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The Journey

As he finished the Maghrib, the sunset prayer, he felt grateful that the heat was letting up. It was unusually hot for May in New York and working at a kitchen didn´t help too much. But although his body felt that as blessing, his soul still felt tormented by some recent news: he would not be travelling to Mecca, like he always dreamed.

The Hajj, a sacred yearly pilgrimage for every Muslim, would be very atypical this year. The pandemic, which cursed the globe, had no respect for the heavenly things — as it had not for the earthly ones. For the first time since Baahir was born, the Kaaba would not be surrounded by millions of pilgrims. There would be just a few thousand. And those had to go under a strict selection. One of the criteria stated they should be between 20 and 50 years old. …


Which stories video games have been telling in the last 7 years?

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As the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X arrive, a new game generation start. Although the Nintendo Switch is somewhere in between that gap, it is somewhat of a consensus that, with these new launches, gaming technology takes another big evolution leap. On the one hand, we are curious to see what will come next. But on the other, this is the time when we get to finally stop and analyze what the generation coming to an end has given us.

Since narrative games are a passion, I decided to offer an analysis of what, in my opinion and regard, were the narrative trends in terms of storytelling along the last generation (something spanning from 2013 to 2020). They might grow and thrive in the next generation, serve as a basis for new developments or give way to new trends. Be aware that some mild spoilers might be ahead, since the games will be mentioned according to their plots. That being said, which stories have our games told in the last seven years? …


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Art by MaoRenc (https://maorenc.tumblr.com/)

One of the reasons why it´s so difficult to rank Overwatch Heroes is because, well… they are different by design. The game triumphs exactly by making characters who are not only visually unique, but that also have their very own way to play. It means that the Hero who is absolutely “tear 1” and perfect for you, can be useless to someone else. It´s a little bit like matchmaking.

So, I decided to rank the heroes exactly like that. In terms of which ones would the BEST to go out on a date with. Being gay, I had, of course and unfortunately, to not consider the women. …


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Why “The Last of Us Part II” might change the way games tell stories

There is one thing about the title “The last of us” that always caught my attention. It has, after all, a very obvious meaning: the one that refers to the survivals of a pandemic that wiped the world as we know it. “The last of us” would, then, be the remaining humans, the ones that did not turn into savage monsters and are somehow trying to find a way of living in said world. But then there is one more possible interpretation, one that is maybe hidden in between the lines: “The last of us” might also mean all that remains of us. The smiles, the nostalgia, the grudges, the hatred, the prejudices, the dreams and the hopes that still make us human even after all that have happened. Under that light, the game series would not be only about the survivors, but also about what lingers in their bodies, minds, hearts and souls, making them, after all, humans. And us, since the title is smartly inclusive. …


Hollow Knight: A lesson in Game Design

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The main character and their nail

By today, you have probably already played or at least heard about Hollow Knight, an independent game developed through crowdfunding that turned out to be, in my humble opinion, one of the best in its generation. If you have not, let me warn you that this article might contain a few spoilers, so don´t proceed unless willing to face them.

As one of the finest examples of the metroidvania genre, Hollow Knight invites the player to an adventure through a forsaken, decaying, still attractive and majestic world. Anyone brave enough to face the (really) tough bosses, mazes and platforming in the game will be rewarded with a compelling story, revealed on a peacemeal basis by cutscenes, characters and even the backgrounds. And there lies the reason why we should pay close attention to that game: its design. Apart from how you like Hollow Knight or if it speaks to you, it is one of the greatest achievements in Game Design of the last decade. Analyzing some of its aspects can teach a lot about designing video games, as well as alternative ways of telling stories through interaction. …


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One of my clearest memories about playing video games back in the 90’s involves magazines. Lots of them. Games like Castle of Illusion, ToeJam & Earl and (a personal favorite and classic) Phantasy Star, demanded great effort in solving puzzles and riddles or defeating annoyingly hard bosses. In some cases, the challenge went even further, as we simply couldn’t figure out what to do next. Since Internet was not something available in a common home, the only way around those challenges, aside from discussing them with friends, were magazines. …


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Games have now become a major part of the entertainment industry. Nasdaq advisors themselves recommended investing on it, since it pulled in more revenue than music and movies — and that was back in 2016! Now, just like its counterparts, video games have an official award, broadcasted live and everything. The Game Awards intend to recognize the outstanding achievements of the industry. This year’s are to be presented on next Thursday. …


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Há tempos que eu queria jogar Kingdom Hearts. Ouço falar da série de jogos desde que eu estava na faculdade e sou absolutamente apaixonado pelo universo Disney. A ideia de um jogo que visitava esse universo — incluindo as princesas e tudo o mais — mas também trazia personagens de Final Fantasy era praticamente um sonho. Junte-se isso ao fato de que a série se identifica como RPG (meu gênero favorito) e ainda é produzida pela Square Enix (minha produtora favorita) e voilà: eu precisava jogar. No entanto, não tinha console na época e, quando finalmente voltei a jogar com meu PS4, ela já era “peça de colecionador”. …


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Ansiedade, medo, desilusão, revolta. Esses são apenas alguns dos sintomas disparados na maioria da população LGBTQ+ pelas eleições presidenciais em curso no Brasil. Compartilhados por diversos outros grupos minorizados e setores da sociedade, esses sentimentos têm causado uma quase paralisia em muita gente que, há poucos dias, trabalhava das mais diversas formas por um mundo melhor e mais inclusivo. Afinal, o resultado iminente é uma ameaça óbvia a diversos anos de avanço social, incluindo aí direitos conquistados e liberdades individuais.

Mas como acabamos nessa roubada? Mais do que nunca, este parece ser um momento para a autocrítica construtiva, permitindo que entendamos melhor nosso caminho até aqui, o que estamos vivendo agora e o mais importante: o que faremos disso no futuro. Como pessoa que acredita e trabalha pela inclusão e igualdade de direitos de LGBTQ+, me parece que três grandes erros são os pilares nos quais está sustentado o maior desafio que enfrentamos em muito…

About

Dimas T. de Lorena Filho

Game Design Student. Fiction is as real as reality has fictions. Based in Cologne, Germany.

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