Weekly Update: Blocks World

September 27, 2011 / 0 comments

After two weeks of nose-to-the-grindstone paper writing, I am delighted to return to writing that no one will pay me for with Players Are Planners, a new feature up at Robot Geek. This was inspired by a volley of blog posts that went down while I was away, starting with Michael Abbot’s Games Aren’t Clocks and followed…

Read more →

Red Dead Redemption: a cowboy rides off into the sunset.

Ending vs. Resolution

September 5, 2011 / 0 comments

According to a recent CNN story by Blake Snow, only 10% of players finish the games they start. This being an article from a major news source, there was no information on the origin or accuracy of this statistic beyond a couple of guys saying, “Yeah, that’s what I’ve heard, something like that.” Nonetheless, it provided a…

Read more →

Weekly Update: This Ends Nothing!

September 5, 2011 / 0 comments

This week at Robot Geek, I discuss the recent fake findings about how rarely players finish games in the context of narrative theory in Ending vs. Resolution. (Sorry about the video ads. We’re working on it.)  Some of this is inspired by some weird behavior I’ve noticed in my own play style. With a lot…

Read more →

Stick figures at a party.

Leaning Games

August 30, 2011 / 0 comments

The world of art games is young and vibrant, full of unique experiments. Still, if you explore the output of the experimental world enough, you’ll start to recognize a few common types. There’s the punishing platformer with dark themes; the aggressively unexplained low-fi puzzle game; the quirky Mario variation. But there’s one game type that…

Read more →

From QWOP: a runner falling over backwards

Dying Is Easy

August 22, 2011 / 0 comments

Many aspects of drama are famously difficult to copy directly from other media to games. Game writers are forever struggling with how to create suspense, emotional impact, and thematic consistency in games with grand epic storylines. A similar set of problems are faced in games that go for a comic tone. Just like drama, comedy…

Read more →

Dragon Age 2: The Champion of Kirkwall

August 20, 2011 / 0 comments

It took me a long time, but I finally finished my first playthrough of Dragon Age 2. This is the first of a couple posts I’ll be writing on it. To get the overall opinion stuff out of the way first, I was pretty crazy about the game. I wasn’t too offended by the reused…

Read more →

A screenshot from Persona 3. Dialogue text reads: Keep in mind the meaning of each card and the direction it faces, and use your inspiration to create a story.

Game Stories and Fortunetelling

August 9, 2011 / 0 comments

One of the reasons it’s hard to tell stories in videogames is that there are so many variables flying around. You want to give the player a sense of freedom in the story space; but the more freedom they have, the more changes to the world you have to track. Is so-and-so dead or alive?…

Read more →

A screenshot from Storyteller, showing two panels of a fairy-tale-like comics story in 8-bit style.

Pieces of Story

July 19, 2011 / 0 comments

Telling good stories in games is hard. Interactivity screws up a lot of the things we associate with good storytelling, such as pacing, control of the audience’s knowledge, and and suspense. This fact, though generally agreed upon, provokes a variety of reactions. Some argue we’d be better off not telling stories with games altogether; others,…

Read more →

Persona 3: Your relationship seems to be in a rut.

July 17, 2011 / 0 comments

Here’s a new thing I want to start doing. Most of my posts are either reviews of short games, or feature pieces that discuss several games at a high level. As a result, I rarely get a chance to write about the long games I play in any depth. In order to improve on this…

Read more →

A virtual reality scene with dated 3D graphics. A blocky helicopter lands in a vaguely jungle-like environment.

Sense of Presence

July 12, 2011 / 0 comments

The recent United States Supreme Court decision that affirmed the free speech rights of violent videogame producers was generally viewed as a great victory for the medium. It is a strong statement against future legislation that treats videogames as uniquely toxic to the tender minds of children. As Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in the majority opinion: As…

Read more →