EVENT: The Game Awards Watch Party 2023

Patch Notes Magazine

The Game Awards' huge problem

Conor Gillingham / Nov. 30, 2023

Unity retracts new revenue policy after backlash from game studios

Jonah Statmore / Nov. 29, 2023

Your Turn to Die flashes its brilliance

Conor Gillingham / Nov. 16, 2023

OPINION: Critical Miss(tep): One D&D’s Fixes and Fumbles

Rhys Cabot / Nov. 5, 2023

OPINION: Baldur's Gate 3: A Roll of the Dice for New Standards?

Jack Cooksey / Nov. 4, 2023

OPINION: Cities: Skylines II and the Importance of Beta Content Messaging

Noah Fischer / Oct. 23, 2023

Bad News: Your Next Game May Be Developed by A.I.

Aiden Dowell / Apr. 28, 2023

Bethesda’s Long Awaited Space Adventure Has Finally Received An Official Launch Date

Jonah Statmore / Apr. 28, 2023

Disney Villainous: The Pop Culture Cash Grab Done Right

Connor Sturniolo / Apr. 28, 2023

OPINION: Game Literacy: The Next Step For Accessibility

Forrest Freeman / Apr. 28, 2023

Life-Changing Games: A Short Hike

Noah Fischer / Apr. 28, 2023

OPINION: My Film Professor Called Video Games Violent: A Retrospective

Noah Fischer / Apr. 28, 2023

EVENT: The Game Awards Watch Party 2023

Come to Kerwin Hall T02 on December 7th to watch the Game Awards with your friends and fellow game enthusiasts!

Patch Notes Magazine

Patch Notes Magazine

Courtesy of Patch Notes Magazine

The Game Awards, the Oscars for video games, are just around the corner, airing live on December 7th. And for our first ever event, Patch Notes Magazine will be hosting a watch party of the awards ceremony itself. We plan on this being a yearly occasion, so if you're an underclassman, you can hopefully look forward to many more years of this to come.

Along with watching the Game Awards themselves, we will be giving out stickers to everyone who comes, as well as T-shirt prizes that you can win for three categories. The first is the Game Awards Prediction Challenge, with the T-shirt going to the person who guesses the most award winners correctly. You can participate in the Prediction Challenge by following this link. The second is for the best cosplay, and the third is for the best gamer fashion (think "I paused my game to be here").

Below are the event details. If you are interested in coming, please RSVP here!

Date: Thursday, December 7
Time: 7:30pm (will likely run until 10:30-11pm, feel free to stop by whenever you can make it)
Location: Kerwin Hall T02 (bottom floor)
Goodies: Free Patch Notes stickers for everyone!
Prizes: T-shirts for the best Game Awards prediction, best cosplay, and best gamer fashion!

The Game Awards’ huge problem

Award shows don’t judge games based on the outlined guidelines

Conor Gillingham / Nov. 30, 2023

As the end of 2023 draws near, the yearly event for gamers is also up and coming. The Game Awards are known for being a way for gamers to come together to find out what games are the most influential of the year.

However, while the Game Awards are a really popular event, it has a major flaw that invalidates the awards presented during the show. The award show as a whole doesn't exactly judge games based on the merits that it’s being judged on as a whole.

The major flaw of this entire awards ceremony is the fact that the major factor that judges these games is popularity, not the actual categories that the awards are basing it off of. This is the major trend that has followed through the show and can be seen when looking at the previous winners.

Within the past four years, there have been two games that have won game of the year from FromSoftware: Elden Ring and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Games like God of War and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild also show how the winners are highly popular game franchises. It's why the 2020 Game Awards were so controversial because it looked like The Last of Us Part II was winning everything it was in, to the point where it became a meme.

While this isn’t the clear trend of winners, with the 2021 winner going to It Takes Two despite having stiff competition from Resident Evil: Village and Metroid Dread, it’s still a pattern that has a lot of contention.

But why is this a problem? Isn’t the entire point of Game of the Year awards to shed spotlight on the games that were the most influential of the year? Yes, but the popularity of a game only means that the major companies that release highly reviewed titles are going to come out on top. This is shown in the 2020 Game Awards. Last of Us II won most of the awards despite games from independent studios such as Hades and Carrion to be overshadowed. Hades, on release, was known for its high action gameplay, gripping soundtrack and amazing voice acting. These qualities put it on par with most AAA titles released that year. However, it only won in two categories, one of which only focused on indie games. It’s the more mainstream games that will get the nominations more often than lesser-known titles that have just as much quality.

And it’s an important note to keep in mind when it comes to the 2023 Game Awards. Looking at the nominees for Game of the Year, it’s clear that this pattern is shown, with The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, Super Mario Bros. Wonder, and Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 being the huge contenders for every award. And while that makes sense for something like game of the year, due to their massive success, it becomes a problem when it’s being judged on an individual topic.

Take the category for best audio design. It has two really good contenders on the list: Alan Wake 2 and Dead Space. However, Spider-Man 2 is also on this list. And it’s more likely that people are going to vote for Spider-Man 2 because more people have played it, due to it being an action, open world game. However, the other two are horror games which, while not having as big an audience, are built around game mechanics like audio.

So as a whole, the mainstream game awards winners overshadow the smaller titles based on something as simple as name recognition instead of what they are being judged off of. So don’t be surprised when games like Tears of the Kingdom or Spider-Man 2 completely sweep this year’s Game Awards.

This article was edited by Connor Sturniolo and Noah Fischer.
Copy editing done by Connor Sturniolo.

Your Turn to Die flashes its brilliance

Story twists and character development lead the way in visual novel

Conor Gillingham / Nov. 16, 2023

Patch Notes Magazine

Courtesy of Steam

“Just a random question, but do you know what a majority vote is?” is the first line of Your Turn to Die, a visual novel made by Nankidai. In a similar way to games of this style like Ace Attorney and Fate, Your Turn to Die follows a single narrative with many twists and engaging characters throughout your journey.

The game takes place from the perspective of Sara Chidouin, a high school student. Both Sara and her best friend, Joe Tazuna, are just enjoying their normal night when suddenly, they are kidnapped by mysterious people. When they wake up, they find themselves in a mysterious room, with a timer ticking down. One wrong move could end their lives. Now, with no idea of what just happened, Sara and Joe must use their wits to find a way to escape from their mysterious prison.

As the title of the game suggests, it is not a game that is afraid to pull its punches as you go deeper and deeper into its narrative. It tells a more and more complex narrative with each chapter, expanding the focus, themes and overall gameplay as you explore the facility that you’ve been trapped in. It leans into the idea of exploring a new, unexplored environment.

