by Luv Mehta
This is an article I've wanted to write for a very long while.
Outer Wilds is a 2019 video game that I finished in 2020, and towards the beginning of 2021, I was listening to a podcast episode specifically dedicated to the experience of finishing this game. Austin Walker, one of the hosts of Waypoint Radio, talked about how, once he finished it, he immediately has the thought of being sure that this was his favourite game of 2020. This thought continued, though, and he had to ask himself - was it more than just that?
I related to this sentiment a lot, and I had some thoughts of my own knocking about in my head since completing it. I had one specific experience I've never had with any other piece of media, and had never thought I'd feel after watching any movie, reading any book, or playing any game. I've tried to put this experience into words for a long while, and I've decided to finally write it out and release it as an article.
So, this is the story of how Outer Wilds, the space exploration adventure game, gave me an existential crisis. This isn't an article I could spin into anything positive, so apologies in advance.
Some major spoilers are present in the article, and while I won't mention anything in the endgame, I do spoil some mysteries that you might want to figure out by yourself if you were looking forward to playing this game sometime in the future. This is a game about discovery, so if you haven't played the game, I'd recommend you read this article only if you don't plan on playing it.
by Luv Mehta
Well, this isn't an article I thought I'd be writing this month.
There are a bunch of things I'll be talking about that the average reader probably won't know, so I'll have to go into detail and explain a bunch of trends and terms and how a bunch of global factors led to a strange paradigm shift in both a country's idol industry and the online video livestreaming culture. To keep it simple, I'll provide a short summary up top, and go into more detail later. So here goes.
V-Tubers (more commonly spelled VTubers but I'll spell it with a hyphen because I prefer that spelling), a category of online content creators using a virtual animated face in place of their own, have gained a massive amount of popularity in the year of 2020 because more people spend their time online than ever before. The concept rose to prominence in the Japanese idol industry with the rise of Kizuna Ai, and there are a bunch of Japanese virtual idol industries like Nijisanji and Hololive, with the latter being one of the most famous ones on a global scale. Hololive idols have each formed a cult of personality and gained a fandom rivalling some of the other most intense modern artists, like BTS, Ariana Grande, etc. Despite the ostensible title of "idols", most of these talents end up becoming popular because of their interactions with the fandom, much of which gets used for skits, memes and... other stuff.
And it's that other stuff I find the most interesting.