What Remains of Edith Finch: Why is it art?

Why is the Mona Lisa smiling? What is Banksy’s newest work satirizing? At times it seems the vaguer a piece of art’s meaning, the more it is valued. Perhaps this is why many consider What Remains of Edith Finch to be a prime example of video games as art. It is not only beautiful, but also opaque.

The exterior of the Finch house. Screenshot by author

At the start of the game the narrative seems straightforward enough: after the passing of her mother, Edith Finch returns to her childhood home to learn about her family. Upon arriving at the family property, a somber and mysterious mood is swiftly established by lack of other living beings and the imposing presence of the Finch house. Before the player even enters the house, questions arise about their surroundings. Why are there missing person posters clogging the creek? What is with the decrepit dragon structure in the front yard? Were the appropriate building permits obtained to add the precariously placed additions to the house? Things get even stranger when the player gains entry to the house’s interior. Why are local restaurants afraid to deliver to the Finches? Why are there references to Norse culture? What’s in the basement? What’s with the sealed off rooms? Is the strangeness surrounding this family supernatural, or something more “real”?

Not all of these questions are answered during the game, and the ones that are addressed are not answered completely. We learn that the Finch family is seemingly cursed, with only one member of each generation surviving to adulthood. The rooms belonging to deceased family members were sealed away by Edith’s mother in the hope that by hiding their untimely demise the curse can be forgotten, and therefore broken. Unfortunately, this tactic does not seem to work as Edith is apparently the last member of her family left alive.

While this information satisfies most of the broader questions posed, it fails to address some of the more intriguing aspects of the game. For example, it remains unclear if the family really is cursed or if the youthful deaths of many of its members is due to a placebo effect from belief in the curse. For some of the family it is not even clear how they passed away. An example of this is the death of Molly, who recounts in her journal turning into various animals before becoming a monster who eats herself. Given the eerie mood of the game at first I was under the impression that Molly’s experience was to be taken literally, but after doing some research I found that the general belief is Molly was hallucinating after eating poisonous berries. Yet after learning this I still feel there is more to Molly’s visions. What she experienced felt so real, and I’m skeptical that a young child would so cheerful write about eating a human even if she wasn’t in a normal state of mind. This dissonance in interpretation is what I believe truly makes What Remains of Edith Finch a work of art. By intentionally leaving so much of its narrative, events, lore, history, and outcome open to interpretation, players can’t help but continue to think about the game even after their time playing it is over.

Over the course of human history, a plethora of aesthetically pleasing visuals have been produced, and now more than ever people have access to works of art. Whether it is by a Renaissance master or an Indie game studio, most people can claim that they have experienced “art”. Despite this, if you were to ask a random individual on the street or in a chat room to name the title of their favorite artwork it might take them a minute or a quick Google search. We are surrounded by beautiful yet forgettable images. This is true of video games as well as more traditional art forms. Most games available today would fall somewhere in the range of looking “good”, but the ones that will be looked back on as pinnacles of art history are the ones that make us think. This is why What Remains of Edith Finch is art. It leaves things open to interpretation to force the player to think, and thereby staying in their mind long after the game has ended. Like other great works of art before it, What Remains of Edith Finch leaves a lasting impression on the audience.

What Remains of Edith Finch is available on Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/501300/What_Remains_of_Edith_Finch/


What Remains of Edith Finch. West Hollywood, CA: Annapurna Interactive, 2017. PC.

Exploring Character Design: Paper’s Please

Welcome to the first of a series of posts where I briefly analyze the archetypes and design choices of video game characters. In this installment we will examine some of the characters from Papers, Please.

Protagonist: The Inspector

Archetype: Anti-hero and Everyman

While there are several factions the player can have the Inspector side side with, at the end of the day he will be acting in his own self-interest. The Inspector is a simple bureaucrat whose just trying to make a living and not get on the wrong side of the government. He’s not actively trying to do good, he’s just following orders. Even though his actions can have larger implications, the Inspector is still just a regular human, lacking any special powers and unprepared for what’s to come.


We do not see many images of the Inspector, but in the ones we do he comes across as a bland ordinary citizen. There is nothing remarkable about him and his only power is to approve or deny entry for people crossing the border. He is a blank slate visually, only being shown as a hulking shadow sitting down at their desk and once as a highly pixelated grey image. This allows the different choices the player makes on his behalf while playing the game more believable, as there is not much visual pre-establishment of what he would do if not being controlled by the player.

