Monthly Archives: February 2013

Spec Ops: The Line – A Complete Lack of (Dramatic) Irony

America the beautiful.

Dramatic Irony (noun): “irony that is inherent in speeches or a situation of a drama and is understood by the audience but not grasped by the characters in the play.”

Video games are not movies. Video games are not books. Video games are not plays.

One of the many concerns floating through the minds of parents at any given second is whether or not playing violent games will make their children more violent. Because you are the actor in the scene. You are the shooter. You are the one running over the pedestrians with no consequences. And it’s fun. And it’s addicting. And you can have all of the adrenaline – the thrill of the kill – with none of the regret, none of the fear, and none of the pain. Continue reading

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Review: The First Ten Minutes of Myst on the 3DS

My boxart actually literally says "WITH NEW ART!" Wow!

Myst is important. It was released in 1993 and remained the best-selling PC game for nearly a decade before finally being unseated by The Sims. It caused millions of us upgrade to the then-new CD format, with its impressive full-motion video, sweeping orchestral soundtrack, and cutting-edge world design and graphics. The neatest part? It was originally a Mac-only game.

Since ’93, Myst has been ported to something like a dozen different platforms, and most recently it has been spreading like a virus throughout the handheld realm. Now that the graphical and sound prowess of our portable systems can match that of a personal computer from 20 years ago, it seems like a perfect match, especially what with the touchscreens and stereo sound.

There is a sort of purity in Myst that seems untouched by time — obtuse puzzles, a go anywhere/do anything atmosphere with an unhurried pace, and a deep lore that has to be peeled back one layer at a time. The 3DS version has all of these things. Unfortunately, it is unplayable. Continue reading

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Dark Souls, Cave Story, and Never Getting It Right

If you've seen what I've seen... you'd know this guy is actually super easy.

In a Mass Effect Renegade playthrough, you will have arguments with people. It gets heated and intense to the point that – sometimes – the game will make you kill the person you’re bickering with. “Wait, game,” you say. “I didn’t want to actually kill him. I just wanted to tell him what’s up.” So you re-load your save and do it right the second time. You practice a little self-restraint because the game taught you through your mistakes how to act to achieve the goal you originally wanted. This is trial-and-error gameplay, and it’s been employed since before the days of Mega Man. Alright. I’m learning, and I can do better next time. It makes sense to my logical mind.

That’s not how Dark Souls… is. Continue reading

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Review: The Cave

It goes downhill from here.

Dear The Cave,

You are NOT as funny as you think you are, with your little quips, your little references to old LucasArts games, and your fedora-adjusting attitude toward an entire world that you think you’re just plain better than. You are that guy working part-time at the comic book store, getting overly defensive when I joke about the large number of Archie digests lining your impulse buy section right next to the check-out counter. “Actually,” you begin, “there’s an entire issue about the relevance of gender roles and issues in today’s society. It’s very timely.”

Shut your face, comic nerd. I was just making small talk. You think it’s your personal mission from God to prove just how much cooler you are, like championing something not drawn by Rob Liefeld will make us believe that you’re this deep, sensitive Nice Guy of OKCupid®. Continue reading

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My Strange Addiction: NFL Shuffle

Shuffle cuz it's cards GET IT???

I’ve only fallen down the free-to-play rabbit hole a few times. Without this shiny new iPhone, I’d have never discovered the compelling, high-speed Jetpack Joyride, or the strategy/action mix of Kingdom Conquest, and I wouldn’t get so hooked on Prize Claw that’d I’d play it during podcast recordings. Luckily, I still haven’t tried a single Facebook game. This week, I would have probably played a lot more Dark Souls (or, you know, written anything) if it wasn’t for my latest makes-no-sense addiction, NFL Shuffle. Continue reading

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