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This Is What Video Games Are: A Dispatch From A Crowded Gaming Expo

“Sometimes I’m tempted to just, like, lie,” laughs a colleague across a table from me. We’re talking about preview coverage: The unusual condition of being slotted in front of a monitor in a noisy expo hall, shoulder to shoulder with fans waiting their turn, a well-used headset shifted off one ear so you can hear an anxious games developer or well-rehearsed producer strain to shout the elevator pitch, the thousandth same instruction of the day, above the din. You get your 15 minutes, and then you have to have something to tell people about it.


Man Cave Fan Fiction

About two years after The End came a memorable day: Mark unearthed an incredible stash. Coarse-knuckled and goose-prickling under a wan, strange sun, he hunched over a small old dumpster he found behind the old Winn Dixie, and pried away at it. It took some time, as the thing had corroded shut. The colour and iron smell of rust was all in the creases of his palms by the time he got it open.


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Now Is The Best Time: A Critique Of BioShock Infinite

I always found Metal Gear Solid 4 to be not a brilliant game, but a fascinating one. A mad ideologue glutted with tech retreads, again and again, the narrative he’s always dreamed of, and has never been able to get quite right.


Why I Cried At GDC

I did a lot of crying at GDC this year. Maybe it’s because I processed so many interactions — met so many good people, caught up with so many friends, cheered on so many heroes — that I am overwhelmed. From the distance of the internet I can usually manage it, Twitter and Facebook and however many internet comments I can stand to read, but in person sometimes it’s a lot. I am conditioned, like Pavlov’s dog, to hovering red notifications that demand addressing, to conversations that seem, in those moments of intimacy between my screen and I, to need immediate responses.


I Wish I Was Good At Video Games So I Could Be Cool Like People In '90s Movies

Having Mad Skills is a huge part of the video game culture mythos. Do you remember the future promised to us in the 1990s, where every TV show had a kid just like you “going in the game”, crowned with a giant jutting VR helmet? Remember all the kids in action kneepads, waving power-gloved fingers, conducting the symphony of the future? Competing against wireframe virtual reality threats for fabulous prizes?


How To Launch Your Game Development Career In 2013

OK. You need one original idea that no one has ever had before. Try this: Everything we do is a game. Games are systems, and since everything is, like, totally a system, you can almost say life is a game. Find yourself at the kind of party where everyone is “seeking capital”. Raise your glass enigmatically to your lips as you tell an attractive member of the opposite sex: “I think life is a game.” Oh man. You’re on your way.


The Beautifully Melancholy Chrono Cross Was Unfairly Overlooked

Japanese RPGs used to be a lot more controversial. Or maybe it was just because I was a teenager during the genre’s heyday — you know, when Final Fantasy games flew off shelves, when hours of CG cutscenes featuring teary-eyed androgynes were considered breathtaking rather than tiresome — and teenagers like to argue about things on the internet a lot more than people my age can stomach.


Why The Chrono Cross Soundtrack Is My Favourite

I think I know part of the reason Chrono Cross is less acknowledged than its predecessor, Chrono Trigger. It’s because it’s a sequel in spirit only, keeping some conceptual commonalities and a sparse few plot ones.


The Dating Secrets Of Your Favorite Video Game Characters

Nathan Drake has recently purchased a new MacBook, after talking to several of his friends about it for several weeks. He has done more discussing the MacBook than he has actually using it, and secretly he enjoys causing the icons to sort of ‘pop’ along the bar at the bottom of the screen more than he enjoys operating the various applications that have come with his new Apple experience.


Last Year's Best, New(ish) Video Game Ideas

2011 was yet another good year for video games, but on its face it was a little predictable.