Latest Blog Posts

by Nick Dinicola

11 Mar 2016


I tend to put roguelike RPGs into two categories: The games in which we fight people and the games in which we fight something more akin to elemental forces. I usually prefer the “forces” roguelikes. These are games in which we struggle against something that we can’t kick or punch. It’s an idea we battle, something universal and almost mythical in its scope. These are games like Out There, in which we explore a galaxy and pray that we find enough resources along the way to fuel another jump, or Tharsis, in which we struggle against constant mechanical failures aboard a starship, like characters might in a disaster movie. We’re not fighting other people in these games. We’re fighting nature itself: the barren universe and the cruel indifference of space.

When up against such all-encompassing forces, how can we not expect to fail? These kinds of roguelikes make me feel okay about losing, and since they are roguelikes, I’ll be losing a lot. Additionally, It’s nice when those failures don’t sting.

by Nick Dinicola

4 Mar 2016


2015 was a good year for detective games: Her Story was great, episode four of Life is Strange had a cool sequence in which we run down all the evidence that we’ve collected over the past three episodes, but most unexpectedly, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate brought back the detective side-missions from the last game with a wealth of improvements. Her Story may have been the better game, Life is Strange may have been the bigger mystery, but Syndicate had the most versatile and fully-featured detective gameplay that I’ve seen in a while. We investigated various murders, some elaborately staged and some simple crimes of passion, we collected evidence, questioned suspects, then contrasted the two against each other in order to discover motive, opportunity and an overall timeline of events complete with red herrings and dead ends.

by Nick Dinicola

26 Feb 2016


I’ve always enjoyed the idea of Hitman more than I’ve enjoyed the actual games. On paper they sound fantastic: You’re dropped into an open environment to kill a target, and you can kill that target any number of ways. Sure, you could just shoot him at the first opportunity, but you could also be a bit stealthier and get him alone before shooting him. Better yet, you can make the death look like an accident by dropping a chandelier on his head or by switching a prop gun for a real gun. Every time that I started a new level of a past Hitman game the possibilities felt endless.

by Nick Dinicola

19 Feb 2016


Tharsis is a game centered on the luck of a dice roll, but there’s also a considerable amount of strategy revolving around those dice. It’s a game about managing risk, knowing how to manipulate the many systems in play, so as to increase the odds in your favor. The odds will never be completely in your favor, but that’s fine. That’s part of the challenge. How do you make the best of a bad situation?

by Nick Dinicola

12 Feb 2016


A common refrain in reviews of The Witness is the plea to solve each puzzle on your own, to not ask for help or look up solutions, that the game is designed to teach you things in ordered steps and that it is important not to skip a step. While, yes, this is true, that doesn’t mean those steps are easy. What will inevitably happen is that you’ll solve a series of simple puzzles, and then you’ll try to solve the next puzzle in the exact same way that you solved the previous puzzles, only this time your solution won’t work. You’ve done something wrong. You’ve misunderstood the concept. Time to go back and reanalyze your work.

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