Latest Blog Posts

by Nick Dinicola

22 Mar 2013

The combat in Crysis 3 is broken thanks to the Predator Bow. It’s a one-hit kill weapon with nearly unlimited ammo that you can shoot while camouflaged. This makes the whole game very easy, too easy for a $60 shooter. It doesn’t provide the expected level of challenge, and there’s no compelling story to make my quick progress worthwhile, yet Crysis 3 is still satisfying. I enjoy playing it, I get pleasure out of playing it, but not when I play it as a shooter. Crysis 3 is only good when I approach it as a stealth game.

by Nick Dinicola

15 Mar 2013

This post contains spoilers for Dead Space 3.

Dead Space 3 isn’t a horror game in the traditional sense. It’s not about isolation or helplessness or any of the things people have suggested good horror should be concerned with, but there’s still an undeniable kernel of horror at its core. In the end—and only in the end—does that kernel manifest as a tricky but brilliant kind of mythic horror. Like the most memorable stories of H.P. Lovecraft, Dead Space 3 is guided by a philosophical horror that wants to remind you that mankind is insignificant compared to other forces in the universe.

by Nick Dinicola

8 Mar 2013

This post completely spoils the twist ending of Little Inferno.

Little Inferno is a wonderfully uplifting game. Ostensibly, it’s about burning all manner of items in a virtual fireplace, but over the course of a couple hours, the game peels back its own layers to reveal a surprisingly thoughtful narrative. Little Inferno is a game about moving on—that much is unmistakable—but it’s vague on what you’re moving on from and where you’re moving on to. With its colorful cast of characters, its recurring dialogue, and its early-Tim Burton art style, it has that kind of surreal atmosphere that just begs for reinterpretation and turns the game into a kind of Rorschach test. It’s interesting how many different interpretations there are of this game. Christopher Franklin from Errant Signal sees it as a compassionate criticism of casual games (as in, it doesn’t demonize those kinds of games or those who make them). Mike Rougeau from Kotaku sees it as a pre-apocalypse fable. Others in the comments for both articles see it as a metaphor for global warming. I see the Little Inferno Entertainment Fireplace as a rather direct metaphor for childhood: A place where we can play, seemingly forever, but that has to end sometime.

by Nick Dinicola

1 Mar 2013

Dead Space has always been interested in machines. This makes sense considering the game’s central hero is an engineer. His main weapon is a mining tool, he acquires a stasis module by jury rigging a surgery machine, and he spends most of his time in every game fixing things. This interest permeates everything in Dead Space 3, from the core of its spectacle all the way down to how its doors work.

by Nick Dinicola

22 Feb 2013

Both Halo and Assassin’s Creed have stories that extend outside the games, and both Halo 4 and Assassin’s Creed 3 try to bring some of that outside fiction into the games. In doing so, they both run into problems with narrative structure. It’s hard to transition a story from a book/comic to a video game while still making the game a standalone product. The game is forced to serve two masters. It has to be an effective independent story and an effective sequel. Essentially, the writers are writing two stories that have to parallel each other so closely that they feel like one. Neither Halo 4 or Assassin’s Creed 3 succeed all the way at doing this, but one succeeds more than the other.

//Mixed media


"No Dollars in Duende": On Making Uncompromising, Spirited Music

// Sound Affects

"On the elusive yet clearly existential sadness that adds layers and textures to music.

READ the article