Antagonists: M. Vonel and Dimitri

Archetypes: Superior and Opposing

Both M. Vonel and Dimitri fall into the superior and opposing antagonist archetypes. Although they do not belong to the same government agency, M. Vonel and Dimitri rank higher then the Inspector in the internal government pecking order. It is also the job of each of them, albeit by different means, to monitor the Inspector. This can lead to them acting as opposition to the Inspector if the player’s goals do not align with theirs.


The colors used for M. Vonel are blue and black. This creates the interesting effect of being scared (black), while also feeling an uneasy calm (blue). His presence becomes further intimidating by not being able to see his eyes, as they are blocked by glasses. His attire and mustache also remind the player of a Nazi, adding to his terrifying yet authoritatively serene demeanor as a special investigator for the Ministry of Information.

Unlike M. Vonel, Dimitri initially has a warmer, more inviting style. However, soon after the player first interacts with Dimitri it is clear that he is not there to be your friend. The true meaning of what his red attire is meant to convey becomes clear: not warmth, but anger and danger. As the protagonists’ supervisor, Dimitri has the power to reduce his salary or terminate his employment.


Although most of the characters encountered in Papers, Please are randomly generated, the ones that are consciously designed display choices that are intended to reflect their role and influence the mood of the player.

If enjoyed this post, consider checking out my review of Papers, Please.

Papers, Please is available on Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/239030/Papers_Please/


Papers Please. Lucas Pope, 2013.

Image Sources




Demon’s Souls: A Review of 1 Hour of Gameplay

Author’s Note: This review was part of a playtesting assignment. Therefore, the writing style is slightly different and the word count noticeably more then what I normally post on here. Despite these discrepancies, I hope you enjoy this piece!

An Archstone in the Nexus (no, not the modding website). Image from Demon Souls wiki.

I played the remake of Demon’s Souls for the PlayStation 5. This my first time playing a Dark Souls type game.

The opening cinematic was very well done and got me pumped to start engaging with the world. The story it laid out was intriguing, but not too complex that I felt lost. I liked how they listed some of the legendary heroes who had attempted the quest before me. It made me wonder if I would interact with them in the game.

Once the cinematic was over I began to create my character. I was very impressed with the degree of cosmetic customization (multiple hairstyles, color slider, races, eyes, body part sliders, voices, etc.), as most of the time the character’s face is covered by a helmet. While I had fun creating my character, I also kind of felt like I was wasting time with customizing (I spent about 10 minutes creating my character). Some of my excitement to explore the game dampened slightly while I was focusing on the minute details of my character. Though it seems like a step back, I think there should have been a little less character cosmetic customization.

While the cosmetic part of character creation felt overdone, I thought the classes where well executed. There was a variety of magic, melee, and rogue type builds. The starting gear each class was equipped with seemed unique and beautiful. I honestly had a hard time choosing one, as all of them seemed like they would be fun to play. I could imagine myself replaying using different classes. This made me feel satisfied with purchasing the game, since by replaying I would get good mileage out of it.

I ended up choosing Temple Knight as my class, since it seemed like the tried and true sword-and-shield type, but with a paladin twist. Once in the game world I ran into a problem with the class I had chosen. The starting gear for a Temple Knight is a halberd, shield, and heavy armor. The halberd was one of the things that drew me to the Temple Knight, as it looked cool and I thought it would be fun to attack enemies with. However, in the tight corridors of the introductory level, the halberd was clumsy and hard to aim. I frequently found myself swinging towards enemies only to have my weapon get caught on the ceiling or wall. Another issue I ran into was with the shield. When I first entered the game, my shield was equipped along with the halberd. However, when I entered a new area the shield disappeared. I tried multiple things to try and fix this, but the shield would not appear. Since I’d only been playing for 15 minutes (about 10 of which was trying to figure out the shield situation), I decided to start a new game as a different class (this time only spending 5 minutes on character creation). I went with a regular Knight this time, and my gear was pretty much the same except that instead of a halberd I had a sword. Unfortunately, this did not prevent the shield from disappearing when I entered a new area. Thankfully I was able to figure out how to reequip the shield (you must put it in a specific one of the two arm slots). I do not know if this shield issue is a bug or a poor design choice, but either way it made the game less immersive and enjoyable to play.

