Author: Kathleen Yin

Character over Gameplay: A Review of Touken Ranbu

One of the unspoken rules in media, no matter what format, is that sex sells. Regardless of your stance on the sexualisation of characters in video games or other media, it is hard to deny that such stimuli pull at parts deep inside our brain, drawing our attention like a primal, invisible magnet. Of course, some take advantage of this more than others, with Asian games being somewhat notorious for sexualising their characters regardless of context. Indeed, it doesn’t take long for anyone with an interest in games to think of ample examples of sexualised characters in Japanese games. Given...

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There is nothing either good or bad, but marketing makes it so – Kholat vs Firewatch

There are some debates in the world of game design that never really die down, always ready to be re-kindled with the release of a new game. In particular, the question of how to balance player autonomy against embedded narrative, with various companies like Bioware, Square Enix, Bethesda, and Nintendo, and now Guerrilla Games all weighing in on one side or the other through series such as Mass Effect, Final Fantasy, The Elder Scrolls, Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Horizon Zero Dawn. Yet while the age-old debate rages on among AAA companies, indie developers, regardless of their views, usually find themselves bound by more pragmatic...

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Analysis – Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna)

For all of mankind’s cultural achievements, if there is one thing we lost while moving from an oral tradition to a written one, it was how stories used to come to life. Oral traditions, persisting nowadays only in a handful of indigenous cultures, treat their historical stories as tales to be heard and watched instead of simply read. Every generation has designated storytellers, who commit to memory the stories passed down since antiquity, acting as veritable human libraries who possess all the life knowledge and cultural identity of their people. Much like how Shakespeare’s plays were meant to be...

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Analysis – Monument Valley

Monument Valley is a thing of singular beauty, a gem rarely seen on the mobile game market. Available on all main mobile platforms, it is an absolute treasure due to its longevity in a shifting market and the lasting impression it leaves in the player’s mind. Released in April 2014, Monument Valley was developed on Android and iOS mobile platforms by the studio Ustwo, followed by a Windows Phone port in 2015. Loosely classified as a isometric platformer, the player avatar, a little white figure with no distinguishing figures except a conical hat and a white cape, traverses up...

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Analysis – Pokémon GO

In July 2016, an incredible phenomenon swept across the mobile gaming industry. A relatively unknown game development company released the latest installation of a long-standing franchise, opting for the game’s initial release to be only in Australia and New Zealand, and using characters conceived almost twenty years ago. And yet, the game was downloaded 10 million times within the first week of release, and earned USD$160 million in revenues within a month. The shares of one of the world’s largest gaming company increased by USD$9 million in five days as a result, and 231 million people became active players...

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