RE:BIND

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[Image by MOYA Horror]

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.

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Just, Bearly‘ by Daniel Roberts

(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.

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Red Desert Render‘ – by Ian MacLarty

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.

Enter Red Desert Render.

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(Final Fantasy XIV [1.0], Square-Enix, 2013)

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.

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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.

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Painting has never been something I’ve had much skill with. My attempts have always hedged towards embarrassing, with shaky brushstrokes and deeply flawed translations of the image I have in mind to the canvas in front of me. Nonetheless, I understand the merits of the craft and can appreciate the dedication even a single painting requires of its creator. Every colour carefully chosen to resonate with those around it, shapes drawn just so, layers of iteration and happy accidents synthesizing into one cohesive piece that blooms in front of the viewer; a collage of abstractions that coalesce into beauty.

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Today, January 8th, 2019 RE:BIND posted its first article ever.

What once started life as a quirky experiment to see if one could outmaneuver the discourse, has rapidly turned into a life-changing media extravaganza. What a lovely community we’ve developed over the past year in our Discord, as well as recently breaching 2,000 followers on Twitter.

None of this would be possible without your enduring support!

As we take a short rest from our year-long sprint to close the chapter of ‘Volume One’, I highly advise you take a look through our archives! Catherine examined some of our best hits that she’s produced over the last year worth taking another look at, and it is unwise to overlook the fantastic works of our editor: Mx. Medea

What’s next?

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Wandering a closed loop of an island, a hidden quest lays scattered about the surreal sights of this lonely mass. Your only choice: poke and prod the surrounds until something happens. Slowly, knowledge is amassed, and a eureka moment strikes! A flurry of activity as disparate elements click together, finally approaching new heights… And plateau. A new challenge lay before you, the culmination of all your epiphanies revealing further unknowns. Will you ever find an escape from this place?

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Trying to summarize an entire decade’s worth of releases is a futile effort; the amount of interactive media dropped for public consumption across ten years is a vast wealth of gems that can’t simply be picked apart for objective “bests,” yet everyone outlet under the sun attempts to wrangle together their picks for some projects that stayed with them over the years.

Following in the footsteps of their Sisyphean task, I’d like to highlight a few titles that resonated with me when I initially played them, and still do in retrospect.

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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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