The fight mechanics for both the Knight and Temple Knight were smooth and well executed. I particularly enjoyed being able to hit multiple enemies at once with my weapon, as this made me feel more powerful and in control.

The way the tutorial was executed I thought was well done. Using notes with short messages written on them was effective and helped me visualize what areas the information would be useful in (messages were placed near related areas/enemies). Another reason I think this is a good system is it allows more seasoned players to skip messages with information they already know. It also does not break immersion or take the player away from the game world. One downside to these messages is there is no distinction between different types of information (e.g. fighting instructions, how to move, trap alerts). This could be fixed by having different types of messages be different colors.

When I tried to fight the tutorial boss I died and was sent to the Nexus. While a gorgeous environment and a unique approach to player death (compared to reloading the last save), I found the place to be kind of confusing at first. It took me several minutes to figure out how to get out of it and return to the game. This sojourn to the serene cathedral-like Nexus interrupted the pumped up, adrenaline-filled mood created by fighting the boss. I don’t understand why the game does this mood shift. Personally, when I’ve just finished trying to defeat a boss I don’t want to take a break, I want to try again immediately.

Another less than perfect aspect had to do with saving. It was not obvious when the game saves. Given the difficulty and how often I was dying, being unsure when saving occurred was kind of frustrating. I’m not sure if a saving icon appears, but if it does then I did not see it.  Adding a visible saving icon would help, that way players know when the game is saving. There could also be something in the tutorial that mentions how saving works. Eventually I figured out one of the times the game saves is when the player goes through a mist shrouded door or moves to a new location via bonfire. I feel like it saves at other points, because I recall loading a game and not being near a bonfire or shrouded door. However, I might not have noticed a shrouded door was there in the first place.

The environment and level design are very well executed. They invoke a mood of an area that is in decline and decaying. While there are some areas where visibility is limited due to a darkened environment, they are not used so much that it becomes an annoyance. Having areas of the world be well lit does not take away from the depressing tone. I felt like the portions of the level with more light were more effective of setting the mood than the darker areas, since you can see and appreciate the detail put into the world.

Demon’s Souls is not an easy game. In the hour I was playing I did not make it past the introductory level. However, I still had a fun time playing. Overall, Demon’s Souls is brutal yet enjoyable.


Demon’s Souls. Austin, TX: Bluepoint Games, 2020.


The Crestfallen Warrior screenshot – “The Nexus.” Demon’s Souls Wiki, https://demonssouls.wiki.fextralife.com/The+Nexus.

Why Saving Style Matters – A look at Outward

Saving can be an important mechanic in exploration heavy video games. The main purpose of exploration video games is self-explanatory – to explore the game world. This is often spurred on by interesting landmarks, quests, non-player characters (NPCs), or lore. That said, not all exploration games handle saving the same way. Some systems of saving are better suited for exploration gameplay then others. An example of a saving system not well suited for exploration games can be seen in Outward, a role playing game with a heavy emphasis on exploration.

Saves occur in Outward when a player enters a new area, such as a city, building, or overworld. There is no option for the player to save their game progress in the middle of exploring, battler, or other in game activity. While this is not necessarily a bad system, I found it influenced how I played the game, and not in a good way. In my first playthrough of Outward shortly after I exited the tutorial stage I approached two mundane looking NPCs on the main road, who promptly attacked me and took me to their hideout. After several failed attempts I finally escaped the hideout, only to fall victim to a trap set on a promising looking bridge. Having learned my lesson from these misadventures, when I next set out to explore the world I was much more cautious. I did everything I could to avoid anything that moved, appeared to be infrastructure, or looked more interesting than a static piece of set dressing. Even if a creature looked easy I stayed clear of it, I had learned my lesson the first time. I acknowledge that this seems overly cautious of me, and in games where I have more control over when I can save I am much more daring. However, considering the amount of time I spent getting from one area to another in Outward I did not want to risk dying and having to retrack through everything again. This cautiousness made playing the game much less interesting and noticeably less fun then games where I had the security of quick saving. It felt like there was less I could do without risking wasting a half hour of exploration.

Two cool looking locations, neither of which I risked visiting.

