Image for post
Image for post

Reflecting on the PlayStation 4’s launch lineup

Yet another video game console cycle has come and gone, with the eighth generation seeing some of the best video games ever made. Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One have completely changed how we as a society think about video games. In the last decade, video games have become even more of a global phenomenon, bringing in billions of dollars in revenue, firmly cementing them as a global pastime. And honestly, how could it have gone any other way?

This decade saw the releases of Doom (2016) and Doom: Eternal, Red Dead Redemption II, Horizon Zero Dawn, God of War, and Destiny, with incredible indie gems like Cuphead, Stardew Valley, Firewatch, Undertale, Shovel Knight, and Untitled Goose Game among many, many more fantastic games. Every console generation has its darlings, but the 2010’s undoubtedly released smash hit after smash hit. Alas, here we are, in 2020, eagerly waiting for more PlayStation 5’s and Xbox Series X’s to be produced so we can blow our money and bestow our entertainment centers with the next best thing. …


Image for post
Image for post

Ghost of Tsushima rekindled my love for video games

2020 has certainly been an interesting year. A global pandemic has had the world in an iron grip for upwards of 8 months, Australia was on fire, the West Coast of the United States was on fire, international unrest over racial injustice was sparked, an alleged elite pedofile ring was uncovered, a controversial United States presidential candidacy is currently underway, there are cardboard cutouts of South Park characters wearing masks at sporting events, Japanese murder hornets nearly invaded Washington state, and the US Pentagon all but confirmed the existence of aliens. All-in-all, not the dullest year we’ve had in human existence. However, the games that graced our collections over these bizarre months were one thing that was overwhelmingly positive. From Doom: Eternal and The Last of Us: Part II to Fall Guys and Risk of Rain 2, 2020 has seen huge releases from AAA studios and indie devs alike. …


Image for post
Image for post

Nintendo’s iconic handheld is home to many hidden gems

The Game Boy. Originally released on April 21st, 1989, this little handheld console took the world by storm with its impressive 8-bit graphics and powerful 8kB internal RAM. The original Game Boy used a dot matrix screen, similar to what many construction companies use for road signs, on a spectacular 3.5in x 5.8in (90mm x 148mm) display. In all honesty, the Game Boy was actually pretty underpowered on arrival, but the novelty of being able to take your games on the go in a reliable and compact little handheld was too great to be denied.

Games like Metroid II: Return of Samus, Space Invaders, Mega Man 5, Super Mario Land, and Tetris made this console a force to be reckoned with. The Pokemon series, which is the second highest-grossing gaming franchise in the world, got its birthplace on the Game Boy. The absolute success of the Game Boy guaranteed that Nintendo would be developing predecessors in the form of the Game Boy Color, which released in November 1998, and the final iteration of the little handheld that could, the Game Boy Advance, which released in June 2001. …


Image for post
Image for post

Joe Rogan’s comments rekindle an old debate

Late in July, Joe Rogan made a comment on video games in episode #1514 of his prolific podcast The Joe Rogan Experience. He said:

“Video games are a real problem. They’re a real problem. And do you know why? Because they’re fucking fun… You do them, and they’re real exciting, but you don’t get anywhere.”

For those of you who don’t know, The Joe Rogan Experience is one of the world’s most listened to podcasts, being downloaded around 200 million times a month and raking in $30 million annually. He was speaking to Joe De Sena, a long-distance athlete, entrepreneur, and founder of the Spartan Race as well as co-founder of the Death Race. …


Image for post
Image for post

More gaming also means more sitting. Here are some key tips to ensure your gaming time doesn’t negatively impact your health.

Video games are a lot of things. They’re fun, accessible, exciting, gorgeous works of art that transport us to other realities and tell monumental stories that transcend the limitations of the real world. They’re captivating and engaging, with the likes of The Last of Us II forcing us to ask questions about our own morality, or The Outer Worlds attempting to portray the evil side of unfettered capitalism and brand loyalty. Or you could boot up a game of Goat Simulator and just be a goat destroying a city for a while. Regardless of what you want to get out of your gaming experience, one thing is for certain: they take a lot of your time. While game times vary wildly, it’s standard for a AAA title to take 20–30 hours to beat. That’s without running through the game again to get collectibles or complete any unfinished business. Unfortunately, being an avid gamer also means you’ll be doing an exorbitant amount of sitting, and all that screen time could start to manifest itself in unwanted health problems. It can be incredibly difficult to find the time to keep your health in check while also maintaining your social and work life as well as sitting down for a few hours and busting out some game time. …


Image for post
Image for post

“This video brought to you by Raid: Shadow Legends!”

