Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fallout: The Scrounging Simulator

Returning to the Fallout universe in New Vegas is a reminder that some elements of interface can actually complement gameplay. Specifically, I find that inventory management, despite being menu driven, becomes an essential part of the experience of the world in both Fallout 3 and New Vegas. I actually take pleasure in managing my inventory in these games. It immerses rather than violates the rules of the world.

More thoughts on scrounging simulation here:

Fallout: The Scrounging Simulator

Review of Sonic 4

Hey, hey, my first ever playthrough of a game featuring Sonic the Hedgehog, which is weird because given my age, I probably should have played some kind of Sonic game before.

My experience, as you will see, was a little mixed:

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Death Is a Strange Reward: The Gretel and Hansel Series

I'm really fond of New Grounds. sure, there's a lot of crap there, but you can filter a lot of it and get at the interesting stuff with relative ease.

I'd been playing around with Gretel and Hansel: Part 2, one of the recent featured games at New Grounds, which provoked some discussion between my wife and I about sanitized brutality in today's fairy tales. Gretel and Hansel is not one of those sanitized contemporary revisions of a classic tale, if anything it goes well beyond the Brothers Grimm or Perrault's most horrific tales.

I talk this week a bit about violence and morality as a result:

Death Is a Strange Reward: The Gretel and Hansel Series

Friday, October 15, 2010

Review of Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock

This week I covered the kitschy new iteration of Guitar Hero. The added "narrative" components of the game serve the atmosphere more than anything else, as do a few scoring changes, which add more to the illusion of being a "guitar hero" than they do in changing up play itself:

Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I Don't Know How to Play

Today's post might seem like it is about me or about Minecraft.

To me, it is really about neither, it is about an old hobby horse of mine, the relationship between player autonomy and the authority embedded in games.

You can see what you think that it is about here:

I Don't Know How to Play

Monday, October 11, 2010

Moving Pixels Podcast: Ideal Evil in Video Games

Any excuse to post the above image of Sephiroth is a good one.

This week's podcast is intended as a follow up to last week's discussion of "real evil" in video games. In other words, that one was about villains modeled on figures with real correlatives (Nazis, the Mafia, and the like). This one at least began in my brain as an effort to discuss more romanticized and less realistic villains in games. However, thanks to an essay by Nick Dinicola, it kind of became a discussion of antagonism in video games in general.

You can see what I mean by listening here:

Moving Pixels Podcast: Ideal Evil in Video Games

A Couple of Belated Updates: Moving Pixels Podcast and Blog

I have been extraordinarily busy for the last week or so (grading papers, grading exams, and more grading). While I managed to crank out another podcast and blog entry (more of a review this time) for PopMatters, I didn't manage to mention these updates here at the "official" Neuromance blog.

So, if you haven't seen them, here are links to last weeks Moving Pixels podcast, which begins a two part discussion of evil and villainy in video games, and my own Neuromance blog entry for PopMatters, which concerns the new Professor Layton game:

Moving Pixels Podcast: Real Evil in Video Games

Professor Layton and the Curious Compulsion Towards Improvement

I should also be updating with a link to the second part of our "podcasts of evil" a bit later on today.