There are good games that feature both exploration and a save system similar to Outward. That said, some of these other games, like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (released in 1998), have such a save system due to the limited technology of their time. Outward (released in 2019) does not have that excuse. With quicksave options being a common (and I would argue beneficial) feature of many modern games, I remain baffled why Outward would choose to use the save system it did. It does not encourage the player to explore and hinders their confidence when interacting with enemies. I’m sure some will say that I was being a wuss and should have just taken the risk, and maybe they are right (everyone is entitled to their opinion). But with only so many hours in a day, I do not want the time I’ve invested in a game to be wasted by an ill-fated encounter with a knock-off chocobo.

Does Square Enix know about this appropriation?


Outward. Nine Dot Studio, 2019. PC version. Video Game.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Nintendo, 1998. Wii version. Video Game.

All screenshots taken by author.

Papers Please or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bureaucracy

There is a saying: “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.” I feel an adjusted version of this proverb could accurately describe my time playing Papers Please: “one person’s nightmare job is the same person’s dream.” You see, I am an ex-bureaucrat. For a year and half I worked as a paper pushing, permit checking, document stamping permit intake specialist for a county level Planning and Development Department. Yes it was just as boring as it sounds, and yes I am quite glad to be out of there. However, I cannot deny there is something I still find viscerally satisficing about a perfectly stacked, stamped, stapled, and checked pile of paper. This is one of the reasons why I enjoyed Papers Please, a game that can best be summed up as a Cold War Communist Bureaucracy simulator. Considering the popularity of Papers Please, I assume I’m not alone in feeling this way, but why?

It’s highly unlikely that all the 34,000 plus people who have given a positive review of Papers Please are recovering paper pushers. As I thought about it, I realized that the less than desirable aspects of my job which I previously described are not exclusive to permit specialists. So I assumed that at least some of the other players also have or had a real life job that somewhat parallels their role in the game. However, the question still remained as to why these people found the game enjoyable. After pondering it, the best answer I could come up with is simply Papers Please is a game, and games are something we willingly do with the intent of having fun. When we enter a game’s “magic circle” we know that we are abiding by it’s rules because the end result is fun. (Fullerton) This is in contrast with most jobs, which in a way involve entering a different type of “circle” (e.g. there are rules, accepted behaviors, and tasks that need to be completed). At a job things are done willingly but not primarily with the intention of having fun. It would seem that the main difference between Papers Please and a real life job would be that we go into one with the goal of having fun and we go into the other without trying to have fun.

As weird as it sounds, the ability of Paper’s Please to turn an unpleasant aspect of life into an enjoyable game is a skill I would like to emulate. So often in real life we get annoyed or stressed out by tasks that are tedious. By showing players that the same constraints they are put under at work can produce an enjoyable experience may help make those real life situations less stressful. At least for this player, should I ever find myself working a less then pleasant job in the future, I’ll try to channel some of the same intention for fun I had going into Papers Please.


Fullerton, Tracy. Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games. 4th ed., Taylor & Francis Group LLC, 2019. PDF.

Papers Please. Lucas Pope, 2013.

The Maps of Among Us: Glitches or Gameplay?

This past week I finally got around to playing the most recent game to blow up in the popular consciousness, Among Us. After playing it for a couple hours with some friends, I could easily understand why it has become so popular. There are many things that make Among Us enjoyable, from the social aspect of players debating who the killer is, to the satisfying minigames the crew must do to perform their tasks. However, what I want to focus on in this post is a feature of Among Us I am less then thrilled with: its map.

This is fine.

To clarify, I have no gripe with the layouts of the three Among Us maps. I found them to be delightfully diverse in terms of layout, tasks, and theme. My beef with the maps is related to what could described as their “glitchy-ness”. For example, when a player is going down a hallway it easy is for them to overlap with the wall border. This can sometimes make it seem like the player is coming out of nowhere or acting in a strange way, leading to misinterpretation from other players. The goal of Among Us is to identify who on the ship is the Imposter, which is commonly done by claiming the person believed to be said Imposter is acting suspicious. To test this, I jumped on a random server and purposely maneuvered in a way where my character glitched with the wall. I was not the Imposter, but several other players claimed I was due to how the glitching occurring between my character and the wall (their reasoning was it looked similar to when the Imposter “vents”, a technique that allows them to teleport around the ship).

A close up of the player character overlapping with the wall. This is not as fine.