As the player progresses up each floor, they find more and more ways to stage an escape. However, they learn more about why they’re trapped, who kidnapped them and what the kidnapper(s) plan to do next. And, each new story element that the player learns is something that can be pieced together with clues that you find in the game environment. It makes for a thrilling, edge-of-your-seat experience.

As the player travels through the mysterious facility, they meet a cast of unique and well-written characters. Each character stands out in their own way. Sara, the player character, shows undeniable determination and makes a great leader. A good example is when she helps take charge of exploring when every character first meets each other.

The side characters also show a great amount of polish and make it evident how much care was put into their writing. There’s Keiji, the caring policeman and main voice of reason in the group; Gin, who is the innocent and sweet hearted elementary schooler; Sou, the snarky and clever job-hopper; along with many others. From Keiji’s analytical remarks, to Gin’s cute dialogue, to Sou’s foil dynamic with Sara, the player is bound to find a character they enjoy.

Everyone the player meets throughout their journey is so different, but they complement each other well and are effective mechanisms to help advance the story. These characters go far past good dialogue and fun interactions, holding depth to their stories and the things that they represent. Each character in the game has a backstory, simply enjoying their everyday life before they suddenly end up trapped with the other characters. Whether the player experiences them in the main storyline or the mini episodes that were added onto the Steam release, you get to truly understand each character’s life, personality and motivation to escape back to the outside world.

The villains encountered in the game also help to liven the experience of Your Turn to Die, even though they aren’t seen as early on as the other characters. They also don’t have the amount of depth the other characters hold, but still find ways to stand out from the main cast and other villains alike.

Each villain is characterized based on a villain trope that the player is likely to recognize. For example, the villain of the first chapter, Miley, is quite cruel, sinister and sadistic. She interrupts the conflict between characters and steals the spotlight of any scene that she is in. But that’s exactly why these villains work so well. By diving into beloved traits for villains, the audience can appreciate them because the varied number of tropes means that the player is able to find at least one that they like.

The character work plays directly into the gameplay as you go deeper into the game. Throughout the game, the player finds clues scattered around the environment to help escape. The player needs to make use of the notes and items scattered throughout the environment. It requires you to pay close attention and even appreciate the game’s attention to detail.

This idea holds especially true when it comes to the main discussion portions of the game. These sections lean into the major strength of the game, which is the character writing. It’s here where you need to remember everything you’ve discovered when exploring the previous area and discuss with the other characters. These discussions involve you sharing what you’ve discovered while also trying to convince everyone else where the story goes, hopefully learning something new in the process.

It requires the same idea of attention to detail, but instead of this detail being the environment, it’s the characters’ personalities. The player has an opportunity to learn more about these characters here because they respond to the situations differently, putting a very human element on the overall story.

Alongside the gameplay, the final thing to make this game stand out is the soundtrack. While most of the music in this game consists of relatively simple tracks, they still make for amazing and interesting scenes that help add to the moments in the story. They also really allow you to remember amazing things that the characters do alongside hearing their corresponding tracks, such as Don’t be Daunted for Keiji, Samurai Woman for Sara or even PRAYER for Joe.

Your Turn to Die is a standout game, with Nankadi taking the game’s characters, gameplay, music and story and putting so much depth into all these aspects. It really dives into the novel part of the visual novel and makes it feel like you’re watching a movie, but not in the same way that you see games like The Last of Us make their games.The player still feels like they’re experiencing the story as they play and not watching a cutscene, which makes the experience fresh and exciting. So while this is a small game recently released on Steam, it manages to be a fun and engaging time regardless.

This article was edited by Connor Sturniolo, Oread Frias, and Noah Fischer.
Copy editing done by Connor Sturniolo.

Unity retracts new revenue policy after backlash from game studios

Unity plans on changing, but many developers feel it is too little too late.

Jonah Statmore / Nov. 29, 2023

Popular cross-platform game engine Unity has backpedaled after backlash on their new download fee. The company announced that they would be charging game developers per game download starting January 1, 2024. The company immediately faced backlash from mainly indie studios.

The original plan was that studios would be charged between 0.01 and 0.20 cents per download depending on what specific Unity software they used. This would only go into effect if a game reached a certain revenue and install threshold of 100,000 installs.

In an article by GameSpot, studios behind popular indie titles expressed their fear of the predatory nature of the initial change. Primarily how bad faith actors could use this policy to attack marginalized groups financially.

Marcus Clarke, an indie game developer featured in the article, pointed out how “review bombing” is already a problem for LGBTQ+ creators. “This change potentially opens up a direct method for marginalized groups to be targeted in a way that hasn't been possible before.” Clarke said. He also brought concerns of “installation-bombing”. People using bots to rapidly install games causing studio fees to quickly become devastating.

Rami Ismail, developer and spokesperson for hit indie title Cult of the Lamb, has been very vocal on the broken trust Unity has caused. “"The way the Unity license works is that you can't pull out of this agreement before these changes come into play," Ismail said in an interview with Gamesradar.

An editor’s note now appears on Unity’s original announcement as of Sept. 17 saying “We apologize for the confusion and angst the runtime fee policy we announced on Tuesday caused.” The note went on to say that Unity will be discussing the matter and will give an update “in a couple of days.”

In a report by Jason Schreier for Bloomberg, it is said that in a staff meeting Unity higher ups have suggested that games making over 1 million would have fees capped at 4%.

Unity revealed its new revenue plan on Sept. 22. The company says that games made using Unity Personal will not be charged a fee. The installation cap will be increased from 100,000 to 200,000. Any game that makes less than $1 million in a 12 month period will not be subjected to the fee.

Games that are subject to a fee are offered either a 2.5% revenue share or the percentage amount of new players that engage with their game. This percentage will be self-reported by affected studios.

This article was edited by Connor Sturniolo, Oread Frias, and Noah Fischer.
Copy editing done by Connor Sturniolo.

OPINION: Critical Miss(tep): One D&D’s Fixes and Fumbles

The new edition of Dungeons and Dragons sets out to fix the game’s biggest problems, and dampen what made the game special.

Rhys Cabot / Nov. 5, 2023

The opinions and views expressed in this piece are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the opinions and views of Patch Notes Magazine.

