Simon Parkin’s best video games of 2021 – The Guardian

Another year spent indoors should have facilitated another bumper year for video games, that most indoorsy of artistic pursuits. Yet the games industry has shared many of the difficulties that have plagued other creative sectors, where dispersed teams have been forced to collaborate on complex creations. As a result, a clutch of 2021’s big-budget games have been delayed until next year, a situation that has let the sunlight in to draw up more modestly made, independent endeavours.

Games such as Unpacking, which tells its unconventional story about a young woman moving into a series of homes exclusively through the act of unpacking the boxes of her belongings. Or Lake, in which you play as a burnt-out programmer who temporarily becomes a postwoman in her pastoral hometown and, by delivering letters and parcels, readapts to more fulfilling rhythms and connections. These and others titles have provided bright flares of creativity in a psychologically demanding year. Meanwhile, the so-called “forever games”, such as Fortnite, Call of Duty and Destiny, which aim to dominate the game space in our lives via regular and indefinite content updates, have provided a reassuring nightly routine with friends for many.

‘Learn what truly matters’: Unpacking. Photograph: Witch Beam

Always a few years behind its more esteemed Hollywood sibling, the games industry has had to contend with stories of systemic abuses – particularly toward women – and a series of high-profile investigations into major companies. Activision Blizzard, publisher of the Call of Duty series, is being investigated by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing following accusations of discrimination and sexual harassment across its studios. While the company’s harangued CEO Bobby Kotick – who, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report, allegedly helped cover up these abuses – remains resolutely in place, treasurers from six US states have called on the company to take drastic action.

In video games, far more than any other medium, the effect of economics on design is clear. The earliest arcade games were calibrated so that a newcomer could only play for a few minutes before they had to clunk in another coin. Today, behemothic games such as Call of Duty: Warzone and Fortnite are ostensibly free, making money from the sale of virtual character costumes, Hollywood tie-ins and, somewhat distastefully, vibrant colour schemes and stickers for their weapons. 2021 was the year in which NFTs – limited edition digital assets – have entered the mainstream. With millions of players already groomed to accept the idea of spending £10 on, say, a Rambo costume for their video game character, it seems inevitable that numbered limited edition skins that players can later sell on – with the publisher taking a nifty cut at every stage – are imminent (and, in the case of the child’s game Roblox, fully actualised).

Legal and moral questions around what will essentially …….


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N.F.L. Christmas Schedule: What to Watch For in Today’s Games – The New York Times

It’s not a misprint.

If you’re scrolling through your television listings on Christmas Day, you’ll see two N.F.L. games on the schedule, which could be a bit of a reprieve from the holiday meal and festivities (or from the slate of N.B.A. games).

One of the matchups, on paper, should be better than the other, but both games will feature high-profile stars, including Aaron Rodgers, the league’s reigning most valuable player, as well as Davante Adams, Kyler Murray, Myles Garrett and Jonathan Taylor.

Below is everything you need to know about the N.F.L.’…….


Warhammer 40,000 Finds New Fans During Pandemic Gaming Boom – The New York Times

Looks like it’s time to break out the games again. Though, if you’re one of thousands of people around the world who play Warhammer, you probably never put it away in the first place.

Warhammer 40,000, a tabletop game set in a dystopian fictional universe, is not new. But a pandemic-fueled frenzy for science fiction and fantasy games like Dungeons & Dragons has introduced it to a whole new group of players.

Often referred to as Warhammer 40k, the game is played on tabletop terrains with models that players assemble, modify and paint. The game itself requires a lot of arithmetic, as well…….