Tag Archives: video

I Described 47 Video Game Box Covers From Memory

My friend Alex Jaffe sent me a list of 47 video game titles. Without looking at the list, I stepped in front of a camera. Our producer CJ read the list one name at a time. I tried to describe what each game’s box looked like. This was a terrible idea. I loved it.

Of course, my friend Alex Jaffe didn’t want to just send me a list of classic fan-favorite video games. He had to send me a list that includes plenty of weird shovelware detritus. In many cases, all I had to go on was the faintest recollection outside the corner of my eye during a power-walk through a Target store, past the bargain electronics aisle.

In many cases, I had to flat-out guess.

While editing this video, I was surprised at how well I’d remembered the tiniest, most unremarkable details of video game box art.

Why did I remember that the PlayStation version of Tomb Raider had hieroglyphics on the wall behind Lara Croft, though the PC version didn’t? It turns out there’s an anecdote behind that.

It turns out, I can conjure an anecdote out of lots of things.

Conventional wisdom implores us to not judge a book by its cover. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop all of us from sometimes remembering a game’s box art more than we remember the game. If you watch this video, you’ll see that I am able to say plenty about just about any video game’s box art, even if I don’t actually remember anything about its box art.

See if you can surmise where I’m faking my conviction and where I actually confident in my possession of the facts. Post your assessment in the comments, so I can decide if I ever want to play poker with you.

You know what I’ve noticed, lately? The “weird flex” comment meme from earlier this year has mostly disappeared from the comments sections I hang out in. I think I figured out why: to put anything at all on the internet is a weird flex. Well, buddy, when the flexing gets weird, I flex the most. In summary: yes. I made this video.

By the way! If you personally liked, commented, and / or subscribed to our YouTube channel, that would definitely fuel my habit of making a lot more videos like this. I promise you might love it.

There’s even a playlist of all my other videos. Wow!

Source: Kotaku.com

I Described 47 Video Game Box Covers From Memory

My friend Alex Jaffe sent me a list of 47 video game titles. Without looking at the list, I stepped in front of a camera. Our producer CJ read the list one name at a time. I tried to describe what each game’s box looked like. This was a terrible idea. I loved it.

Of course, my friend Alex Jaffe didn’t want to just send me a list of classic fan-favorite video games. He had to send me a list that includes plenty of weird shovelware detritus. In many cases, all I had to go on was the faintest recollection outside the corner of my eye during a power-walk through a Target store, past the bargain electronics aisle.

In many cases, I had to flat-out guess.

While editing this video, I was surprised at how well I’d remembered the tiniest, most unremarkable details of video game box art.

Why did I remember that the PlayStation version of Tomb Raider had hieroglyphics on the wall behind Lara Croft, though the PC version didn’t? It turns out there’s an anecdote behind that.

It turns out, I can conjure an anecdote out of lots of things.

Conventional wisdom implores us to not judge a book by its cover. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop all of us from sometimes remembering a game’s box art more than we remember the game. If you watch this video, you’ll see that I am able to say plenty about just about any video game’s box art, even if I don’t actually remember anything about its box art.

See if you can surmise where I’m faking my conviction and where I actually confident in my possession of the facts. Post your assessment in the comments, so I can decide if I ever want to play poker with you.

You know what I’ve noticed, lately? The “weird flex” comment meme from earlier this year has mostly disappeared from the comments sections I hang out in. I think I figured out why: to put anything at all on the internet is a weird flex. Well, buddy, when the flexing gets weird, I flex the most. In summary: yes. I made this video.

By the way! If you personally liked, commented, and / or subscribed to our YouTube channel, that would definitely fuel my habit of making a lot more videos like this. I promise you might love it.

There’s even a playlist of all my other videos. Wow!

Source: Kotaku.com

We Need More Funny Video Games

Comedy is one of the toughest things to get right. A lot of what makes humor connect is delivery and timing, whether it be an energetic setup to a deadpan punchline or an awkward silence left to linger in a movie scene. Games have plenty of throwaway jokes, which do shine in games like Uncharted, but they rarely lean into the humor the way I wish they would. Games where the humor is a defining feature, like Portal or The Stanley Parable, are too few and far between.

