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.
Do It Again, Stupid
One of the highest-rated games of all time has some of the least interesting gameplay.
Spec Ops: The Line
A videogame that judges its audience, criticizes its genre, and hates its premise. How did this thing get made?
Mass Effect Retrospective
A novel-sized analysis of the Mass Effect series that explains where it all went wrong. Spoiler: It was long before the ending.
A Telltale Autopsy
What lessons can we learn from the abrupt demise of this once-impressive games studio?
Good to be the King?
Which would you rather be: A king in the middle ages, or a lower-income laborer in the 21st century?