Kick off your long weekend with an extra-long two-part “Stranger Things” finale; a deep dive into the deckbuilding games like Magic: The Gathering; and Neon White, which mashes up several genres, including a dating sim.
The ‘Stranger Things’ season finale drops today
The finale of Stranger Things’ fourth season debuts today, bringing an end to the show’s most horror-filled and grave storyline to date. Though this volume is billed as a second part to the show’s fourth installment, it is in fact two extra-long additions tacked onto a season already filled with hour-plus episodes. The first will be 85 minutes, and the second is roughly 2.5 hours long. That’s a lot of “Stranger Things” to tide you over this holiday weekend. I’m hoping for a happy ending, though given the tone so far, it sure seems like “Stranger Things Vol. 2” might have its fair share of tragedy, too.
Neon White is everything all at once
Neon White is best described by its inexplicable mashup of genres. It is one part speedrun-friendly parkour game, one part first-person shooter disguised as a deckbuilder and one part … dating sim. The resulting combination somehow works wonderfully, creating a high-octane action platformer that dares you to try to beat your high scores by striving for near-perfect runs. Between the action, you chat with NPCs and can even romance other characters, sending this bizarre gaming concoction to a totally unnecessary but hilarious new height.
The enduring popularity of the roguelike deckbuilder
The surprising combination of two of the most influential video game genres into the so-called roguelike deckbuilder has, against all odds, inspired a massive and enduring movement in the indie game community. In a great new report for The Verge, writer Lewis Gordon spoke to early pioneers like Magic: The Gathering creator Richard Garfield, Slay the Spire designer Anthony Giovannetti and Signs of the Sojourner maker Dyala Kattan-Wright about the evolution of card games and procedural design, and why so many breakout Steam hits these days are incorporating elements of the genre.
‘Macbeth’ on the small screen
A Coen Brothers take on Macbeth ends up being a lot more interesting than it sounds, thanks in part to the noted absence of Ethan Coen. Directed by Joel Coen, in his solo directorial debut, this monochrome and rather faithful adaptation of the classic Shakespeare tale is a big departure from the duo’s typical dark humor-infused Americana, featuring a legendary performance by Denzel Washington as the title character. The A24 film was released last year in a limited theatrical run; it picked up three Oscar nominations, and landed on Apple TV+ back in January.
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