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Thursday, Nov 13, 2014
The thing that attracts me to Bayonetta 2 is that it’s the closest thing to a Beyoncé concert that I’ve ever played.

Bayonetta is certainly one of the most discussed, most controversial video game characters of recent years and perhaps of all time. A search for her name on the Critical Distance web site yields thousands of words dedicated to analyzing her. Exploited sex object or sex-positive icon? Object of the male gaze or independant dominatrix? I get the sense that a person’s opinion of Bayonetta says more about them than it does her.  She is a litmus test for how someone thinks about sex and gender.


Assuming that’s the case, I’ll open myself up for a little public psychoanalysis. As a fan of games that emphasize dexterity and tactical execution, Bayonetta 2 had me hooked. It’s a great brawler whose challenge scales based on how much you’re willing to learn about the fighting systems. Brawlers are relatively common though; I could play Devil May Cry or God of War to scratch the same itch. The thing that attracts me to Bayonetta 2 is that it’s the closest thing to a Beyoncé concert that I’ve ever played.


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Wednesday, Nov 12, 2014
Moonkid is a story about not saving the world. That is, it is a story more universal, perhaps, than those more often told by most video games.

Save the world. Save the princess. Save yourself. Moonkid is a video game about what you can’t do. It isn’t a power fantasy. It’s a fantasy of powerlessness.


It’s appropriate that the titular character, Moonkid, is the role that the player takes on in a story about not saving the world. After all, a child represents the opposite of what most video game characters normally do. Children are vulnerable, often incapable, lacking in skills and abilities that we think are requisite to accomplishing “important” tasks. Instead, children bear witness to the world.


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Tuesday, Nov 11, 2014
by Erik Kersting
For a series in which the plots are loosely linked at best and can vary wildly in mood and tone, the music in the series is a great way to create continuity between games and make the player feel like they are playing a Zelda game and no other game.

The Legend of Zelda series is one of the most highly acclaimed series of all time. Stretching from 1986 to today, nearly every installment of the game has been well received, with some reaching the lofty heights of being considered among the best games of all time. Loved by a wide variety of people for a wide variety of reasons, it can be easy for one to ask, “Why is this series so beloved?” To the outsider who has maybe only played a little or only watched the game being played, Zelda may look similar to most other high fantasy adventure games like Skyrim, but many things separate the Zelda series from its peers. It is in these areas that we find what makes The Legend of Zelda series great as opposed to just good.


Many Zelda games are similar to each other, even as the series transitioned from 2D to 3D. They all have swordplay, similar over world formats, and feature many different dungeons. In each of these dungeons, there usually exists a new item for the player to acquire and a final boss to defeat before the player can move along the plot. The main characters Link, Zelda, and Ganon generally remain the same and even the items that the player acquires are similar from game to game. Despite the games featuring similar formulas, the series refuses to grow stale over time and each game adds or subtracts from the formula to create a new experience for the player, making nearly all Zelda games feel fresh.


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Monday, Nov 10, 2014
Set against the backdrop of a museum dedicated to the Civil War, Clementine and her companions experience their own house dividing.

This week we confront the penultimate episode of Telltale’s The Walking Dead Season Two in which our erstwhile band of survivors narrows down to the remaining few that will make their way into the finale.


Set against the backdrop of a museum dedicated to the Civil War, Clementine and her companions experience their own house dividing.


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Friday, Nov 7, 2014
Shadow of Mordor has created an emergent gameplay system that allows the game to explore a single theme in depth, the nature of revenge.

I just got the Brand ability, which allows me to take over the mind of an orc and have it fight for me. I can do this easily mid-combat, so I can very quickly turn a horde of enemies against itself, then stand back and watch the battle. I also got the Shadow Kill ability, which allows me to teleport to any orc and instantly kill it. Or I can use my flaming arrows or my “infinite executions.” These are all late-game abilities in Shadow of Mordor that make it easy to slaughter countless orcs. The horde that once frightened me, that I once ran from on a regular basis because it was too much to handle, is now my playground of death and decapitations, made even more fun by the fact that reinforcements just keep showing up, so my genocide never has to end.


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