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by G. Christopher Williams

22 Feb 2012


I’ve spent 68 hours in Isaac’s basement.  It’s a horrible place full of blood, vomit, and excrement.  But I keep going back.  I don’t why.

Okay, I do know why.

It’s a game about me.

by G. Christopher Williams

15 Feb 2012


The premise of The Binding of Isaac seems a skewering of religion, as the game parallels the story of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, Isaac, with tendencies towards religious mania and child abuse.  The game begins by introducing us to a more contemporary version of Isaac and his mother, an avid viewer of Christian television.  Believing that she has heard a voice from God that has instructed her to purge Isaac of evil, she aims to do so.  This request, to purge her son of evil, is put to her twice before the more ominous command to kill her son is finally given.

Thus, begins the game, a shmup and rogue-like that obviously owes something to games like Zelda, Bezerk, and Diablo.  Isaac’s attempts to escape his fate lead him to flee down a trapdoor in his room into an underworld full of grotesque monsters that he battles with his own tears (the “bullets” of this shmup).

by G. Christopher Williams

8 Feb 2012


I know that Lana Del Rey is receiving all kinds of critical backlash at present from the music community about her authenticity as an artist, her botched SNL performance, and the like.

However, one way or the other, “Video Games” is a rather beautiful song.  It strikes a pretty, but mournful tone that is full of a melancholy, uncertain nostalgia from a twenty-something-years-old artist, and it has managed to solder itself into my consciousness pretty effectively in recent days.

by G. Christopher Williams

1 Feb 2012


I do like games that celebrate little boys.

Some might argue that most games celebrate little boys, from the juvenile and madcap mayhem of Saints Row: the Third to the countless titles that allow for cooing over big breasts in bikinis or big breasts in chainmail or big breasts in chainmail bikinis.  But I’m not talking about that man-boy crap.  I’m talking about real little boys, the cool ones.

by G. Christopher Williams

18 Jan 2012


This isn’t the first time that I have felt this way while playing a Bethesda game.  A couple of years ago I wrote a blog entry about the manner in which the Fallout series felt like some sort of “to do” list simulator (Fallout, the “To Do” List Simulator”, PopMatters, 24 November 2010).

But in a sense, I don’t feel so alone in my feeling this time.  Having spent some amount of time in the world of Skyrim myself, I opened a copy of Game Informer this week to find this description of “experiencing” The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim:

At one point, I had 14 main quests and 32 miscellaneous quests active at once.  This huge list turned me into an antisocial outcast; I stopped approaching other characters for fear of getting more quests from them.  Even this strategy didn’t work, as messengers would hand me documents containing new quests, and some NPCs rewarded jobs well done with additional tasks. (Andrew Reiner, “The Elder Scrolls V: Skrim: An RPG Worth Shouting About”, Game Informer, January 2012, p. 80)

Reiner had logged “over 100 hours” of gameplay time having written that, and while I have only spent about 10-12 hours in the game’s world, I already relate to the overwhelming feeling that Skyrim evokes in providing an ever increasing list of things to do for its players.

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