There are a couple of YouTube videos I'd like to recommend to everyone of the gaming persuasion. The first is footage showing an early alpha build of Shadowrun Returns, a 2D tactical roleplaying game that I mentioned in yesterday's blog entry. I chipped in for the Kickstarter of this project, and from what I see in this video, it's going to be money well-spent. I like everything I see in this video: the style of the game world and the characters, the 2D tactical gameplay, the dialogue trees, and the enemy AI ... but what I think I like the most is what you don't see, exactly, and that's the editor they used to build the mission shown in the video. The game will release with a mission editor to allow players to build their own stories, and I'm keenly interested in getting a chance to tell stories in this world.
The second video is the start of a series that I think should be required viewing for any gamer, and, more importantly, for every game designer. It's the first installment of Anita Sarkeesian's video series, "Tropes vs. Women in Video Games." The series is planned to be a deep and well-researched discussion of negative portrayals of women in video games. I'd be willing to have a discussion with anyone about why this series is necessary and important, but I think the most telling justification for the series is the sustained harassment campaign that was conducted against Anita Sarkeesian when she first proposed the project. (More on the same topic here.) This should be sufficient evidence of the fact that gamer culture needs serious maintenance, and hopefully the Tropes vs. Women series and similar projects will help shed some much-needed light on an ugly aspect of the hobby and the community.