Some may argue that situations such as this are not a bad thing. Misinterpretation, false signs, and dubious claims are some of the bread and butter of Among Us, so what’s the harm? While I understand this line of thinking, I don’t feel it makes sense to justify such an obvious glitch by saying it’s a necessary part of gameplay. Granted, sometimes glitches in games can be fun and it’s ok for a community to (more or less embrace) them. In my opinion, where things start getting sticky is when glitches start to mingle too closely with the essential aspects of a game. Consider what would happen if the Among Us team released a patch that adjusted the walls so players could not clip over them. It would remove the dynamic I previously described of falsely interpreting (intentionally or unintentionally) an innocent players movements, taking away gameplay. Glitches can be fine to have in a game, but developers need to be careful they do not become too intertwined with the game’s important intentional aspects.


Among Us. Redmond, WA: Innersloth, 2018.

All screenshots taken by author.

After Waiting Over a Decade, I Played The Sims 3

In previous posts I have referenced and used as examples various titles in the Sims series. However, of the four main Sims games to be released, I have only ever played 1, 2 and 4. This was not due to a lack of interest in The Sims 3 on my part, far from it. Prior to its release in 2009, I was an avid Sims 1 and 2 player and studiously followed the media coverage for the then upcoming Sims 3. Being a teenager at the time I did not have adequate funds to purchase it myself, and since my mother had developed the opinion that video games are only for boys and adults who lived in their parents basement (Note: if it was not already obvious this opinion is wrong, I want to clearly state that I have always identified as female and never once in my adult life lived with my parents or in a basement), I was unable to play The Sims 3 upon its initial release. Jump forward over a decade later and I have decided to indulge in my inner teenager and purchase The Sims 3 on Steam.

Beginning my first long awaited play session of The Sims 3 I had high expectations. Considered by many in the Sims fandom to be one of, if not the best Sims game, The Sims 3 boasts extensive object customization, an open world, and a multitude of different life aspirations and attributes. Notably, these are all features that are lacking in The Sims 4, which caused much ire in the community as it was seen as a regression of the series. Yet despite these added features, The Sims 3 did not wow me in the expected way. There are a few reasons for this. One of the more interesting ones has to do with the aforementioned customization, open world, and variety of sim attributes and goals. These are absent not only in The Sims 4, but in The Sims 1 and 2 as well. Seeing as how these games comprise almost all of my experience with the series, I’ve become accustomed to their absence. This is why when I played The Sims 4 I was not overly offended by the lack of these features. Also, I’ve simply learned to play The Sims without them. This is not to say I don’t enjoy The Sims 3. In particular I enjoyed its inclusion and expansion of mechanics from The Sims 1 and 2. For example, being able to edit the world on a large scale was something I dearly missed from The Sims 2 and was overjoyed to be able to do again in The Sims 3. And while it took me awhile to grow accustomed to their presence, I loved exploring the open world, customizing my countertops, and creating nuanced and unique Sims via their attributes.

I was not expecting my experience with The Sims 3 to turn into a reflection of how people who regularly experience an imperfect thing over a long period of time become accustomed to and accepting of it, despite there being room for improvement (looking at you, US Electoral College). Whether it is a video game franchise or an election system, something that is widely used and successful should not be immune to talk of improvement and a critical eye.


The Sims 3. Electronic Arts, 2009. Video Game.

South Park: The Stick of Truth – Color as a Mechanic

In South Park: The Stick of Truth objects that are interactable have a yellow component, typically a knob or handle. On the surface this observation seems to be related to artistic design more so than mechanics. However, due to the necessity of interacting with the game world in order to complete levels and defeat enemies, I argue that using yellow to indicate interactable objects is also a mechanic.

Not all gameplay mechanics need to be explicitly shown to the player via tutorials and pop-up messages, though it can be helpful. At no point in Stick of Truth is there a prompt or tutorial that informs the player that an object with yellow will almost certainly be interactable. Early in the game I found this lack of guidance to be a double-edged sword. On one hand it fueled my interest in exploring the world, specifically discovering what will or will unlock new areas and give me loot. However, in hindsight this was not wholly a good thing. Because I did not know how to distinguish between what objects I could and could not interact with, I wasted time going up to every single door, drawer, and cabinet. In fact, it was not until I was several hours into gameplay and about halfway through the main story that I realized all objects with yellow indicated interactivity. I was shocked and confused that I had not noticed this before. Upon some reflection, I released that I had begun to sub-consciously identify yellow with interactable objects.

