[This week, our partnership with game criticism site Critical Distance brings us picks from Kris Ligman on topics including Ocarina of Time being overrated, Thatgamecompany's Journey, and more.]
With the re-release of Ocarina of Time for the 3DS, we start out tonight with a couple of commentary pieces about ol' Hyrule. First up is Mitch Krpata writing in his Insult Swordfighting column at Joystick Division, in which he contends that the whole game is vastly overrated. Just an opinion in a sea of them, but Krpata follows up this statement with a strong critique of the classic game's attributes:
"Nothing afflicts open-world games these days more than design that forces you to traverse the map over and over for no real reason. Travel to one side of the map to learn your objective, and then backtrack to accomplish it. Hyrule Field was impressive the first time you saw it, less so the next time, and then by the six hundredth time you trudged through it, just seemed like the endless, black void where Sarah Palin's heart is supposed to be."
"I'll always respect Nintendo for their insistence on going against the tide, on going it alone with at least some semblance of philosophical conviction. No matter how corporate and annoying many of their practices may be, in comparison to most mega-companies, they ooze originality. [...] However, I can't help but feel that maybe Nintendo's consoles are no longer the place for the types of experiences that I'm most excited about: ones that other-worldy, exploratory, mysterious and, dare I say, magical."
Next up, our friends at PopMatters' Moving Pixels blog have been busy again this week. First from senior editor G. Christopher Williams is an analysis of performance of masculinity and chivalry in Shadows of the Damned, kicking off with the observation that the game's damsel in distress is a clear nod to Donkey Kong. Our second Moving Pixels piece comes to us from Jorge Albor, writing on the dubious ethics of Tiny Tower.
In this same vein of ethics and morality, we venture over to GameSetWatch where contributor Andrew Vanden Bossche writes about engaging players' emotions while making moral choices, using AAA title Mass Effect and indie title don't take it personally, babe, it just ain't your story as his touchstones:
"Fiction starts at zero interest and has to fight for every inch of relevance. I believe that, too often, there is an assumption that players will see themselves as an extension of Shepard or Cole McGarth and feel the impact as if it was really happening to them. But players can tell the difference between fantasy and reality.Making morality matter means making it matter to players. [...] It's one thing to make players kill polygons in the shape of little girls, but it's another to make players feel that those girls are human."
"The world of Journey exists in the remnants of communication. Venturing beyond the silent deserts we cross as if into a peristylium—each canyon houses within it a garden of History; each footfall is a Great Listening. And yet our listening alone will not repair this world: the language that failed it will fail us too. Journey asks us to build something stronger."
That's all for this week! As a reminder, you can send us your links through email or Twitter. We are always on the look-out for new, excellent content, so don't keep it all to yourself!