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

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Wednesday, Oct 8, 2014
Watch Dogs hates me. What is wrong with this game? In a single word: everything.

When Watch Dogs was first announced, I was as excited as anybody for a new IP, any new IP. That the game would seem to take our modern world into consideration along with modern questions and challenges that exist in daily life made me sit up and take notice. Even if that wasn’t what Ubisoft explicitly stated at E3 several years ago, it’s what was on display at every showing of the game. As time wore on, my enthusiasm and the enthusiasm of others waned. Maybe the game was shown too far in advance of release for the promise to hold our attention? So, I soon forgot about it and simply waited for the game itself to finally appear.

There was a palpable tension when I first put the disk into my console and then waited for the mandatory updates before I was allowed to continue. Would this game live up to the hype or would it fall far short of expectations? Would it even try to live up to its own implied promises? The opening sequence of the game set in a stadium seemed to set the player up for a hard boiled thriller in the style of Heat or Drive. I could see the promises on display. Or at least that seemed to be the case in the first few tutorial missions. This feeling did not last for long, though.

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Tuesday, Oct 7, 2014
by Marshall Sandoval
When we play house and doctor, we chart out an imaginary adult life. Something compels humans to grapple with their lives and their mortality through rules and in play.

It starts at a young age. We play house and doctor, charting out an imaginary adult life. As a suburban kid growing up in the 90s, I remember bus rides to field trips and youth camps playing M.A.S.H. It has been this way for years. The Checkered Game of Life was the first board game from designer Milton Bradley in 1860. In the 1960s, the game was recreated as simply The Game of Life or LIFE, while the game has been remade several times, it has remained popular ever since. On some level, every game simulates aspects of life though systems, but games like LIFE try to neatly encompass an entire lifetime, and Notch’s Ludum Dare entry, Drowning in Problems follows in this tradition.

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Friday, Oct 3, 2014
BlindSide is a good example of how scary something new can be.

It’s Indie Horror Month once again here at Moving Pixels, which means it’s time for more esoteric horror games, starting with an iOS game that’s meant to be played with your eyes closed.

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Thursday, Oct 2, 2014
P.T. is scary because it It keeps you vulnerable, it keeps you guessing, and it keeps you reliant on other people.

P.T. is one of the best horror games I’ve played. It doesn’t radically depart from genre conventions, but rather embraces them and rations them out in a way that preserve its own mysteries. The game’s strength comes from its limits. The control scheme is trimmed to the bare minimum, and I defy any single person to completely understand the plot or puzzles by themselves. P.T. is scary because it keeps you vulnerable, it keeps you guessing, and it keeps you reliant on other people.

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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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