I recently ran across an interesting article that Tom Bissell wrote about his experiences playing Rockstar’s L.A. Noire, and one comment in particular stuck out to me. “When I stopped thinking about him as someone with whom I was supposed to feel any kinship, Cole Phelps became a deeply compelling character,” Bissell writes of his experience, saying that the game became much more enjoyable once he’d divorced himself from the illusion of “being” Cole Phelps (“Press X for Beer Bottle: On L.A. Noire”, Grantland, 8 June 2011). Having spent some time playing L.A. Noire myself, I was surprised to find that on the whole I agreed with the sentiment. While originally I had indeed sat down to play the game so that I could become the weary cop, the One Good Man on an overworked and corrupt police force, I quickly stopped thinking of the game that way and started thinking of it as a way to get to the bottom of who Cole Phelps was and what, if anything, caused him to be such an aggressive, angry guy all the time.
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Last weekend the Moving Pixels podcast crew convened to discuss our impressions of E3 2011. While Rick Dakan, Nick Dinicola, and G. Christopher Williams all caught glimpses of the expo via the web or television, we are joined by Kris Ligman, who attended this year’s event.
Like many others, we couldn’t help but focus on some of the bigger announcements of this year, the previews of new hardware releases from Sony and Nintendo. Additionally, we spend a lot of time considering the revamping of Lara Croft in the new Tomb Raider. So, something old (kind of) and something new to consider in this year’s big gaming event.
Open world games have a certain flow of combat to them. We can’t just hide behind cover since the enemy can always circle around behind us. Instead, players must always be aware of their surroundings. But we can’t just “push ahead” to the end of the level either because there is no end of the level. Open world combat is defined by movement: moving around enemies, moving between obstacles, always making sure to keep something between you and the bad guys. Despite all the space in any open world, combat plays out in smaller arenas defined by the location of enemies; the arena is only as big as the farthest enemy. Red Faction: Armageddon mimics this combat structure of an open world game in an attempt to make up for its lack of a real open world, but in doing so, it misses the real reason why open world combat can be so fun.
While games like Far Cry 2 or Minecraft create beautiful stories by leaving the vast majority of the plot and game dynamics up to the player, heavily-scripted games must convey their messages by carefully constructing narratives supported by their most basic components. Every decision, even ones that seem obscure or incidental, are integral in communicating a linear game’s rules as thematic elements. As an example, we can analyze God of War III’s camera and how it functions as both a tool to explain game systems and as a storytelling device.
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 12 of Rage Quit is available in .pdf format here.
“There’s something I don’t understand going on here,” Theresa said. “I have my theories, but clearly there’s a lot I just don’t know. Yet. But from what I can tell, it’s something pretty extraordinary, does that sound right?”
They were in the cafeteria, getting coffee. She’d motioned for PB and Randal to follow her out of QA and they’d done it like they were her squad mates or something. Now she pointed them towards a table where they sat in two chairs, looking up at her as she stared down at them.
“That sounds about right,” PB said, sipping his coffee.
Theresa continued talking almost right over PB, as if his confirmation were of trivial concern at best. “It’s not a hacker. It’s not someone inside the building screwing with us, some rotten egg employee.” Again Randal couldn’t tell if she was asking questions or stating facts. “And it’s certainly not some run of the mill bug in the code.”