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by Kerrie Mills

1 Jun 2011


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.

by Nick Dinicola

27 May 2011


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.

by Nick Dinicola

20 May 2011


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.

by Nick Dinicola

13 May 2011


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.

by Nick Dinicola

6 May 2011


Goldeneye 64 is a classic. It’s a game that deserves a remake. It’s one you can’t go back to, yet nostalgia would drive many back to it. It’s easy to be cynical about Activision’s remake, especially since it’s so clearly made from the same template as Call of Duty, but developer Eurocom made an impressive effort to createa game that’s referential, reverential, yet capable of standing on its own. While they got a lot right, the updated story succeeds because of one decision: the decision to update the character of Bond along with the rest of the story because in many ways Daniel Craig’s version of James Bond is the perfect FPS protagonist, and that’s not a good thing.

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