I realise I’m behind the times on this particular story. Surely all the hot takes have been said. So, if you’re not aware, I’ll update you quickly. Earlier this month, Blizzard who is known for games like World of Warcraft and Overwatch had their annual event known as BlizzCon. BlizzCon usually begins with an opening ceremony where new developments at the company are announced. At this year’s BlizzCon they had a couple things of note such as a new Overwatch hero and a remaster of Warcraft 3. However, they decided to end this press conference with an announcement of mobile game Diablo Immortal. There was a prompt backlash and I want to talk about it.
So recently I’ve been revisiting films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Looking back at them I discovered some interesting details about how the world has changed, how I’ve changed, and how the work reflects the world that was to come. Now, I’m looking back at entries in the Assassin’s Creed series. This might seem like an odd choice. My previous versions of this format were revisiting the red-headed step-children of the largest media franchise in the world at the moment. Assassin’s Creed is probably notable for being a consistent AAA franchise in the gaming landscape. It might not the biggest in the market but it takes up a certain amount of real estate in the gaming space. So, without further ado, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood.
The day had finally arrived. Upon reaching his thirtieth birthday, Fargrim was ready to work in the mine. An older dwarf by the name of Balnir showed him the ropes on the first day. Balnir resembled a rock. Solid, but craggy and malformed. He was hunched over and his face was covered in a dozen wrinkles. Notably, Balnir pointed to the mint as one of the first locations of note.
‘We mine the gold, we deliver it to the conveyor belts, the belts take it into the mint, the mint creates the coins, the coins get loaded on the wagons, the wagons go to the dragon.’
‘Where do they go after the dragon gets them?’ Fargrim asked.
‘Nowhere. The dragon keeps them,’ Balnir replied.
‘Why does the dragon get to keep them?’ Fargrim asked.
‘Why does the sun rise? That’s the way it’s always been,’ Balnir told him before they went below and began the arduous process of mining the rich veins of gold.
Depending on your familiarity with the Mario series cast of characters, you may be familiar with the character of Waluigi. Waluigi is essentially a dark mirror version of Luigi, like Wario is to Mario. It would be incorrect to call either of these characters villains as aside from Wario’s first appearance, they’re not antagonists to the Mario brothers. In fact, while Wario has appeared in the main series, Waluigi has never featured in any mainline games. So, why am I talking about Waluigi today? So there’s a new Super Smash Bros. game that boasts that everyone is here. Now there has been a group of fans who think that someone has been missed in this roster of ‘everyone’. There has been vocal support for Waluigi to appear in Smash including a group of cosplayers at last weekend’s PAX AUS. So, considering the love for Waluigi, I wanted to consider why this character is the cult classic of the Nintendo world.
So recently I’ve been playing Just Cause 3. Just Cause 3 concerns Rico Rodriguez who can best be described as a dictator destroyer employed by the CIA-esque Agency. The third entry in the series has Rico returning to his archipelago home, Medici. Playing this game reminded me of another series that takes place across an archipelago, Far Cry. Thinking about it, I was interested to look at each series as the core conceit of both games is that you are dropped into an area controlled by a central villain and you must overthrow them. Through this, you find yourself shooting down hordes of enemies. During Far Cry 3, I found myself worried that the main antagonism centred on a white guy being dumped into a foreign nation and shooting all the brown people. The premise sounded like a bad film like No Escape or American Sniper. So, how true is that fear about the two game franchises?
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Hey all, this piece is a sequel to an earlier piece I did about running in games. Now I want to look at how characters glide in games. Recently I’ve been playing Just Cause 3 which got me thinking about its movement style. In Just Cause 3, you use a tether to grapple to a surface. If you press another button, your parachute deploys. If you press another button after that, you change into your wingsuit. The tether acts as a grappling hook from point A to point B. The parachute gives you an initial boost of height and then a slow descent to the ground. The wingsuit acts as a glide. While using the parachute or the wingsuit, using the tether will guide your flight and if used properly allow you to stay airborne. So, while thinking on this I was reminded of some other games whose movement is based on gliding and how that mechanic informs the game being played.
Have I talked about my relationship with Doctor Who on this site before? Twice before apparently following Capaldi’s departure. I’ve talked about why I think shifting demographics of heroes is important and talked about the Doctor there. However, I think there is a deeper conversation to be had about the Doctor as a character specifically. Anyway, a brief recap of my history with Doctor Who. I started watching in the Davies era around the end of series 3. From there, I watched all of Davies’ era. My favourite episodes of the show in that era were the ones penned by Steven Moffat. However, as I grew along the series, I grew frustrated with Moffat’s era seeming to tell the same five stories and features only three kinds of women (which I feel could be dubbed ‘the Doctor’s girlfriend’, ‘the Doctor’s mother’, and ‘the Doctor’s wife’). Anyway, within me, there was the idea that I would return to the series once Moffat stepped away. So, here I am, on the other side of the tunnel. Let’s talk about the first female Doctor.
Dragons are emblematic of the fantasy genre. Chances are that the word dragon conjures up some very specific ideas in one’s head. Dragon: wings, between two and four limbs, scales, breathes fire, hordes wealth. Now, if you were being contrarian or were brought up on different fantasy media, your mind might instead be drawn to the idea of the Chinese dragon. These are often the two forms we most often have in our heads. With such a clear vision of what dragons are, it’s worth using dragons as a yardstick for other fantasy tropes.
So, this last week I returned to a game I first played in 2015. Prison Architect is a management simulation game where you run all aspects of a prison. The game might be comparable to games like SimCity or Cities Skylines on a much smaller and more violent scale. The game represents figures in the world in a style akin to stick figures. Initially, when I played Prison Architect I was very particular about caring for individual prisoners. I think I even had a good sense of prisoner names and the troublemakers. Now I treat them a bit like cattle in an abattoir. So that’s what I wanted to talk about. When is a human not a human in games?