Category: Video Games

My Top Ten Video Games from the 2010s

Another decade in the book, another opportunity to represent my life in lists and data.

Looking retrospectively, this past decade defined my interest in games. It’s been a hobby of mine since I was a young child — I remember holing up in my mom’s basement, replaying the same minigames over and over in Gus Goes to Cyberopolis. My dad bought me a Gameboy Color for my fifth birthday, and I dedicated at least a decade of my life (regrettably) to the Kingdom Hearts series. But in 2010, I started my first job, and so I finally had some disposable income to spend on my hobbies; I didn’t have to beg for games as birthday or Christmas or whenever presents. And so I played a lot more games in these past ten years. I started to follow industry news beyond new releases. I became more thoughtful about and critical of the industry. And I shifted my hobby into professional inquiry: in 2018, I co-wrote a book chapter about how video games could be used in educational settings, and in 2019, I piloted a camp that empowered kids to create their own video games.

The games industry has shifted a lot in this decade, too. We’ve seen a renaissance of games that put character and narrative at their center, which has long been what I wanted to see out of the medium. Game designers continue to heighten the artistic potential of games, both in photo-realism and artistic expression. Put shortly, video games this decade have been really, really good.

I Played the Final Fantasy XV Platinum Demo Because I Hate Myself

Yesterday, Square Enix held a special “Uncovered” event for Final Fantasy XV, their Duke Nukem Forever. Among a variety of puzzling announcements, they dropped a previously confirmed demo, called the Platinum Demo. In it, you traverse through the dreamscape of Noctis, the game’s protagonist, as a child. I’ve been vocal in my negative opinions of Final Fantasy XV in the past, but with the tempting price tag of $Free.99 and nothing to do tonight, it seemed time to put hostility aside and give the game a chance.

Simple & Clean De:Coded

I have been a fan of the Kingdom Hearts series since before it was a series at all; enticed by the appearance of Disney characters, my sisters and I broke in our PlayStation 2 with the original Kingdom Hearts not long after its 2002 release. Between me, at 8 years of age, and my sisters at 10, we were rather pitiful at the game, and it’d take me another two years to finally complete it (and subsequently, become obsessed). I’ve spent the ten years since consuming every piece of Kingdom Hearts news and media available. My adolescent years have become inextricably tied to these games. I’ve gone through the ringer with the series, followed its many plot twists, turns, and holes, waited — patiently and impatiently — for each new title. I’ve attempted, with varying levels of success, to decipher the wayward and needlessly complicated plot.

Having thus established my cred as a Kingdom Hearts fan, I’ve got beef. I’m routinely surprised to find many within the fandom claim that the English lyrics to the first game’s iconic theme song are, like the plot of the series as of Dream Drop Distance, complete nonsense. Therefore I’d like to take another stab at dissecting the lyrics and larger meaning behind Utada Hikaru’s “Simple & Clean.”