Latest Blog Posts

by Boen Wang

9 Feb 2016

I press start, and I’m in motion. I’m playing Need for Speed: Most Wanted and the game opens in medias res in an Aston Martin motoring down the freeway. The camera swings around and locks into position behind the car, at which point I instinctively squeeze the right trigger.

I am in control.

by G. Christopher Williams

8 Feb 2016

Since our podcast has gone from a weekly publication every Monday to a biweekly Monday posting in more recent years, my wife had a brilliant idea. Why not post some of our substantial backlog on our off weeks?

Since Valentine’s Day is just over the horizon, it seemed most appropriate to kick off our first “Best of…” podcast with an episode from way back in 2010 in which we focused our attention on how love, sex, and relationships are represented in video games.

by Nick Dinicola

5 Feb 2016

Shooting a gun in a game is a simple action. You aim a cursor at a target and press a button to pull the virtual trigger. It’s a simple action, but when you look at a standard controller and all the buttons used for shooting, the action quickly gets complicated. Suddenly there’s a button for looking down the sights of the gun, for reloading the gun, for crouching, for switching guns, for activating a secondary function of the gun. Then, there’s all the complexities not linked to a button: knowing when to reload, how fast each gun reloads, how recoil affects your aim, that looking down the sights improves accuracy, that crouching improves accuracy, that moving decreases accuracy, that running prevents you from shooting, etc., etc. Seen this way, the modern shooter is actually a damned complicated beast.

by G. Christopher Williams

4 Feb 2016

A few years ago I wrote an essay about nudity and near nudity in the design of various video game characters, both male and female, and what that signified about those characters’ vulnerabilities and strengths. I briefly touched on the very minimal clothing (essentially, a loin cloth) of the protagonist of the God of War series, saying that Kratos’s “near nudity makes him less than vulnerable. His physique communicates power and masculinity. The appearance of a desirable masculine trait, perfect musculature, makes him clearly stronger [than he would seem if he were clothed], not weaker” (“Boys Get Naked Better Than Girls”, PopMatters, 23 June 2011).

by G. Christopher Williams

3 Feb 2016

The first time that I played Tharsis, a 10 turn disaster management space sim, I lost the game by turn two. It took me over a dozen games to finally win this brief, but difficult roguelike.

In Tharsis, you are tasked with directing the actions of four astronauts attempting to survive a 10 week trip to Mars. On each of the game’s ten turns, bad things happen in various modules of a spacecraft and the ship’s crew basically needs to do its best to attempt to put out these fires, while, of course, more and more fires erupt each and every turn. Like I said, this is a disaster management sim played out in a brutally short time frame.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

Beyoncé and When Music Writing Becomes Activism

// Sound Affects

"The overall response to Beyoncé's "Formation" has been startlingly positive, but mostly for reasons attached to political agendas. It's time to investigate this trend.

READ the article