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
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
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
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
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
It’s time we all learn about the illegal stuff we do! This’ll be more fun than the time that 12-year-old girl got fined a bunch of money by the RIAA for using Kazaa… even though her mom paid for the program.
First, some background on the story blowing up my little corner of the internet today. Forbes contributor Erik Kain wrote about a “new” Super Nintendo game (since edited) set to be released by the end of the year, including a box, manual, cartridge, the works. I put “new” in quotation marks because, while Nightmare Busters has never been released in cartridge form before, lots of people have been playing an emulated underground version of it for years. This physical version is brought to you by the original copyright holders, however! Continue reading
A few things went through my mind during Nintendo Direct’s Wii U livestream this morning. Not a lot of them were great. The underlying theme of the presentation, however, seemed to be something put into words by Iwata himself: “not ready yet.”
We’d like to show you Bayonetta 2, but we’re not ready yet.
We’d like to show you our new 3D Mario game, but we’re not ready yet.
We’d like to release the Wii’s entire Virtual Console library on the Wii U, but we’re not ready yet.
We’d like to ship a game before March, but we’re not ready yet.
But you know what, Nintendo? We’ve been waiting for years. We are ready. If you don’t cater to your fanbase in a timely manner, they will get bored and find something else to do.
So let’s talk about today’s Nintendo Direct, yeah?
When the original Devil May Cry hit the PS2, it immediately drew me in. From the company that basically invented the Survival Horror genre with the PS1’s Resident Evil series, here was this new thing where you were no longer the hunted, but the hunter. You weren’t afraid of the creatures of the night while you struggled to find even a handful of bullets to fight off the approaching demon hordes – you had unlimited ammo and you killed them in some of the coolest ways anything up to that point had ever been killed in a video game. Slash a demon into the air then keep him up there with a barrage of bullets from your dual pistols before he explodes? Yes, please.
Flash forward a decade. The series hasn’t had a game that fans could be proud of in this current seven-year-old console generation. It was time to shake things up. So Capcom handed the reins over to Ninja Theory, creators of the under-appreciated cult classic Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. The first thing they did was give Dante black hair, instantly drawing enmity from that vocal minority scared of change (check the MetaCritic bombing of the user score if you want to see whether they’re still mad about it). But you know what? Screw the haters. The change-up of DmC: Devil May Cry is exactly the booster shot this lagging series needed. Continue reading
[Update: I added a few more things to the end of the list that I thought about after this was originally posted. This thing has a lot of quirks.]
When I first got my 3DS, my lack of research into some of its finer points left me occasionally dumbfounded at some of the decisions Nintendo had made regarding its design. Well now I have a Wii U. And guess what??? Nintendo has done it again. There are some things about the Wii U which, design-wise, I will never understand.
Did you know…? Continue reading
My grandmother died on New Year’s Day. So just one week after I made the 1,500 mile trip from San Francisco to northern Minnesota for Christmas, I was back for the funeral. It was yesterday.
The trip was familiar. Same airports (SFO, MSP, and DLH), same airline (Delta), same in-flight snack (cookies), same gate (C20), same fast food restaurant that I neglected to eat at (Chik-fil-a). Same. Same. Same. Only the reason for the trip was different. There were no Christmas presents to look forward to this time.
I made sure to come back for Christmas because Grandma had been in rough health for years, and her steady decline made it pretty obvious that this would be her last holiday season. I knew when I left a week ago that I probably wouldn’t see her alive again. It was a sad feeling, but we could all tell she had given up. She was ready to go, and it was only a matter of time.
So when, after a surprising heart attack, she died three days later, it was only a little bit of a shock. I left for my parents’ house the next morning. On the way, I needed an escape on the flight. I retreated into video games. I retreated into LittleBigPlanet on the PSP. Continue reading