January 2021 media
Action Button reviews Tokimeki Memorial: Though this six-hour behemoth of a video is nominally a review, its real value is in how it communicates what Tokimeki Memorial is and why it’s historically significant. It provides a wealth of cultural context and a meticulous walkthrough of the mechanics, conveying as much information as is possible without actually having played the thing yourself back in 1990s Japan. Even the trademark Tim Rogers tangents feel important to the project of the review. Highly recommended, though obviously six hours is a lot to ask.
The Oral History of Guitar Hero: I should acknowledge up front that I’m hardly objective here—I work for Harmonix and several current and former coworkers were involved—but this feature is really something special. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a densely packed oral history, in video games or otherwise. It’s also the length of a novella, so find a comfy place to sit first! (There’s also a follow-up interview with some Harmonix folks on Waypoint’s Twitch page, and an interview with the piece’s author Blake Hester on their podcast.)
Laid-Back Camp season 2: I don’t watch much TV these days, but when I do, more often than not it’s a slice-of-life anime where nothing much happens. Laid-Back Camp is probably my favorite show in that surprisingly broad genre. I’m sure there are dozens of pieces about how this sort of show is an antidote to the current horrors of the real world, and they’re not wrong. When you’re constantly racked with anxiety, a show like Laid-Back Camp feels almost nourishing—like a warm bath, or a mug of hot cocoa.