Hello, my friends. The dawn of 2016 is upon us and it is with mixed feelings that I bring you my last contribution to Critical Distance. Critical Distance gave me a home and a place to establish myself in the (healthy!) community that is games. As such, it has been invaluable and irreplaceable. Still, with a full time job and a dissertation to write, the time has come for me to move on and focus my energy elsewhere. After this roundup, I will pass the reigns to Riley MacLeod who I am positive will do great things.
Without further delay, I’ll kick off This Month in Let’s Plays, which actually contains LPs from November and December.
In this LP from early December, Noah Caldwell-Gervais examines how well Fallout 4 follows the game design traditions of its predecessors.
Also from Noah Caldwell-Gervais, in this LP from November he critically deconstructs the Postal franchise.
Elsewhere, Cameron Kunzelman considers Halo 5’s narrative friction by analyzing both what the game does on a narrative level and how it does so.
Over on Game Maker’s Toolkit, Mark Brown questions whether players create a unique story experience based on their own sense of wonder and curiosity or whether the game guides players very subtly through its overarching story.
Additionally, from November, Mark Brown questions the use of the dotted line as a means of navigation and exploration in games.
Jessica Brown plays through and discusses the dungeons, overworld, and design of Zelda: A Link to the Shadows, a fan-game from 2009.
At Geek Remix, Mari and Stacy try to solve the case in Contradiction, a live-action murder-mystery game.
In this video from November, Stephen Beirne details how the crouch and zoom effect creates a relationship between the player and the character in Metal Gear Solid.
Elsewhere, Oliver Bouchard critiques Cibele and argues that because the game is so personal it’s easy (though misguided) to equate appreciation of the game Cibele with appreciation of the person Cibele.
Over at Errant Signal, Chris Franklin posits that Fallout 4 is a great place to take a post-apocalyptic vacation, but isn’t great for players in search of a strong game experience.
History Respawned also took on Fallout 4. In this LP, Jonathan Hunt discusses the history of nuclear war and 1950’s American Culture against the backdrop of the game.
That’s it for this month! Thanks for joining me on this adventure. Next month, please send your submissions for January via Twitter using the hashtag #LetsPlayCD or via email! Also, please consider supporting Critical-Distance through Patreon or Recurrency.
I leave you now with this old eternal saying, “Live the journey, for every destination is but a doorway to another. Good Journey.”