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by G. Christopher Williams

14 Sep 2011

I grew up in an odd era, in which when you wanted someone to play with, you walked down the block (or biked if it was a couple blocks) over to a friend’s house and knocked on their door to ask some scary adult person if Johnny could come out and play.  As dangerous as such a practice is in our more progressive age, in which we clearly know that children’s playtime needs to be rigidly scheduled in what are detestably called “play dates”, nevertheless, I personally parent my own children in a manner quite similar to my own upbringing.  When one of them is bored, I suggest biking over to a friend’s house to see if they are available, all on their own.

Strangely, none of my children are dead yet.  And they also function independently pretty well in a pinch.

by Sean Brady

13 Sep 2011

Back in late August when the Great D.C. Earthquake struck and shook some places up, reports came in that the Washington Monument had suffered cracks and was to be closed indefinitely.  A feminist writer I read every so often personally wished for the whole thing to crumble. Not for reasons of what some might view as purely political relevance, she wanted it to fall because she saw it as nothing more than a “giant erection.”

Arguments over sexual imagery in the modern world aside, the problem with this statement is that it’s completely and utterly void of any historical context or understanding, instead employing modern standards and philosophy exclusively to this reading of the monument’s meaning.  Such statements are particularly damaging to rational thinking, for they presume that any particular event is a spontaneous point in time without causation, a logical fallacy.  As such, it is useful to have some historical understanding when discussing anything made in or events that occur in the past.

by Kris Ligman

13 Sep 2011

I recently loaned my copy of Catherine to a friend, who has kept me aprised of her progress through text messages. This week she texted to vent that the puzzles were sometimes so difficult that they were driving her insane.

“Switch to a lower difficulty!” I suggested.

In my mind, there was no shame involved in this, as a lot of very accomplished adult gamers had also played on Easy mode, and it was basically the acknowledgement of the game’s designers that they had made the thing too hard. And while I had managed to beat the game twice on Normal, it didn’t mean I expected anyone else to.

But my friend wasn’t having it. She described lowering the difficulty as “giving in.”

by G. Christopher Williams

12 Sep 2011

This week regular podcast contributors G. Christopher Williams and Nick Dinicola are joined by veteran podcaster Scott Juster of for a discussion of auteur theory and how it may or not apply to a discussion of video game development.

Playing fast and loose with the concept of the auteur, we consider both some aesthetic concerns, issues of intentionality in communicating such a “signature” of self in a game, and how marketing and commerce might be affected by the way that game developers present themselves to the public.

by Nick Dinicola

9 Sep 2011

In the last level of From Dust you get more powers than you’d ever thought possible given the strict limitations the rest of the game places on your godhood. You can create land, water, volcanoes, plants, tsunamis, and take them all away. It feels like you’ve finally come into your own. But then some disaster strikes, everything begins to sink, and you have to rush your villagers to the magical exit. Once through to safety, you find yourself back at the beginning, literally. You’re back at the first level with all your new powers stripped away.

It’s an interesting moment, if only because it’s so oddly rare in games: finding yourself back at the start. Many games are meant to be replayed, dangling the carrot of a “new game+” to entice us, but few acknowledge this repetition in their stories, even when it would make perfect sense.

//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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