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by G. Christopher Williams

31 Jan 2011


Shifting settings from the mall to the casino, the Dead Rising series hasn’t changed in its commitment to gross excess and superficiality. 

In a similar sense, much of the approach to grappling with the zombie hordes has not been altered significantly in the 2010 follow up to Dead Rising.  The player is still tasked with killing zombies and psychos, while ensuring the safety of as many of his fellow survivors as he can.  The more subtle changes (“subtle” being a term that is normally very rarely applied to a Dead Rising title) come in terms of combat tweaks, some changes in difficulty, and some very different psycho fights.

This week the Moving Pixels podcast crew discusses the good and bad in those changes and whether or not the follow up is a worthy successor to one of the more popular early titles of this hardware generation.

by Nick Dinicola

28 Jan 2011


Ratchet and Clank know how to have a good time. Over the past few weeks, many of the big games that I have played have been disappointing in one way or another, but never Ratchet and Clank. Even after six console games and even more for the portable systems, the Ratchet and Clank games have proven to be consistently entertaining and innovative, and the most recent entry in the series (which I’ve only now gotten around to playing) is no different. In its controls, combat, and characters, Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time never forgets how to be fun.

by Scott Juster

27 Jan 2011


Spoken dialogue has become increasingly important to video game storytelling.  Increasingly, actors that have gained fame in film or television are lending their talents to video games.  However, not all celebrities receive the typical Hollywood treatment when they step off the red carpet and onto the digital plane.  Instead of plastering an A-list celebrity on every poster and putting them front and center, many video games deal with celebrity in subtle ways.  I’m neither a movie nor a casting director, so I can’t speak very well to the business dealings of voice acting.  But, from a player’s perspective, celebrity talent in games takes a variety of forms that range from celebrated, to subtle, to self-aware.

by Rick Dakan

27 Jan 2011


I began and ended my career as a video game designer with superheroes. I had an idea for what I thought would be the next big thing in online gaming—Everquest, but with superheroes! This was in the days before World of Warcraft when Everquest was the big dog with its hundreds of thousands of subscribers. Luckily for me, I knew a guy with a ton of internet bubble money who wanted to get into game development, and we were off and running. Three years later, I was fired—although I stayed on as a freelancer through the eventual launch of City of Heroes in 2004. It was quite a ride for me personally, but the end result (owing only a tiny portion of its success to my influence) was a cool, fun game that was a best seller out of the gate. I was even a fan and played it more than was probably good for me. Of course then World of Warcraft came later that year and blew everything else away. Even I switched over to WoW for a while before eventually giving up on MMOs for other pursuits. I’d had my fill.

One of the many odd things that happened during my time working on City of Heroes was that the word “superhero” and the phrase “super hero” disappeared entirely from our vocabularies when it came to speaking publicly about the game. It turns out that Marvel Comics and DC Comics hold a very, very dubious trademark on the term. I still think that this is total BS, but no one wanted to have that fight or pay those lawyers. So, our game was instead about “super-powered heroes.” I don’t know if my old company’s second game, Champions Online, used the word or not, but it began life as a Marvel Comics-based MMO, so maybe it did. But there’s a stupid, semantic argument to be made that now, seven years later, the world finally has its first “real” superhero MMORPG—DC Universe Online.

by G. Christopher Williams

26 Jan 2011


I hate the elf.  I’ve always hated the Elf.

You know what I mean.  You have to know what I mean because that tattletale narrator in the arcade classic Gauntlet is always telling you who to blame: “Elf Shot the Food.”

That damned Elf is always shooting the food.

Gauntlet, like most games of the arcade era, is a game designed to eat quarters.  While offering only a single life per initial quarter for the player occupying the role of Warrior, Valkyrie, Wizard, or Elf, it was one of the first games in my recollection that featured “hit points” in the form of a Health counter that ticked ever downwards over the course of a playthrough.  Health could be increased by gathering food, or better yet for the owner of the machine, by adding another quarter during that time.

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