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by G. Christopher Williams

26 Oct 2011


Returning to a bloodstain, a virtual scar marking the world of Dark Souls is a common enough occurrence.  The game’s box announces to the player, “Prepare to Die!”, after all.

Dying is an essential experience in Dark Souls, as it seemingly is in most video games, where an understanding of extra lives and of health bars are an essential part of living in virtual worlds.

by Mark Filipowich

25 Oct 2011


According to the romantics, imagination is the means of crossing into the spiritual and returning with a message of Truth.  The poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley writes that: “Reason is to Imagination as the instrument to the agent . . . the shadow to the substance.” For the romantics, poetry (defined usually as expressive language and including prose and music) reveals eternal truths whereas other disciplines only measure finite and temporary facts. Poetry was a looking glass for the soul and held messages from the divine. However out of vogue that thinking is now, in the Dragon Age universe, it seems that this sense of romanticism holds considerable weight and that the two poet figures, Leliana and Verric (figured here as as bards), are elevated to a romantic status.

Whatever is going on in Dragon Age, be it racial tension, religious corruption, or class warfare, the figure of the poet remains untouched. Just as the romantics and their descendents argued, Dragon Age portrays a world in which poets have privileged knowledge, an almost prophetic understanding of their world and societies. They feel more deeply and are more in tune with a power that supposedly everyone has access to.

by G. Christopher Williams

24 Oct 2011


So, as my colleague in podcasting, Rick Dakan, observed, this week’s episode is a little self indulgent (but that’s okay, I guess, as I just wrote a little about the relationship between self indulgence and gaming last week).

We have been wanting to discuss a bit about how it is that “the gamer” identity is formed, so we spent some time chatting a bit about our own relationship to games and gaming and how we came to play the ways that we do.  We consider our relationship to chess, sports, board games, and RPGs and what these things might have to do with who we are.  Confessional as some of this discussion might be, there are some interesting similarities that emerge between our experience of growing up as gamers.

by Nick Dinicola

21 Oct 2011


Death is rarely scary in games, mainly because it’s so common. As with anything else that we experience multiple times, death loses its impact. This is an obvious dilemma for horror games. Death is only scary when we don’t die. But when a horror game embraces this contradiction and helps the player stay alive for as long as possible, it becomes truly terrifying in a way that few games can manage.

by Scott Juster

20 Oct 2011


A couple weeks ago, Jorge and I embarked on a journey.  With full wallets, empty bellies, and half-tucked shirts, we journeyed to Subway.  Purchasing some food allowed us to stave off hunger and gain early access to Uncharted 3‘s multiplayer.  I was particularly fond of the beta, so this was an opportunity to get another chance to check out the full mode as well as to test a relatively new means of promoting and marketing a game.  Now that I’ve had the time to play the game a bit more and to reflect on the promotion itself, I feel like my opinion regarding fast food sums up the Uncharted 3 multiplayer early access experience. It was immediately satisfying, but I fear it’s ultimately unhealthy.

//Mixed media
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Bad Graphics Are Still Impressive in ‘Spirits of Xanadu’

// Moving Pixels

"Spirits of Xanadu wrings emotion and style out of its low fidelity graphics.

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