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

Nick Dinicola

Nick Dinicola made it through college with a degree in English, and now applies all his critical thinking skills to video games instead of literature. He reviews games and writes a weekly post for the Moving Pixels blog at PopMatters, and can be heard on the weekly Moving Pixels podcast. More of his reviews, previews, and general thoughts on gaming can be found at


Tuesday, July 29 2014

The Assassins' Propaganda

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.

Monday, May 26 2014

Puzzling Personas: Puzzles as Character Development in 'The Raven'

The type of puzzle you specialize in solving says a lot about you as a person.

Tuesday, March 25 2014

There Are No Villains, Only Victims with Power

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.

Sunday, January 26 2014

The (Mis)Education of the Player

Players can approach a game however they wish, but a developer has a responsibility to provide some sort of guidance through their virtual world.

Monday, November 18 2013

'Arkham Origins' Constantly Rigs the Odds Against Batman

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.


Tuesday, September 2 2014

MIND: Path to Thalamus

The game earns a trust that allows you to let go of your worries and to just let the mood wash over you, vagaries and all.

Monday, August 18 2014

Oribtal Gear

Orbital Gear is missing an important label that would allow me to forgive its flaws: the "Early Access" label.

Friday, August 1 2014

'OlliOlli' Is the Purest Embodiment of Skate Culture in a Game

OlliOlli doesn't care about conforming, it doesn't care about its peers, and it doesn't care what you think of it. All it cares about is landing that trick.

Thursday, July 10 2014

Quest for Infamy

In Quest for Infamy, you’ll spend more time looking for a story and puzzles than you do participating in a story and puzzles.

Monday, June 2 2014

'Bound by Flame': Hamstrung by Mediocre Mechanics

Bound by Flame borders on goodness.

Life Goes On [24.Apr.14]
Teslagrad [15.Dec.13]
Contrast [1.Dec.13]
Montague's Mount [15.Oct.13]
Charlie Murder [11.Oct.13]
Lost Planet 3 [2.Oct.13]
Payday 2 [5.Sep.13]
Tales of Xillia [18.Aug.13]
Scourge: Outbreak [22.Jul.13]
Anomaly 2 [30.May.13]
Don't Starve [25.Apr.13]
Guacamelee [17.Apr.13]
Crysis 3 [7.Mar.13]
Dead Space 3 [21.Feb.13]
Grimind [15.Jan.13]
Fable: The Journey [24.Oct.12]
Resident Evil 6 [8.Oct.12]
Rock of Ages [14.Jun.12]
Game of Thrones [5.Jun.12]
Battlefield 3 [27.Nov.11]
Orcs Must Die! [23.Oct.11]
Dead Island [15.Sep.11]
The Baconing [8.Sep.11]
Dungeon Siege III [30.Jun.11]
Brink [26.May.11]
Crysis 2 [7.Apr.11]
Bulletstorm [6.Mar.11]
Dead Space 2 [3.Feb.11]
Quantum Theory [31.Oct.10]
Arc Rise Fantasia [22.Aug.10]
Red Steel 2 [15.Apr.10]
Toy Soldiers [25.Mar.10]
Heavy Rain [18.Mar.10]
Dark Void [24.Jan.10]
Puzzlegeddon [5.Jan.10]
Madden NFL Arcade [13.Dec.09]
Mini Ninjas [15.Nov.09]
'Splosion Man [13.Aug.09]


Friday, September 19 2014

Censorship Is Not a Puzzle I Can Solve

In this case, cheating isn’t just an admission of defeat to the game, it’s an admission of defeat for the characters as well. And I can’t bring myself to make them lose.

Friday, September 5 2014

'MIND: Path to Thalamus' Hates What Makes it Great

MIND is a clever, beautiful, well designed game that sadly seems to hate itself for being clever, beautiful, and well designed.

Friday, August 22 2014

The Platformer as Typography Teacher

You’re not just interacting with a particular font, but everything that contributed to the history of that font as well.

Thursday, August 14 2014

The Platformer as Existential Crisis

To fall off-screen is to cease to exist. Off-screen is death, and an auto-scrolling screen is Death on a mission.

