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Thursday, Nov 11, 2010
Despite all the similarities and the handful of technical issues, Kinect feels totally different from the Wii -- though I still lose in boxing to people that I could totally beat up in real life.

I bought a Kinect on release day. It’s what I do. Unlike when I bought a Wii on release day at the very same Best Buy several years ago or an iPad on release day several months ago, this time there was no line or waiting list. About a half dozen of us gathered around the doorway five minutes before ten o’clock and then strolled on up to the display and had our pick of the pile. I bought the Kinect sensor of course, along with the nifty thingamjig that lets you attach it to the top of your TV. I picked up Dance Central and Kinect Sports along with Kinect Adventures (which comes with the sensor). I’ve now been living with it for a week.


This new acquisition reminds me in many respects of those heady first days when I bought my Wii. It’s a nifty new technology that promises to get me off the couch and into the game. I’ve been inviting friends and family over to check it out and be appropriately amazed. I still lose in boxing to people that I could totally beat up in a real boxing match. The technology itself draws oohs and aahs but is far from perfect. Like my Wii, I’m not entirely sure I’ll be using it a month from now, but I hope that I will be.


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Wednesday, Nov 10, 2010
As Abigail and Jack are transformed into the undead, Marston must once again absent himself for the sake of the family. In other words, to seek out a cure that will allow the family to become whole again (well, and to try to teach them to not eat brains).

When Undead Nightmare was originally announced, I assumed that the game would begin with the resurrection of Red Dead Redemption protagonist, John Marston.  Such a move would take some of the gravitas away from the original title, but it didn’t seem a bad way to extend the Red Dead universe through this particular character’s story.


Undead Nightmare does not in fact begin this way, instead deciding to offer a glimpse of Marston’s New Austin through a plot just slightly outside of the continuity of the original game.  The player, for instance, will witness the death of Uncle for the second time near the beginning of the game in a whole new way.  This “off continuity” follow up then begins somewhat close to what would be the conclusion of Red Dead Redemption‘s plotline with Marston living at home again with his wife, Abigail, and his son, Jack but before the games concluding episodes.  It becomes a play on one of the dominant themes of the first game, the role of fathers as protectors in their family’s lives.  As Abigail and Jack are transformed into the undead, Marston must once again absent himself for the sake of the family.  In other words, to seek out a cure that will allow the family to become whole again (well, and to try to teach them to not eat brains).


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Tuesday, Nov 9, 2010
Games are increasingly becoming part of political discourse. After all, I became Queen of Albion and my advisor asked me if I wanted to bail out the economy.

Note: this article includes discussion of spoilers for Fable III.


It seems as though politics and games have never been closer. Even leaving aside last week’s U.S. Supreme Court hearing for the controversial California law criminalizing the sale of M-rated games to minors, we are also living in a time when games are increasingly becoming part of the political discourse. GamePolitics recently provided a rundown on political candidates featured in game-themed commentary and ads, game regulation and censorship are becoming bigger issues in Australia and Germany, and game satire and parody are now an established part of internet-born pop culture and conversation.


But how do you reference politics in a more mainstream work? And does the inclusion of politics date or problematize the gaming experience no matter how you do it?


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Monday, Nov 8, 2010
Does seeing nipples improve the experience of The Saboteur? Does The Signal illuminate the murkier plot points of Alan Wake? We discuss what may or may not be added to the experience of a game through the inclusion of downloadable content.

What’s a few Microsoft Points among friends?


From Activision to XSEED, it seems like every publisher these days is pressing developers to produce downloadable content, which raises some interesting questions for gamers looking to completely engage with their games.


Does seeing nipples improve the experience of The Saboteur?  Does The Signal illuminate the murkier plot points of Alan Wake?  This week the Moving Pixels podcast crew try to answer these questions through a discussion concerning what may or may not be added to the experience of a game through the inclusion of downloadable content.


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Friday, Nov 5, 2010
Do point-and-click adventure games work better as episodic stories or as a single epic story?

Certain genres are better suited for an episodic structure than others, and with the success of all of Telltale’s games, it would seem that the adventure genre is well suited for that kind of small scale story. Yet after playing through the last episode of Sam and Max: The Devil’s Playhouse, the downsides of this structure became obvious. It would then seem like the epic nature of The Secret of Monkey Island 2: Special Edition is preferable, but it too falls victim to the same problems that plague all story-driven puzzle games.


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