Happy July! I feel like you should know that the bulk of this issue was put together after my air conditioning broke and in an office that turns into an over from about 3PM to 6PM. If you catch any typos, that’d be why!
Our cover story this month, by Emma Kostopolus, looks at the treatment of the idea of motherhood in Death Stranding (in some ways, it is a response to Yussef Cole’s February column, which is well worth a read, but far from required). The very excellent cover is by Julia Baritz.
Our second feature sees Alma Roda-Gil examining the solitude at the heart of Firewatch. Our sponsored feature this month focuses on Matt Newell’s exploration experiences, which coincidentally also touch on themes of solitude in the wilderness.
A bit of a sad note: this month marks Blake Hester’s final column. It’s a hell of a read (on Last of Us Part II and cycles of addiction) and a clear example of why I will miss reading and editing him every month. Don’t get melancholy, though – I am sure we’ll see Blake in the features section in the future.
Elsewhere in the columns, Noah Springer whips up a new batch of hip hop recommendations. Harry Rabinowitz comes in with a timely recommendation of March, a three-volume graphic novel memoir of John Lewis’ civil rights activism in the 60s. Amanda Hudgins looks at the new phenomenon of quarantine fan fiction. Declan Taggart expands on his column from last month with a clear example of why we shouldn’t revere Viking culture.
Thanks to the pandemic, Ben Sailer finally figures out how to enjoy open world games. Matt Marrone tries to unpack the series finale of Dark. Yussef Cole offers a mea culpa to his partner, Vivian, who is an often unsung collaborator in his writing. Sara Clemens pens an appreciation for digital buddies. Justin Reeve looks at the architectural reasons behind the garish store fronts of Yakuza 0. Rob Rich laments the disappearance of Mission Europa from his mobile game library. Adam Boffa offers a companion piece to his look at Final Fantasy XII last month, this time taking a hard listen to the game’s soundtrack.
Finally, we have a chat with artist E. Lubanko about their gorgeous work and their forthcoming tarot deck.
And that’s our issue. We’ll see you in August with the next installment of Exploits. Be safe and be well!
Kearny, New Jersey
July 15, 2020