Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Thursday, Jun 5, 2014

Since the recording of our podcast episode on Hearthstone, I’ve been playing the game pretty much every single day and have yet to spend a dime on it. I was a huge Magic: The Gathering player for a good many years, but I eventually had to give up as I could no longer afford the constant influx of new sets and the need to buy the new cards for the new metagame that would arise as a result. And I’ve lamented having given up the game ever since. I still get that itch to play a card game, and I’m grateful for Hearthstone‘s free-to-play set up because of this. I can scratch much of the same card flopping, spell slinging itch with Hearthstone that I did with Magic for free. Economically, Hearthstone makes a lot of sense for a player like me.


Comparing the prices of packs is never going to be an exact science. While Hearthstone packs are cheaper than Magic packs, they come with fewer cards. Yet there is a smaller maximum of any specific card that one can put in a deck in Hearthstone and duplicates can be unmade for crafting dust. You can’t trade Hearthstone cards like you can Magic cards, but packs can be bought with in-game gold earned by winning games. In the end, though, it’s not about comparing these prices but what the effect each model has on the flow of play. I feel that there is a trade off in strategic depth that comes along with the free-to-play model—even one as well done as Hearthstone‘s.


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Thursday, Jun 5, 2014
These blasted landscapes between civilization and chaos reveal how vacuous normative roles can be.

Warning: This post contains spoilers forThe Walking: In Harm’s Way.


Telltale’s The Walking Dead is a series about societal roles. As Lee Everett in the game’s first season, you take on the role of a leader, a fighter, and a father. Sometimes you embrace these aspects of the character willingly, other times they are foisted upon you. Navigating the world of The Walking Dead is largely an act of managing the social obligations that we all carry, every day, heightened to an apocalyptic intensity.


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Wednesday, Jun 4, 2014
The tank endures.

It has been a couple of years since Jorge Albor wrote “In Support of Supports,” an essay here at PopMatters written to argue that “the true unsung heroes of class-based games are the support champions and their designers” (“In Support of Supports”, PopMatters, 24 May 2012). In the essay (to my thinking at least), Albor pretty accurately identified that it is typically the damage dealers in class-based games like MOBAs and MMOs that “get all the love,” observing that “their flurry of sword strikes, bestial roars, and shadowy auras give the deadliest avatars an edge in popularity contests.”


Again, I think this is generally true in my experience playing the MOBA League of Legends. It’s that Master Yi who goes 1v5, managing to Pentakill an entire team that his fellow teammates frequently give the accolades for “carrying the game” for the team. That being said, at the time that I read Albor’s defense of the importance and significance of the support classes, the characters that manage to keep those glass cannons safe or buff their team up so that those other “more important” characters can efficiently melt an entire team, I did comment on the fact that these unsung are not entirely unsung and that maybe not all the love goes to the most lethal members of a team.


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Tuesday, Jun 3, 2014
by Erik Kersting
Online gaming is like attending a concert, seeing the ballet, swing dancing in the crowd. The moment will be lost in time, but sometimes the most effective and intense experiences can't be captured and instead can only be lived.

Most video games would be considered a form of “permanent” art, similar to novels, poetry, and film. As long as a player has a working NES and a copy of Super Mario Bros, that player can experience the game the way that Nintendo initially created it. Yet, as the recent shutdown of GameSpy‘s servers has shown, not all video games are “permanent,” and in fact, many are temporal in nature.


This is nothing entirely “new” to the art world. In fact, plenty of art forms are not permanent or only semi-permanent. Music before recording was like this. All we have of Beethoven is his sheet music, which as time has shown, can not fully replicate the sound or feel of Beethoven’s art. The same can be said of Shakespeare. While we can appreciate his great writing capabilities, we will never fully know what it looked like on the Shakespearean stage, performed by the bard’s own troupe. Even paintings fade over time and need to be restored.


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Friday, May 30, 2014
Some of the best menu screens are the simplest. Everything you want to know about a game is expressed in one image.

A good menu can set the tone for the rest of the game to come. I’ve written previously about clever menus, and since that time, some more have come to my attention that deserve special mention.


Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Announcements
PopMatters' LUCY Giveaway! in PopMatters's Hangs on LockerDome

© 1999-2014 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.