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Friday, Nov 8, 2013
Payday 2 does everything it can to make stealth unintuitive and unattractive.

Payday 2 is a first-person shooter cooperative heist game. You and three other crooks break into banks or malls, steal money or jewelry, and then shoot through waves of cops to your escape vehicle. But that latter part is not a given. You can actually do most robberies without setting off an alarm or even firing a bullet. The mere existence of the possibility of a silent robbery is important because it gives us something to strive for other than mowing down an entire city’s police force. As a possible goal, it encourages us to delay shooting for as long as possible, but in practice, the game is completely uninterested in this alternative. Payday 2 feigns interest at first merely by acknowledging that, yes, stealth is possible, but then it does everything it can to trick new players into shooting first and asking questions later. The unfortunate truth is that Payday2 doesn’t actually want you to be stealthy.


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Text:AAA
Thursday, Nov 7, 2013
As a companion piece to Heavy Rain, it is easier to appreciate Beyond as an improvement for Cage and an evolution in his body of work, contentious though it may be.

According to a recent interview with VG247, Beyond: Two Souls Writer and Director David Cage very much considers his latest game as a discrete experience from Heavy Rain: “We didn’t try to replicate Heavy Rain, because we would have just done Heavy Rain 2. We really wanted to create an experience that would be different.” The game does diverge in places dramatically from its predecessors. Cage has critical reasons to separate the two titles. Over the years, Cage has built up a healthy group of naysayers and critics, partially for his overly-optimistic faith in “more pixels” and partially for his heavy reliance on cinematic design choices in his games.


However, we do the game a disservice by thinking of Beyond independently from Heavy Rain. What can appear arbitrary or strange in Beyond is better understood as a response to or evolution of ideas implemented in Heavy Rain. As a companion piece, it is easier to appreciate Beyond as an improvement for Cage and an evolution in his body of work, contentious though it may be.


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Text:AAA
Tuesday, Nov 5, 2013
A master director can tell a whole story through properly framed and shot images alone. The camera in video games lends the medium the same ability. Designers just have to know how to use it to their own ends.

Cinematic video game is somewhat of a misnomer in video game parlance. It refers to a style of game like that seen in Uncharted, The Last of Us, or any other similarly constructed game in which the intent is to have a sense of presence be evoked by the game, making the player feel like they are participating in the action of a movie. But these games don’t really take advantage of the techniques or ability of that medium.


The basic unit of film is the shot. Where the camera is in the relation the set, the actors, and the action is paramount, not only as a way to deliver its content, but as the artistic soul of the medium. All experimentation and technique is fundamentally about manipulating either the camera or the image in front of the camera. Video games don’t have that ability. They give the player the power over the camera because the player needs that control so he can see what he’s doing. Given that action in video games is not predetermined on a moment by moment basis like film there needs to be that leeway.


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Text:AAA
Friday, Nov 1, 2013
I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream's horrors develop, not so much via gore or titillating jump scares, but around the possibility of the kinds of evil that it suggests really lurk in the human heart. This game's monsters too often resemble ourselves.

Nick Dinicola and Eric Swain return this week to October 1995 to revisit a horror classic, The Dreamers Guild’s expansion of Harlan Ellison’s short story “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream.”


The game, co-written by Ellison himself, develops the back stories of five victims tortured for over a century by the malevolent super computer AM. Its horrors develop in the game, not so much via gore or titillating jump scares, but around what it suggests might really lurk in the human heart, a malevolence and cruelty that matches that of the horrific super computer that humanity is responsible for designing.


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Friday, Nov 1, 2013
The catachresis is a natural tool for horror since that kind of overwrought paradoxical language is often used when trying to describe something indescribable.

It may be November. but it’s still the week of Halloween. So, Indie Horror Month will end today with the funniest and most nihilistic game so far.


Catachresis, a free browser-based game by Cameron Kunzelman, is a lot like Cabin in the Woods. Both are rather funny takes on Lovecraftian horror that eventually reveal themselves to be smart deconstructions of the genre itself. The only difference is that while Cabin in the Woods took on the entirety of the horror genre, Catachresis is mainly interested in examining a single concept: the catachresis.


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