Virginia is a neat game. It uses the visual language of cinema, specifically the “cut”, to tell an ambitious story about corruption, identity, and the politics of power. Yet it’s these very cinematic tricks that also handicap the game, limiting the ways in which it can express itself. Rather than work within those limitations to tell its story, Virginia shows us as much as it can within its allotted time, and then cops out with an exposition dump that tries to connect what we’ve already seen to its grander ideas of corruption, identity, and power politics. It’s a flawed game, but fascinatingly flawed.
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I just started playing Mafia III. It’s the first big budget game that I have played in over a year. The last such game that I played was Metal Gear Solid V, a game that released in September of 2015. Prior to that I can’t remember what big budget title I played.
This is pretty weird for a guy who spent the 2000s and much of the early 2010s playing nearly every big budget release that came out, from Assassin’s Creed to Call of Duty, from the Batman: Arkham games to every Grand Theft Auto since Grand Theft Auto III (including the Tales from X City titles to Chinatown Wars).
We realized that there is a decent amount of opposition towards video games in the church, particularly from older members. I wanted to have a place where Mormon gamers could talk about games without feeling ostracized or belittled. For almost a year it was just me and zoomop on my old account until about a year ago LDSG Ghost approached me. He had made a similar community elsewhere and wanted to combine them.
—TheKaelen, moderator of /r/ldsgamers.
Video games aren’t yet known for their portrayal of the full spectrum of human diversity. While the medium is arguably making slow progress when it comes to race, gender and sexuality, other building blocks of a person’s identity are still waiting to be tackled. One of those is religion.
This week we return to one of our first episodes of the podcast, a time when we were focusing on how different narrative genres are represented in video games. A focus on combat seems a reasonable enough one in beginning an exploration of the specific types of stories told in games. After all, given gaming’s tendency towards competitiveness rather than co-operation, many modern games find the battlefield an apt enough place to tell stories.
This podcast was hosted by Rick Dakan, and included Moving Pixels contributors, G. Christopher Williams, Nick Dinicola, and Thomas Cross.
The Cube Escape games are series of free puzzle games on iOS and Android. I downloaded them all at the same time (because, free), but after getting through the first one, I wanted to delete the rest immediately. Instead, I played a few more of the games, just to see if the puzzle design might improve. After all, maybe that first game was awkward and bad because it was actually someone’s first game. Turns out, they don’t get better, and I kind of hate them all. Yet I kept playing. Eventually I broke down… and played the rest with a walkthrough open beside me. I wasn’t going to try and solve these shitty puzzles on my own. I was just going to get through the games as fast as possible. Because even though I kind of hated them, I was also hooked on them.