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Wednesday, Nov 26, 2014
In The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, the body is wrecked and made ugly for the sake of freedom from fear. Instead, it becomes something fearful in its own right.

Any game of The Binding of Isaac begins with a naked little boy whose eyes are streaming with tears. Every successful ending to a game of The Binding of Isaac ends with a grotesque monstrosity whose eyes are streaming with tears.


The titular protagonist of The Binding of Isaac is like many video game characters, a kind of paperdoll. In this game, though, the bare canvas that the player begins the game with, this naked little boy, perhaps, makes that function of the video game character as a form of dress up doll that much clearer.


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Wednesday, Nov 12, 2014
Moonkid is a story about not saving the world. That is, it is a story more universal, perhaps, than those more often told by most video games.

Save the world. Save the princess. Save yourself. Moonkid is a video game about what you can’t do. It isn’t a power fantasy. It’s a fantasy of powerlessness.


It’s appropriate that the titular character, Moonkid, is the role that the player takes on in a story about not saving the world. After all, a child represents the opposite of what most video game characters normally do. Children are vulnerable, often incapable, lacking in skills and abilities that we think are requisite to accomplishing “important” tasks. Instead, children bear witness to the world.


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Wednesday, Nov 5, 2014
I don't have a problem if you want to play Grand Theft Auto from a first person perspective. Knock yourself out. But I won't be doing so anytime soon.

So, a trailer appeared yesterday that indicates that the forthcoming release of Grand Theft Auto V for the newest generation of consoles will include a mode in which you can play the game from a first person perspective.


Which is fine, I guess.


I’m sure that there are fans of the series out there for whom this announcement will provoke great excitement, players who really love a first person playstyle and would love to experience one of Rockstar’s open world from this perspective. Which, again, is fine. I don’t have a problem with the option to play the game from different perspectives. Knock yourself out.


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Wednesday, Sep 24, 2014
In the images of its aftermath, the act of violence is celebrated as an act of spectacular physical prowess and moral potency.

It’s one of the more exciting gunfight sequences in recent cinema. Having just witnessed the death of his mentor, Django Freeman, a former slave and a man searching for his wife and revenge against her captors, takes on all comers in a gun battle on the first floor of a plantation house.


It’s a sequence that is defined by Quentin Tarantino’s love for blaxploitation cinema, a genre interested in representing empowerment and justice through spectacles of violence. In this scene in Django Unchained, Django proves his worth and even the just nature of his cause in his proficiency in exacting revenge against his oppressors. Cowboys die in droves, blood splatters the walls, and his killing spree is only halted by a threat of violence against his wife, the woman he loves and his chief motivation for action throughout the movie.


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Wednesday, Sep 10, 2014
Time and efficiency are most often the factor that creates tension in a zombie story, which is about when you will be overwhelmed and then if you have enough time to prepare to do something about it. So where is the source of tension in Dead Rising 3?

It’s always a comfort to me after the advent of a zombie apocalypse to know that I can make a quick stop off at home to pick up a fiery scythe or a sawed off shotgun with a machete mounted on it (or both for that matter) to fend off the undead hordes.


Certainly any game that features the ability to light a scythe on fire or strap a light machine gun to a teddy bear to create a cute, portable gun turret is, of course, not one committed in any way to some form of grim and gritty realism. The Dead Rising games do not share the serious tone of another zombie-infused series like The Walking Dead, in which the need for a survivalist philosophy in the face of an overwhelming threat leads to players making difficult moral and sociopolitical decisions. The only “tough” decisions that you will have to make in Dead Rising 3 are things like whether to use that stoplight that you jury rigged to shoot arcs of electricity to destroy the shambling monstrosities that surround you or to instead use the other similarly jury rigged stoplight that you seem to carry around in your back pocket that belches fire—at least this time out.


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