In this weeks bulletin, we discuss Kentucky Route Zero, Eivor the Technoviking, Creating History in VR, Viking City Builder, Attentat 1942, an algorithm to deciper languages, Raji: An Ancient Epic, and a project on SNES Manuals!
Kentucky Route Zero’s magical realism
Eurogamer’s Emad Ahmed wrote a pretty wonderful feature on Kentucky Route Zero and how it hides socio-economic decline with beautiful magical realism. The game was released quite some time ago, but has new episodes added over the years. The adventure game is set in Kentucky (duh), and has received some pretty good reviews. However, there’s more to the game than might seem at first. As Ahmed points out, the game is as much about economic decline (in Kentucky), as about magic realism. To quote Ahmad: ‘But what KRZ does so wonderfully well is to mesh the personal and economic problems for all of these characters through an intricate world. It may seem apparent and obvious by now, but the game is simply reflecting complexities of our own world.’ Read the entire piece on Eurogamer.
Valhalla meets Technoviking
We’re not only about archaeology, history and video games. We’re also about memes. And this time, we got perhaps one of the best memes ever: Technoviking (if you don’t know this video, what are you doing?) And not any Technoviking, no. Eivor the Technoviking. Yes, Maul Cosplay and friends have recreated the world-famous Technoviking video in Valhalla style! Will Ubisoft put this in the game? Probably not, but we can dream! By the way, the original meme itself is quite interesting, as the identity of the bare-chested admirer of techno is unknown to the public, and even sued the artist that filmed him dancing.
Creating History in VR
You all know the power of video games to teach students about history. VR can also do this, but with some extra spice! You can now use HistoryMaker VR, made by Schell Games. Imagine seeing a VR rendition of Abraham Lincol telling about the American Civil War. Pretty cool right? The people of Games for Change had a chat with Schell Games CEO Jesse Schell about how to use the VR experience in class! You can check out the talk here, and get some tips on how to use VR in education.
Viking City Builder flaunts gorgeous graphics
City builders (and RTS in general) aren’t really known for their amazing graphics. Whilst there are definitely some good looking games out there, they often are not as beautiful as many (for example) action games. However, Viking City Builder changes that. The upcoming RTS focussed around Vikings (who could have guessed that?) Even though the gameplay seems to be the same old Viking plundering story (meh), the graphics are on point. The developers have taken full advantage of the new batch of top GPU’s coming to us this season. It will feature NVIDIA’s DLSS 2.0 upscaling and will be able to take full advantage of the new powerful GPU’s (even though the public can’t get one because of NVIDIA’s incompetence, but alas). Read more on the Viking City Builder on WCCFTECH.
Attentat 1942 on sale
Just a friendly heads-up that the amazing Attentat 1942 is now on sale on Steam (now €3,47 instead of the already cheap €7,39). The adventure game made by Charles Games is a historical tale about the Nazi Occupation of the Czechoslovakia and is filled with moral dilemmas and the horrors of occupation. It’s an amazing game with thourough historical research. Attentat has had it’s fair share of troubles with releases, as the game was blocked in certain countries for depicting Nazi’s. Read more about those throubles in this Stratigraph. Also check out our stream of the game below!
New MIT Algorithm deciphers lost languages
Not super game related, but nonetheless pretty cool. More and more languages are disappearing than ever. In the next 100 years, over half of the remaining languages will have disappeared. A new algorithm can help us save those languages and recreate the lost ones. The project, led by MIT Professor Regina Barzilay, focusses on the pronounciation of certain languages, and takes evolution of speech into account (for example, how a ‘p’ might become a ‘b’ over time, but not a ‘k’). Barzilay wants to expand the algorithm, to also take semantic meaning into account (how, I cannot explain, this is all magic to me). Read more on The Next Web, or check the entire study here.
Former Blizzard senior VP Chris Metzen unveils Warchief Gaming tabletop games
The former senior vice president of Blizzard, and one of the devs behind titles such as Warcraft, Diablo and Overwatch, Chris Metzen has unveiled his next project: Warchief Gaming. And he’s going analogue. Joined by Mike Gilmartin, another former Blizzard employee, Metzen will now start developing tabletop games, going back to their roots (and love for tabletops). They’re hoping to really bring the tabletops back into the mainstream arena of gaming. Dean Takahashi of Venturebeat interviewed Metzen and Gilmartin, and asked them about the idea and their ambitions. Read the interview here!
How ‘Raji: An Ancient Epic’ fell into an Indian right-wing trap
Raji: An Ancient Epic was released last month, and has been met with positive reviews. The game seems to have finally grounded video games as an art in India, one of the biggest upcoming markets regarding games. However, there is more to it than meets the eye. In a very interesting and well-written article, Adesh Thapliyal explores how the game promotes a modern and nationalistic narrative is painted over a past which it has nothing to do with, or even tried to erase. I advise you to read Thapliyal’s entire argument, as it is too big to sum up in such a short piece. But perhaps to quote Thapliyal: ‘Raji creates a world where the 21st century’s upper-caste, middle-class Hinduism is projected onto the far-off past, which tells us nothing about the past but does reinforce a widely-held delusion in the present.’ An interesting take on a game which seemed to finally break some ground. Read more on VICE.
The project trying to put all SNES manuals online
In these days, a lot of stuff about video games can be found online. Take walkthroughs etc. However, back in the pre-internet days, games often shipped with printed manuals of tips & tricks. Well, now these are going online as well. Or at least, the manuals for the Super Nintendo. Peebs (that’s his nickname) is running a project where he tries to archive all the manuals, so that everyone can download and view them without going through too much of a hassle. Luke Plunkett of Kotaku contacted Peebs, and asked him more about the project. Read Plunkett’s piece here!