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Tuesday, Mar 27, 2012
It’s appropriate that the final boss of Mass Effect is a conversation.

In case the title of this article hasn’t made the contents obvious: there are spoilers about the ending of Mass Effect. If you haven’t played any of the games in the Mass Effect series, go do that. There are three very different but very good games to be enjoyed. If you don’t have time, make the time. If you aren’t able to play the games even at the lowest difficulty, find somebody that can play them and watch them go through it. Seriously, these games may be the most important works of science fiction of the decade so get on it. When you’ve done that, return for a spoiler-ridden commentary on the fan-engineered “controversy” surrounding the ending.


There, now that it’s just us N7 veterans, we can be candid. Many of you are apparently upset with how the story concluded. But I hope that with a little reflection you’ll be able to appreciate that conclusion as the best possible way that it could have wrapped up. The final mission of Mass Effect was extremely heavy and dark. Shepard’s final goodbye to her past and present squads, the push through the smouldering apartments and cafes, the desperate stand against overwhelming forces while a reaper destroyer inches its way closer, the culminating charge through the destruction, only to be blasted away a few meters from the objective, all of this is enormously powerful and vindicates what the game has been saying all along: you won’t make it, but you have to try anyway.


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Text:AAA
Thursday, Mar 22, 2012
Children will hear about the various toys and can't resist trying to collect them. Their parents then have to shell out over and over for newer figures.

Activision’s Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventures was one of the hottest trends at the end of 2011 and is gearing up for another possible season of success in late 2012 with a sequel called Skylanders: Giants. In the meantime, Activision will be expanding the current release with the addition of new characters, but unlike a lot of video games these days, the new characters aren’t available as downloadable content. They are physical, and they are fueling a buying spree. It’s a new take on the “gotta catch ‘em all” fever that Nintendo evoked with its Pokémon franchise.


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Text:AAA
Thursday, May 13, 2010
The end of the battle leaves Kratos covered in the blood of a character whose perspective you, the player, have been seeing from. In a sense, he has murdered how you perceive him from now on.

This discussion of God of War 3 contains spoilers.



Unlike the previous two games in the series, God of War 3 finally confronts Kratos in a more substantial way, especially the result of living a life filtered through the eye of revenge.  Cover art can sometimes give an insight into a developer’s artistic intentions and Sony Santa Monica decided to make a statement by dismissing Kratos’s backside (as seen on the boxes of the previous two games) and decided to concentrate solely on representing his eye.  It is said that the eye is seen as the entrance to the soul, and that through this window, we can see what kind of person someone is.  This emphasis on the eye foreshadows a difference in the way that we will feel about and perceive Kratos once his saga comes to an end.


At the start of the game, there is an emphasis on perspective and scale as Kratos is climbing up the back of a Titan on his path to Mount Olympus.  The way that the camera pulls in and out to showcase the sense of scale is nothing new, but the fight that comes shortly after with Poseidon introduces a new perspective on this protagonist.  After completing a familiar series of quick-time events, we eventually come face to face with Poseidon. Only this time, we see the world through Poseidon’s eyes.  From this perspective, we see the brutality that Kratos inflicts on others with no remorse or sense of morality.  At the climax of this encounter, we are instructed to poke out our (Poseidon’s) own eyes.  If you thought that Kratos was on your side, then you should rethink your position.  Kratos doesn’t care who he has to kill, even the one responsible for his success thus far (the player).  The end of the battle leaves Kratos covered in the blood of a character whose perspective you, the player, have been seeing from. In a sense, he has murdered how you perceive him from now on.


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Friday, Jan 29, 2010
Dragon Age: Origins constantly reminds us that our choices have consequences and that makes us feel important, but that feeling is taken away when we see the long term effects of our decisions.

So finally, Dragon Age: Origins offers an open ended, branching narrative without a karma system. This is something that gamers have long asked for from BioWare, a company known for making games that focus on choice and consequence. We know our actions have consequences because we see those consequences play out in the plot and character development. This combination of a branching narrative and plot related consequence is so effective at making our decisions feel significant that at times it seems like every little choice that we make will have a dire impact on the world. But what’s most remarkable about Dragon Age is how it can create this feeling of importance in us, and then take it all away when we actually get to see the long term effects of our actions.


There’s no explicit morality attached to our choices, and the story reinforces this ambiguity by putting us in situations that seemingly have no easy solution. A child is possessed by a demon. Do we kill the child or sacrifice his mother to kill the demon? This moral ambiguity makes any consequence more meaningful to the player since we’re not doing what the game thinks is best, but what we think is best. We’re not influenced by outside forces when making a decision, it seems.


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