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by Mark Filipowich

25 Jul 2011


The most ostensibly distinct feature of games over other forms of art is the heavy reliance on interactivity. Where the audience of any other artistic work is only symbolically connected to a piece through interpretation or discussion, a game can only progress when the player has their hands on the controller and literally moves the story along. To move the story along, the golden rule is that the protagonist must be somebody that the player would want to be. As a result, most heroes are flawless action stars against a legitimate and unambiguously evil threat (Marcus Fenix of Gears of War), morally neutral until the player makes their decisions for them (Commander Shepard of Mass Effect), or completely silent (Link of The Legend of Zelda). In any case, the purpose is to limit character development or hand developmental authority to the player. But L.A. Noire shows that a more sophisticated character arc can be drawn when authorship of a character is taken away from the player and gamers are forced to play as someone that they wouldn’t want to be.

There is a critical moment in L.A. Noire that seems to divide those that enjoyed the game and those that hated it. At the end of the second chapter, when Cole Phelps is promoted from traffic to homicide, Roy Earle—a sleazy vice detective—takes Phelps out for a congratulatory drink. At this point the player knows that Phelps is a stickler for the rules and that he is an effective and dedicated police officer. His morals are agreeable and his methods are efficient—he is who a player would want to be. But when Earle pushes around and berates a black maitre d’, walks into a drug nest, and assaults a woman, Phelps does nothing.

by G. Christopher Williams

25 Jul 2011


Following last week’s discussion of madness in the newest iteration of Alice, it only seemed fitting that we would consider the other “mad release” this summer, Suda51 and Shinji Mikami’s Shadows of the Damned.

Between its juvenile humor and interesting shooting mechanics based on darkness and light lies a strange but compelling critique of classic video game tropes.  Our discussion attempts to touch on as much of the madness as we can reasonably (or unreasonably) consider.

by Nick Dinicola

22 Jul 2011


Child of Eden is a conflicted game. Stuck in a No Man’s Land between “shooter” and “spectacle,” it can’t decide which one it wants to be. The shooting distracts from the spectacle and the spectacle distracts from the shooting, making for a very schizophrenic experience. Granted, I’ve only played with a controller, and based on the writings of others, it seems like I’d get a very different experience playing with a Kinect. But the one thing that I can’t parse from all the praise is what difficulty people played on. It’s hard to believe that people had the wonderful experiences that they write about while playing on the Normal difficulty. The only other mode is the Feel Eden difficulty, which is essentially “god mode.” It makes sense that Child of Eden would be more fun with “god mode” but that also speaks to its most serious flaw: it’s a game best played when you can ignore everything that makes it a game.

by Jorge Albor

21 Jul 2011


While Nintendo’s 3DS launched with a great deal of fanfare and excitement, recently announced sales figures reflect a fading enthusiasm for 3D gaming. While 3.61 million units is nothing to laugh at, the number falls a good deal short of Nintendo and Iwata’s four million sales goal. Although gamers are not inundating retailers to snag the 3D gadget, the future of 3D entertainment is assured. Nintendo’s slow sales announcement is a clarion call, not a death knell, for publishers and developers to better persuade the industry and consumers of the opportunities that 3D gaming has to offer.

As early a few years ago, 3D held no secure place in the film industry. Some live action major motion pictures featured portions of their films upconverted to 3D, but most of its use remained within niche animated films. The first time I that actually enjoyed 3D effects was during Coraline in 2009. For some time, many considered the revival of 3D a temporary fad, a gimmicky last-ditch effort from the movie industry to boost theatre revenue by charging a few dollars more per film. Now few can deny the permanence of 3D film making. Whether you find Transformers: Dark of the Moon palatable in 3D or not, the technology is here to stay.

by Rick Dakan

21 Jul 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 here.
Chapter 11 of Rage Quit is available here.
Chapter 13 of Rage Quit is available here.
Chapter 14 of Rage Quit is available here.
Chapter 15 of Rage Quit as a PDF.

Randal looked at his phone when he got back down to the marketing department. It was 7:22. Shit, people would be in the office soon. He wondered if any of them were scheduled to be in late or work from home or were on vacation. Fear and Loading had each department track exactly that information, so he logged onto the corporate intra-net and saw that everyone was scheduled to work normal hours that day except for one person, Janet Velasquez, who was out for the morning but in that afternoon. He found her desk, took her laptop and its cellular wireless card, and headed back to QA before anyone saw him. It was only as he was texting Lea to request Janet’s passwords and login ID’s that Randal started to see the problems.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

In Motion: On the Emptiness of Progress

// Moving Pixels

"Nils Pihl calls it, "Newtonian engagement", that is, when "an engaged player will remain engaged until acted upon by an outside force". That's "progress".

READ the article