Monthly Archives: November 2012

The Game is Talking Back: A Review of “Killing is Harmless”

As I write, Brendan Keogh’s new book has been out for less than a week, and has already been declared a landmark of games criticism. The book’s primary qualification for this opinion seems to be its length, around 50,000 words, … Continue reading

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The Incredible Machine: Auto-Amputation and Incredipede

What happens to your body when you play games? Or, more specifically, how do you think of your body when you enter a game space, when you begin to identify with not your own self, your “meat,” but rather with … Continue reading

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Toys in The Attic: A Thoroughly Modern Reading of Revolution X

History is a series of repeating cycles meshing like gears in varying but finite permutations. The saving grace of this eternally restless sturm und drang is the return of past works to relevance, and the power to mine new meaning … Continue reading

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An Ode to Stanley & Esther

Popular gaming culture today swells with generic shooters, unoriginal shtick, franchise building, and overproduced games from big developers that rarely deviate from anything already on the market. The release of more and more games with each passing year renders many … Continue reading

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On Avatars: Creating An Other Self

I’m a sucker for customizable avatars. If any game has even a halfway decent character creation system or any significant way to alter the protagonist’s appearance then it’s probably going to end up in my collection sooner or later. I … Continue reading

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Gamers Gamely Game Games: A Review of The Metagame

You have five cards in your hand, each one bearing the title of a different game. For fun, let’s say you’ve got World of Goo, King’s Quest, Prince of Persia, Silent Hill and Myst. The judge turns over a card … Continue reading

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Snuff Enough: Hotline Miami, Manhunt, and the Theater of Killing

The question posed in Hotline Miami is rhetorical. “Do you like hurting other people?” Of course you don’t. Or you shouldn’t. But this is a game, and so you do. Killing is often the language of games. It lubricates plots, … Continue reading

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Challenge is Conflict: How Difficulty Makes Game Narratives Work

Back when Twilight Princess was first released, my girlfriend—who has liberated Hyrule almost as many times as it’s needed it—had only one complaint: it was too easy. The puzzles were well enough designed but a misstep hardly left a scratch … Continue reading

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Why Are You Doing This? Hotline Miami and Drive

Hotline Miami is a violent game. It is also an incredibly original game, bearing the mark of Jonatan Söderström’s (AKA “Cactus”) fascinatingly hideous punk sensibilities. This distinction sets Hotline Miami apart enough that people are willing to ask if it … Continue reading

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