Latest Blog Posts

by G. Christopher Williams

13 Feb 2012


This week Jorge Albor and I are joined by game designer Matthew Gallant to discuss Riot Games’s free-to-play sensation, League of Legends.

There is much to talk about here, from Riot’s successful business model to its varied gameplay offerings to its management of its very large and (*ahem*) very complicated community.

We consider this video game and the nature of such “eSports” from just about every angle.

by Nick Dinicola

10 Feb 2012


This post contains spoilers for the main quest of Skyrim in the very first paragraph.

After playing Skyrim for 90 hours, I saw something that changed my view of the world (the virtual world, that is). I saw one dragon bring another dragon back to life. The latter began as bones, but skin formed and stretched over its wings and skull until it looked alive, reversing the death animation that I’d seen a dozen times before. Then they started talking to each other, then to me. Since when did dragons talk? According to what Skyrim lore I know, the shouts that I had learned that can kill people and beasts are based on words from the dragon’s language; their conversations are battles. But here were two flying lizards, right in front of me, speaking in English and not killing each other. It blew my mind.

by Mark Filipowich

9 Feb 2012


Life is slow moving and mundane, games aren’t. Therefore, games satisfy a need for speedy, direct progress. It’s difficult to point to when the idea that games exist for the sake of escapism was popularized, but in recent years, such an idea has driven much of games journalism and probably a good deal of design as well. It’s odd to think of such an expensive hobby that is so often associated with a privileged class as designed purely for escape. What could such an audience have to escape from?

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, released in 2003 for the Gameboy Advance, however, rejects the idea of games merely existing as a form of escapism. The game acknowledges the idea that many have that games are escapist and refutes it.  It’s a game about gamers and the dangers of escaping into gaming too deeply. The thesis of Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is that escapism is not just dangerous to the medium but to those of us that love it.

by Scott Juster

9 Feb 2012


This week, I take aim at an easy target: myself.  I recently reviewed Sonic CD and was a bit underwhelmed.  However, after re-reading the piece, I noticed that most of my criticisms of Sonic CD are equally applicable to Mirror’s Edge.  Both games offer fast-paced platformer experiences and both fall victim to some of the same pitfalls brought on by such a combination.  I’m on record for calling Mirror’s Edge tragically under appreciated, so I thought it might be a fun thought experiment to compare the two games in hopes of discovering why Mirror’s Edge sprints where Sonic stumbles.  Will I be able to defend my own opinions from myself?  Let’s find out.

by G. Christopher Williams

8 Feb 2012


I know that Lana Del Rey is receiving all kinds of critical backlash at present from the music community about her authenticity as an artist, her botched SNL performance, and the like.

However, one way or the other, “Video Games” is a rather beautiful song.  It strikes a pretty, but mournful tone that is full of a melancholy, uncertain nostalgia from a twenty-something-years-old artist, and it has managed to solder itself into my consciousness pretty effectively in recent days.

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