Friday, August 8 2014

'Tower of Fortune' Reminds Us That RPGs Are About Gambling

Tower of Fortune has been an enlightening reminder of what “random chance” really means.

'Watch Dogs' vs 'Hack RUN' (Moving Pixels) [20.Jun.14]
Sometimes Bad Ain't So Bad (Moving Pixels) [13.Jun.14]
'Badland' and the Importance of Luck (Moving Pixels) [6.Jun.14]
A Good Menu Sets the Mood: Part 5 (Moving Pixels) [30.May.14]
Progress Is Power in 'A Dark Room' (Moving Pixels) [23.May.14]
Why I'm Excited About 'Call of Duty' (Moving Pixels) [16.May.14]
A Little Bit of Story Goes a Long Way (Moving Pixels) [2.May.14]
Place and Space in 'Year Walk' (Moving Pixels) [25.Apr.14]
Place and Space in 'Device 6' (Moving Pixels) [18.Apr.14]
Telltale's Abuse of Nostalgia (Moving Pixels) [4.Apr.14]
That Transcendent Moment (Moving Pixels) [21.Mar.14]
Can a Game Be So Bad It’s Good? (Moving Pixels) [28.Feb.14]
More is Less in 'Montague’s Mount' (Moving Pixels) [14.Feb.14]
The Beautiful Simplicity of 'Broken Age' (Moving Pixels) [24.Jan.14]
I Am Clementine (Moving Pixels) [17.Jan.14]
The Evolution of 'Call of Duty' (Moving Pixels) [6.Dec.13]
Nature Sucks in 'Lost Planet 3' (Moving Pixels) [15.Nov.13]
Indie Horror Month 2013: 'Catachresis' (Moving Pixels) [1.Nov.13]
Indie Horror Month 2013: 'Homesick' (Moving Pixels) [25.Oct.13]
Indie Horror Month 2013: 'Fibrillation' (Moving Pixels) [18.Oct.13]
Indie Horror Month 2013: 'Metrolith' (Moving Pixels) [11.Oct.13]
Deconstructing Disbelief (Moving Pixels) [27.Sep.13]
Cloning Individuals in 'The Swapper' (Moving Pixels) [6.Sep.13]
Cloning Society in 'The Swapper' (Moving Pixels) [29.Aug.13]
The Perfect Grind (Moving Pixels) [22.Aug.13]
'400 Days' of Loving Abuse (Moving Pixels) [15.Aug.13]
Virtual Dioramas (Moving Pixels) [1.Aug.13]
Death by a Thousand Chestbursters (Moving Pixels) [25.Jul.13]
"We're shitty people, Joel." (Moving Pixels) [18.Jul.13]
A Good Menu Sets the Mood: Part 4 (Moving Pixels) [11.Jul.13]
Sadism Is Fine As Long As It’s Short (Moving Pixels) [27.Jun.13]
I Can't Break 'The Walking Dead' (Moving Pixels) [13.Jun.13]
The Perfect Co-Op of 'Monaco' (Moving Pixels) [30.May.13]
It's Hard to Play the Right Way (Moving Pixels) [23.May.13]
Predictable Difficulty is Fun Difficulty (Moving Pixels) [2.May.13]
The Horror of 'Tomb Raider' (Moving Pixels) [11.Apr.13]
Bringing "It" Out in Lara Croft (Moving Pixels) [28.Mar.13]
'Crysis 3' Is a Stealth Game (Moving Pixels) [21.Mar.13]
The Mythic Horror of 'Dead Space 3' (Moving Pixels) [14.Mar.13]
The Doors of 'Dead Space 3' (Moving Pixels) [28.Feb.13]
'Binary Domain' and the Joys of Cut Scenes (Moving Pixels) [14.Feb.13]
My Mechanical Journey With 'Journey' (Moving Pixels) [7.Feb.13]
Style is Substance in 'Ni no Kuni' (Moving Pixels) [31.Jan.13]
Why Do Alternate Endings Matter in Gaming? (Moving Pixels) [24.Jan.13]
