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Screenshot: An ode to the days of cheating

There are some things missing from most games these days—elements of gameplay that were once essential parts of the home gaming experience. Extra lives, for example, are a thing of the past, obviated by the ability to save one’s game, and by the ubiquitous “autosave.” With extra lives, so too goes the “Game Over,” the […]

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Will Whitmore as the voice of the apocalypse

As a working musician, William Elliott Whitmore has become a jack-of-all-trades. In addition to six full-length records and a handful of singles, Whitmore has provided music for various movies, documentaries and television shows. In 2010, Whitmore recorded his own version of the old cowboy tune “Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie” for the emotional […]

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Screenshot: The cutscene effect

Let’s be honest: Video game cutscenes—those moments when control is taken from the user so that story information can be conveyed through a cinema-style sequence—almost always disappoint. Dialogue is often stilted and the voice acting is subpar; character expressions are muted at best and immobile at worst, sticking them firmly in the “uncanny valley” of […]

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EPX Animation & Gaming Con to feature industry pros

The video game industry is a diverse network of creative, design-oriented professionals whose names resonate with millions of video game fans across the world. For every J.J. Abrams, there is a Phil Fish. For every Guillermo Del Toro, there is a Jonathan Blow. Their keynotes draw thousands, and their philosophies on interactive design and player agency are incredibly complex for a hobby that’s often derided as a brainless exercise in destruction. […]

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Screenshot: Thrill of the Hunt

Crystal Dynamics’ new game Tomb Raider (2013) adopts the strategy of the film Star Trek (2009) in using a prequel-cum-reboot to revitalize a franchise that had run out of steam: You play the game as a version of Lara Croft far younger and less experienced than in her previous 10 iterations, whose experiences in the game are meant to be her “formative” experiences… […]

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Ron Gilbert’s The Cave further blurs the line between video games and art

Once upon a time, media were supposed to be mediums, agents for revelation. Aristotle defined classic tragedy as a way to trigger catharsis, while Plato believed in poetry as a pedagogical tool that would lead people to virtue. Now there is an attitude that some media are only vehicles for cheap entertainment and alienation, especially TV and video games. But, while I can’t speak to television, video games can in fact be a path to epiphany and enlightenment—the way every art form should be.
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Screenshot: Saving Private Rohrer

At the 2009 Game Developers’ eXchange (GDX), indie developer Jason Rohrer gave a unique talk that you should definitely check out on YouTube, whether you are into video games or you think they are just stupid entertainment for teen boys and young adults, called “‘Game’ and Other Four-Letter Words.” Rohrer is mostly known for Passage, […]

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Screenshot: Welcome to the New Dungeon

Repeat after me: Gary Gygax. Again: Gary Gygax. If you know who Gygax is, you’re probably smiling; if not, here’s a clue: Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), the fantasy role-playing game that rocked the gaming scene in the 1970s and ’80s. You know, best board game e-v-e-r: nerds impersonating elves and dwarves stranded in a dungeon […]

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Screenshot: Level Up

1981 was the year of the cyborg. Three year’s before Gibson’s Neuromancer, at that moment, the word “cyberpunk” didn’t exist and most people knew the “mouse” only as a puffy mammal, but the explosion of arcade games was accelerating the blend of man and machine through increasingly intimate human-machine experiences. Still, at the end of […]

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