Accessibility in tabletop role playing games (TTRPGs) is a notoriously difficult subject, getting people into the hobby can be a challenge given the time investment needed just to read and understand the rules. Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition (or 5e) is the most accessible version of the game yet, its simplicity is a critical factor in the game’s recent resurgence in pop culture, a feat raised further by appearances in popular media like Stranger Things or references in adjacent projects like Magic: The Gathering and the recent Baldur’s Gate 3. Reading through the 5e Player’s Handbook, it’s by far the easiest to stomach for a new player. Despite the book’s size, it is well organized and carefully worded to be consistent and concise.

This isn’t to say 5e is without issue. A handful of D&D fans still prefer 3.5e, but with the success of this edition came talk of what a hypothetical D&D 6e would have to do differently. Fans talked about 6e like an inevitability, though it took eight long years of 5e for Wizards of the Coast to announce the next (and final) edition of Dungeons & Dragons; One D&D.

One D&D’s changes to 5e have slowly been released as playtest materials, and each new PDF release has come with a survey for players to rate the changes made. These surveys thus far have mostly been used to revert some of the most controversial changes suggested, such as the proposal of removing class specific spell lists to instead delegate each class to one of three spell lists. While this change was reverted, it exemplifies a major issue with One D&D’s design, one that even permeates into the most recent releases; removing what makes characters unique, and in some cases, outright removing certain playstyles in favor of a more homogenized game.

5e is unbalanced, sure, but the variety of play styles even within a single subclass is a significant drawing point for the game. However, it seems One D&D is intent to focus on balance over versatility. It’s already unfortunate that subclasses are limited to almost exclusively using the Player’s Handbook, leaving most classes with only three or so options, but some changes unfairly limit certain playstyles by design.

Take the Monk class, for example. Monks in 5e are notoriously weak compared to the other martial classes, save for their ability to stun enemies, an extremely powerful condition that they can impose with any attack so long as they have enough Ki points (Discipline points in One D&D). Stunning Strike was changed so it can only be attempted once per turn, and with the removal of the Mobile feat, Monks can no longer safely attempt a hit-and-run playstyle, at least not without spending even more of their most important resource to use Step of the Wind. Their survivability issue is only slightly improved at 13th and 20th level, which most campaigns will never reach. And what do Monks get in exchange for these negative changes? A slight, and I mean slight damage increase, relocating some features to bonus actions, something Monks still get plenty of use out of anyways, and some additional restoration for Discipline Points, in exchange for needing to burn through them faster in combat in order to survive.

To summarize, Monks had their playstyle options limited, most of their most unique abilities were either nerfed or outright removed, and in exchange they can inflict a little bit more damage. All of these changes encourage them to play like other classes. On top of universal weapon changes, making weapons stronger so long as you have access to their mastery properties, you’re now encouraged to play Monks like a faster moving Fighter.

So, why did this happen? Monks are notoriously controversial in 5e, players often criticize the class for being overly tied to Stunning Strike, so a nerf to the Monk’s ability to stun in exchange for increased damage sounds like it would fix the issue, especially since Stunning Strike is sometimes criticized for making the game less fun for the Dungeon Master. However, this makes the Monk play less unique, their most iconic ability is now weakened in favor of imitating the Fighter a little closer.

This has been a persisting design philosophy of One D&D; make the classes play more similar to ideally make everything more balanced. Initial drafts allowed players to choose an Epic Boon instead of getting a specific Level 20 ability. An interesting choice, it does give players more options, but it also means the classes are less unique, assuming they ever get to reach Level 20 in the first place. Before this change was reverted, many of the Level 20 abilities were moved to Level 18, though this did occasionally replace an existing Level 18 ability, such as the Druid class’ Timeless Body feature. It’s my belief that homogenizing characters in this way is seen as a boon to the game’s accessibility, expanding on the attribute that made 5e popular. In no way am I suggesting that accessibility is inherently negative, but when it comes at the cost of playstyle diversity and the weight of choices, I take issue with the approach being suggested, especially when that approach involves draining the flavor out of classes.

One of the most recent releases, unveiled on Sept. 7, 2023, is both a step forward, and a step back. Class-specific spell lists have returned, Sorcerers have a new exclusive cantrip and sorcery points are stronger than ever, Barbarian encourages using your weapon of choice, instead of specifically preferring greataxes, and Fighter is getting some interesting options with the new weapon mastery system. The proposed weapon mastery system is simultaneously the most exciting and worrying proposition made here; the idea that your weapons can gain additional attributes specific to that weapon and their properties sounds great on paper; finally glaives and halberds have actual differences! And yet many of those abilities are similar to or outright taken from the Battle Master archetype for the Fighter class. This new feature would probably make Fighter more fun to play, but it also takes away from the class’ simplicity, accessibility, (ironically) and further homogenizes how martial classes are played. Going back to the Monk, now using just your unarmed strikes to attack is less lucrative since certain weapon masteries are so strong you’d be outright doing less, especially since the role Monk has catered to has always been one of martial support, something that Battle Master also dipped toes in. Now all characters with weapon mastery have access to the support options Battle Master offered, assuming they can use mastery properties. On top of that, Fighter just got a new subclass that focuses on unarmed strikes, which Monk’s can’t hope to compete with damage wise until about halfway through their leveling.

I may sound somewhat hypocritical, having praised the already controversial Level 20 abilities while bashing the idea of replacing them with Epic Boons, since that would theoretically limit playstyles further. I even bashed Fighter finally having a viable unarmed strike build option, simply because it detracted from Monks even further. I think D&D should ideally strike a balance between flavoring classes to be distinct, while having proper wiggle room for players to make interesting builds.

Your class choice should matter to your character, and how you build them is what distinguishes them from others of the same class. It’s difficult to explain what the right level of framework to implement is, but ultimately, I feel the Level 20 abilities are so rare and iconic that removing them feels like it’s draining the endgame flavor out of every class. It’s difficult to explain where choice is and isn’t superior, and I won’t pretend I have a proposed solution that will satisfy all players. One D&D is going to detract from what some players like about 5e regardless of what they do, and at the very least, 5e will remain unchanged once One D&D becomes the new focus for new content.

However, this is an opportunity to fix the many areas where 5e was underdeveloped or flat out poorly designed. Given that One D&D is supposed to expand on 5e, seeing it detract from what made 5e so appealing with each new PDF in favor of catering to those who value viability and balance over versatility and flavor is a worrying pattern that hopefully won’t persist in later revisions. In a perfect world, we’d have both, and I don’t doubt that’s what One D&D wants, but there is some evident favoritism. The Fighter didn’t see any notable downgrades to compensate for their new features, the Monk did.

