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by G. Christopher Williams

10 Nov 2010


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).

by Kris Ligman

9 Nov 2010


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?

by G. Christopher Williams

7 Nov 2010


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.

by Nick Dinicola

5 Nov 2010


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.

by Scott Juster

4 Nov 2010


I recently visited Nintendo’s website commemorating the 25th anniversary of Super Mario Bros. to see how the company was publicly celebrating the milestone. It was reassuring to see Nintendo upholding and embracing the unapologetic quirkiness of its signature franchise. The growing collection of retrospective videos, speed runs, secret techniques, and glitches convey a nice sense of nostalgia while illustrating the series’s long tradition of challenging the player while encouraging experimentation and exploration.

While the site is a nice trip down memory lane, I think the most interesting aspect is the information that Nintendo has chosen not to include. Seeing as how Super Mario is perhaps the most prolific video game character ever, the relatively small number of games showcased as part of the anniversary is striking. By selectively including only certain Super Mario games to as part of the retrospective, Nintendo seems to be fashioning a canon of core titles.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

Double Take: 'The French Connection' (1971)

// Short Ends and Leader

"You pick your feet in Poughkeepsie, and we pick The French Connection for Double Take #18.

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