Apr 012014
 
These are his levels

“This is my story!” Tidus shouts in the last battle of Final Fantasy X, but that’s only half of it. Final Fantasy X is also his game. The minigames and some aspects of the battle system, as I mentioned in the last post, tie back to his athletic personality, but the game goes further than that. The level design of Final Fantasy X is a mirror to Tidus’ experience. In their classic form, JRPGs, including the previous Final Fantasy games, have a large zoomed-out overworld that essentially mimics walking across a map, studded with dungeons and towns that have greater [Read more...]

Mar 242014
 

I spent the last weekend between two screens. On one, I was playing the HD reissue of Final Fantasy X. On the other, I was watching a particularly exciting edition of America’s annual exercise in basketball excess, the NCAA tournament. Every year the tournament becomes a point of conversation across the country as Cinderellas like Dayton outplay their reputations, traditional powers like Louisville live up to theirs, and upstarts like the almost-victorious Coastal Carolina try to do the seemingly impossible. Final Fantasy X has a deep connection with sport. Protagonist Tidus and party member Wakka are both professional athletes, as [Read more...]

Nov 052013
 
Let me do it

I have the same fundamental problem with Gone Home that I had with Assassin’s Creed III. In terms of their construction, these games could hardly be more dissimilar – ACIII is an expansive open world third-person game where the player spends almost every minute killing people, and Gone Home is a first-person adventure in uncovering the events of the past year in a single empty house. Yet these games are alike in that they give the player a good set of tools for solving their problems, which they seem unwilling to let em use freely. The main story of Gone [Read more...]

Oct 292013
 
A Machine Encrufted

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs is a game I did not love. For the sort of person who thought The Chinese Room’s previous outing Dear Esther was not a game, I should note that A Machine for Pigs conforms more closely to certain norms. There are traditional puzzles, for instance, and levers you must pull to open secret doors, and scraps of diaries that you can read, and furnaces you can throw lumps of coal into, and ugly violent monsters from which you must hide lest you get knocked back (or occasionally forward) to a checkpoint. This should relieve the people who think that The Chinese [Read more...]