Search Results for:


April 24th

…the many design decisions that makes the game a true rarity.”


The subject of structured play itself as a form of work arises this week with regard to grinding as well as how the rise of multiplayer modes effectively has players replacing the work that used to be done by AI programmers.

  • Every Decision is Wrong: Social Anxiety and The Average Everyday Adventures of Samantha Browne Joel Couture examines the anxiety-simulating narrative mechanics of The Average Everyday Adventures of Samantha Browne.
  • Artificial intelligence and real emotion | Tobold’s blog Tobold addresses the paucity of powerful…
    Read More

The Art of Level Design Analysis

…before I go: I do not enjoy multiplayer games, though I know they can involve a lot of clever design. I touch my cap to them, but obviously I can’t feign authority about them! If there are articles about multiplayer games you enjoy, then I fully encourage you to post it in the comments. Also bear in mind that I haven’t quite seen everything and I am enormously biased, so please post as well if you feel I’ve omitted something good!

Hamish Todd is a science enthusiast and designer of Music of the Spheres, a recently released PC puzzle game…

Read More

March 11th

…been at home chained to a day job–and a certain game about effecting masses. Let’s get right to it.

Dan Cox leads the way this week with an interesting podcast featuring two of the Critical Distance team, Eric Swain and David Carlton, as well as several other stars in a conversation on the nature of play.

As for the past week’s biggest AAA release, Mass Effect 3, we’re already seeing a host of interesting commentary, but this analysis of the ideological dissonance of the game’s single- and multiplayer takes top billing. From author Taekwan Kim:

[The singleplayer campaign is]…

Read More
Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

January Roundup: ‘Player’s Choice’

…even harder to be evil.

Taking a different tack, Phil of Tim and and Phil Talk About Games, took the opportunity to discuss ‘Player’s Choice’ in terms of multiplayer games – specifically Counterstrike. Phil describes his self-imposed play style is being comprised of ego (challenging himself to use challenging weapons) and empathy (considering whether everyone in-game is having a fun/good experience). Phil states,

These two tendencies–one which is essentially showing off and another that boils down to some kind of strange fairplay–might seem to be at odds with each other. But they find a home in exploring the joy of

Read More
Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

March 27th

…has people discussing the cruelty of online multiplayer environments at their most brutal (content warning: descriptions of abuse and violence).

  • The Division might be the glossiest Skinner box ever created William Hughes argues at the A.V. Club that The Division is as manipulative and cynical as every other MMO.
  • The Small Moments That Make ‘The Division’ Worthwhile Mike Perna at GameChurch takes in the dramatic environmental storytelling, finding enjoyment in its darkness.
  • Being harassed in The Division‘s Dark Zone Brad Gallaway describes how The Division‘s gritty approach to PvP facilitates a rather disturbing form of harassment

“It’s one

Read More

August 28th

…The Specter of Multiplayer Hangs Over ‘Door Kickers’ | PopMatters Nick Dinicola finds that experiencing a team scenario without human collaborators allows him to reconsider where agency and blame are placed in multiplayer games.

  • Pokémon Go and Adults Gaming in Public | Sophie Weeks gives some on-point observations about mobile gaming and social shaming.
  • “[…] because Pokémon Go takes you out of your house to stalk the neighborhood in search of a wild Rhyhorn, it also means that players are gaming in public in a highly conspicuous way. This is very different from the smartphone games…

    Read More

    May 15th

    …of exclusion. There may be a few shooters, like Perfect Dark, where you’re forced to play the campaign as a female character, but even the multiplayer in that game has males to choose from (more males than females, in fact). Male characters in multiplayer shooters are never considered optional or included as an afterthought; they’re mandatory.

    Troy Goodfellow at the Flash of Steel blog is nothing if not workmanlike – the latest instalment in his long running ‘The National Character’ series is about The German National Character, as revealed through the lens of the Civilization games as well as a…

    Read More
    Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

    May Roundup: ‘Plans’

    …game—that is a list of communally developed strategies organized by effectiveness—is what makes Frozen Synapse such a great multiplayer experience. Because the planning phase recurs, the Frozen Synapse player always reacts and adjusts their plan in a way that meta plans fall apart when faced with unexpected challenges.

    The editing staff at Fem Hype get together to discuss the moments in games that made each of them cry, many if them describe events that disrupted their plans or expectations. Whether in Gone Home or Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, some of the most emotionally powerful moments these authors describe…

    Read More

    March 6th

    …latest Medal of Honor, this time looking at what made the multiplayer such a disaster.

    Maggie Greene, this week, found out she has become a chapter in a PhD dissertation and decided, since she is still alive unlike most sources, to create a few more sources, detailing in broad strokes her history at Kotaku, to help out in the research.

    Brenda Brathwaite on her personal design blog transcribes her GDC rant from the section called Social Game Developers Rant Back. Simon Ferrari on his blog Chungking Espresso writes an “informal, uninvited rant” called “How to Write a Book About Games.”…

    Read More

    March 13th

    …entities of SHODAN, because one can never read enough on System Shock 2. Paul at Little bo Beep, a site I just heard about, asks if Bioshock really is a good critique of Ayn Rand’s philosophy. And Josh Harmon at Quarter Down calls Bioshock 2‘s multiplayer “an Avant-Garde Masterpiece” in a great work of satire that I think may be more on the mark than he’s willing to admit.

    In a way, BioShock 2 merely takes the multiplayer shooter to its logical conclusion. What is a n00b if not a societal leech, attempting to profit from the skill of others

    Read More