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A Link to the Past

The Week in Games
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Ragnarök is coming. Finally. After months of rumours and speculation, on Wednesday Sony announced the news that everybody was hoping for; God of War will be released on November 9th, this year. So how did they choose to reveal this most anticipated detail for arguably the biggest game in their roster? At a plush industry event filled with the gaming media? With a bombastic 20-minute trailer revealing new gameplay and epic boss fights?
Well, not quite. With a blog entry and a Twitter post, of course.
I’ve seen and read multiple stories over the years about how preparing a trailer for an in-development project (usually for E3) can take precious time and resources away from a game, and with God of War’s development quite clearly cutting it fine in order to hit that 2022 release date, the lack of one is a good thing. There was a lavish CG trailer to accompany the news, admittedly, but there’s no chance members of the dev team were involved in making that. Announce the date, leave the devs alone, and release the game when you promised. Lovely.
Predictably though, as is so often the case these days, there was a bit of an online backlash over the fact that such a huge game was announced in this relatively low-key fashion. But I like it - it reminds me just a little bit of the way things used to be… *cue hazy dream sequence*
Back in the olden days - i.e. the 90’s - things were a bit different. In those almost medieval pre-internet times you had no option other than to devour previews and stare at images in magazines in the months leading up to a game’s release. The first time I ever played Super Mario 64 was also the first time I ever saw it running. I had read everything there was to read about that game before I got my hands on it, but I’d never seen it in motion. I’m sure those who were there will remember quite clearly just how mind-blowing picking up that controller and seeing Mario running and jumping in 3D for the first time was.
Even in the PS2 days when the internet was more prevalent things weren’t quite the same; I distinctly remember starting the download for a 2-minute gameplay trailer of Jak & Daxter on IGN, and then trotting off to make lunch as I waited for the download to finish. If you wanted video game information back then, you kind of had to work for it.
This might seem frustrating - unimaginable even, by today’s standards - but I don’t know, looking back now I kind of miss it. It added to the anticipation, and my goodness seeing these games running for the first time as you held the controller in your hand was an incredible thing. Would Link riding Epona across Hyrule Field to that achingly beautiful score during Ocarina of Time’s opening sequence have been as awe-inspiring and affecting if you’d already seen it countless times online before you played it? I doubt it.
We’ve seen a gameplay clip of Ragnarök already, but on the whole news of the game has been oddly subdued. As things stand, arguably the biggest game of the year will be released in just 4 months and we know hardly anything about it. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not naïve enough to think that this won’t change as November draws near - that bombastic 20-minute gameplay trailer will arrive at some point - but frankly, in an age where we know everything about every game long before we play them, the build up to God of War so far feels mysterious and exciting.
It reminds me of the good old days, back when game information wasn’t constantly fired at us from all angles. Back when we were left to our imaginations. Its refreshing, and I like it.
A quick hello to the new subscribers this week, and thanks to those who have supported The Week in Games with a membership, by sharing it online, or simply by opening and reading it each week. This newsletter is completely reliant on shares and word of mouth, so your help and support is crucial, and hugely appreciated.
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I hope you enjoy the rest of the newsletter.
Take care!
NEWS
Heads-Up:
  • itch.io has launched a new charity bundle to raise money for abortion funds.
  • There’s currently a big sale going on over at Xbox, with a huge amount of backwards compatibility titles included. See the full list here.
  • The PlayStation Store ‘July Deals’ sale has also just begun, with games up to 70% off.
  • Amazon’s Prime Day is next week, which always includes multiple deals on video games, hardware and accessories.
  • Epic Games’ The Matrix Awakens demo will be leaving console storefronts on Saturday (July 9). It may be short, but if you haven’t seen it yet it’s a rather stunning example of what Unreal Engine 5 and the latest consoles are capable of. Check it out and find Store links here.
NEW RELEASES:
This week sees Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series - which includes remasters of PS1’s Klonoa: Door to Phantomile, and 2001’s PlayStation 2 sequel Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil - hit consoles and PC.
Not much information and no reviews have surfaced at the time of writing, but as a big fan of these games (and their sumptuous art style), I’ll be keeping a keen eye on them.
Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series
Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series
(PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC) – July 5
(PC, iOS, Android) – July 7
(PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC) – July 7
(PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC) – July 8
(PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC) – July 8
UPCOMING RELEASES:
(PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC) – July 12
(PC) – July 13
(PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC) – July 14
(PC) – July 14
(PC) – July 15  – Read review
GAME OF THE WEEK
A randomly selected game each week! Any and all games are eligible for selection regardless of age, platform, popularity, or otherwise.
This week, the honour goes to…
Project Gotham Racing (2001)
A spiritual successor to the Dreamcast’s sublime Metropolis Street Racer, The Project Gotham Racing series continued Bizarre Creation’s brilliant winning streak with a number of excellent ‘simcade’ racers for Microsoft’s Xbox console that are still held in high regard to this day.
Rather brilliantly, it also marked the first appearance of twin-stick shooter classic Geometry Wars, in the form of a playable arcade machine in the game’s car garage.
GAMING ANNIVERSARIES
Another round of gaming anniversaries to make you feel old… Sorry!
Click through the links to see what people had to say about them.
Spelunky is a decade old!
Derek Yu
10 years ago today, @StoryFort, @strotchy, and I released #Spelunky on Xbox 360! I made this drawing back then to commemorate the release.

Of course, we got a lot of help along the way. Thank you to everyone who supported us on that journey! https://t.co/gVmsT35kpi
Final Fantasy IX celebrated its 22nd birthday!
jeff
Final Fantasy IX is 22 today!

After its more futuristic predecessor, FF IX went all-in on its fantasy setting, with characters that became true fan favourites and an easy charm that still delights to this day.

Where does FF IX rank in the series for you? https://t.co/c4SO80mjfr
NiGHTS into Dreams turned 26!
Yuji Naka / 中 裕司
Happy Birthday NiGHTS!
26 years ago, NiGHTS was announced at this Sega Saturn new software presentation. Bomberman and Enemy Zero were announced together.
I've recently been flying FPV in the sky with a drone like NiGHTS. #NiGHTS #NiGHTSIntoDreams https://t.co/ouut5FY9nt
RECOMMENDED READS
Kara Jane Adams - Medium
The Sega Saturn celebrated its 27th birthday in Europe this week. A few years ago Kara Jane Adams wrote this brilliant piece on the console that is well worth your time.
Staff Piece - Polygon
This year has felt oddly subdued when it comes to big releases, but if you want to make sure you haven’t missed anything, Polygon staff have listed their best games of 2022 so far.
CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGNS
Perfect Organism: An Alien: Isolation Companion
By Andy Kelly / Unbound
The Gaming Chronicles - Episode 1 - The Amiga 500
By Gracious Films - Campaign ends July 10th
Ninty Fresh Magazine: Issue 7
By Ninty Media - Campaign ends July 20th
UNITHOR - A Brand New Joystick For Retro Computers
By UNI-Joy - Campaign ends July 21st
[lock-on] Volume 004
By Lost in Cult - Campaign ends August 1st
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…and that’s it for this week!
I hope you enjoyed this issue of The Week in Games! I’d be delighted if you would consider forwarding this email to anybody you think may like it, by sharing this link on social media, or simply telling people about it!
I’m always looking at ways to improve this newsletter, so if you have any comments, suggestions or enquiries, please reply to this email directly, write to jeff@jeffsayhi.com, or catch me on Twitter!
Thanks again, see you next week!
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