The Roundup: The Circle & Beyond

by Lucy Ungaro

Welcome back to the Roundup. Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving and a successful treasure hunt on Cyber Monday! I went into my break expecting to put hours upon hours into Fallout 4, but decided it was too dangerous to start while still so busy with real life work. One day, Fallout 4, we will be together. 

To start off the new month, let’s look at the free games offered for Xbox and PlayStation in December. Jeff Bakalar over at CNET has the juicy details for you.

One of the free games mentioned is the new King’s Quest chapter, which just came out recently after a long hiatus. To find out why it took so long, check out this article by Samit Sarkar. It’s apparent from the article that the creative director wants to separate King’s Quest from similar Telltale games. The fact that the comparison has been made is interesting, though, because it implies a distinct difference in this modern King’s Quest game from its beloved predecessors.

With Rock Band 4 and Guitar Hero Live out, there’s been a fresh wave of excitement (in my life) about rhythm games. If you also love picking up a guitar-shaped toy and magically becoming Jack White with the wave of your fairy game-mother’s music wand, check out this article by Jorge Jimenez on the new songs that are being added to Guitar Hero Live. You might not know all of the songs now–but you will after the finger cramps and sore shins kick in.

Star Wars: Battlefront has been out for a good amount of time now, and the consensus is overwhelmingly positive. We can all breathe a sigh of relief that a lauded game series has remained compelling. Of course, it’s not a perfect game. To read about what makes it good and where its shortcomings lie, read this review by Ebenezer Samuel. 

Since the Force Awakens comes out so soon, let’s prepare a bit more with some Star Wars themed Google Cardboard VR. They’re really cute, and free for Verizon subscribers. Scott Stein provides the details.

An article by Chelsea Stark on a new Minecraft feature might take you by surprise. You can now craft a phone and…take real life selfies? If your reaction was “..what?”, me too. Check out the details here.

If you’re still sad that Thanksgiving is over, you can commiserate with Jeremy Voss. He also gives his thoughts on Fallout 4, which may be a little different from what you’ve heard before. Not everyone has been blown away by the game, it seems.

Read Michael Thomsen’s review of a game that attempts to bring you inside the mind of a woman diagnosed with dementia. Ether One is fascinating, sad, and in some ways, pretty realistic. Michael Thomsen writes from the perspective of a person who has firsthand experience watching someone go through dementia, and articulates what the game feels like in comparison.

On a less serious note, Octodad is back, and for the iPad. Jordan Minor writes that the game is a hilarious and enjoyable concept, but at times it feels like it’s “stretching the premise thin”.

And now for news outside of the Circle…

The NYU Game Center is hosting a “megagame” event. It’s like a LARP except mega. If that sounds awesome, it’s because it is, and if you want to find out more, check out the Game Center website here.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Nina Freeman’s new game, Cibele, which takes a deeply personal look into her online romance with someone she met in a video game. Here’s a review of the game, specifically from the perspective of what it means to be vulnerable and “exhibitionist” in video games.

Here‘s an article from the New Yorker on a memoir about growing up with video games. The article starts off by saying that, while we know of lessons that reading novels can teach children, the lessons we learn from playing games are necessarily different, and perhaps not as clear. According to the article, “Gamelife” explores this topic, as well as how games linger with you long after you finished playing them.

This has been a busy week! Come back next week for more news from the Circle and elsewhere. 


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