Monday, May 11 2015
The scarcity of the Black Widow action figure on toy shelves has me thinking about what we think we know about gender identity in play, be that play with toys or play in video games.
Wednesday, April 1 2015
Shadow of the Colossus begins as a game about a hero rescuing a princess, but by the end, there are no heroes and there are no princesses.
Tuesday, March 17 2015
Valiant Hearts challenges the barbaric connotations of the appellation “the dogs of war” by making a dog, the only creature blind to the “essential” identity markers of nationalism and language, the hero.
Wednesday, February 18 2015
Assassin's Creed: Unity highlights the difficulty of influencing social change from the shadows.
Thursday, January 22 2015
The dream of creating photorealistic video games seems odd to me when considering the medium itself, especially in contrast to other artistic mediums.
Tuesday, December 2 2014
When knowledge falls outside of that which is found on the Internet, it falls outside of modern understanding. Thus, games like these, which fall outside of the norm, become intensely compelling.
Thursday, October 30 2014
Here are a few little games to put you in the spirit of the spooky season. How you will come out of the other side is up to you.
Wednesday, September 24 2014
Watch Dog's protagonist is a cliché that never grows beyond cliché.
Thursday, August 14 2014
Despite putting on display both the virtues and vices of man, Dark Souls does not make a judgment call about humanity, but rather leaves that up to the player.
Wednesday, July 30 2014
Black Flag isn’t interested in breaking the world into two opposing ideologies. It’s interested in how those ideologies sell themselves to a broken world.
Thursday, June 26 2014
Within the spaces of darkness or the unknown, Beyond Two Souls asserts that we can exist without being shaped, manipulated, or brutalized by outside forces.
Tuesday, May 27 2014
The type of puzzle you specialize in solving says a lot about you as a person.
Wednesday, April 23 2014
Is the role of the video game critic to protect us from that which we may find offensive?
Wednesday, March 26 2014
I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream argues that there's no such thing as a true villain, just people who have been wronged and have the power to exact revenge.
Wednesday, February 19 2014
Free-to-play game developers are playing a game of their own. The object of that game is to gain ownership of your time.
Monday, January 27 2014
Players can approach a game however they wish, but a developer has a responsibility to provide some sort of guidance through their virtual world.
Tuesday, January 7 2014
The Room understands that we are gamers, geeks who like to look at a thing, take it apart, and figure out how it works. We aren't mere computers.
Tuesday, November 19 2013
This game revels in watching Batman struggle, throwing villain after villain and crime after crime in his way, trying to overwhelm him, trying to break him -- and it almost does.
Wednesday, October 16 2013
If Grand Theft Auto has nothing to say, as the participants of Slate's recent Culture Gabfest purport, then they must be playing with the sound turned down.
Thursday, September 19 2013
Which has the better ending? Assassin’s Creed 3 vs. Gears of War 3 vs. God of War 3 vs. Halo 3 vs. Mass Effect 3 vs. Modern Warfare 3.
Thursday, August 22 2013
"I expected a monster to greet me at the dias; a foe of unimaginable strength. But when I entered the castle and saw my father -- the king -- sitting atop the dias with goblet in hand, I knew all was lost. He would never die... and I would never be heir."
Tuesday, July 30 2013
Emergent stories are missing the key component of any good story. They’re not about anything.
Thursday, June 20 2013
In the game world, we can't feel the pain of taking a bullet or check our wallet to see what's in it. There just isn't a button for that.
Monday, May 27 2013
In gaming, there’s a story within a sword fight that’s missing from the kind of story told by a gunfight.
Tuesday, April 23 2013
I have found myself struck with admiration recently by games that I have played that have put me in less than empowering positions, games that celebrate difficulty and hardship, struggling and deprivation, rather than empowerment and excess.
Monday, April 1 2013
Even voiceless and often invisible, the characters of Little Inferno manage to ooze more personality than most video game characters.
Sunday, February 24 2013
I feel guilty for things that I have done in God of War. Pushing that caged man over a bed of flames to solve that block puzzle? Still not over that.
Monday, February 11 2013
The last four games in the series have criticized totalitarianism by showing us what would happen if the “select few” in charge didn’t care about the people, but Assassin’s Creed III argues that if the “select few” in charge really do care about those beneath them, then society might flourish.
