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by Nick Dinicola

15 Oct 2010


I’ve never wanted to play a Facebook game. This is probably due to a combination of factors, the two biggest being my indifference to Facebook in general and my dislike of the mouse as a controller. However, in the past few weeks, I’ve logged on to Facebook more times than I have in the past several years, all because of Project Legacy, the Assassin’s Creed Facebook game.

I love the Assassin’s Creed series, so I’m not surprised that it’s the catalyst that got me gaming on Facebook. What is surprising is how the developer managed to translate the Assassin’s Creed experience from an open-world adventure to what feels like a menu-driven RPG.

by Jorge Albor

14 Oct 2010


Gamers are used to the grandeur of large scale environments. It seems the sheer size of a game world is one measurement of the success of Triple-A titles. The same can be said of many films that aim to enthrall viewers in a vast landscape, fantastical or otherwise. Admittedly, there is a strong visual appeal to enormity. The visual spectacle of Lord of the Rings conveys the magnitude of the film’s quest. Similarly, swooping down over a valley in Dark Void or traversing an open desert in Red Dead Redemption can evoke an overwhelming sense of awe or even solitude.

Conversely, there is an entire sub-genre of adventure games that emphasize small enclosed spaces: “escape the room” puzzles. Most of these are flash based games playable in a browser. They are some of the hardest and most complex gaming experiences available, which have earned them a massive and devoted fan base. These games also have their film counterparts, some of which succeed in many ways that these games have not. These confined experiences, some isolated to just a single room, evoke entirely different sensations than huge and sweeping tales and can teach us a great deal about game design as well.

by G. Christopher Williams

13 Oct 2010


I lack imagination. I know that now.

Playing Minecraft has taught me something: I don’t know how to play.

However, by that, I don’t mean that I don’t know how to play Minecraft. I mean that I don’t know how to play. At all.

Maybe I should explain.

by Kris Ligman

12 Oct 2010


Kingdom Hearts. What was once regarded as an ambitious and experimental mixture of East and West animation traditions now seems to have completely separated like oil from water in its latest installment, Birth by Sleep. So what happened?

by L.B. Jeffries

12 Oct 2010


Due to a massive increase in my workload, I’m not going to be able to keep posting regularly on Moving Pixels. This blog has been a wonderful creative outlet for the past few years, and I’ve learned a great deal about games and writing while working here. Thank you for your time.

For this final post, I’ve decided to offer a few tips and tricks for writing about game design. When I started writing about video games, I relied on a mostly “narrative-centric” approach. I think this is very normal for people because we’re all familiar with content and discussing it. We do it when we talk about books, television, or movies, and it’s natural to apply those skills to video games. From the writer’s and publisher’s perspective, it also makes better business sense because more readers will understand what you’re saying if you focus on content. The issue is that not every game really fits into this single perspective. A lot of them don’t have plots or have stupid ones, but their gameplay is still superb. Sometimes people will glorify the story of a game far beyond its meager offerings just because they like the gameplay, or worse, give it a low score because the plot is silly despite the game’s quality. It’s for this reason that I think the best game critics are ones that can handle multiple approaches to a video game depending on if it’s a story game or a design-oriented experience.

Most people understand game design when you talk to them about it in terms of what they like or dislike, but the actual discourse as the critic begins to examine the nitty gritty details can be so mechanical that often readers are understandably put off by the process. You’re just rattling off rules, after all. There’s also the more fundamental question of how you go about criticizing a game’s design without devolving into just whining about difficulty or frustration. Here are some of my personal tips on writing a design-centric article. To keep things accessible, I made spiffy headers and will offer a brief explanation for each point as I go.

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