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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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Wednesday, Sep 24, 2014
In the images of its aftermath, the act of violence is celebrated as an act of spectacular physical prowess and moral potency.

It’s one of the more exciting gunfight sequences in recent cinema. Having just witnessed the death of his mentor, Django Freeman, a former slave and a man searching for his wife and revenge against her captors, takes on all comers in a gun battle on the first floor of a plantation house.


It’s a sequence that is defined by Quentin Tarantino’s love for blaxploitation cinema, a genre interested in representing empowerment and justice through spectacles of violence. In this scene in Django Unchained, Django proves his worth and even the just nature of his cause in his proficiency in exacting revenge against his oppressors. Cowboys die in droves, blood splatters the walls, and his killing spree is only halted by a threat of violence against his wife, the woman he loves and his chief motivation for action throughout the movie.


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Friday, Sep 19, 2014
In this case, cheating isn’t just an admission of defeat to the game, it’s an admission of defeat for the characters as well. And I can’t bring myself to make them lose.

Blackbar is an iOS puzzle game about bypassing totalitarian censors. You are Vi Channi, a common citizen of a totalitarian government who lives in a “Neighborhood” outside the big city. Your friend, Kentery Jo Loaz, has just moved to the big city where she’s set to start work as an employee of the Department of Communication. Your letters back and forth are monitored by the Department, and words that are deemed “inappropriate” are redacted. Your job as a player is to deduce what those redacted words are based on the context of the sentence and the length of the black censor bar. It’s reading comprehension as a puzzle.


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