Latest Blog Posts

by Victor Stiff

24 Aug 2016


Irrational Exuberance (Ben Vance, 2016)

Tech giants Oculus and Valve have declared 2016 the year of Virtual Reality (VR).  In the past six months, both companies stormed into the consumer marketplace, offering the first two high-quality—and highly functional—mass-market virtual reality devices: the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. Although VR sits poised for a mainstream explosion, it’s far from the new kid on the block; inadequate technology has thwarted the ever-pending VR revolution for 25 years.

When it comes to placing VR in homes all around North America, The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive do raise some red flags. Both pieces of hardware are prohibitively expensive, require high-end computers to run efficiently, and nobody looks cool stumbling around in a VR headset. VR’s high cost of entry and outright physical dorkiness mean it will be a while before VR has its Pokémon Go moment. Even with the proliferation of cheaper, more accessible options (The Gear VR and Google Cardboard), VR still has the potential to tumble back into obscurity.

by G. Christopher Williams

23 Aug 2016


The concept behind The Deed is a fairly simple one. It is a murder mystery in reverse. In other words, the player takes on the role, not of a detective trying to solve a crime, but instead the role of a murderer who must plan and then execute the perfect murder. Put simply, in The Deed, you need to kill someone and then pin it on someone else.

The core of this idea does correspond in some way to the clearly cerebral qualities of investigation. Like the detective, the murderer does need to think about motive and how motives are expressed through evidence, as well as things like how a murder weapon might best be connected to a perpetrator. However, the fascinating thing for me about playing The Deed is in recognizing how very much more concerned with morality I am when playing as a killer by contrast to how objective and distant taking on the role of the detective so often feels.

by G. Christopher Williams

22 Aug 2016


While the mania has begun to ebb in the remaining days of summer, Pokemon Go was the biggest gaming event of the last two months, both a cultural and cross cultural phenomenon.

While our own experiences of the game are localized, this week we discuss our own experiences with Pokemon Go and how they may reflect on the larger phenomenon surrounding its release.

by Nick Dinicola

19 Aug 2016


One of the biggest innovations of the Souls games (including Demon’s Souls and Bloodborne) is their online component. Not the competitive online part that has us invading other players’ games, or even the cooperative part that has us summoning other players into our game to help with bosses and tough enemies. The real innovation is the passive interaction that we have with the unknown multitudes of players online—the notes we can leave for strangers, telling them about secrets, about treasure, about traps, or just tricking them into jumping off of a cliff with the promise of something great below. We could have all those interactions without seeing another player. We only ever saw their past—the bloodstains where they died, their messages, their ghosts—evidence of another life that made the world feel more friendly for the help and more harsh because of the obvious end of that other life.

DarkMaus is an indie game made by one guy, Daniel Wright. It’s a “Souls-like”, a game clearly inspired by Dark Souls that mimics the same pacing and difficulty and many of the same mechanics, but with a few important and truly clever tweaks to the formula.

by Erik Kersting

18 Aug 2016


For better or for worse, No Man’s Sky will be one of the most divisive games of this year. A look at early reviews shows some lofty praise, like this twinfinite review saying the game is “no doubt a feat in magnificent game development”, followed by a lot criticism calling it “boring.” No Man’s Sky doesn’t have to be liked by every journalist. After all, the beauty of critical analysis is that different people can reach different conclusions, but the way that critics and laymen are choosing to attack No Man’s Sky displays many of the problems that plague gaming criticism and journalism, specifically hype and anti-hype, price obsession, and the amount of “time” that one can spend in a game as indicators of “quality”.  The problem with putting the focus on these shallow characteristics of a game is that it doesn’t reveal to us anything about the game itself, only the situation surrounding the game.

The hype around No Man’s Sky has been tremendous, and so has the backlash. A quick read of many popular gaming journalism sites has reviewers commenting at length about the hype surrounding No Man’s Sky and whether or not the game “lives up to it”. Without a doubt, many people were excited for No Man’s Sky. They imagined themselves exploring a vast and wild universe where they would never see the same thing twice. They envisioned themselves as explorers of the cosmos. The game has clearly disappointed some people, and many reviewers and commentators aren’t talking about the game in front of them, but rather the ghost of the game that they desired.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

Virtual Reality and Storytelling: What Happens When Art and Technology Collide?

// Moving Pixels

"Virtual reality is changing the face of entertainment, and I can see a future when I will find myself inside VR listening to some psych-rock while meditating on an asteroid.

READ the article