Sep 152015
Boston FIG 2015

As has become my habit, I visited the Boston Festival of Indie Games at MIT last weekend, an experience I highly recommend to anyone. It’s cheap, you get to see some interesting games, and both the content and the venue are a better fit for kids than PAX can sometimes be. As it happens, I was joined for a few hours this time by my friend Eric and his young son Linus, who loves games of both the video and physical variety but doesn’t get to play too much of the former because his family has no TV and puts [Read more…]

Aug 182015
Foundering in Skellige's Seas

With different degrees of success, Velen and Novigrad use their structure, their quests, and their storylines as an integrated whole to project Geralt’s inner life into the game world. In Velen The Wild Hunt airs Geralt’s worries that his “family” won’t fit back together after their long time apart. In Novigrad the game threatens the relationships that have already been working in The Witcher games. Once he reaches Skellige, the game turns its attention back to Yennefer and Ciri. In this region, however, the game loses coherence and as a result feels much more ordinary and even dull. Skellige’s failure [Read more…]

Aug 122015
Fear and Loathing in Novigrad

I called the emotion Geralt feels in Velen “anxiety” because he’s really fretting about something he hasn’t got anymore, and wondering if he can get it back. This sense of dispossession is shared most specifically by the Bloody Baron, but it broadly afflicts everyone in Velen, whose old lives have been swept away by the war and may not return. Velen is a land afraid that things will not get better. In contrast, Novigrad is defined by its fear that things will get worse, and it attempts to inflict this fear on Geralt. Velen and Novigrad are shown separately on [Read more…]

Aug 032015
No Man's Land

The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt is a very large game, perhaps too large. Consequently there’s a lot to say about it, especially as regards its main plot and the three principal areas where that plot plays out. Of these the first the player encounters is Velen, a contested part of the continent where the armies of Nilfgaard have fought their way to the river Pontar and failed to cross due to opposition from the northern armies of Redania. Velen also happens to be the best of the three main story areas. One reason I like Velen best is that [Read more…]