There are two pernicious myths about operating systems: First, Linux (1) is difficult to use for casual users. Second, Windows operating systems are easy to use for a casual user. What is “a casual user”? Here, it refers to a user who engages with the computer mainly via applications in order to surf the web, watch movies, play games, check emails, make spreadsheets etc. and doesn’t really tinker with the computer unless necessary. They don’t do anything too intricate or specialized.

1. Linux is actually quite easy:

First of all, it’s free. When you just need something to get your…


How can I write better about games? What do I look for in a video game essay, and to some extent, media critique as a whole? Review, retrospective, critique or analysis; for the purposes of this discussion, they are all essays about a released game or part of a game.

A central theory:

For a long time, game reviews were written in order to draw attention to the games as much as, if not more than, to critique them. As these essays were pretty much the only way to get any information on the games, and too many of the…


(Full Spoilers for Avatar: The Last Airbender)

Avatar: The Last Airbender(2005–2008) has a four-episodes long grand finale. (Season 3 Episodes 18–21) The one half of it is concerned with Aang trying to reconcile his pacifism with having to kill Fire Lord Ozai, and the other half is the final showdown. This showdown is famous for a lot of things, mostly praiseworthy, but also commonly receives two points of criticism: Aang’s Avatar state being activated out of nowhere and Aang’s eleven-hour ability of “energy-bending”, absorbing Fire Lord’s powers and thus being able to stop him without having to killing him.

Neither…


There are essentially three main issues with “grinding” in a video game: Making the repetition interesting, providing meaningful goals and successfully connecting the act to the narrative. These all culminate in one fundamental struggle: It is one of the most artificial player activities in a video game. It resembles learning and building experience only in the most abstract way. What it actually is closer to a job of collecting goods. You sell the goods and then invest the money so that you can collect more valuable goods, invest larger amounts of money, rinse and repeat. Of course here, everything here…


I define grinding as “repetitious combat whose primary goal is to increase various statistics about a character ”. It is most commonly associated with RPGs; Players grinding for character levels, items or currency is a natural part of these games. Here, I will discuss some bad and good examples, with various other aspects of a game related to grinding, like experience systems, side bosses, combat systems and so on. Spoilers for Undertale, Persona 3/4, Trails, Withcher 3 ahead, only discussed as minimally as possible.

Definition

Dragon Quest(1986) has set the basic template for console RPGs. Games made of same cloth…


With the influence RPGs had on game design, many games prefer to keep things simple in the beginning and open up gradually as the player progresses. This ensures that player can learn how to play without getting overwhelmed and that the game doesn’t run out of new gimmicks early on. However, it can also make the early game somewhat dull, making it feel like playing a lesser game. I believe most developers do this out of a sense of unspoken tradition, as it’s often not a large enough problem to get a lot of complaint or attention. Still, rocking the…


“Challenge” is not a inherent part of video games. Games can be toy-like, relaxing, simple, casual. Target demographic matters: It’s weird to complain that a game for children is child’s play. The hardware matters: It’s unfair to demand mouse-like precision when playing a console game. The design goals matter: Developers often rather have the players see end of a game. Challenge also cannot be separated from rest of the game design.: Some games are open-ended, focus on giving the player a lot of options. These games fundamentally rely on player agency, and have a hard time creating controlled environments for…


What does it mean to seperate the art from the artist? It seems to have two meanings which are used as one and the same:

  • “Am I allowed to enjoy media from bad artists?” Yes, I have made peace with the facts that most creators probably disdain me in one way or another, and abusive behavior is not exclusive to a small group of evil people. Worrying about making good customer choices is an endless pit of misery that helps nothing. …

Complaining about game-length feels weird, as my favorite games often have play-times surpassing one-hundred hours. I’ve played at least two games which lasted three-hundred hours. A good part of my childhood has been spent replaying a couple of games over and over. Even when I am busy, spending time on them isn’t an an issue in and of itself. However, games like Trails In the Sky (2004), Europa Universalis 4 (2013) or even The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011) simply feel good to play, whereas something like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (2015), is not, to me, good enough of…


From a “professional” writing perspective, there can be a lot to found to criticise in video game story writing. But often I end up finding these criticisms somewhat unfair. Because, video game narratives have unique challenges that other mediums don’t have. Your story needs to be accustomed for the gameplay, often meant to be played in more than 10 hours, in a lot of games the experience the player will have is near impossible to control, in AAA studios the writers often have very little creative freedom and control. Intent of the design is important here as well, obviously you…

NyxWorldOrder

I am Umay, @nyxworldorder from twitter, a trans woman, 25, writing about media and politics, mostly video games though.

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