everything surrounding those words is contextualized." Spider-Man: Bringing Joy Back to Games (By Writing on Games) Writing on Games discusses how Marvel's Spider-Man and the way that you traverse its world helped rekindle his love for a medium that he had been growing tired of. "For many people, videos games are one of, if not the, primary source of their media consumption and in-turn is a critical pillar of their cultural awareness. When we consider that games could be the first medium through which younger generations are informed about the events that transpired in the great wars - plus the likes of Vietnam or even the Gulf conflicts - there is a responsibility to acknowledge the very politics of those events and make an assertion as to the ethical and moral issues throughout. This industry's adoration of violence can be problematic, but if it is framed to better inform us of the consequences of such action that can be progressive and in-time a positive for our cultural understanding. While I was rather surprised by how well some of these games managed to address this, I fear it's something that will only get worse over time." Disposable Heroes: Designing AI Characters for War Games | Design Dive (By AI and Games) With the arrival of the 100th armistice day, AI and Games looked at the depiction of AI controlled characters in games based off of real world military conflicts and discusses how these kind of depictions can be framed in a way that can enrich cultural understanding. "Places carry the weight of their past in their architecture and, somehow, Ueda has imbued a wordless history within his own surreal and inhospitable worlds." The Architecture of Fumito Ueda (By Jacob Geller) Jacob Geller heartfelt video on the architecture of the games of Fumito Ueda. Feelings evoked by the games, what they might say about the world, the longing for places that never existed, and why everything crumbles into the sea. Music and Sound Design "You experience Madeline's struggle in climbing the mountain through the challenging platforming, but the theme of anxiety is also explored in perhaps a less obvious way: the music. Composer Lena Raine has put so much of herself and her own personal struggle with anxiety into the soundtrack in order to tell Celeste's story through its music." The Anxiety of Celeste and its Music | Game Score Fanfare (By Game Score Fanfare) Game Score Fanfare on the music of Celeste and how it is used to enhance the themes of the game, the physiological effects of music and how Celeste creates a balance between being stressful and peaceful, and how the game's composer relates to the game's main character. "In a game, if we want to have the player thin more abstractly, a low frequency is going to be best. Hyper Light Drifter's soundtrack is electric and bassy, the low pitches invite you to reflect on what the wordless story is all about. Is it a statement on society, on the human condition, or simply a sad tale. It's up to you to decide, but the soundtrack will only encourage you to think abstractly about it. On the other hand, Braid's higher pitched violin might simply prime you to think concretely about its mechanics and focus solely on their utility." Why Frequency is the Secret of Adaptive Music | Psych of Play (By Daryl Talks Games) Daryl Talks Games channel focuses on the interaction between psychology and video game design. Here he covers the effect that adaptive music and frequency can have on how you play a game and what your focus is on while playing. "Known for scoring every Final Fantasy game up until 11, I would consider Uematsu to be right up there with Koji Kondo as the two pillars on which the entire culture of video game music rests. Basically, if Koji Kondo is video game Mozart, Nobuo Uematsu would be video game Beethoven. And like Beethoven, Uematsu music feels meticulously crafted to the point where every note feels like it's been placed exactly where it's supposed to be." Final Fantasy VI Analysis Series PART 1: Development of Melodic Ideas (By 8-bit Music Theory) 8-bit Music Theory's covers the work of self taught composer Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, Smash Bros Brawl, Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey) in this three part series. Earlier this year, Uematsu stepped away from work to deal with an illness he has been suffering from. Designing Games Videos discussing the processes and theories behind game design "Miyamoto was one of the first great game designers to see Nishikado's breakthrough for what it was. In an interview with Time magazine, Miyamoto was asked which one game revolutionized the video game industry. His response was: "Space Invaders. Before I saw it I was never particularly interested in video games, and certainly never thought I would make video games." In his first game, Donkey Kong, Miyamoto put Nishikado's design structure to work, but he also made his own important discovery." The History and Evolution of Videogame Design - The Game Design Extracts (By Patrick Holleman) Cadences: Finding the Voice of Any Level's Design - The Game Design Extracts Episode 2 Patrick Holleman spent seven years researching and writing six books on game design, this series looks to put the ideas that he discussed in those books into more easily accessible videos. "But your strongest frames are always the key frames, which act as the foundation for the structure of your animations." The Importance of Key Frames // 3-Frame Run Cycles (By Dan Root) How to Animate a Fighting Game Dan