In this week’s bulletin, we discuss Hades winning at the BAFTA’s, a Ghost of Tsushima movie, Black Legend, Animal Crossing, Verdun Follow-up Isonzo, Aris on the Modern Myth Podcast, a never ending game of D&D, Sebastian Hageneuer on Uncharted and the History of Shareware and Demos. And yes, no Valheim for the first time in two months!

Hades wins big at the BAFTA Games Awards

Last night, the BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) held their Games Awards. One of our favorite games of the last year, Hades, got away with 4 awards, including Best Game, Artistic Achievement, Narrative and Game Design. They also won another award as Logan Cunningham (who voiced many in Hades, such as Hades, Achilles and Poseidon) was awarded the Performer in a Supporting Role award. That means 5 awards in total for Supergiant Games! One of our other favorites, Ghost of Tsushima, won the Audio Achievement Award. The Last of Us II got away with the public Game of the Year vote, the Animation Award and the award for Performer in a Leading Role. Check all the winners here!

Ghost of Tsushima movie

While we’re on the topic of some of last years great games, Kotaku reports that the director of the John Wick movies, Chad Stahelski, is working on a Ghost of Tsushima movie. Last years PS4-swansong, created by Sucker Punch Productions, was met with some pretty good reviews. Aside from that, the devs used the populatiry of the game to raise money for damage done to the real island of Tsushima during a violent storm. The devs are to be made permanent ambassadors (Video Games Chronicle) of the island because of the crowdfunding they set up. So aside from the devs being pretty awesome, we’re about to have a movie of this awesome game (with probably some Kurosawa references being thrown in there)! Read more on Kotaku.

Image: Sucker Punch Games / Sony

Black Legend: XCOM meets Alchemy and Flemish Folklore

Today, Black Legend was launched. A new tactical turn-based RPG (XCOM-style), it combines that gameplay with alchemy and Flemish Folklore (what a combo indeed). Developed by Warcave, it’s set in the 17th Century, where you lead a squadron of mercenaries in a fight against a deadly cult based on the (by now antiquated) idea of the Four Humors (it also gives off some A Plague Tale vibes in my opinion). When the devs were asked to describe their game, but badly, they stated: ‘A bunch of Belgium-based developers wish to commemorate the Golden Age of a neighbouring country they seceded from in 1830, as well as the folklore written by people who barely even knew how to bathe properly and killed time by inventing stories to scare children when they weren’t too busy killing each other.’ PCGamesN has more information on the game, and an interview with the game’s director Menno van der Heijden.

Video: Warcave

How Animal Crossing players deal with friends and family who quit

We’ve all been through it: you’re playing a game with others, but suddenly someone stops playing it, or you stop playing it. But what happens with all the stuff you leave behind? And how will others deal with this? Polygon’s Cass Marshall asked this question as well and explored how people react to the absence of others on Animal Crossing (Polygon). Players leaving is sad, but the fact that the game doesn’t know the player isn’t playing anymore and still considers them as owners of an island is even more sad. It means that you can’t do anything about the island, and for some people, that’s a thorn in their eyes. Other are more loving towards the left ones, and keep their homes and islands as a shrine. Interesting nonetheless, as there are many other (multiplayer) games where this happens. A good case for an in depth study!

Verdun & Tannenberg follow-up Isonzo announced

The creators of Verdun and Tannenberg, M2H and Blackmill Games, have announced a new game in the WW1 Game Series. Called Isonzo, it will be focused around the Italian Alpine front, where during many gruesome battles, the Italians and Austro-Hungarian armies came head to head. Another rather ‘unknown’ battlefield from WW1, it will bring not only a new army to the series with the Italians, but will also introduce another battlefield not purely based on trenches or the open wide plains of Eastern Europe, with mountainous battlefields and Northern-Italian towns. The game is set to launch somewhere in 2021, on all platforms where the other two games are available as well (PC, Xbox Series X/S, PS4&5)!

Video: WW1 Game Series

Aris on the Modern Myth podcast about the Black Trowel Collective

Aside from being a VALUE-member, Aris is also part of The Black Trowel Collective. The Collective is commited to: ‘the active support of archaeology students from working-class and historically looted communities who are both regularly excluded by traditional scholarship and academic programs, or who require more economic support than those resources cover.’ In the Modern Myth podcast hosted by Tristan Boyle (@Anarchaeologist) Aris talked about the BTC together with Colleen Morgan. They discussed how the BTC’s microgrants have helped students cover costs, and how anarchism factors into all this (and archaeology in general). You can listen to the podcast, and the amazing intro tune here!

Image: Modern Myth

The Never Ending game of D&D

So, I’m not one for playing D&& (yes, shame me as much as you want), but sometimes you come across something about this game that is just awesome. Like the video below. It shows Robert Wardhaugh, who has been playing a game of D&D since 1982 (!) Even though the video is already a couple of years old, I didn’t want to keep this from you. Not sure if the game is still going, but it probably is.

Video: Great Big Story

Sebastian Hageneuer on Archaeology in Uncharted

The games of the Uncharted series are often food for some archaeological / historical analysis. Games like Uncharted, but also Lara Croft often portray ‘archaeologists’, but are often more glorified loot hunters at most. Even though we love the games (see this piece by Doc Random or this piece by Caeda), there’s some valid points to be made about the often Westernized way of looking at things. Sebastian works this out pretty well in a piece on his own website called: Uncharted and Archaeology: Break in, steal, destroy, repeat!

Video: VALUE Plays Uncharted 4

The History of Shareware, Demos and Covertapes

These days, it’s very easy to show people parts of an upcoming game. You just drop a gameplay trailer on YouTube and share it on Social Media. You will reach thousands, if not millions of people with that. Buying (and selling) games has also never been as easy, with online stores where you instantly buy and download games being all around. But not so long ago, this was completely different. How would you show people pieces of your developing game? You’d bring out demos (in the later years online), add demo discs to gaming magazines or litteraly have them send around (shareware). You could actually get small slithers of upcoming games, with the instructions how to play it and how to eventually buy it. Kotaku’s Total Recall series takes a deeper look at this very interesting part of gaming history. You can read it here!

Image: DOOM / Kotaku

Omar ‘oomzer’ Bugter is a Cultural Historian from Utrecht. Since interning at VALUE, he’s stuck around, mainly working on the Interactive Pasts website and the weekly streams. He wrote a thesis on Sid Meier’s Civilization VI and mods, so knows this game very well. He likes many other games, including F1 2020, Hearts of Iron, Mount & Blade and Crusader Kings III., and is VALUE’s in house city builder connaisseur. Tweet to him at @oomzer if you want to know anything about Civ or city builders.