Though it's the middle of winter, there's a bunch of awesome games coming out. Not surprisingly, there's also a bunch of awesome games writing, too. Not sure what to check out? Worth Reading is your guide.
Hey, You Should Read These
Overwatch can probably already brag about having the most diverse cast of characters in games, but Ana suggests Blizzard isn't done yet. When we talk about "diversity" in video games, we're often focused on a narrow set of characters...in their youth. Nico Deyo makes a formidable argument for Ana's age being a huge factor in what makes her interesting.
Here's an excerpt from the piece:
"The incidence of older women, particularly those who show the same level of battle-worn demeanour as their male counterparts, is particularly low in gaming, not just Blizzard franchises. The number of playable ones is even lower than that. I can only think of a few off the top of my head: Olivia "Central" Gladstone (Invisible Inc.), Flemeth (Dragon Age), and Dr. Karin Chakwas (Mass Effect). Like the few other older women characters out there, Ana is important because when we ask for inclusion of varied female characters in video games that should rightfully include women of all ages and types. Seeing older women having complex and interesting lives is not only interesting and realistic, but is something the audience might see in themselves. Quite a few women on Twitter remarked that seeing people so glowingly refer to Ana as awesome made themselves feel great about being slightly older than the "typical" gamer."
2016 has been a special year for games, where I'm constantly building a bigger and bigger backlog. It's the only reason I haven't returned to Bloodborne a second time. The more distance I have from Bloodborne, though, the more I appreciate it. At this point, I may actually like it more than the original Dark Souls! At the very least, the two are tied. (Also, the second half of Dark Souls is trash, whereas Bloodborne's is not.) Rich Stanton became obsessed with the game to a degree I wish I had time for, but in doing so, talks about finding a good moment (and reason) to let go.
Here's an excerpt from the piece:
"When I realised I was saying goodbye to Bloodborne, I did so with a certain reverence, because this world had reverberated with some part of my mind. The Yharnam Stone came to symbolise this and soon lodged in my thinking, its proportions growing by the day. This is not a key item -- unusually for the game it has no function whatsoever -- but it is kind of a capstone to one thread and, more than that, a hunter's memento. I've known it existed for ages but the challenge of obtaining it, an optional trek to the bottom of the labyrinthine Chalice Dungeons, became a rainy day project. Two children means less time to mess about, and so it became now or never. A common idea about games is they can be finished -- completed, clocked, platinumed, whatever -- and set aside, even though one of the qualities we prize most highly is replayability. One definition for the latter is how refined a given game's controls and core moveset are. Replayability is not about how long you can play for, but whether you want to."
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Oh, And This Other Stuff
- Tom Francis argued we're missing the point on VR: it's about controls, not immersion.
- John Scalzi passed on some interesting thoughts on Twitter banning Yiannopoulos.
- Bhernardo Viana took a closer look at an underrated character in Pokemon: your mother.
- Alison Rapp used her own experience of being fired from Nintendo as a way to talk about Twitter's recent banning.
- Chris Kohler cautioned against taking too many lessons away from Pokemon Go, and how it says very little about Nintendo and mobile.