Latest Blog Posts

by Nick Dinicola

10 Jun 2011


Avatars must be honest with their players. No matter who they lie to over the course of the game, they’re always honest with us. We know our avatar intimately but are also limited by what they know. If they don’t know that they’re a secret villain or hero, then we won’t either until the big reveal. It’s very difficult to have an unreliable avatar in games because he/she is our only connection to the game world. If they are not to be trusted, then what is? No matter what persona they put on for others, we know their true self. We play as their true self.

Consider John Marston from Red Dead Redemption. In the beginning, Marston is a mysterious cowboy, but over the course of the game, we learn about his wife, his son, and his desire to live a peaceful life. Marston says he wants to leave his violent past behind him, but during all the moments that we’re in control, he’s surrounded by and causes violence. This disconnect between his words and his actions reflects the core philosophical question that Red Dead Redemptions asks its players: Can we leave the past behind? The game clearly answers “no.” Marston is not actually a family man—that’s just a persona he puts on among family. The real John Marston is the man we control, the man of violence. The player sees the avatar for who he really is; there are no secrets between them.

by Jorge Albor

9 Jun 2011


Game announcements are spewing out of the Los Angeles convention center as E3 2011 is in full swing. Promises from developers and publishers reveal more than factoids about specific games. They indicate broader trends of the gaming future to come. Now, with more and more cards laid out on the table, a simple divination is clear: an information revolution is brewing and multiplayer gaming will never be the same.

Although Valve’s Gabe Newell has predicted (and notably advocated for) the delivery of games as a service, his vision has only slowly come to fruition. With the announcement of Modern Warfare 3’s Call of Duty: Elite, a new era of content delivery seems guaranteed. Meanwhile, coupled with the continued growth of alternative distributions models, a wave of player-tailored information is dramatically changing what we come to expect from our multiplayer experiences.

by Rick Dakan

9 Jun 2011


Chapter 1 of Rage Quit is available here.
Chapter 2 of Rage Quit is available here.
Chapter 3 of Rage Quit is available here.
Chapter 4 of Rage Quit is available here.
Chapter 5 of Rage Quit is available here.
Chapter 6 of Rage Quit is available here.
Chapter 7 of Rage Quit is available here.
Chapter 8 of Rage Quit is available here.
Chapter 9 of Rage Quit is available here.
Chapter 10 of Rage Quit is available here.
Chapter 11 of Rage Quit is available in .pdf format here.

Lea spawned in the level’s default start zone, right next to Randal/AI Joe. “Hello,” she said.

After 4 seconds he replied, “brb.”

She felt a momentary frustration at the delay, but then accepted as a known fact of existence that instincts were often pausing the game or going “away from keyboard” for mysterious reasons. Since he wasn’t ready to talk, she decided to explore this new level.

by G. Christopher Williams

8 Jun 2011


While this week is all E3 news and its ensuing gaming press hullabaloo, I thought that I’d take a minute to point out a few podcasts that exist outside the standard enthusiast press. While by no means a comprehensive list of some of the good podcasts that are out there, these are a few of the shows that I enjoy listening to regularly that tend to go beyond merely talking about the latest games but, instead, consider games in more depth, from a variety of angles, and usually with an eye towards analysis and critique, rather than mere evaluation. In a word, these are a group of the more thoughtful podcasts out there on gaming.

So, if you’re looking for some smart discussion on video games while you are out and about this summer, these are a few podcasts that you might want to have a listen to.

by Kris Ligman

7 Jun 2011


In my day job I moderate for an online kids’ game. I’ve written about this before, mainly in relation to knowledge toolsets and pedagogy, but if there is one aspect to my work that bears the closest resemblance to Christine Love’s lauded visual novel don’t take it personally, babe, it just ain’t your story, it’s the practice of surveillance performed by the novel’s protagonist.

The premise of the game is that in a near-future, net-connected high school, the interpersonal dramas of the students of one homeroom class are laid out bare for their surveying teacher. That teacher, John Rook, has been instructed to follow their public and private conversations for signs of bullying, cheating, and so on.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

Double Take: The African Queen (1951)

// Short Ends and Leader

"What a time they had, Charlie and Rosie. They'll never lack for stories to tell their grandchildren. And what a time we had at Double Take discussing the spiritual and romantic journey of the African Queen.

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