by on Dec 18, 2018

The essential festive values, as taught by video games

It’s almost upon us. But before you find yourself swelling with booze and Terry’s Chocolate Orange, warm yourself with the thought that you’ve quietly been marinating in some essential, wholesome values this year. They’ve been bubbling away in the video games that have nibbled at your nights, and you may not have even noticed. Read on and feel smug at the thought of being festively nourished all year round.

Perseverance Dead Cells

Dead Cells was a terrible game, for a brief few moments. Having whet your chosen blade, prized open your bear traps and stocked your crossbow turrets, some errant blob would blindside you, ransacking your amassed treasures and booting you back to the start. But after the initial rush of seething anger cools, you’re tempted back into the fray. It was rich in rewards for those that cracked and hacked on.

I can’t remember if perseverance is one of those irritating qualities that ‘is its own reward,’ but Dead Cells sees fit to reward your perseverance with savage weaponry and new powers. Crossbow turrets, ice bombs, cursed swords, even shovels, special ninja shoes, whips, chains, flamethrowers. And, in the end, isn’t that the real meaning of Christmas? I mean, perseverance – isn’t that the real meaning of perseverance?

Be polite when someone gives you socksDiablo Immortal announcement

It’s tough to bite one’s tongue as you tear into a five-pack of cotton socks on Christmas morning. But as we swell into adulthood, the rage is beaten back. Granted, this has a lot to do with the swift advancement of food toward centre stage. We can afford to look gracious and diffident, because we know the dinner is happening. That’s safe. We’re going home with that.

The announcement of Diablo Immortal, an action RPG hack and slash for mobile devices, made me think, more than anything else, about socks. It may not be the Diablo people wanted, but, like the glorious food that’s certainly on the itinerary, Diablo 4 is almost definitely happening. Besides, as infuriating as it was when grandma thought socks were the secret to festive joy, it was hardly worth giving her a hard time about – let alone starting a Twitter campaign against her. But that’s what some fans did with the #NotMyDiablo trend. Good grief. Besides, Diablo Immortal might be great – socks certainly are, and lots of mine have holes in them.

Tolerance Detroit: Become Human

Tolerance abounds in Detroit: Become Human. Intolerance, too. You’ll rub shoulders with all walks of life: old and young, people of colour, android and human, men, women, and children – along with various household appliances. Its steely sprawl is stuffed with all manner of things you’ll need to tolerate: a strange insistence on analogue stick swivelling, wonky dialogue, quick-time events, and predictable plotlines.

Having played Detroit: Become Human, it’s easy to come away freshly broad-minded, open and accepting of all. What a wonderful lesson to abide by in real life, as we move into 2019. Although, on second thought, you’d better not. As we all know well by now, there is nothing in the game that should, or actually can even be applied to real life. It’s a story about androids, by androids, for androids. To be honest, it really shouldn’t be in this list, actually.

Togetherness – Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden

You’d be forgiven for thinking Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden is, despite its outlandish title, a video game version of that tiresome farmyard conundrum. The fox, the chicken, and the grain have been replaced with the fox-human hybrid, who will presumably dine on the duck-human hybrid, before being gored by the boar-human hybrid. Alas, you’d be wrong, but not by a long way.

As it happens, it’s really more of an XCOM sort of thing, but that doesn’t mean this malformed platoon don’t have to cooperate. Indeed, not just in a tactical sense. In the world of Mutant Year Zero, a deadly plague has wiped out most of humanity, and those that remain have been mutated into said hybrid creatures; if the world is to mend, then everyone will have to get along. If, like me, you’ve got quacking relatives that, with only two glasses of wine, start bearing their tusks.

Forgiveness – Agony

Well, you’ve got your work cut out for you forgiving developer Madmind Studio for Agony. If you manage it, full festive kudos to you.


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Dead Cells

on Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Release Date:

01 January 2018