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Browsing posts from: Mx Medea

She Dreams Elsewhere by Studio Zevere (2020)

(Content Warning: Discussions of mental health and anxiety)

The sounds of rain pattering against nearby windows, the discordant echo of running water, the sensation of a disquiet sleep, not soothed by the melodious backdrop of the world around you, merely brought into an uncomfortably discordant focus.

Boasting a fantastic soundtrack, wonderfully fleshed out characters, and a compelling lead making her way in a world of beautiful environments and hauntingly sombre sounds, She Dreams Elsewhere by Studio Zevere (seriously, go give them a follow) is, without a doubt, one of the best RPGs I’ve played in recent memory, and I’ve only played the first twenty minutes of it. You play Thalia, a black woman getting through her days trying to cope with social anxiety, mental health issues, and bizarre dreams that plague her, dreams that, eventually, bleed into her reality. The apparently waking world becomes less of an escape from the nightmares, eventually turning into merely another avenue for them to intrude upon her every moment.

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Games Sampler For Windows 95 – Monolith & Microsoft (1995)

The year is 199X, you just signed on to your new Personal Computer Machine for the first time and finally finished the arcane incantations to get Windows 95 running. You look at your hands, clasped as they are shakily around the Computer Disc Read Only Memory device that came with your new Machine. You seat it in the CD tray, press the button, and you’re transported to a new world, a better world, a digital world.

If, like me, you grew up in the 90s with nary a console to your name, you were intimately familiar with shareware, endlessly copied to floppies (against contemporary advice regarding copying that floppy) and passed around the playground (or, in my case, church pew). But what always caught my attention was not the veritable jenga tower of small black squares that cluttered my desk and infested my youth, but the new shiniest circle on the market: The CD-ROM. This was the age of the demo disk, and Windows was in ascension, it makes sense then that Microsoft too cornered the market on sneak peeks into the murky future of PC gaming.

Enter Games Sampler for Windows 95, aka Manhattan Space Station Odyssey.

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WARNING: This article contains spoilers for DOOM 2016 and DOOM: ETERNAL. But who cares about the story anyway, right?

The videogame market has, for many years, engaged in a form of self-referential cyclicality, from indie games hearkening to the minimalist pixel-art design of the medium’s early forebears, to the current wave of PS1 aesthetic resurgence and the much-beloved resurgence of the “boomer shooter”, all the way to the DOOM series’ reflection on nostalgic memories of the hyper-violent and frantic action of 90s FPS titles. This is, of course, nothing unique to video games as one need look no further than the box office hits of modern Hollywood to see that reboots, remakes, and reimaginings are the order of the day.

Enter Jean Baudrillard and his conceptualization of “hyperreality”, the indistinguishable muddling together of reality and the simulated as originally explored in Simulacra and Simulation of The Matrix fame.

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Right on.
Dominique Pamplemousse by Squinky

It was meant to be a simple case
Pay my rent, get me outta the rat race
But I’m starting to think I’m out of my depth
And it might just mean my horrible, untimely death
Trying to get out of here, but it’s no use
And for the love of God, the name’s not Pimplemoose!

Musicals are a time-honoured tradition in both theater and cinema, but sadly, the artform has seldom made the jump to video games. Dominique Pamplemousse by Squinky, however, happily bucks this trend with a foray into the even rarer musical noir subgenre. You control the titular gumshoe as they sing their way down the rabbit hole of a case full of intrigue, deception, delinquent landlords, autotuning, and brutal student debt.

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No Delivery by oates.

[Content Warning: Discussions of abduction, murder, gore, and body horror]

Congratulations! If you’re reading this, you’ve chosen, or have been chosen, to work for the Steeze Pizzeria Stezzoni’s Pizza family. Here at The Steeze Stezzoni’s Pizza, our pizza is our pride, so buckle up and RUN read this manual carefully to ensure that you deliver the perfect pizza every time!  And, for you code monkeys out there, don’t forget to check out our website, full of information, activities and secrets fun pizza facts!

No Delivery by oates is a horror game with procedurally generated dungeon diving, a fantastic aesthetic, engaging combat with a focus on symbiotic resource management, and the occasional burst of dark humor that perfectly encapsulates the suffocating experience of working the night shift alone at a fast food establishment. Whether you’re cleaning tables, crawling through the ventilation shafts, or turning on the industrial walk-in microwave without adequately ensuring that it’s empty, every moment of its gameplay and atmosphere will leave you with a beautifully crushing sense of dread.

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Watering A Flower by Lily Belmira

There’s a common trans experience of wishing you could see your future self, the self you want to be. This experience blossoms, over time, into the earnest wish that you could send your younger self a message in a bottle telling them how everything will change, and who they will become.

Watering a Flower by Lily Belmira is a perfect encapsulation of both sides of this experience, at once presenting a small, safe place for her younger self to seek out the wisdom and reassurance of her older self, nurturing them with kindness, understanding, and hope, while also allowing the older side of herself to reflect upon the events of her past and reify all of those precious memories eked away by time or necessity.

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Hail Eris.
(FAITH, by Airdorf)

[Content Warning: Discussions of death, murder, trans/queerphobia, exorcisms, religious and familial abandonment, and teenage pregnancy.]

Disclaimer: Mx Medea was apprenticed under a pastor in the protestant church for several years.

As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…

There is a monster here, although not the one charging at me from the treeline, nor the one hovering towards me with supposedly murderous intent, instead the monster is more austere, more insidious, more indignant. This demon wears a clerical collar, waves aloft a crucifix, and is absolutely convicted that what he is doing is not only acceptable, but the will of a completely just and loving God. Today, his God says to kill.

FAITH, by Airdorf, is a retro-styled game that leans heavily upon Exorcist horror tropes that compliment the simple style quite well by framing the expected archetypes clearly within the mind of the player by evoking already established characters. It’s a well-made horror game that stays true to its roots and will definitely make you more afraid of a white pixel-monster charging towards you than any game since Ski Free.

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Content warning: discussions of trauma, abuse, substance abuse, and self harm

Terraria by Re-Logic (2011)

If you think about it, aren’t all games a game of the decade, or at least of a decade? Ah well, another 10 years go flying by and it’s time to engage in the Sisyphean task of rolling the “top games of x decade” rock up the hill once again nonetheless, so let’s not waste any time from this decade and just dive straight in.

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“How long have I been alone?”

“My entire life I suppose. How old am I now? God, like it even matters anymore, what’s the point of keeping track when you’re just running down the clock? I can hear them scrabbling about out there, in the mist, the damned impenetrable mist, I can always hear them. I can’t get that note out of my head. Is it even worth the risk of trying to get to the top of the Solar Cathedral? … Fuck it, maybe for once in my life I can finally know what it’s like to not be alone.”

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