The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time’s opening sequence is, for me, the most evocative of all video games. First you hear the galloping of a horse, joined by soft major-key piano and melancholy, soaring ocarina notes as a young man in a green tunic rides under the setting moon. The camera pans over a blocky, low-resolution, yet spartanly beautiful landscape as the sun rises. It prepares you for a game that could be as melancholy as it was exciting, as emotionally affecting as it was technologically innovative. Released in Europe on this day in 1998, Ocarina of Time was one of the first true 3D adventures, a capsule world on a game cartridge, and it remains one of the very best. … [Read more...] about Zelda: Ocarina of Time at 20 – melancholy masterpiece changed games forever
“It might be a while until I get to experience the real New York,” Patel allowed. “But that means I get to gradually see everything come back to life [and] experience what really makes New York so special. I have a lot of compassion for New York even though I’ve never been and I know it’s the people, their energy, and the special community that makes it unique. Now, I get to participate in rebuilding it. That’s pretty special to me. Like being part of history of a city I’ve always admired, you know?” … [Read more...] about Not Everyone Is Fleeing New York City. These People Can’t Wait to Move In.
Tran Huu Hiep, vice president of the Mekong Delta Tourism Association, said that the program is aimed at attracting local tourists from other localities to visit the delta, eventually paving the way for further measures to be undertaken to restore the international segment. … [Read more...] about Mekong Delta provinces discuss post-Covid-19 tourism strategy
But this morning’s first goal is Cantalupo. You have to lift your head to see it, a mass of piled muddled stone rising from gnarled trees far above. The slope is scandalously steep. But the pleasure of these days lies in an intensity of contrasts: first the sweat and strain, then the solace each small town affords. The water fountain by the ancient gate. The coolness in dark churches and resiny smells under gnarled pines. Fortunately, it’s rarely more than three hours’ march between one settlement and the next. You’ll be in Cantalupo’s main square in ample time for freshly squeezed orange juice, cappuccino and croissant, under sunshades, surrounded by a blaze of potted oleanders. It would never have felt so good had you arrived by car. … [Read more...] about Trekking the Sabine Hills: in praise of Italy, summer and freedom
The Song of Healing is central to some of Majora’s most moving and troubling scenes. The game is full of masks that Link can wear to give himself useful powers, some of which let him physically transform into different creatures: Deku, Goron and Zora. While these new identities give Link new attacks and magical abilities, they come at a cost to their bearer. These transformative masks are acquired from three dying or dead characters. While his Song of Healing can bring these figures to rest, enveloping their spirits in the masks, wearing them seems to cause Link terrible pain. Every time he puts one on it triggers genuinely frightening scenes in which he screams out and convulses as his body shifts and alters. … [Read more...] about The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask at 20 – still eerie and profound
This week, I’ve learned via Instagram that a sort of dog-themed book club is reading Queenie. Every day I’ve been tagged in a review that, judging by its picture of a dog with my book, seems to have been written by a canine reader. It has been a tense time, honestly. I never know what to expect from reviews. Some are nice. Some are rude. The book has been awarded five stars, and it has also been given one. But who am I to argue with a dog? … [Read more...] about My book is being reviewed by a dog. Who am I to argue with the star rating?
Plus, nobody wants to hear about Drake wishing an ex would text him. If Hotline Bling was about that, we’d roll our eyes and wish he would just text her himself so that she could either write back something dismissive or ignore him completely. Phone calls take time and allude to a relationship in which at least one party is emotionally invested. In fact, songs about phone calls immediately establish a mental picture: if the Weeknd replaced “I only call you when it’s half past five” with “Cool I’ll message you later”, the song would wilt. Instead, we know he obviously cares because he’s bothering to tune out the rest of the world and pick up his phone. … [Read more...] about Hello, it’s me: Adele, Drake and why pop will always love a phone call
No, I’m worried about Red Dead Redemption 2 because it’s bound to be a disappointment. Sure, the worlds are likely to be bigger. Sure, the faces are likely to be more expressive, sure there is probably going to be an amazing online mode where we all get to live together in a wild west town, like a video game version of WestWorld (which is itself a comment on video game worlds, but let’s not go there right now). However, ask yourself this: how on earth can you improve on a game that contains one of the greatest moments in the history of interactive entertainment? … [Read more...] about Do we need Red Dead Redemption 2 when the first provided gaming’s best moment?
“With Red Dead Redemption 2, the team is working hard to push forward our vision for interactive entertainment in a truly living world,” said Sam Houser, co-founder of Rockstar Games. “We hope to deliver players an epic experience that builds upon everything we’ve learned making games.” … [Read more...] about The Red Dead Redemption 2 wait is over – trailer coming this week
Jean hopes that Discovery Tour can appeal to and edify a much wider range of people than the 18-rated Assassin’s Creed games have before. “I’m a father of two, and for years I was in the situation where I was proud of our work, knowing the amount of detail that was in those games, but reluctant to bring [my children] with me in front of the screen,” he says. “I had a very personal motivation in that I want to be able to explore Egypt with them, and for them to learn something. Discovery Tour will allow a lot of our players to revisit this world with their kids, or even their parents. … [Read more...] about ‘We give access to a lost world’: Assassin’s Creed’s new life as a virtual museum