Latest Blog Posts

by G. Christopher Williams

20 Aug 2012

Almost 10 years after its release, gamers are still talking about X-Com.  This week, so are we.

The formula is simple, a turn-based strategy game mixed with an economic simulation.  And yet, is there any other game that is quite like X-Com

That is the question that we begin our discussion with.

by Nick Dinicola

17 Aug 2012

This post contains spoilers for Spec Ops: The Line

Spec Ops: The Line is a pretty great game. The story challenges traditional shooter tropes, raising some disturbing moral questions in the process, and—most importantly—the ending doesn’t cop out. It follows through on the promise that it sets up and forces the player to confront issues of violence that we normally take for granted in games. It has been criticized for being generic, and there’s no denying that it plays like a typical shooter. However, that’s actually what makes it so effective at times. Its adherence to standard shooter tropes allows it to evoke memories of other shooters while casting those memories in a new, more disturbing light.

by Jorge Albor

16 Aug 2012

Day Z (Dean "Rocket " Hall, 2012)

In 1996, non-fiction writer John Krakauer joined a group of eight clients in an attempt to climb Mt. Everest. On the evening of May 10th, a storm made traversing the mountain nearly impossible. Of the five team members that reached the summit, four lost their lives on the frigid peak. Eight climbers total from four different expeditions died during the event, and seven more would follow before the season was over.

A year later, Krakauer published Into Thin Air, his personal account of the story. The work is a haunting attempt to uncover the truth about what happened, to gain some glimmer of understanding about these events. There is no value to be found in the deaths of those climbers, only revelations about human systems on the raggedy edge of survival.

by Eric Kravcik

15 Aug 2012

The smoke has settled and the dust has cleared from what many have deemed a by-the-book E3 that had little highs and many lows, including Nintendo’s “reveal” of their new system, the Wii U. I recently had a chance to play many of the demos that were available at E3, and while I was anxious to try out Nintendo’s new console, I was more interested to see if all of the Internet damnation was viable or if it was just more jaded remarks from a collective community that never seems content.  Critics have already extensively broken down each gameplay scenario from each of the demos shown at E3, so instead of regurgitating the same information from the quick slices I was able to play I will instead be delving more into the new interactive scenarios thT Nintendo’s most important asset—their new controller—could create and also tell you why it’s okay to finally forgive the Big N.

by Eric Swain

14 Aug 2012

An implicit promise of storytelling is the concept that the beginning of the story sets up the expectations of the audience with regards to tone, basic concept, and generally the broad strokes of the areas that that story will and will not cover. It’s not so much a rule rather than just how things work. It’s why a creator spends so much time with the beginning of a work over the middle. First impressions matter because it tells so much of what is yet to come. It tells us what to expect and puts us in the right frame of mind for what is to come. Works that betray such a promise feel shoddy, unfocused, or an overall mess. Sometimes without anything being technically wrong with anything that comes afterwards.

There is no set amount of material for how long an implicit promise of this sort takes to set up. It can be the first 10 minutes of a movie or the first half hour. Maybe it takes one or two chapters or the first 50 pages in a book.  Some works can get it done in just the first line. The same is true for video games. Maybe our expectations and understanding of what we are going to experience takes only the tutorial level to set up, or it can be several levels before things get going.

//Mixed media

NYFF 2017: 'Mudbound'

// Notes from the Road

"Dee Rees’ churning and melodramatic epic follows two families in 1940s Mississippi, one black and one white, and the wars they fight abroad and at home.

READ the article