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.
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.
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
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?
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.
Content warning: discussions of trauma, abuse, substance abuse, and self harm
If you think about it, aren’t all games a game of the decade, or at least of adecade? 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.
It’s hard to say if we, at RE:BIND, really believe in a ‘Game Of The Year’ or even a ‘Game Of The Decade’
What we do believe in are important artistic works, the individual contributions to the greater cohesive whole, cultural context for the way we live and the things important to us.
So join us for the games we think helped to define 2009 – 2019, we largely believe these works to be of great importance, and that you should play them. By no means is this comprehensive, or intended to assert the primacy of these games over all other works.
With the release of the hyped final entry in the most recent Star Wars trilogy, eyes have turned to the lackluster reception and immediate backpedaling present in the subtext. With numerous concessions made to comply with fan backlash since the first entry, heated debates about the appropriate level of fan service, the responsibilities surrounding a reboot or revival, and arguments on who should helm one of the most established contemporary pop media franchises, has finally culminated in one tumultuous yawn. Not quite a failure, not quite a success- just a lingering bitter taste in the mouth of those with expectations cultivated beyond reason. The impossibly high bar of quality demanded induced by runaway marketing strategies, artifically assembled as a sort of bulwark, a last ditch defensive effort by media corporations against cynical counter-culture.
It becomes increasingly self-evident with every passing year that we have an ethical obligation moving forward to examine the conditions that lead to this scenario, there are many lessons regarding the future of interactive media, film, and commercial games and the toxic influences that pervade each respective industry. As hardware innovation and novel inspiration reduce to a simmer, an uneasy sense of doubt begins to take root in the institutions we take for granted on a daily basis. The audience’s enthusiasm that has driven us unquestionably to this point begins to run dry- suddenly, the glamour has worn off and we’re no longer impressed with the emperor’s new clothes.
Where will the next decade take us when we can no longer coast on established success and the familiar momentum of presumption? after all, ‘He who controls the spice-‘ waitaminute, wrong franchise!