Latest Blog Posts

by Nick Dinicola

11 Mar 2016


I tend to put roguelike RPGs into two categories: The games in which we fight people and the games in which we fight something more akin to elemental forces. I usually prefer the “forces” roguelikes. These are games in which we struggle against something that we can’t kick or punch. It’s an idea we battle, something universal and almost mythical in its scope. These are games like Out There, in which we explore a galaxy and pray that we find enough resources along the way to fuel another jump, or Tharsis, in which we struggle against constant mechanical failures aboard a starship, like characters might in a disaster movie. We’re not fighting other people in these games. We’re fighting nature itself: the barren universe and the cruel indifference of space.

When up against such all-encompassing forces, how can we not expect to fail? These kinds of roguelikes make me feel okay about losing, and since they are roguelikes, I’ll be losing a lot. Additionally, It’s nice when those failures don’t sting.

by Jorge Albor

10 Mar 2016


Firewatch (Campo Santo, 2016)

Sometime later this month or early next month, thirty-five masochists will meet up in Frozen Head State Park outside Wartburg, Tennessee to run what is widely accepted as the most difficult marathon in the world. The Barkley Marathon, held annually since its inception in 1986, has been finished only sixteen times. It’s a brutal, multiloop, hellscape of a race. It’s also an inspiring example of design.

When we criticize game design, we often bring up the concept of clarity in a variety of forms. How clear is the interface? How clearly does the game communicate its goals? Is progression clear? Does it tell the player where to go next? Or what things that the player is doing wrong? Clarity is an excellent game design goal. Except for when it isn’t.

by G. Christopher Williams

9 Mar 2016


Dungeon of the Endless (Amplitude Studios, 2014)

I used to say that my favorite games were puzzle games and RPGs. Then, for awhile, I was all about open world games. In more recent years, though, my favorite games, the ones I keep coming back to again and again, include The Binding of Isaac, FTL, and This War of Mine. More recently, I have really gotten into both Darkest Dungeon, Tharsis and The Flame in the Flood. This week, thanks to a sale in the Humble Store, I have started playing an unhealthy amount of Dungeon of the Endless.

So, yeah, I’m kind of addicted to death, my own.

by Boen Wang

8 Mar 2016


Max Caulfield and I are the same age. When you first check Max’s phone in Life is Strange, you can read texts from her parents wishing her a happy 18th birthday. A quick glance at Max’s journal and you notice the year is 2013.

I turned 18 in 2013. I legally became an adult, gained the right to vote, and started my senior year of high school. So did Max. It’s a strange sensation to be peers with a video game character, especially in a game full of references to real-life movies, books, and music. Max and I both watched Primer (and were confused out of our minds), read Ray Bradbury, and listened to Alt-J. I started wondering what else we had in common.

by G. Christopher Williams

7 Mar 2016


Metal Gear Solid V marks the end of nearly 30 years of the Metal Gear saga, one of the longest running series in video gaming history—at least with its creator Hideo Kojima at the helm. It seems important to consider the game given Kojima’s effort to wrap up the series by connecting its latter day iterations with its origins, but also how even now how inventive Kojima is in reconsidering the game’s mechanics and gameplay.

So, this week we consider this fresh, but final take by Kojima on the world of Solid Snake and Big Boss, a stealth game executed astonishingly well within an open world setting.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

Cage the Elephant Ignite Central Park with Kickoff for Summerstage Season

// Notes from the Road

"Cage the Elephant rocked two sold-out nights at Summerstage and return to NYC for a free show May 29th. Info on that and a preview of the full Summerstage schedule is here.

READ the article