Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

Reviews

Wednesday, February 25 2004

The Simpsons: Hit and Run

You won't find spectacularly original gameplay here, but in a game where you actually get to drive Homer's dream car, it's hard to complain.


Riot Police

So many games these days feature the authorities often portrayed as the bad guys as much as the criminals are. And I suppose the same could be said for this title.


Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles

It's a little like each person holding a separate piece of a treasure map -- the best way to success is for everyone to let each other know what's going on.


Champions of Norrath: Realms of Everquest

Character development in this kind of 'role-playing' game is not so much found in the skills and abilities of the characters, but largely occurs through looting and accruing more weapons and armor.


Beyond Good & Evil

The situation feels so familiar, one almost expects Osama bin Laden's bearded mug to flash across the floating Big Brother video screens that pervade Hillys.


Wednesday, February 11 2004

Project .hack

hack reminds us that we live in worlds within worlds in a newly unfolding virtual culture, but that culture is not separate from reality -- it is a part of our reality.


NFL Street

While encouraging taunting, through bonus points and rewards, the game seems to police this practice as well.


Need for Speed Underground

It's no longer about style vs. substance; in this game, style is substance.


Manhunt

Unlike its predecessors, Manhunt has little to do with story, but instead is driven by your need to kill.


Midway Arcade Treasures

Where would Mario and Luigi be if it weren't for that stupid ape stealing away the plumber's beloved girlfriend all those years ago?


Legend of Zelda Collector’s Disc

The ports of both the NES games are flawless -- including all of the original flaws.


Legacy of Kain: Defiance

Ambivalent morality lies at the heart of what makes the Legacy of Kain series such a sophisticated work of video game art.


Tuesday, January 27 2004

Starsky & Hutch

It's time to head back to the '70s once more and dig up an old artifact that any gamer born in the '80s or after probably won't recall too well.


Extreme Warfare Revenge

What one has to remember is that wrestling is and always has been entertainment, but what the owners, bookers, and stars never took into account was the way in which many fans would eventually wrap their lives around the very business.


Fugitive Hunter: War on Terror

While gamers have for years played historical re-enactment of former events through board games like 'Axis and Allies' and 'Three Days of Gettysburg', this is a strange time in the development of interactive 'historical' reconstruction.


5 Days a Stranger

While big-budget developers spend millions of dollars and employ hundreds of designers, writers and testers to perfect a single game, more and more gamers are taking it upon themselves to create games on a shoestring budget.


Dean for Iowa Game

All that's being passed along here is Howard Dean's image, and the fact of the matter is that this exact same game could have been developed for any other candidate.


Call of Duty

Is it still in good taste to use the war as material for popular entertainment? Does the idea of playing an infantryman mowing down rows of German soldiers seem more profane than fun in this new era of reverence?


Wednesday, January 7 2004

NCAA March Madness 2004

As the game embodies the hoopla and excitement of college sports, it equally reflects its cultural politics.


Mario Kart: Double Dash!!

While some would say that all art is political, and video games, as an art form, must then also be political, they would have to dig awfully deep in Double Dash!! to find politics worth discussing.


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