Latest Blog Posts

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.

by G. Christopher Williams

12 Oct 2011


So, I never touched Demon’s Souls.  And it wasn’t because I was scared (okay, maybe I was a little bit scared).  It really was that I don’t have access to a Playstation 3. 

This was disappointing to me, as I heard all of these stories about the game’s ability to evoke tension and fear because of its punitive nature (death packs a real wallop in the game, real loss).  People either hated the game’s punishing nature or spoke about it as if it had the ability to change your life (or at least the way that you see most video games) through its sense of the value of death and its consequence.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

20 Questions: Rachael Yamagata

// Sound Affects

"After a four year break since her last album, Rachael Yamagata reveals a love of spreadsheets, a love for Streisand, and why it's totally OK to suck at playing guitar.

READ the article