Posts Tagged ‘Baba is You’

Peace in Video Games

January 20, 2020

I originally had something else planned for today but Joe Biden once again put his foot in his mouth and showed how out of touch he is with modern times. For those who are able to avoid the news, he said that game developers are “little creeps” and were making games that “teach you how to kill”. I wish I was surprised that he would say something like this as politicians have been ignorant about game development for ages. It just goes to show how out of touch politicians are when they do no research and spout things that would only get equally out of touch Boomers and soccer moms on their side.

Gaming has been my hobby since I was old enough to pick up a controller. I first played the Atari but quickly moved on to the NES and just kept going from there. I have either owned or touched most console systems and lately I have been getting back into PC gaming. I also watch let’s plays on the BarryIsStreaming Twitch channel and I have recently gotten into the Games Done Quick charity. I like to think I know a thing or two about video games because I have the experience and the passion to back me. I currently play Stardew Valley almost daily and I am slowly working through The Witcher game series and WatchDogs. Playing helps me relax and it also inspires me creatively.

The thing is, there are violent video games but it is an outmoded Tipper Gore-like mindset that believes that is all there is to a massive medium. There are so many diverse companies that make inspiring titles. Sure, there are some pretty grim games out there that involve killing but one does not have to be taught to kill. We know how to do that almost instinctually from birth. Instead, even the most violent games these days have a story to tell and they bind communities together. Besides, a lot of it is fictional violence that feels cathartic. Watching Steve Rogers punch the Red Skull in Captain America: The First Avenger is violent but we understand the difference between real life and the screen. Those who don’t were going to commit acts of violence no matter what was in front of them.

Anyway, I wanted to make this into a more positive post by detailing some recent games that were not violent and had a lot of meaning to me.


Wandersong

This game is about a bard who travels the world in order to find pieces of a song that will save the Universe from destruction. As a bard, he never lifts a single violent finger and instead talks to people and uses his singing voice to affect the people and world around him. He is constantly positive and upbeat and just wants to make everybody safer and happier. The only real villain of the game is an ultraviolent traditional adventurer who is obviously framed as being in the wrong. The game also delves into issues such as imposter syndrome and depression. There are a lot of complex, grownup themes that take the player on an emotional roller coaster. I laughed, I cried, I cheered.


Songbird Symphony

This game is one of the cutest I have seen. You play as a tiny, young bird who does not know his past. Adopted by peacocks, he feels like an outsider no matter where he goes because there are no birds like him. Under the guidance of an owl, you explore the world in order to reconstruct an ancient song based on the songs of all the bird tribes. You dance and sing your way through all sorts of unique worlds, meeting all sorts of bird breeds with their own cultures and personalities. You use perseverance and positivity to mend old pain and unite these now disparate groups all while exploring your own origins. This is such a cute game but it definitely explores deeper situations like not knowing where you belong and trying to figure out who you are.


Baba is You

Honestly, this game blew my mind. It is a seemingly simple puzzle game that you are constantly reinventing through changing its foundational ideas through language. You are constantly redefining yourself, the environment, and even the goal to win. Again, there is no violence because there are no enemies. The only enemies are your preconceived notions of what a video game should be. The game basically puts you in the seat of a game developer and lets you mess with the reality within the game to figure out what winning even means. The game is like a hardcore exercise for one’s logic muscles and it made me giddy sometimes when I broke through a barrier and figured something out in it.


Untitled Goose Game

A viral sensation, this game has a relatively simple premise. You play as a goose who lives in a pond near a small town. Your goal is to make your way through the town by harassing its denizens mostly by stealing or moving items from them. It is a delightfully clever game that is such a joy to play. The human beings around you react with consternation, anger, and confusion as you cause mayhem through simple pranks. However, there is no actual violence in the game. In fact, you are far more successful in the game when you learn how to be more stealthy and time people’s reactions to distract rather than confront. Even the people you piss off don’t actually want to confront your goose with violence but simply want you gone. It ends up being a really cute game about being a complete asshole in a loveable way.

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