So I sat down this week with Kotaku staff writer Joshua Rivera to discuss why we think games struggle to get that hilarious flavor right. We also discuss some indie games that are taking giant steps in the right direction.

About the author

Source: Kotaku.com

A Lot Of Terrible Video Game Characters Wear Sunglasses

For today’s video, I tried to think of as many sunglasses-wearing video game characters as I could. Immediately Cool Spot, Rash from Battletoads, and Duke Nukem sprang to mind. It did not exactly go well from there: it turns out a lot of video game characters who wear sunglasses suck.

If you were born before the year 2000, there’s a chance you remember the 1990s. Back then, advertisers had an addiction to cool. And no cynical shortcut took one so briskly toward Cool City as sunglasses on a cartoon character.

In this video, I ruminate on the ramifications of slapping sunglasses on a fragment of a beverage logo. I beseech the viewer to imagine what would happen if an accountant had written Toy Story.

This entire video is improvised. I decided to step in front of the camera and speak extemporaneously for exactly 20twenty minutes. I happened to still be wearing my sunglasses when I entered our studio. I had forgotten to put my regular glasses on. I said, to the camera, that most comments are likely going to be about my wearing sunglasses.

This gave me the immediate idea to rank the best sunglasses-wearing video game characters throughout history. I set the bar low: I said I would list 10ten. I ended up listing more than 30.

It turns out I saw a lot of sunglasses on television as a teenager in the 1990s.

So if you want to hear me roast Cool Spot and Rash from Battletoads, you’re gonna have to click that link, Ninfriendo.

I have a lot more to say about sunglasses than could fit in one video. For example, did you know that gray lenses do not alter one’s perception of color? That’s why jet pilots wear them. Did you know that blocking blue light really does make your vision sharper? I’ve been wearing gray-tinted sunglasses at my computer for the past six months, and the benefits feel astronomical. Before that I was wearing green-tinted sunglasses, which were not nearly as effective.

I could go into a massive amount of detail on ophthalmological phenomena regarding my personal decision to wear sunglasses indoors. I could shout enough science to sell you a pair of sunglasses better than Gunnar Optiks could.

Though at the heart of this is a simple excuse: I’ve been wearing sunglasses indoors for about a year because I have been experiencing what my neurologist tells me is a chronic migraine. I’ve had one unending headache for 18 months. I wake up with it. I go to bed with it. It’s brutal. The sunglasses help a lot.

So, if you’re one of those people who sees a guy wearing sunglasses indoors and immediately thinks that guy’s probably a jerk—well, I was going to say “You might be wrong.” Though maybe having a chronic migraine alone doesn’t qualify me for not being a jerk. Oops!

When I started improvising this list video I had hoped to redeem the character of dudes who, like myself, perpetually shade their eyes. Instead, I found a pack of posers, containing dismally few role models.

As I say in this video, “I’m living proof that you don’t have to be cool to wear sunglasses indoors.” As a would-be role model for future Shade Mavens, I’m going to keep on living my proof over here.

By the way! Nothing would inspire me to make a future video in which I break down an avalanche of video-game-relevant ophthalmological phenomena more than you personally liking, commenting, and subscribing over on our YouTube channel. I promise you might love it.

There’s even a playlist of all my other videos. Wow!

And just now, immediately after I finish typing all of this, I realize I did not mention Travis Touchdown, the sunglasses-wearing main character of two video games I literally spent multiple years of my life working on.

Source: Kotaku.com

The Uncertain Future Of Loot Boxes

With the recent news that the major console manufacturers will be requiring game developers to disclose the probability of obtaining “randomized virtual items” from loot boxes, as well as Rocket League’s announcement that the game would be ditching loot boxes altogether, I wanted to discuss the shifting attitudes around these monetization schemes and even the potential for the federal government to intervene.

