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June 3rd

…to also get right into the guts of things. Eric Schwarz declares Diablo III an abusive relationship while Josh Bycer presents us with a breakdown of the attributes of bad game design. Combining the two themes in a tale of “Vicodin Visions,” Grantland’s Tom Bissell performs a ludonarrative dissection of Max Payne 3:

Ludonarrative dissonance, a term first coined by the game designer Clint Hocking, arises whenever a video game’s fiction says one thing and its gameplay says an opposite thing. Some designers and critics regard ludonarrative dissonance as a core problem in modern game design. Max Payne

July Roundup: ‘Pure Fun’


On his new blog at Better Games, Better Gamers, Dan Lipson reviews the meaning of and conditions for “flow” before questioning whether flow is actually essential to fun. Lipson then proceeds to use Diablo as a test case for the question.

This month, the last word goes to Nick Hanford, who inspired our theme for the month. Hanford suggests that, “we have to treat pure fun as a kind of double-edged sword.” While fun helps us turn off our minds and find enjoyment, that that uncritical turning off is also the precise danger of fun. Give…

October 19th

…against a rock (and also pressing the A button in front of every rock)”. Kirby was maybe the first game of Nintendo fame to not have that gotcha, but regardless of whether it was, Kid Icarus was NOT that game.

Meanwhile, in the newest installment of History Respawned, Bob Whitaker sits down with history professor Michelle Brock, an expert on early demonology, to discuss the cultural and religious underpinnings of Blizzard’s Diablo franchise.

One Does Not Simply…

The new Middle-earth game, Shadow of Mordor, continues to inspire a lot of discussion.

On her personal blog,…

May 26th

…put a different set of clothes on.” As Keogh puts it: “It’s a social game without cutesy graphics or a ‘share to Facebook’ button, so it’s okay to be seen playing it.”

Outside our usual spheres of games blogging, Peter C Earle of the Ludwig von Mises Institute has an interesting analysis of the recent gold exploit in Diablo 3, as it parallels real-world examples of hyperinflation.

And the second issue of the Memory Insufficient e-zine has gone live, with articles from Troy Goodfellow, John Harney, Maggie Greene and editor Zoya Street. Well worth the read.

September 9th

…also tends to sap the brand identity behind gameplay.

Max Lieberman talks about theology as system and game system as theology on the subject of The Binding of Isaac. On a more secular (and musical) note, Joshua Dennison writes about why he likens Proteus to free jazz.

More personally: Scott Juster, touching upon Michael Abbott’s “Why We JRPG“, reflects on his own return to the genre:

When faced with the slick AI director in Left 4 Dead, the accessible upgrade system in Diablo 3, or the emergent chaos in Far Cry 2, it’s easy to…

September 2nd

…Johannes Koski takes us through the streets of Shibuya while extrapolating on concepts from Isaac Lenhart, and what it all has to do with The World Ends With You.

As a matter of fact, this was a good week for JRPG commentary all around, as Pixels or Death’s Adam Harshberger reveals that he liked Xenoblade Chronicles enough to confide a few dark secrets in us. And GameInformer’s Kimberley Wallace explores several design lessons we can still learn the grand old genre.

Josh Bycer writes of the plot holes of Diablo 3. Meanwhile, Unwinnable’s Sam Machkovech swaps out plot…

September 18th

…of what he was allowed to pick-up-and-play as a child:

When I grew up, some games were off-limits. Diablo was a no, because Satan was right there in the title. Grand Theft Auto was also disallowed when my parents caught me mowing down police officers and lines of Elvis impersonators with a machine gun. Mortal Kombat was banned for obvious reasons—you can rip out a man’s ribs and them stab them through his eyes—but even Golden Eye was mysteriously “lost” one day after a particularly hilarious match of only shooting each other in the knee caps. I can

Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

October 3rd

…social challenges.

Sean Beanland writes on his blog Alethiometry about the original Diablo this week in a post titled ‘Clicking In A Technicolor Dreamcoat’.

This is a sad week for those of us who have consistently enjoyed the work of Kieron Gillen. He has left his position at Rock Paper Shotgun, and thus, his foot is almost entirely out-the-door of videogame journalism, depriving the rest of us of his unique talents. How better to go out than by looking at a few things he wrote this week: first, ‘Mechanic Spoilers: Beyond I Am Your Father’ which looks…

Jesse Schell, ‘Design outside the Box’

…psychology underlying Schell’s talk, his post ‘Behaviourist Game Design‘ dives into the different forms that external motivators can take. Variable reinforcements turn out to be particularly effective and are not at all foreign to games. They are:

…exactly how the random drops work in a roguelike such as Diablo or World of Warcraft. It’s no wonder that people will spend hours grinding for loot if their brains are conditioned to do so by the most efficient reward system that we know of.

George Korkoris of Burning North is, like Sirlin, no big fan of external motivators;…

Surfer Girl Reviews Star Wars

…Life] issues.

  • Industryites, bad QoL situations will not get better by telling no one about them.
  • What was the point of this blog? Force folks to pay attention to important things going on in the real world and encourage them to become activists for social and political progress. I probably failed miserably, but at least I tried.
  • You cannot honestly be surprised that Doom 4 was announced, can you? I’m guessing you are the kind that will be shocked when things like Call of Duty 6, Diablo III, Hitman 5, Onimusha 5, Max Payne 3, the non-wagglefest…