March 2024 media

  • Unicorn Overlord: I will evidently try any Japanese RPG with a sufficiently weird two-word title, between this, Bravely Default, Triangle Strategy, and Octopath Traveler. Unicorn Overlord is more of a tactics/strategy deal like a Tactics Ogre or Fire Emblem, but with some RTS elements and even customizable party AI similar to Final Fantasy XII’s Gambits. In practice the combination feels fresh, and carries the game for me despite its somewhat trope-heavy story and thin characters. Definitely an early 2024 favorite.

  • Well Met: Renaissance Faires and the American Counterculture: This book by Rachel Lee Rubin, another one from the Game Studies Study Buddies backlog (episode 54), recounts just how underappreciated the impact of Renaissance faires has been. Several times per chapter I learned about some new cultural artifact that drew influence from them, from psychedelic rock posters to the imported beer market to Disney theme parks. It provides a missing piece of American cultural history that I didn’t know I was missing.

  • Stardew Valley 1.6: There’s plenty of neat stuff in this latest update—new dialogue, festivals, and items that mitigate repetition and improve game balance—but honestly, I barely care about all of that. I’m just using the patch as an excuse to get back in after a couple of years; while there have been games I’ve loved more, nothing else puts me in the headspace that Stardew Valley does. When I’m in the thick of things it feels like a hot bath for my brain. If I only got one pick, this would probably be my desert island game.