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by Kris Ligman

7 Jun 2011


In my day job I moderate for an online kids’ game. I’ve written about this before, mainly in relation to knowledge toolsets and pedagogy, but if there is one aspect to my work that bears the closest resemblance to Christine Love’s lauded visual novel don’t take it personally, babe, it just ain’t your story, it’s the practice of surveillance performed by the novel’s protagonist.

The premise of the game is that in a near-future, net-connected high school, the interpersonal dramas of the students of one homeroom class are laid out bare for their surveying teacher. That teacher, John Rook, has been instructed to follow their public and private conversations for signs of bullying, cheating, and so on.

by Aaron Poppleton

6 Jun 2011


Final Fantasy XIII

Games are difficult to begin. I don’t mean that in the ‘sitting down to play’ sense, although depending on how much free time one has on their hands, that may indeed be a problem. Rather, the beginning of a game has to convince the player that it’s worth playing, draw the player into the game’s world, explain the game’s mechanics, and do it all in a way that’s not so slow and plodding that players give up before even getting to the meat of the game. A good example of this problem is in Final Fantasy XIII, which has taken a lot of heat, deservedly so, for taking so long to get to the actual parts of the game which feel like a Final Fantasy game. Games need to fill players in on how to play them, but at some point it becomes tiresome. Not only that, but a constant interruption of instructional windows can break the flow of both gameplay and narrative.

by Nick Dinicola

3 Jun 2011


All strategy games are puzzle games at their core. Even if the former are more mechanically complex, you’re still always faced with a specific problem and have to figure out the best solution to overcome it. So it makes sense that both genres would eventually be combined in an explicit way. Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes is hardly the first game to combine blatant puzzles with an overarching strategy, but it takes a very clever approach to the issue. This is a strategy game through and through, but on a very small scale, that’s only possible because the puzzle mechanics replace the large scale elements of most strategy games.

by Scott Juster

2 Jun 2011


Games might not be sentient, but their creators can imbue them with distinct personalities.  Vanquish, helmed by the eccentric Shinji Mikami (the man behind innovative and bizarre games such as Resident Evil, Resident Evil 4, God Hand, and Killer7) is a playful trickster that dances back and forth over the line of parody and self-seriousness.  To play it is to witness a game in conversation with its contemporaries in the third-person shooter genre.  Vanquish’s campy story matches its outrageous visual style and hyper-kinetic gameplay, while also poking fun at the solemn plots of its contemporaries.  Alongside all this irreverence is a game earnestly committed to learning from the advances made by previous games while also offering innovations that push the shooter genre forward.  Vanquish relishes its absurdity, even as it flaunts its serious accomplishments.

by Rick Dakan

2 Jun 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 in .pdf format here.

“Randal, you need to come up here right now,” PB said, without even a hello.

“What’s wrong?” Randal asked. He’d been in Markos’s cubicle and had run across the room to answer when Philip had pointed out to him that it was his phone ringing.

“Everything’s going to hell up here.”

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Call For Papers: Celebrating Star Trek's 50th Anniversary

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"To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the hit franchise, PopMatters seeks submissions about Star Trek, including: the TV series, from The Original Series (TOS) to the highly anticipated 2017 new installment; the films, both the originals and the J.J. Abrams reboot; and ancillary materials such as novelizations, comic books, videogames, etc.

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