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Thursday, Jun 12, 2014
Myst is a much smaller world than it was 21 years ago.

Myst is a lot smaller than I remember. Recently I went back and played the Cyan Worlds classic from 1993 and couldn’t help but notice that simple fact. I originally played it in 1993. My dad had just gotten a new CD-ROM drive for his self-built PC and Myst apparently came with all PC CD-ROM drives back then. For all intents and purposes, it was the first video game that we played together, and it took us months to get through.


I played it to completion the other day in an afternoon. Maybe it’s that I’m older or more experienced with adventure games. Maybe it had something to do with how I remembered how the world of Myst worked. In any case, the essential fact remains that Myst was a much smaller world than it was 21 years ago.


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Thursday, Jun 12, 2014
I find myself paying attention to E3 every year, even though I probably shouldn’t.

I’m writing this on June 8, 2014, the day before E3 kicks off. By the time you’re reading this, all the drama has been dissected many times over. The booths have been packed up, winners and losers have been declared, and many a snarky GIF has been made. I’m nowhere near the whirling vortex of pounding music and perspiring participants that is the LA Convention center, but I will be watching. View this as a retroactive explanation or perhaps even as an apology. E3 is obnoxious, but I still go out of my way to watch it.


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Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014
Am I playing video games or at times merely enduring them?

There are 119 League of Legends champions. As of this week, I own them all, and I have never spent a dime on a single one.


League of Legends is a free-to-play Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, in which five players on each team take on the role of five champions for a 30-40 minute match. Riot Games makes money in the game by selling champions and skins for champions, essentially mere aesthetic upgrades for those characters. Skins can only be purchased with real money. However, champions can be purchased with real money or by earning points by playing games and unlocking them one at a time.


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Tuesday, Jun 10, 2014
It doesn’t matter if you play the light side or the dark side. People are still compelled to behave a certain way based on their circumstances, and individuality only really matters to the individual.

I’m really rooting for Always Sometimes Monsters. I want people to play it and talk about it because it tries very, very hard to be a part of a conversation. Sometimes it tries too hard, but in the current videogame climate, where “being political” is an assumed sickness (Todd Harper, “Erasing your audience isn’t ‘fun’: The false choice between diversity and enjoyment”, Polygon, 22 May 2014) and creating subtext is a marketing department’s afterthought (Brendan Keogh, “Big games are often light on themes”, The Conversation, 27 May 2014.), it’s refreshing that the developers of Always Sometimes Monsters deliberately approach the politics of class, sex, race, and gender with the goal of communicating something. It approaches these issues with a narrative device that is—to me—unique in games. Its narrative is procedurally created.


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Monday, Jun 9, 2014
We hate them. We love them. What makes the side quest so agonizing, yet so alluring?

We hate them. We love them. We complete them, except when we don’t complete them. What makes the side quest so agonizing, yet so alluring?


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