Author Archives: Adam Maresca

PAX, GDC, IGF, RIP: A Meandering, Fatigued Look At The Last Two Weeks

Having been to PAX East this year, not even a week later most of the memories are hazy stretches of nothing. After paying the yearly tithe to the overlords of video game culture, I planned in between seeing a few … Continue reading

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With Friends Like These: Screw Ups and Patterns of Power in the Games Industry

Randy Pitchford is a happy man. Sure, the last couple of major titles he’s overseen as head of Gearbox Software have had their share of detractors, but that’s not going to be any skin off of his nose. If someone … 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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Requiem for Linnaeus: On The Taxonomy of “Game”

  Editor’s Note: Carl Linnaeus was an 18th Century scientist who is considered the father of modern taxonomy, the classification of organisms. One of the issues in the modern critical community for video games that mystifies me the most is … Continue reading

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Fear of Music: The Untold History of Rock Band Network

Editor’s note: This article was originally published on July 5, 2012. We are re-publishing it today with an addendum covering the release of Rock Band Blitz. Due to Rock Band and Guitar Hero ebbing naturally from cultural phenomenon status, rhythm games have had more … Continue reading

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Hired Guns: The Real Price of Game Violence

Adam Maresca America is slowly recovering from a flashpoint of public violence. Having learned nothing from the warnings of experts in the past, our news media has fostered an environment for a succession of copycats in the slaughter of the … Continue reading

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Lost in Space and Time: Perception, Memory, and Tony Hawk

Adam Maresca It should have been so simple. It was billed as a greatest-hits mash-up of two games that were pivotal in the collective game memory of millions. Installments in a series which charted the high water mark of extreme … Continue reading

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Heart of Darkness: E3, Violence, and Context for Outrage

by Adam Maresca To everyone who has been finding some of the content from this year’s E3 to be pushing the boundaries of sexual politics and highly graphic violence: what kept you? In case you think that question was rhetorical, I’ll give you my best guess. It’ll scare your mom! It’ll scare your little sister! It’ll SCARE YOUR DOG. (And also the ESRB.) As a particularly new medium, video games have been the target of moral fervor since the introduction of gory violence, with plenty of memorable flashpoints along the way. Mortal Kombat and Night Trap were hounded by Senator Joe Lieberman, David Grossman demonized imaginary Doom levels in the aftermath of the tragedies of Columbine, Jack Thompson led a failed two-pronged crusade against Grand Theft Auto, and Breivik’s self-implicating statements have name-dropped Call of Duty. We were fortunate in many ways that the vocal opponents of these games chose to resort to Continue reading

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Pandora’s Lunchbox: Deregulating Decency With Dorks’ Dollars

Editor’s Note: The Following Article contains images that, while not genuinely pornographic, would not be a great thing for your boss to see over your shoulder. Please read responsibly. by Adam Maresca Thanks to the likes of open-source funding services like Kickstarter, the “marketplace of ideas” has never been more literal, or more troubling. Though their record is far from perfect, the service recently has come under fire again. This time the cause is the cancellation of the card game Tentacle Bento for, presumably, flagrantly violating the company’s obscenity guidelines. The fact the game tripled its initial goal and ran on the site for quite some time is not the major source of the outcry, though. It’s that the game was pulled from Kickstarter at all. That Which Must Be Preserved At All Costs. Insert Credit’s initial coverage by Brandon Sheffield is one of the main sources of the complaints that got the Continue reading

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