Latest Blog Posts

by G. Christopher Williams

19 Mar 2012


Stoic lone gunmen?  Check.

Delicate and sensitive female healer?  Check.

Rogue with a heart of gold?  Check.

Video games, like most media, draw on some fairly stock types to build their characters.  However, since so much of games’ plots and characterization just feel tacked on in spots, sometimes these stock types remain just that—never given the opportunity to grow as characters that we can relate to or representing ideas that we might, likewise, relate to.

Archetypal characters and stereotypical ones populate games, and it may be a fine line that developers walk between characters that personify an idea and characters that are merely simplistic placeholders for more legitimately developed ideas.

by Nick Dinicola

16 Mar 2012


In Assassin’s Creed, the protagonist is always portrayed as a Master Assassin. His allies respect him. His enemies fear him. In the later games, he recruits new Assassins, trains them, and presides over their “graduation.” He’s clearly the leader, and he’s clearly a capable leader. But as the combat changes from game to game, so do the character traits that it implies.

The one-hit kill counter system that has been in place since the first game says a lot about the Assassins as a group, since this seems to be their default fighting style. It’s defensive in nature, emphasizing technique and technical mastery over aggressive flailing, which is to say: button timing over button mashing.

by Jorge Albor

15 Mar 2012


Playing an open world game can be a profoundly lonely and introspective experience. Roaming the plains, deserts, tundras, and futuristic landscapes of fictional lands, my mind wanders. Sometimes I poke and prod the limits of my digital sandbox while I think about my day, zoning out the game world in a moment of zen to actually ponder my real life circumstances. I often pass this downtime thinking about the game at hand, what my characters have been through, or where they are going. These moments of self-reflection take place within a very real, albeit digital, environment that subtly or blatantly shape my thoughts. The most interesting moments of video game solitude are populated by the ghostly presence of the past and future, and they become an integral part of play.

by G. Christopher Williams

14 Mar 2012


Nintendo makes toys.

I’ll see if I can explain what I mean.

I’m vaguely excited every time that I see an ad for Kid Icarus: Uprising for the Nintendo 3DS.  I don’t own a 3DS.  However, I did own an NES back in the day, and I did own Kid Icarus.  It wasn’t a very good game.

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.

//Mixed media
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'Doctor Who': Casting a Woman as the Doctor Offers Fresh Perspectives and a New Kind of Role Model

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