Why Subtitles Really Shouldn’t Be An Argument (And How It Affects Games)

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Ever since Parasite won the Oscars and director Bong Joon-Ho brought up the issue of subtitles in his acceptance speech, the debate over them has crept up again. A bunch of websites recently ran pieces about writers’ individual preferences and the debate overall. This is something that doesn’t just touch Hollywood movies, but also video games and other media.

Everybody has their own preferences on subs over dubs, and that’s exactly why it’s usually a choice. Unless you’re watching something with someone who has a different preference, I actually don’t see why it’s such a problem when other people prefer subtitles or dubs or whatever, because most movies, TV shows, and games let you pick and choose. It’s why most Netflix programs have audio and subtitle options for like eight languages. That’s how it is with all accessibility features.

And that’s what subtitles and dubs are — accessibility features, and that accessibility goes both ways. Continue reading

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My Policy on Save Scumming and Why Rewinding Does More Good Than Harm

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I’ve only recently been playing the NES and SNES games that come with Nintendo Online long enough to really use the rewind feature Nintendo introduced a while ago. On one hand I kinda do think it’s cheating when overused, but on the other hand the level of simple convenience it provides probably outweighs that.

Rewinding — wherein players can literally turn the game back to where they were from a few seconds to around a minute ago, is really just an extension of save states and the danger of save scumming that comes with it. It pretty much just builds a new save state every couple seconds. I’ve actually been playing quite a few ROMs on various emulators recently, and over that time I’ve come up with my own policy on save states that pretty much applies to rewinding too, but rewinding has a lot more uses that I wish were feasible in more modern games. Continue reading

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Late to the Party: Breath of Fire (1994)

breath-of-fire-snes-rpg Before my Nintendo Online subscription from that free Twitch Prime promotion a while back runs out (on the same day Doom Eternal comes out actually) I thought I’d try to get through some of the Super NES games included with the subscription, and I just wrapped up the first Breath of Fire game. I’d bought Breath of Fire IV on PlayStation Network for like a buck and wanted to check out its predecessors first. This is the first “traditional” Japanese RPG I’ve completed in several years (since people don’t like to count the Dark Souls games), so it’s let me take my first look back in a while at why my relationship with the genre is so complicated.

JRPGs can be some of my favorite games (my definition being “a role-playing game developed in Japan”). Building a good character or party with good tactics, exploring a vast world, and following a meaty story are the kinds of things I easily drop dozens of hours into. But the ones people include in the most traditional sense of the term — usually turn-based games where you travel from town to town across a world map until you beat the final boss (and even then I keep thinking of games JRPG fans include in the description that make exceptions to it) can be slow, bloated, and repetitive, and are so uncomfortably often. Continue reading

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[Warcraft III] Should Developers Try to Monetize Their Mod Communities? How?

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The recent news about how Warcraft III: Reforged is just the most recent example of a game developer or publisher trying to find a way to get some kind of revenue out of the user-generated content made from one of its games. PC game developers have tried a few different ways over the years and most just result in blowback from mod communities. Continue reading

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Mobile Tetris Changing of The Guard. How Do You Play it These Days?

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News hit this week that Electronic Arts is letting go of mobile Tetris. Another company, N3TWORK, already has a new version up for iOS and Android, which got me thinking again about people’s definitive choices for Tetris versions might be these days. I asked this back in 2014 for the game’s 30th anniversary and I still don’t really know. Continue reading

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Why Cross-Generation Games Make Sense For Microsoft

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The closer we get to the launch of the next generation of game consoles later this year, the more it looks like Microsoft is stepping outside the box of what console users traditionally expect. Its latest controversial announcement is that none of its first party games for Xbox Series X will be exclusive to that system for a year or two.

Personally, I don’t think Microsoft stands to lose a whole lot by making games like Halo Infinite or whatever else it has in store for 2020 and 2021 still support the original Xbox One (not to mention PC). It makes sense when you consider what kind of company Microsoft is compared to Sony or Nintendo, as well as what really happens when new console generations start. And when you think about it, how important are next-gen launch exclusives today really? Continue reading

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How To Run Classic Doom With These Modern Ports

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People have been anticipating the big patch to the latest console ports of the classic Doom games for a while, and they’re here now, but the patch notes also out of nowhere announced the release of what are essentially new PC ports of these games. I started to ask myself why this was necessary, but now I think it might be a boon to people who are new to Doom but want to play it on PC.

It all has to do with simply getting the games up and running. Playing old school Doom on modern PCs can a somewhat complex process. The amount of freedom in what you can do with the game is like an ocean, but jumping in can be daunting. Bethesda’s latest move may or may not change that. Continue reading

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My Top Games of the 2010’s

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Looking back through all my game-of-the-year blog posts since 2010, I’ve decided not to try to get to a “top 10” games of the 2010’s. I certainly played more than 10 incredible games that came out since 2010, but I’d rather shave my list down to a very special few. My vague criteria really just come down to the games I still think about a lot today and the games I still think about playing today. Maybe there are more that would’ve made a bigger impact on me had I the time to play them as much as I wanted, but this is just how things turned out.

One thing I did notice looking back is that, to be honest, the first half of this decade was somewhat lukewarm in my experience. It’s probably a result of my specific tastes, but for the most part it felt like big game developers were in a holding pattern from 2011 to around 2015. 2011 was one of the significant years of recent memory actually, but at the same time it felt like games were desperately trying to break free of the limitations of the PS3 and Xbox 360, and when the PS4 and Xbox One finally came it took until 2015 for the real great games of that new console generation to arrive. For whatever reason, the 2010’s games that are sticking with me the most are the more recent ones Mostly. Continue reading

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My Top Games of 2019

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Before I get to my real list of favorite games of 2019, which you’ll find further down, I’m gonna list a lot of games I played this year that, while I found to be very good, I don’t really feel comfortable putting them in a GOTY category. Maybe that’s a sign this was an unusually good year for video games. Call it an extended honorary mentions section.

I’d like to believe difference between them and my actual games-of-2019 is how much I think any of them will stick with me years on, whether that means I’m still playing them or simply still thinking of them as the best games. The games I’m about to list first are ones I think are well made and that I enjoyed playing, but a “game of the year” should be something that feels more special, right? Continue reading

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