The Last of Us Part II: A Story Worth Telling? – DEBUG MODE

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.

Why I Stopped Playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons – DEBUG MODE

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.

XCOM: Chimera Squad review – DEBUG MODE

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.

Games of the Decade: 2010 – 2019 – DEBUG MODE

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.

Batman: Arkham Asylum – DEBUG MODE

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.

Debug Mode: Games of 2018

I’m still doing this Debug Mode video game show thing! In fact, I’ve been working on content for the channel a lot lately. If my plans don’t get too derailed, 2019 should be the biggest year yet (which is to stay I plan on releasing more than 2 videos – hopefully many more than that).

For now, here’s a look back at the games of 2018: the good, the disappointing, and my top 5 favorites. Happy New Year!

Nintendo Switch Review – DEBUG MODE

Nintendo Switch? Didn’t that come out like two months ago? Aren’t you a little late to the reviewing game?

Yes, yes, and probably. Honestly I intended to get this review done a month ago but a number of things prevented that. On the other hand, I think anybody who did a “review” after only a couple days or even a couple weeks is being kind of disingenuous. That’s not long enough to seriously evaluate a games console especially when the launch lineup is so limited. The games that have come out since launch have provided a clearer idea of how the Switch might fare in the coming months and years in a practical sense.

I wasn’t even going to call this a “review” but that’s the search term I have to use if I want anybody to watch this thing. But two months is at least a somewhat feasible amount of time to evaluate a console. I feel like I have a much better handle on it than if I had tried to rush a review out early.

This video was a little different for me. I actually got to/had to use my camera equipment for once which was fun, but stressful at the same time. I haven’t done product videography before and it shows, but I did the best I could shooting almost everything by myself. I’m fairly happy with the results and I learned a lot.

E3 is less than a month away now. Nintendo will almost certainly have a lot of big announcements regarding games, services, and software updates. At least they’d better. Switches are still sold out a lot of places, but to keep strong sales they’re gonna have to bring the noise. Fingers crossed for a new Metroid. A real one.

Spoilercast: Horizon Zero Dawn

Audio-only version:

My buddy Joshua and I recorded a spoiler-filled discussion about Horizon Zero Dawn which would probably be the hottest new video game at the moment except then Zelda happened (and it’s really good too).

The short non-spoiler version is that Horizon Zero Dawn is very, very good and you should play it if you have a PS4 and like action games, open world games, sci-fi, giant robots, good fiction, and/or pretty landscapes. It’s gorgeous. The story is great. Fighting giant dinosaur machines is awesome. The initial reveal trailer from E3 a couple years ago showed a lot of promise and this game delivers on all of it.

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