Latest Blog Posts

by Nick Dinicola

4 May 2012


Fez is a easily the most personal puzzle game that I’ve ever played. It’s not personal because it “spoke to me” in any way, but because the biggest puzzle in Fez is figuring out what you know and what you don’t know. This is a puzzle game built around the idea that people’s minds all work differently.

The game, in my mind at least, is split into three layers:

The first layer is the perspective shifting puzzle. This is what you solve to progress in the game. In other words, basic exploration is built on this puzzle. You’ll find cube bits that make up full cubes that unlock doors to more hub worlds, and you can get through most of the game by focusing only on this first layer. However, the final cube bit is hidden behind a rather obtuse puzzle that is not apparent if you are only focusing on this first layer. In this way, Fez nudges you over the edge, down to the second layer of puzzles.

by Nick Dinicola

27 Apr 2012


Demon’s Souls showed the world a great and innovative multiplayer feature that most of the industry has ignored: the ability to leave messages for other players. It’s a great feature because it creates a sense of community through user generated content, and that content is easy to make. It’s actually so easy to make that it’s more like content manipulation than content creation, but that’s part of the appeal. Everyone can participate. Despite this, the only game that I’ve played (or seen or heard of) since then to incorporate a similar kind of content manipulation is SSX, which then tweaks the feature so that it becomes something quite addictive.

In part, this is what makes the multiplayer in SSX so great. It’s a collection of lesser used multiplayer innovations pieced together in such a way that each one compeiments the other, while also avoiding the most persistent problems that plague multiplayer games.

by Nick Dinicola

20 Apr 2012


Video games are complicated. They didn’t start that way, the rules of Pong should be obvious just by watching, but that simplicity can’t last. People demand more. Compare Doom to Battlefield 3: in one you can’t even look up, the other has more commands than there are buttons on a controller. This demand for increasing complexity is something that affects all entertainment (just compare Die Hard to Live Free or Die Hard), but it’s particularly troubling for games because keeping up with that demand can limit the audience. This is something other people have written about, and I’ve got no interest in repeating their points here. Instead, I’m interested in where a gaming genre goes once it’s reached that tipping point of complexity.

by Nick Dinicola

13 Apr 2012


Regenerating health gets a lot of flack. I’ve heard plenty of gamers criticize such elements because they make shooters “easier” or “less intense” or “lazier,” but after playing Resistance 3, it seems to me that most of those criticisms are only exacerbated when a game uses a health pack based healing system.

The most common complaint about regenerating health is that it forces the player to spend lots of time hiding behind cover, staring at rock textures rather than actually playing the game. This is true to a certain extent, but I spent far more time hiding in Resistance 3 than I did in Modern Warfare 3.

by Nick Dinicola

6 Apr 2012


The morality system of Mass Effect has always been a blessing and a curse. It’s just nuanced enough to allow players to create morally murky and interesting characters, but BioWare’s insistence on maintaining a binary morality means it could never be as complex as it wants to be. Last week, fellow Moving Pixels blogger Jorge Albor wrote about the troubles that Mass Effect has always faced with its morality system on a narrative level, but I think BioWare has had just as much trouble simply figuring out a way to present this system to players in a manner that is clear and understandable as a metric.

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Supernatural: Season 11, Episode 12 - "Don't You Forget About Me"

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