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The cutscene in games has arguably taken many forms, from the simple and minimal narrative vignettes of Ms. Pac-Man to the lushly animated FMVs that were once one of the prime selling points of the Final Fantasy series.  Many now view these experiences as intrusive moments in a game world that disrupt visual consistency or serve as storytelling short cuts that don’t do the medium justice.

This week the Moving Pixels podcast crew discuss the history of the cutscene in video games, what they may or may not have evolved into, and whether or not they still have a place in video game storytelling.

The boss fight has been a part of gaming since very near to the time of its inception.  Serving a variety of roles in offering greater challenge, suggesting the climax of a game and plot, and just simply creating a spectacle for the player, has the boss fight merely become a cliched and expected “requirement” of games?

This week we consider the history and evolution of the boss fight in gaming, as well as the possibility of alternatives to this most expected of medium conventions.

With the holiday game season upon us, the Moving Pixels blog and podcast crew have turned their atention to some of the biggest releases of the year.  The ostensible “final chapter” of the Gears of War saga is, of course, one of these most anticipated of titles.

Given Gears importance in this console generation, as one of the titles associated with the Xbox 360’s early days, the crew discusses how the trilogy has been brought to an end, its approach to multiplayer play, and speculates a bit on where this franchise may be headed in the future.

So, as my colleague in podcasting, Rick Dakan, observed, this week’s episode is a little self indulgent (but that’s okay, I guess, as I just wrote a little about the relationship between self indulgence and gaming last week).

We have been wanting to discuss a bit about how it is that “the gamer” identity is formed, so we spent some time chatting a bit about our own relationship to games and gaming and how we came to play the ways that we do.  We consider our relationship to chess, sports, board games, and RPGs and what these things might have to do with who we are.  Confessional as some of this discussion might be, there are some interesting similarities that emerge between our experience of growing up as gamers.

High scores, achievements, leveling up. The system runs on points, measures us in points, validates us in points.

This week the Moving Pixels podcast considers the value of points. What points matter to us? Why do we want them? Why do they matter?

//Blogs

The Best and Worst Films of Spring 2015

// Short Ends and Leader

"January through April is a time typically made up of award season leftovers, pre-summer spectacle, and more than a few throwaways. Here are PopMatters' choices for the best and worst of the last four months.

READ the article