Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lower Pleasures

Society’s not quite sure what to do with video games yet.  Questions still remain on what effect they have on the human brain among many things.  As they have become more prominent, games have entered into many discussions.  More often than not, they are relegated the category of “a waste of time.”  A discussion on utilitarianism I had recently would call them lower pleasures, that is, something that does promote happiness, but must be subordinated to other, more noble pursuits such as poetry.  Such a view could only be founded in ignorance, and this article will highlight two notable counterpoints to this belief.
***Spoilers for Bioshock Follow***

Monday, February 27, 2012

What Makes Multiplayer Fun?

Your average college male probably spends ten times more time playing Call of Duty or Halo than he does on his studies.  For some reason, all that dull stimulation of reading just does not appeal to them over the frantic, fast paced electronic world that video games can provide for them.  What are they even doing in these games that takes up so much time?  Multiplayer, of course.  Hours upon hours are devoted to capturing a flag, planting some C4, or just enacting genocide on their fellow man (or aliens, as the case may be).  How can they spend all this time doing what pretty much amounts to the same thing over and over?  As I’ve played games, two distinct types of multiplayer experiences have become apparent.  Let’s take them one at a time, shall we?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Let's Play Sunday: Yoshi's Island Part 2

The second leg of Yoshi's journey to save baby Luigi!  Click "Read More" for Parts 2 and 3.
Missed the first installment?  Go here!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

In The News: California Spends $1.8 Million Fighting Violent Games

As it turns out, going against the freedom of speech can have a pretty hefty price tag.  For those of you who are unaware, California put a law in place back in 2005 preventing the sale of "violent" video games to minors.  Since then, a legal battle has been raging over whether or not the law is constitutional from a First Amendment perspective.  After being rejected by a number of lower courts, the law came before the Supreme Court last year.  In the end, it was struck down by the highest court in the land.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Retro Review: I Wanna Be the Guy

My first video in a new series:  Retro Review.

In this series, we'll take a look back at some games of the past.  Will they hold up?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Story Vs. Cinematic in Video Games

A recent article (ok, rather recent anyway) on has David Jaffe, creator of God of War, railing against story in games.  Citing other games he has created, Jaffe looks back on his career wishing that he had not valued story so much in many of his games.  Story, he says, adds a large technological burden on the developer and, as a result, the mechanical qualities of the game diminish rapidly.  The desire within the game industry to make games more like films is heavily to blame for the loss of focus on game mechanics and has caused some serious problems.  Well, is he right?  And who is anyone to argue with such a prominent member of the industry?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Level Design in Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Let's take a look at Skyward Sword in my first ever game analysis video!  Someone cue the awesome music and confetti.

A comparison between two areas in Skyward Sword:  Faron Woods and Eldin Volcano.
Filmed somewhere in the grainy darkness.

In The News: Improve Your Eyesight by Shooting Foreigners

A recent article on The Escapist website offers some scientific evidence that video games may actually be good for your eyesight in certain situations.  Of course, this goes against much long-held wisdom that staring at a screen for hours on end is bad for your eyes. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Let's Play Sunday: Yoshi's Island Part 1

Alright everyone, time to START A NEW TRADITION!
*cricket chirps*

Well anyway, every Sunday I'm going to put up a new video of me playing through a game of my choice, making commentary as I go.  For those of you who have been under a rock, this is called a "let's play."

We're gonna start off with one of the best games ever, Yoshi's Island.  Disagree?  Go lick a wall, since you obviously have no taste. 

Gather round and be mystified by my lack of humor!

Any input to help me improve these videos will be greatly appreciated. 

Will Yoshi be able to save baby Luigi?  Will I continue to be this horribly unfunny? Does movie trailer voice come through in text? Find out next week.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Examining The Darkness II Demo

Over the past couple of weeks I have been assaulted from all sides of the Internet by an ad for The Darkness II.  Under most circumstances, I wouldn’t have paid this game any attention since I normally doze off during those thirty second ads before videos, but this time was a bit different.  My roommate had noticed this game and said he thought it looked cool.  I asked him what kind of game it was and, of course, he couldn’t tell me.  The trailer forwarded in those brief ads contains no gameplay, so it’s hard to tell what you’re getting into.  Out of curiosity I downloaded the demo (yeah, just the demo.  I’m a poor college student) to see what all the fuss was about.

Story Time

Story in video games is quite the hot topic (no, not the store).  People stand on both sides of the debate.  Some think story is incredibly important aspect of a video game.  Meanwhile, others don’t want all of those complicated words getting in the way of their virtual genocide quest.  Who’s right, then?  Can games be good without a story?  Does a story actually detract from a game?