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September 4th

…ship on fire.

Taylor Cocke at Scoreless is working on some more short vignettes of games (remember his Far Cry 2 stuff?). Now he’s doing Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

Line Hollis at Robot Geek discusses what she terms ‘Leaning Games‘. Their choices, as she describes, are also employed in choose-your-own-adventures and AAA titles, to varying effect:

What this style really resembles is the story structure found in mainstream games with a “moral choice system,” like Bioshock, Infamous, or Mass Effect. The dead simplicity of the system in Bioshock is a particularly close match. Each Little…

May 12th

…because it is a productive way of exploring the truly, historically new affordances of the digital medium.”

Also recommended: Liz Ryerson’s in-depth response to Kazemi’s post and further responses from Todd Harper and Samantha Allen.


Games do not exist in a vacuum. They are shaped by our individual perceptions. Writing for Paste, Maddy Myers illustrates this brilliantly with her visit to BioShock Infinite‘s Columbia in the wake of the Boston bombings.

Also on BioShock Infinite, Moving Pixels’ G. Christopher Williams discusses relating to the protagonists’ dynamic as a father of three daughters.


May 19th

…Harmless author and Critical Distance’s 2012 Blogger of the Year, the beardful Australian Brendan Keogh.

Speaking of books, Jamie Dalzell has released his ebook deep read of Dark Souls. And have you picked up the videogame StoryBundle curated by Simon Carless yet?


Francisco Dominguez of Haywire Magazine suggests the verbs afforded players in BioShock Infinite are so narrow, they reinforce the game’s sociopathy:

This would be why his dialogue is so utilitarian and deductive, always targeted towards a goal. This would be why his distinctive verbs are so narrow: he eats, shoots and

November 10th

…mutated over their many iterations and looks at the core of what makes a quote/unquote Final Fantasy game.

Nathan of compares Baseball to Spelunky in regards to their various levels of play and the deceptively simple descriptions of how they play.

Eric Swain at PopMatters explains how most games that claim to be cinematic fail to take advantage of the techniques of film and how Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons was a game that incorporated such techniques into its camera.

Stephen Beirne wrote a piece at Gameranx claiming that BioShock Infinite‘s combat design was a…

This Year In Videogame Blogging: 2013

…credit so far.

Ghosts In The Machine is a short story anthology of 13 pieces by a variety of video game critics edited by Lana Polansky and Brendan Keogh.

Critical Video Game Blogging

Every year the focus of most of the work is on the games themselves, ranging from a holistic overview, to narrowing in on a single aspect or connecting it to the greater trends and themes of the medium. This is true for games of the present and of the past.

Without a doubt the most talked about game of the year is Bioshock

Abstract image evoking bird silhouette


…by the second playthrough is a positive thing. In fact, it functions much like the lack of agency in BioShock:

Forcing a player to act in a way that doesn’t appeal to their morality at all can make for a very uncomfortable and introspective experience, one that ends up being far more memorable in the long run.

And, as has been illustrated, many articles comment on the repeated plays aspect, Alan Williamson’s “Nier Death Experience” in Issue 4 of Five Out of Ten (2013) is the one that most draws out the game’s final ending and…

Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

This Year in Videogame Blogging: 2014

…him that The Crew‘s fantasy of accumulating power is not the Americanism he wanted to engage with.

Stephen Beirne found he had made a mistake in Spec Ops: The Line under pressure by a moment in the game’s fiction. Comparing the game with BioShock Infinite, Beirne found that the moment left a far greater impact than BioShock Infinite‘s carnival throw because he could “point back to afterwards and see a ghost of myself living in it, so impassioned and alive as to be conceited of the absence of any alternative, so foolish and honest and gloriously mine.”


September 20th

…past Mario games to incorporate into your own levels. He also shares an example level of his own and the thought processes leading to his design decisions.

Get It in Writing

In researching subjects of early plastic surgery, Suzannah Biernoff has discovered that some World War 1-era medical photographs of the Gillies Archive — now in the public domain — served as the basis for certain enemy designs in BioShock. Which, for Biernoff, raises a few issues: “The problem with BioShock is that the splicers are based on identifiable individuals, who — if they were alive — would…

September 25th

…Critical Sphere

Looking a little closer at the cultural and material consequences of hype, two pieces on games designed to attract attention for their themes examine how games culture is created through moments of conflict.

  • Defective Products: Postal, Hatred, and For-Profit Controversy :: Games :: Features :: Paste Harry Brewis writes about the design and reception of games that exist primarily to be newsworthy.
  • Why is everybody criticizing BioShock Infinite these days? | ZAM – The Largest Collection of Online Gaming Information Cameron Kunzelman gives people a fantastic introduction to the social economy of games criticism

October 2nd

…the hearts and minds of a generation | This excellent feature uncovers the specificity of Sega’s marketing in the UK in the 1990s, with a local firm pushing for a particular kind of brash irreverence that had significant cultural impact at the time.

  • The cycles of violence in BioShock: The Collection | Kill Screen Brent Ables argues that the BioShock series reflects a shift toward a critically self-reflexive notion of the left.
  • “Infinite’s core invocation of historical materialism adds a new dimension to the determinism that all of the games explored at some level, and…