The first episode hit the tubes today, and be warned, it goes after some of gaming’s sacred crows. But, as Sarkeesian says: “Remember that it’s both possible and even necessary to simultaneously enjoy media while being critical of its more problematic or pernicious aspects.”
The weekend grand opening of the Sandy Hook Arcade Center. (Via Facebook)
While America debates what role, if any, violent video games played in the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre, kind-hearted gamers are using the medium they love to help those most affected.
The Sandy Hook Arcade Center opened last week, thanks to two kind gamers and a lot of community support. According to Polygon, it all started on the day of shooting.
Andrew, who has always had an arcade in the basement of his home, was hosting a December birthday party for his son on the day of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The family sent out emails to everyone invited, leaving it to the families to decide if they still wanted to attend.
“Not only did every kid come, but a whole bunch of the neighborhood came too,” he said. “I just knew from that moment that, wow, this is something that’s bigger than us, how kids would enjoy these games and have fun with it. I thought, hey, let’s see if we can make this a bigger sort of thing for the whole town.”
The arcade — which doesn’t charge anything for kids to come in and play with their pinball machines, arcade games or Xbox 360s — is run entirely on donations.
Polygon’s Tom Connors calls it “a place where families can perhaps for a moment forget the tragedy that swept through the town and shocked the nation. A place that allows kids to be kids again.”
Okami HD is a beautifully rendered argument against the very idea of gaming as mindless violence.
Where other blockbuster games centre around carnage, destruction and personal achievement, Okami HD instead rewards creation and revitalization and selflessness. While the crux of the gameplay involves solving puzzles and fighting monsters, countless hours are also devoted to bringing dead trees back to life, feeding hungry animals and helping restore villagers’ self-esteem.
A vibrant, high-definition re-release of the acclaimed PlayStation 2 and Wii title, Okami HD is set in a fictional world resembling a watercolour painting of classical Japan. The adventure begins when a great evil descends upon Kakimi village and the surrounding land of Nippon. The powerful trees that once warded off bad spirits are left wilted and blackened. The once-lush landscapes are rendered barren and desolate. The people have lost their faith, both in themselves, and in a higher power.
The ancient sun goddess Amaterasu – Ammy for short – is awoken after 100 years of slumber. In the form of a white wolf, she sets about restoring the land. And in completing this quest, the pen – or, more accurately, brush – is mightier than the sword.
You’ll climb the backs of giant ogres, desperately hacking and slashing as they try to wriggle you off. You’ll triumph in the glory of slicing a chimera’s snake-tail from its body and watching it writhe in pain. You’ll gobble down health potions as bandits rain explosive arrows down upon you as wolves nip at legs. You’ll curse your luck as you hide in the shadows of a cave, waiting for the sun to come up and the monsters to go away.
But you won’t fall in love. You won’t make friends. And you won’t find yourself lost in a storybook tale within a rich fantasy universe.
Dragon’s Dogma is an action role-playing game that’s heavy on action, but sadly lacking in role-playing. Fortunately, its riveting combat and challenging gameplay mostly make up for a meatless plot and mindless characters that leave the world ringing hollow.