Open Worlds Aren’t Meant for Driving (Moving Pixels) [10.Jan.13]
A New Appreciation for Simple Movement (Moving Pixels) [6.Dec.12]
Why I Played 'Borderlands 2' By Myself (Moving Pixels) [15.Nov.12]
Indie Horror Month: 'Lone Survivor' (Moving Pixels) [25.Oct.12]
Indie Horror Month: 'Home' (Moving Pixels) [18.Oct.12]
Indie Horror Month: 'Paranormal' (Moving Pixels) [11.Oct.12]
Indie Horror Month: 'The 4th Wall' (Moving Pixels) [4.Oct.12]
How to End a Game With a Bang (Moving Pixels) [27.Sep.12]
Xbox LIVE Indie Game Round Up -- Part 3 (Moving Pixels) [6.Sep.12]
First-Person Memories (Moving Pixels) [2.Aug.12]
‘Syndicate’ Wastes a Great World (Moving Pixels) [19.Jul.12]
'Slender' is a Superb Slice of Horror (Moving Pixels) [12.Jul.12]
The Excellent Dialogue of 'Max Payne 3' (Moving Pixels) [7.Jun.12]
The Evolution of Alan Wake (Moving Pixels) [17.May.12]
‘Fez’ is a Very Personal Puzzle Game (Moving Pixels) [3.May.12]
'Anomaly', the Simple Start of a New Genre (Moving Pixels) [19.Apr.12]
The Fallible Morality of 'Mass Effect 3' (Moving Pixels) [29.Mar.12]
Evil Can Be Cute: The Morality of 'Warp' (Moving Pixels) [1.Mar.12]
The Helpless Protector in ‘AMY’ (Moving Pixels) [23.Feb.12]
Get Rid of the Mini-map (Moving Pixels) [19.Jan.12]
Joining the Cult of Abstergo (Moving Pixels) [15.Dec.11]
A Good Menu Sets the Mood: Part 3 (Moving Pixels) [1.Dec.11]
The Strength of Dialogue in ‘Enslaved’ (Moving Pixels) [17.Nov.11]
Creatively Derivative (Moving Pixels) [10.Nov.11]
Unwanted Empathy in ‘Rage’ (Moving Pixels) [3.Nov.11]
The Dangers of the Beta-Demo (Moving Pixels) [27.Oct.11]
Big Names Should Work On Small Games (Moving Pixels) [6.Oct.11]
Cyclical Stories in Video Games (Moving Pixels) [8.Sep.11]
Xbox LIVE Indie Game Round Up -- Part 2 (Moving Pixels) [25.Aug.11]
Pixel Hunting Is Fun in 'L.A. Noire' (Moving Pixels) [18.Aug.11]
The Most Loving Suicide Mission Ever (Moving Pixels) [28.Jul.11]
"Child of Eden’s" Identity Crisis (Moving Pixels) [21.Jul.11]
Collaborative Conflict in 'Mass Effect' (Moving Pixels) [14.Jul.11]
Creation and Destruction in 'Solar 2' (Moving Pixels) [7.Jul.11]
The Many Genres of ‘Nier’ (Moving Pixels) [1.Jul.11]
Playing the Persona in ‘L.A. Noire’ (Moving Pixels) [9.Jun.11]
Xbox LIVE Indie Game Round Up (Moving Pixels) [12.May.11]
The Perfect FPS Protagonist (Moving Pixels) [6.May.11]
‘The Conduit’: A Gateway Game (Moving Pixels) [21.Apr.11]
How Not to Make a Multiplayer Game (Moving Pixels) [3.Mar.11]
A Slice of Wartime Life (Moving Pixels) [24.Feb.11]
The Paradox of Modern Horror: Running Away (Moving Pixels) [17.Feb.11]
Killing Kids Is Scary (Moving Pixels) [3.Feb.11]
Fun Times With Ratchet and Clank (Moving Pixels) [27.Jan.11]
The Two Faces of 'Dead Rising 2' (Moving Pixels) [20.Jan.11]
Pigsy's Perfect 10 (Moving Pixels) [6.Jan.11]
Gaming and Politics in 2010 (Moving Pixels) [23.Dec.10]
