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by G. Christopher Williams

25 Nov 2015

I’ve finally gotten around to playing Hotline Miami 2, so I’ve been thinking a lot about blood lately.

For those unfamiliar, Hotline Miami and its more recent sequel Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number are horrific games full of carnage… and, well, more carnage. In the first game, you play as a psychopath who receives messages on his answering machine that provide locations for him to commit mass murder in. In Hotline Miami 2, you play as a series of psychopaths doing much the same.

by Erik Kersting

24 Nov 2015

Note: This article contains spoilers for Fallout 4.

Compared to traditional media like novels and film, video games are very bizarre in terms of pacing. A film plays out over a specific period of time with nearly every second curated by the editor, who makes sure that no scene is too long. This desire to move the plot along in a timely fashion seems to flow from the nature of film as a communal experience. We don’t tend to watch movies alone, but rather with others. Thus, they should be an event that we complete in one sitting.

Video games are more like novels, which a person usually does not finish all at once. A person can read a novel at their own pace, and they can easily jump back and read a section again. Yet, even the most linear of video games are not nearly as linear as a novel or a film is. The player has the autonomy to continue the story at their leisure. This is both good and bad. On the one hand, the player has all the time in the world to soak in the story of the game and its qualities as a game. On the other hand, the director of a story-rich game gives up being able to tell his or her story in the exact way that he or she wants to tell it. I have to imagine that this would be frustrating for an auteur-like director like Hideo Kojima of the Metal Gear Solid series [And, perhaps, his infamously lengthy cut scenes, especially in Metal Gear solid 4 bear witness to that frustration—ed.].

by G. Christopher Williams

23 Nov 2015

This week we conclude our nearly year long discussion of Life Is Strange.

Delving into the nitty gritty of episode five, we consider the overall arc of this story, its final choice, and how the game has handled relating its seemingly disparate plot points into one unified whole.

by Nick Dinicola

20 Nov 2015

Let’s start with the positive. Halo is great at creating moments: daring escapes from collapsing spaceships or last ditch desperate offensives, sticking someone with a plasma grenade, the first time fighting a Hunter, the squirrelly controls of a Warthog, and the dogfights in a Banshee. Also, I still love the twisting paths of alliances and betrayals that makes up the narrative of Halo 3. However, there’s a reason that ODST and Reach remain the best games in the series. They’re both stand-alone games, self-contained stories with a beginning, middle, and end all in one campaign, complete with character arcs, narrative arcs, and mysteries that are introduced and then satisfyingly resolved.

by Erik Kersting

18 Nov 2015

This weekend I went out to the movie theater and saw Spectre, the new James Bond film. While I don’t think it’s a perfect film, it’s an enjoyable addition to the already great series. In a lot of ways, video games are similar to traditional action films like Spectre. The main character fights alone, every scene disposing of vast amounts of enemies with the occasional special conflict with a “boss”. In Spectre, the death count isn’t awfully high, but in Fallout 4, it sure is.

That’s not unexpected, if you had told me a week ago that I would be doing a lot killing in Fallout 4, I would have answered “of course”. But it’s the way that mass murder is handled in Fallout 4, specifically relative to its prequels, that leaves something to be desired.

//Mixed media

The Hills Are Alive, But Nobody Else Is in 'The Happiness of the Katakuris'

// Short Ends and Leader

"Happiness of the Katakuris is one of Takashi Miike's oddest movies, and that's saying something.

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