Latest Blog Posts

by G. Christopher Williams

28 Sep 2011


Okay, so maybe on the face of it, a game like Zynga’s Cityville (one of many spin offs of the wildly popular Farmville) and Sid Meier’s Civilization World (a transformation of the classic video game into a social game format) only vaguely have some things in common.

Both games focus on the development of cities, creating buildings and growing populations, in order to show your opponents that your civilization is superior to theirs. 

But wait a sec, CivWorld is obviously a game about showing off your prowess in evolving a superior civilization, while Cityville is a co-operative playground in which I own my own city, build it, and help others in building their own cities. There’s no competition in Cityville, right?

Not so fast, though, while CivWorld might be more of a traditional “game” in that it has an end goal, a way to win, along with clear rules about how to achieve that win, really there is a potentially more subtle competitive aspect that underlies Cityville as well. And frankly that aspect of competition is why Cityville‘s monetization will probably remain more financially lucrative for Zynga than CivWorld ever will be for 2K Games.

by G. Christopher Williams

21 Sep 2011


This discussion of Dead Island contains several major spoilers of the game’s main plot points.  You have been warned.

After all of the buzz following the release of its often maligned, but more often admired trailer (see below), I have cynically assumed that Dead Island, as a game, would probably not share the emotional weight of said trailer.  And I was more or less right.

by G. Christopher Williams

14 Sep 2011


I grew up in an odd era, in which when you wanted someone to play with, you walked down the block (or biked if it was a couple blocks) over to a friend’s house and knocked on their door to ask some scary adult person if Johnny could come out and play.  As dangerous as such a practice is in our more progressive age, in which we clearly know that children’s playtime needs to be rigidly scheduled in what are detestably called “play dates”, nevertheless, I personally parent my own children in a manner quite similar to my own upbringing.  When one of them is bored, I suggest biking over to a friend’s house to see if they are available, all on their own.

Strangely, none of my children are dead yet.  And they also function independently pretty well in a pinch.

by G. Christopher Williams

7 Sep 2011


I’m pretty sure that I am on record (in one of the early episodes of the Moving Pixels podcast) as having said something along the lines of the idea that I believe that any discussions of video games being art really emerged alongside the evolution of more sophisticated storytelling in games.  In other words, no one was really talking about games being art as they were playing Combat on their Atari 2600 or as they were gobbling up ghosts in the arcade.  However, once games like Portal and Bioshock arrived the discussion began in earnest.

That being said, I have heard an insistence from a number of video game critics that it is only games with narratives that can be discussed as being art or as being artful.  After all, stories convey messages about the nature of the human condition or speak to relevant social issues and the like.  Tetris doesn’t say a whole lot about anything, right?

by G. Christopher Williams

31 Aug 2011


Coco Chanel is often attributed with the phrase “before you leave the house, take one thing off.”  I’ve always felt that this was a sensible idea in fashion, and as someone who writes about various arts: literature, film, video games, etc,, and as someone who practices the art of writing, it also seems a sensible approach to revision and editing in most instances (though it is a tough one to master, as this overly long sentence testifies to).  It is, of course, easy enough when you are creating something to get carried away in attempting to add more, more, more and lose a sense that simplicity is sometimes best.

This phrase has come back to me a lot over the week or so that I have spent playing Deus Ex: Human Revolution, a game that (while I admittedly admire an awful lot) I think might do well to listen to Coco.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

Indie Horror Month 2016: Diving into 'Reveal the Deep'

// Moving Pixels

"In Reveal the Deep, the light only makes you more aware of the darkness

READ the article