Comfort Food Gaming

Navigating this quarantine takes the form of whatever it needs to be for everyone. Your mental health is important and you need to focus on what is right for you. For some it’s doing as little as possible, possibly as mindlessly as possible, to get by. Others need to dive into something to take their minds off of the world or even how much this change has impacted their own lives. There are all sorts of things. For me, being one of those people who is fortunate enough to continue working (so far…), I’m mostly distracted during the day and then need to channel my anxiety elsewhere in the evening. It should be obvious that I’ve taken up writing again, but at other times I game. This is the perfect time to go into one’s archive of games. Not me. In fact, I abandoned Hollow Knight literally at the end of the game. I’ve landed on a couple of games that somehow straddle the line between mindless and meditative. These are my comfort food games.

Continue reading “Comfort Food Gaming”

Why aren’t video games considered a mature medium?

Roger Ebert left us with the legacy of his insightful but sometimes misguided criticism of film. Many learned through him that film was more than just an entertaining spectacle on the screen. It’s about storytelling, acting, camera angles, etc. He peeled back layers of understanding that some might say detract from the movie viewing experience but others say enhance it. Along with that legacy, he also left us with the inspiration to continue doing what we love, no matter what. Despite his diminishing health due to cancer, he kept reviewing movies. His last blog post was literally two days before his death.

Video game fans see a slightly different man with a slightly different legacy. Roger Ebert was the most famous, loudest voice claiming that video games are not art. The video game press tried to take him to task, as did readers on his blog, but no one could convince him otherwise. Games enthusiasts view him as a stubborn old man who just wasn’t living in the present day. An old man who couldn’t see that new art is always emerging. Continue reading “Why aren’t video games considered a mature medium?”

UPDATE: Sony makes sure everyone knows how easy it is to share games on PS4

Sony is clearly trolling Microsoft, but it’s funny nonetheless.

It’s easy to make these jokes when one of the next major pushes are for digital and cloud content. There is also no resale available for digital and cloud games. It is clear to me that the best way to avoid the drama of DRM is to make sure that consumers don’t completely own their games in the first place.

Out with the Used, In with the New Game Sales

The video game news junket has been going on quite a bit lately regarding the future of used game sales, thanks to both Sony’s and Microsoft’s mentions of the possibility that games could be linked to the consoles on which they were originally registered or some similar scheme. Game players do not like having their toys limited or taken away. To some, this is an affront to the hobby.

What no one is mentioning but should is that this is a great idea!

This isn’t me subscribing to the believe that used game sales damage the industry. If I believed nonsense like that, I’d also believe the nonsense about illegal downloads affecting entertainment sales. Those kinds of thoughts are the end result of poor analysis and obvious greed. My belief that quashing game resale is due to my being a longtime video game enthusiast and consumer. Continue reading “Out with the Used, In with the New Game Sales”

Metal Gear Rising’s existentialism

Metal Gear has largely been a series that waxes philosophically about life and war. It discusses the futility of war but also the question of what soldiers have left when there is nothing but peace. These ideas are not explored in any great detail, but it is nice to have a series of games that touches on them when many of the top-selling games seem to go out of their way to celebrate war and violence. Then, just to avoid the hypocrisy that plagues many violent films that ultimately are about peace, the Metal Gear Solid series of games allows the player to complete them without actually killing any of the enemies (well, maybe some bosses…) and may even provide rewards for it.

So what is there to explore in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, a game that was quite explicitly built around the game mechanic of being able to cut almost everything with a sword? Continue reading “Metal Gear Rising’s existentialism”

Xenoblade Chronicles

“I’m sorry, I just got out of a pretty intense relationship, and I’m just not ready for anything long term yet. Can we just hang out and have a little fun?” – Me to most other games after finishing Xenoblade Chronicles


It is unexpected for any Wii game to take nearly 100 hours to complete. After all, Nintendo is supposed to be the well-marketed system for the casual crowd. The focus should be on the Just Dance and Mario Party games, not an intense and sprawling action RPG that has taken some obvious cues from MMORPGs. But earlier this year, thanks in part to Operation Rainfall, Nintendo released Xenoblade Chronicles in America. I have been playing the game on and off since its release in April, and I am happy to report that I finally finished it. Continue reading “Xenoblade Chronicles”

Consoles may become a thing of the past

Check out this article on ITProPortal:

Looking at the current trend, it’s hard to disagree. The mainstream consumer is definitely less likely to pick up an Xbox 360, PS3, Wii or (3)DS for casual gaming if Angry Birds or Plants vs. Zombies can be downloaded onto a device that has functionality beyond gaming. Not to mention the fact that the games each cost less than the average console title and will likely be supported over the course of several device upgrades. Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo cannot boast that sort of longevity for their $50+ games. Continue reading “Consoles may become a thing of the past”

Missed Opportunity

Great video game tie-ins are few and far in between. The last truly great tie-in was…what exactly? What made it such a great game? Did it add to the original property? These are the questions to ask when considering video games based on movies. Continue reading “Missed Opportunity”

re: A Link to the Past’s status

Retronauts: 1UP’s Classic Gaming Blog : How is Zelda: A Link to the Past Different From (and Better Than) Its Sequels?.

That Parish guy gets it. I’ve liked him ever since he ran a site called Toasty Frog, before blogs were known as blogs. It’s always comforting to find some of our opinions are still in line.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword impressions

You never forget your first quest

Before I get to what I thought of Nintendo’s last huge release of 2011, a little context might help to understand how I view the series of The Legend of Zelda as a whole. The first three games my family had for the Nintendo Entertainment System were (of course) Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt, Lifeforce, and The Legend of Zelda. At the time Zelda was too daunting for five year-old me, but it was an amazing game to watch my brother and Papa play. I remember borrowing Zelda II: The Adventure of Link from a friend and being confused by the change in game play but impressed nonetheless with the world it created. Then I rented and played through The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, which became one of my favorite games of all time. I’ve owned, played, and loved just about every proper Zelda game since then (yes, I’m excluding the Phillips CD-I games as well as the LCD handhelds) – and I literally received The Minish Cap in the mail last Saturday. The Zelda series represents to me what video games can be when enough thought are put into them. Ultimately, Zelda games are puzzles requiring the player figure out almost everything, from effective combat strategies to advancement in mazes. There’s a lot of thoughtfulness and mindfulness going on. The least appealing factor about the series is its reliance on its own tropes, primarily the “Received New Item, No Longer Need to Think about How to Move Forward in the Dungeon” trope. Yeah, when you get the whip, that will make the rest of the dungeon easier and you now know what to use on the boss. Regardless, it’s difficult for me to not appreciate the earnestness with which they deliver that trope. The designers want players to constantly feel like they are mastering the games.

Of course I picked up Skyward Sword as soon as it was made available, or at least as soon as my pre-order arrived in the mail three days after its availability in stores. So eager was I to play that I did not even bother to wait until the next day to pop the disc in and go, despite the fact that my pupils were still dilated from that afternoon’s eye exam. It was Zelda time, and I needed to experience the new addition to its world. Skyward Sword didn’t disappoint in the areas where it needed to remain strong, and it brought new experiences to the table. Continue reading “The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword impressions”