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by Nick Dinicola

7 Oct 2016


When I saw Don’t Breathe in theaters (which is a really good movie by the way, highly recommended), there was something wrong with the speaker on the right side of the screen. It rattled when there was a low tone, as if a screw had come loose, and the deep bass sounds shook the speaker against its supports. It wasn’t anything that really hurt the movie-going experience, but it did serve to highlight certain changes in the score.

Most of the music consisted of low drones, drawn out for such an extended period of time that I eventually ceased to notice them. They became part of the background noise, an artificial baseline for what sounds normal—a fake silence. This made the scenes of actual silence stand out, since they “sounded” impossibly quiet.

The Final Station is a game that sees horror in all forms of silence. From the literal silence of sound to the abstract silence of answers, all of its horror and suspense is built around what’s missing.

by Nick Dinicola

30 Sep 2016


It’s not quite October, but it’s close enough. So begins another Indie Horror Month!

There’s something wonderfully meta about a game premised on exploring the deep, dark depths of the sea, that can only be found by exploring the deep, dark depths of Steam’s discount dollar game bin. Pricing itself at a measly $1.00, Reveal the Deep willingly burdens itself with low expectations, and then effortlessly swats them away. Save for the weirdly sparse main menu, this is a game that is smartly designed and polished well beyond its price point.

by Nick Dinicola

23 Sep 2016


There are two endings to No Man’s Sky, and both are the very definition of anti-climactic. Fans that were already disappointed with the game latched onto the endings as justification for their feelings, undeniable proof that No Man’s Sky was a creative failure. But they’re wrong.

The endings certainly lack spectacle, especially the kind of destructive spectacle that defines a lot of games, but that’s the point. When you think about what kind of game No Man’s Sky is—the ideas it expresses, the things it considers important, and the things that it wants you to consider important—then these anticlimaxes become inevitable and revelatory. Together, they make a quiet yet grandiose statement about life’s relationship to the universe, expressed through the mechanics of gameplay.

by Nick Dinicola

16 Sep 2016


Lately, I’ve been playing a lot of The Counter of Death and Tap Hero, two mobile action games. They’re relatively simple games, especially within the action genre. Both use only two “buttons”. The Counter of Death actually has two virtual buttons, and Tap Hero splits the screen in two with each side becoming an invisible “button.” In each case, the simplicity of the controls belies surprisingly difficult games, but they’re not difficult because of their mechanics. They’re difficult because of my natural human limitations.

by Nick Dinicola

9 Sep 2016


One of the most common words used to describe No Man’s Sky (common, at least, when being positive about it) is “lonely”. PopMatters’ own Erik Kersting wrote a piece just last week about its “vast loneliness”.

But for a game that’s supposedly so lonely, there’s a crap ton of life everywhere you look. There’s a space station in every galaxy, and every planet is littered with crashed ships, outposts, transmission stations, and ancient monoliths—markers of intelligent life and civilization. Not to mention all the plants, every planet has some plant life, so there are no truly dead worlds. In fact, I’d say there’s too much life in No Man’s Sky. No matter where you go, you can never escape the presence of the three big spacefaring species. I think the review by the A.V.Club has the best description I’ve read of the game, “Your traveler is not really an explorer—you never visit a planet unknown to the galaxy’s intelligent species—they’re a pilgrim, traveling towards their sacred destination slowly and alone.” This universe was discovered, charted, and colonized long before we ever showed up. We may be traveling alone, but we are also never truly alone.

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Moving Pixels Podcast: The Best Games of 2016

// Moving Pixels

"The Moving Pixels Podcast counts down our top five games of 2016.

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