Let’s talk about the Kodomo no Jikan Kickstarter…

Woooooooooooah boy. Kodomo no Jikan is a name I thought my ears would never hear again, but of course a group of people who have “SJW” in their vocabulary would make it a topic once more.

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Broforce’s Subtle Satire

I recently played through the main campaign for Broforce, arguably the most American thing ever made by human hands, and I came to find some unexpected thoughts from a game that advertises itself with screaming, ironic patriotism and action movie stars exploding things. The thing about Broforce is that everything about this game appears to be as classic “videogame” as possible, that is to say masculine and overly focused on US military glorification. Even Japanese games in the 80s were in love with the US military, though mainly because of the same cheesy action films this game drenches itself in. It could have easily played this completely straight, or gone for some harsh parody, but Broforce somehow manages to do both at the same time, and does it really well. The key is that it loves the schlock, but criticizes the politics.

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The Empowering Stealth of Gunpoint

Stealth is a tricky subject to deal with in gaming. There are countless 3D tries at the genre, failing to capture the magic Metal Gear and Splinter Cell had. Things aren’t much better in the 2D realm, as most stealth is done with very simple pattern memorization and waiting. Tension isn’t quite the same on a 2D plane as a 3D one, and many of these games choose to make the player powerless to create a sense of vulnerability, which just robs the player of options to work with. Eventually, the player gets used to the pattern of hiding and avoidance, and, unlike the wider range of possibilities in 3D space, start to repeat the same tactics over and over.

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This is what makes Gunpoint so interesting. It’s a stealth game that chooses to empower the player, but it still remains challenging. On top of that, it’s all about options and manipulating the level to best benefit you. Design wise, the game takes mostly from puzzle games, but puts it in the trappings of an action stealth game. These styles blended together result in a truly elegant, challenging, and entertaining game that rewards experimentation and offers multiple play styles.
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