Monday, January 28 2013
The Manic Pixie Dream Girl not only teaches men how “to embrace life and its infinite mysteries” but also to violate taboos, the mundane, and all that which represents the prison of order and responsibility.
Sunday, November 25 2012
Modern video games feature a plethora of antiheroes. But there are times when this archetype is taken too far, when the antihero becomes just an asshole.
Monday, October 15 2012
In film, the salacious is something to see. In video games, however, the salacious needs to be something to do.
Thursday, September 27 2012
When members of humankind pray, they pray not out of worship, but because they understand that their help is needed to protect the world.
Thursday, August 16 2012
The greater the failure of the video game player, the greater the financial reward of the video game machine’s owner. More frustration, more 'death', used to mean more quarters per hour. These days, it means something else, entirely.
Tuesday, July 17 2012
Fez may argue that games are just meant to be played, but it makes that argument with such impressive thematic consistency that it also makes an argument for the artistry of play.
Sunday, June 17 2012
Pay attention to the rumblings of E3 2012 and you'll hear what may be a series of forthcoming storms.
Sunday, May 20 2012
Plot just provides us with a win condition, it is not necessary for the act of play. I can enjoy a game without plot, but I can’t enjoy a game without world building because that is a game without rules.
Sunday, April 22 2012
Ms. Pac-Man speaks to the most essential nature of what a video game is, clarifying what makes a video game a video game and not any other type of game.
Thursday, March 22 2012
In a series in which World War III is just a subplot, it’s clear that Infinity Ward is more concerned with character resolution than it is with plot resolution.
Wednesday, February 29 2012
Herman Kern says that “a certain level of maturity is required to understand the shape of as well as to make the decision to venture into, a labyrinth." The girl who enters Grandmother’s house in the labyrinthian game, The Path, has just what it takes.
Wednesday, January 25 2012
Batman is a bit player in his own story, and I think a lot of that stems from his desire to save everyone.
Tuesday, January 3 2012
These games taught me: the danger of following the rules; the pleasing presence of unexpected personalities; the pleasures of a well paced and meditative process; the joys of a frantic and chaotic twitch-fest and; the satisfaction derived from a game that brings out my inner masochist.
Thursday, November 17 2011
Dead Island is old-school survival-horror game, a subgenre that seems to have largely disappeared from the medium with the ascension of the action-horror game.
Monday, October 24 2011
The insensibly repetitious nature of romance present in both video game plots and in their mechanics leads to all too familiar storytelling.
Sunday, September 25 2011
The multiple endings in Bastion all feel like natural conclusions to the story.
Monday, August 22 2011
Roger Ebert might have a point when he claims that 'games can never be art'. At least, Aristotle and T.S. Eliot would have agreed.
Wednesday, July 20 2011
The infinite lives of video game characters present an interesting narrative conundrum: how does a writer create tension when the hero is essentially immortal?
Thursday, June 23 2011
In games like Kabod Online, male characters expose themselves to an audience. This makes them look stronger, more powerful, more manly than they do with their clothes on.
Wednesday, May 18 2011
Beyond the cinematic presentation of many games, their pacing and storytelling has more in common with novels and television than with film.
Thursday, April 28 2011
Games feature the ability to constantly challenge the forward momentum of time, rewinding (as it were) to reconsider the best route to reach a more optimal solution, challenging what we know about time and how we consider consequence.
Monday, March 28 2011
Through a series of puzzles Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood paints a picture of corruption and conspiracy throughout the US government from the 1700s to the present.
Thursday, February 24 2011
My wife is right. The Necromorph known as a Slasher is extremely gross. But even though I played Dead Space for hours, I never noticed it.
Thursday, January 20 2011
Red Dead Redemption shows us over and over again that the bonds of society do little to quell man’s violent nature. Rather, man’s violent nature shapes the civilizations that we live in, creating a world of constant conflict on a personal and national level.
Sunday, November 28 2010
This has been an incredibly fruitful year for independent game design, featuring games that are beautiful to look at, funny as hell, and even a few that provoke pleasure even as they make us more than a little uncomfortable.
Sunday, November 7 2010
As an interactive medium, the roles that we play in video games are just as dependent on how we approach a game as they are up to the developer. Neither side has total control over the experience, so there’s a constant tug-of-war between authority and autonomy.
