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Friday, Jan 24, 2014
Broken Age, with its tighter focus on story over puzzles, is closer in spirit to Kentucky Route Zero or The Walking Dead than Monkey Island.

In a way, Tim Schafer lied to his Kickstarter backers. He promised a classic point-and-click adventure game, but Broken Age is most certainly not one of those. It doesn’t follow the typical LucasArts/Sierra adventure format, instead it follows the stripped down, streamlined, and dare I say, simple structure of a modern adventure game. Broken Age, with its tighter focus on story over puzzles, is closer in spirit to Kentucky Route Zero or The Walking Dead than Monkey Island, and that’s what makes it great.


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Friday, Jan 17, 2014
At this point in The Walking Dead, both Clementine and I have been trained to work through problems using a frighteningly similar thought process.

I was nervous when Telltale announced that you would be playing as Clementine in The Walking Dead: Season 2. She was a powerful tool of emotional manipulation (and I mean that in a good way) during the first season. One sad look from Clem could be devastating, and the series constantly toed the line of overusing her. It didn’t overuse her, of course, bringing her out at just the right moments to give a situation a memorable gut punch of sadness. Putting Clem in danger was an easy way to raise the stakes of any situation, but raise those stakes too often and they lose their power. My fear with Season 2 was that Clem’s vulnerability and my desire to protect her would be abused and overused if I was with her every second of the game.


Thankfully, Season 2 doesn’t abuse my love of Clementine, even as it puts her in more horrible situations. But as I played through the first episode, “All That Remains”, I began to realize that taking control of Clem was perhaps the best possible choice Telltale could have made because by this point in the series both she and the player have been trained to work through problems using a frighteningly similar thought process.


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Friday, Jan 10, 2014
If you have to put a game on mute in order to listen to its soundtrack, something has gone terribly wrong.

Some weeks ago, I wrote about how Need for Speed: Rivals fights against all of its improvements, constantly sabotaging itself right before it does something spectacular. But I left out one important point (at least one that is important to me): the soundtrack.


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Friday, Dec 20, 2013
Gone Home is impressive not because all game stories supposedly suck and it's better than average, but because video games are not well-suited to romance.

In a recent article on Kotaku, Stephen Totilo asks “Do we grade video games on a curve?” He specifically discusses Gone Home for consideration and wonders: “Would I cherish it if it wasn’t a game? Would it seem special if it was a short story or a movie or a play?”


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Friday, Dec 13, 2013
Need for Speed: Rivals is more of an MMO than a simple open world game, yet it doesn't know how to be an MMO.

Another year, another Need for Speed game. It’s been interesting to watch Criterion evolve this franchise over the years, and even though their name isn’t on the most recent game, Need for Speed: Rivals, the new developer Ghost Games is made up of ex-Criterion folk. They are Criterion in all but name only. Last year they tried to take Need for Speed open world and failed miserably (and then some). This year they made a better game, but one that is still at war with itself on a fundamental level.


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