(Content Warning: Detailed Discussions of Mental Health, Detailed Mentions of Alec Holowka’s passing, Crunch, Depression, Over-working)
It’s another podcast episode! Today, Emily sits down with Chris to talk about the somber topic of Mental Health, Toxic Masculinity from a men’s health perspective, and tragic events that have taken place in the public eye of the industry over the past few years.
Last year we indulged in the macabre joy of Sacrifices Must Be Made, a rough gem prototype from Pony Island Creator Daniel Mullins that we came across while scouring game jam entries.
Part Darkest Dungeon, Part Hand Of Fate, the original prototype was built around a simple yet addicting head-to-head card battle game that I’ve been unable to satiate my cravings for outside of the deeply rivetingPhantom Rose. This time however, Inscryption is going to have a lot more going for it than just the core formula, revisiting the concept with new features and a narrative driven focus.
Disclaimer: Catherine Brinegar is a contributor to the Haunted PS1 Demo Disk, with a game in the collection.
The demo disk. A forgotten byproduct of a simpler era where consoles lacked one distinct feature we now take for granted; namely, internet connections. Magazines were the marketing avenue de jour for promoting upcoming releases, and what better way to instil hype for these games than collecting them into a little disk of demos packed in the magazine? A revolutionary way to boost subscriptions and games sales all in one tidy package
As we moved into the modern era of consoles that could always be online, demo disks became unnecessary since the demo could just be downloaded. Online journalism slowly killed the gaming magazines of the day, further paving the way for utilizing the internet as the means of distributing information. Demos too have slowly fizzled away, as games become far more complex and intricate than a demo could reasonably convey.
Within, we discuss The Magic Circle, The Space Between, and many more works as we discuss Chris Franklin’s career, the evolution of the indie game scene in recent years, and the changing demographics of video essays.
(Content Warning: discussions of anxiety, mental health)
It’s difficult to find games that address anxiety in a way that isn’t demoralizing, dehumanizing, or both.
‘Just, Bearly‘ avoids many tropes of the shy awkward protagonist narrative, instead approaching it with an earnest humility that passionately demonstrates the ways strangers intimidate us, without being overly resentful, resorting to dehumanizing story beats, or ascribing ulterior motives to everyone around our hero.
Driving games have a sort of uncategorizable mystique, which has over the years come in myriad flavors. Something about the experience of driving, or perhaps its situational surrounds, serves as a passage ritual, representing a journey not merely through space but also through the psyche.
The Interlude, on the other hand, self-identifies as an anti-thriller and is all about the space between those dramatic highs and lows found elsewhere, it is the eye through which we needle our narrative thread.
The American West is not exactly a unique landscape given the ubiquity of Eurowesterns like Western All’Italiana or Osterns, which were Soviet produced films imbued with alternative underlying political subtext to counter capitalism’s individualistic narratives.
Yet despite the inexplicable fixation the global imagination has for of the genre’s impact on our culture having redefined our perspective of Cinema endures to a point of spilling over into video games long past parody.
Countless times through the ages, hundreds of thousands (if not more) fans and players of a multitude of MMOs have congregated in streets, fields, and other such spaces across their worlds; banded together in solitude against the breaking of the light as their preferred online space/game is forever shut down. After a night of dancing emotes, tearful goodbyes, exchanges of contact info, finally, the servers are turned off, and all goes black. Months and years of memories shared amongst friends, old and new, are lost to the ether of time.
The end never comes the same: a meteor collides with the game world, admins summon a legion of demons to murder the players over and over, or a silent simultaneous worldwide death descends on the remaining few. Regardless of method, the end of an MMO always feels like the end of an era for its playerbase. Many pump endless hours into these games, build massive social networks, and eek out every ounce of fun the game could possibly contain — and, when necessary, make their own. The freeform play of MMOs brings together all kinds, and when the bills can’t continue to be paid for upkeep, all of these people unite once more in the face of loss.
That is until those fans rob the grave and prop the body back up to keep the fun going.
Back in 2003, Hideo Kojima helmed a new project; the first non-Metal Gear title since the release of Policenauts in 1994. It was a bizarre spin on the unique properties of a handheld console, taking advantage of its mobility by nestling a photometric light sensor in the game cartridge. It was called Boktai: The Sun Is In Your Hand, a GameBoy Advance title centered around a vampire hunter named Django. It blended the stealth-action many had come to expect from Kojima, but played it against an isometric angle and utilized actual, real-world sunlight as the source to recharge your weaponry.