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Wednesday, Jan 22, 2014
The final boss of Grand Theft Auto V is Mitt Romney's 1%.

In Grand Theft Auto‘s past, the “final boss” of any of these games was something relatively expected, a crime boss, perhaps, or maybe a corrupt cop that has been hassling the protagonist throughout the course of the game. Such an antagonist makes sense overall, since essentially what one plays as in a Grand Theft Auto title is a criminal entrepreneur, a street level hustler that has enough ambition to climb the ladder of the American economy through criminal enterprise. Thus, the crime lord or the corrupt cop are his rivals, his competition, interested in acquiring the same dirty money that the protagonist aims his sights on.

Of late, Quentin Tarantino’s films have moved thematically towards the motif of the revenge fantasy (unsurprising, perhaps, as Tarantino seems to be returning to his roots, the films that he was most influenced by growing up, the revenge fantasies that are often the central focus of blaxploitation cinema). First, he made a Jewish revenge fantasy in which a Jewish woman got the opportunity to rewrite history by killing Hitler. Then, came his African American revenge fantasy, in which a former slave got the opportunity to assassinate plantation owners. Grand Theft Auto V would fit nicely into the Tarantino oeuvre, amounting as it does to a populist revenge fantasy.

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Wednesday, Jan 15, 2014
Nobody needs to know when a hobbit goes to the bathroom. Even Tolkien knew that.

Despite my preferred genre of book at the time being largely mystery, somehow I ended up reading The Lord of the Rings when I was fairly young. I want to say that I was somewhere between 12 and 14 when I first journeyed with Frodo from the Shire all the way to the foot of Mount Doom.

The initial part of the journey was a fairly good one. Despite hearing that the prose of The Lord of the Rings is fairly off putting to younger readers, I read through the first book in the trilogy, Fellowship of the Ring, at a pretty good clip. While Tolkien’s pacing is often slow, I found the formation and breakdown of the fellowship to be pretty page turning stuff. Then, I got to The Two Towers.

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Wednesday, Jan 8, 2014
Ice Pick Lodge has ported a childhood game, Hide and Seek, to the PC. In doing so, they acknowledge the terror that lies in being seen, in being found out.

Despite its surreal images and obscure plotline, as a game, Knock-Knock is built on a simple foundation. The game’s developers, Ice Pick Lodge, have ported a childhood game, Hide and Seek, to the PC. In doing so, they acknowledge the terror that lies in being seen, in being found out.

The protagonist of Knock-Knock is an insomniac known as the Lodger, who is haunted by (and hiding out from) a past that he claims that he doesn’t even remember clearly. Living alone in a house deep within a forest and miles from any kind of civilization, the Lodger spends his nights in a fog of semi-somnambulism, desperately attempting to put his house back in order.

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Wednesday, Dec 18, 2013
Edmund McMillen's A.V.G.M. is a test of fortitude and relies on the assumption that gamers are unwilling to resist their own masturbatory instincts.

Edmund McMillen and Tyler Glaiel’s 2010 entry into the 48 Hour Global Game Jam, A.V.G.M. has simple enough instructions. The game’s initial screen consists of a bare room drawn in black and white, which includes only a single window and a light switch on the far right hand side of the room. An arrow indicates that switch and the text that accompanies it explains everything that you need to know to play the game: “Click the switch to make items appear. Click and drag items to move them.”

The instructions are plain enough, while the game itself is sadistic, grotesque, and twisted (as one might expect from McMillen, the designer of Super Meat Boy, The Binding of Isaac, and even a game called Cunt).

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Wednesday, Dec 11, 2013
The Wolf Among Us's quick time events typify the hard boiled genre better than any elegant combat system would or than any analytically driven puzzle solving might. Moments less to be won than to be survived or endured.

While I’m aware that a lot of people are pretty pleased with Telltale Games’s handling of The Wolf Among Us, I remain (at least presently) more enamored with their handling of The Walking Dead than this newest Fables property.

Part of my issue (again, at least presently) is that the protagonist of The Wolf Among Us, Bigby Wolf, and his supporting cast just seem to lack the same compelling interest that Lee Everett and his fragile charge Clementine did, as do the significance of the decisions, both practical and moral, that became the hallmark of Telltale’s previous amazingly emotive and well crafted game.

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