My computer and video game fandoms.
Over the last few years, I have been dabbling in both game studies and practical game design, but, being a M.Sc. in artificial cognitive systems, my favorite part of development has always been the artificial intelligence – specifically, the rather unique ways it is used in video games. As I have read about the subject, I have compiled a list of illuminating resources that give a good overview of the topic that I wish I had when I myself started out.
NieR: Automata is, in my opinion, the most important thing to have happened to the video game medium in 2017. It has fun gameplay and a suitably convoluted JRPG plot, but its most essential aspect is how it plays with the conventions and the limitations of the art form to bring across its themes and messages. Since I am not nearly qualified enough to perform a deep-dive analysis of said themes and messages, but fortunately, there are smarter and more knowledgeable people on the net who did. In this post, I put together a reading/viewing list of comprehensive analyses that helped me form a deeper understanding of the game. Needless to say, all of them contain plot-shattering spoilers of the game's story.
As a long-time fan of BioWare games, I have, historically, not been very happy with the direction it took since its 2007 acquisition by Electronic Arts, given that publisher's well-documented history for gobbling up and shutting down game developer studios. Particularly since the 2012 departure of the studios' remaining founders, BioWare has not really been on top of its game anymore, as it had experienced a veritable exodus of the "old guard", resulting in a visible drop of quality in their newest games. Given how personality-driven the geek culture is, I decided to compile a referenced list of the "Classic BioWare" developers who have left since its acquisition by EA.
A few months back, I have finished Dishonored: Death of the Outsider, the third standalone installment of the Dishonored series and the finale of its "Kaldwin Era" story arc. The game has left me with... mixed feelings, particularly in regards to its value as an immersive sim, which is a genre that I got into through the Dishonored series, in the first place.