At the halfway point through 2017, you don’t really need people to write articles about how they like Nier and Horizon Zero Dawn and Ghost Recon: Wildlands and that new Zelda game on the Nintendo Switch. Exactly no one will be surprised that we think some of these games are the bee’s knees. The more valuable public service is calling out the games you didn’t know about, but maybe you should. After all, you don’t want your 2017 games of the year list to look like an NPD sales chart, do you?
So for the next ten days, in no particular order, I’m going to tell you about ten different games that I think are the bee’s lesser known knees.
I don’t have a Switch, so I can’t get on the Breath of the Wild bandwagon. I’m not sure there’s room for anyone else on that thing anyway. And I haven’t cleared the six hours from my schedule to boot up Persona 5 and get to the actual game part. I’ve played enough of Torment: Tides of Numenera to know that I probably shouldn’t be writing this list yet.
In the tradition of renovating their games so that they’re almost unrecognizable (in a good way!), Stardock has pulled away the scaffolding from Galactic Civilization III to reveal the Crusade DLC, available May 4, for $20. If you don’t already have Galactic Civilization III, you can buy it bundled with the Crusade DLC for $40. Let me show you one of several reasons you’ll want it.
I can understand why Simon Parkin, one of the rare videogame critics worth reading, seems to be feeling some anxiety about his job. A lot of people feel must feel that way, whether they’re plumbers, doctors, or social workers. But Parkin implies his anxiety is unique. So he’s written an article about writing articles about videogames:
But no matter how scintillating the text, when the real world starts to tremble, when fascism begins to rise, when the bombs start to fall, when real lives and real rights are imperilled, the job of writing about [videogames] is further undercut. Why waste our time focused on fictional quests when so much of the real world is in need of repair?
Now maybe I’ve missed it, but I don’t see anyone writing these articles about books, movies, or music.
I can think of at least nine reasons this list might be lacking: Gears of War 4, Uncharted 4, Titanfall 2, Salt and Sanctuary, Kathy Rain, Virginia, Forza Down Under, Dead Rising 4, and The Last Guardian. All games I didn’t get to play this year. I’ll throw in Just Dance 2017 to make it an even ten.
But from among the games I did play this year, let me tell you about my ten favorites.
After the jump, okay, maybe I did play Just Dance 2017, but I’d like to keep that between us.Continue reading →
Overrated is a loaded term. It looks good in a headline. It’s often used for no purpose other than to goad a reaction. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t useful. When I call a game overrated, I don’t mean it’s bad, that the reviews were wrong, that the people who liked it were dopes, or even that I didn’t like it. It just means I’m surprised more people weren’t more critical, that the conversation wasn’t more often about ways the game could have been better.
So if the most disappointing category is a list of games that should have been better, the most surprising category is the opposite. These are games that were better than they should have been. Just as disappointing is about falling short of expectations, these surprising games exceeded expectations and, in some cases, were among the best games of the year.
Calling a game disappointing arguably has more to do with me than the game itself. Disappointment isn’t an inherent quality. It can’t exist without some sort of expectation in the first place. In many cases, these games are sequels, or the creations of developers with proven track records, or entries in established genres, or games with promising beginnings. But for various reasons, a central fact about these games is that I had personally hoped they would be better.
Comics have embraced horror since the earliest days of the medium, from EC Comics and Will Eisner on through to the present day. Since the Comics Code restrictions were relaxed a few decades ago, and with artists and writers like Guillermo Del Toro expressing an abiding love, it’s only natural that today we’ve got a couple of scary comic book recommendations.
In 2014 Sarah Koenig and her producers from This American Life set the podcast world ablaze with their 12-part true crime podcast, Serial. The incredible popularity of that podcast demonstrated that serialized, multi-episode story podcasts might find a willing audience looking for long, heavily detailed stories. If they seemed to have the faintest whiff of reality to them, so much the better.
Even fairly recently, internet streaming video sites like Youtube and DailyMotion were considered a sort of holding spot for music clips and cat videos, not that there’s anything wrong with that. But if you go looking, there’s some creepy video footage to be found lurking in the shadows of those sites. Videos of unexplained phenomenon and weird events abound.