Latest Blog Posts

by Jorge Albor

14 Jan 2016

I had a short twitter conversation with a former colleague of mine today about the potential benefits of virtual reality for creating and amplifying empathy. The ability to transport a player in a first-person perspective into a wholly alien experience is certainly an excellent opportunity to engage them in empathy building. Last year, Josh Constantine of Tech Crunch went so far as to call virtual reality an “Empathy Machine”, and designers in the social impact and journalism space are already playing around with a variety of game concepts. The Space quoted Amnesty International Innovation’s Manager Reuven Steains describing virtual reality as “a portal from the streets of London to the streets of Aleppo.” There is a unique opportunity for fostering compassion in VR.

On the other hand, I find myself cautious when it comes to the design of embodiment in virtual space. When you slip on an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, who do you become? What affordances do these experiences signal to you as to how to behave as this virtual being? What does it mean to be brown or a woman in virtual reality? What does it mean to be brown?

by G. Christopher Williams

13 Jan 2016


After completing Metal Gear Solid V, I went hunting for some explanation of why the second half of the game appeared to be so chock-a-block and unfinished and why the game features so many endings. While figuring that out, I got the impression (though I could be wrong, I didn’t read deeply enough to see if that was universally the case) that a number of players were not that happy with the “Truth” ending of the game.

Bizarre and outlandish as that ending is, it seemed to me personally to be the perfect ending to Hideo Kojima’s work on this series of games, as it does bring his epic series full circle, connecting this final game he will work on to the very first game that he created in the series from the perspective of the full arc of his storylines, but more importantly to me, it is thematically consistent with Kojima’s universe.

by G. Christopher Williams

12 Jan 2016


Republique is an episodic stealth game. Originally released on iOS, it has made its way to Steam as well.

Republique is a game set in a surveillance state, the titular “Republique”, and its stealth mechanics are driven by a simple interface in which the player doesn’t so much control the main character of the game, a young girl named Hope, but instead takes control of cameras and views Hope through them. You can instruct Hope about where she should move and where she should hide by “looking ahead” of her, leap frogging from camera to camera throughout a government facility and making strategic decisions on the basis of the information gleaned from the cameras. It is the system being used against itself.

by Nick Dinicola

8 Jan 2016


Prune is an iOS game about trimming and shaping a bonsai tree as it grows, angling it out of the shade and into the sun, so that it can bloom. It’s a simple premise that gets wonderfully tricky at times, with your tree twisting around obstacles like a snake. What’s even more wonderful, though, is the wordless, visual storytelling that emphasizes hope, life, and the beauty of little victories against overwhelming darkness.

by Scott Juster

7 Jan 2016


If you’ve spent any time in the modern software world, you’ve probably chased that elusive concept of “delight.” Whether you’re making an enterprise analytics suite or a twitter client, it’s not enough that your tool simply performs its function or even that it’s conventionally beautiful. You want people to be happy when they use it. 

It’s the reason that you hear the little pops when tapping around from icon to icon in the Facebook mobile app or why refreshing your feed is done by tugging downward until new items pop up. The motions made to accomplish these things are fairly intuitive, but they’re also feature little aesthetic touches that please some very basic corner of your brain.

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