Latest Blog Posts

by Nick Dinicola

9 Mar 2012

I’ve already written at length about the mechanics of AMY. While the narrative isn’t worth writing about, the game still has a few fascinating quirks worth exploring. Specifically, its use of gender.

Featuring women and children in a horror story is nothing new. Lana and Amy’s relationship is interesting on a mechanical level, but it’s too shallow on a character or narrative level to act as any kind of commentary on gender in horror. In fact, AMY doesn’t do anything new with gender roles, but it’s interesting because it offers such an obvious example of how both genders are portrayed in survival-horror games.

by Scott Juster

8 Mar 2012

I’ve finally been able to sink some time into the God of War: Origins Collection for the PlayStation 3 after picking it up last fall.  The package contains remastered versions of Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta, the two PSP God of War games.  I’m an unapologetic fan of the series, but I had my doubts going in.  Could a portable version of God of War even work?  Such fears were quickly laid to rest.  Both games are great.  Feelings of doubt were replaced with feelings of regret.  These games are great and I should have bought a PSP!  And since the PlayStation Vita is basically Sony’s attempt at doubling down on the PSP philosophy (traditional console game experiences on a high-tech handheld), maybe I should make the trip to Vita-ville?

Thankfully, a little more time with the games and their unique take on Greek mythology brought me to a realization: much of the traditional handheld market is under the spell of a siren’s song, one that distracts us from the strengths of mobile platforms.

by Mark Filipowich

7 Mar 2012

Much of the discourse from proponents of the “video games are art” position is centered on the medium’s interactivity as its distinguishing advantage. Audience participation, as it were, is the reason why games exist. No other mode of storytelling so often depends on the actions, reactions, and experiences of its audience as the work is engaged with. Even the most linear or simplistic game is communicated through the player’s progress in the world, not through passive consumption. But fixating on how the player experiences a work means that the player’s continued entertainment is necessary for the story to progress. In other words, there must always be something for the player to keep doing, leaving only the briefest moments to reflect.

Any form of language requires that a thing is “doing something” in a sentence and any story must communicate in some form of language. Therefore, any story must be about a thing doing stuff. But the way that an introspective paragraph, a lingering shot on a scene, the expression on an actor’s face, or the illustration in a panel in a comic tells a story is a way that often seems too slow for games. Specifically, games seem like they must be fast paced and straightforward. There are plenty of logical plots, interesting settings, strong characters, and poignant themes in games, but they must all be rushed through to serve gameplay [Unless you are Hideo Kojima—ed.]. The assumption seems to be that the player must always have a carrot dangling in front of them at all times.

by Eric Swain

6 Mar 2012

Driver: San Francisco is a fun game. Fun should always be qualified, but I stand by this. Driver: San Francisco is an exhilarating, enjoyable, fluid experience that doesn’t compromise on its intelligence. I’ve gone on at length in multiple places on the various aspects underpinning the game on a textual and subtextual level that for me make it stand out as one of the best games of last year and the best game that no one seemed to champion. In light of all that and in my delight to dig deep on this racing game, I have skimped on detailing all of the surface level aspects of the game that make Driver worth one’s attention in the first place.

The driving featured in the game is arcade racing at its highest level with the right level of bombast to still feel grounded in the game world. The entire design of the game exists to facilitate the player’s flow. The choice of presenting the player an open world to drive in means that you are never “out of the game” and are always present doing something. The shift ability that allows you to jump from car to car is not only there to help should you crash and wreck a car, but it also exists as a means to get around breaking the flow of the game with time spent in menus. See a car that you want to drive? It is a button press away. Do you need a different car for a challenge or simply want something tighter or faster to suit your style? Go ahead and grab it. Even if you are looking for something specific and it isn’t in the immediate vicinity, the act of flying around the streets checking out each car as you pass it has its own visceral thrill to it.

by G. Christopher Williams

5 Mar 2012

Angry Video Game Nerd, Jarko Naas, deviantART

This week the Moving Pixels podcast is joined by former Digital Cowboy and current host of the Digital Gonzo podcast Alex Shaw to discuss the changing face of the gamer.

When a game full of dungeons and dragons can sell to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars on release (yes, we’re looking at you, Skyrim), it seems that what was once perceived as a hobby for freaks and geeks may “belong” to a slightly broader slice of the general culture than it used to.  We consider generational shifts in attitudes towards gamers, the advent of social gaming, and the inclusivity and exclusivity that gaming as a past time may or may not have come to represent as a cultural practice as we have moved into the twenty-first century.

//Mixed media

Indie Horror Month 2016: Executing 'The Deed'

// Moving Pixels

"It's just so easy to kill someone in a video game that it's surprising when a game makes murder difficult.

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