Review: Pyre

Since 2011, Supergiant Games has been firmly rooted to a visual and audio aesthetic that few can shake a stick at. The beauty and creativity of their previous titles, Bastion and Transistor is largely accepted as utterly undeniable. I am pleased to say that Pyre not only continues this tradition, but shows incredible growth for this rather remarkable indie studio. Sometimes I was so surprised by the subtlety of the animations and the instrumentals that quickly, I learned that I had to take my time in Pyre to catch everything I wanted. Pyre is a game which invited a close reading and rewarded me when I paid it the attention it asked of me with an experience I won't soon forget.

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I'm not Totally Sure if Yonder is Fun But I Feel Like I Like it

With Yonder, Prideful Sloth games, endeavored to create something which took things from each of those, amazing, aforementioned games and create something great. From Stardew Valley, there's farming, from Fable, there's Peter Molyneux's idea of a dynamic world (far better executed), and Windwaker's snappy visuals, with the twist of being in a low-pressure world where things like, leveling, combat, and the ability to die are missing. All of this sounds good but, after hours of trying to settle into Yonder, I don't know if I've enjoyed my time with it.

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A Look at How Games Handle Building relationships

One of the primary tasks of a good game developer is to simplify real life into intuitive and accessible game mechanics. Think about shooting a gun in real life, vs shooting a gun in a game. The process by which you must prepare a gun for use, load the gun, and fire is reduced to one or two controller inputs. One of the main requirements of a game is that it somehow makes the simulated experience relatively easy to access.

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The Elevated Gaming Experience: Dystopic and Utopic Worlds

A core piece of what makes video games appealing is their ability to simulate a believable (different than realistic) experience that is somehow elevated from real life. This can be done in a number of ways relying mainly on the framework of either a utopian or dystopian game world. Or more simplistically, worlds where you can get a game over or worlds where you cannot.

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Black People Need More Hair Options

It's 2017, many games allow you to play as a Black PC, even in the games with longstanding traditions of pallidness. This is significant, being able to finally play as a character that looks like me in Pokemon and Harvest Moon was a childhood dream made a reality but, that doesn't mean that it's all sunshine and roses. I've talked about the ways that these representations of Black folk are inadequate before but, I want to point out one of the larger inadequacies for a moment, mainly, the lack of attention given to hair.

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Review: Magikarp Jump

The Sunfish is arguably the most useless creature on earth. These big-ass fish grow to between 247-1,000 kgs. They are huge with tiny little fins, bad eyesight and small, small, small brains. They are clumsy swimmers who avoid being eaten by most predators by their sheer fucking girth and nothing else. Because of their bad eyesight they literally sometimes swim into things so fast they die. And have been known to get caught in fishing nets quite often and swim right on up to divers. These creatures, also known as Mola Mola, have been the brunt of many jeers over the years.

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The Balance Between Expediency and Detail in Final Fantasy XV

After griping many times and really and truly considering skipping it, I've finally taken the dive into Final Fantasy XV, a cute little bro narratives about a prince and his friends on a grand adventure. In my short time with the game, so I've become obsessed with a small but meaningful point in this game which is, the total lack of expediency in this game's design.

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The Black Gamer's Revolution: My Gaming Home

Exclusively Black spaces exist for a reason. It is tiring to be out in the world, being subjected to the casual racism that exists in our society today, all the time. It's not a big deal if one "nice" white lady says you speak well for a Black girl but, try it on 10, 20, 100 times and it can get to you and that says nothing about the frequent overt racism out there. But for various reasons, I didn't have access to all Black spaces outside my household for a fair bit of time growing up. So, video games became my retreat. But in, what was supposed to be, my restorative safe space, there was always a negotiation to be made.

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Review: Night in the Woods

Through the story, you follow Mae as she navigates the strangeness of small-town life after being the one to get out. What's beautiful about this game is its ability to capture the uncanny. Though the cast is comprised, entirely, of anthropomorphized animals and Possum Springs isn't a real place, the thoughts, feelings, and tensions portrayed in this game are all believable. If you've ever been to a small town in the Midwest suffering from a loss of jobs, you already know Possum Springs. If you've ever failed at something and ran home, you already know Mae.

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Understanding the Casual Racism of the Gaming Industry

Sometimes I like this fun game called, count the Black people when I go somewhere where I expect there to be very few. I've been playing this for a while in a lot of different places, including countries which are supposed to be homogeneous and let me tell you, I have never counted zero. Black and Brown people are everywhere, even in places we ain't supposed to be since the beginning of time. So how is it that I can play through a video game, based in the world we all live in, with no Black people anywhere?

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An Ode to Eating in Video Games

Video games are a form of escapism. We play them for many of the same reasons that we read books and watch TV and movies, mainly, to experience something different. But, it's not always the things that disconnect us from reality which are the most interesting. There is something oddly fascinating about the mundane in video games. 

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