Why I Didn’t Buy Metroid Dread

After what seems like an eternity since the last “traditional” Metroid game (which was 2002’s Metroid Fusion for Game Boy Advance), a new entry emerges: Metroid Dread. I use the term “traditional” loosely, as the 3D shooter Metroid Prime series is now some 19 years old, and in fact, more time has passed between then and now than the original Metroid and the first Prime title. After 19 years of waiting for another entry in one of the classic “Metroidvania” franchises (and even more if you don’t consider the linear Metroid Fusion to be Metroidvania), the hype was incredibly strong……

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Graphics Matter, Actually

Gameplay over graphics! This is what you’re going to see from a lot of gamers these days, especially those on “my side” of things. They aren’t wrong. The problem is, these things are usually presented as a dichotomy, or at least discussed as one—you are either choosing good gameplay or good graphics. The reality is we’re looking at a field for both things, a matter of emphasis, often a matter of art and graphics actually do matter. In fact, they matter a lot. Visuals sell games. Since you cannot really “show” what gameplay is like as an experience, you instead…

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Little Blessings

My daughter had a hard night. She couldn’t get to sleep until after midnight, then she woke up at about an hour later scared and crying. That woke my son up. I really hadn’t hadn’t slept at all, but I stayed up all night with them. I spent a few hours playing King’s Quest, a Sierra adventure game in the tradition of… Sierra adventure games, with my son, and we all had a blast with it, despite the fact that I was so tired. I was reminded of how things were two years ago, right after my daughter was born.…

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2007: Gaming Ground Zero

Maybe you’ve heard of cultural ground zero: 1997. Now let’s talk games, because unlike other institutions of culture, the games industry kept on growing and innovating for another 10 years. Then 2007 happened, and as far as the bigger publishers are concerned, games reached their peak and no more change or risk was required or even advisable. Gameplay seemed to stop changing almost entirely after 2007, and the extent to which it did change is usually in the negative, involving the watering-down of mechanics and general reduction of difficulty. Of course, there were plenty of amazing games prior to 2007,…

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Games, “Narrative,” and Gameplay

I’m not going to link the article that spawned this essay, mostly because the headline, which provoked everyone, was slightly misleading compared to the content of the article. The gist was the article had a title like “Narrative-focused games should drop the hours of combat,” which most gamers understand to be part of the games-journo advocacy of games that don’t have gameplay. This has been going on for years, and I have been addressing it for years. The odd thing is, the games industry has been addressing this concern, despite the fact that the market already solved this problem and…

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Apolitical™

Sorry, folks, the Apolitical™ brand is just that – a brand. I get it – you don’t like the politics being forced into your favorite franchises at the expense of story, gameplay, aesthetics, and the general effect of the medium itself. I get that female Thor is lame and super-buff She-Hulk is an eyesore. I know that it’s not fun to be lectured about global warming in the middle of a space-opera game, or to be forced to play a game as an uggo who’s bent on killing your favorite franchise characters – and will succeed. I know it’s annoying…

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The Left Can’t Meme

It’s an old meme at this point that the left can’t meme. I had a great discussion last week with Brian Niemeier about his book, Don’t Give Money to People Who Hate You, and in it the subject of memeology of the left came up: I mentioned a former friend that had an image of her turned into a meme, so she started trying to make her own memes of herself as some sort of gatcha. The results were as you would expect – a wall of text trying to explain something crowding out (and thus reducing the impact of)…

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The (Game) Song Remains the Same

A good thread to kick things off: Games are first, and foremost about their gameplay, NOT their story. Story in games can be great. You can tell stories in unique and interesting ways that other mediums just can’t do. However, gameplay is a prerequisite for a gaming experience to be… well, game. I never finished The Last of Us because its gameplay was, quite frankly, too boring. It also looked boring. The story started off with a good hook in the form of tragedy, but then became a slog. There was very little game at the macro level, and none…

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