What's Good, Internet?


#1

It’s obviously important to talk about all the negative aspects of video games and the related areas on the internet in order to find ways to drive and implement change, but equally, I think we should take time to celebrate areas in which the industry has changed for the better.

This video of the “Nintendo 3DS Girls” resurfaced on the Giant Bomb subreddit a couple of weeks back and it was a stark reminder of how awful and demeaning marketing could be. It felt good knowing that even though we still need to do better, we are making progress.

So here’s a thread for us to share articles, videos, video games etc. that have done good. We all deserve a pat on the back sometimes and on a miserable Tuesday at work, I know I personally could definitely use some feel-good vibes!


#2

After the Japanese game market stumbled into HD gaming when the PS3 failed to meet expectations at launch, and the local landscape began shifting away from consoles in lieu of handhelds and, ultimately, smartphones, the PS4 learned from its predecessors mistakes and made an infinitely more marketable, dev friendly product, allowing Japanese studios to make big budget titles with the confidence that their products would have a shot to recoup their investments!

The PS4 has done so well that Japanese studios are back in full force, and now that they are taking part in the conversation again, we are seeing Western and Eastern studios exchange ideas again. Japan is late to the Open World party, but they have come with a fresh perspective that will push the boundaries of our expectations. Resident Evil 7 is in First Person, a popular Western perspective, but not that frequently used in Japanese games until they felt competitive in the world market.

It makes me feel like things are becoming less homogenized. Like the international conversation is going to make games so much better, the same way Japanese and American animation have had a habit of pushing each other’s potential. Like Osamu Tezuka finding inspiration in Disney and Betty Boop to make a marketable product after the (extremely effective) racist propaganda perpetuated during WWII. Think Transformers, Power Puff Girls, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Avatar, Korra, Steven Universe, Street Sharks. Hell, Panty and Stocking feels like a reaction to the reaction, with Power Puff Girls aping something like Astro Boy and P&S aping Power Puff Girls.

TO SUM UP WHAT IM SAYIN’, I am excited for the future of video games right now. I feel like last gen felt so bland because we were getting a lot of the same flavor. More competition is always good for the market. Now we are seeing the international conversation in action.


#3

Twitter is bad but Chloe Kim’s Twitter is good.


#4

It’s really unfair how many olympians are both Olympics-level athletes and good at twitter. They’re hogging all the talent in the world apparently.


#5

For a less facetious answer though, I’ve been really heartened over the past… about a year, I guess, that it seems like games are really trying to tackle themes of mental health and mental illness in ambitious and nuanced ways. It can definitely be hit-or-miss—I’ve heard conflicting takes about Hellblade, for instance—but that’s both a part of the difficulty of addressing serious issues in narrative and the really wide scope of experiences that mental illnesses like anxiety or depression can carry.

Out of what I’ve played, I felt like Night in the Woods did an extremely good job at depicting, in Mae’s anxiety/depression and Gregg’s bipolar disorder, mental illness as a complex and challenging part of a character’s life. And then Celeste just came along and framed its entire story around a personal battle with depression in a way that both nails the character and writing components, but works in a ludonarrative way that I think really points to the potential games have in telling stories like this.

Hell, in terms of attempts, I even felt like Doki Doki Literature Club presented a far more realistic depiction of depression than I ever expected in a VN, even if certain things later in that game might have cheapened that a bit. Right up to Sayori’s suicide, I kept trying to figure out which choices might have been able to keep her alive, and the realization that no, actually there was nothing the protagonist could do gave me a moment of “wow, well done game” that I don’t have very often. (Although, note to those devs, that game needed significantly better content/trigger warnings than what it had.)

Basically, despite everything, it does seem like the scope of what games are willing to tackle is expanding, and by and large I think that’s a good thing. And there will definitely be missteps and failures; that’s the nature of the beast. But as a writer, the best piece of writing advice I’ve ever gotten was that every story anyone ever writes is going to fail in some ways, so reach high and fail hard, and someone else might then use your failure as a stepping stone to something better. That’s how stories get better.