I’m thinking about a new series, where I talk about a few of my favorite things. By and large, I think the internet is a repository for endless detritus but every now and then through sheer dumb luck something burbles to the surface and captures my attention and I think to myself, “Yes. This. This is why.”
For this first little ditty, I’m putting three of my absolute favorite video game related internet things in one place. I don’t love articles that just link to other articles, so I’ll what I can to provide a bit of why I like the things that I’m putting on here. It’s my attempt to explain a little bit of who I am through the things that I like, while also putting a spotlight on things that are thoughtful and thought-provoking.
So. Here they are. Three of my favorite things on the internet. A funny video, an article about parenting, and a gorgeous photo essay about my favorite video game.
Ever hear of YouTube? Little platform, hosts videos? Eh, I’m sure you’ve visited it once or twice.
I don’t follow YouTubers (except for my boss! obviously). By and large, I don’t understand the culture. Every time I hear stories about The Algorithm and how YouTube is dicking people over, it bums me out. But there is one video that I will refer people to without any hesitation whatsoever. If you’re into game development, game design, game theory, whatever you want to call it- watch this video. It’s a brilliant deconstruction not just of two beloved games in a series, but of how NES games and SNES games compare. How a good sequel builds upon what came before.
Video games are an iterative medium. Consumers crave originality, but oftentimes it’s the sequel to an amazing game that improves and builds out that franchise into something special. Egorapter perfectly captures that sentiment in a 20 minute video that is well written, well produced, and just plain funny. His style of humor might not be for everyone but it strikes a chord with me.
I wish he’d produce more videos in the Sequelitis vein, but I don’t feel like it’s in the cards. We’ll always have Mega Man.
The first time I ever read this article, I was sitting alone at my kitchen table in an apartment in North Hollywood. My jaw was dropped almost from paragraph one. All I could think was, I want to write something like this someday. Not necessarily about a similar subject- my fiancée and I aren’t interested in having kids anytime soon, maybe ever- but the tone and tenor of the piece. It’s insightful, heartfelt and hilarious.
It’s like if David Sedaris wasn’t a luddite and procreated!
Everything about this piece works. I feel invested in Andy and his family. Because he’s very specific in his game choices, I feel like I know a little bit about what he was like as a young man. Best of all: there’s some followup. Towards the end, he talks about some of the impact and influence he’s had on his child’s appetite for video games. I’d love another update at some point, just to see if the experiment is still going on and what his son thinks about it all. Or the opposite- I hope this kid grows up never really thinking about it, appreciating that his dad played a lot of games with him as a kid, and then one day as an adult just stumbles on this article. Would he laugh and shake his head? Would the color drain from his face as he vows to never play another video game?
This slice-of-life story is a great piece of a writing in general, and I love it all the more because of how it ties into video game culture.
If you asked me to name my favorite video game, I’d probably say something like, “Favorites are dumb and constantly changing, do you mean what did I love as a kid versus what I love now, what impacted me, blah blah hedge hedge” until I eventually muttered, “Super Mario Bros. And then Bloodborne.”
I wrote earlier this week about how Bloodborne affected me when I first played it. I probably think about this game once a week or so. It’s exquisitely crafted and an incredible achievement in video games (not to mention another example of an iterative craft- there’s no way this game could exist without the benefit of the Souls games before). But what I love about this Waypoint article is that it highlights the aesthetic beauty of Bloodborne.
It’s the only game that engenders true dread in my heart. Sure, there’s nervous anticipation when I’m playing something like Resident Evil or Dead Space but real dread? The feeling of knowing there’s something beyond your grasp and feeling very uncomfortable about it? That no matter how well you can execute the mechanics of the game, there will be story elements that are simply unanswerable?
This piece does an excellent job of showing what makes this game great. There are some incredible screengrabs, and some very poetic language on the emotions Bloodborne elicits.
There we have it. Three favorites. Expect more down the line.