It’s obvious I’m a fan of long-form game analysis, particularly story-based. I love to write about games, read about games, watch reviews of games, and talk about games. In a way, the retrospective is just another stage of the experience.
This is producing a strange side-effect where I’m starting to feel glad that the Mass Effect 3 ending was so completely awful in every way, lacking in both coherence and closure, and completely discarding core themes in the last minutes of the game. Sure, a high-profile series ended in a train wreck and a great chunk of lore-rich world-building has been reduced to pretentious mush, but the resulting conversations and deconstructions have been more interesting to me than the game itself. I enjoyed assembling my own list of objections, and I’m still collecting new objections to my running mental tally.
Here is yet another person stepping up to deconstruct the ending. Yes, they lead off with a nod to Red Letter Media, but the review doesn’t go that way. This is actually the most highbrow one I’ve found so far, and the author plays things very straight.
The bit about the Socratic exercise really resonated with me. Yes, this is the thing I love most about sci-fi.
I’ll actually be glad when people stop saying, “You’re ripping off Red Letter Media!” when someone does a long-form analysis. There’s a lot of room for different approaches in this gig, and the more the merrier.
The Best of 2011
My picks for what was important, awesome, or worth talking about in 2011.
A Lack of Vision and Leadership
People fault EA for being greedy, but their real sin is just how terrible they are at it.
There's a wonderful way to balance difficulty in RPGs, and designers try to prevent it. For some reason.
A stream-of-gameplay review of Dead Island. This game is a cavalcade of bugs and bad design choices.
Crash Dot Com
Back in 1999, I rode the dot-com bubble. Got rich. Worked hard. Went crazy. Turned poor. It was fun.