I’m on the fence about whether or not I would integrate color in a game à la yellow in Stick of Truth. On one hand it helps the player interact with the environment and cut down on unnecessary faffing about. However, I fear it could streamline the exploration process too much. If I were to use color as an indicator of interactivity in a game I would try not to limit it to only one color. Having multiple colors would make exploration more dynamic as players are not looking for just one sign. Despite the adjustments I would make, I think that in general the use of yellow in Stick of Truth is effective.


South Park: The Stick of Truth. Ubisoft, 2014. Video Game.

The Call of Karen: An Entertaining Eldritch Endeavor

In preparation for the ending of season 1 of HBO’s Lovecraft Country, I have been searching for something to fill the Eldritch hole that is about to be in my life. While it is definitely more humorous than traditional Lovecraftian media, The Call of Karen seemed interesting enough for me to give it a try. Although there are several technical drawbacks, which is to be expected of an indie free to play game on Steam, The Call of Karen contains several endearing and entertaining features.

Despite the ever-approaching menace of a Cthulhu-esque entity, The Call of Karen is mostly a comedy. The player’s avatar is a 1950’s housewife named Karen who must carry out various mundane household tasks, all while a sinister presence infiltrates her home. However, it is not the supernatural scares that get Karen down, instead it is society’s underappreciation of her role as a homemaker. This is displayed several times early in the game, primarily through Karen’s underwhelmed and disgruntled reactions to things she hears on the radio.

Example of the radio program Karen listens to. Screenshot by author.

In addition to Karen’s lack of concern for the approaching evil, there are also several small touches to the environment that add humor. For example, one of the books the player is tasked with putting away is titled “Your Nuclear Family: no not that kind of nuclear” and is written by a Jane Strangelove. In this one game object alone there are numerous references (i.e. the perfect white-cisgender suburban family, reliance on nuclear power, and arguably the best satire of the Cold War ever made) that reflect the post-World War II aesthetic that permeates the game. I could have easily spent the entire duration of my gameplay examining each object for Easter eggs. This is something that I feel is important for games to have, but is not present as much as it should. Not only does it help with worldbuilding and immersion, but it also shows that the creators of the game cared enough to add such little details. It gave me the sense that the developers enjoyed working on and really cared about the game. This is something I rarely feel when playing video games, but that I hope to instill in the games I make in the future.

Part of a screenshot by author.


The Call of Karen. Worcester, MA: Trumbus Games, 2020. Video Game.

Mechanics, Music & Medieval Dynasty

Typically when people think of the word mechanics, they conjure up an image of a person working on a car, possibly in ill-fitting jeans. In the context of games, however, mechanics are the components by which players engage with the game. (Hunicke et al. 3) They can take the form of algorithms, card shuffling, or weapons to name just a few. (2, 3) While playing Medieval Dynasty for the first time, I came across a game component that I had not originally considered to be a mechanic. However, as I played the game I came to realize that it did act as a game mechanic, and a useful one at that. This is the game’s music.

Music has been a part of video games for decades. Sometimes it acts to foreshadow the arrival of a boss, or heighten tension during an encounter. In Medieval Dynasty the music serves a less overt, but nevertheless important purpose. This is to immerse the player in the game world. Roaming around the idyllic valley where Medieval Dynasty takes place could have been a stressful nightmare. My hunger bar slowly ticks down while I balance conserving my energy and darting after a rabbit, desperate to get some food before the sun goes down and my vision all but vanishes. However, the constant presence of the calming exploration music soothed my nerves and helped me relax. Yes I’m a starving peasant, but I’ve still got a moment to stop and admire the rolling hills bordered by a meandering river. This unexpected dynamic of nature hiking and admiring panoramas was not unwelcome, especially considering the limited options for travel and exploration during a global pandemic. The music and resulting dynamics in Medieval Dynasty made me feel relaxed, happy, and interested in exploring more of the beautiful game-space.

Screenshot taken by author.

Since it is currently in early access, I am hopeful that Medieval Dynasty will add to its existing repertoire of soothing exploration music in its final iteration.


Hunicke, Robin Et al. “MDA: A Formal Approach to Game Design and Game Research.” Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, 2004. https://www.aaai.org/Papers/Workshops/2004/WS-04-04/WS04-04-001.pdf

Medieval Dynasty. Irdning, Austria: Toplitz Productions, 2020. Video Game, early access.

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