I fear that by taking flavor from the classes, One D&D will lose part of what made 5e so appealing, especially to newer players. Some players already believe that Sorcerer and Wizard shouldn’t be separate classes, or that Paladins and Clerics are too alike. Those aren’t necessarily claims I agree with, but if there are already complaints of that regard, homogenizing the game further will only serve to alienate fans of those classes. I have friends who already swore off keeping up with One D&D updates because they didn’t like the changes to their class. One D&D is still somewhat unclear as to whether it is supposed to be a fully fledged edition or a “definitive edition” of sorts for 5e, similar to 3.5e. It’s being released as playtest material for 5e, and if it is intended to be the last version of the game, as the name would suggest, then the design philosophy being demonstrated could result in players shunning the new edition.

The last thing I want is for One D&D to be discarded in favor of 5e. In that world, One D&D sells poorly and 5e doesn’t get more official content. The uniqueness of classes is one of the drawing factors that makes character creation so exciting. 5e is known for having one of, if not the most fun character creation processes in D&D. The last thing One D&D needs is to lose the 5e player base. One D&D has the right idea: 5e is unbalanced and needs changes, but I worry that many of the changes are a bit misplaced. We still know little about what was changed following the surveys, so it is very likely some of these concerns are being heard. Yet seeing what they have acknowledged and reverted thus far, the overall design direction has not been adjusted - at least not enough. Instead, many revisions to One D&D have been on a case by case basis, whereas I would argue that there is a fundamental direction issue. If fixed, One D&D could very easily be a strict improvement to 5e, the likes of a theoretical 5.5e. As it is now, One D&D is set on being a sidegrade overall, with your enjoyment of the version likely coming down to what classes you play. To avoid that outcome, I think Wizards of the Coast need to reconsider their philosophy when remodeling classes to emphasize what makes classes unique, while not taking away from player choice.

This article was edited by Connor Sturniolo, Oread Frias, and Noah Fischer.
Copy editing done by Connor Sturniolo.

OPINION: Baldur's Gate 3: A Roll of the Dice for New Standards?

Baldur’s Gate 3 presents a new approach for game production.

Jack Cooksey / Nov. 4, 2023

The opinions and views expressed in this piece are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the opinions and views of Patch Notes Magazine.

Although the video game industry has always suffered from disappointing releases and poor corporate practices - E.T. comes to mind, among others - in recent years AAA game studios have been particularly disheartening. Major games are released incompletely, filled with bugs, microtransactions, and questionable DLC tactics. Although these problems are sometimes remedied, they’re more often than not ignored. AAA companies instead usually continue on and double down since they know that at the end of the day, pre-orders and the usual shenanigans will keep the green line climbing.

I don’t blame the developers, of course. Developers are often overworked, facing impossible deadlines, or suffering from workplace harassment. Instead, I think that the issue lies with the corporate culture and consumer standards. Indie studios and some larger companies have produced quality content in recent years, but AAA studios have released horrid GTA remasters, nearly unplayable Battlefields and Paydays, and “You have phones” Diablos.

Now this is where Larian Studios’ most recent release, Baldur's Gate 3, comes into the picture. Baldur’s Gate 3 (BG3) is the third installment of Baldur's Gate, a trilogy set within Dungeons and Dragons lore and using D&D rules for the game. The game was released for early access back in 2020 but, 23 years after the release of Baldur's Gate 2, the game was fully released back in August of 2023. With fantastic writing, details, gameplay, and story, along with a stellar cast including big names such as Jason Isaacs, Mathew Mercer and J.K. Simmons among others, the game has been a breath of fresh air. BG3 has shattered some sales records, harbored overwhelmingly positive user and critic reviews, and general acknowledgment.

Of course, the game has had bugs, as all games do, but that brings to me the second reason why Baldur's Gate 3 has given me hope; Larian has responded to issues with the game with clear communication, quick fixes, and care. Features called for after the release of the game, such as the ability to change appearance more readily and new animations, have already been put out with more changes and improvements on the way.

I hope that the success of BG3 can inspire consumers and AAA studios alike, even if it doesn’t revolutionize the entire industry overnight. Perhaps more consumers will appreciate that studios of all sizes can deliver quality products but, due to corporate decisions, choose not to. Consumers have alternatives and can convince studios to produce better quality content through their spending actions. That means more caution with pre-orders and game purchases. And as for studios, perhaps some will see that quality content is profitable and viable.

Of course, BG3 is no silver bullet for the industry, and the game’s release has had some important context: the game’s connection to D&D and previous releases have brought in a built in setting and fanbase. But with that said, the game was still a risk for the studio due to the development cost and length. Not all studios can or are willing to do that. Not every game needs to be a BG3, but if we could get fewer incomplete and buggy messes that rely on dubious uses of crunch time, perhaps that would be a start.

In the end, no matter how popular Baldur's Gate 3 is or how many hours I’ve sunken into it, the impetus for change must come from consumers and studios. Consumers should expect more and their spending habits should reflect those new standards because otherwise, AAA studios have no reason to change their current policies. I encourage game consumers to have more patience with game purchases, don’t fall for pre-orders, and give Baldur's Gate 3 a try.

This article was edited by Connor Sturniolo, Oread Frias, and Noah Fischer.
Copy editing done by Connor Sturniolo.

OPINION: Cities: Skylines II and the Importance of Beta Content Messaging

Broken expectations for city builder fans after Cities: Skylines II is released for a YouTube circuit.

Noah Fischer / Oct. 23, 2023

Patch Notes Magazine

Courtesy of Paradox Interactive

The opinions and views expressed in this piece are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the opinions and views of Patch Notes Magazine.

Cities: Skylines, widely viewed as one the best city builder games ever to have been made, is getting its sequel on Oct. 24. After close to a decade of waiting, and with the accumulation of a large fan base and presence on YouTube, Cities: Skylines II has become highly anticipated by fans of the city-builder genre.

This anticipation has been fueled by the vast amount of beta access content that has been released on YouTube, with over 130 videos released by independent creators with access to the game as of Oct. 19. But this widespread access has a downside when it comes to the inadvertent expectations it can create, which may not match reality despite the developers' intentions.

Content creators on YouTube have been allowed to release Cities: Skylines II content in four waves, the first three of which have been limited by video length and in-game progression. What makes this content unique, however, is just how many people have been given early access. Over 50 creators, from The Spiffing Brit (3.72 million subscribers as of Oct. 19) to Joolsey (262 subscribers), have made at least one early gameplay video for Cities: Skylines II. The creators have also been free to comment about what they see as weaknesses or things that should be improved about the game prior to its launch. Many of these creators have subscriber tallies under 30,000, with it not being uncommon to see videos released by creators under 10,000 subscribers.

