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Doublejump’s Best Reads of 2021

Our favourite articles from last year, all in the one place!

With the end of another trying year and the start of an exciting new one, we’ve collected some of our favourite 2021 articles published here on Doublejump, all in one place, all for your convenience. Isn’t that nice of us? 

If you’d like to read more, check out our archives in the category tabs above!


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A Revolution for the Few

I love BioShock. I say this with all my heart. It was the first game that showed me how video games could be a perfect medium for story-telling and it will forever remain as my personal favourite franchise. I love BioShock Infinite just as much and, regardless of my ramblings, I have and will play it over and over again. However, I cannot deny that there’s something… wrong about the way Irrational Games handled its revolution in BioShock Infinite. I can only imagine why – perhaps in all its grandiose imaginings of constants and variables, it neglected to attend to the portrayal of very real, painful concepts within its game. [Kate King-Smith]

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The Unforgettable Music of Advance Wars

Throughout each generation, music plays a vital role in showcasing interests and relationships. Many of us have our favourite tunes stuck in our heads from time to time, but this series shows that they can mean much more than just being catchy tunes. Each song demonstrates an understanding of a character and their relationships, which brings their simple sprites to life. [Edward Attwood]

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The Castle that Hitoshi Built

Now that we know that Hitoshi Akamatsu — if that is his real name — existed, the final question is: where is he now? Is he living a quiet, humble life in a forest somewhere, completely off the grid? Is he languishing somewhere, trying to recapture the magic he created with the Castlevania series? Is he, in fact, Dracula, currently in development hell and waiting to return in a hundred years to create another franchise? Was he actually two children in a trenchcoat? (That one’s a long shot, but it’s going to look damn impressive if I end up being right). [Cai Holroyd]

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The Last of Us Part II is More Than Just a Revenge Tale

 

I’ll say it again: The Last of Us Part II is not a revenge tale. In my mind, it’s everything but. It’s a story about grief, in all its unbridled, uncontrollable destruction; it’s a story about the kind of loss that has no catharsis; and most of all, it’s a story about rage, uniquely feminine in its internal guilt and suffering that slowly bubbles over and consumes. [Kate King-Smith]

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Analysing the Gruff Dad Trope in Video Games

Everywhere we look in gaming culture, we inevitably run into a dad with scars and emotional barriers in desperate need of breaking down. Stephen Totilo referred to this phenomenon as the “Daddening of Video Games”, which reflects how gaming’s predominantly male audience has grown up, gotten married and possibly even had children of their own. Gruff Dads are a reflection of a changing social climate – fathers want to see themselves, or a version of themselves, represented in their video games. [Kate King-Smith]

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Press X To Adapt: Mortal Kombat 2021

Love it or hate it, Mortal Kombat (2021)’s cast and crew knew exactly what they were signing up for when they shot the film: a ridiculous excuse to deliver cheesy one-liners and jump around while wearing silly (but cool) costumes. In a tag team battle for the ages, John and Abir join forces to discuss Mortal Kombat’s return to the silver screen in this very special Press X to Adapt. [Abir Chowdhury & John Reeves]

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Six Days in Fallujah: Celebrating Violence or Condemning it?

Twelve years after Six Days In Fallujah’s original announcement and 17 years after the conflict it’s based upon, the world’s a very different place. Political discourse has become increasingly more hostile thanks to social media, COVID-19 has caused untold damage to people’s lives and the global economy, and we’ve even seen two console generations come and go. In the midst of all this, in a climate where social justice, inclusivity and political correctness are all at the forefront of the collective consciousness, Highwire Games has gone ahead and announced its intention to revive the single most controversial shooter of the last two decades. I’ve got to say… That’s the definition of ballsy. [Ty Shortis]

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“Undead” Studios and the Auteur Theory