I sat down with Kotaku’s Heather Alexandra to discuss how we got here, what the future may hold for loot boxes, and whether game companies disclosing the odds percentages of obtaining rare items is good enough or if there’s still more that the industry can do.

About the author

Source: Kotaku.com

I Don’t Need To Play Death Stranding Because I Already Love It

I don’t even have to play Death Stranding in order to review it. All I need is the 39 minutes’ worth of trailers released thus far, my hideous enthusiasm, and my terrible imagination. Allow me to utilize all three in this video presentation, a “pre-review” of Death Stranding.

What could possibly qualify me to review Death Stranding three months before its release, at a time when no person who is free to speak publicly about the game’s deeper details has played it? Well, for starters, I own more than two military-spec fashion accessories. Furthermore, a tweet I made about a “Tactical Baby Gear” papoose got retweeted more than 300 times. That’s practically viral!

If that’s not enough, I also buy my eyeglasses from the same shop where Hideo Kojima buys his. In fact, it was Hideo Kojima who first told me the location of this shop. One might say, therefore, that we have similar worldviews.

“Where do you buy your glasses?” was actually the first question I asked Hideo Kojima when I sat down to talk to him for three hours 16 years ago. For a full hour of that time, we discussed literature and film. I asked him if he’d read Kobo Abe, and he said no. Fourteen years later, he’d reference a specific play of Kobo Abe’s as a thematic inspiration for Death Stranding. That’s almost a connection! It’s too bad I can’t prove it with 17-year-old audio recording excerpts from my first sit-down with Kojima.

(Or can I? Watch the video to find out!)

In summary: There’s a chance my head will explode in an art-appreciating paroxysm of joy while playing Death Stranding. It would be difficult for even me to compose a thoughtful critique of Death Stranding in such a decapitated scenario. Therefore, I figured I’d jump the gun and compose this video as a sort of last will and testament.

If you reach the end of this post and are considering typing a comment about how I should also provide my thoughts on Death Stranding in written prose in addition to the above-embedded profoundly bizarre videography: buddy, I’ve got more bad news for you than would fill a phone book. You’re just gonna have to like, comment, and subscribe to our YouTube channel. I promise you might love it.

There’s even a playlist of all my other videos. Wow!

Source: Kotaku.com

I Fixed Madden NFL 20’s Opening Cinematic

I found that Madden NFL 20‘s intro lacked both The Monday Night Football Theme Song and vocabularic loquaciousness. So I made this. Well, bye.

(Oh. You can also watch it on YouTube, and subscribe to our channel, if you want. Anyway, bye. Have a fun weekend everybody. Don’t get hurt playing too much football.)

Source: Kotaku.com

A Stealth Game Where You Infiltrate A 1970s Cult

The Church in the Darkness is an indie stealth game out today for Xbox, PS4, PC, and Nintendo Switch. In the game, you infiltrate a 1970s cult compound in South America, searching for your nephew. Your objectives, as well as the nature of the cult itself, change every time you play. I found the premise of the game intriguing, but the game itself doesn’t quite hold together.

As someone with a long-standing fascination with cults, I’ve been excited about The Church in the Darkness since it was announced in 2016. The game tasks you with sneaking through Freedom Town, the compound of a cult called the Collective Justice Mission. It bears a lot of similarity to the real-life cult Jonestown; the fictional cult shares the same political bent, the historical move from California to South America, and the sinister unpinnings that eventually led 909 of Jonestown’s members to commit suicide.

The cult leaders in the game, Rebecca and Isaac Walker, can be heard over the compound’s loudspeakers espousing the views of the cult. These views change from playthrough to playthrough. They’ll quote socialist activists and deride the US; they’ll talk about God and just wanting to worship in peace; they’ll fight with each other. The player avoids guards and cult members as they meet up with various people on the compound, searching for their nephew and performing side quests, like finding out where cult members’ missing children have gone or finding proof that the Walkers are planning a mass suicide. The game has 19 different endings that can be discovered While a single playthrough is pretty brief, the changes between runs unfortunately didn’t feel significant enough to inspire me to unlock all the different endings.