There is a good reason to give such widespread access. Cities: Skylines II is a city builder game, and showing off a lot of different ways that cities can be built in the game via videos from content creators can inspire people to think about how they would build their own cities if they played it.

However, there are also expectations that are created when such widespread access is given. Firstly, giving the ability for over 50 creators to make early access content sends the message that the game is very close to being ready for release. If Colossal Order - the developers behind Cities: Skylines II - weren't confident in the state of their game, they would never release it to this many creators. Secondly, giving a notable amount of access to smaller creators who may not have the latest and greatest in PCs sends the message that specifications won't be a big issue. Both of these expectations combine to sell the broader message that Cities: Skylines II will be accessible to, and run well for, everyone.

However, on Sept. 28 - less than a month before the release date of Cities: Skylines II - it was announced that the minimum specifications to run the game were being raised, and that the console release would be delayed until the spring of 2024. The press release stated, "The recommended specs were set when the game was still in development. After having done extensive testing with different hardware we made the decision to update the minimum/recommended specs for a better player experience."

In a follow-up announcement on Oct. 16, Colossal Order admitted that "we have not reached the benchmark we targeted" for the specifications. That is not exactly a statement that inspires confidence that the game is ready for release, especially with the expectation of a smoothly running game that was built by the beta videos. In that same announcement, Colossal Order clarified that "we still think for the long-term of the project, releasing now is the best way forward," and "we will continually improve the game over the coming months." Regardless, the news has naturally left a lot of people excited about the game feeling burned, and understandably so considering the expectations that were given.

When any developer or publisher releases beta access content, or anything relating to an upcoming game, honesty and transparency are what matter before anything else. Whether you believe that Colossal Order had positive or negative intentions, in the end, the results are what matter. And oftentimes, results don't go the way they were planned. There's a chance that part of the reason why Colossal Order released the game to such a wide audience was in an effort to provide further transparency about the game and what to expect from it. But if you feel as though you're lied to, then that takes precedence over everything, regardless of intent.

Ultimately, Colossal Order either failed to recognize or failed to properly account for the expectations that came from releasing beta content in the way that they did: expectations of a smoothly running game accessible for anyone to play. It goes to show how truly open honesty is needed in the game development release cycle, and how that can be a tougher task than it seems at first glance. An ideal scenario would be for developers to list the issues they were working on between the beta version and the full release, but only time will tell to see if that becomes a standard.

This article was edited and copy edited by Connor Sturniolo.

Bad News: Your Next Game May Be Developed by A.I.

The first wholly AI-generated video games are launching on the Steam store, and with them come a whole slew of ethical concerns.

Aiden Dowell / Apr. 28, 2023

It's no secret that artificial intelligence technology has become highly accessible and popularized in the last couple years. Whether it's a paper written with ChatGPT, an image of "Harambe doing a kickflip" on DALL-E, or a YouTube video of the last three Presidents playing Minecraft, AI products have solidified themselves in the creative and entertainment fields specifically. But while AI has expanded throughout most sectors, the practices of AI implementation in the games industry has remained stagnant. Beyond powering mobs or procedurally generating layouts, AI hasn't recieved much innovation, until recently.

This Girl Does Not Exist launched on the Steam store in Sept. 2022. From the Steam description, the game is a dating sim where "your task is to put together puzzle pieces of beautiful girls as you progress through dating them." From this description alone, This Girl Does Not Exist feels more like This Girl is Mundane and Unexciting. But where the game really stands out is that it claims to have all of its assets—the art, the story, the characters, and even the voice acting—generated by AI programs.

The game isn't the first of its kind to try its hand at these artificial assets. Other recent releases like the sci-fi shooter Schoon have introduced AI generated landscape and file art. Even major titles like High on Life have quite dubiously implemented artificially generated voice lines for NPCs and textures for environmental objects (despite the developers failure to acknowledge these processes). But if what This Girl Does Not Exist claims is true, then it will be the first of its kind to be fully developed through AI processes, selling for $5.00 on the Steam store.

This is a much bigger deal than simply being a novel aspect of a puzzle game, though. While AI has expanded almost boundlessly, AI generated art specifically has left a wake of small artists in its path. Programs like DALL-E and Midjourney, the latter of which powers This Girl Does Not Exist, "learn" from any work that is accessible online, regardless of any ownership or protections of artists' rights. When the product is viewed by the law as its own protected piece of art, it allows these programs to exploit the styles and techniques of painstakingly created art to generate, literally, cheap copies.

On top of the impact on artists, the media produced by sources like Midjourney and DALL-E have been heavily chastised for producing heavily biased art. What this means is that their learning systems are pulling from the biased opinions of humans on the internet; not as objective as we make them out to be. In practice this means that without specific input, these generators default to what we would consider stereotypes. The easiest way to imagine the process would be that when prompted for images of a "doctor," there's an extremely small chance that Midjourney won't provide silhouettes of smiling white men.

By extension, positively connoted professions and attitudes are almost always conflated with whiteness. For example, when This Girl Does Not Exist prompts a generator for "beautiful girls," it results in a game where every gatherable image from the Steam page and Youtube playthroughs feature girls with uncannily white skin. Unsurprisingly, each of these girls are named Clara, Julia, or Lara (as is displayed in the Steam page), making the development of these characters, from face to name to story, completely dependent on their whiteness.

Not to mention that when the assets are all generated by free programs, there's no need to hire artists, writers, or voice actors for your project. Of course, for small startups like Cute Pen Studios, the husband and wife team behind This Girl Does Not Exist, this can be an invaluable asset. But when weighed against the ethical concerns around the usage of Midjourney and DALL-E it really prompts you to ask "yeah, but at what cost?"

AI technology is showing no signs of slowing down in terms of its application or usage. While This Girl Does Not Exist may be the first of its kind, it almost certainly won't be the last. As AI assets gradually become integrated into the games market, it's more important than ever to be conscious of the product you're consuming. After getting my share of "beautiful girls" from researching this game, I'm ready to cozy up with some of my indie favorites. Because ultimately, in an industry built on creating experiences outside of reality, the way we consume and connect in reality are the most important.

Edited by Connor Sturniolo, Daniel Frias, and Noah Fischer
Copy edited by Connor Sturniolo and Noah Fischer

Disney Villainous: The Pop Culture Cash Grab Done Right

A game that introduces players to board games using recognizable properties

Connor Sturniolo / Apr. 28, 2023

The board game Disney Villainous was released in July 2018 to much acclaim, harboring a 7/10 score on BoardGameGeek — a popular board game review site. This game is easy to learn, and allows for new players to become integrated in board games seamlessly.

