Overwatch has been out for over a year now. We’ve seen lots of updates and gameplay patches, tons of cosplays, and an approximately infinite amount of fanart and articles on the game’s social issues and impacts. Suffice to say, the game has been a worldwide phenomenon among many audiences. In this regard, Overwatch has executed the seemingly difficult task of being a hit with both experienced players and casual players, as well as with both gameplay enthusiasts and fandom participants (and of course, these two can overlap). It’s one of the best examples of a game that has accomplished garnering such an audience, and I’d like to explore how they’ve done this.
Despite this year being packed full of great games already (just look at games like NieR: Automata and Breath of the Wild!), the Spring/Summer season never fails to hype even more games coming in. No doubt E3 has an impact on this, but even before games are shown there, companies are making announcements and releasing information on their upcoming projects. Being the maverick that they are, Nintendo has already teased many of their big upcoming projects. The title that caught my attention the most was the follow up to 2015’s Splatoon, a game I had an immense fondness for.
The argument over whether video games are art or not is pretty much over: they are. Anyone who disagrees at this point is mostly trying to be contrarian. That said, we are still refining our skills and vocabulary for critiquing games, and more rapidly than ever. This very blog uses an intersectional feminist/social justice framing when we look at video games, and even that is evolving. However, there is a fairly strong canon of social justice literature and discussion that we can draw from to observe media. Video games are difficult in that they are still a young medium, and one thing we are still working on is genre.
Readers, life is great! The Rogue One trailer was cool, Captain America: Civil War was awesome, and there is a brand new set of Splatoon based Amiibo. Included are a set of the Squid Sisters who are very adorable, and a recolor set of the original girl, squid, and boy. Imagine my excitement when I saw that the new palette for the boy was a Black Inkling! I was incredibly hyped. But then as I looked back at the girl Inkling, I made an unfortunate observation: there is a striking lack of women of color in a lot of our media.
I loved this year’s surprise hit Splatoon. Everyone who knows me knows this, but I wanted to discuss the game one last time this year. With the end of 2015 quickly approaching, there is no doubt that Game of the Year lists will crop up everywhere. While I love these dearly, I don’t think I really played enough games to have a good grasp on a contender. Yet one thing I think we gloss over is the importance individual games have on gaming culture. So I’d like to talk about why I consider Splatoon to be an important addition to the current gaming sphere—it shows an excellent model for future games, whether or not it was necessarily the best.
More puns! The praise train for Splatoon and Nintendo keeps going!
For many of us, video games are a form of escapism. This can come in a few flavors, either by having equal standing in the game’s society, being able to perform outlandish feats, or just experiencing a world unlike your own. Another form of escapism is getting the chance to roleplay as something other than yourself. One of the most common ways to roleplay in gaming is to take on a character of another gender. In light of this, I want to discuss Splatoon and Super Smash Bros. some more.
Splatoon finally came out this past Friday! Cue excitement from me and many others, I presume. The hype around this game has been building for essentially a year now, since last year’s E3, so I jumped at the chance to write something about it. However, I’m not in big press. So although I played both available demos, I hadn’t received a review copy. This puts me in an awkward position: if you wanted to read a review about Splatoon, you’ve probably done so by now. You would know the major pros and cons (which, don’t worry, I’ll still go over) the game has. While I wasn’t lucky enough to get a review copy, I still got to spend a good number of hours with it, and I love it! Plus, this has given me the unique opportunity to discuss some of the more intriguing points that have been missed along with the traditional game review points.
Last weekend, Nintendo gave players a chance to demo their new game, Splatoon, on a global scale. As it was only available for a select three different hours over a two day period, it seemed to double-function as a hype building exercise and a stress-test on their online servers. That said, the game looks and feels amazing! I’d love to geek out about it for hours, but now isn’t the time. However, during the one hour I played, the game felt just slightly awkward: it was hard for me to aim. In most shooting-based games (first, or third person) camera control and aiming is controlled with a second analog stick on the controller. Splatoon, on the other hand, has the vertical aiming controlled by tilting the Wii U’s controller. (I didn’t know at the time that it could be changed!) Being fairly experienced in the “typical” method, this threw me off to a high degree, which got me wondering: does everyone new to games feel this way?
Last week, our own Tsunderin gave a nice recap of E3. I don’t need to retread the points she made, but I do want to talk about some of the things Nintendo did right during the week, and why it matters. Also because Splatoon has been one of the first games to bring me a real sense of excitement and I need an excuse to talk about it! Nintendo celebrated colorfulness and fun during their week at E3 and, from what I’ve noticed, the internet hype has risen to a much higher level because of this.