Death in Games – Narrative/Mechanical Synergy

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Video games hold a unique position in media by being directly driven by the actions of its audience. Chose your own adventure type books and interactive movies have tried to achieve this to varying success but are held back by being limited to set outcomes.

Character death has been traditionally a big deal. When the protagonist dies, it is a monumental moment that often marks the end of the narrative. It is emotional and it has meaning. Games are the first medium where death just happens. Sure, narrative death in games holds true to its movie and book counterparts but mechanical death is treated in a very different way.

In early games, death was there as a fail state. The player lost and couldn’t experience the full game. Since each attempt meant another coin into the arcade machine, failure and death were a very common thing. Continue reading

Loot Boxes in Shadow of War

God Damn it, Warner Brothers Games. How many times do we have to watch the triple A gaming industry try to shoot itself in the feet to try and bleed out more cash from its customers? How many bad business practices and anti-consumer moves do we have to see before enough is enough. Will it ever be enough? Increasingly I doubt it.

*sigh* So, the incident that has sparked this is the announcement that WB Games will be adding loot boxes to Shadow of War. Loot boxes are shady enough at the best of times, but for a single player game that is full retail price and has paid DLC, it is simply shameless. Continue reading

Great games to play with non-gamers (that isn’t Nintendo).

Gaming is increasingly becoming a more mainstream hobby but there are still those who, for whatever reason, don’t play games. Maybe you want to involve family members in your passion, kill time with a non-gaming friend or introduce a romantic interest into your world. With so many games out there, which are the best for introducing new players to games while being enjoyable for all parties involved?

I am only including multi-platform games here. All of them will also be focused on local play too rather than online. Continue reading

Bethesda’s Creation Club – Are paid mods the future?

As a struggling writer pumping hours of hard work and passion into my craft, I can certainly understand wanting to get paid for that effort. I don’t think there is anyone out there who doesn’t think that certain game modders release work to a high standard. Many games are near unplayable without mod patches while other games are given a wealth of post release content, often offering a better experience than what the developers managed, that keeps a game’s community thriving for years.

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Yet the topic of paying mod creators never fails to put people on edge. We can all remember the catastrophe that marked Bethesda’s fist attempt at monetising mods. In a rare win for consumers, two giant corporations backed down on making easy money due to how unpopular and flawed the system was. But now Bethesda has cut out Steam and is back for a second attempt. Continue reading

Dark Souls 2 – Is it really a souls game?

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Dark Souls 2 is an interesting game. It was the first ‘main-steam’ Souls game to release after DS1 rose to become a beloved title after its launch. Initially there was a consensus that it was a letdown. Now though the tide has turned and a large section of the fanbase will crucify anyone that criticises the game. I’ve watched Youtube videos that analyse the game with massive dislike bars just for explaining why they felt that it didn’t live up to its reputation while much of that fan hate has turned to Dark Souls 3.

I am a big fan of the original Dark Souls. It easily tops my list of favourite games. As such I was very excited to play the sequel. I didn’t expect it to quite live up to the first because, how could it? DS1 is like lightning in a bottle. The planets aligned and a damn near perfect game was released. The chances of another game living up to that was slim so I tempered my expectation. Hype is a gamer’s worst enemy after all. Continue reading

Nier Automata – The beauty of ending E (Spoilers)

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I recently posted my review of Nier Automata after completing ending A. I have now completed the final main ending (E) and have some thoughts that I need to put to paper. I will be talking about ending E so you have been warned.

In my initial review my biggest issue was with the characters. I felt that they lacked depth. I can safely say that this was resolved as the game progressed, especially in the case of 9S. I got a lot of hours out of the game and fully recommend the game to everyone.

That isn’t what I want to write about today though. I want to write about a moment that made me surprisingly emotional. The game is filled with tragedy but it was the end credits for ending E that really it me in the feels.  Continue reading

Parent Gaming Prima – Raising Children in the Video Game Generation

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I’ve debated this topic with myself for a while now but haven’t really commented on it due to not being a parent myself. However, I did grow up from a young age surrounded by video games and am now an adult who watches the industry closely. I have seen the gaming climate shift from nerdy pariahs stigmatised by society to a mainstream activity that has become a core part of modern day life. I have seen communities change and have witnessed the good and bad of gaming’s rise to power.

With this knowledge I want to impart some advice for parents bringing up children in this digital era. Parents who themselves are already gamers will know and understand most of these points but if you are unfamiliar with the medium then it can be a mystical and complicated concept to tackle. You cannot avoid it though. Your children will be exposed to games so it is vital that you give them the correct support because it is far too easy for games to create bad habits in children. Continue reading