Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

L.B. Jeffries
Image: L.B. Jeffries
PopMatters Associate Multimedia Editor

L.B. Jeffries is the pseudonym of a law student from South Carolina. After majoring in English, L.B. wandered around the resort scene in California, taught a little creative writing in Vermont, and ended up dead broke on the lower east side of Manhattan. A year of working for the government convinced him that there are some things worse than death so he took the LSAT. He continues to maintain his sanity and artistic sensibilities by posting a weekly on the PopMatters blog, ‘Moving Pixels’, providing game reviews, and whatever else captures his fancy.


Monday, January 18 2010

The Film Noir Roots of Cowboy Bebop

The animated series Cowboy Bebop is a blend of classic film noir motifs mixed into a futuristic setting that reverses the roles of gender and character.

Tuesday, September 29 2009

The New American Spook Country

Spook Country is about America’s loss of innocence, its various ways of remembering the past, and an attempt to find a way of reconciling those memories with the present.

Wednesday, June 17 2009

The New Games Journalism

The most useful moments for New Games Journalists are ones that occur in multiplayer, describing experiences that could never occur during just a general session of play.

Tuesday, March 17 2009

Does Video Game Criticism Need a Pauline Kael?

Kael, much like video game critics today, was faced with a massive philosophical shift in her chosen artistic medium that large quantities of critics were against.

Sunday, November 30 2008

Does Video Game Criticism Need a Lester Bangs?

Part of the reason Lester Bangs was a great rock critic was because he reflected the virtues and vices of his medium. Yet as a critic Bangs provided a lot of personal standards that could be easily applied to multiple mediums.


Sunday, October 3 2010

Shattered Horrors: Fragmented Perspectives in 'Fatal Frame 2'

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, July 26 2010

Morality in Mystery Dungeon: 'Shiren the Wanderer'

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.

Monday, May 31 2010

My Own Private Architecture

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.

Monday, April 5 2010

The Mass Appeal of Farmville

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 1 2010

The Art of Place in Hitman: Blood Money

A game isn’t just its content or game design alone, but rather, the space created when all these pieces come together.


Sunday, December 5 2010

Dragon's Lair Trilogy

There’s still no video game quite like this, but that probably has more to do with the death of the arcade rather than with the nature of the game itself.

Tuesday, November 16 2010

Saw II: Flesh and Blood

Conceptually the series was always a modernized take of the morality horror films of the '70s and '80s, modern in this case being a combination of the rhetoric of Fight Club alongside video game elements.

Tuesday, October 19 2010

Dawn of Heroes

On paper, a simplified tactical RPG probably sounds like a good idea. Games like Pokemon have shown that the formula can deliver to younger audiences. The reason that Dawn of Heroes bombs is that it doesn’t really pay attention to what the player wants to do in this type of game.

Thursday, September 23 2010

Amnesia: The Dark Descent

For longtime fans of horror games, Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a breath of fresh air in a genre that is now more about thrills than genuine fear.

Sunday, June 6 2010

Iron Man 2

The game has the charming habit of freezing intermittently, which I discovered when it did so in the opening cut scene. I’m not sure if the error ever repeats because I got pretty comfortable skipping the plot after a while.

Perfect Dark [25.Apr.10]
Yoga [2.Feb.10]
Rogue Warrior [31.Jan.10]
Gyromancer [26.Jan.10]
Cook or Be Cooked! [15.Dec.09]
A Witch's Tale [10.Nov.09]
Our House: Party! [27.Oct.09]
Spyborgs [4.Oct.09]
DiRT2 [1.Oct.09]
The Conduit [20.Jul.09]
Plants Vs. Zombies [28.May.09]
Spelunky [12.Apr.09]
Bit.Trip Beat [9.Apr.09]
Halo Wars [26.Mar.09]
Mother 3 [20.Jan.09]
Animal Paradise [2.Nov.08]
Art Style: Orbient [26.Oct.08]
Iji [9.Oct.08]
Roogoo [7.Sep.08]
Wii Fit [24.Jul.08]
Myst [10.Jul.08]
Everyday Shooter [24.Jun.08]
Insecticide [17.Jun.08]
Immortal Defense [29.Apr.08]
Patapon [23.Mar.08]
Audiosurf [16.Mar.08]
No More Heroes [21.Feb.08]
Blackwell Unbound [19.Feb.08]
Aquaria [14.Feb.08]
Jenga World Tour [31.Jan.08]
Carnival Games [25.Sep.07]
Mario Party 8 [15.Jul.07]


