Latest Blog Posts

by G. Christopher Williams

31 Aug 2015

This week we begin a series of five episodes about the episodic choice-driven point-and-click adventure game Life Is Strange.

By way of introduction, this week we’re talking about the first episode but focusing mainly on how the game’s mechanics work in contrast to other games in the genre, like Telltale’s The Walking Dead, and how the mechanics support the coming of age story that seems to be the game’s central focus.

by Nick Dinicola

28 Aug 2015

Grow Home (Ubisoft, 2015)

I was never a very outdoorsy kid. I didn’t climb trees or jungle gyms. The one time that I tried to jump from the top of a tall slide, I landed in such a way that my knee hit my jaw, and I burst into tears. The one time that I tried to jump from a swing, my shirt got caught in the chain and tore as I leapt away. Yeah, I wasn’t a very outdoorsy kid.

I bring this up because it seems the most natural explanation for why I’m so fascinated by climbing in video games. I love climbing in games. It’s part of why I always enjoyed Prince of Persia as a kid, and it’s one of the central reasons that I fell in love with Assassin’s Creed.

by Jorge Albor

27 Aug 2015

Warning: This post contains spoilers for Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture.

I know what I want from Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture. I want someone to be angry at.

I know, I know, it’s an inspirational story in some ways. The latest game from The Chinese Room drops you into the sleepy little hamlet of Shropshire, a quiet rural town nestled in the Yaughton valley. There we discover everyone has disappeared, leaving clues to the their story scattered about in the form of memories, light trails projecting their last moments on earth like ephemeral home recordings.

by Sean Miller

25 Aug 2015

Generate (Hybridity Media, 2015)

Former Yale professor and author of Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life, William Deresiewicz, wrote an essay for the latest issue of Harper’s called “The Neoliberal Arts: How College Sold Its Soul to the Market”. It’s a thoroughly damning portrait of the corporatization of higher education in America. But to be honest, nothing new here. Puritanical preachers have been railing against the insidious creep of Mammon-worship since the inception of our fair colonies.

It’s also nothing especially new for those of us who are refugees from academia. As Marc Bousquet has so elegantly put it, when you’re “expunged from a system as waste”, one benefit is a heightened capacity to sniff out the bullshit emanating from said system.

So where can we exiled life-of-the-minders, expunged from the academic system as waste, take our once-cloistered but now liberated creativity?

by Nick Dinicola

21 Aug 2015

I purposefully put off playing Life is Strange for a long time. The premise sounded interesting, but I was skeptical of how developer Dontnod would integrate a sci-fi story about time travel with a high school girl’s coming-of-age story. It seemed to me at first like a cheap way to make a more grounded and mundane story appealing to the gamer nerd crowd. Then I played episode one. There’s a scene early on that justifies this genre mixing, a scene that uses the sci-fi time travel elements to complement and support the coming-of-age story. Every first episode of an episodic series should have a scene like this, one that confidently establishes the game’s tone and its protagonist.

//Mixed media

Con Brio: The Best New Live Band in America?

// Notes from the Road

"There’s a preciousness to McCarter and the rest of the mostly young band. You want to freeze the moment, to make sure they are taking it all in too. Because it’s going to change.

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