Life Goes On: Done to Death


Death has always been used a core mechanic in gaming, typically as punishment and a definitive indication that yes, you sure did miss that jump. This is not always a Game Over scenario; upon death in platformers like Super Meat Boy, you quickly spawn back in and try again. The entire survival horror genre, and the rise of the Dark Souls series, are based on nigh-inevitable death. A small group of Canadian indie devs have taken another approach, and used the deaths of a battalion’s worth of adorable, misled and forsaken knights as the sole tool in the toolbox for players to solve their puzzler, Life Goes On: Done to Death. This irreverent release is light on story and far from morbid, and proposes some interesting puzzling situations. It’s somehow both simple, and not.

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Link’s True Face: An Analysis of Majora’s Mask

There have been few games in The Legend of Zelda series to have inspired as much textual analysis as Majora’s Mask. Since its initial release in 2000, the creepy follow up to the critically celebrated Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has become a focus for speculation and thematic discussion in a way that no other entry in the series has. From its unfamiliar setting ‘Termina’ to its narrative centred on impending doom and loss, this offbeat entry in the beloved Nintendo franchise has inspired many long-term fans to write and blog about their own interpretations of the game. It is my firm belief that Majora’s Mask presents a game world – perhaps imagined by Link himself – that acts as a space for the exploration of Link’s own psyche. Although Link is constructed to be an empty vessel for the player to enact heroism through, there are compelling reasons to believe that aspects of Link’s character maybe be reflected in the narrative arcs of Majora’s Mask.


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Battleborn Open Beta: The Return of the Borderlands


Do you like the Borderlands series? Do you like Destiny? Do you like the gameplay mechanics presented by industry-dominating MOBA titles and wish they would in some way pervade into your beloved Borderlandss and Destinys? Gearbox Software delivers to you a limited scope of Battleborn, free of charge, in the currently running opening beta; I think you will find it caters for your oddly specific needs.

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Deep Into that Darkness Peering: a review of Dark Souls III

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Did you know that the Dark Souls games are hard? Well they are. They hate you and kill you and make you want to cry. They love it, but so do you. You love getting owned by the skeletons with the swords, or getting knocked off a cliff by an undead dog. Because when you learn and grow to overcome the pain and persevere until victory you will feel amazing. You earnt this victory. It was tough but fair.

Dark Souls games are hard – and Dark Souls III is the latest Dark Souls game. It continues the trend of being hard. You will die a lot and you will love it.

This tends to be how the larger gaming community talks about the Dark Souls games. They are tough but fair – only ever punishing you because it was you who made the mistake. I love the Dark Souls games but I will be the first to admit that this isn’t entirely true. The Souls games are mostly thoughtfully designed, but they have always had rough or sloppy moments that are hard to think of as being anything other than ‘bad design’. Having to exhaust all dialogue options with some inconspicuous non-player character so that she’ll randomly turn up later on in the game to open a door for you in Dark Souls II – well that’s just bullshit.

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From a tumbling ball of cotton yarn a hero is birthed. Yarny is the aptly and unimaginatively named embodiment of Unravel’s central themes; bravery, persistence, and a desire to connect. While these aren’t very directly communicated through the game, they do lend some weight and meaning to this puzzler, in case that’s what you’re after. Traverse beautiful landscapes, listen to stunning music and piece together a story of memories and the passing of time. And lots of drowning.

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Agatha Christie – The ABC Murders

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Designing any interactive media that pits the player as an ingenious and brilliant detective while retaining a sense of free will would be, I’d expect, rather difficult. To suggest the player should commandeer this genius agent of deduction and carry out an investigation in any credible way without holding their hand would be to assume they already possess genius skills of deduction. To take that hand and lead them through a string of scenes to marvel at this character’s glorious intellect would be to create a lifeless work ill suited to the medium. Agatha Christie – The ABC Murders (2016) does very well to include the player on a linear tale of murder by designing a loophole of a game mechanic; the flesh of the game is not in possessing Agatha Christie’s famous detective Hercule Poirot, but in directing his subconscious in pursuit of a serial killer.

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