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by G. Christopher Williams

19 Oct 2011


I only half watched Sony’s new “Michael” ad late one night (see below if you haven’t seen it yet), as I was fixing myself something to eat during a commercial break.  I stopped, somewhat mesmerized by the array of video game characters that suddenly appeared as (more or less) live action characters on my television screen.

The sight of a “real” Solid Snake discussing war in a throaty whisper was what gave me pause. Then I was kind of charmed by a portal opening behind the flaming head of Sweetooth and catching a fleeting glimpse of Chell briefly flitting by.  It was the Little Sister, peering at me through the crowd in that ever eerily distant way, that left me a little stunned.

I’m not sure exactly why.  It was seeing that strange creature transported out of her home medium into the “real world” of the televisual that made me realize that “my characters” had somehow arrived in what I think of as the “real” mainstream media.  You know, television, that thing that my mother and father watch, not video games—that space left for me (a late-thirtysomething in obvious arrested development) and the kids.

by Kris Ligman

18 Oct 2011


Image copyright Alexander Preuss, 2006.

These past two weeks, as part of one of my game studies classes, I’ve been engaged in taking a largely uninitiated party of undergraduates through the paces of a tabletop roleplay campaign. We had just come off a screening of Darkon and a series of readings on the Atari 2600 (including Adventure and the origins thereof) so we were all of a mindset to begin exploring actual game creation and interacting with real systems. Our professor, taking a philosophical approach to the subject that I wish more academics of new media would, divided the class into three groups: gamist, emphasizing combat systems; simulationist, emphasizing ambient world effects and modeling; and narrativist, emphasizing storytelling. I DMed for the last of these.

“But wait, Kris,” I hear you saying, “Aren’t you a ludologist?” I’m glad you asked, dear reader. I actually think of myself as a post-Aarsethian ergodic narrativist/aestheticist, but that is neither here nor there. The Great War of ludology versus narratology is an important conversation but a decidedly dead one, nor does it matter whether anyone won (arguably, the only winners were the ones who didn’t play). What does matter is that my professor suggested that narrativist tabletop roleplay was beset by cliche and was the structurally weakest of play types. That sounded like a thrown gauntlet to me.

by G. Christopher Williams

17 Oct 2011


High scores, achievements, leveling up. The system runs on points, measures us in points, validates us in points.

This week the Moving Pixels podcast considers the value of points. What points matter to us? Why do we want them? Why do they matter?

by Nick Dinicola

14 Oct 2011


The Thing prequel—though let’s be honest, it’s really a remake—comes out in theatres today. It’s debatable whether this story of paranoia needed another prequel/remake, but while they’re at it, how about remaking the game too? Because there’s no debating that The Thing game needs an update.

by Jorge Albor

13 Oct 2011


With eighty-four playable heroes at time of writing, League of Legends surely ranks amongst the largest and continually updated multiplayer games on the market. The fact it is also free-to-play in no small part secures its place amongst the most popular competitive multiplayer experiences. The range of character abilities, in-game items, skill tree options, and team compositions also makes League of Legends one of the most dynamic games around. Until recently, Riot Games offered just a single official game mode tasking players to fight against waves of NPC minions to destroy an enemy base, a spiritual successor to Defense of the Ancients, the much loved Warcraft 3 mod. Balancing such an expansive game has certainly never come easy to Riot. Now with the launch of Dominion, an entirely new map known as the Crystal Scar built for a new game mode, Riot, must practice a new balancing act that has more to do with community relationships and expectations than with game mechanics.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

I Just Murdered My Sister, and It Was Kind of Fun

// Moving Pixels

"The Deed makes murder a game, a pretty fun game.

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