Latest Blog Posts

by G. Christopher Williams

14 Sep 2016

I’ve been following the evolution of Pokemon Go fairly closely for the past couple of months. I like the game, and I especially like the game as a social experience (for example, see my recent article ”Field Observations from a Non-Pokemon Go Player”).

I have watched the game since its initial launch and have seen the unprecedented numbers of Pokehunters that emerged to play the game at its launch. Even as player interest has dropped off and players have dropped out of the game following the initial mania to “catch ‘em all”, the game still clearly has its adherents. The initial numbers of players trying out a free app weren’t going to last, of course, but when you are talking about a player base that still remains in the millions, the game is unlikely to die out all that soon.

by G. Christopher Williams

7 Sep 2016

When you see a sundial or a water-clock, you see that it tells the time by design and not by chance. How then can you imagine that the universe as a whole is devoid of purpose and intelligence, when it embraces everything, including these artifacts themselves and their artificers?
—Cicero, De Natura Deorum

This post contains spoilers about the ending of No Man’s Sky.

Perhaps, the most famous version of the teleological argument for the existence of God is William Paley’s description from his 1802 book Natural Theology:

by G. Christopher Williams

31 Aug 2016

Frostpunk (11 Bit Studios, forthcoming)

I received a press release this week, the subject line of which read: “This War of Mine Creators Unveil Their New Game – FrostPunk”. What followed was the standard stuff that appears in game press releases, a link to a press kit to download, a link to the game’s first trailer, and a few very brief paragraphs describing the game.

Now, it isn’t my normal practice to do much with initial press releases for games, other than file them in my e-mail to really take a look at when the game is closer to release and I might need to contact someone about getting a review copy for one of our writers. However, this press release had me at “This War of Mine Creators”. I played This War of Mine on its release in 2014, and, I mean, I played a lot of This War of Mine. It was one of my favorite games of that year.

by G. Christopher Williams

17 Aug 2016

The Scarecrow in Arkham Knight

One of the central conceits of the Batman mythos is the idea that fear can be a powerfully useful tool for justice. This idea emerges as a conclusion drawn by Bruce Wayne when he first decides to take on the mantle of the Batman. Additionally, this conclusion becomes the motivating factor for taking on a particular identity in order to wreak vengeance on criminality, as he observes in Detective Comics #33: “[C]riminals are a superstitious cowardly lot. So my disguise must be able to strike terror in their hearts.”

This same conceit has also been central to Rocksteady Studios’s design philosophy for their Batman: Arkham series. Rocksteady’s success has been in creating a game that evokes a fairly authentic feeling of “being the Batman,” which is related to a host of well implemented design decisions, both in terms of how the character of Batman is not merely portrayed in their games, but in how Batman is “played” in these games. One of their best gameplay systems that supports this sense of being Batman is their “stealth-combat” room sequences.

by G. Christopher Williams

10 Aug 2016

I’ve never really felt that strongly about the Batmobile. In comic book worlds full of flying men, who shoot lasers from their eyes, and men and women who are masters of seven different forms of martial arts and are also probably the world’s greatest detectives, a car is, well, a car. It gets you from point A to point B.

As a man who doesn’t swing from webs or leap hundreds of feet into the air, the need for a Batmobile makes some sense though. In the comics, Batman’s use of a “super” car seems strangely quite practical. Having some form of very efficient locomotion in a world where you’re competing with people who can fly seems like a means of evening up the odds. In video games about super heroes, or more specifically in an open world video game about a super hero, it also seems useful to have an efficient means of moving through a large world.

//Mixed media

Oz Is Not Down Under As Everyone Thinks It Is

// Re:Print

"Frank L. Baum's Oz isn't in the land of Aussies, as one might think, but in a far more magical setting.

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