Because of this, we’re left looking at these “undead” studios — AAA husks, lumbering forward through bland open worlds and vapid remasters while the innovation is left to smaller teams that are strangled for resources and forced to compete against more and more FIFA games. On the consumer end, the groups with the largest market share and the greatest ability to advertise their presence are giving us less and less at higher prices, either explicitly through their retail cost, covertly through hidden post-purchase costs (microtransactions, DLC, etc.); it’s safe to say that we’ve all felt the undead studios’ bite in some form. [Callum Johnston]

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Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ Gulliver is Deceiving Us All

The deceitful chicken nugget could just use your phone to contact his crew, or request assistance from Tom Nook or Isabelle in the town hall, yet he always targets you to do his bidding. Sometimes the mischievous avian comes to your island sporting a new costume and claiming that his name is Gullivarrr — paired with his new accent, could Nintendo be hinting that Gulliver suffers from some sort of multiple personality disorder? [Edward Attwood]

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Getting Caught Up for Metroid Dread

It’s impossible to deny that the franchise as a whole has a surprising amount of continuity in its storytelling when compared to your typical Nintendo franchise, so whether you’re a series veteran who’s been out of the loop for a while, someone who remembers playing the games casually back in the day, or someone who’s looking to get started with Metroid Dread, we figured everyone could benefit from a little rundown of what’s happened in the series to date. [Ethan Rabbitts]

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Fire Tonight Review — A Piece of Interactive Entertainment

You click on a handful of objects in this guy’s apartment and get some background on this couple’s relationship, which is… fine. It’s just not especially deep, nuanced or interesting: the also-quite-short Florence absolutely soared with its artful and wordless beauty, but Fire Tonight inspires not much other than boredom. It hints at themes of isolation, and the experience of being an immigrant, but does it by showing you a single still image and a line of dialogue and then never talking about it again. [Ben Szabadics]

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Alan Wake Remastered Review — A Welcome Return to Bright Falls

For me, Alan Wake is more than just a video game: I’ve also interpreted it as an exploration of mental health, particularly depression. Wake races from oasis to oasis of light in an otherwise dreary and dark world. He finds himself dealing with something that other people can’t even see, let alone understand. His only ally seems to be himself, and even that’s not guaranteed when his very own thoughts turn against him through the pages of Departure. Even his name serves as an allusion to the fact that Wake constantly finds himself trying to “wake up” from his nightmare, to “snap out of it”. For anyone who has experienced incredible lows, all of that sounds pretty familiar. [Ruby Zimmermann]

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Nioh 2 Is Dark Souls With the Fat Left On

Nioh starts as a climb, where difficulty meets that simple excitement for higher numbers, that rewarding feeling of simultaneously earning and lucking your way forwards. It doesn’t take long, though, for this climb to flatten and for all these numbers to lose their luster. Soon enough, it’s become a tedious trek on the way to bigger numbers, single digits at a time. [John Reeves]

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Garden Story Review — Growing Pains

It’s about the difficult, sacrificial but rewarding nature of community and the hard-fought trials necessary to maintain it day-to-day. Against a grim backdrop, Concord works to heal a community that has been fractured and weakened by the rising difficulty of simply surviving in the only home they’ve ever known, of contending with an environment that, for reasons unknown, no longer supports them. As Concord, the player pieces each town back together through dedicated community action. [John Reeves]

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Metroid Dread Review

Nintendo and MercurySteam really have something special in Metroid Dread. It does have minor flaws here and there, but I struggle to let them matter because the rest of the game is just that good. Combine that with the fact that the whole thing ends with a stellar conclusion that’s sure to be a treat for long-time series fans and Metroid Dread comes together to be one of the most finely-tuned, thrilling and satisfying games of the year so far. [Ethan Rabbitts]

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We Need to Talk About Activision

Instead, the industry at large should be turning its attention directly to the source of the problem: whether of his own volition or by that of others, Bobby Kotick can no longer be the CEO of Activision Blizzard. Even if the allegations directly against him are proven untrue (or he uses his position of power to make them disappear, which is more likely at this point), the fact that he’s been complicit in — and helped to cover up — what is clearly a deep-rooted systemic issue within his company makes his position as CEO completely untenable. [Jake Colosimo]

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