Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

 
Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Friday, Jun 3, 2011
The puzzle parts of Clash of Heroes allow the strategy parts to be shrunk down so they fit on a single game board.

All strategy games are puzzle games at their core. Even if the former are more mechanically complex, you’re still always faced with a specific problem and have to figure out the best solution to overcome it. So it makes sense that both genres would eventually be combined in an explicit way. Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes is hardly the first game to combine blatant puzzles with an overarching strategy, but it takes a very clever approach to the issue. This is a strategy game through and through, but on a very small scale, that’s only possible because the puzzle mechanics replace the large scale elements of most strategy games.


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Wednesday, Jun 1, 2011
Forget trying to read Wikipedia for the articles. The real story of the human condition is found in their behind-the-scenes creation.

I should establish right up front that it’s not that I don’t seriously value Wikipedia. Quite the contrary.


Those that do not—I suspect—are mostly people not old enough (or perhaps not trivia-loving enough) to remember back when gathering info on the most picayune of subjects involved a race to see if you could get to the library card-file drawers before the mice did. At least, you hoped it was mice.


If you didn’t actually feel like playing “name that mystery stain” that day, and you wanted more than the most cursory People profile on your latest pop-cult obsession, you had to go inquire of a person whose body language totally blared “I just got out of the convent, and what do you want?!” in giant neon letters. Then, of course, it turned out—once the first computerized catalogues sputtered into greenish pixilated life—that the convent had not offered IS courses.


Trust me, kiddies, it was awful.


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Friday, May 27, 2011
L.A. Noire's Badge Pursuit Challenge forces us out of our investigative comfort zone by reversing the typical investigation process.

L.A. Noire embraces the frustrating trend of shipping with retailer exclusive pre-order bonuses. Depending on where you order the game from, you’ll get one of four exclusive cases. There’s one unique to Best Buy, Wallmart, GameStop, and one for the PS3. The most annoying thing about these “deals” is that the content is digital and could easily be made available to everyone, but business politics dictate that they remain exclusive for a set amount of time. The upside to this situation is that L.A. Noire has also embraced a different kind of pre-order bonus, a physical product that allows us to experience the game in a new setting: the real world. GameStop’s exclusive Badge Pursuit Challenge is more alternate reality game than video game and that makes it far more entertaining than any extra in-game case.


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Friday, May 20, 2011
Dragon Age II is all about prejudice, but the player is never truly victimized or oppressed.

Dragon Age II is about prejudice, against refugees, foreigners, and those among us who are simply different. The citizens of Kirkwall hate the refugees from the Blight, they hate and fear the stranded Qunari, and like everyone else in the world of Dragon Age, they fear mages. Oh, and mages fear the Templars. The conflicts are well presented; neither side is very sympathetic as the victims often lash out with violence at their oppressors, justifying further oppression. Dragon Age II seeks to explore this vicious cycle of hate, and for the most part, it succeeds. Prejudice against mages isn’t just a major theme, it’s an important plot point with ramifications that will change the world of Ferelden. However, this delicate balance falls apart whenever the player is put in the role of victim because the player is never truly victimized or oppressed.


Tagged as: dragon age ii
Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Friday, May 13, 2011
It can be hard to find good games among the chaff of the Xbox Indie Marketplace, but they’re certainly there.

It can be hard to find good games among the chaff of the Xbox Indie Marketplace, but they’re certainly there. These are three games that I like enough to go back to over and over again every month or so. The fact that their entertainment value holds up so well over time speaks to their quality. This is by no means a comprehensive list—just three games from my collection that I think deserve a special mention.


Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Announcements

© 1999-2014 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.