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In the Third Person: Against Player Authority

The critical consensus is that the main character in a game has to either be an extension of or a substitute for the player. The whole world must be at the player’s disposal, and the world has to be built around the player’s actions (or inaction). The more the player can play with, the better the game respects its medium. This “me-first” approach to video game storytelling is tragically limited.

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Games

Death of a Quarian

In a Mass Effect game, I can rewrite dramatic choices; I can slip away from consequences.

Games

Why the Ending of 'Mass Effect' Should Not Change

It’s appropriate that the final boss of Mass Effect is a conversation.

Games

Moving Pixels Podcast: The 'Mass Effect' Effect

With the ability to carry over story data from one game to the next, we consider how this system in Mass Effect affects the way we play the game and how much control we assert over getting "our" Mass Effect experience just right.

Games

Machismo and 'Mass Effect'

For characters in Mass Effect, sometimes working out their feelings about their past requires hitting someone or being hit by someone.

Games

"The Shadow to the Substance": Romanticism in 'Dragon Age'

No matter how grave or self-destructive the world of Dragon Age becomes, the poet figure is the ideal guide and prophet to Thedas.

Reviews

Dragon Age II: Legacy

For a story pitched as casting a shadow on the Hawke family line, the actual revelation doesn't really tarnish anyone's reputation.

Games

The Most Loving Suicide Mission Ever

The climactic suicide mission in Mass Effect 2 is a love letter to the game’s characters, even as it kills them off.

Games

Choice, Apathy, and Evil in 'Dragon Age II'

Dragon Age II, unlike Origins, forces you into the position of a tyrant.

Games

Collaborative Conflict in 'Mass Effect'

Gaming is a process of collaborative storytelling, and as I tried to write conflict into the story of Mass Effect, I ran into conflict with my writing partner, Bioware.

Games

Watching As Gameplay: 'L.A. Noire' Merely a Visual Novel?

Watching becomes a rather central and active occupation in most games and very often requires more time than “doing something”.

Games

Moving Pixels Podcast: A Look at Inclusivity in Video Games

This week the Moving Pixels podcast interfaces with writers from The Border House, Gay Gamer, and The Vorpal Bunny Ranch to discuss inclusivity in video games.

Games

'Dragon Age: Origins' and A Few Notes on Class

In games, we always play as middle class. We just occasionally start out in peasant drag.

Games

Moving Pixels Podcast: Everyone Is the Champion of Kirkwall

Despite its more limited geographical scope, Kirkwall is a game world well suited to an expanded discusssion.

Games

Space Jihadists: 'Mass Effect 2: Arrival' Just Keeps Digging Its Hole Deeper

Arrival demonstrates an almost appalling similarity to American media, not just in the way that we create our own enemies, but in how we manage to disregard the ensuing violence as the Other's doing, surely not our own.

Games

Take Your Damn Rivalry Points Like a Man: The Non-Dialectic of 'Dragon Age II'

This whole outcry stands as a testament to why gamers need to get over notions of "fairness" -- especially when "fairness" isn't really fair.

Games

'Dragon Age II': Making the Case for "Quality" Games

The game makes the most of its often glaring limitations to deliver on some of the strongest character-driven storytelling that we've seen out of a Bioware title.

Games

Things I Was (Happily) Wrong About in 'Dragon Age II'

Something tells me that despite its flaws, Dragon Age II is going to have real staying power over time, especially among the critical and theoretical blogosphere where already some important dialogue is taking shape.

Games

'Dragon Age' Lets Me Celebrate Girl Power (And Doesn't Make Me Self-Conscious)

I'm not very traditionally girly, and I like it when a video game character is able to communicate that mixture of gendered ideals without becoming a caricature. I found that in Dragon Age.

Games

The Business of Falling in Love with the Virtual

The video guy (or girl) isn't attractive simply out of an immediate reflexive response to him but because of an ongoing and ever evolving coexistence shared with him.

Games

The Least Suicidal Suicide Mission Ever

Attacking the Collectors’ base in Mass Effect 2 is far from suicidal. If I have even a vague sense of what to do, it’s easy to keep everyone alive.

Games

How Open Is Your Open World?

As worlds become more open they demand more attention, and there’s a clear trade-off between story and environmental details.

Games

An Intimate Moment With the Computer

I cared about GlaDOS only because she was the one directing me. Oh, and then I really cared about her because she wanted to kill me.

Games

TWiG 2008-09-29: Another Go with the Hedgehog

New releases for the week of 2008-09-29...

Reviews

Mass Effect

One of the major themes of Mass Effect is xenophobia and the reasons that certain species hate or mistrust the others.

Games

Jade Empire

The similarities in story and mechanics to other role-playing games threaten to undermine Jade Empire's goals.

Josh Lee
Games

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

KOTOR is like watching a 40-hour Star Wars movie that you get to play a part in. Plus, George Lucas didn't mess this one up.

Sean Trundle

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