In this weeks bulletin, we discuss Port Royale 4, Farmville, a dissertation on game heritage, Crusader Kings 3, Waterlooplein VR, the new Valhalla Trailer, a Spelunky 2 Speedrun, Sands of Salazar, Mount & Blade II, a conference on ancient video games and the Stratigraph round-up!
Port Royale 4
Kalypso’s Port Royale 4 has featured before in this bulletin, but we have kind of forgotten it since. The management game is set in 17th century-Carribean (so yes, that’s pirates!), an era not featured for some time in video games. It was released last week and the reviews are in! Strategygamer’s Marcello Perricone gave the game four out of five stars, praising not only the management mechanics in the game, but also the graphics and the extensive maps. To quote Perricone: ‘In an era desperately short of good management games, this colonial Caribbean title is a breath of fresh air.’ That being said, the colonial part is of course difficult to call ‘good’, especially with slave trade in mind. Look out for features and articles on colonialism and slavery in Port Royale 4.
Farmville shutting down
Yes, Farmville has finally made it into the bulletin. But not for joyful reasons unfortunately. It’s shutting down. Or at least, the original version on Facebook. Due to Adobe shutting up shop with Flash Player, and Facebook therefore cutting Flash from its platform, the game will not be able to run anymore. Even though Farmville is not the peak of video games, it was one of the first mobile games playable through Facebook (and perhaps the one that got it all started). Think of it what you like, but Farmville has really changed the video game world. Read more on the end of Farmville on PCGamesN.
Dissertation on game heritage
Next week, Niklas Nylund will defend the dissertation on video games becoming heritage at Tampere University, Finland. Nylund provides a critical framework through which the heritagization of video games can be analysed: what is it, how does it work, and how do stakeholders produce the heritage. For example, who owns the game after it has been taken up in a museum’s exhibition? Is it the musueum? Or the developers? Nylund provides a framework and a discussion with possible strategies to deal with such issues. For those in Finland, you can visit the defence at Tampere Univeristy. Check here for more info. You can check the entire dissertation here!
Crusader Kings III patches
It’s not a bulletin without some medieval memery. The patches of Crusader Kings II were legendary, but CK3‘s patches aren’t shabby either (Kotaku). For example, since the last patch the Pope can no longer publicly support a cannibal. Yes, that used to be possible. There’s some more serious changes as well. The domain limit penalty has now been increased, so the so-called ‘North Korea Mode’ isn’t feasible anymore (Eurogamer). What’s more funny than the patch notes are the translations into normal languages available on Reddit. Check out the ‘Patch 1.1 Notes: What they actually mean’! One of my favorites is below.
Vlooienburg/Valkenburgerstraat historical VR walkthrough
The people over at the 4D Research Lab of the University of Amsterdam have made an amazing VR Reconstruction of the Vlooienburg/Valkenburgerstraat area (Waterlooplein) in Amsterdam. The reconstruction is made for the new exhibition about the Waterlooplein at the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam, which will run from October 2nd (today!) until February 2021. The Reconstruction shows the area in development from the arrival of the first Jewish immigrants in the 17th Century to the late 20th Century. You can check out a walkthrough below!
New Valhalla trailer
Ubisoft dropped a new trailer for Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla this week, so we finally get to know more about the story in the game. Apparently, the story’s protaganist, Eivor, has a brother called Sigurd. They will meet with the ‘Hidden Ones’ (proto-Assassins) before they set sail for England to mess up King Alfred’s home. Valhalla will release in five weeks time for, so we’re getting quite excited! Read more on Eurogamer and check the trailer below. Before you do, also make sure to read Liam McLeod’s In-Depth feature on Valhalla here!
Spelunky 2 speedrun
Spelunky 2 has been out for just a few days, and someone has already posted a world record speedrun for the game: just under three minutes to be exact! Spelunky 2 is a roguelike adventure game, where you have to explore, jump and crawl through caves. User d_tea managed to complete the whole game in 2 minutes and 53 seconds, whilst getting poisoned in the progress (but that didn’t bother d_tea). Kotaku’s Ian Walker wrote a more extensive piece on the speedrun, and why it is so impressive. You can check the entire speedrun below!
Sands of Salazar & Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord
I love myself some medieval RPG-Action-Adventure buggy games. That’s why I love Bannerlord. If you like it as well, you might want to check out Sands of Salazar. It’s basically a Chinese Mount & Blade with a different setting (Ancient China with mythological monsters), but with the same clunkyness. Steven Messner of PC Gamer checked out the game and was quite surprised by the quality of the game and how much he enjoyed playing it. There were some issues of course (instability and glitches), but as Messner points out rightly: ‘But if you’re a fan of Mount and Blade, you’ll probably still have a good time. After all, you wouldn’t be much of a Mount and Blade fan if a little jank turned you off.’
While we’re at the topic of Mount & Blade, the official modding tools for the game are finally out in the open! Or at least, the beta-version of the tools are. There’s now an official way to mod the game, so you won’t have to rely on third party mods anymore, and can start to change the game yourself! Check out more on PC Gamer.
Re-rolling the Past: online conference
On the 11th, 12th and 13th of November, the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World of New York University will host an online conference on the representation of the ancient world in analog and digital games. The conference will host several different speakers, ranging from historians tot archaeologists and game designers. You can check out more about the conference, the speakers and information how to sign up here!
Stratigraph / In-Depth round-up
This week we posted a Stratigraph and an In-Depth feature. I (oomzer) wrote a Stratigraph on Hades, why it’s very awesome, why you should check it out and definitely pet Cerberus. Our Intern Corine (TimesnewRoman) wrote a extensive feature on VTubers, online avatars used by streamers, often resembling some kind of anime character. Also, we’ve just started a new series of One More Turn, where we play Byzantium in Civ VI and discuss Sid Meier’s Memoir! Every Thursday, 21:30 CEST on Twitch! We also stream on Tuesdays (same time), but those games differ every week.