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by G. Christopher Williams

2 Sep 2015

When I started writing seriously about games in 2002, most of what was being written about video games came largely in the form of previews and product reviews. Video games were still largely being covered as a form of entertainment, but largely anyone, like myself, pondering whether or not the medium might be more than a frivolous way of passing time existed only in fairly small numbers in pockets of the Internet.

As the decade progressed, though, more and more bloggers appeared asking questions similar to my own about whether or not video games were not just a pastime, but also an art form. Many mainstream gaming web sites began including essays of a more critical (that is, “critical” in the sense of art criticism) nature alongside the more traditional offerings of screen shots and consumer information about video games. Infamously, Roger Ebert declared that video games were not art, but by the mid 2000s, there were an awful lot of writers, some journalists, some academics, and some enthusiasts, talking about video games, their stories, their mechanisms, and even their possible aesthetics using that very term.

by Erik Kersting

1 Sep 2015

A few weekends ago a few friends and I went to a live-action version of the “Escape the Room” genre of video games. This one was called Trapped in a Room with a Zombie: Still Hungry. For the uninitiated, “Escape the Room” games are a form of puzzle game in which the player is locked in a room and must escape. Often times the room will at first appear normal, but over time and after exploration of the room, the player finds clues and riddles that will lead them to a means of escape. The live-action equivalent, which I had not heard of until a friend told me about it early this summer, is very similar, but instead of being set in a virtual space, it is set in a physical one.

What makes the live-action version much more tense is that there is a time limit and often the puzzle is far too grand for a single person to solve in a reasonable amount of time. Thus, a group of players must work as a team if they want to escape. The extra twist in the version that I experienced, Trapped in a Room with a Zombie: Still Hungry, was that the room included a guy dressed up as a zombie who would remove any player from participating (outside of standing in the corner and talking) in the game if he touched them. He was chained to the wall, but his chain would grow longer every five minutes. So, the players had to not only solve the riddles but avoid the zombie in the process.

by G. Christopher Williams

31 Aug 2015

This week we begin a series of five episodes about the episodic choice-driven point-and-click adventure game Life Is Strange.

By way of introduction, this week we’re talking about the first episode but focusing mainly on how the game’s mechanics work in contrast to other games in the genre, like Telltale’s The Walking Dead, and how the mechanics support the coming of age story that seems to be the game’s central focus.

by PopMatters Staff

31 Aug 2015

PopMatters (est. 1999) is a respected source for smart long-form reading on a wide range of topics in culture. PopMatters serves as a bridge between academia and popular culture. Thus, our articles are written in an engaging style that is both entertaining and erudite, yet free of stiff and cloistered academic language, and of course, far removed from the novice, the hype and the naiveté that crowds online media.

PopMatters articles appeal to cultural omnivores, historians, pop culture enthusiasts and intellectuals and geeks of many stripes. Our essayists approach their subjects with a strong respect for and knowledge of history—and with an eye toward where they think we may be heading next.

Feature essays are a minimum of 1,200 words, and there is no maximum limit, so long as the essay warrants the length. You may pitch a single essay, or a series of articles. We’d love to hear your ideas.

by Nick Dinicola

28 Aug 2015

I was never a very outdoorsy kid. I didn’t climb trees or jungle gyms. The one time that I tried to jump from the top of a tall slide, I landed in such a way that my knee hit my jaw, and I burst into tears. The one time that I tried to jump from a swing, my shirt got caught in the chain and tore as I leapt away. Yeah, I wasn’t a very outdoorsy kid.

I bring this up because it seems the most natural explanation for why I’m so fascinated by climbing in video games. I love climbing in games. It’s part of why I always enjoyed Prince of Persia as a kid, and it’s one of the central reasons that I fell in love with Assassin’s Creed.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

Country Fried Rock: Drivin' N' Cryin' to Be Inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame

// Sound Affects

""If Drivin' N' Cryin' sounded as good in the '80s as we do now, we could have been as big as Cinderella." -- Kevn Kinney

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