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by Nick Dinicola

29 Mar 2013

There’s a moment in Tomb Raider when you sneak up on two men that are arguing with one another: One of them has just killed a fellow comrade because: “He wouldn’t shut the fuck up. It was driving me crazy. Sun Queen this, Sun Queen that. All that goddamned praying and chanting. I couldn’t take it.”

“You coulda just knocked him out,” says the still living comrade, and the murderer responds, “I lost my temper. The place brings it out in me.”

That’s about when the conversation ends, and I shoot them both in the head with an arrow. It’s an instinctive action at this point. I’ve been trained to kill Solari before they see me, life is just simpler that way, but those words stick with me for the rest of the game: “The place brings it out in me.”

by Nick Dinicola

22 Mar 2013

The combat in Crysis 3 is broken thanks to the Predator Bow. It’s a one-hit kill weapon with nearly unlimited ammo that you can shoot while camouflaged. This makes the whole game very easy, too easy for a $60 shooter. It doesn’t provide the expected level of challenge, and there’s no compelling story to make my quick progress worthwhile, yet Crysis 3 is still satisfying. I enjoy playing it, I get pleasure out of playing it, but not when I play it as a shooter. Crysis 3 is only good when I approach it as a stealth game.

by Nick Dinicola

15 Mar 2013

This post contains spoilers for Dead Space 3.

Dead Space 3 isn’t a horror game in the traditional sense. It’s not about isolation or helplessness or any of the things people have suggested good horror should be concerned with, but there’s still an undeniable kernel of horror at its core. In the end—and only in the end—does that kernel manifest as a tricky but brilliant kind of mythic horror. Like the most memorable stories of H.P. Lovecraft, Dead Space 3 is guided by a philosophical horror that wants to remind you that mankind is insignificant compared to other forces in the universe.

by Nick Dinicola

8 Mar 2013

This post completely spoils the twist ending of Little Inferno.

Little Inferno is a wonderfully uplifting game. Ostensibly, it’s about burning all manner of items in a virtual fireplace, but over the course of a couple hours, the game peels back its own layers to reveal a surprisingly thoughtful narrative. Little Inferno is a game about moving on—that much is unmistakable—but it’s vague on what you’re moving on from and where you’re moving on to. With its colorful cast of characters, its recurring dialogue, and its early-Tim Burton art style, it has that kind of surreal atmosphere that just begs for reinterpretation and turns the game into a kind of Rorschach test. It’s interesting how many different interpretations there are of this game. Christopher Franklin from Errant Signal sees it as a compassionate criticism of casual games (as in, it doesn’t demonize those kinds of games or those who make them). Mike Rougeau from Kotaku sees it as a pre-apocalypse fable. Others in the comments for both articles see it as a metaphor for global warming. I see the Little Inferno Entertainment Fireplace as a rather direct metaphor for childhood: A place where we can play, seemingly forever, but that has to end sometime.

by Nick Dinicola

1 Mar 2013

Dead Space has always been interested in machines. This makes sense considering the game’s central hero is an engineer. His main weapon is a mining tool, he acquires a stasis module by jury rigging a surgery machine, and he spends most of his time in every game fixing things. This interest permeates everything in Dead Space 3, from the core of its spectacle all the way down to how its doors work.

//Mixed media

Indie Horror Month 2016: Executing 'The Deed'

// Moving Pixels

"It's just so easy to kill someone in a video game that it's surprising when a game makes murder difficult.

READ the article