Root's channel focuses on discussing game animation, the above videos focus on the importance of key frames and how they can relay a feeling of energy and excitement that can be lost with more detailed animation and the ways that characters are animated in fighting games to give more power and spectacle to their move-sets. "Because when developers offer certain options or make certain design choices, disabled people can suddenly find themselves able to enjoy a game that would be otherwise impossible to play. Which means these often cheap and simple choice can open a game up to an entirely new audience of players." Designing for Disability (By Mark Brown) Mark Brown's Designing for Disability series focuses around ways to develop games that will make them more inclusive to people with disabilities. Long Form Analysis Videos covering multiple facets of a game from its design, ideas behind and history of their creation, legacy, themes, narrative, and mechanics "Far cry 2 is not a game about Africa, so much as the amorphous Western idea of a mono Africa. Hazy and anxious and soaked to the bone in blood and sunlight. Not naming the country helps to solidify that dreams-cape sense of where you are, not a real place, but an artificial concept of a place. In this frame, the chaos of combat systems make perfect sense. Of course there are no civilians. Of course every car you encounter on the road pulls a screeching 180 to chase you down until you're dead or they are. Of course nothing you do makes a positive impact on the war if any impact is made at all. Of course your character choice doesn't matter, it could be anybody, it will always be somebody. We see Africa on the news, and it's always on fire, here in the digital dream world of Far Cry 2 we sit among the flames and burn with it." A Thorough Look At Far Cry (By Noah Caldwell-Gervais) Noah Caldwell-Gervais looks at the entire Far Cry series, covering Far Cry 1-5 and the spin offs Blood Dragon and Primal. He cover the ideas the games explore with their mechanics, design focuses, stories, antagonists, and by their stated authorial intent. How Far Cry and its Xbox port served as the foundation for Crysis and elements of it being a product of its time. The uniqueness and attention to environment detail in the programming of Far Cry 2, its subversive design, and why it ends up being the subject of academic papers and developer presentations. What happens when you blend the serious and subversive FC 2 with the fun focus of FC 1 to get a more easily marketable title with Far Cry 3, one where the developers now want to use the fun as the uncomfortable and subversive element rather than the mechanics. What the game says about masculinity, what it uses the game of Poker to say about its characters, and how it is remembered vs how the developers wanted it to be remembered. Blood Dragon's shift to a sincere 80's action nostalgia that allows you to have fun while maintaining a harmony of tone and action. How Far Cry 4 is the least ambitious but the most thematically consistent. The pulp horror of the Valley of the Yetis DLC. Why Primal is his favorite of the series, how it makes a graceful transition mechanically to its setting, the enthusiasm behind the game, and what you can do with the limitations of the medium. How Far Cry 5 attempts to bring together all elements of the past games which leads to a disjointed game that fixates on a broken America while refusing to name its subject. "Games with stories to tell - and I suppose it is a change of pace. No substitute for action, but there's no harm in an alternative. After all, the original Monkey Island came out at a time where most preferred the instant gratification of arcade-style games. The very idea of going for 10 minutes without shooting something was alien - until the precipitation of a new acceptance of adventure games. Ultimately, it's all thanks to Monkey Island, SCUMM, Maniac Mansion - and their creator." RetroAhoy: The Secret of Monkey Island (By Ahoy) Ahoy covers the adventure game genre, with a large focus on The Secret of Monkey Island and LucasArts, but also covering game development, sales and markets, developers, engines, companies starting to borrow from LucasArts' influences rather than Sierra's in their own adventure games and even in other genres, and gives some history on the rise and fall of genre and technological advancements. The Game Industry, Connected Industries, and Culture Videos looking into different aspects of the game industry, companies associated with it, discourse, Youtube, funding, hiring practices, etc "We keep hearing stories like this over and over again." Getting into the games industry (By Chris Bratt) People Make Games tells the story of one man's difficult journey into the games industry and where he ended up. "Gaming culture is largely unable to conceive of this level of socio-economic criticism, of analysis of systemic problems and wider issues with society beyond one person's individual failings, and therefore cannot accurately fathom exactly what is damaging the things they love. Instead, they have to fantasize about their very own Lisa hiding somewhere in EA, trying to kill art like some kind of fucking Disney villain. This is why people hate CAD so much. Not because it's bad, no, bad things come and go all day every day. CAD is such a focus and aggression with millions and millions of words written about how awful it and its creator is because it's an embarrassment, it makes everyone else near it look bad, because