To play, each player chooses a villain from a Disney movie and moves around their own board, using their own cards to achieve an objective that’s different for each different villain. The base game and each of its five expansions include villains that range all throughout Disney’s movie repertoire, including but not limited to: Pete the Cat, Maleficent, Gaston, Ratigan from the Great Mouse Detective, and Syndrome, a dip into Pixar’s movies as well. These villains’ objectives range just as much as the character choicedoes. Maleficent wins by placing a curse and keeping it there for each location on her board, Cruella De Vil’s goal revolves around revealing and capturing puppies, and so on.

This game is the perfect introduction to board games for many people. A game normally runs anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes, the mechanics of the game are simple and easy to learn, while each different character brings their own playstyle and level of complexity to the table. The villains also range in difficulty and knowledge of the game that they take to play, allowing for players to start with villains that are easier and try different, more difficult characters as their knowledge of the game grows. This allows for a lot of replayability with this game, something that not many board games can tout. Another factor that adds to the difficulty of the game is the Fate deck. This smaller deck of cards contain effects that inhibit the player from achieving their goal, and usually take the form of the heroes of the movie the villain hails from. The way the villains interact with each other’s playstyles and their own fate deck add a whole new level of strategy that would not be accounted for if the Fate deck were to not exist.

Villainous is also a great entry point to board games because it is full of recognizable characters that many people either love, or love to hate. The premise of Villainous is one that allows players to live out a power fantasy that is never achieved in Disney movies: what if the villains won? The motivation to win comes from that: being able to see the other side of what might happen in a Disney movie, the dark ending that many people crave.

Villainous, however, is a cash grab at its core: a product that is meant to use a recognizable property to pique people’s interest and drive in money. However, it uses a board game to do it, allowing the fun that people have with this game to build into trust and love for the genre while still being loyal to the many, many expansions and spin-offs this game has. Board games were not in the limelight of pop culture before Disney Villainous, and after it, they’re still not. But Disney Villainous is the kind of game that inches board games ever so closer to the cultural spotlight, being able to introduce a whole host of people to a hobby that not many people realize is as fulfilling and fun as it seems. When people think “board game”, they think of their Monopoly horror stories, or Dungeons and Dragons, but that’s nowhere close to all that board games have to offer.

Disney Villainous combines the two poles of being a cash grab while also being a good board game, one that is easy, fun, and replayable with many people. On top of all of this, it is a way to introduce a casual Disney fan to a whole new world of media and content.

What more can you ask for than that?

Edited by Daniel Frias and Noah Fischer
Copy edited by Noah Fischer

OPINION: My Film Professor Called Video Games Violent: A Retrospective

The consequences of limited video game exposure to those outside the space

Noah Fischer / Apr. 28, 2023

The opinions and views expressed in this piece are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the opinions and views of Patch Notes Magazine.

A year and a half ago, I was sitting in a basement classroom in the McKinley Building for a film course. We often watched short films on the television display that stood in the corner of the room. I distinctly remember how the professor would speak on the intrinsic qualities of film as a form of art. The connections between characters, the overall messages contained in certain films that are masterfully made — it was something that they clearly loved to speak about, and it was a message that naturally resonated with the film students who had come to take their class. They were a very effective communicator of what made a story a good story, and I still use the lessons I learned in that class to analyze stories that I come across to this day.

So it was surprising to me that when the professor brought up video games, they contextualized their stories as simply being violent shoot-em-ups that drive young people to commit school shootings. In their telling inside of the classroom, that was the limit to the depth that video games have to offer. I want to be clear from the outset that I do not have a problem with this professor as a whole, and I enjoyed their class greatly. I also want to be clear that this professor does not teach at American University anymore, and I have no reason to believe that they would have been removed on bad terms. However, even with my positive feelings about the professor overall, I can't help but come back to this moment. Every now and then, my mind just wanders and thinks about the words that were spoken in the classroom that day.

For me, the word that comes to mind is exposure. Middle-aged Americans are, as a whole, much more familiar with movies than they are with video games. The two video games that they are likely to be aware of in the first place are Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto, both of which are not known for their storytelling. They have been highly debated in the American news media for their glorification of violence and support of the military-industrial complex, and they are often mentioned in discussions whenever a tragic school shooting occurs in the United States.

Meanwhile, many of the exact same issues pop up in films time and time again. However, we don't see the entire medium of film being slapped with the sorts of labels that video games do, and I put that down to the amount of films that have established themselves as icons of pop culture. It's sad to say that video games are not at the point of collective consciousness just yet. Those stories absolutely exist, don't get me wrong. Metal Gear Solid has always been steadfast in its criticisms of the war economy, undercutting the normal critiques that are placed onto video games. Life is Strange has been praised for the way it depicts the challenges of high school, depression, and growing up. And I will always have a special place for Tales of Berseria and the lessons it had to teach about the complexities of human life and what it meant to be alive.

But at the current moment, these games — games that are deserving of widespread attention beyond their communities — are not known, and because of that, the only assumptions that are made about all video games are the ones that people get from Call of Duty and GTA. The Last of Us television series has an incredible opportunity to open eyes to the storytelling that already exists and flourishes within games, but it will take more than one TV show to change people's minds.

I distinctly remember a short film that the professor showed us about a couple who lived in a high-rise apartment. One of them would always look through their window at another high-rise and a separate couple, wanting the life and the love that the couple had, and then be forced to go back to their life.

When I think of that short film, I can't help but think of Lucas Pope's works, but especially Papers, Please. In the game, you are a border inspection agent in a nation under strict Communist rule. You learn about where these people come from, what they do for a living, and what their hopes and dreams are — if only for a moment. You still have a job to do. And the consequences that can come from your job can be dire. One sequence has you approve the entry of one member of a couple, but when the other member comes to the inspection station, their documents are invalid. Are you going to risk your family's health by denying them and having a pay cut for letting someone with invalid documents into the country? Or are you going to make sure that this couple isn't going to be cut off from each other, even with the risk? This story, and so many stories like it in video games, are the kinds of stories with consequences that the professor would praise and openly adore in a class — and I think more people would too, if they gave video games a chance.

Edited by Connor Sturniolo and Daniel Frias
Copy edited by Connor Sturniolo and Noah Fischer

Bethesda’s Long Awaited Space Adventure Has Finally Received An Official Launch Date

After an unprecedented delay, Bethesda has announced the release date for Starfield

Jonah Statmore / Apr. 28, 2023

Bethesda Softworks announced an official launch date for Starfield. Bethesda is the studio behind Fallout 4, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and many other beloved games. Starfield is the next highly-anticipated game to add to their catalog.