Wednesday, December 1 2010

Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Amnesia: The Dark Descent (Frictional Games, PC) [$19.95]

Monday, October 11 2010

On Design-Centric Game Criticism

L.B. Jeffries bids adieu to the Moving Pixels audience, but before he goes, he has a few words to share about writing game criticism, noting that "the difference between a critical analysis and a game FAQ is that somebody who has never played the game can still gain something from good analysis."

Monday, October 4 2010

Music, Space, And Your House

"If you grew up thinking that the stage/arena show is what live music is supposed to be, it’s jarring to be confronted with a band playing two feet in front of you, running into you, spitting in your face, hitting you with their instruments."

Tuesday, September 28 2010

The Multimedia Diet

People may not listen when they feel like they're being preached at, but raw data has a voice all its own.

Monday, September 20 2010

Filling in the Details in Video Game Worlds

When an author constructs an entire world, they tend to want to show it off as much as possible and provide explanations to game players. That's when games get stuck, especially if borrowing from sci-fi or fantasy literature.

Post-Structuralism in Video Games (Moving Pixels) [14.Sep.10]
Sierra vs. Lucasarts (Moving Pixels) [6.Sep.10]
Perfecting Loss in 'N+' (Moving Pixels) [30.Aug.10]
Video Game Parodies (Moving Pixels) [23.Aug.10]
Mastering the Basics in Butcher Bay (Moving Pixels) [16.Aug.10]
Mary Flanagan's 'Critical Play' (Moving Pixels) [9.Aug.10]
'LOST' and Video Games (Moving Pixels) [2.Aug.10]
The Multiple Choice Game (Moving Pixels) [26.Jul.10]
God of War... The Indie Film (Mixed Media) [21.Jul.10]
A Good A.I. Trick (Moving Pixels) [19.Jul.10]
Iggy Pop Rides Through Classic Cinema (Mixed Media) [9.Jul.10]
Johan Huizinga's 'Homo Ludens' (Moving Pixels) [5.Jul.10]
Sensing the Sublime in Lumines (Moving Pixels) [28.Jun.10]
Emergent Music Video (Mixed Media) [23.Jun.10]
'Groundhog Day' and Video Games (Moving Pixels) [21.Jun.10]
Minimalist Radiohead Music Video (Mixed Media) [16.Jun.10]
Plot Twist Overkill in 'Indigo Prophecy' (Moving Pixels) [14.Jun.10]
'Zeno Clash' and Active Characterization (Moving Pixels) [31.May.10]
Kirby, Devourer of Worlds (Moving Pixels) [24.May.10]
Pogo: Turning Classic Films into New Songs (Moving Pixels) [10.May.10]
Julian Dibbell's Guide to Gold Farming (Moving Pixels) [3.May.10]
Team Economics in Halo 3: ODST (Moving Pixels) [25.Apr.10]
T.L. Taylor's Guide to MMO Culture (Moving Pixels) [19.Apr.10]
Fable 2's Fantasy Economy (Moving Pixels) [12.Apr.10]
Making a Better Spectator Game (Moving Pixels) [29.Mar.10]
The Literary Merits of Dante's Inferno (Moving Pixels) [22.Mar.10]
Ubisoft's Imagine Series (Moving Pixels) [8.Mar.10]
The Troubleshooting Review (Moving Pixels) [1.Mar.10]
