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by Nick Dinicola

30 Mar 2012


Some people don’t like the ending of Mass Effect 3. I’m not one of those people.

Mass Effect 3 reaches the peak of its climax when it asks Shepard to make one last choice. He has to choose to control the Reapers, destroy the Reapers, or merge all synthetic and organic life together. Of course, there’s more nuance to the choices than that, but it’s important how these choices are presented in their simplest form. They’re ostensibly plot points, and yet the similarity of the final cut scenes implies that the plot is not the most important aspect of this choice. The game seems to say that the consequences are interchangeable.

by Nick Dinicola

23 Mar 2012


In Mass Effect 2, the Cerberus Daily News Network was an in-game news feed located on the title screen. It would update daily, offering players a glimpse of what was going on in the galaxy while Shepard was off doing his thing. Since Shepard’s mission was secretive by nature, taking him to places that existed far outside the scrutiny of the general galactic media, his view of the galaxy was too narrow to incorporate these other aspects of world building. For example, Shepard didn’t care about financial corruption on the Citadel or the latest box office blockbuster, but I did. As a player invested in this universe, I wanted to know more about it than what Shepard could see, and the Cerberus Daily News Network was a smart way to please fans like me while not filling the game with needless expository world building.

by Nick Dinicola

16 Mar 2012


In Assassin’s Creed, the protagonist is always portrayed as a Master Assassin. His allies respect him. His enemies fear him. In the later games, he recruits new Assassins, trains them, and presides over their “graduation.” He’s clearly the leader, and he’s clearly a capable leader. But as the combat changes from game to game, so do the character traits that it implies.

The one-hit kill counter system that has been in place since the first game says a lot about the Assassins as a group, since this seems to be their default fighting style. It’s defensive in nature, emphasizing technique and technical mastery over aggressive flailing, which is to say: button timing over button mashing.

by Nick Dinicola

9 Mar 2012


I’ve already written at length about the mechanics of AMY. While the narrative isn’t worth writing about, the game still has a few fascinating quirks worth exploring. Specifically, its use of gender.

Featuring women and children in a horror story is nothing new. Lana and Amy’s relationship is interesting on a mechanical level, but it’s too shallow on a character or narrative level to act as any kind of commentary on gender in horror. In fact, AMY doesn’t do anything new with gender roles, but it’s interesting because it offers such an obvious example of how both genders are portrayed in survival-horror games.

by Nick Dinicola

2 Mar 2012


This post contains spoilers for each of the three endings to Warp.

Warp is a cute, challenging, and fun puzzle game. You play as a little alien who can warp a short distance. With this power, you must rescue a friend and escape the science facility where you’re being held captive and experimented on. You’re a weak creature—get shot once and it’s game over—so it helps that you can warp into people or barrels to hide… and then you can explode out of them with such a show of blood and gore that it would make the chestburster from Alien jealous.

My fist time through the game, I loved the explosion of gore. It was cathartic. The opening cut scene lets you experience the horror of live experimentation first hand; you feel the alien’s pain. Later on we see similar experiments performed on other aliens, scientists slaughter them just to see how they die, and then we’re forced to fight a fellow alien that’s been tortured to the point of insanity. These people, both the guards and the scientists, are not innocent bystanders in some large scale conspiracy. They’re out to kill you and your kind. So I killed them first. Over and over and over again.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

Double Take: 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid' (1969)

// Short Ends and Leader

"The two Steves at Double Take are often mistaken for Paul Newman and Robert Redford; so it's appropriate that they shoot it out over Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

READ the article