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Well I knew Essos was dangerous, but this is ridiculous. Five minutes into “The Lost Lords,” the second episode of Telltale’s Game of Thrones series, I’ve seen the game over screen four times. Eventually I make it through the annoyingly deadly bar brawl. I’ve come away irritated but also appreciative of the various evolutionary splits in the adventure game genre. Not all games are like this, and there’s a good chance Game of Thrones can correct its course.

by G. Christopher Williams

18 Feb 2015


Rek'Sai from League of Legends (Riot Games, 2014)

Biologically speaking, it seems that there is no essential difference between the genders among pac-people. Both Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man share an identical body type. It is only markers worn by Ms. Pac-Man that signal the gender difference between the two, her bow and lipstick (well, there is also her mole, which may or may not be painted on a la Marilyn Monroe).

In this regard, Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man share something in common with the typical silhouettes that represent the distinction between the men’s restroom and the women’s restroom. These individuals share an identical body type with only the female silhouette differentiated from the unadorned male silhouette by her triangular skirt.

Puzzle design in modern adventure games sports about as much diversity as the quests in a garden variety MMO: fetch quests, key-hunting, and lever-pulling abound. More often than not, the role of this type of gameplay is merely that of a bridge between the player and the progression of a narrative, an interactive distraction so the game can stretch more time from its story. This is a criticism often levied against some first-person shooter games as well, but even today’s most quirky, artistic, and fundamentally enjoyable video game experiences sometimes lack the gameplay innovation that made their progenitors such compelling virtual adventures. By prioritizing storytelling in video games, developers inadvertently send the signal that gameplay innovation is less important to the growing medium.

What with all the shooting and the lopping off of heads, romance and video games are not often concepts that gamers think of first when they think of their favorite medium.

Nevertheless, from Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man to Master Chief and Cortana, their are some pretty significant couples that remain central to the history of video games.

In my review of Resident Evil HD Remaster, I made a point about how the game feels like the next evolution of the series. Part of that, which I wrote about in the review, is based on a comparison to Resident Evil 6 and a consideration of how that game was received by critics and fans and what Capcom might do as a response. But as I played Remaster (and can we give Capcom credit for not calling it REmaster?) I was also thinking of another game: Dark Souls.

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