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by G. Christopher Williams

15 Jun 2011


While a lot has been said about the infamous “No Russian” chapter of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (indeed, I had my say shortly after the game released in 2009), perhaps less has been written about some of the other sequences in the game, like the chapters that concern defending the homefront.

In large part, I am thinking of the “Wolverines” chapter but also a few of the others that concern defending suburbia from the Russian horde.  What made me think of these chapters again was watching the E3 Microsoft media briefing, which featured some live gameplay of Modern Warfare 3.  A brief moment in the playthrough featured the player surfacing off the coast of what I assume to be the United States and sighting the ruined skyline of a major U.S. city (New York, I think?).

It seems that the Modern Warfare series is interested in some way in “personalizing” the experience of combat for the player by placing him in environments that feel like home, both unsettling the player but also evoking a strong emotional reaction as a result of the realization that what he is doing is defending a space that, for most middle class Americans, feels normally pretty secure.

by G. Christopher Williams

8 Jun 2011


While this week is all E3 news and its ensuing gaming press hullabaloo, I thought that I’d take a minute to point out a few podcasts that exist outside the standard enthusiast press. While by no means a comprehensive list of some of the good podcasts that are out there, these are a few of the shows that I enjoy listening to regularly that tend to go beyond merely talking about the latest games but, instead, consider games in more depth, from a variety of angles, and usually with an eye towards analysis and critique, rather than mere evaluation. In a word, these are a group of the more thoughtful podcasts out there on gaming.

So, if you’re looking for some smart discussion on video games while you are out and about this summer, these are a few podcasts that you might want to have a listen to.

by G. Christopher Williams

1 Jun 2011


One of the common complaints about L.A.Noire is the sense that players have of the title being more an example of interactive fiction than of it being a game.  Certainly there is something to this observation, as despite having some tactical shooting elements (especially in its secondary missions), most of L.A. Noire‘s gameplay boils down to activities that do not require successful mastery of the game’s mechanics.  Both the actions of searching for clues and interrogating suspects do not really have a fail state.  If you do not turn up all of the clues in a case or if you fail to properly deduce whether you should trust a suspect’s response, doubt it, or accuse that person of lying, you will still ultimately resolve any given case that Cole Phelps is investigating.

Again, certainly your performance will be evaluated by the close of the case (which speaks a bit to a more game-like quality to the overall experience, as “following the rules” results in being acknowledged as a “better detective”), nevertheless, success, like justice (in the game’s world apparently), is inevitable.  You can get through the entire story (barring the initial tutorial interrogation, which does require correct answers to move forward) by being the least competent detective in the world.  The story will unfold, as it were, despite you.

by G. Christopher Williams

18 May 2011


Asked to test a feature in the alpha stages of a game, the player takes on the role of a blue square that can move and jump in Jonas Kyratzes’s Alphaland, and I’m going to stop right there.  To discuss the game any further is to spoil essentially the whole plot.  However, it isn’t the plot that I am really all that concerned with spoiling but with the experience of that plot.  So, I’m just going to stop right here and suggest that if you have not played Alphaland that you do so before reading any further.  You can find the game at New Grounds, and it will probably only take 10-15 minutes to play.

by G. Christopher Williams

4 May 2011


This discussion does contain spoilers for Portal 2

While the first Portal has certainly interested critics with its tendency to highlight gender dynamics, especially because it is one of the few games that puts women exclusively in its leading roles (in its case, featuring a female character in both the role of protagonist and antagonist), Portal 2 moves beyond simply considering the power relationships among women themselves to consider more broadly how gender plays a role in games of power.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

The Sound and the Warmth: An Interview with Cardiknox

// Sound Affects

"New York's Cardiknox are taking more steps in their goal of world domination. With their debut record Portrait out, the band are dreaming big, wanting to transcend the indie pop scene.

READ the article