Worth Reading, our weekly roundup of the best games writing, has been off the clock for a few weeks. But just as the weather's starting to warm up, it's back.
Hey, You Should Read These
Dating sucks. It's one of the reasons I'm so thankful I managed to find my wife so early; I never have to date again! There's been such a sea change in how people meet since I was previously in the dating pool, shifts that have impacted men and women in different ways. Pip Usher's piece explores how women can fruitfully experiment with relationships through games and romance apps, a safe avenue to explore a relationship you don't have (or may not even want!).
Here's an excerpt from the piece:
The virtual romance gamer is attracted to drama-driven story lines, says Kentaro Kitajima, vice president of Voltage. "[They enjoy] our content like they would reading comics or watching TV," Kitajima explains. Voltage estimates that a quarter of its 40 million players are overseas. The company has already adapted 33 games for the North American market, and three years ago, it opened a San Francisco office.
The games offer a range of approaches. Where Nameless allows the gamer to play matchmaker, My Virtual Boyfriend, an American app, takes a more direct approach, providing a wide selection of male sims that peer out and speak to the player in a pseudo-relationship setup. Whatever the plot, the aim is the same: to create an emotional connection. "When I read their stories, I feel like they are real," Mook says of her digital suitors. "It's like I understand them."
Most online games don't last more than a few years, as developers and (fans) move onto the next thing. But in rare instances, some keep going. Though active development on Urban Dead stopped a while ago, a group of dedicated players have kept the largely text-based zombie MMO going. As someone that's moving from one game to the next, I'm fascinated by players who stick with a game for long periods. I might play Mario Maker for 10 years, though.
Here's an excerpt from the piece:
Liche stopped playing this past January, but returned in October. His one and only sabbatical from Urban Dead. Unfortunately, a number of folks that he had played with for those many years also left during that time — and have yet to return. "The other zombies I played with have floated off [...] which is very sad to me" he says. Some of those had been playing for nearly as long as Liche — 10 years and some change as of writing. "I still hope they will come back at some point, but [Urban Dead] doesn't really have much to pull you back once you leave — except for the reason I came back: the friends you make while playing."
Friends are an important resource for players, but perhaps even more so for zombies. Taking on a group of survivors is almost a waste of time alone. A single zombie is good for ripping at barricades and maybe, just maybe, taking down an injured survivor that's found themselves outside the security of a building. Two zombies working in tandem is much more effective at any given task, and that only continues to improve with each successive zombie.
If You Click It, It Will Play
Oh, And This Other Stuff
- Brendan Caldwell explored a Minecraft server where there are no rules.
- Yanier "Niero" Gonzalez looked back on 10 years of operating Destructoid.
- Gareth Damian Martin criticised the politics underlying The Division, and it's not pretty. (When I played the game, I had to stop thinking about it.)
- Gita Jackson shared how Fire Emblem is, to her, all about relationships, not combat. I suspect this is how a lot of people play the game.
- Scott Butterworth chatted with Resident Evil's Shinji Mikami on the franchise's legacy. (Can he come back and rescue the franchise, too?)
- Robert Yang uploaded his GDC talk, where he argued "the game industry needs to get laid and just chill already."
- Patrick Lee pointed out how Life Is Strange's power fantasy is about human decency, not saving the world.