I almost passed on making a year-end wrap up video since I already covered several of the year’s big games in previous videos. But I do like this format even if nobody really watches. It’s a good way to cover a lot of ground in a relatively short time.
I actually made more Debug Mode videos this year than ever before… which is still not saying all that much. YouTube isn’t my job and it’s far from my only interest. Creating videos I can feel okay about putting out into the world is hard and very time-consuming. And although I keep entertaining the notion of doing shorter, more-focused videos that are a bit easier to produce, that hasn’t really worked out so far.
From what I understand, the almighty YouTube algorithm wants me to upload a 10 minute video every day. I don’t care who you are – there’s no way you can do that and not have the content suffer or lose your mind or both. Increasingly, I feel sorry for the people who are in that position. It’s often not about making consistently good stuff – but just about making stuff consistently.
Anyway, thanks for watching if indeed you do. Let’s all hope for a happy new year.
When I watched The Mandalorian last fall, the template for a video game version was apparent almost immediately. Around the same time, I played Jedi: Fallen Order which has so much story potential that a TV adaptation could be amazing. This video explains how those things could be adapted into the other medium.
I’ve had this idea for a while but with Mandalorian Season 2 on the way, a new Star Wars game just released, and rumors of possible Fallen Order DLC, this sure seems like a good time to talk about it since I missed the initial window.
Since the inauspicious conclusion of the “Skywalker Saga”, I’ve been really curious about the direction the franchise will take now that they got their nostalgia-driven movies out of the way. I hope Fallen Order and the Mandalorian are signals about the direction things are headed in because they’re both pretty solid.
The new Microsoft Flight Simulator is an amazing thing. It isn’t magic, but it is frequently magical. Rather than a more straightforward review or discussion of the game, I wanted to make something that was more of a general essay.
In a lot of ways, Flight Simulator transcends normal video games. It’s a way to experience a version of the real world – and realistic aviation if that’s you’re interest. Although I thought about getting a new flight stick (my ancient Logitech Wingman Attack 2 didn’t seem to be working all that well), I ended up being more interesting in touring the world than learning how to fly so the video is entirely “cinematic” – no UI or menus; no in-depth discussion of controls or options. That was a nice change of pace.
Above all, I wanted to put something out into the world that was positive, uplifting, and uniting. It’s been a rough year for just about everyone. Flight Simulator offers a bit of an escape from that while also allowing us to step back and appreciate how far technology has come to simulating and imitating the beauty of nature.
Generally I’ve avoided discussing extremely popular things when the iron is hot. I do this gaming YouTube channel in my spare time “for fun.” Trying to keep up with people who do it “professionally” while still maintaining a level of quality that I’m okay with would be utterly exhausting. But I decided to try my hand at chiming in on the discussion surrounding The Last of Us Part II. We’ll see how this goes.
This was maybe the hardest script I’ve ever written for this channel. The game is long, sprawling, and very ambitious. It’s kind of difficult to talk about because there’s so much there and it isn’t laid out in the most straightforward way. I think I managed to make my points in the end but I’m sure I could have done a better job somehow.
This video ended up being a lot longer than I expected or intended and there’s still a whole bunch of stuff I didn’t touch on at all. I barely talk about the gameplay and, really, the gameplay is not why I played the game so it’s not what I ultimately wanted to talk about. The interesting things to me with this game are story structure, pacing, and when it chooses to reveal information to the player.
Going from Animal Crossing to this was a pretty big change of pace. It’s a super bleak game so while putting the video together was a good challenge, it wasn’t nearly as fun. Next up is something I think will be more fun – at least for me.
Is it possible? Two Debug Mode videos in such a short span? Nay, three videos! What new devilry is this? Only the wild year that is 2020 could bring about such unprecedented events!
Animal Crossing: New Horizons one of the biggest game releases of the year and in this video I explain why I quit playing. I do like the game though – especially in the midst of all the insanity this year. It’s extremely well made and very inviting – it’s just got fairly major design issues that push me away.
This is the first video of the kind of new format I’d like to continue exploring – not a comprehensive review, nor a list, but a vehicle for me to talk about just a subset of things about a particular game that I find interesting. Maybe it’s a particular mechanic, the evolution of the series, or an analysis of the story. I have more videos in the works and I’m hoping there will be two more out before the end of the summer which would be a big deal considering the historical upload pace of this channel. Then I’ve got to get back to the Arkham retrospective because there’s probably going to be a new one of those out in the near future.
This is the first single-game review I’ve done in five years (the Arkham Asylum video from last fall was more of a retrospective). I’ve shied away from doing traditional game reviews for a variety of reasons – mostly because I find that uninteresting. My current philosophy with the Debug Mode channel is to do videos on whatever sparks my interest – thus we have this Chimera Squad review/discussion thing.
I really wasn’t sure if I’d like this game. A lot of the changes sounded like love-it-or-hate-it kind of things. I haven’t looked into what the community’s reaction has been. While I’m not a hardcore XCOM player, I do like the series a lot and have been following it ever since Enemy Unknown back in 2012.
Like most of my videos, it took me longer to put this together than I intended. Needless to say, this year hasn’t been what anybody’s wanted so even though there are a billion things more important than video games – especially right now – it’s still worth taking a break and celebrating the medium before we get too much further into the new decade with all that it will bring.
I’m probably going to move away from these sorts of list videos. They’re fun to put together and they allow me to bounce around between all sorts of different games and genres, but they’re also incredibly time consuming. I’ve never done this channel for the views. I’d have stopped a long time ago if that were the case. Even so, I’d like to try my hand at subjects that have a better chance of sparking a conversation – focusing on individual mechanics, games, tends.
I’ve got several irons in the fire right now. My goal is to have more videos out this year than I’ve ever done before. That’s not a high bar, but considering my usual pace for these videos and the number of other things I’m also trying to do… well, I’m trying to push myself in a realistic way.
Another year’s come and gone. There weren’t quite as many games I was really passionate about in 2019 as there have been in the couple years previous – but my top game this year is definitely a special one.
It’s been a while since I covered an individual game on Debug Mode.
After playing Marvel’s Spider-man last year, I was struck by how much it felt like the successor to the Batman: Arkham series. I’m surprised it took that long for someone to crib the style and mechanics for another superhero.
I love the Arkham games but it had been years since I played them and I wanted to know how well they held up. I played them all and have been working through doing an analysis of the whole series. I intend to cover all 4 currently released Batman: Arkham games – and maybe I’ll also do that yet-to-be-revealed Batman game eventually…?
People love Arkham Asylum. A lot of fans claim this is the best of the series. I don’t agree with that, but it sure was a landmark game and it much of it does hold up. Do watch the video if you’re interested. I know this game has gotten a lot of coverage, but hopefully I’ve been able to have at least a few unique insights on it. If nothing else, I think my opinions of the rest of the series will be a little more provocative. I’m excited to get to those games.
Here we are again. It’s my annual review of E3 the biggest week of video game news each year. The event ain’t what it used to be. This year EA opted out of doing a conference and Sony was entirely absent but everybody else still kept things alive and kicking. As we come to the end of one console generation the industry is shifting its attention to the future of games whether that’s streaming or yet more powerful boxes.
Here’s my annual rundown of the things that most interested me.