Latest Blog Posts

by G. Christopher Williams

1 Jun 2011


One of the common complaints about L.A.Noire is the sense that players have of the title being more an example of interactive fiction than of it being a game.  Certainly there is something to this observation, as despite having some tactical shooting elements (especially in its secondary missions), most of L.A. Noire‘s gameplay boils down to activities that do not require successful mastery of the game’s mechanics.  Both the actions of searching for clues and interrogating suspects do not really have a fail state.  If you do not turn up all of the clues in a case or if you fail to properly deduce whether you should trust a suspect’s response, doubt it, or accuse that person of lying, you will still ultimately resolve any given case that Cole Phelps is investigating.

Again, certainly your performance will be evaluated by the close of the case (which speaks a bit to a more game-like quality to the overall experience, as “following the rules” results in being acknowledged as a “better detective”), nevertheless, success, like justice (in the game’s world apparently), is inevitable.  You can get through the entire story (barring the initial tutorial interrogation, which does require correct answers to move forward) by being the least competent detective in the world.  The story will unfold, as it were, despite you.

by Kerrie Mills

1 Jun 2011


I should establish right up front that it’s not that I don’t seriously value Wikipedia. Quite the contrary.

Those that do not—I suspect—are mostly people not old enough (or perhaps not trivia-loving enough) to remember back when gathering info on the most picayune of subjects involved a race to see if you could get to the library card-file drawers before the mice did. At least, you hoped it was mice.

If you didn’t actually feel like playing “name that mystery stain” that day, and you wanted more than the most cursory People profile on your latest pop-cult obsession, you had to go inquire of a person whose body language totally blared “I just got out of the convent, and what do you want?!” in giant neon letters. Then, of course, it turned out—once the first computerized catalogues sputtered into greenish pixilated life—that the convent had not offered IS courses.

Trust me, kiddies, it was awful.

by Kris Ligman

31 May 2011


My first attempt at Dragon Age: Origins fell short before I left the prologue. I was bothered about having rolled a dark-skinned city elf only for my family to turn out to be all visibly white, and I was further bothered by the city elves’ oppression compounded by the casual rape and murder exacted by our human “betters.” I closed the game and re-rolled as a rough and tumble thug within the dwarven underclass of Orzammar. My sister was still a prostitute, but at least this opening lacked the tinge of endless rape and degradation of the city elf origin.

I really enjoyed playing that casteless dwarf. I wore my Dust Town brand with pride when I crushed the best warriors in the city beneath my armored heel. On the surface, no one noticed my class and often enough tended to forget I was even a dwarf by the time that I was running them through with a blade. Dwarven merchants Bodahn and Sandal never commented on my tattoo, which I thought was plum nice of them. In no time at all, I was wooing prince’s hearts, running around in King Cailin’s armor and converting to Andrastianism, so satisfied I was that the game gave me openings to defy the constraints of the dwarven caste system without shunting me back into another system of oppression.

by Nick Dinicola

27 May 2011


L.A. Noire embraces the frustrating trend of shipping with retailer exclusive pre-order bonuses. Depending on where you order the game from, you’ll get one of four exclusive cases. There’s one unique to Best Buy, Wallmart, GameStop, and one for the PS3. The most annoying thing about these “deals” is that the content is digital and could easily be made available to everyone, but business politics dictate that they remain exclusive for a set amount of time. The upside to this situation is that L.A. Noire has also embraced a different kind of pre-order bonus, a physical product that allows us to experience the game in a new setting: the real world. GameStop’s exclusive Badge Pursuit Challenge is more alternate reality game than video game and that makes it far more entertaining than any extra in-game case.

by Jorge Albor

26 May 2011


Beginning June 10th, impromptu teams of game designers, programmers, artists, humanitarian aid experts, philanthropists, and anyone with a passion for changing the world will participate in GameSave, a “hack-a-thon” like competition to develop disaster response games. Over five weeks, small collections of thinkers and do-gooders will brainstorm, design, and produce games that might save lives. With a 48-hour jam session in Seattle, Washington, a final public reception in San Francisco, and potential GameSave events in the future, creators Annie Wright and Willow Brugh aim to make entertainment and humanitarian aid long-term partners. The two GameSave founders graciously took some time with me to discuss the event and the role that games can play in mitigating the impact of disaster,

PopMatters: Can you explain how the idea for GameSave came about?

Annie Wright: Well, basically it was a comment thread on a Gamer Melodico article. I shared it via Google Reader. I believe it was actually about PAX East coverage.

Willow Brugh: It turned into this fantastic conversation, and going back to face to face time, Annie and I wanted to sit down to talk about it.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

You Should Dance Like Gene Kelly Today

// Global Graffiti

"In the glut of new "holidates", April and May offer two holidays celebrating the millions who preserve and promote the art of dance

READ the article