As is our tradition, this year we count down our top five games of 2016. Spoiler alert: there’s a whole lot of indies and oddities on this list.
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Far Cry 2 was, and still is, an anomaly in the world of shooters: A big-budget franchise shooter power fantasy that undercut its power fantasy with constant reminders that this kind of violence has consequences. Throughout the game your friends die, your friends betray you, and in the end, we team with the central villain to save some refugees before we both kill ourselves; doing something good before we let our violence consume us. It was a world that fought back at us as much as we fought it, and everyone was corrupted by the violence.
This post contains major spoilers for This Is the Police.
Tragedy isn’t a genre that video games handle especially well. I’m talking about classical tragedy, a story about a protagonist that is going to lose, like Macbeth or like King Lear. You may already see where I’m going with this. Video gamers are not accustomed to playing to lose.
Winning is, generally speaking, the essential goal of games. Earn the most points, complete all of the challenges, or “beat the game”, these are all measurements of win-states. Lose-states are what the gamer intends to avoid.
Event is a mystery that revolves around whether or not we can trust an AI. It’s a standard story conceit in sci-fi—the suspicious computer—but event adds its twist to the trope by highlighting the unique tragedy of artificial life. This is one of the few games that acknowledges the ugly implications of a computerized intelligence.
Following our discussion of last year’s smash cut heavy Virginia, the Moving Pixels podcast decided to take a look back at one of Virginia‘s gaming inspirations, Thirty Flights of Loving.
This week the podcast looks at the avant-garde games of indie developer Blendo Games.