This announcement leaves many fans both overjoyed and relieved, especially for those who suspected the game to be in “development hell”.

Bethesda announced Starfield at E3 2018 with a release date slated for November 2022. Many fans of the game were shocked to learn that the game had been delayed to the "first half of 2023". While delayed games are common in the gaming industry, it is very rare for Bethesda to delay their games. The last time there was a delay was for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion all the way back in 2005.

The game’s absence at Xbox and Bethesda’s Developer Direct in 2023 had fans fearing the game would be facing another delay.

However, fans aren’t just anxious to play a new Bethesda game. Starfield marks new grounds for the game studio as its first new IP in 25 years.

Howard has described Starfield as "Skyrim in space;" he has also said it’ll be their biggest game yet. Some indicators of this size increase is the claim of there being 10,000 planets and the game having 150,000 lines of dialogue. For comparison, Skyrim only had 60,000 lines of dialogue.

Many remain skeptical of these claims. Howard has gained the reputation of overpromising or, in some cases, being seen as a liar. Fallout 76 being the worst case of Howard’s grand claims failing to live up to expectations he told fans to have, as seen by the game’s 2.8 out of 5 user score on Metacritic.

Some have compared Starfield to No Man’s Sky, another sci-fi RPG that was notorious for almost none of the promised features being included in the game.

Bethesda will be utilizing a new game-running engine starting with Starfield. The engine they had been using is currently 12 years old, and some felt as though the use of an outdated engine was holding the company back.

The next release for Bethesda after Starfield will be The Elder Scrolls VI, which is in pre-production. In the past, Elder Scrolls games haven’t come out too far apart from each other, with the longest gap having been between the second and third game at six years. Fans have been waiting on The Elder Scrolls VI for about 12 years, so expectations are very high. Considering Skyrim is one of the best selling games of all time, with over 30 million copies sold, that will not be an easy feat.

Following the newest Elder Scrolls game, Fallout 5 is slated for release. Very little is known about this project yet.

Starfield is slated to come out September 6, 2023 on Xbox and PC. A showcase for Starfield will be streamed on Twitch and YouTube on June 11. As of writing, the exact time the livestream will occur has not been announced.

Edited by Connor Sturniolo
Copy edited by Connor Sturniolo and Noah Fischer

OPINION: Game Literacy: The Next Step for Accessibility

Is the gaming industry adequately prepared for the future?

Forrest Freeman / Apr. 28, 2023

The opinions and views expressed in this piece are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the opinions and views of Patch Notes Magazine.

Between the critically acclaimed television adaptation of The Last of Us and the box office-busting Super Mario Brothers Movie, it is hard to ignore the fact that video game adaptations — good video game adaptations — are becoming a cultural phenomenon. An ever-growing audience of people who have never even touched a controller are now able to experience the rich, complex stories that exist in the gaming space. This enormous rise in popularity for video game adaptations — a trend that is all but certain to continue as production companies react to the numbers— leaves one massive issue: what about all those people who are experiencing these stories for the first time on the silver screen, and want to experience the original? You hear it all the time for movie adaptations of books — to experience the real story you have to read the book — but if a newcomer wanted to, say, experience the original story of The Last of Us, they would immediately run into problem after problem after problem.

Take, for example, the very act of walking in the game world. How would someone who has never played a video game in their life - someone who simply wants to experience the story the way it was originally meant to be experienced - know that you have to use the W, A, S, and D keys to move in a PC game? They certainly would lack the experience of navigating an inventory system, or would not be familiar with the basic health and damage mechanics that gamers are so intimately familiar with. Suffice it to say, there is a significant learning curve for someone new to the medium to be able to navigate, understand, and enjoy most any video game. If the extraordinary storytelling medium that is video games wants to become accepted and understood by a wider audience, if the extremely talented storytellers in the industry want to make their visions for their stories available to everyone who will inevitably want to experience them, then the issue of game literacy must be understood and addressed.

The first thing to point out about this problem is that it is not a problem inherently unique to video games. This fact is hidden, as it were, quite masterfully in the term itself: game literacy. In every other medium of storytelling, whether it be as simple as reading a book or watching a movie, there is some basic level of medium awareness that one has to possess to understand the story being told. If you are reading a book, you have to be literate in not only the language it was written in, but also in the conventions of the written word in general. You have to know that a period ends a sentence, that a new paragraph signals a shift in focus or a new idea, and that the story is broken up into chapters, parts, or sections as a way to organize scenes and ideas. All of these pieces of information have become second nature to most people because most people have read enough books to understand them. The same applies to people who play video games. It is simply second nature to know that HP stands for health points, or that gathering experience levels will make you stronger or unlock new skills. The idea remains the same: it is simply that a much lower proportion of the population is well-versed enough in games compared to reading books.

If we want to open up the gaming space to as many people as possible, then fixing the problem of game literacy ought to be at the forefront of the industry. Working towards making games not just accessible to people who have already played games before, but to anyone who wants to experience these stories for themselves, is the next step in capitalizing on the rapidly-growing audience for these stories that is materializing in the present moment. Much in the same way that people learn how to read using phonics, books, and a little practice, the advent of some kind of universal tutorial game that teaches people basic mechanics and ideas like walking, inventories, and health bars would go a long way to bridge the gap for people who want to engage with the space and the medium itself. This comes with the advantage of not bogging down developers and players by making every single game have an in depth tutorial on basic mechanics, just like how most novels don’t open with an explanation of the alphabet.

The potential for gaming in the near future is incredible. With so many people being introduced to stories originally told in games, and with so many amazing stories waiting to be experienced by anyone wanting to explore the space, the demand among people who have never played games who want to start in the near future is likely to rise significantly. The infrastructure to handle that demand, though, is simply lacking. The gaming medium is one with a lot of promise, but it also fails to be immediately and easily accessible to people who do not have the prerequisite knowledge of the rules of the medium at large. Understanding this problem and working to solve it is something that should be a large focus in the coming months and years if the industry wants to accommodate that demand.

Edited by Connor Sturniolo and Noah Fischer
Copy edited by Connor Sturniolo

Life-Changing Games: A Short Hike

How a pixelated virtual landscape connected me to nature in the real world

Noah Fischer / Apr. 28, 2023

Life-Changing Games is a series where Patch Notes authors write about games that permanently changed who they are, and why those games are special to them.