Stealth in The Church in the Darkness is simple but clumsy. You can kill cult guards or knock them out, but if you do the latter, they’ll wake up quickly. During one conversation I had with a friendly non-player character, some guards wandered in and killed me. Depending on your behavior, death will either end your run or have you escape cult capture and continue your playthrough, which adds some flexibility to proceedings. But the clunky top-down stealth prevented me from getting to explore the compound or talk to anyone besides designated NPCs, keeping me from really understanding what the cult was about. The Church in the Darkness felt mostly like a monologue about cults pasted over a basic stealth game.

You can see Heather Alexandra and I play through The Church in the Darkness on Kotaku’s Twitch channel below. If you, like me, are fascinated with cults, the game is worth a look, even if it might not keep your attention for long.

Source: Kotaku.com

Fire Emblem Continues The Series’ Renaissance On Switch

It’s been a while, but Viewpoints is back. For this episode, I chatted with Kotaku’s Gita Jackson about our love for Fire Emblem: Three Houses and why we think the tactical role-playing series is so popular in the West.

While plenty of people have been happily diving into Fire Emblem: Three Houses, it’s not that long ago that the series was in serious trouble. In an interview with a Spanish magazine, Fire Emblem Awakening’s developers Hitoshi Yamagami said Nintendo threatened to cancel the series if Awakening sold under 250,000 copies. Thankfully, Awakening turned out to be a hit, selling over 2.1 million copies globally and saving the series from extinction. Surprisingly, 43% of those sales came from North America.

How exactly did Fire Emblem enter its new renaissance? We also talk about our first experiences with hearing about Fire Emblem via Smash Bros. Melee and how hopeless we felt before the Japanese games came to the States. Watch the video above to hear Gita and me hypothesize and share our own experiences with the Fire Emblem series.

Source: Kotaku.com

Why Video Game Headshots Will Always Be Popular—And Unsettling

Like a lot of people who play video games, I have spent decades aiming at digital heads. I have also spent a considerable amount of time during those years feeling uncomfortable about it. “Headshots” as a concept are, as Kotaku’s Stephen Totilo wrote in a 2010 report, ghoulish to the outsider, and essential to the gamer.

Over the past couple days, I started watching YouTuber Jacob Geller’s video essays on games. “Rationalizing Brutality: The Cultural Legacy of the Headshot” is a good example of why I find them compelling. Geller constructs well-researched videos exploring a topic contextually, pulling not just from video games but across media, history, and current events.

Content Warning: the video references and depicts graphic violence from both games and historical footage.

“Rationalizing Brutality” is an even-keeled examination of the very idea of headshots, one that traces humankind’s understanding of the location of the “self.” In both medical science and popular culture, the “self” was thought to lie in the heart, but eventually our conception of where “we” are in our bodies drifted upward to the brain. Geller, citing numerous games and scholarly papers like Amanda Phillips’ “Shooting to Kill: Headshots, Twitch Reflexes, and the Mechropolitics of Video Games” ruminates on the much-discussed role of the headshot in game design, as well as the way it has slowly become the primary depiction of death by gunshot in popular culture.

What makes Geller’s video good isn’t that it’s arguing for or against gun violence in games, but rather what it might mean to have a large body of popular entertainment shift in a direction that specifically valorizes the headshot.

Committing acts of digital violence does not lead to a desire to commit real violence, but art does influence understanding. And if our current understanding of the self is something rooted in the brain, what does it mean to have all this media where the destruction of a head, and therefore arguably the self, is the primary thrill? And what should we make of it, when, say, we read the news and see that a police officer has shot someone in the head, a target that no soldier or law enforcement officer is trained to hit, with extreme exception?

These are difficult, powerful questions, and as Geller’s video shows, questions that games can also help us parse.

Source: Kotaku.com