First Impressions: Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp

A lot of people have been waiting for the Animal Crossing mobile game.  Since it was announced, fans of the series have been waiting patiently for more information and well, now we know more. Yesterday, Nintendo's silence was broken during a Nintendo Direct where they detailed Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, which will be released sometime in November. That is unless you live in Australia.

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Cosmetic Randomized Loot Boxes are Super Exploitative

I feel like everyone is in agreement about micro-transactions being bad for gamers. After all, allowing players to buy an advantage over other players, or flat out creating impediments, in games, that can only be surmounted through micro-transactions is, at best, irritating, and, at worst, horribly exploitative. But, to this day, there has been a hierarchy of these critiques which put micro-transactions which purely effect cosmetic aspects of the game lower on the scale of being reprehensible than systems which are more gameplay oriented. But, I believe there is an argument for these cosmetic systems being as bad, if not worse than their counterparts...

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Retrospective: Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley opens with a scene, in which you grandfather, on his death bed, hands you a sealed envelope which he instructs you to open, only when you've become exhausted with modern life. Very abruptly, the scene transitions to a dirty, factory-like office facility where hundreds of workers, including the player, toil away in cramped cubical, watched by security cameras. The player character opens their desk and pulls out the letter their grandfather gave them and realizes their grandfather left them his farm in Stardew Valley, in the hopes that your character would try and reconnect with what is important in life. Stardew Valley deals with this of this idea of freedom and what is important throughout the game and ends up being both, enormously fun and a meaningful critique of Western values.

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Golf Story Does Some Pretty Cool Things with Text

Golf Story, an indie, released on the Switch last week, is reminiscent of old Gameboy Advanced games. It has beautiful 32-bit artwork which is animated with a smoothness that makes proper use of the modern hardware. You play as a young man with a technically obtuse, but extremely effective, golf swing who wants to be a professional golf player. The game’s narrative arc follows the boy as he convinces the folks around him that, despite his odd swing, he can play a good game of golf.  While the story isn’t groundbreaking, the overall premise is serviceable and the writing is pretty good. But, the way that the dialogue is presented makes Golf Story give some of the most charming storytelling I’ve experienced this year...

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It's Getting Harder For Me to Play Games About Teenagers

I had this realization earlier this year when I was playing Persona 5 which was, it's getting harder for me to play games about teenagers. This thought occurred to me as I was making the final decision about which teenage girl I would be setting my teenage protagonist up with. It felt too intimate a decision for me, an adult to be making on an emotional basis. I felt too old to be, that, involved in teenage romance.

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We Need More Tenderness in Shooters

Shooters, unsurprisingly, are traditionally set up around the idea of shooting things. The ability to aim, dodge bullets, and ultimately, kill enemies without being killed are the skills that these games value above all else and in online situations, those who cannot do those things need not apply. For games like Call of Duty, Halo, Battlefront, and others, if you aren't good, you're bad, and if you're bad, you were subject to horrible verbal harassment. Neither the game nor the community could show the weakest newest players any sense of understanding or tenderness. Not only did they lack the encouragement to do so, they also lacked the tools.

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Destiny 2 Impressions From a Skeptic

I had never played Destiny, until last week when I bought Destiny 2. I wasn't super interested in it at first. After reading people's initial disappointment with the first game in 2014, the name dropped off my radar. Later on, people started coming around to it, saying the game was fantastic with a community to play with, I didn't have a community so, I managed to go the entire three years without touching it. Last week , I realized that through The Black Gamer's Revolution, I finally had that community of players that might make the experience worth trying so, I jumped in.

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Nintendo Doesn't Have a Understanding of Why They've Been in the Weeds

On Wednesday, while I was watching the Nintendo Direct presentation, a feeling of pride washed over me as I saw them attracting the 3rd party support they haven't had for the last two-ish decades. Having LA Noir, Doom, and Wolfenstein II come to the Switch is a big step. Around that same time, I heard a rumor about Nintendo developing an achievement system which people have enjoyed on Microsoft and Sony Consoles for two generations. Way back when we were just hearing details about the Switch for the first time, I was so happy I could cry when they announced the Switch would support Unreal Engine 4, which was an unreal (sorry) decision to exclude from the Wii U. Nintendo seems to be learning from their past failures, sometimes, but, I can never tell if they're thinking about why.

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