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by Erik Kersting

12 Aug 2015


Twisted Fate from League of Legends

Chance has had its place in gaming since its beginnings. Board and card games either rely on it partially or entirely for their gameplay. Luck can be so fundamental that in games like poker, a player’s real skill comes in making deductions about chance, not in the actual “gameplay”. Even in pre-video game narrative games like Dungeons and Dragons, luck plays a huge role in what happens, determining the results of nearly everything that the player does. Today luck plays a part in many video games, from narrative-based games to competitive ones, but is that a good thing?

Roguelikes are a great example of “chance” based video games. While player skill still influences the outcome, in most roguelikes luck can change the amount of skill needed to win. As this very long video shows, even a very skilled player can have trouble completing every run of The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth. In the run, NorthernLion, perhaps the most famous Isaac player, had a string of very bad luck, and while he made it very far into the labyrinth before he died, even his immense skill and knowledge could not save him from a doomed run.

by Erik Kersting

4 Aug 2015


Time has a way of changing one’s opinions. A year and a half ago I reviewed Dark Souls 2, and I gave it a perfect 10. A few months after the review, I played through the game again, and even more recently, I started yet another run. Exploring the game’s damp corridors, I couldn’t help but ask myself, “Is this a perfect game?” Is it a good game? Positively. A great game? Probably. A perfect game? No.

I was undeniably hyped to play Dark Souls 2. Dark Souls is probably my favorite game, but in my excitement in playing Dark Souls 2, I too easily overlooked its flaws, which, once fully explored, reveal clearly how the lack of Hidetaka Miyazaki, director of Dark Souls and Bloodborne, lead to some small, but significant errors. These are errors that gnaw on the player and bring down the experience, especially upon replay.

by Mark Filipowich

27 Mar 2012


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.

by Sachyn Mital

22 Mar 2012


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.

by Eric Kravcik

13 May 2010


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.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

Ubisoft Understands the Art of the Climb

// Moving Pixels

"Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed and Grow Home epitomize the art of the climb.

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