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Tuesday, Jan 11, 2011
There are some unsettling implications once we factor the "bargaining" stage of grief into digital media.

There is a wonderful xkcd strip where one of Randall Munroe’s famous stick figures (in an effort to console his friend) compares a bad break-up to a video game: “Remember when Aeris died in FFVII? It was sad. But you had to keep playing.”


“Actually,” the friend counters, “I downloaded a mod to add her back to my party.”


Any player of a certain age can recount at least one friend who’s done this, as well as untold other acquaintances that were convinced there was some secret quest or hidden boss that would undo Aeris’s death. Even today, more than 13 years after the game’s release, there are players who keep the faith that there is some way to reverse fate and authorial intent to bring Aeris back. As Munroe’s comic jokes, there are some unsettling implications once we factor the “bargaining” stage of grief into digital media.


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Monday, Jan 10, 2011
The direct sequel to Assassin's Creed II returns to the story of the Italian Renaissance era assassin, Ezio. However, this time Ezio has made a few new friends.

This week, the Moving Pixels podcast crew trains their eyes on the direct sequel to Assassin’s Creed II. This time the series returns to the story of the Italian Renaissance era assassin, Ezio. 


However, this time Ezio has made a few new friends.  So, among other aspects of the game, we discuss the “brotherhood” that this new Assassin’s Creed has embraced in both its story and multiplayer options.


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Friday, Jan 7, 2011
Pigsy was a great supporting character in Enslaved, but he can't support a game all on his own.

So much of what made Enslaved: Odyssey to the West a great game was its characters. Its story would be a close second, but the relationship between Trip and Monkey was easily the most engaging aspect of the game. It’s odd then, that the first major piece of DLC for Enslaved focuses on the only supporting character in the game, the junkyard mechanic Pigsy.


Tagged as: enslaved
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Thursday, Jan 6, 2011
Amnesia: The Dark Descent effectively engenders terror by demanding that players create their own topographies of fear.

Among the finalists for this year’s Independent Game Festival Seumas McNally Grand Prize is Amnesia: The Dark Descent, a horror game by Frictional Games, the creators of the much loved and feared, Penumbra. Players control Daniel, an amnesia stricken Londoner who awakens in the mysterious and foreboding Brennenburg Castle. The environment has all the trappings required of an unsettling gothic castle—creaky wooden doors, archaic torches, ornate and grotesque statues, and generally dubious safety standards. While the castle’s atmosphere evokes deeply uncomfortable feelings, Amnesia effectively engenders terror by demanding that players create their own topographies of fear.


Throughout Amnesia, hideous creatures lurk the halls of castle Brennenburg, threatening players who explore the haunting corridors too liberally. Players cannot fight these monsters. Instead, players must behave like frightened children and simply run and hide. But there is a catch. In addition to a health status, players struggle with their own sanity. Primarily, sanity depletes while standing in darkness. As the players’ sanity drains, their environment becomes distorted, blurring and hazing the already ominous passages. Sanity can only be regained by standing near a light source.


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Thursday, Jan 6, 2011
This new MMORPG is huge fan service. While players design their own heroes and powersets, the game does not skimp on giving a sense of being part of the DC mythology with very regular encounters with famous and infamous characters.

In the first few hours of playing the DC Universe Online Beta, I’d KOed Dr. Fate.  Yeah, Dr. Friggin’ Fate.  To those less familiar with reading DC Comics, I promise this is more impressive than it sounds.


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