Modern Warfare 2's Multiplayer Map Style (Moving Pixels) [22.Feb.10]
The Peak of the 'Mario' Franchise (Moving Pixels) [15.Feb.10]
The Problem With No More Heroes 2 (Moving Pixels) [8.Feb.10]
Jim Rossignol's 'This Gaming Life' (Moving Pixels) [19.Jan.10]
The Style of Cel Shading (Moving Pixels) [11.Jan.10]
The Perpetual Value Machine (Moving Pixels) [4.Jan.10]
Odds and Ends from 2009 (Moving Pixels) [21.Dec.09]
Playing at Video Game Analyst (Moving Pixels) [14.Dec.09]
Gauging Load Times in Games (Moving Pixels) [7.Dec.09]
ZA Critrique: Crackdown (Moving Pixels) [30.Nov.09]
Retro Game Challenge (Consuming Consumables) [24.Nov.09]
Tech Bubbles in World of Warcraft (Moving Pixels) [23.Nov.09]
The Merits of Linear Narrative (Moving Pixels) [16.Nov.09]
The Modern FPS (Moving Pixels) [2.Nov.09]
Cybertext (Moving Pixels) [26.Oct.09]
Two Books on Games & Violence (Moving Pixels) [12.Oct.09]
Jesper Juul's Classic Text 'half-real' (Moving Pixels) [29.Sep.09]
The Modest Mouse Bluegrass Tribute (Sound Affects) [24.Sep.09]
ZA Critique: Left 4 Dead (Moving Pixels) [21.Sep.09]
Kickstarting the Iran Protest Game (Moving Pixels) [16.Sep.09]
Essays on Algorithmic Culture (Moving Pixels) [14.Sep.09]
Strange Encounters of the MMO Kind (Moving Pixels) [9.Sep.09]
Misconceptions About the Female Avatar (Moving Pixels) [7.Sep.09]
ZA Critique: Mass Effect (Moving Pixels) [24.Aug.09]
Movies That Wish They Were Video Games (Moving Pixels) [10.Aug.09]
The Design of Everyday Things (Moving Pixels) [3.Aug.09]
Wii Fit vs EA Active (Moving Pixels) [27.Jul.09]
Remake Culture (Moving Pixels) [20.Jul.09]
Games for Girls (Moving Pixels) [13.Jul.09]
Enhancing Narrative Delivery (Moving Pixels) [9.Jul.09]
Sloppy Arguments in Game Reviews (Moving Pixels) [6.Jul.09]
ZA Critique: The Path (Moving Pixels) [29.Jun.09]
Why the Angry Face? (Moving Pixels) [22.Jun.09]
Getting Burned Out on Games (Moving Pixels) [16.Jun.09]
The Hipsters of Gaming (Moving Pixels) [9.Jun.09]
Art Patronage in Games (Moving Pixels) [1.Jun.09]
ZA Critique: Rez HD (Moving Pixels) [25.May.09]
Illusionary Choices in Games (Moving Pixels) [19.May.09]
ZA Critique: Bejeweled 2 (Moving Pixels) [11.May.09]
Travelling in Video Games (Moving Pixels) [4.May.09]
ZA Critique: Gears of War (Moving Pixels) [27.Apr.09]
2009 Game Developers eXchange (Moving Pixels) [20.Apr.09]
Six Days in Fallujah (Moving Pixels) [15.Apr.09]
Short Games (Moving Pixels) [13.Apr.09]
ZA Critique: Beyond Good & Evil (Moving Pixels) [6.Apr.09]
Good Tutorials (Moving Pixels) [30.Mar.09]
ZA Critique: Kane & Lynch: Dead Men (Moving Pixels) [23.Mar.09]
Facebook vs Twitter (Moving Pixels) [20.Mar.09]
Video Game Connection to Tragedy (Moving Pixels) [17.Mar.09]
Protest Games (Moving Pixels) [16.Mar.09]
ZA Critique: Psychonauts (Moving Pixels) [9.Mar.09]
Sex Games II (Moving Pixels) [6.Mar.09]