Pretty much anyone who’s ingested any form of alternate media lately has seen the brazen logo for Raid: Shadow Legends emblazoned across their video/podcast as their host emphatically describes the “ground breaking, gorgeous mobile fantasy RPG that’s already got millions of downloads!” Developed by game studio Plarium, Raid: Shadow Legends is a free turn-based mobile RPG created with the “gacha” mechanic: you spend in-game currency to unlock equipment and “Champions” to play with. On the surface, it seems like a pretty generic freemium mobile game, and despite genuinely having millions of downloads, it doesn’t really seem to permeate the gaming world very often, even in conversations about the scandalous mobile gaming market. …


Image for post
Image for post

How specially-designed games may mitigate the worst side-effects of cancer treatments

Cancer is a devastating and unfortunate reality of our lives. It’s estimated that 1.8 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed in the United States in 2020, resulting in approximately 606,520 deaths. Despite the fact that cancer deaths in the United States are down a staggering 27% in 25 years, it’s still marked as the second leading cause of the death in the country, behind only heart disease.

There are very few of us lucky enough to get through our daily lives without feeling the effects of cancer, whether it be a loved one, a friend, a coworker, or ourselves that develop it. While the physical effects of cancer are obviously devastating, from the tumors themselves ravaging someone’s body to the horrid side effects of most treatments, a much less talked about — but equally as important — aspect of this horrid disease is the psychological and emotional toll it takes on people. Understandably, those who get diagnosed with cancer — especially breast, head, and neck cancer — have a high chance of developing some sort of depression, anxiety, and (even if they best the disease) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Compounding this, many individuals going through chemotherapy (a drug treatment that uses potent chemicals to kill fast-growing cells in your body) suffer through different cognitive and mental challenges due to the treatment. Approximately 75% of patients who undergo chemotherapy experience cerebral issues like learning new information or tasks, have trouble multitasking, recalling common words, names, or dates, as well as generally taking longer to process information. …


Image for post
Image for post

How MIT are leveraging game design principles to combat depression

Here’s an unbelievable statistic: there are over 2.5 billion active gamers around the world. With an estimated population of about 7.6 billion people, that means that approximately one third of the entirety of Earth’s population plays games. Long gone are the days of gaming being for the nerds and the geeks of the world; the medium is being welcomed with open arms around the globe.

In 2018, the total gaming market was predicted to be worth around $134.9 billion. To put that into perspective, it’s more than the lifetime gross of the top 20 best selling movies of all time combined, with over $100 billion left to spare. According to Techjury, over 50% of the global games market came from mobile games in 2019. …


Image for post
Image for post

You’ll need plenty of warpaint

Ah, Vikings. The mention of the word probably generates a similar image for most people: big, bearded Scandinavian men and strong, fierce women wielding huge circular shields and battle axes, covered in fur, leather, and war paint.

Many of us have wondered what it would be like to be one of these warriors of yore, and because of this we have been walking in the virtual boots of Viking jǫru-fægir for nearly four decades, with 1984 seeing the release of Viking Raiders for the ZX Spectrum 48k. Fast forward 36 years, and we have the upcoming Ubisoft epic RPG Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. Establishing a reason pertaining to why we love embodying our Scandinavian ancestors is difficult. It could be the hundreds of years of exploration and expansion the many Viking tribes partook in. Perhaps it’s the animalistic nature of their reputation, the brutality of their warriors and their rituals being the thing of legends. From berserkers to blood eagles, the savagery of the Northmen proved severe enough to stand the test of history’s time. Maybe it’s the Viking god pantheon, the fabled Æsir and Ásynjur spread out through the cosmos and the nine realms, keeping Frost Giants at bay and preparing for Ragnarok. Norse mythology is rife with elements of great storytelling: love, loss, betrayals, murder, justice, and action. Because of all of this, gaming has embraced the Vikings with open arms, with multiple titles seeing players swinging battle axes and dealing with Norse Gods. With so much to choose from, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when you want to dive into the icy lands of the Vikings. …


Image for post
Image for post

Meet Arsalan Nadeem, an ambitious, self-taught game developer crafting and launching his own video game

Making a game is not easy. Quite the contrary; it’s an incredibly difficult and daunting task. Game development typically takes teams of people, thousands of hours worth of labor, and hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of dollars.

Potential developers spend years in school, build their portfolios, and start at the bottom just to have a chance to be on these elite programming teams. Not everyone has access to these resources, however. Some individuals want to create their dream without corporate interference, some want to develop because they’re passionate about the medium, some want to throw their hat in the ring to content with the big hitters, and others just want to have a hobby and enhance their skills. Several of the biggest names in the industry were developed by one person: Braid, Papers, Please, Spelunky, Stardew Valley, Undertale, and of course, Minecraft. …

Jared McCarty

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store