Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

 
Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014
The idea of a video game character that suffers a general decline seems counter to the way in which games are designed. Who wants to get less capable as a character as they progress?

This post contains spoilers for Spec Ops: The Line


Defined in the broadest sense, traditionally comedies are narratives that resolve in a positive way. They are expected to result in a happy ending. The tragedy, however, is a lesson taught via witnessing the ultimate demise of an individual, a demise brought about through steadily declining circumstances. Within this broad context, modern video games could be associated more easily with comedy than they could be with tragedy.


Pac-Man (and maybe all early arcade games) is a tragedy of sorts. It is a “story” about a creature obsessed with consuming dots that will inevitably reach a bad end, since the game cannot be won, cannot be resolved. Modern video games are seldom like Pac-Man, concerned as they are with winning the game and resolving a narrative arc that represents that goal of games, “winning.” Indeed, perhaps games in general, when they take on the trappings of plot, character development, and other aspects of storytelling, are always prone towards comedy because the goal of games in general is to win. A happy outcome (for someone at least) is generally expected in games.


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Friday, Aug 22, 2014
You’re not just interacting with a particular font, but everything that contributed to the history of that font as well.

Type:Rider is an iOS platformer that doubles as a history lesson of the written word. You play as the symbol for the colon, which in this case acts as a pair of wheels. You tilt your device to roll the colon and press a single on-screen button to jump.


The environment is your teacher, as most of the levels are made out of letters. Each level in Type:Rider focuses on a different font. That typeface is tilted and slanted in ways that make movement possible. This kind of level design is particularly clever because there’s really no better way to understand the little difference between fonts than when you’re jumping over and around and through them.


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Thursday, Aug 21, 2014
Riding into the great unknown in the belly of a metal beast. This beast also has a machine gun.

Titanfall’s second DLC pack, Frontier’s Edge is out and the name couldn’t be more fitting. It’s not really because of the in-game thematic meaning; the Titanfall’s unobtrusive space imperialists vs. space rebels remains an interesting, yet relatively unimportant backdrop. The idea of the frontier is more of a meta theme. Where does the game go from here and am I going to be able to follow?


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014
If the player of a building game like Clockwork Empires is intended to help build a world in the game itself, shouldn't that player be able to take part in the process of building Clockwork Empires itself?

For the low, low price of 30 bucks, you can play test Clockwork Empires for Gaslamp Games. Or, at least, that’s what it feels like to me when an individual plunks down his or her money for most games labeled “Early Access” on Steam.


My perspective may be a bit retrograde in the post-Minecraft gaming landscape. I’m informed by the old school idea that playtesting is a paid position in a game development company, given that it isn’t necessarily a pleasure to play buggy and unfinished products. Playtesting is a part of the creation of a game, necessary to a video game as copyediting is to a novel. And while I have playtested in an unpaid capacity before, as a beta tester, still I never paid anything for the privilege. After all, it seems a bit like a job.


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
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.


Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Announcements

© 1999-2014 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.