as bad as it is, it managed to be honest." CTRL+ALT+DEL | SLA:3 (By hbomberguy) While being hunted by an axe wielding creature, hbomberguy reflects on what art says to and about the people that consume it and the need for self criticism to be a part of media critique. He talks about gaming webcomics, how they can be written and consumed while often holding similar attitudes found in films like The Room, EA's business model, and the unreflective nature of gaming culture and what can be learned from it. "So, establishing the character isn't the same this as establishing a theme and, similarly, communicating the event of the story isn't the same thing as communicating a theme. Again, themes are the main ideas that text is trying to communicate, to use these terms interchangeably is simply bad practice and it predictably leads to this kind of confusion." The Most Abused Term in Videogame Criticism (By SolePorpoise) SolePorpoise discusses the original article that lead to the popularity of the term ludonarrative dissonance, what it meant in its original context, how it was frequently misused afterwards, how it contrasts with ludonarrative harmony, and asks if the term is now beyond redemption. "The true strength of Pathologic's nonlinear storytelling is how it manages to render "The Plague" itself, this ungraspable catastrophe of seminal proportions; a villain that utters no word and can never be confronted in a conversation or a confrontation. Pathologic makes this the actual central figure, the true protagonist and antagonist of the story." The Plague (and how it Scarred our Myths and Culture) ✯ Monsters of the Week (By RagnarRox) RagnarRox covers the history and effects of plagues and how they have influences our myths, cultures, games, and movies. "They've all made the same fuckin video. There were more Youtube videos made about these tweets than there were tweets. This outrage isn't real, it was constructed to get clicks using the oldest advertising trick in the book, 'Do what I say because someone you don't like doesn't want you to do it.' The psychology behind this meta outrage industry is pretty sad really." DOOM: The Fake Outrage (By Shaun) Shaun covers a topic similar to his Cuphead video that was included in last year's best of list. The industry of Youtubers and tabloid sites attempting to create fake outrage narratives surrounding gaming products, how they all copy each other, why they do it, what it leads to, and how games are marketed. Always a useful thing to be able to spot with Youtube's terrible search and recommendation algorithms. Those kind of videos best summed up by Venture Beat's Jeffrey Grubb, "This has led to a large group of creators on YouTube jumping from one controversy to the next. If they find a topic that reliably gets views, they stick with it until their audience grows old. Then they move on to the next one. If the next controversy doesn’t exist, YouTube creators manufacture one." "What is this "Great Assumption" I keep antagonizing you with? I hope it's obvious now that it's the paradigm of received knowledge which states that video games are first and foremost supposed to be ludologically gratifying and that a failure to uphold that promise is invalidating. But the more important thing, its consequence, is the inability to deal with the growing number of deviations video games are displaying which the universally accepted paradigm can't explain." Critical Values: In Defense of Prey and Those Who Made It | REVIEW/CRITIQUE (By Ludocriticism) Ludocriticism's critique and defense of Prey (2017) and how it manages to weave together the ludonarrative in a way that hasn't been done in the genre before and the culture of criticism that ends up hurting the ability of critics, players, and developers to critique, engage with, and create games. "One important thing to remember about art, in my opinion, is that it is not a passive reflection or document of history, but it is rather an agent of history, and the connection between the Hudson River School and Manifest Destiny is a prime example of that." How Red Dead Redemption 2's landscapes are connected to 19th century art (By Clayton Ashley) Polygon looks at the way art has influenced the romanticized image of the American West and how that influences games like Red Dead Redemption 2 by discussing The Hudson River School of Art, Luminism, and philosophy of the sublime with the associate curator of American Art at the New York Historical Society. This was done in the above video by Clayton Ashley as well as in an article by Arthur Gies.
  13. Welcome to the AJSA
  14. Welcome to the AJSA
  15. Completed: The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit Platform: PC Play as a 10 year old boy imagining himself as a superhero to uncover a generic story of a mothers death and an abusive alcoholic father. With a few story moments that don't make much sense with some dialogue being a bit contradictory, cliche actions and dialogue, and usual narrative moments that seem more focused on having you understanding why or being partially sympathetic with an abuser instead of focusing more on the harm they do and dealing with that (though it wasn't near as bad as Life Is Strange's abusive father figure who got to be a hero at the end). If more of the story is focused around the abuser and I'm unable to brutally kill them with my telekinetic superpowers, I don't see much of a point. Also don't like kids, even when I was a kid, probably even more so a 10 year old that still writes to Santa.