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by G. Christopher Williams

31 Aug 2011


Coco Chanel is often attributed with the phrase “before you leave the house, take one thing off.”  I’ve always felt that this was a sensible idea in fashion, and as someone who writes about various arts: literature, film, video games, etc,, and as someone who practices the art of writing, it also seems a sensible approach to revision and editing in most instances (though it is a tough one to master, as this overly long sentence testifies to).  It is, of course, easy enough when you are creating something to get carried away in attempting to add more, more, more and lose a sense that simplicity is sometimes best.

This phrase has come back to me a lot over the week or so that I have spent playing Deus Ex: Human Revolution, a game that (while I admittedly admire an awful lot) I think might do well to listen to Coco.

by G. Christopher Williams

30 Aug 2011


This week G. Christopher Williams and Nick Dinicola form a dynamic duo of flash game playin’, flash game analyzin’, and flash game discussin’ excitement.

We take a look at three of 2011’s more interesting releases, Jonas Kyratzes’s Alphaland, Thomas Brush’s Skinny, and Sarah Northway’s Rebuild.  Two of the titles are platformers and one is a turn-based strategy game, and they feature anxious video game worlds in progress, scary mommy AIs, and, of course, the hungry zombie hordes.

by Mark Filipowich

29 Aug 2011


Last week, G. Christopher Williams wrote an article explaining that games may not be art because the interactivity of games mutates the relationship between audience and work. The essay speaks better for itself than I ever could but an interesting point that came up was that those arguing games are “just games” should not be so readily dismissed.

Here at Popmatters we spend a lot of time talking about how games can be considered art or at least the artistic merits of some noteworthy games. However, for all the articles discussing how the relationship between player and game works or how a title uses a certain trope, there are few essays about “just games.” If there’s a modern instance of “just a game,” it’s League of Legends.

by Nick Dinicola

26 Aug 2011


Fellow Moving Pixels writer G. Christopher Williams already has a solid claim to the title of “Flash Game Guru.” I can’t compete, but perhaps I can try to stake my claim to a similar title, mine involving Xbox indie games. I’ve written before about some of my favorite indie games on the LIVE Marketplace, so in an attempt to claim my own title, here are three more games from my ever-growing collection of Xbox indie games that I can’t get enough of.

by Scott Juster

25 Aug 2011


Discussions about video games are routinely constrained by “spoilers.”  People go to great lengths to tiptoe around major (usually plot-related) components of games for fear they will negatively impact those yet to play them.  A couple weeks ago, a study conducted by Jonathan Leavitt and Nicholas Christenfeld of UC San Diego was published that suggested this focus on avoiding spoilers may be unnecessary and “giving away surprises makes readers like stories better” (“Story Spoilers Don’t Spoil Stories”, Psychological Science, 12 August 2011, p. 2).

In the spirit of the research, I guess I should say this up front: while the study is entertaining and provocative, I think its contention that “Story Spoilers Don’t Spoil Stories” is premature.  If anything, the study illustrates the difficulties of trying to empirically measure enjoyment and the dangers of imprecise definitions of pleasure.  Video games, perhaps more so than any other medium, are defined by the exploration, discovery, and the learning process.  Because of this, spoilers often detract from what makes video games special.

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You Should Dance Like Gene Kelly Today

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