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by G. Christopher Williams

30 Mar 2011

Just like any game, conversation can be a pleasure, but you need to consider a few basic rules, boundaries, and the like in order to effectively achieve goals—for one, not alienating the other “players”.

Which is one of the things that I like about the Dragon Age series, its ability to integrate having a conversation into the gaming experience itself.  While Bioware’s other series, like Mass Effect, also create a game-like quality to conversation itself, that other series tends to isolate conversation, favoring developing relationships with characters on a one-on-one basis.

by Kris Ligman

29 Mar 2011

So, in case you haven’t heard, they’re all bisexual.

You may also have heard that the romantic subplots of Dragon Age II are somehow dominating the discourse surrounding the game, presumably directly after whether it’s any good or not. (To which the answer is no—and yes. See my review for more.) This, too, might have been predicted considering the extent to which BioWare RPGs often get discussed with respect to their romances, but in this debate surrounding this release, we find a curious intersection between issues of systems and mechanics and issues of writing. To whit, is Dragon Age II “punishing” the player for rebuffing a romance he doesn’t want, and do we as players need to get over our search for happy, equitable solutions?

by Aaron Poppleton

29 Mar 2011

One of the great strengths of a game like Dragon Age is that it wisely shied away from strictly good or evil choices with a few exceptions (I think it is safe to say that letting a demon keep possession of a child is probably an evil choice, for example).  The world of Dragon Age thrives on grey areas for your Grey Warden to find himself navigating, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the various political situations that seem to get in the way of stopping that whole “Blight” thing that seems so urgent.  It is a cynical view of a cynical business, and where the game really shines is in its absolute refusal to give you any one safe choice.  These aren’t paragons of virtue; they’re generally people with goals that may seem noble but are really just interested in plays for power or else they are despicable people who happen to have noble goals.  As a disclaimer here, I should explain that I played through the game as a dwarven commoner, and that particular origin influenced at least one of my decisions a good deal more than I thought it ever could.

by G. Christopher Williams

28 Mar 2011

An aborted effort to play retro classic Maniac Mansion leads to a discussion by the Moving Pixels crew about differences between older and newer games.

We wonder how well retro games hold up with rapidly changing platform generations, as well as higher expectations for graphics quality and overall accessibility.

by Nick Dinicola

25 Mar 2011

On the surface, Bulletstorm looks like your typical male power fantasy. Our avatar Grayson speaks with a low, gruff voice. He’s got big muscles, big guns, and a devil-may-care attitude. But beneath the surface, Bulletstorm is entirely different, offering a surprisingly cynical critique of this typical heroic figure.

Grayson is an impetuous screw up. Sometimes this trait can be turned into a charming quirk, as with Uncharted’s Nathan Drake who always acts before he thinks. But Drake’s mistakes never really blow up in his face, he always finds an escape or a solution, he always saves his friends, and no one holds his impulsiveness against him. Grayson comes off as a similar kind of character in the prologue. He and his squad break into an office and kill a man that they think is a terrorist. After a quick search of the victim’s computer they learn that he was a journalist and that all of their assassination jobs up to this point were orchestrated by a conniving General to get rid of annoying political opponents. When they call the General to confront him with this truth, he happily admits to it, and Grayson suddenly shouts, “I am going to kill you”, while shooting the hologram. A teammate grabs his gun and shouts back: “Hey man, what the fuck! That was a giant group decision you just made for us!” The scene is played for laughs. No one really seems to care that Grayson has just made them all outlaws, so the lack of serious consequences makes his impetuousness funny.

//Mixed media

Blindspot: Season 1, Episode 3 - "Eight Slim Grins"

// Channel Surfing

"Secret codes, shadowy organizations: is Blindspot piecing together the riddle wrapped in the mystery of the enigma that is Jane Doe?

READ the article