CFP: The Legacy of Radiohead's 'The Bends' 20 Years On [Deadlines: 29 Jan / 12 Feb]

 
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Text:AAA
Friday, Nov 19, 2010
It’s not enough for Lionhead that you can’t pick the good option, you must also pick the evil option. This simplified definition of evil prevents the game from ever becoming a meaningful political simulator.

Last week I wrote about Fable 3 and the forced choices we’re faced with as we fight our way to the crown, this week I want to write about the forced choices that we’re faced with as king.


As king, the game presents you with a series of good and evil choices, so on the surface, it looks like you’re choosing whether to be a good or evil king: Choose between forcing child labor or building a school, building an orphanage or building a whorehouse, dumping sewage on the poor or building sewage plant. By this point in the game, you’ve probably already decided what kind of king you’re going to be, good or evil, so your answer to these binary options is obvious. You’ve probably already made the decision without even seeing the question.


Tagged as: fable 3, lionhead
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Text:AAA
Friday, Nov 12, 2010
Fable 3 forces me to make promises to potential allies, even if I don't want to. From the outset, I wasn’t able to be the leader I wanted to be.

Normally I hate it when a game offers false choices, giving me two options when only one will actually progress the plot, the other simply halting things until I change my mind. It’s not really a choice at that point; it’s an illusion and a bad one at that. The first half of Fable 3 avoids this kind of blatant false choice but only because the game doesn’t try to hide its linearity. Instead of giving you two choices, one right and one wrong, it only ever gives you one choice and then just waits for you to pick it. Instead of giving players a false choice, it gives us a forced choice.


Tagged as: fable 3
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Text:AAA
Friday, Nov 5, 2010
Do point-and-click adventure games work better as episodic stories or as a single epic story?

Certain genres are better suited for an episodic structure than others, and with the success of all of Telltale’s games, it would seem that the adventure genre is well suited for that kind of small scale story. Yet after playing through the last episode of Sam and Max: The Devil’s Playhouse, the downsides of this structure became obvious. It would then seem like the epic nature of The Secret of Monkey Island 2: Special Edition is preferable, but it too falls victim to the same problems that plague all story-driven puzzle games.


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Friday, Oct 29, 2010
Rule of Rose is a unique survival-horror game that manages to be at its most disturbing when you’re in the least amount of danger.

Editor’s note: There are spoilers below.


Rule of Rose is a unique sort of survival-horror game. This genre has always been slow paced and has never focused on combat, but Rule of Rose takes this to an extreme. Enemy encounters are rare throughout the first half of the game, and while they do become more common during the second half, there are still long stretches of time in which you just wander the dilapidated environment with your dog, sniffing out potential gifts for the Aristocrat Club, which is the true source of horror in this game.


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Friday, Oct 22, 2010
The commentary offers no insight into the development process and no talk of inspirations behind the story. For a game that was in development as long as Alan Wake, one would think there’d be at least a couple of interesting "behind the scenes" stories to tell.

Commentary tracks are considered a standard special feature for any DVD, some even offer multiple tracks. For games, this kind of look behind the scenes is still treated as something rare, usually reserved only for “special editions.” Yet, they’re slowly becoming more common, so perhaps it’s time to point out some of the successes and failures, looking at two cases in particular: Alan Wake, and The Secret of Monkey Island 2: Special Edition.


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