April 2023 media
Honkai: Star Rail: It may be turn-based instead of action and sci-fi instead of fantasy, but at its core this is Genshin Impact with the proper nouns swapped out. The lack of Breath of the Wild-esque open world exploration probably means it won’t have the same staying power for me as Genshin, but I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve played so far. I’ll be writing more about it soon! (Note that this is a free-to-play game with a gacha mechanic; I don’t recommend it if you’ll be tempted to spend money.)
Atelier Ryza 3: Based on the first two games I went in expecting to love this, and I mostly do, but it’s unfortunately marred by a pretty abysmal localization. (It reminds me a bit of Ys VIII’s initial release, before NIS America apologized and released a patch.) Still, even that isn’t enough to put me off entirely—the crafting system is so wonderfully fussy and the slice-of-life vibes are so immaculate that I can’t help but enjoy it. I’ll be interested to see if my enjoyment transfers over to other Atelier games.
The Videogame Industry Does Not Exist: This book by Brendan Keogh positions video game development as a cultural field that’s broader than the commercial part we usually hear about—just as music is broader than Top 40, or filmmaking is broader than Hollywood. There are tons of great interview excerpts in here; I especially loved learning about the history of the Australian games scene, which I was largely unfamiliar with. Useful and important work! (It’s also available to read for free at the link above.)