The most notable video games that tend to be present in best-of-all-time lists or nominated for The Game Awards tend to be 15 to 30 hour experiences. There are, of course, exceptions, with probably the most notable modern example being Undertale. But even Undertale is most often finished within 6 hours. So it might be surprising to hear that my favorite game ever made is a relatively brief, 2-hour experience. But A Short Hike has opened up a side of myself that I thought I might never have - and ironically enough for it being a video game, what it unlocked was a desire to go outside and touch grass.

A Short Hike is an indie game made by Adam Robinson-Yu, in which you step into the shoes of a bluebird named Claire, on vacation to Hawk Peak National Park to get away from the city. From there, you are presented with the goal of ascending to the top of Hawk Peak itself in order to contact your mother, who is undergoing surgery. And with that, you set into the beautiful, pixelated island setting of A Short Hike. The park is largely vertical, and you collect golden feathers to increase your ability to jump, climb, and glide. Those are the nuts and bolts of A Short Hike's framework, not including the music, but that's already been covered by Scruffy's excellent Youtube video on the subject. What's truly special to me, though, is the world that you are placed in, and how enchanting it is to simply be within it. Though to get into the nuts and bolts of that experience, I need to get into my own upbringing first.

I was - and still, to an extent, am - a suburban kid who couldn't feel the call of the natural environment around him. My middle school always had a camping trip at the start and end of each year, and I was always jealous of the teachers and camp counselors, all of whom seemed to always speak about the sense of magic and wonder that nature possessed. In hindsight, I think it may have been because our camping days were such planned affairs. You had boxes to check off of a list, and at the end of the week, you'd go home. That was that. In the end, I never had that feeling of magic inside of me. And so, I resigned myself to what I thought was my fate. That connection that I wanted just wouldn't develop, and that was that.

But A Short Hike completely changed everything for me, and that lies in its ability to encourage the player to wander. Before you even get to the Visitor's Center, you are already presented with forks in the road, options to go to completely new areas of the park. Wherever you may be, when a sign points to Hawk Peak, it also points to another location that isn't directly upwards to the game's conclusion. This is A Short Hike telling you that reaching the peak can be done whenever you feel like it. It's not the only thing worth accomplishing - exploring is an achievement in and of itself. And that's further reinforced by the decision to not include an in-game map - a decision that seems very small, but is absolutely crucial to its success. You can equip a compass, but aside from knowing the direction you're headed, you never have the sort of documented knowledge of the layout of your surroundings that many other games would include.

No matter when I play A Short Hike, I always seem to find myself exploring. Even though I've seen all there is to see in this game, whenever I come back to it, I always feel like I'm rediscovering every nook and cranny of Hawk Peak. But it's not the sort of rediscovery one might normally associate with games. No, whenever I come back to A Short Hike — and this is the true magic of this game — I feel like I'm rediscovering it all over again, as if it's my first time playing, even though my memories of the space are crystal clear.

I had felt it build up over time, but as soon as I realized this, I knew that I had found the wonder that the previous mentors had told me about. I can't put it exactly into words, but the closest metaphor I can think of at the time of writing this is finding the last missing puzzle piece that you've been searching for ages to find, in a place where you'd least expect it. And I've noticed the changes ever since. I took time out of my cross-country drive to college to immerse myself in the Sierra Nevada mountains and the Utah salt flats, and I had found beauty in being stuck on the road in a summer storm in Wyoming. I certainly would've taken the drive without having played A Short Hike - I had been wanting to for years - but would I have stopped for these moments along the way? The answer is a definite no.

Whenever I open up A Short Hike, I feel something that I don't associate with any other game: I feel indebted. There are plenty of games that are more technically impressive. There are plenty of games that have richer stories to tell. But no game has changed me as a person the way A Short Hike has, and it will always have a special place in my heart.

Edited by Connor Sturniolo and Daniel Frias
Copy edited by Connor Sturniolo

Welcome to Patch Notes!

A letter from the Editor-in-Chief of Patch Notes Magazine

Noah Fischer / Spring 2023

The moments leading up to the start of something new are always a unique time in life. They are filled with swirls of emotions that you know are coming - excitement, nervousness, adrenaline, panic - yet when they come about and the magnitudes of their influence over one’s self are always different. It’s something you can’t exactly prepare for. So as I sit here, writing this letter about the release of the first issue of Patch Notes Magazine, I can’t help but wonder exactly what the experience will be like this time around. But one emotion that I know that I will be carrying, and in a large quantity, is gratitude. I wish I had the space and the time to list out everyone individually, but alas, in Oscar-speech style, I will have to go about it quickly. So here goes:

- Thank you to Maura Fox, who was a huge help in getting Patch Notes registered in the first place;- Thank you to Yana Sakellion and Brigid Maher, who were crucial when it came to recruitment and advising, respectively;- Thank you to everyone involved in Patch Notes - whether you were only here for a day or if you were carrying the heavy weight behind the scenes, your support has kept me going through the moments I lacked confidence;- And finally, thank you, the reader, for engaging with what we have written this semester and supporting the subject of games journalism with your readership.

With that all being said, I am very excited to have you here, and at this point, there’s only one thing left to say: Welcome to Patch Notes!

Noah Fischer
President/Editor-in-Chief, Patch Notes Magazine

Spring 2023 Executive Board:
Noah Fischer — President/Editor-in-Chief
Daniel Frias — Vice President/Managing Editor
Austin Gaw — Treasurer
Samantha DeAngelis — Head of Event Coordination
Julia Becker — Head of Social Media
Logan Dulski — Head of Magazine Operations & Print Design
Dimes Horner — Head of Website Operations & Digital Design
Maxwell Keiles — Ethics Officer
Christine Kaufmann — Secretary

Write for us this summer!

Patch Notes Magazine / 2023

As we are a university publication, we'll be going on break for the summer, and won't be doing another release until December 2023. However, that doesn't mean you can't contribute during our break! If you are an American University student, or will be attending American University for the Fall 2023 semester, you may submit articles over the summer to our email, patchnotesmag@gmail.com. When doing so, please follow these guidelines:

- Include a short article proposal. What is your premise? Why does your article matter?- Use Arial or Times New Roman, 11pt, with 1.5 spacing.- For the first three lines, write the title, subheader, and your name.- Keep the article to a maximum of 2 pages. You can go a bit over for the purpose of cutting it down in the edit. The proposal does not count to the page limit.- Share the article as a Google doc with patchnotesmag@gmail.com with permission to comment. Use your American University email. Note that if your article is approved, you will be asked to share the email with editors in the fall.

We look forward to reading your submissions!