Video games tend to be regarded as an escapist form of entertainment, allowing us to switch off from the annoyances of everyday life and immerse ourselves in fantastic other cultures. So why, then, would you ever want to play a game that simulates the mundanity of a “normal” existence, whatever that is?
That’s because “mundane” doesn’t necessarily have to mean “boring,” of course. And the types of games collectively known as “life sims” prove this fairly aptly, as anyone who has ever enjoyed any of the games we’re going to talk about today will attest. Although the term “life sim” is used as an umbrella description, it’s actually a fairly misleading one, as there are a diverse array of different interactive experiences that fall into that category — some of which are more well-known than others.
Broadly speaking, “life sims” tend to be one of two different types: freeform sandbox simulators, and stat-centric life sims with a degree of “direction” about them, though there’s a degree of overlap in many cases. Let’s have a look at both categories, including some prominent (and not-so-prominent) examples of both.
Continue reading From the Archives: A Life Less Ordinary – Living a Virtual Life →
Final Fantasy XIII wasn’t a bad game. Neither was Final Fantasy XIII-2. And neither is the conclusion to the Final Fantasy XIII saga, Lightning Returns. Don’t just take my word for it, though; plenty of critics agree.
In one of the last issues of the sadly defunct GamePro magazine, my former colleague AJ Glasser gave FFXIII four stars out of five. 1up.com gave the game an A- rating. Eurogamer gave it 8/10. And, despite a couple of outliers, the overall consensus at the time of release was that Final Fantasy XIII was a good game — not a perfect one, by any means — but a good one. The same was true for Final Fantasy XIII-2, which scored slightly lower on average, and while I’ll admit Lightning Returns reviews were somewhat more mixed — not everyone enjoyed the game’s peculiar mechanics and structure — there were still a lot of comments about how interesting it was, despite its flaws.
Which is why it’s so baffling that I find a lot of the online discourse surrounding this particular part of Final Fantasy’s history so overwhelmingly negative.
Continue reading From the Archives: It’s Time to Admit Final Fantasy XIII Wasn’t Actually That Bad →
It’s often fun to think about your favourite “bad games” — games which were received poorly either critically or commercially — and exactly why you like them.
Today, I wanted to talk a little about an interesting related consideration: why would you ever want to play a “bad” game, and how should you handle the experience?
MoeGamer was, right from the beginning, built around the idea that those games commonly considered to be “bad” by press and/or public usually have some redeeming features to someone out there — and there’s actually some solid critical theory to back it up. So let’s explore the matter further!
Continue reading From the Archives: Seeing the Good Within →