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Tuesday, Aug 19, 2014
This week we discuss the quieter and more subdued penultimate chapter of The Wolf Among Us.

In truth, there is very little that is happy in the neon noir fairy tale world of The Wolf Among Us. However, the penultimate chapter of Telltale’s adaptation of the Fables comic book series to video game form is a quieter and more subdued one.


This week we discuss the possible success or failure of that quiet as the drama of the game moves towards its final act.


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Monday, Aug 18, 2014
by Brian Crecente
That technology is being used to examine and perhaps shape Ulysses’ understanding, isn’t that surprising. After all, there was a time when books were considered technology.

An award-winning Irish filmmaker and animator just received crowd-sourced funding to kickstart his work turning James Joyce’s Ulysses into a virtual reality video game.


The concept is to immerse players in Joyce’s stream of consciousness by dropping them into the shoes of the work’s two protagonists Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom.


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Friday, Aug 15, 2014
To fall off-screen is to cease to exist. Off-screen is death, and an auto-scrolling screen is Death on a mission.

Nihilumbra is an interesting puzzle platformer about a little piece of nothingness that tries to become something more. You’re a piece of The Void that suddenly finds itself born into the living world. As you explore, you gain new abilities and learn what it means to be alive. However, The Void chases you wherever you go, consuming everything in its path in a single-minded quest to become whole again.


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Thursday, Aug 14, 2014
Balance is a design concept that sits upon the shifting sands of player perception and behavior.

In a recent conversation between Gamasutra’s Leigh Alexander and Ubisoft Blue Byte’s Teut Weidmann, the games industry consultant warned away other designers from mimicking Riot’s monetization strategies for League of Legends. His point about the company’s monetization through reach is a valid one, albeit not one I want to discuss—at least not yet. Rather, I want to focus on this particular quote:


They release a champion that is always, always overpowered. So the people who pay for the game buy the champion immediately… and then Riot will go in and slowly devalue the price of the previous champion they released.



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Wednesday, Aug 13, 2014
The unusual quality of Leisure Suit Larry exists in the unconventional role reversal of the male as pursuer in favor of the female as the one necessary to complete a game's quest.

As a comedy (and not an especially sophisticated one at that), the Leisure Suit Larry series has always traded on stereotypes. The focus of most of the 1980s era point-and-and click adventure games is on Larry Laffer and his quest to get laid. In most instances, the games have a standard formula. Larry attempts to bed several women, all of whom are typically stereotypical gold diggers, before he finally finds his one “true love” (and since this is banal sex farce “true love,” of course, really simply means “good sex” or at the very least “decent sex”).


For Larry Laffer, the narrow definition of sex always contains a simplistic understanding that sex is a commodity. In Leisure Suit Larry 3: Passionate Patti in Pursuit of the Pulsating Pectorals, Larry will, as usual, attempt to bed at least three women before meeting his dream girl, Passionate Patti. These sexual encounters will end in miserable failure, of course, but they will also be defined by the idea that sex for a loser like Larry will need to be purchased. In the case of this game, Larry initiates sexual encounters by giving a girl a credit card, another is given a deed to some land that he owns, and another is aided in figuring out how to market her exercise video by Larry’s economic advice that “sex sells.” Sex is always for sale in this context, but, also, of course, the boundaries of the point-and-click adventure make the idea of trading objects for sexual experience the only reasonable course of action within this genre. After all, the classic point-and-click adventure is always reduced to solving puzzles by figuring out how to use objects on other objects in order to progress in the game. That the objects of Larry’s affection must be cajoled by yet more objects is unsurprising to say the least (and also unsurprising in a narrative genre in which men and women are most often reduced to objects that represent an idea of what men and women are, rather than in attempting to create realistic imaginings of actual people).


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