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by Mattie Brice

13 Mar 2012


Mmm Mmmm Mmm Mmmm MmMmmMmMm

Step by step, a world constructs itself, piece by piece, under his feet. A bourbon from the bottle voice reminisces about each tremble of the hammer, every breath of the bellows. Synesthetic is the only way that I can describe Bastion, but instead of stimulating the senses, it evokes memories that I’ve never had. The music is integral to the experience, like vibrating brushstrokes to the wonderful painting that is Bastion. When asked how he pulled off such an amazing score, Bastion’s composer Darren Korb cited pouring a lot of love and hard work into the music to match up to and exceed the quality of games with big budgets. In his talk at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) this year, Korb showed how a two person team provided all the beats, hisses, and narration of Bastion with little glamour. I sat in the back row with my pen bleeding through my notebook as I watched a process I could theoretically enact myself given enough passion and grit. In passing, he mentions how one of the vocal tracks of the game, Zia’s “Build that Wall,” is a cultural artifact of a country at war. It is strangely soothing despite describing an impending doom of a people locked up in their stronghold.

by G. Christopher Williams

12 Mar 2012


Theology, horror, and an old school console aesthetic combine in Edmund McMillen and Florian Himsl’s The Binding of Isaac.

Nick Dinicola and G. Christopher Williams return from Isaac’s basement with stories to tell and more than one observation about this troubling, provocative, and madly additictive roguelike shooter.

by Nick Dinicola

9 Mar 2012


I’ve already written at length about the mechanics of AMY. While the narrative isn’t worth writing about, the game still has a few fascinating quirks worth exploring. Specifically, its use of gender.

Featuring women and children in a horror story is nothing new. Lana and Amy’s relationship is interesting on a mechanical level, but it’s too shallow on a character or narrative level to act as any kind of commentary on gender in horror. In fact, AMY doesn’t do anything new with gender roles, but it’s interesting because it offers such an obvious example of how both genders are portrayed in survival-horror games.

by Scott Juster

8 Mar 2012


I’ve finally been able to sink some time into the God of War: Origins Collection for the PlayStation 3 after picking it up last fall.  The package contains remastered versions of Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta, the two PSP God of War games.  I’m an unapologetic fan of the series, but I had my doubts going in.  Could a portable version of God of War even work?  Such fears were quickly laid to rest.  Both games are great.  Feelings of doubt were replaced with feelings of regret.  These games are great and I should have bought a PSP!  And since the PlayStation Vita is basically Sony’s attempt at doubling down on the PSP philosophy (traditional console game experiences on a high-tech handheld), maybe I should make the trip to Vita-ville?

Thankfully, a little more time with the games and their unique take on Greek mythology brought me to a realization: much of the traditional handheld market is under the spell of a siren’s song, one that distracts us from the strengths of mobile platforms.

by Mark Filipowich

7 Mar 2012


Much of the discourse from proponents of the “video games are art” position is centered on the medium’s interactivity as its distinguishing advantage. Audience participation, as it were, is the reason why games exist. No other mode of storytelling so often depends on the actions, reactions, and experiences of its audience as the work is engaged with. Even the most linear or simplistic game is communicated through the player’s progress in the world, not through passive consumption. But fixating on how the player experiences a work means that the player’s continued entertainment is necessary for the story to progress. In other words, there must always be something for the player to keep doing, leaving only the briefest moments to reflect.

Any form of language requires that a thing is “doing something” in a sentence and any story must communicate in some form of language. Therefore, any story must be about a thing doing stuff. But the way that an introspective paragraph, a lingering shot on a scene, the expression on an actor’s face, or the illustration in a panel in a comic tells a story is a way that often seems too slow for games. Specifically, games seem like they must be fast paced and straightforward. There are plenty of logical plots, interesting settings, strong characters, and poignant themes in games, but they must all be rushed through to serve gameplay [Unless you are Hideo Kojima—ed.]. The assumption seems to be that the player must always have a carrot dangling in front of them at all times.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

'Who' Will Be the Next Doctor?

// Channel Surfing

"What shall it be? A Doctor with whip-smart delivery of his lines? A woman who will bewitch before she kicks a Dalek's ass? Oh, the possibilities...

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