Promoted blog: This week, a year ago

Mario is middle-aged

[Davies takes us on a retrospective of what happened a year ago for the week of the 18th! For example, Mario is old! And buy me Dropsy or go to hell! ~Strider]

These days, it seems the world moves real fast. Feeds keep us fed, as we anxiously click the refresh button, unlock our black mirror’s screen, and swipe down, hungry for that sweet, caring, half-second-long dopamine hit. It seems, to be honest, like the act of following current affairs and having opinions about them is more important than the affairs themselves and, by extension, whether they are worth talking about in the first place. The world of video games, in particular, is obsessed with the future. Having conquered the minds and souls of countless little kids in the years of paper (RIP), game journalism has moved on from being little more than a piece of clever advertising to becoming a wide-ranging, literate, informed and informative force for the betterment of the interactive medium, itself, and the world. But has it? Yes, it has. Has it though? I think so? Okay.

Uhm, anyway, what I’m trying to say is I think it’s good to have a sense of perspective, and looking back is a good way of acquiring it. What did we care about a year ago? What were we thinking about, what did we look forward to, and how did those ideas finally pan out? This is the purpose of this column. Don’t worry, I won’t bother you with it every week, that would be silly and painful. Just, you know, every now and then. Without further ado -real sorry about the ado-, I leave you with the hottest, most trending things that happened this week, a year ago.


[image by robotpencil]

Everyone who grew up with Mario is starting to settle down and have kids, as he turned 30 years old this week, last year. It was a time of celebration for Nintendo, having just crowned the plumber’s vast career with the release of Mario Maker. It was generally well received, with Destructoid’s Chris Carter describing it as “a charming little creation tool,” though “more constrained than it needs to be, and in dire need of updates or DLC to keep it going long term.” The game has been updated fairly regularly since then, but whether these updates have been substantial enough is up for debate. In a more sour note, Nintendo announced its new President, Tatsumi Kimishima, two months after the beloved Satoru Iwata unfortunately passed away. Tatsumi Kimishima promised to keep Iwata’s philosophy alive, a direction which we are likely to see materialize in the form of the NX, Nintendo’s yet unspecified new console.


Destructoid’s then-Editor In Chief, Jonathan Holmes, posed the question “What would you want in a Rick and Morty game?” after hearing some rumors that Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland was talking to various game developers. He was right on the money, as Roiland has since founded a VR-focused game studio, Squanchtendo, and a Rick And Morty VR game is in development by Owlchemy labs, of Job Simulator fame. Squanchtendo’s first project, announced this week, this year, is called Accounting, and it looks just as crazy as the show. While VR, thematically, is a perfect fit for Rick and Morty, I wouldn’t mind seeing StarPlatinum’s armchair-game-designer pitch come to life:


Joe Parlock was un-britishly optimistic when announcing that Sony’s pet vaporware, The Last Guardian, was to make an appearance at TGS 2015. “Expect a deluge of new information about the game this weekend,” he said, his innocent, naive eyes staring blankly into an endless abyss of live gummy bears, probably. Later in the week, expectations were toned down when it was revealed that the game’s “unique” appearance was to be a sort of interactive installation showcasing the game’s AI, and that no new footage or information about the game was to be shown. The Last Guardian, of course, was delayed again this week, this year, the ever-elusive date now set on December 6, 2016. 


If you’re a colorful, retro-inspired adventure game, featuring a diverse cast of characters, each with their own problems and aspirations, and a unique mechanic which makes pacifism the main form of interaction, there are few things that can harm your success more than coming out the same week as Undertale. Zach Furniss gave Dropsy a 9.5, saying:

In the interest of being as earnest as this game, I felt a hope while playing Dropsy that I don’t usually associate with gaming. This is a point-and-click where your main interaction with the world is a hug button. You can play as a dog who has a map with all of his favorite places to pee, who wiggles his eyebrows when he finds a new place to mark. You can re-unite families or learn more about your own. There’s an optional button in the menu to turn on the sound effects for your clown shoes.

This levity, this world, and these people are going to be with me forever. If you’ve ever complained about there being too much violence in gaming, or that games are all the same, and you don’t play this… I hope somebody hugs you.

This is why I was sad to learn that as of December 5, 2015, three months after release, lone developer Jay Tholen hadn’t made any money with the game. Thankfully, he didn’t give up and, a year later, he’s still working on a free expansion for Dropsy as well as a brand new game, Hypnospace Outlaw, now on Kickstarter. Note: I backed the shit out of it with my wallet and my heart. 


· The controversy of the week went to late-night show host Jimmy Kimmel, for a bit about let’s players. Destructoid’s own Zach Furniss tore the whole affair down with some good old common sense

· Lionhead Creative Director Gary Carr departed the studio after 12 years, in what would only be the first piece of bad news in the studio’s last few months of existence

· Undertale was released to admiration for its pacifist options and “cutely bonkers” appearance. A few days later, Ben Davis would give it a 10/10, saying “I was definitely not prepared for just how much I was going to fall in love with this game,” and the rest is history.

Welp, that’s it for this week, a year ago. Don’t you just love hypertext? I do

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