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by G. Christopher Williams

27 Oct 2010


In most games, inventory management is unlikely to be seen as a form of pleasure.  Utilitarian and, perhaps, a necessary evil?  Maybe.  But fun?  Not so much.

While inventory management seems a kind of compliment to the style of play of games like RPGs—after all, a large component of the RPG is collecting bigger and better weapons to compliment one’s steadily increasing power—it tends to be an element of gameplay largely included as a means of creating boundaries for characters (the player shouldn’t have access to everything and anything during their adventure) and authenticity (nor would they literally be able to).  Basically, inventory management forces the player to make choices but very often not especially interesting ones.  Since I have limited room to carry stuff around, should I take the +4 STR sword or the +5 STR sword?  Not the trickiest of puzzles to solve in a gameplay environment.

by Kris Ligman

26 Oct 2010


It was just a couple months ago, in one of my school’s many theaters, that someone announced that a member of our screenwriting faculty, none other than Jack “Top Gun” Epps, Jr. himself, had recently penned a video game adaptation of his popular 1986 film. Our faculty were clearly proud, congratulatory as they might be over a coworker’s newborn son, but something was off about the incident. Namely, that I myself got caught up in the enthusiasm.

“Oh, I should check that out when I get home,” I thought.

“Wait,” I said a second later. “Why?”

by G. Christopher Williams

25 Oct 2010


Image of Fei Long from Gizmag

This week the Moving Pixels podcast crew discuss how gamers are taught to play.  We discuss the effectiveness and ineffectiveness of game tutorials, revisit consideration of the game manual, and generally think about how game tutorials and other forms of learning effect the gameplay experience.

by Nick Dinicola

22 Oct 2010


Commentary tracks are considered a standard special feature for any DVD, some even offer multiple tracks. For games, this kind of look behind the scenes is still treated as something rare, usually reserved only for “special editions.” Yet, they’re slowly becoming more common, so perhaps it’s time to point out some of the successes and failures, looking at two cases in particular: Alan Wake, and The Secret of Monkey Island 2: Special Edition.

by Scott Juster

21 Oct 2010


In the waning months of 2008, I learned that an upcoming patch to PixelJunk Eden would make significant changes to the game’s rules.  While it wasn’t exactly a problem of biblical proportions, I did feel a sense of anxiety about how the changes would affect my little digital paradise.  I was faced with the options of either forfeiting online features in perpetuity or racing through the gardens before the patch was deployed.  Partly out of stubbornness and partly out of principle, I vowed to finish the game in its original form.  With only days to spare, I managed to swing, grip, and jump my way to victory.

In addition to giving me an unexpectedly enjoyable meta game to play, the experience awakened me to increasingly common problems that arise when studying games.  How do we analyze games that change over time and games that are re-made?  Games are subject to ports, re-releases, updates, and patches.  What kinds of artistic and interpretive issues are raised by this plasticity?

//Mixed media
//Blogs

Country Fried Rock: Year of October

// Sound Affects

"When you dive into Bandcamp to find new music outside of your normal circles, you sometimes hit paydirt. Enter: Year of October.

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