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Kasumi Yoshizawa’s story is a case study on how to carefully and respectfully navigate mental health issues in popular culture

Many people believe fiction has the power to influence real life. This idea is tied to mental health — a topic that has gained much more attention in recent times given the ongoing struggles due to COVID-19. According to Checkpoint.org, an overwhelming majority of gamers believe video games can help mental health. Games like Stardew Valley, Animal Crossing, and even Destiny all help people maintain healthy minds through virtual escapes. Persona is no stranger to helping those in need — the characters of these lengthy JRPGs are written to reflect real-world issues.

Part of why video games, or media in general, can help people feel understood is based on the relatability of the characters. To achieve a relatable character, an accurate portrayal of real-life problems needs to be reflected in the fiction in question. When the developers of games hold up this congenial mirror, it makes us feel understood and even less alone. …


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Paying for digital licenses just isn’t fun

I made a mistake just a few days ago: I caved and purchased a digital copy of Demon’s Souls. I had just finished my covert missions for President Ronald Reagan in the phenomenal story mode of Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War. Hungry for more 4K 60 frames-per-second action, I put Demon’s Souls in my Amazon cart. Unfortunately, I never made my way to the checkout page. Instead, I bought a digital version of the game and played it two hours later — a much quicker period of time from purchase to play than waiting two days for an Amazon driver to knock on my door. …


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The cutest robot’s newest adventure is a waltz through time

Little Big Planet is cool, but have you played Astro’s Playroom? Sure, if you want to enjoy a solid platformer, you could play Sackboy: A Big Adventure, but Astro is a surprising hit (it’s also free). Pre-installed on the shiny new PlayStation 5 console is the platforming tech-demo that is Astro’s Playroom. Not only is it free, but it’s a lot of honest fun that demonstrates the power of the console as well as the technology within the DualSense controller.

The game itself is relatively short, only clocking in at about 3–5 hours depending on how fast you go. I went for the platinum trophy, which took six very enjoyable hours of my time up. Since I didn’t have any launch day games, I figured going for the platinum would be a great way to experience the new power of PlayStation 5 and that was more than true.


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’Tis the season of new consoles and budding memories (even during a pandemic)

Every video game generation comes to an end and it’s okay to be excited for another. As I rearranged my consoles yesterday in preparation for my PlayStation 5, I had come to the realization that I’d probably be doing the same thing again in another five to seven years. Despite this, I grow exceedingly more hyped as November 12th comes closer. Xbox fans already have their hands on their newest console, the Xbox Series X, and it’s only a matter of time before PlayStation fans get theirs.

For me, an oncoming generation of gaming is closely tied to fall. The slow approach of a brisk winter cold fills me with thoughts of new games, new consoles, and new memories — maybe that’s why fall and winter are my favorite seasons. …


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Microsoft won’t let the economic crisis caused by COVID-19 disappoint eager gamers

Growing up in a lower-class family, it was a privilege to get my hands on a new video game. I found myself drawing straws for which hot new game of the season I’d be picking up. Call of Duty Ghosts or Battlefield 4 was a decisive choice when I was a pre-teen with no income. It never helped that my family hardly had money to go around either, but that never stopped my mother from finding cash for my passionate gaming.

With this upcoming generation of consoles, video games are becoming more expensive to experience. Most triple-A titles will shift to a USD $69.99 price point as an increase from the current $59.99 to account for the growing cost of making video games. These expensive buy-in prices make gaming straddle a line between a financial commitment and a genuine hobby. …


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Source: CD Projekt Red

Wake up, developer. We have a game to crunch.

The infamous yellow background from Cyberpunk’s Twitter account has become a meme, spawning dozens of tweets pertaining to the unusual delays. The game itself has been delayed enough times to make yet another one unsurprising, but today’s tweet from the game’s official account still comes as a shock to many. Cyberpunk 2077 is being delayed for another 21 days, now releasing on December 10th.

Apparently, games can be delayed even after “going gold.” Cyberpunk 2077 was confirmed to have gone gold by the official Twitter account on October 5th, but it seems this tweet didn’t hold much value, as the long-anticipated title was delayed once more today. …


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Old-school visuals bundled with modern design makes this game shine

Growing up, I never was exposed to classic RPGs such as the Final Fantasy series. My grandfather introduced me to gaming and the titles he played were often modern shooters and RPGs; Call of Duty and Fallout are prominent examples. I didn’t get to play these older games that always interested me (Final Fantasy X, for example) until I was older and had the means to. Octopath Traveler caught my eye as soon as I saw the reveal trailer. A gorgeous, turn-based JRPG with obvious inspiration from older JRPGs like Final Fantasy VI.

Octopath Traveler was released on July 13th, 2018, for the Nintendo Switch. The Switch was a great platform to release Octopath, as it tended to breathe life into any game that made its way to the console. Since I hadn’t been using my Switch as often as I desired, pre-ordering Octopath Traveler with my birthday money was a no-brainer. A few weeks later, I had my hands on the game, and I was in awe. …


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A Catherine, Katherine, and Qatherine catharsis

Love is a deceptively simple concept that has the power to create heartbreaking complexity within its wake. In media such as television shows, movies, and video games, “romance” is a common trope that snakes its way into any story. It happens often enough to the point where the concept of love is largely misrepresented, being depicted as instantly gratifying and magical. The feeling of love might be just that, but the actual process and acts of love differ heavily. …


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It’s an inspiration for societal change and a mirror of real-world politics

When I’m asked about my favorite video games, one idiom I often draw from to describe them is “the cream of the crop.” Video games that I look at as less of a medium of entertainment and more as a masterpiece of an artistic endeavor are brought into the discussion. Games like NieR: Automata, a title tackling daunting and destructive nihilistic views, exemplify this exceptional delivery of themes. Simpler, less bombastic titles deserve this praise too, like Doki Doki Literature Club, an anime-style visual novel centering around a theme of loneliness.

Persona 5 and its enhanced release, Persona 5 Royal, are both games that deserve this praise. I’ve yet to play a game more jam-packed with social commentaries than Persona 5. A recent piece by Alex Anyfantis here on SUPERJUMP actually discussed one of Persona’s many social commentaries, inspiring me to write about the real-world connection I drew. Even with all of the discussions that can be ignited within this massive Japanese RPG, the story’s central theme is never overshadowed or underplayed, creating a very strong and distinct trope: rebellion against oppression, a common motif that also cycles throughout human history. …


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Harrowing encounters with the paranormal kind

Who you gonna call? Call anyone but me, I’m terrified after watching my friend die to a demon last night. Phasmophobia is the newest hit horror VR game, racking up nearly peaking nearly 250,000 viewers on Twitch. If you own a virtual reality headset, Phasmophobia is the perfect way to get into the Halloween spirit (assuming being frightened is your dig).

This terrifying experience is a four-person online co-op horror game that utilizes virtual reality to heighten the horror experience. …

About

Paul Lombardo

Aspiring journalist writing mainly about video games and the stories they tell // Student at the University of Florida

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