'Burnout' Ruined Racing Games For Me (Moving Pixels) [2.Dec.10]
Mass Effect 2 (Consuming Consumables) [22.Nov.10]
Forced Politics in 'Fable 3' (Moving Pixels) [18.Nov.10]
Forced Alliances in ‘Fable 3’ (Moving Pixels) [11.Nov.10]
Epic vs. Episodic Adventure Games (Moving Pixels) [4.Nov.10]
'Project Legacy': My First Facebook Game (Moving Pixels) [14.Oct.10]
The Least Suicidal Suicide Mission Ever (Moving Pixels) [7.Oct.10]
'Dead Rising' Does Zombies Right (Moving Pixels) [23.Sep.10]
An Obsession with Progression (Moving Pixels) [19.Aug.10]
The Lasting Accomplishment of 'Max Payne' (Moving Pixels) [12.Aug.10]
Dreaming in 'Limbo' (Moving Pixels) [5.Aug.10]
Why Do I Cheer For War? (Moving Pixels) [8.Jul.10]
My Ending Is My Canon (Moving Pixels) [1.Jul.10]
How Open Is Your Open World? (Moving Pixels) [17.Jun.10]
Red Dead Redemption: A Linear Open World (Moving Pixels) [10.Jun.10]
A Good Menu Sets the Mood (Moving Pixels) [3.Jun.10]
Five Movie and Game Pairings (Moving Pixels) [13.May.10]
Achievements Change The Way That I Play (Moving Pixels) [6.May.10]
Are Wii Shooters Better Than The Rest? (Moving Pixels) [22.Apr.10]
Rubi vs. Bayonetta (Moving Pixels) [15.Apr.10]
I'd Rather Be Stealing Gold (Moving Pixels) [8.Apr.10]
Our Role as Actor in 'Heavy Rain' (Moving Pixels) [4.Mar.10]
DiRT 2: A Racing Sim for the Arcade Fan (Moving Pixels) [21.Jan.10]
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Consuming Consumables) [17.Dec.09]
Dead Space: Extraction (Consuming Consumables) [11.Dec.09]
The Mystery of Assassin's Creed (Moving Pixels) [3.Dec.09]
Modern War in Modern Warfare 2 (Moving Pixels) [19.Nov.09]
It's A Mad Mad Mad MadWorld (Moving Pixels) [12.Nov.09]
Cut Scenes Can Work in Games (Moving Pixels) [6.Nov.09]
That Good Ol' Ultraviolence (Moving Pixels) [29.Oct.09]
Does This Hurt? A Look at Torture in Games (Moving Pixels) [23.Oct.09]
The Next Visual Leap in Gaming (Moving Pixels) [15.Oct.09]
Lost in the Past (Moving Pixels) [1.Oct.09]
War is (Fun As) Hell (Moving Pixels) [24.Sep.09]
Punishing in All the Right Ways (Moving Pixels) [17.Sep.09]
The State of Social Commentary in Gaming (Moving Pixels) [3.Sep.09]
The Boycott of Shadow Complex (Moving Pixels) [28.Aug.09]
Your Virtual Physical Self (Moving Pixels) [6.Aug.09]
Homelessness in The Sims 3 (Moving Pixels) [30.Jul.09]
Permanent Death in Far Cry 2 (Moving Pixels) [23.Jul.09]
The Future of Gaming is...Adventure Games? (Moving Pixels) [16.Jul.09]
Going HUDless for Immersion (Moving Pixels) [9.Jul.09]
Consequence Without Morality (Moving Pixels) [26.Jun.09]
Looking Ahead (Moving Pixels) [4.Jun.09]
Why You Should Care About Dom's Wife (Moving Pixels) [21.May.09]
A Case for Regenerating Health (Moving Pixels) [14.May.09]
Morality and Karma Systems (Moving Pixels) [8.May.09]
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