Latest Blog Posts

by Nick Dinicola

6 Nov 2015

Silence of the Sleep (Jesse Makkonen, 2014)

Puzzles and horror make a curious pair. This pairing has a real history in video games. When one thinks of “old school survival-horror,” one often thinks of an environment with lots of locked doors, hidden keys, and esoteric riddles. But why was it so often this way? Was this a mutually beneficial relationship, one in which the stress of the horror made the puzzles more exciting and in which the methodology of the puzzles forced us to stay rational amidst the horror? Or were the convoluted puzzles included simply to pad out the game to a more marketable length?

by Scott Juster

5 Nov 2015

We’re still a ways away from knowing if Activision’s purchase of King (makers of Candy Crush and all manner of games with “saga” in the title) was a good investment, but I can definitely see the logic behind it. If you take a bigger look at Activision-Blizzard, they’re more than just a Call of Duty factory or an MMO machine. They’re in the business of making experiences that are ongoing services rather than one-off purchases. Buying King gives Activision-Blizzard a shot at cementing that much sought after concept of “engagement” that is currently driving the video game industry as well as the overall technology sector.

by Nick Dinicola

30 Oct 2015

Horror is hard. You can never really be scared by the same thing twice, not in the same way. After that first time, you’re prepared for it. That preparation may be conscious—a knowledge of clichés and tropes that help you predict the future—or it may be unconscious—a subtle feeling of familiarity that turns something once terrifying into something merely scary—but either way the knowledge of a scare subtracts from its effectiveness. Combine that fact with the sheer number of horror related movies, games, books, and whatnot released in any given year… and horror becomes very hard.

But horror is a cakewalk compared to its little brother: The less scary, more abstract, tonally trickier sub-genre of the spooky story.

by Sean Miller

29 Oct 2015

If you haven’t heard, last summer, the performance artist Miranda July published a mobile app called Somebody. Somebody is a messaging app with a twist. As the app’s website describes it:

When you send your friend a message through Somebody, it goes—not to your friend—but to the Somebody user nearest your friend. This person (likely a stranger) delivers the message verbally, acting as your stand-in.

by Scott Juster

28 Oct 2015

For decades, the Metal Gear series has warned against militarization and nuclear proliferation. “Nukes are bad. Walking tanks that can shoot nukes are worse. Don’t even get me started on private military contractors or nano machines” is a flippant but accurate characterization of numerous 20-minute-long cutscenes throughout the history of the series. Metal Gear Solid V has a very similar theme, but it’s the first time I ever experienced the theme systemically. Instead of listening to characters justify the choices that turned them into warlords, I walked down the road myself.

//Mixed media

Because Blood Is Drama: Considering Carnage in Video Games and Other Media

// Moving Pixels

"It's easy to dismiss blood and violence as salacious without considering why it is there, what its context is, and what it might communicate.

READ the article