Microsoft

Star Wars: Squadrons (Xbox One)

It’s a misfire to see the post-Return of the Jedi Empire so flush with diverse faces. While the industry pushes for inclusiveness, that message trickles down and places all genders and races onto the side of a directly Nazi-esque regime. In brief, one-sided dialog exchanges, hearing phrases akin to real world authoritarian power grabs is… Continue reading Star Wars: Squadrons (Xbox One)

Nintendo

Super Mario 3D All-Stars (Switch)

Putting this Mario trio side-by-side shows evolution in design – certainly more so than with the 2D iterations beforehand – and a notable cultural change. Mario 64 existed in the earliest reality show bubble, where a camera follows and traces Mario’s steps around the Mushroom Kingdom, broadcasting them to viewers. MTV’s The Real World debuted… Continue reading Super Mario 3D All-Stars (Switch)

PC

Mafia: Definitive Edition (PS4)

There’s nothing revolutionary in Mafia’s organized crime story. The cliches and drama all play to form, but Mafia does allow an exploration of America’s depression era, including the desperation and sheer naivety of alcohol prohibition. It’s not that Mafia allows players to gun down cops en masse with a machine gun (many games do), so… Continue reading Mafia: Definitive Edition (PS4)

Sony

WWE 2K Battlegrounds (PS4)

Odd that WWE Battlegrounds is more authentic to the WWE than other prior licensed wrestling games. McMahon exists in the story’s background, taking credit for success, while keeping profits high by stuffing talent onto cramped buses as they move across the country. Unlocking new wrestlers means cycling through a menu where talent is encased in… Continue reading WWE 2K Battlegrounds (PS4)

Sony

Marvel’s Avengers (PS4)

Five years after the Avengers were forcibly disbanded, a government-supported, rogue military group (AIM) begins rounding up “inhumans,” putting them in cages, and biased network news cheers them on. To get these obvious parables now leaves one to wonder what future Trumpian parables hold. Captain America draws a direct line to AIM and the Nazis.… Continue reading Marvel’s Avengers (PS4)

Microsoft

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 & 2 (Xbox One)

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater made skate vernacular common knowledge – ollie and kickflips broke from the culture and into mainstream use. But more so, Pro Skater emboldened an entire era of punk. Its eccentric art, anti-authority bent, and music encapsulated not only skating, but the shared community around it. A remake saps that energy. Pro… Continue reading Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 & 2 (Xbox One)

Sony

Life is Strange 2 (PS4)

Life is Strange 2’s first antagonist is a cop, recklessly drawing a gun, leading to tragedy. Then come the racists, the bigoted conservatives, cultish Evangelical Christians, and finally, the border wall. Life is Strange 2 follows two Mexican boys – orphaned by police violence – as they road trip through Donald Trump’s America. It’s obvious… Continue reading Life is Strange 2 (PS4)

Microsoft

Madden NFL 21 (Xbox One)

Coaches pace Madden 21’s sidelines holding branded Microsoft Surface tablets. That’s accurate. Surface’s became indelible to the NFL after announcers were shamed for incorrectly calling them iPads. But Madden 21 isn’t the real NFL. It wants to be; the NFL licenses says as much. This year’s Madden releases alongside a global pandemic, of which football’s… Continue reading Madden NFL 21 (Xbox One)