February 2021 media

  • Control: I was lucky enough to get the parts to build a new gaming PC last month, and I intended to use Control as a graphical showpiece. It can definitely serve as that—ray tracing is wild!—but in the end I came away even more impressed by the game itself. Sharp writing, inventive level design, an all-time great telekinesis ability, and a tremendous vibe. Even if you’re like me and don’t generally go for shooters, I still recommend it—it has robust difficulty settings, up to and including complete immortality.

  • CrossCode: I’m late to this one but I really like it so far. It is wildly ambitious on multiple axes: it has complex combat mechanics, and also deep RPG-style character customization, and also lots of block-pushing and projectile-ricocheting puzzles, and also platforming challenges, and also a high-concept story that situates everything inside of a futuristic MMO. These elements range from decent to great, and the full package is a real feast of a game.

  • Let’s Make a Music: I hadn’t heard of this podcast until seeing it in Brian David Gilbert’s Twitter bio, and it’s great! I ripped through the back catalog of the recently rebooted version, with the Brian/Laura/Karen cast, in just a few days. The premise is that the hosts solicit tweets with song titles or phrases based on a theme they provide, then discuss their favorites on the show, weave them into something semi-coherent, and record a short song based on the results. It has the energy of both a great comedy podcast and music podcast, like a mockumentary version of Song Exploder.