Latest Blog Posts

by G. Christopher Williams

14 Nov 2016


Following up on our discussion from last week of Amnesia: The Dark Descent, this week we discuss that game’s follow up A Machine for Pigs.

Machine for Pigs was handed off from Frictional Games to The Chinese Room. As a result, we consider how the new developer handles a classic property and reconsiders what kind of horror the Amnesia franchise can offer.

by Nick Dinicola

11 Nov 2016


Amnesia: The Dark Descent is still a good horror game. Playing it for the first time six years after its initial release, it does feel a little dated, and it certainly doesn’t live up to it’s reputation as a horror masterpiece. However, it still largely succeeds in what it sets out to do. Even by today’s standards it’s an ambitious game, evoking psychological horror through a Lovecraftian story and mechanics of insanity, while also evoking physical horror through the threat of otherworldly monsters and limited survival resources. It wants to make you fear for your life and fear for your soul. It succeeds on both fronts, but ironically those success actually undermine the game as a whole.

by Kym Buchanan

10 Nov 2016


Losing XP for dying is wrong. Game design is often a matter of style and taste. However, this is one area where I see a categorical error, as a gamer and as a psychologist. To share my thinking, I’ll unpack dying in games, describe a human capacity called resilience, and describe the problem with losing experience points (XP).

Dying in games is weird. On the one hand, in many games the death of non-player characters (NPCs) is a near-constant event, including both enemies and computer-controlled allies. This is especially true in hack-n-slash and shooter games that feature the wholesale slaughter of NPCs, such as Diablo 3, Castle Crashers, or Serious Sam. On the other hand, in many games the player-character rarely or never dies. Player-characters are often distinguished in a game world by their extraordinary abilities, including their ability to take damage and rebound from it. Even when my player character does die, I can usually resurrect on the spot or nearby, resurrect back at a recent checkpoint, or reload a recent save. Resurrection or reloading may happen so seamlessly that we could be forgiven for thinking of dying in games as something different than dying in real life.

by Mantas Krisciunas

8 Nov 2016


Shit is basically flying off the hook. It’s like shit wants nothing to do with that hook. The hook filed for divorce from that shit and is now seeking custody of the hook and the shit’s two kids.”
—Andrew Hussie’s Homestuck

If you found the above quote hilarious, I recommend putting your life on hold for the next couple of weeks and heading here. The caffeine-fuelled trance you’ll go through before you’re done with the 8,000-plus pages of Homestuck will be completely worth it. Be warned though, your friendships forged before you become a “homestuck” might not withstand the barrage of references to and praises for the comic that you’ll be compelled to unleash. Such will be the case until those who know you either relent and assimilate with the one true fandom or stop talking to you altogether.

by G. Christopher Williams

7 Nov 2016


This week we revisit one of our discussions of how difficulty contributes to the pleasure and pain of gaming.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

Emerging from My Hiatus from Big Budget Games

// Moving Pixels

"I'd gotten burned out on scope and maybe on spectacle in video games, but I think it's time to return to bigger worlds to conquer.

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