Back when there wasn’t much of an internet, the way to play video games together was offline. (Friends, please ignore the possible irony in the source of the above image.)
Now, of course, the internet has opened up that great possibility of online play. But it affects us differently to play online together than to play in person. Let’s explore that for a bit.
Jonathan Blow’s Braid had a lot of things to say. I got it and played it about the same time as Portal a few years back. Needless to say, both were great experiences, and impactful in their different ways. Besides being a well-drawn and well-thought-out puzzler with well-chosen music and words, Braid asks a few interesting questions and speaks to some uncomfortable truths and ambiguities in being human. It doesn’t offer many answers–spiritual or psychological–but even the asking is valuable and beautiful.
Yacht Club Games’ Shovel Knight is an old-school platformer about exactly what it sounds like. The levels are very well-designed and they flow nicely. The game’s dynamics combine with a beautiful soundtrack, solid visuals and a great sense of humor to give a its pretend world and play a a substance, and give me the sense that I’m a knight. On an adventure. With a shovel. It was worth it just for the experience of playing, but the experience stretched to surprising levels of beauty.
Some of you may have seen an article floating around recently on a website. This article is a critique of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. I in turn wish to attempt a response to said article. You’ve been warned this article will probably spoil more of it than the previous. I am also going to spoil a plot point of The Wind Waker. You’ve been warned.