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by Jorge Albor

5 May 2016


My weapon was buffed, balls of energy were swirling around my head, and all my rings were in order. I was ready. My goal: to kill the host of embers in Anor Lando. I was invading in Dark Souls III.

While searching for my victim, I was joined by another ally, an Aldrich Faithful. We bowed and continued on toward the area just outside of the bonfire, where an open courtyard acts as the chosen battleground for PVP duels. There we found the host and their gold-tinged guardian, another player coming to their aid.

by Jorge Albor

28 Apr 2016


Persona 3 (Atlus, 2006)

I recently had the incredibly privilege of visiting Japan, a place I’ve been wanting to visit since Big Bird went to Japan in his 1989 Sesame Street special. Besides bringing back an amazing roll of Yokai Watch toilet paper, I also returned with a renewed appreciation for the “Japanese-ness” of some games. Walking around parts of Tokyo felt strangely familiar, in large part due to numerous anime and video games that make their way to the West.

In Tokyo, I had a special appreciation for the little cultural quirks that I might have seen before in something like, say, the Persona series. There is a sort of pleasurable recognition in seeing high school students in big club groups, for example. I even enjoyed the way that power lines in some residential areas seemed familiar. Visiting Japan was a confirmation that the experiences that I’ve had in games have—at least to some extent—created a real sense of place within a culturally defined space.

by Jorge Albor

24 Mar 2016


Warning: This article contains massive spoilers for Pandemic Legacy. Yes, spoilers for a board game.

It’s October, and the world is ruined. Zombie-like fallen have taken over all of Europe and are now pushing into Latin America and Asia. Cities around the world are rioting. Some have collapsed or completely fallen. St. Petersburg is a nuclear wasteland. And I’m to blame.

by Jorge Albor

10 Mar 2016


Firewatch (Campo Santo, 2016)

Sometime later this month or early next month, thirty-five masochists will meet up in Frozen Head State Park outside Wartburg, Tennessee to run what is widely accepted as the most difficult marathon in the world. The Barkley Marathon, held annually since its inception in 1986, has been finished only sixteen times. It’s a brutal, multiloop, hellscape of a race. It’s also an inspiring example of design.

When we criticize game design, we often bring up the concept of clarity in a variety of forms. How clear is the interface? How clearly does the game communicate its goals? Is progression clear? Does it tell the player where to go next? Or what things that the player is doing wrong? Clarity is an excellent game design goal. Except for when it isn’t.

by Jorge Albor

25 Feb 2016


Captain Volibear and Constable Trundle from League of Legends (Riot Games, 2009)

Get your bag of popcorn ready folks, Riot Games just formalized their penalty index for their regional and global competitive events. This index includes a set of rules that all teams and players must abide by while participating in League of Legends competitive events. Violating these rules result in some strict penalties, from slap-on-the-wrist warnings to fines of $20,000 and indefinite suspension from League of Legends.

Many of these rules have already been punishable and have been enforced by Riot Games already, and this set of rules merely codifies and normalizes what has already been a normal process. By publishing these commandments, players know what transgressions are punishable and the extent of the punishment connected to them, new players to the scene have an easy reference of things not to do, and fans have some transparency into the punishment process. This should settle some of the drama that inevitably arises when Riot levies fines… maybe.

//Mixed media
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Here Comes the Bloom: Timothy Bloom Takes Hip-Hop to the Sock-Hop

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"More sock-hop than hip-hop, soulster Timothy Bloom does a stunning '50s revamp on contemporary R&B.

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