Video games allow you to steal stuff all the time from other characters. In fact, games make it pretty easy to get away with theft. And yet…we recognize that theft is morally wrong. So what can we take away from all the stealing we do when we play games?
Puzzle games can be a lot of fun and rewarding to play through, but they can also be complex enough to frustrate players. This essay contains some basic tips on how to approach puzzle solving in general so that players who want to get into puzzle games (but might feel held back) can improve their skills.
As the play-to-earn NFT game Axie Infinity gasps out its dying breaths, it’s a good time to step back and examine the narrative of “play-to-earn” and how the concept doesn’t really work.
What does it mean for a theme to be “played out”? When is a game’s story boring because it’s just rehashing a theme we’re all familiar with? In this essay I explore two radically different stories – Aeschylus’s Oresteia and The Last of Us Part II – to talk about the theme of revenge, and some problems of media criticism.
You are fated to play a game called Pathologic 2, and then to come back and read this essay. You cannot escape this fate.
A final essay on the themes of the Dark Souls games. In this one I look at Dark Souls III, and the problem of stagnation. What does the ending of the series mean not just for us as players, but for the developers themselves?
When games give us various objectives, how does that impact our relationship to the game? I explore the theming of Dark Souls II to examine how it raises an important set of questions about us as the player when we play: what are we doing, and why are we doing it?
Activision Blizzard unveiled a new Diversity Space Tool, and it was quickly dragged online. Why did that occur? In this essay, I examine issues of diversity and representation in video games, and tie the development of this tool to problems of how we approach science and technology more broadly. In turn, these problems show why ActiBlizz’s new tool doesn’t help address these underlying problems of representation.
This essay will look at the thematic structure of Dark Souls through the lens of “perseverance.” What does it mean to persevere, and should we do it? I will be looking at the various components of the game to illustrate how they all work together to pose a serious question to the player: is it worth it to keep going?
Puzzles in video games involve all sorts of mechanics, and one of the most interesting is a constructed language. But while constructed languages can be cool, they can also be frustrating to engage with. Using the recent game Tunic, I examine the basic problems and explore some basic ideas of how to deal with language puzzles from a design standpoint.