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Worth Reading 08/02/2013

Hey, Twitter links don't look terrible anymore! Let's put those to use, and find somewhere to put these links.

It's supposed to storm tonight and it hasn't stormed since I moved back and it's all I can think about, so here is a picture of a thunderstorm. No, I'm not sorry. Cue up the horror flicks!
It's supposed to storm tonight and it hasn't stormed since I moved back and it's all I can think about, so here is a picture of a thunderstorm. No, I'm not sorry. Cue up the horror flicks!

Your situation is what you make of it, and the last few weeks have been trying to figure out where I fit into Giant Bomb, given that I’m no longer out in San Francisco. I will not fade quietly into the night!

My first “solo” Quick Look went up on the site this morning, in which I check out the Factions downloadable content for the still-underrated Metro: Last Light. Pretty sure I’m the only who has or will play Last Light on Giant Bomb, so both for my edification and yours, I decided to pull the trigger on looking at the game’s first add-on. To be clear, don’t expect solo Quick Looks to become a daily occurrence from me. It’s a format I’m playing around with, and maybe it won’t work. Plus, I don’t want to take away from what’s become a very welcomed evolution of the format with multiple people joining videos back in the Bay Area. I think that’s awesome, and you’ll only see me filing a Quick Look for a game in very specific circumstances.

(Small aside: I’m surprised at how much people react to the simple branding of a video as a Quick Look. When I put up a video of me talking over Shelter, everyone loved it. When I put up a video about Metro: Last Light, there’s a bunch of anxiety about there only being one person. Reaction from different crowds attracted to different videos (indie weirdness vs. shooter) or psychological reaction to branding that come with some very specific expectations within? Most curious!)

It feels good to be finding a balance between writing and video, though.

Our pilot for a morning show was a great success, and I’m happy to be providing live material for people not willing to wait for California to wake up. It’s always been a sore point on Giant Bomb, and I’m hoping to help fill it. We’ll be hosting the show at least two days a week, and reserve the right do it more frequently, if it makes sense. We’re hosting the show via Google Hangout, simply because it produces better quality audio and video than Skype, and it lets us have a chat that goes along with the show. If you aren’t already aware, there's an audio version of the show in the podcast tab, and future installments should have much superior audio than what you’re currently listening to. The plan is to record audio separate from the Hangout, direct from our mics, and use those files to produce the podcast. It’s a simple as clicking another button, and it should be worth it.

In both cases, please feel free to send me your most honest feedback. I expect nothing less from the Giant Bomb audience, and I hope I’ve shown myself to be more than willing to listen.

Hey, You Should Play These

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Worth Playing 08/02/2013
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And You Should Read These, Too

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Without much fanfare, games are starting to grow up, by virtue of developers getting older. Art is often a reflection of its creator(s), and we’re seeing that in video games, too. It’s not a coincidence that so many games these days harp on daddy issues, whether we’re talking about children dealing with troubled father figures or men coping with the responsibility of a child. As a male who will hopefully be a father, too, it’s hard for me to step outside of that bubble and imagine what it’s like from the opposing perspective. At Paste, Maddy Myers does exactly that, and raises some compelling points about what all of these father games are saying.

“Perhaps it is the realism of the situation presented in The Last of Us and in Bioshock Infinite that disturbs me the most. Real life includes plenty of bad parents. We are meant to empathize with this father’s feelings of regret and failure, because he tried. We are not meant to think too hard about the years that this daughter figure spent sequestered from other people, or the fact that this relationship is the only one she’s ever had (so, gas-lighting her into believing it is a normal, loving relationship is terrifyingly easy, because she has no point of comparison), nor the fact that she has never been allowed to make a decision for herself and might want to know what it’s like to do that.”

“Why gaming's latest take on war is so offensive to Russians” by Colin Campbell for Polygon

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As games grapple with more complex storytelling, complications will arise. Good intentions aren’t enough, and there’s no way to guarantee a narrative will be viewed through a universal prism. With Company of Heroes 2, there’s been some substantial dispute about the game’s portrayal of Russia during World War II. At the heart of the matter appears to be a tension between the game’s need to come up with a number of gameplay scenarios that balance historical accuracy and fun, combined with a potential Western bias about the war itself. There are no easy answer, but Polygon’s Colin Campbell does an excellent job walking us through it.

"Relic argues that Company of Heroes 2 is historically balanced, and rejects the charge that the game wraps its narrative around isolated incidences. 'In a war the scale of the Eastern Front, we had to choose specific battles and incidences to deliver the breadth of the narrative,' said game director Quinn Duffy.

He said that the campaign was inspired by the writing of Vasily Grossman (pictured below), a combat journalist who spent three years on the front lines and had 'unparalleled access to the commanders of the various fronts.' His work, said Duffy, 'illustrates the unparalleled bravery amongst the front line troops, but also cruelty, petty disputes, competition and egos clashing at all levels of the military hierarchy.'"

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Patrick Klepek on Google+