November 2021 media
Forza Horizon 5: This was one of my most anticipated games of the year, and it’s largely delivering—I played hundreds of hours of Forza Horizon 4, and I’m already on track to do the same with its sequel. There may only be minor iterative improvements to gameplay, and it may still be a couple patches away from the baseline stability I’d hope for, but the world they’ve built for FH5 is so phenomenal that I don’t even mind. I’ll probably be dipping in and out of this for years to come.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Happy Home Paradise: I never stopped playing New Horizons entirely, but I’d certainly slowed down since the early days of the pandemic. With the Happy Home Paradise expansion and the 2.0 update, I’m back in. I once again have a routine of playing every morning in bed before I get up, and with a new set of daily activities and a bunch more items to collect the game feels fresh and vibrant again. Sadly, they’ve announced that this is the last major update they’re planning.
A Playful Production Process: I’ve always enjoyed hearing Richard Lemarchand talk about game design, so I was excited to learn that he was writing a book. I suspect its primary audience will be game design students, but there are valuable insights for professionals as well—in fact, we currently have a little book club reading it at work. It’s an approachable read, with a real warmth and wisdom that I didn’t expect in this sort of book. Recommended for anyone working in or studying game development.