We are living through a new point-and-click renaissance. Video games such as Kentucky Route Zero and Disco Elysium give credence to an aspect of gaming that far too often goes overlooked by the masses: legitimate, well-crafted stories whose artistic merit equal their social commentary.
When you think back fondly on the best RPG machines, a few consoles immediately come up in the conversation: PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Super Nintendo, even the PlayStation 4. When we talk about role-playing games, the discourse is almost always skewed in the direction of our popular mainstays, such as Final Fantasy and Persona. Although RPGs run the gamut of style and substance across every single console, there are still so many genre entries out there that somehow get overlooked by the populace at large. Some of those RPGs are lucky enough to be re-released or remastered, which affords them a…
Over eight hundred years ago, The Song of the Nibelungs was written. Originally an oral tradition of epic stories and poems, the Nibelunglied (and its fellows, the Poetic Edda, Prose Edda, and and Volsunga Saga) would go on to influenced popular culture in myriad ways, from the The Ring of the Nibelung cycle to The Lord of the Rings and even the modern epic Berserk. The adventurous heroics of the Nibelunglied echo so strongly throughout artistic media that we have come to see their wide-spread influence as common Norse mainstays. …
When the Conception occurs, Tokyo is transformed. Bound to an event triggered by a sinister death cult, Tokyo’s transformation is not one of total hell, but of a twisted resolve that churns out an amalgamation of modernity called the Vortex World. Filled with demons, bizarre characters and a twisted landscape, the Vortex World’s most defining characteristic is not its traditionalist post-apocalyptic factors but its anti-humanist architecture, a parade of surrealist geometry that is both fascinating and horrifying.
Mega Man X5 kicked my ass for well over thirty minutes last night. Not the entire game. Not even a boss. It was a segment of a level, a ten-second space between checkpoints in a Sigma stage, a cruel gauntlet of sadistically placed ranged enemies and walls teeming with instant-death spikes.
I died, I tried again. I died, I tried again. I died, I tried again. Over and over, ad nauseam, without relenting.
These are kid’s games, aren’t they?
My life changed after I first played Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on the Sega Genesis. All of us look back on the games of our childhood with a certain unique fondness. This love can often be rose-tinted, and it is a love that is very much forgiving. Some of these games haven’t aged well. Some of these franchises have lost their steam or died out entirely. Sonic the Hedgehog, for all his glory, has had a life of more downs than ups.
Somehow and despite this, Sonic keeps going. He never stops running.
And neither should we.
I waited for The Last Guardian for nearly ten years. Work for the next game by famed auteur Fumito Ueda began shortly after the release of Shadow of the Colossus in late 2005. Up until that point, Ueda and his Team Ico had made an impressive name for themselves from the release of only two games. Those two games served to not only redefine our treatment of video games as art, but also as projects that felt more like arthouse films than games.
There are few real constants in life. The ones that anchor us are all too often constants of tragedy: bills, deaths, jobs, accidents. When it comes to video games — especially gaming in the modern era — too often games become meme of the week only to be dropped and forgotten a few months post release. We’ve been trained as consumers, to be hip on new trends and buy the new fun thing so we can talk about it then and there. …
For those not familiar, P.T. was a playable demo released in 2014, purportedly for a new game in the Silent Hill franchise. The demo was created by Hideo Kojima, which was enough to gain the attention of a large swath of the gaming universe.
By the year 2000, the original Playstation had crowned itself the king of RPGs on the market. Final Fantasy VII, VIII, and IX, Xenogears, Chrono Cross, Vagrant Story, Star Ocean, Legend of Dragoon, Valkyrie Profile, and Persona 2 just to name a few. While many of these RPGs retained an insistence on “state of the art” three-dimensional graphics, a few RPGs made callbacks to the SNES era instead, utilizing a mix of three-dimensional maps and backgrounds with two-dimensional sprite work characters.
Author of the Kognition Cycle. Works featured in Moonchild Magazine, Twist in Time, Selene Quarterly, and other anthologies.