Latest Blog Posts

by Nick Dinicola

17 May 2013


There’s an old Ikea commercial about a woman getting a new lamp. She gets rid of the old lamp, placing it out on the sidewalk with the garbage in the rain, and from outside, we watch through a window as the woman turns on her new lamp and sad music swells. Then a guy steps into frame and says, “Many of you feel bad for this lamp. That is because you crazy. It has no feelings, and the new one is much better.”

It’s a funny commercial that makes us consider the emotional efficacy of the tools of cinema: shot placement, setting, lighting, music, etc. When these tools are used correctly, we can be manipulated into feeling sad for an inanimate lamp.

Games have their own unique tools of storytelling, and Thomas Was Alone uses all those tools to a similar effect as it crafts a shockingly moving story about a bunch of rectangles.

by Nick Dinicola

10 May 2013


Dead Island is a game I appreciate all the more in retrospect, now that I’ve played its lesser sequel. While it dragged on in its latter half, its first half contains an interesting subtext concerning class warfare that’s only apparent now after playing the subtext-fee Riptide. The first game also subverts the typical zombie origin story as well and again does so in a way that’s only apparent after playing Riptide, which falls back on clichés.

by Nick Dinicola

3 May 2013


I’ve come to believe that when it comes to gaming, “difficulty” comes in two forms. The difficulty can stem from the design of a level or from the opponents that we face within that level. Personally, I much prefer to play a game where the difficulty stems from the design of the level as opposed to the enemies that occupy it. It has to do with a perceived sense of fairness. The level doesn’t change. Therefore, any failure would naturally be my fault, but in a game in which the difficulty stems from the enemies themselves, my failure can come from any number of random elements inherent in combat. One form of difficulty is predictable, the other is not.

Guacamelee encapsulates this dichotomy. It’s a 2D Metroidvania game that evokes both types of difficulty and the stark contrast between them.

by Nick Dinicola

26 Apr 2013


This post contains spoilers for Bioshock Infinite.

Bioshock Infinite is a game about a lot of things: Racism, sexism, nationalism, religion, and how all those things interact and influence each other. But in actuality, all those –isms are just window dressing to help establish the setting. Bioshock Infinite isn’t about Columbia the same way that Bioshock is about Rapture. Infinite is really a character-driven story about Booker Dewitt and Elizabeth. It’s about how guilt and forgiveness can influence our lives and change who we are. Unfortunately, the game spends more time telling the story of Columbia than the story of Booker and Elizabeth, even though the latter is clearly what this game is actually about. The characters, or rather Booker specifically, gets the narrative short shrift compared to the city, and as a result, the game’s final moments suffer.

by Nick Dinicola

19 Apr 2013


There have been a lot of people writing about the violence in Bioshock Infinite. Some say there’s too much of it and thst it detracts from the story. Others say its fine and that it adds to the game’s themes. I’m inclined to agree and disagree with both sides.

Yes, the level of violence is extreme at times, and yes, that violence is important to understanding the themes and characters, but I also don’t think that there’s enough extreme violence to properly express the themes that the game is trying to present. Bioshock Infinite should be more violent, or at the very least, its violence should be treated with more gravitas. Either way, there shouldn’t be less violence, but there should be less combat.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

Stone Dead: Murder and Myth in 'Medousa'

// Short Ends and Leader

"A wry tale which takes in Greek mythology, punk rock and influences of American suspense-drama, this is an effective and curious thriller about myth and obsession.

READ the article