Sunday, October 3 2010
Leaving the dark unspeakable evil unexplained is best because the moment that you reduce such horror to words or images, the player’s imagination no longer feeds it.
Monday, August 16 2010
People like to talk about the changing dimensions of Lara Croft's chest over the course of years, but have you noticed the upper arm development of Ryu over just four Street Fighter games?
Monday, July 26 2010
The moral of Shiren the Wanderer is one of the few that only a game can truly teach; aspects of the story, new locations, items, and characters all have far more emotional resonance if we have to struggle for them.
Sunday, June 20 2010
Baby Boomer films such as Star Wars taught us about the corruptible and corrupting influence of an authoritarian father; now games like Bioshock 2 and Red Dead Redemption explore Generation X's “daddy issues”.
Monday, May 31 2010
When you get to know those hallways during your game experience, when you think of them as hubs wherein change occurs rather than mere passageways, that’s when the transition from a designed space to a personalized space begins.
Thursday, May 6 2010
Do a Google Image search on virtually any American subject and you’ll get a whole lot of superheroes and villains.
Monday, April 5 2010
By integrating itself into Facebook’s social network, Farmville magnifies a sense of accomplishment because the challenges come from the way that you are perceived by a community, rather than on the whims of an unknown developer.
Monday, February 15 2010
While Suda 51's public persona is one manufactured within the kind of punk sensibility of a Johnny Rotten, it's still as carefully crafted as the celebrity auteurship of Alfred Hitchcock.
Monday, February 1 2010
A game isn’t just its content or game design alone, but rather, the space created when all these pieces come together.
Wednesday, January 13 2010
The Assassin's Creed games are interested in presenting a secular form of faith, suggesting that rationalism and faith can coexist despite their seemingly and sometimes contradictory elements.
Sunday, December 6 2009
Philip K. Dick’s fiction is a defense of the validity of video games because despite the fact that they are not real, his stories argue that there is still something valid in the artificial.
Thursday, November 5 2009
Can Gen X parents bond with the newest generation of gamers given the ways that cooperative gameplay has changed over the years?
Monday, October 5 2009
Super Metroid is unique in that it is the only game in the series that addresses something distinctly female about Samus besides her looks: motherhood.
Wednesday, September 16 2009
Williams considers how the release of Bioshock has affected the way that apprehension and terror are evoked through the little details in video games.
Monday, August 10 2009
As the only Star Wars game that has you serving under the Empire without remorse, TIE Fighter lets you experience being a servant to a massive government just after a terrorist attack.
Thursday, July 9 2009
Williams considers the often strange roles that masks serve in Suda51's games and how they implicate us as players of video games.
Wednesday, May 27 2009
Sixteen years after its release, King's Quest VI it is still one of the high water marks of the adventure game genre.
Thursday, April 30 2009
Like Edwin S. Porter realizing that a series of shots was how you structured a film, games have to abandon the presumption that they need to obey a linear narrative or controlled message and just let the player loose.
Wednesday, April 1 2009
This is a game that is incessantly hostile. It is constantly pushing the player to become more efficient at destruction.
Wednesday, March 4 2009
The world of Half-Life 2 depicts the aliens, most of them still unintelligent, overtaking our planet and destroying the norms of civilization.
Wednesday, December 10 2008
The Secret of Monkey Island is one of the '90s' best examples of interactive fiction, and it accomplishes this by using a variety of narrative and game design techniques to deliver a Joseph Campbell experience.
Monday, November 10 2008
The disparity in the approaches Capcom took to Mega Man 9 and Bionic Commando beg the question: what do we want out of a "retro" experience?
Tuesday, September 16 2008
They might make you think, they might make you cringe, they might inspire revulsion or admiration, but are they "art"? A look at some borderline videogames.
Tuesday, July 8 2008
L.B. Jeffries talks to "Boner", a gamer who has managed to build a following simply by allowing an internet audience to watch him play.
Monday, June 2 2008
Let's set aside judging a game purely by the game play or plot, and analyze the actual experience of the game, instead.
Wednesday, April 30 2008
"Interfacing" is Moving Pixels' way of taking a look at the tenuous relationship between the gaming world and the real world, and the awkwardness and enlightenment that the intersections between the two can achieve.