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by Nick Dinicola

12 Aug 2011

From Dust easily fits into the category of “god game,” though ironically you don’t play as a godly being. You’re a supernatural being, certainly. More speifically, you’re The Breath that can control the elements in small quantities—but you’re far from godly, initially.

I make this claim based on how much of the challenge in From Dust stems from dealing with unintended consequences. You must constantly be aware of how your actions can set off a chain of events within the environment: You create a dirt bridge so some villagers can cross a ravine, then the vegetation grows across that bridge, then a volcano erupts, then the lava sets the vegetation on fire, and the fire burns all the way back to the village, and all the while, you’re watching those initial men and women run across the map on their way to create a new village.

by Scott Juster

11 Aug 2011

It might be funny if it wasn’t such a cliche. Despite its name, The Legend of Zelda is mostly about Link.  To be fair, Link isn’t the most developed video game character; over the past twenty-five years, he hasn’t even managed to speak a word.  But viewed from a mechanical perspective, every Zelda game is about Link’s development.  Over the course of the adventure, the player learns new techniques and sharpens their skills as Link makes the transition from an innocent youth to a seasoned warrior.  While all this is happening, Zelda is usually in hiding or imprisoned beyond the player’s control and the plot’s immediate attention.

However, there are some exceptions to this pattern.  I recently played The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks and was pleasantly surprised to find that Zelda was more than a plot device.  Spirit Tracks isn’t a revolution in sophisticated storytelling, but it succeeds in making Zelda meaningful for reasons beyond tradition.  Spirit Tracks shows that a game can revolve around the abduction of a royal woman while still avoiding the most tired aspects of the well-worn “save the princess” trope.

by Rick Dakan

11 Aug 2011

Chapter 1 of Rage Quit is available here.
Chapter 2 of Rage Quit is available here.
Chapter 3 of Rage Quit is available here.
Chapter 4 of Rage Quit is available here.
Chapter 5 of Rage Quit is available here.
Chapter 6 of Rage Quit is available here.
Chapter 7 of Rage Quit is available here.
Chapter 8 of Rage Quit is available here.
Chapter 9 of Rage Quit is available here.
Chapter 10 of Rage Quit is available here.
Chapter 11 of Rage Quit is available here.
Chapter 11 of Rage Quit is available here.
Chapter 13 of Rage Quit is available here.
Chapter 14 of Rage Quit is available here.
Chapter 15 of Rage Quit is available here.
Chapter 16 of Rage Quit is available here.
Chapter 17 of Rage Quit as a PDF.

“What if it doesn’t show up?” Theresa asked, still in the doorway, still radiating sternness and doubt.

“It’ll show up,” PB said, looking at Randal. “Right?”

by G. Christopher Williams

10 Aug 2011

My fellow Moving Pixels contributor, Kris Ligman, said recently of Catherine that it is “not as misogynistic as I’d feared.”(Catherine Is Fun to Play but That’s About It”, PopMatters, 8 August 2011).  I’m not quite sure how misogynistic she expected Catherine to be, but it is definitely a game with a plot that is not especially sensitive to its female characters.  A clear and stereotypical binary is established between the two female leads.  Katherine, the protagonist Vincent’s longtime girlfriend, largely serves the role of “the shrew” throughout the story.  While the younger woman in Vincent’s life, the succubus Catherine, serves the role of “the slut.”  However, the plot falls very much into the tradition of farce, a form of comedy in which such extreme stereotype, is generally the rule.  Farce is not especially known for its fully rounded characters, as it wants to include broadly drawn characters to allow for the potential for social critique as well as the most absurd humor possible.  After all, such comedy is usually comprised of a parade of fools that we are intended to laugh at, not necessarily sympathize with. 

The extreme negativity towards femininity extends into its portrayals of men as well, though.  In this regard, the farce is often as much misandrist as it is misogynist in its portrayal of its cast.  This seems to me to be the case with Catherine, as its distrust of women in controlling men (through nagging and ultimatum in the case of Katherine or through sexual manipulation in the case of Catherine) is—at least during the bulk of the story—equal to its distrust of men to basically be capable of getting their shit together.

by Kris Ligman

9 Aug 2011

Okay, so this isn’t all that related to gaming. But if my senior editor G. Christopher Williams can write about Dancing With the Stars, RuPaul’s Drag Race should be an acceptable subject. It is, after all, a competitive reality show emphasizing craftsmanship and performance, two skills we should find recognizable as players.

One of the more interesting, idiosyncratic features of Drag Race is the “Lipsync For Your Life” segment, in which each week’s bottom two contestants must present a choreographed lipsync routine to a designated song to avoid elimination. These routines can range from the sad and pitiful to the stunning and glorious, but none of them seem to compare to the elimination in Season 3’s “Jocks in Frocks” episode between Carmen Carrera and Raja.

//Mixed media

Tricks or Treats? Ten Halloween Blu-rays That May Disrupt Your Life

// Short Ends and Leader

"The best of this stuff'll kill you.

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