Latest Blog Posts

by Nick Dinicola

23 Sep 2016

There are two endings to No Man’s Sky, and both are the very definition of anti-climactic. Fans that were already disappointed with the game latched onto the endings as justification for their feelings, undeniable proof that No Man’s Sky was a creative failure. But they’re wrong.

The endings certainly lack spectacle, especially the kind of destructive spectacle that defines a lot of games, but that’s the point. When you think about what kind of game No Man’s Sky is—the ideas it expresses, the things it considers important, and the things that it wants you to consider important—then these anticlimaxes become inevitable and revelatory. Together, they make a quiet yet grandiose statement about life’s relationship to the universe, expressed through the mechanics of gameplay.

by G. Christopher Williams

21 Sep 2016

Amnesia: The Dark Descent (Frictional Games, 2010)

It seems to me that of many conventionally understood narrative genres, horror is a genre that has some particular peculiarities in regard to the relationship between its audience and whatever form of media that horror takes, be it film, novels, or video games. What I want to describe, I could probably also connect to other genres as well, but I think that horror (and, perhaps, comedy as well) requires more of its audience in regard to the attitude with which that audience approaches its material to begin with. There is a kind of contract, perhaps, that horror seems to almost require its audience to sign off on, a responsibility towards the form, that often is not so explicitly asked of the audiences of other narrative genres.

What I mean by this is that horror is somewhat more easily “ruined” in some way if the audience chooses to take the wrong attitude towards the material of horror itself. The audience of a film or reader of a novel or player of a video game can potentially and quite deliberately wreck the mood and atmosphere that horror intends if they want to. If, for example, one approaches a work of horror with the idea that horror is in itself necessarily campy, it is pretty easy to break the mood intended by a slasher film. You can laugh off the situations the characters find themselves in (and allow themselves to get into), the gore, the grotesqueness, etc., etc. by simply taking the proper pose in relation to these elements of that subgenre. Frankly, simply throwing open the windows to let sunshine explode into the room while one plays a survival horror game can rend the atmosphere of a horror game apart rather readily.

by G. Christopher Williams

19 Sep 2016

While not seemingly as exciting content itself, it is often the little things like HUDs, health bars, and start screens that can make or break a gaming experience.

This week G. Christopher Williams and Nick Dinicola celebrate the unsung hero of gaming: the interface.

by Nick Dinicola

16 Sep 2016

Lately, I’ve been playing a lot of The Counter of Death and Tap Hero, two mobile action games. They’re relatively simple games, especially within the action genre. Both use only two “buttons”. The Counter of Death actually has two virtual buttons, and Tap Hero splits the screen in two with each side becoming an invisible “button.” In each case, the simplicity of the controls belies surprisingly difficult games, but they’re not difficult because of their mechanics. They’re difficult because of my natural human limitations.

by G. Christopher Williams

15 Sep 2016

Neverending Nightmares (Infinitap Games, 2014)

I hate sleep. Maybe it’s because I’m just so bad at it.

I’ve grappled with insomnia for all of my adult life. At this point, much of it is my own fault. I pour copious amounts of stimulants into my body all day long (caffeine, nicotine, and the like). However, even before I developed my addictions, I never slept well. I resist sleep. It seems useless, an interruption to getting things done, and my brain tends to mull over thoughts endlessly, aiding in my resistance to falling into unconsciousness.

//Mixed media

Indie Horror Month 2016: Executing 'The Deed'

// Moving Pixels

"It's just so easy to kill someone in a video game that it's surprising when a game makes murder difficult.

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