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by G. Christopher Williams

16 Jun 2015


League of Legends is one of the most popular games in the world. It also has the reputation of having one of the ugliest and most toxic communities in online gaming.

League is an unforgiving game. Playing as a team often with strangers to take objectives,while fending off and executing the opposing team, can be highly stressful and often brings out the worst in others. Since the power of a team is most often measured in the amount of gold that they have acquired, and much of a team’s gold income is based on gold acquired for getting kills, teams can be less than kind to their weakest links. The community is unforgiving to “feeders,” those who die often in game and are seen then as feeding the other team gold leading to the opposing team’s victory. Verbal harrassment and other toxic behaviors are the rule of the day in League.

by Nick Dinicola

12 Jun 2015


It’s hard to talk about “controls” in games. At its most reductive, the word is meant to be a description of movement and the ease with which you can “control” your character. But describing “controls” is about more than describing movement. It’s actually a word that describes a myriad of interacting systems and aesthetics. Controls are affected by art style, animation, sound effects, enemy AI, level design—things that change our physical movement and our perception of that physical movement.

It’s such a vast concept that it’s no wonder that we’ve settled into certain standards. It’s easy to say a game has bad or good controls when you’re just comparing those controls to a predefined standard. I’ve played a lot of games that the act of playing them has become second nature, and many of them have become so standardized in their style of play that I can’t actually remember the last time that I had to learn how to control a game. I don’t just mean learning what button does what or learning the timing of new attack animations, but learning an entirely new scheme of movement.

Until David.

by Scott Juster

11 Jun 2015


I wasn’t expecting it, but Splatoon often feels like a game targeted at adults. Perhaps this is a shooter for someone like me; that is to say, a working stiff without the time or reflexes it takes to compete with the sharpshooter kids who weren’t alive when Quake came out.

Simplifications and small improvements to the standard multiplayer shooter conventions make Splatoon feel very modern. There are some exceptions that make Splatoon feel like it’s trying to catch up to its more militant big brothers, but the end result is something that feels strangely mature.

by G. Christopher Williams

10 Jun 2015


A selfie and a mirror have something in common. Both are objects that by reflecting the self allow one to reframe the self. They are both ways of preparing one’s face to meet the world and to show others who you intend yourself to be.

As we arrange ourselves in the mirror before we go out, so the photographer of the self prepares, poses, and retakes the photo until the digital representation of the self becomes what that photographer wants it to be—or at least the best that that individual can do at the moment.

by G. Christopher Williams

8 Jun 2015


Context matters, or so we are told.

So, this week we consider how thematic, aesthetic, and narrative contexts effect how we understand the mechanics of the games that we play.

//Mixed media
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