Latest Blog Posts

by Nick Dinicola

28 Oct 2016


The Cat Lady was an excellent horror game that explored depression and suicide in a way that was nuanced, thoughtful, and scary. It used its supernatural violence to evoke suicidal thoughts in players (“It’s no big deal if I’m just going to be resurrected anyways”), while at the same time arguing against suicide as a means of coping or revenge. The climax had us playing as a woman who had already successfully killed herself, trying to talk a friend out of doing the same thing. The game argued for the importance of life, even as it wallowed in the darker sides of living, showing off a world full of pain, sadness, suffering, loss, grotesque people, and inexplicable violence. Life is full of evil, and we can’t handle it by ourselves. However, The Cat Lady seems to say that we can help each other through it.

I bring up the The Cat Lady for multiple reasons. For one, it’s kind of a spin off of Downfall. The latter game was the first one from developer Harvester Games, but the former was their first one on Steam. This year, Downfall was remade and released on Steam as well. It stars Joe and Ivy Davis, who live in the same apartment complex as Susan Ashworth of The Cat Lady.

by G. Christopher Williams

24 Oct 2016


The Deed‘s conceit is that it is a murder mystery in reverse, a kind of anti-procedural, in which you plot a crime, rather than solve it.

By playing The Deed we find ourselves in the uncomfortable position of inhabiting the mind of a murderer. This week, we consider the implications of this role reversal.

by Nick Dinicola

21 Oct 2016


I’ve killed a lot of people in video games. Mostly on purpose, sometimes accidentally. It’s usually for some greater good or for survival. It’s kill or be killed out there in these virtual worlds. Occasionally there is no greater good or even any good involved. Vengeance, anger, curiosity, boredom—these are all fine reasons to kill someone in a video game. It’s not a big deal. I’m not here to pontificate on the morality of it all, I’m more interested in the ease of it all. It’s just so easy to kill someone in a video game that it’s surprising when a game makes murder difficult.

by Jorge Albor

20 Oct 2016


I thought that I knew what a rhythm game was. Even back in my PaRappa the Rapper days, rhythm games were about losing myself to the beat. It was about achieving that much sought feeling of flow. From Rock Band to AudioSurf, even at their most difficult settings, you could find a kind of zen in the performance of music. Going into Thumper with this perspective was a huge mistake.

Developed independently by Drool, Thumper is aptly called a “rhythm violence” game, a moniker I didn’t know before picking up Thumper earlier this month. The strange shapes and psychedelic colors that surround the game’s brightly winding path certainly bears a striking resemblance to other calming rhythm games. Looking just at screenshots, like I did, you’d be excused for believing the landscape was some gyrating reflection of the music meant to calm your mood and lull you into a steady musical pattern.

by G. Christopher Williams

19 Oct 2016


While staring into a mirror in the first-person, you are introduced to the character that you will be playing as in Virginia, a black female FBI agent named Anne Tarver. The first thing that you will do as Tarver is click on your bag in order to get out a tube of lipstick, which Tarver will then apply to her lips. This is the first of many indicators that one of the central themes of Virginia is identity and especially how we mask and reveal it.

This first scene precedes a ceremony initiating her into the FBI. On stage, she shakes the hand of her boss and receives applause for her inclusion in the group, an occupational identity. However, shortly thereafter, as Anne awakens for her first day on the job and readies herself in the bathroom of her apartment, she once again takes out the lipstick, hesitates, and then discards the tube in the trash can, choosing not to continue applying this feminine marker of identity.

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