A couple weeks back, I finished Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us — they’ve sure come a long way since Crash Bandicoot (though, I still pine for the franchise to return to its rightful owner).
As the final act came to a close, what struck me the most was how reflective the game was of itself, and how far its characters had come since the opening scene. The critical reception to The Last of Us has ranged from brightly glowing to argumentative and divisive, but what can’t be mistaken is how much thoughtfulness Naughty Dog has put into it. I jotted down my own thoughts on a few “mirrors” between the very beginning and the very end of the game, which I wanted to share here.
Warning: there’s a significant amount of spoilers ahead!
All my friends play video games,
and one of them joined me to talk about Kentucky Route Zero.
I’ve already written a post about Cardboard Computer’s debut of their new game, but this one calls for conversation. Today’s episode introduces the game and its unique design, artistic influences, ability to tell a story and connections to theatre & film. Kentucky Route Zero may be a haunting single-player experience, but it’s ripe for sharing.
My sole guest on this episode is Hilary Bovay, a talented artist & photographer based out of Rhode Island. She’s got a keen eye for visual storytelling, and her love for the original Crash Bandicoot is all you’ll ever need to know about her taste in video games.
Last night I picked up and finished Act I of Kentucky Route Zero by Cardboard Computer, and just about every inch of its design satisfies my current appetite in video games.
Aesthetically, it’s a stunning game that reminds me of the stylistic work seen in both Team Fortress 2 and Limbo. It utilizes sharp lighting, silhouettes and limited color palettes to tell most of the story, while exaggerated geometry adds even more character to its society. It also manages to reference other forms of art, such as poetry and theatre, without interrupting itself as a game. Continue reading →
One of the conversations my generation seems most ready to have is what they’d do in the event of a zombie apocalypse:
Whose house doubles as a good fort?
Which local store would have the best stockpile?
Whose car gets away the fastest?
What kind of weapons could we make from what’s sitting in the garage?
Who would you band with, and where would you all rendezvous?
It’s a fun game to play, partly because there are no right or wrong answers, but mostly because you get to learn something new about the people around you. The Walking Dead runs with these sorts of questions while putting the safety of others in the mix, making each subsequent one more complicated than the last. It tells an excellent story about people you could relate to, and not just for being a game.
Or at least there are signs of it. Across the river are what use to be people’s homes – homes that are now used to avoid thug infested alleys and a corrupt police force running the suburbs. You can even find paintings on what walls are still standing, mostly of people filling the streets of Dunwall or ships importing goods.
It’s calming though, isn’t it? I’d often climb up here for the view between missions, but every vista in Dunwall is just that: a vista. The city is actually overrun with a rat plague. Looks can be deceiving.
The amount of time you invest in Torchlight II is directly proportional to what you get out of it. Spend part of it exploring the landscape and you will find something worth your curiosity. A band of soldiers surviving together in the wilderness. A ghost ship docks by the riverside. A lonely robot who’s just happy that you didn’t rob him.
The hook of Torchlight II is partly within your curiosity.
From a young age, I’ve always understood video games as an intersection between visuals and sound. Things run around on the screen until they run into something else, setting off some kind of alarm. It might be rewarding, penalizing, or warning you, but there is no denying its hidden rhythm. Somewhere between platforming, abstract art, content creation and music composition, Sound Shapes is a budding intersection between multiple forms of media as well. Continue reading →