Sunday newspapers

Sunday newspapers

On Sundays, it’s to go for a walk at the nearest big Tesco. Before we go, let’s read this week’s best writing on games (and things related to games).

On Bullet Points, Reid McCarter wrote about Sam’s messianic role in Death Stranding. An examination of how Sam’s flesh and blood fuels the game’s portrayal of America. Reads a lot like a JSTOR text, but bear with it!

Death Stranding is a game about humanity as a whole, but it specifically centers America as the place of world fate. Sam’s journey and Bible associations take on more weight in this setting. If America continues to officially invoke a Christian worldview as essential to its national fabric, it is only fair that the world that lives under the country’s influence asks it to reconsider what that worldview should entail. In the allegorical terms of Death Stranding, the question is put in simple terms. Does American ideology ask its citizens to be like the nihilistic terrorist Higgs, servant of destruction, or like Sam, who fights alienation and despair to work with others and try to fix a damaged world ?

For Paste, Grace Benfell wrote about how modern games owe everything to Ico but refuse to learn from it. She examines the disadvantages between Ico and companion character Yorda, as well as her simplistic use of gender roles.

Care goes hand in hand with the fight, with the distance that separates two people. Ico instructs the player to protect or care for Yorda in a way that is often awkward. She will go on her own. If the player is in another room, shadows will appear and take it away. Defeating these mystical monsters is no fun in the traditional sense. It’s easy to lose track of Yorda in the chaos of combat, and enemies will constantly knock you down. Combat is also simple, a small child waving around a stick mashing the X button over and over. Yorda is of no help, to the point where one wonders if she could even significantly hurt one of the shadows. All of this, as they say, smacks of genre, but it also makes Yorda more than just a tool. She has needs that the player must venture to satisfy. Fighting enemies does not serve the power of the player, rather it is a clumsy way to protect Yorda.

On Eurogamer, Edwin-Evans-Thirlwell reviewed Live A Live. I’ve had my eye on this reboot of a 1994 Square Enix RPG and it seems to deliver. Note: This is only on Switch at the moment, but hopefully it will come to PC at some point.

First released in 1994 and remastered using the same sprites-meets-polygons visual style as Octopath Traveler, Live A Live is essentially Sidequest: The Game – as I probably should have realized before comparing it to a cheat level selection in Sonic. It’s a collection of 1-3 hour interwoven stories set in different historical and/or fantasy time periods, each with its own colorful take on what an old-school Squaresoft RPG can be. Much like with side quests in traditional single-narrative RPGs, some chapters are more successful than others, but all are engrossing experiences, and while slightly thwarted by the stop-start anthology structure, the overall grid-based combat system worth the 20th it will take you about a few hours to reach the end credits.

Danielle Riendeau wrote about how Fortnite looked almost drak and gritty for Fanbyte. A quick and super intriguing read on how Fortnite was first designed with survival horror in mind.

The team started to develop a style – there were a lot of weird horror creatures, zombies that had some kind of evil “mist” component and other nasty, grimy and scary stuff, which you can see here . But the team felt the need to move away from gritty environments and characters when they began to consider the longevity of their project, especially when it came to free-to-play games and games as a service model.

This week’s music is Ripple by ao. Here is the YouTube link and the Spotify link. Damn catchy.

I just bought The Housekeeper And The Professor by Yoko Ogawa. I’ll keep you posted on my thoughts…

That’s all for now, see you next week guys!


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