How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Strategy Guide

Stacks of Strategy Guides

My goal, whenever I approach any work of art, is to try to experience it the way it was meant to be experienced. I don’t text when I watch a movie. I don’t skip to the last few pages of a book to see how it ends before I start reading. I watch every episode of a TV show in order or not at all. Every artist creates their work with the ideal audience in mind. An audience that will always pay attention, that will pick up on all the necessary clues and exposition, that will immerse themselves in the work and analyze it, whether it’s good or bad. In my mind, if I want to seriously evaluate or appreciate a work of art, then I have to be as close to this ideal audience as possible. It’s this strict philosophy that’s kept me a sworn enemy of the strategy guide for years.

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The Power of Touch

Big Daddy, Little Sister Hands Generally, the only time two video game characters touch one another is when they’re punching each other in the face. An intimate or gentle touch is a rare moment in gaming. Think about it. How often do you see two characters kiss? How often do you see two characters holding hands? Probably, not very often. Now, how often are these moments in-game and under your control? The chances are probably countable on two hands. A subtle, minute gesture like characters holding hands and what that means for them is hard to convey in a game. It not only requires the player to have an understanding of the characters, their relationship, and the situation they’re in, but it also requires the developers to have a mastery of animation, and character and mechanic design. But these moments are important to take note of, not only for the connection it shows between two characters, but also for the way it makes the player feel for a non-player character.

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It’s Okay to Annoy Me, Just Make It Worth It

Resident Evil Characters

First off I just wanted to address my absence the last two weeks.  College has started back up again and in the chaos I didn’t have much time or energy to write.  But now we’re back to our regularly scheduled programming.

I don’t think it’s an outrageous thing to say that AAA surival-horror games haven’t quite been what they were these last few years. Landmark series like Silent Hill, Resident Evil, and Dead Space have seen major fan backlash recently as the series have distanced themselves from their horror roots and tried to stay “relevant” in the increasingly homogenizing AAA industry. The developers removed what seemed like minor annoyances and tried to streamline gameplay because that’s what players said they wanted. But some elements, mechanics, and design choices are annoying on purpose. They serve a greater purpose, and removing them because, superficially, they annoy players can be a big mistake.

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