Latest Blog Posts

by Scott Juster

31 Oct 2013

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag (Ubisoft, 2013)

For me, the fall season is television season. Due to football season and the return of the scant few broadcast television shows I still watch, most of my live television time is concentrated over the span of a few months. When it comes time to bust out the antenna (you guessed it: I’m one of those cut-the-cable, streaming-site techno hippies), it’s not just a return to shows and sports. It’s a return to advertising. I only half-jokingly tell people that this is the time of year when I get back in touch with the consumer landscape. Which deodorant has the quirkiest commercial? What does my choice in a luxury sedan say about me? Do I need to hit my doctor up for any new drugs? And of course: what are the video games I need to buy? 

I expected this year to be a heavy year for video game advertisement. Fall is blockbuster season in general and this is a new console launch year, so the game companies have plenty to advertise. While I have seen quite a few video game commercials, they haven’t been what I expected.

by Jorge Albor

24 Oct 2013

Set in a world populated by fairy tale princesses and monsters, Fables is not an immediately attractive comic series to most readers, particularly those who have grown accustomed to vampire-romance dramas and their ilk. In fact, Bill Willingham’s work is not just mature, it is shockingly dark and and often tragic. The series holds its own among the more adult works in the genre. Coming off of The Walking Dead adaption then, Telltale is a natural steward for the characters and the world of Fables.

With the bar set so high by The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us has a lot to prove. Not only is it a new franchise to adapt, with its own lore and style, but both Sean Vanaman and Jake Rodkin, the two co-writers and project leads on The Walking Dead, have moved on to another project. The team must walk a fine line between satiating their fan base and deviating enough from The Walking Dead so as to distinguish their newest title both thematically and mechanically.

by Scott Juster

17 Oct 2013

Playing The Cave on iOS has prompted me to do a little psychoanalysis on my myself.  Adventure games, Ron Gilbert, and Double Fine: all things I like, both in isolation and in combination.  Imagine my surprise and disappointment now, after finding myself not just lukewarm about the game, but downright irritated that I bought it at all.  On top of that, there’s some meta-frustration at the fact that I have now become the person who is complaining that they wasted the exorbitant amount of $5 on a game (despite the fact that this very same person could easily spend the aforementioned amount of money on Doritos Locos tacos without blinking).  So what happened and why am I so cranky about The Cave?

by Jorge Albor

10 Oct 2013

In their continued effort to extend their cultural efforts into the games industry, the International Committee of the Red Cross recently weighed in on violence and war crimes in video games. In their words, “games should include virtual consequences for people’s actions and decisions.” They pursue a commendable goal of raising awareness not just about human atrocities but the tools we all have at our disposal to diminish their frequency. Of course, actually seeing this vision implemented in a trigger-happy games industry is dubious. The efficacy of depicting the consequences of violence has as much to do with how games are built as how stories are told.

by Scott Juster

3 Oct 2013

It’s been a fair amount of time since I finished Gone Home and I’ve been meaning to write something about it. It’s a coming of age story that’s both poignant and inspiring. Others more talented than I have already written thousands of words about how Gone Home captures a certain type of emotional nostalgia in a broad range of people. I certainly felt this, and I’ve never had to come out of the closet, see my parents’ marriage strained, or had to come home to an empty house.

I have, however, had my fair share of early-life epiphanies. I’ve also played a fair number of video games. More than a month after finishing it, Gone Home has stuck with me as a game full of lessons about how to create mechanical and storytelling experiences that make a lasting impression.

//Mixed media

Because Blood Is Drama: Considering Carnage in Video Games and Other Media

// Moving Pixels

"It's easy to dismiss blood and violence as salacious without considering why it is there, what its context is, and what it might communicate.

READ the article