Draw up a list of titles you probably don’t want to accurately predict the future, and this is surely right up there with Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture. But less than a year after its initial release, Death Stranding has aged disappointingly well, thanks to a year that’s aged all of us far more horribly than any of the game’s body decaying rainstorms ever could. The very definition of an essential worker, you play as courier Sam Porter Bridges – subtle – risking a suddenly deadly outside world in order to get emergency supplies to desperate people. Keeping your face covered is crucial to your survival. The greatest threat you face is invisible until it’s too late. You constantly risk breaking your back fetching supplies for vulnerable, less well-equipped neighbours, struggling to resist the temptation to lighten your load and abandon their cargo even though you just know they voted for Brexit.
Still unconvinced Kojima Productions owns a working crystal ball? It gets worse: you go a seemingly endless amount of time with no physical contact with another person. Technically you’re often in the vicinity of thousands of people, but you can’t see any of them, aside from a lone hologram at the front door, its broadcast quality spottier than your grandma’s Zoom connection. You sleep, shower and live in what seems like the same four walls forever. You have to battle misinformation spread by sycophants and prove to the people you’re trying to help survive that you’re acting with their best interests at heart. Sam’s unkempt locks are begging for a trim. If you can’t relate to that last one, congratulations, but personally we’re hugely grateful this magazine doesn’t run author photos.
So, wonderful. Death Stranding has loosely predicted the conditions of our current crisis and captured the mood of a year everybody rightly despises. Isn’t it all too soon, especially with two months of 2020 yet to endure? We wouldn’t blame you for seeking out more escapist entertainment – it certainly hasn’t done Nintendo’s stock price any harm – but revisiting Hideo Kojima’s long hike, his bizarre last stand for the fetch quest, is now surprisingly cathartic. There’s actually a lot of hope in this dystopia.
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NODDING HEADS GAMES
How an Indian studio defied the odds to develop a culturally rich adventure
SHADOWS OF DOUBT
A detective procedural
A progress report on the games we just can’t quit
Watch Dogs 2
How a major attitude adjustment saved Ubisoft’s hacker series from meltdown
Cards of darkness
Exploring Hollow Knight: Silksong, Team Cherry’s sharply refined sequel to a modern classic
Reflecting on a terrible, yet undeniably transformative 12 months in games, and where it might lead
Agent 47’s big finish is a fresh start for his creators
Inside Dim Bulb Games’ gallery of lockpicking mechanics, and what it might mean for games
Goodbye Volcano High
Ko-op scales up for a bittersweet ode to youthful impulse
Restoring the Future
A Small Town Gets a Makeover
Mary Cane: Gambler's daughter
Stories about pioneer Mary Cane are many; few are substantiated. Separating myth from fact is easier with ever growing digitized databases, but still many “facts” in the story of Mary Cane must be taken with grains of salt varying in size..
Britain Still Can't Escape Europe
Brexit will not end the U.K.’s long, fraught relationship with the Continent
WD Black SN850 NVMe SSD: Fantastic sustained write speeds via PCIe 4.0
This new PCIe 4 NVMe SSD is like-priced and about as fast as its mighty Samsung rival.
WHERE SOUL MEETS BODY
Yoga Can Increase Well-Being Through Meditation, Exercise, Spirituality
HUAWEI: A GENUINE COMPETITOR TO APPLE AND GOOGLE
Now considered the poster child of China’s technology sector, Huawei has defied the odds in recent years amidst growing pressure from political leaders in the US and Europe. But just how did the company climb to the top, and overtake Samsung to become the world’s biggest smartphone brand? Let’s pull back the curtain and reveal the secrets behind its success.
Cut from the Same Cloth
“Turkey Tracks” is a 19th-century quiltmaking pattern that has the appearance of little wandering feet. Patterns like the tracks, and their traditions and myths, have been passed down through the generations, from their frontier beginnings to today, where a generation of makers has embraced the material as a means of creating something new. Olivia Jondle is one such designer. Here, she’s taken an early turkey track-pattern quilt, cut it into various shapes, and stitched the pieces together, adding calico and other fabric remnants as needed. The result is a trench coat she calls the Pale Calico Coat. Her designs are for sale at The Rusty Bolt, Jondle’s small-batch fashion company based in St. Louis. —SAMANTHA STEVENSON
A House unbungled
A couple embarks on the restoration of a diminutive house, aiming to reverse a mid-century Colonial style remodeling. Replacing one wall with a period colonnade lets light flow front to back.
Samuel, Aiyuk among NFL’s most dynamic young duos
The Giants provided November thrills and took the division lead into December.