Latest Blog Posts

by Nick Dinicola

6 Sep 2013

This post contains spoilers for The Swapper.

The Swapper is a puzzle game about clones that uses its mechanics to fuel a story that explores the psychological and societal ramifications of cloning. It compares and contrasts these ramifications with two very different societies: human society and a society of psychically linked alien rocks.

Continuing with the thoughts from my previous post, Theseus is a mining station in deep space, cut off from earth, and that separation is painful. As individuals, we still rely on large groups for survival. Our individuality does not make us self-sufficient.

by Nick Dinicola

30 Aug 2013

The Swapper is fairly straightforward puzzle game: You use a special gun to create clones of yourself, and you use those clones to hit switches and open doors. Mechanically, it conforms to the typical tropes of sidescrollers and puzzles games. Narratively, however, it asks a question few games do. What if these mechanics were real? The Swapper uses its clone puzzles to fuel a meditation on individuality from both a personal and societal perspective.

by Nick Dinicola

23 Aug 2013

Grinding is supposed to be annoying. It is supposed to force the player to perform a menial task over and over again in order to afford some arbitrarily expensive thing. Sometimes we grind for experience to level up, sometimes we grind for gold to buy stuff, sometimes we grind for rare items, or sometimes we grind out side quests for that 100% completion statistic. The time that it takes to grind out these dubious achievements isn’t really a factor in why grinding is annoying. Even random battles in Half Minute Hero get boring and they only last a few seconds each. It’s the repetition that gets to you. Grinding isn’t supposed to be fun. That’s why it’s called “grinding,” a word that evokes a sense of slow, eroding destruction. If it was fun, could it still be considered grinding?

by Nick Dinicola

16 Aug 2013

When I was playing Telltale’s The Walking Dead, I was so invested in the plight of Lee and Clementine that every choice felt intensely personal. So personal that I was unable to go back and replay the game. Making any other choice just seemed wrong, like a betrayal of the character and myself. It’s good that Lee and Clem are nowhere to be seen in 400 Days (unless that brief flash of a photo on the billboard of a girl with a backpack and hat was in fact Clem) because it allows me to forge a different kind of relationship with the game.

by Nick Dinicola

9 Aug 2013

The story is usually considered the most important part of a Silent Hill game, yet I’ve largely ignored the story of Downpour in my last two posts about the game. That’s not because it’s bad, but because the story really deserves its own post since it’s just as smart and subversive as the combat and level design.

//Mixed media

'Doctor Who': Casting a Woman as the Doctor Offers Fresh Perspectives and a New Kind of Role Model

// Channel Surfing

"The BBC's announcement of Jodie Whittaker as the first female Doctor has sections of fandom up in arms. Why all the fuss?

READ the article