This War of Mine: From Sarajevo to Syria

While playing Fallout 4, I’ve been left with the feeling that, for a game that is purportedly about the effects of war, there was little real depth to it. This War of Mine (free on Playstation Plus for January) is the exact opposite, and probably has the emotional impact Fallout wishes it did.

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This War of Mine was inspired by the Siege of Sarajevo during the 90s – this was the longest siege of a city in modern warfare, lasting almost 4 years or 1,425 long days. It’s estimated that over 5,000 civilians died during this time. Sarajevo was blockaded, limiting food and supplies entering the city, and under constant shelling. Snipers set up around the city making movement difficult and dangerous for citizens. I cannot image living day to day for years in a city where this was the norm.

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Faith in Bloodborne: Broken Faith and Blood

Over a series of blog posts I’ve been exploring the role of faith (religious and secular) in the world of Dark Souls, which you can find under the tag Faith in Dark Souls. Continuing on similar themes, I’d like to take a moment to turn to Bloodborne and examine the way faith works in its world. 

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Hunters have told me about the church. About the gods, and their love. But… do the gods love their creations? I am a doll, created by you humans. Would you ever think to love me? Of course… I do love you. Isn’t that how you made me?

Bloodborne inhabits a world very different to the high fantasy of the Dark Souls series. Instead of dragons and divine power, Bloodborne gives us a Victorian, urban setting, complete with Lovecraftian Old Ones. Symbols of faith and religion play a prominent role in this world – central to Yharnam and its current crisis is the Healing Church. This religion functions differently to the way, say, The Way of the White functioned in Dark Souls. Rather than specifically look at religion, I’d like to examine faith in institutions in Yharnam.

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Sunday Swatch

Come in and seek some mental shelter from the word with my picks from this week’s writing on games.

This piece outlines the importance of preserving the history of video games and the lengths these historians must go to to do so. It’s something we may not always consider but new emerging technology does makes old game systems obsolete, and threatens their survival as historical artefacts. After all, who would keep old CDs of games on purpose when conducting a spring clean?

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Throwback Thursday: Monkey Island

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Offt, it’s been a wee while since I’ve put one of these up…sorry! Yesterday I was checking out the free games given out every month by PS Plus, and to my delight January’s game is Day of the Tentacle. I missed this point and click adventure game the first time around, but I adored Lucas Art’s other adventure franchise, Monkey Island. If you have PS Plus I recommend you play the free remaster of Day of the Tentacle, whether you played it first time or not. It’s not too long (you can complete it in one sitting) and it’s a fantastic game.

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Fallout and How War Always Changes

Fallout is fond of the soundbite “war never changes”, using it as something of a catchphrase for the franchise. But to what extent is this true? And how far is this just an empty phrase, a rhetoric device to make a game full of meaningless violence seem deep.

I will be upfront – I have a problem with Fallout. I don’t exactly know what that problem is. I have logged a good amount of hours in New Vegas and found it alright, but I haven’t picked it up in a while. I do prefer it to its sequel Fallout 4, a game that I’m wrestling with at the moment. I think this is my third attempt to get into the title, and while I’m making more progress that I have previously, I am aware of the enormous distance that exists between me and the game. Like I said I’m unsure why I’m not connecting with this series when everyone around me is replaying it for the hundredth time. This has caused me to scrutinise Fallout perhaps more keenly than I usually would in an attempt to discover the source of my discontent. So while I don’t think that negates any of my criticisms of the game, I do think it should signal to die hards that I’m not on the same hype train as you.

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Sunday Swatch

I skipped out on last week’s Swatch because I didn’t read much that caught my eye. So, sod’s law, I read and watched hunners of things that were fantastic this week. So forgive me if this week is a bit long, and consider it an apology for last week’s.

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Level 1 RPG Player: Dungeon World

Tabletop RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons are becoming cool these days, or at least they’re being viewed as more acceptable and less niche that they once were. I’ve been listening to The Adventure Zone almost non-stop for the last month, and it’s shown me a side to D&D I didn’t think existed. The McElroys make tabletop gaming humorous, irreverent, and most importantly fun. So with this is mind I decided I wanted to try my hand at roll playing games.

Lacking enough irl friends willing to play with me, I turned to Roll20, a website that allows tabletop games to be played online easily with others. Pretty quickly I managed to find a newbie friendly game of Dungeon World, which we played over 3 1/2 hours yesterday.

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