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by G. Christopher Williams

2 May 2012


This post contains major spoilers for Fez.

A lot of people think that Herman Melville’s Moby Dick is about whale hunting, which it is.  However, it is really more about hunting.

The part of the novel that never makes it to the silver screen is a whole lot of chapters about whales in general: the biology of whales, the history of mens’ encounters with whales, how whales are seen in religion, etc., etc.  And there are a lot of etcetras, dozens and dozens of “off topic” chapters.

by G. Christopher Williams

18 Apr 2012


I always thought that the element that I hated most in video games was ice.  I loathe ice levels.  Anything that snatches fine and precise control from the player, whose character goes slipping and sliding towards the edge of some abyss sets my teeth on edge.  There is nothing fun about an ice level.

For a number of years, I’ve assumed that I would one day write an essay on my hatred of ice levels, a hatred that I think that many gamers share with me.  However, I’ve recently noticed that while ice can be annoying that 1) such levels rarely appear in the games that I play anymore and 2) I think that there is something that I hate worse than ice: fire.

by G. Christopher Williams

11 Apr 2012


I recently read Mike Schiller’s first post in his “Ambassdorship” series, a series of blog posts looking at 20 retro Nintendo games “offered by the 3DS Ambassador program” (“The Limits of Nostalgia: Ice Climber, Unlimited Lives, 6 April 2012).  In that post, Schiller discusses his relationship to the 1985 NES game, Ice Climber, a game that he had especially fond memories of playing when he was younger but that he has less appreciation for now, finding that “it’s unremarkable even in an eight-bit context.”

Now, I did own Ice Climber for the NES myself, and I, like Mike, have rather wistful memories of playing the game. At the time (and really now as well), I personally had a preference for video games that were more end-goal oriented, games that offered some sort of narrative resolution as a prize for beating them. For me, the true gems on the system were games like Super Mario Bros., Zelda, and even Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!! as opposed to games like Mario Bros., Popeye, or even the tremendously well scored Spyhunter—all of which were more like endless arcade titles (appropriately enough, given that all of these titles are arcade ports). Nevertheless, Ice Climber is the game that I might rank as my favorite game that lacked an end-goal, that created an arcade-like experience in which the player kept climbing for the sake of climbing and for, of course, the sake of points. Though that was not the only reason that one climbed.

by G. Christopher Williams

28 Mar 2012


This post contains spoilers for some of the possible outcomes in Mass Effect 3.  Some might argue that I have already spoiled part of the game with the title of this essay.  However, I could just as easily be discussing Mass Effect 2 or Mass Effect 3.  Frankly, anyone with an interest in reading discussions of any Mass Effect should realize, though, that the death of squadmate in these games is something that may or may not happen anyway.  I’m just warning you about the fact that I’m getting into the details of a possibility.  That such possibilities exist should come as no real surprise.  Oh, I also spoil a major plot point from a game that is 15 years old.

When Tali died, I so wanted to go back to my last save point.

by G. Christopher Williams

21 Mar 2012


It might be just me (and admittedly I hear that thanks to a very different vocal performance by Jennifer Hale that playing as a female Shepard creates a very different tone for the Mass Effect series) but on loading up Mass Effect 3 all I could think was, “Damn, this is a macho game.”

Okay, it wasn’t on loading the game up.  It was really a sense that emerged when participating in the first in-depth conversation (in-depth conversation being a hallmark of the series and of the Bioware oeuvre)  in the game with one of Shepard’s crew members, James, that I started getting this very macho vibe from the game.

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