Sunday Swatch

It might feel like the world is falling to pieces all around you, but at least there are video games to console you.

Waypoint (Vice’s new gaming website) had its official launch recently and already they’re producing some great work. To start off with, read this by Editor Austen Walker on the website’s aims, and why it matters in today’s world.

First up on this week’s sampling of Waypoint is a look at mental health. This article looks at how charity Take This is trying to tackle mental health stigma within the gaming industry. Take This looks at how mental health affects these workers’ personal lives and attitudes. The Asylum Jam on the other hand challenges perceptions of mental health in how they manifest in games. This game jam challenges participants to make horror games without relying on stereotypes and misinformation about mental health. Read about it here if you are over the spate of games that crawl out during Halloween to tell you how bad those ‘crazy’ people are.

Waypoint aims to look at familiar games from new angles and this beauty does just that. Entitled ‘How Dark Souls II  Reflects Our Historical and Political Anxieties’, this post provides a new way to read the text of Dark Souls, with help form Benjamin Walter. Through this article and Twitter, I arrived at this piece, which is something of a spiritual sibling to it, comparing Dark Souls II to life in poverty.

Speaking of living in poverty, have you noticed working class people are everywhere? Oh you did. Well, did you know that they are people with lives and depth beyond being strawmen for fake game politics? Because apparently most game devs don’t, according to this piece at Kotaku. This article also made me want to play Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor, which I’d never really considered before. So, at least some game devs have an idea about the working class.

Red Dead Redemption II is coming and all we really know so far is it has lots of men in it. IGN reminds us (and Rockstar) how good the (few) women of Red Dead Redemption I were. Hopefully the teaser we’ve seen for the sequel is misleading and developers remember women existed before 1950 and we see some more great gals.

If you know me, you know I’m really interested in game difficulty, so I was really fascinated by this concept of placing the difficulty in the controller rather than the game.

Ever wondered about the legacy of games and their tropes? This piece offers a good break down of the history and inspirations behind the Overwatch hero abilities. It’s a good read if you’re interested in of how games influence each other, or, if like me, you were too young to be aware of some of the early pioneers in game mechanics.

Speaking of Overwatch, if you need to bury yourself in games for a while (or forever) to avoid reality, then rejoice. Overwatch is free on consoles and PC to play from the 18th-21st. And Gone Home is free for this weekend in order to help sooth the pain of this week. But if you do decide to pay for it, the money goes towards US LGBT legal organisation Lambda Legal. If you want more sad, (optionally) queer gaming, Life Is Strange episode one is free forever. Panoramical is free this weekend too, I don’t know much about it, but since the devs are trying to cheer us up after this week with free games, then it must be cool. So at least the world isn’t all bad.

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