Games & Film: The Wizard (Moving Pixels) [2.Mar.09]
Forum Game: Wikipaths (Moving Pixels) [25.Feb.09]
ZA Critique: The Thing (Moving Pixels) [24.Feb.09]
Video Games and Their Impact on Dreams (Moving Pixels) [19.Feb.09]
Game Explanations for Beginners (Moving Pixels) [16.Feb.09]
4 Minutes and 33 Seconds of Uniqueness (Moving Pixels) [11.Feb.09]
Emergent Music Games (Moving Pixels) [2.Feb.09]
ZA Critique: Halo 3 (Moving Pixels) [26.Jan.09]
Abstract Symbolism in Games (Moving Pixels) [19.Jan.09]
ZA Critique: Braid (Moving Pixels) [12.Jan.09]
11th Independent Games Festival (Moving Pixels) [11.Jan.09]
Gaming Trends for 2009 (Moving Pixels) [5.Jan.09]
ZA Critique: Manhunt 2 (Moving Pixels) [15.Dec.08]
Weapons in Games (Moving Pixels) [8.Dec.08]
Web-Browser Doom (Moving Pixels) [3.Dec.08]
Immortal Defense (Consuming Consumables) [3.Dec.08]
ZA Critique: Okami (Moving Pixels) [1.Dec.08]
Art Style: Rotohex (Moving Pixels) [25.Nov.08]
A Standardized Controller (Moving Pixels) [24.Nov.08]
Machinima FilmFest 2008 (Moving Pixels) [20.Nov.08]
ZA Critique: Call of Duty 4 (Moving Pixels) [17.Nov.08]
The Graveyard (Moving Pixels) [13.Nov.08]
Games as Language Systems (Moving Pixels) [11.Nov.08]
Sex Games (Moving Pixels) [5.Nov.08]
ZA Critique: The Darkness (Moving Pixels) [3.Nov.08]
Relevant Settings (Moving Pixels) [27.Oct.08]
Katrina: Tempest in Crescent City (Moving Pixels) [22.Oct.08]
The Console War (Moving Pixels) [21.Oct.08]
Matt Hazard: The Legacy You Never Knew (Moving Pixels) [15.Oct.08]
ZA Critique: Silent Hill 2 (Moving Pixels) [13.Oct.08]
The Political Machine 2008 (Moving Pixels) [8.Oct.08]
ZA Critique: Ico (Moving Pixels) [6.Oct.08]
Flash Game: Storyteller (Moving Pixels) [1.Oct.08]
Future of Video Game Litigation (Moving Pixels) [29.Sep.08]
Crafting Linear Game Plots (Moving Pixels) [22.Sep.08]
Gameratis (Moving Pixels) [15.Sep.08]
Games Into Space (Moving Pixels) [8.Sep.08]
Super Mario Galaxy Poem (Moving Pixels) [3.Sep.08]
Reality and Virtual Reality (Moving Pixels) [1.Sep.08]
C*** (Moving Pixels) [27.Aug.08]
Game Revenue Issues (Moving Pixels) [25.Aug.08]
To Ken Levine (Moving Pixels) [18.Aug.08]
Universal Game Design (Moving Pixels) [11.Aug.08]
How to Make Non-Linear Reactive Stories (Moving Pixels) [4.Aug.08]
Learning to Love the Wii Fit (Moving Pixels) [28.Jul.08]
How, then, shall we Hype? (Moving Pixels) [21.Jul.08]
Baby Boomers & Video Games (Moving Pixels) [14.Jul.08]
The Great Divorce (Moving Pixels) [8.Jul.08]
The Difficulty with Difficulty in Games (Moving Pixels) [30.Jun.08]
How to Talk to Fans (Moving Pixels) [23.Jun.08]
Something Completely Different (Moving Pixels) [16.Jun.08]
Zarathustran Analytics Synopsis (Moving Pixels) [12.Jun.08]
The Zerg Through the Eyes of Marx (Moving Pixels) [31.Mar.08]
Broomsticks for Boomsticks (Moving Pixels) [17.Mar.08]
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