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TheGameCritique
Boston, Ma
Interests: Movies, Video Games, Anime, Writing, Reading
Recent Activity
I would love to hear you go Charlie Rose. In fact it's one of the possible format changes we were thinking of working with on the CDC podcast and I know others were going the same route. Something must be in the digital air. It's a pity about your year-end show. They stood out against the pack and were memorable each year. I still remember some of the goings on from years past from those episodes.
Toggle Commented Feb 6, 2012 on About the podcast... at Brainy Gamer
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I didn't see the unintentional political jab when you described Critical Distance. I was more interested in how you viewed it as a negative in the opposite direction to Destructoid's kegger. In the very beginning our round ups may have pointed to such "video games are interesting" posts, but the community's writing, our ability to find things and our discretion in choosing I think has gotten better. If you think we are an echo chamber, that is an accusation we've fielded before and have done everything we can think of to avoid it. You talk of personal ideologies that drive for better writing. I've been at this for going on 3 years now and I still don't have a fully formed concept of what I'm doing. I think I'm still following L.B. Jeffries mantra from back in '08 in response to Shawn Elliot's now defunct online symposium. Paraphrasing here 'don't talk about the writing, just keep writing in so many different ways until something works.' I know other writers who have stronger concepts of personal ideologies about game writing and explore the depths of those ideas. They are out there. You mentions the big news sites and you mention academics, both I understand who you are talking about, but when it comes to the Middle Circle (ludodecahedron) you are rather vague. I understand you may not want to call out people in a public place like this and on someone else blog to boot, but specifics are helpful to understanding your argument. Note: Actually when someone says game academics I think of Ian Bogost, Eric Zimmerman, Jane McGonigal etc. who go make games to support and explore their theories deeper. Is there another class of academics I'm not fully aware of?
Toggle Commented Apr 21, 2011 on The robot cometh at Brainy Gamer
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I didn't realize it was a formal class, I thought it was a talk that used student participation. I fully understand your reasoning for not recording it. It sounded very interesting and something I would have liked to have seen. Your students are a very lucky bunch when it comes to the material.
Toggle Commented Apr 21, 2011 on The robot cometh at Brainy Gamer
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As one of those tea partiers at Critical Distance I'm curious as to that particular analogy and what specifically you reject about it. Either inherently in the concept or with output? And what do you mean by writers who cross over? And what would you exhault with regards to critical writing instead? I'm not being antagonisic, just curious and you were vauge.
Toggle Commented Apr 19, 2011 on The robot cometh at Brainy Gamer
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I don't suppose you or anyone else would be recording that Watchman session either? On topic: Chris is a great guy and very enthusiastic (especially in his reaction to meeting me)or at least was the one time I got to meet him briefly last year. Can't make the trip, but love to see what he has to say.
Toggle Commented Apr 19, 2011 on The robot cometh at Brainy Gamer
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I like the Jazz metaphor, though I don't listen to that genre myself, but I get it. I've been thinking about what the platformer is in itself. I agree, it is probably the only genre that is unique to gaming. Not just that is is really abstract and only could happen in a video game, but the very nature of the game is tied to the medium. The entire genre is a metaphor for game itself. The success/failure of every jump is tied to the success/failure of every problem games throw at you. Haven't gotten all my thoughts about it in order, or I would have written it already.
Toggle Commented Oct 26, 2010 on Riffing on the flagpole at Brainy Gamer
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The line that struck me the most in this, was the idea that if you don't want a player to do something, give them zero feedback. It's so obvious when said outloud, but it seems that no other developers has thought of it, instead focusing on punishment or negative outcomes to their actions. It also helps that the team has a foucs for their creation that they know what is undesirable in their game.
Toggle Commented Oct 11, 2010 on All about the Journey at Brainy Gamer
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Mirror's Edge. I chose a doosy to explain here. It's fun for several reasons, not the least of which is the act of motion. The game throws you into levels that amount to races with checkpoints. But you aren't in a car or ATV, instead you are in a person and are a lot more versatile in what you can do because of it. You feel as if you are seeing through real eyes not just a hovering camera. For those 4-10 minutes you are sucked in, believing you are the one leaping and running around towards the finish line. Secondly, the fun is in pushing yourself. You can go for the simple spelled out route. Or you can try for the difficult moves, the ones that manage to shave off a second or 2 off the total time. There is the adreniline rush of leaping into the aether and landing on the next building. The satisfaction for pulling off a string of moves is amazing. If you fail once, you get a tick, you fail twice it worsens, 3-12 you start yelling at the screen. But trade that for having finally made that jump, or wallrun into jump into wall climb into reverse jump, swing jump and it more that makes up for it. And when you finally beat that speedrun that has been killing you for weeks by taking off more that 2 and half minutes, you can't help but cheer and be in awe of yourself. It's in the dedication, the work, the failures, the build up, so when you finally pull it off victory is that much more the sweater. (Side note) Fun isn't the only reason to play a game.
Toggle Commented Aug 9, 2010 on The Fun Factor project at Brainy Gamer
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"I want lower stakes. I want to play a game that doesn't insist the future depends on me." This stems from the Lord of the Rings model of fantasy. But like everything else that has to do with that trilogy, copy-cats ignore why things worked and just does them. The reason the save the world narrative was important and felt urgent was because we actually got to see the world. And for those who had been paying attention could read The Hobbit a story most certainly not about saving the world. It was a journey about 1 hobbit and 12 dwarves going to get some treasure. But we existed in that world that we actually cared for its survival. