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by G. Christopher Williams

2 May 2016


Firewatch was developed by game development veterans associated with Telltale’s The Walking Dead and with the popular indie Mark of the Ninja. Set in Shoshone National Park in 1989, it tells the story of a newly recruited fire lookout named Henry, a man looking to escape from his recent past.

This week we discuss Henry and his experiences in this lonely role alongside the growing intimacy he develops with another lookout, a woman named Delilah. We consider the beautiful world that Campo Santo has built for Henry to explore and the way that the game explores human relationships through Henry’s experiences within that world.

by Nick Dinicola

29 Apr 2016


SUPERHOTLine Miami is exactly what it sounds like. Like Hotline Miami it is a bloody and brutal shooter played from a top-down view, and like SUPERHOT, one in which time only moves when you move.

The mash-up work brilliantly. It’s amazing how effective these two systems work together, which further proves the versatility of both shooting as a central mechanic and slow-motion as a central mechanic. Shooting has already proven itself, given the number and types of shooters out there, but slow motion, even though it has proven itself a memorable part of games like Max Payne, has never really caught on for some reason.

by Jorge Albor

28 Apr 2016


Persona 3 (Atlus, 2006)

I recently had the incredibly privilege of visiting Japan, a place I’ve been wanting to visit since Big Bird went to Japan in his 1989 Sesame Street special. Besides bringing back an amazing roll of Yokai Watch toilet paper, I also returned with a renewed appreciation for the “Japanese-ness” of some games. Walking around parts of Tokyo felt strangely familiar, in large part due to numerous anime and video games that make their way to the West.

In Tokyo, I had a special appreciation for the little cultural quirks that I might have seen before in something like, say, the Persona series. There is a sort of pleasurable recognition in seeing high school students in big club groups, for example. I even enjoyed the way that power lines in some residential areas seemed familiar. Visiting Japan was a confirmation that the experiences that I’ve had in games have—at least to some extent—created a real sense of place within a culturally defined space.

by Kym Buchanan

27 Apr 2016


The Last of Us: Left Behind (Sony Computer Entertainment, 2016)

I’m looking for more video games that tell small stories. Many games tell big stories, in which players defeat ultimate evils and save worlds. I enjoy such games, but I also crave games with challenges and stakes more like my real life. There can be distinctly different forms of angst, thrills, and beauty in the adventures of the everyday.

I want more diversity in the menu because I enjoy variety in my gaming diet. Furthermore, there’s significant worth in stories that explore humble stakes. Stories can be containers for storing and sharing values in interesting and memorable ways. Story-rich games can be especially powerful vehicles for exploring and promoting values because they’re interactive and foster experimentation. However, the stories and thus the value-choices in most current games are far removed from my own experiences.

by G. Christopher Williams

26 Apr 2016


Jimmy from Hardcore Henry (STX Entertainment, 2016)

About two thirds of the way into Hardcore Henry, Jimmy, one of the main characters in the film, performs the movie’s only musical number, crooning that Sinatra staple “Got You Under My Skin” for both the titular character Henry and to “you”, the audience of the film.

Obviously, the film creates an odd relationship between the audience and the film’s protagonist, Henry, by aping the first person perspective of a first-person-shooter video game. That perspective in video games is in part intended to create the illusion of the player occupying a game world almost directly, since that player is seeing seemingly through the eyes of the character that they are playing.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

The Moving Pixels Podcast Looks at the Scenic Vistas and Human Drama of 'Firewatch'

// Moving Pixels

"This week we consider the beautiful world that Campo Santo has built for us to explore and the way that the game explores human relationships through its protagonist's own explorations within that world.

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