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

 
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Wednesday, Oct 1, 2014
by Brian Crecente (McClatchy-Tribune News Service)
On Sept. 1, 1994 the Entertainment Software Rating Board was launched and a little more than two weeks later the first games received their ratings.

Twenty years ago this month, video games started to receive their first movie-like ratings.


It was a move driven by a congressional hearing that many believed was on the verge of forcing the situation and creating a federally run commission for the regulation and ratings of video games.


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Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014
by Brian Crecente (McClatchy-Tribune News Service)
Oculus Rift is the closest thing yet to a consumer-bound product that can deliver what virtual reality experts call presence.

Despite the soaring plaudits from professional technophiles, despite the growing support from the video game industry, the latest run at mainstreaming wearable virtual reality is doomed to be a commercial failure.


Yes, the Oculus Rift has reignited an interest in virtual reality goggles not seen in decades. And yes, the company behind the technology was purchased by Facebook for billions.


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Monday, Sep 29, 2014
This week we discuss the consequences of crime and its effects on a community that come at the conclusion of The Wolf Among Us

The mystery of The Wolf Among Us has concluded with an interest in exploring the consequences of crime and its effects on a community.


This week, then, we discuss the politics and justice of a fairy tale world that manages to present these issues in a manner more familiar to us than fantastic.


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Friday, Sep 26, 2014
Blackbar is the only epistolary game I’ve ever played.

Blackbar may have beaten me, even though I still refuse to admit it, but just because I’m beaten doesn’t mean that I can’t still appreciate the game and its clever presentation of puzzles. Blackbar is the only epistolary game I’ve ever played and manages to turn a narrative style that’s all about passivity into something interactive.


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Thursday, Sep 25, 2014
Between the four of us shooting into the mouth of this cave there is an unspoken agreement.

I’m shooting fish in a barrel with total strangers. We are on the outskirts of fallen Russia in Destiny, just outside Skywatch, facing a cave off in the distance. Every five seconds or so a group of Hive enemies spawn inside and quickly get mowed down by our weapons as they stream outside. We are exploiting the loot and spawn systems in Destiny to level quickly and collect all the tasty engrams that give our characters rare weapons and armor.


I am trying to understand why in Destiny, a shooter from one of the most prestigious studios in the world, this group of players choose to spend their time harvesting digital goods instead of playing the game “proper.” Since players found the exploit a week or two ago, you can consistently find people alternating gunfire and picking up loot. They are practicing the mundane art of the grind in the most efficient way possible—not exactly the most thrilling experience you could imagine.


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