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

 
Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Monday, Oct 13, 2014
This week we discuss the simple and basic approach to the hardboiled genre in 2013's cult favorite, Gunpoint.

The hardboiled detective genre is not known for its subtlety or complication. A good hardboiled tale simply hits you like a right to the jaw.


This week we discuss how Gunpoint presents a hardboiled fiction through simple, straightforward puzzle mechanics and with surprisingly little gunplay.


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Friday, Oct 10, 2014
Motte Island is a combination of Silent Hill and Hotline Miami.

Balancing action in a horror game is always a tricky prospect, but Mottle Island gets it better than most by combing two games that should be completely opposed to each other.


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Thursday, Oct 9, 2014
by Brian Crecente (McClatchy-Tribune News Service)
Sleek, tiny boxes that can deliver a near-endless stream of music, television, movies and games are starting to nose their way into the multi-billion dollar video game industry.

Sleek, tiny boxes that can deliver a near-endless stream of music, television, movies and games are starting to nose their way into the multi-billion dollar video game industry.


Call them set-top streamers or micro-consoles or streaming media devices, the latest entries in this growing market are coming from behemoths like Amazon, Razer and Sony. All three will have their own take on the diminutive devices out this year.


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Thursday, Oct 9, 2014
It’s easy to underplay the “board” part of a board game as merely serving as the boundaries of a game rather than as a fundamental part of a game's design.

Ah, the joy of a physical tabletop game. I could probably tell you the quality of a game based on the sound it makes when shaking the box. Many tabletop game reviewers devote sections of their reviews to discussing tangible components of play and for good reason. The physicality of board games is crucial to upholding a thematic play experience. Compare the feeling of a weighty copper coin versus, say, the flimsy paper money that plagues Monopoly. The thickness of cardboard can make all the difference when measuring the care a designer puts into their game. The physicality of material is crucial, but above and beyond quality in terms of importance to enjoying a game is the use of physical components in complimenting and defining the aesthetics of play.


Despite the fact that all board games have physical components by definition, it’s easy to forget how minute decisions about physical designs improve play. Take The Great Fire of London 1666 for example. Designed by Richard Denning, the game simulates the titular conflagration that razed huge swathes of London in the 17th century, destroying some 13,000 homes. Setting aside the cone-shaped wooden fire markers (delightfully solid by the way), the map design by artist Andreas Resch is gorgeous and instrumental to the aesthetic of Great Fire. Yes, the board itself is drawn as though it’s an old-timey wood print, lovingly reflecting the time period depicted in the game, but more importantly, the game’s spaces are tiny.


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Wednesday, Oct 8, 2014
Watch Dogs hates me. What is wrong with this game? In a single word: everything.

When Watch Dogs was first announced, I was as excited as anybody for a new IP, any new IP. That the game would seem to take our modern world into consideration along with modern questions and challenges that exist in daily life made me sit up and take notice. Even if that wasn’t what Ubisoft explicitly stated at E3 several years ago, it’s what was on display at every showing of the game. As time wore on, my enthusiasm and the enthusiasm of others waned. Maybe the game was shown too far in advance of release for the promise to hold our attention? So, I soon forgot about it and simply waited for the game itself to finally appear.


There was a palpable tension when I first put the disk into my console and then waited for the mandatory updates before I was allowed to continue. Would this game live up to the hype or would it fall far short of expectations? Would it even try to live up to its own implied promises? The opening sequence of the game set in a stadium seemed to set the player up for a hard boiled thriller in the style of Heat or Drive. I could see the promises on display. Or at least that seemed to be the case in the first few tutorial missions. This feeling did not last for long, though.


Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Announcements

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

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.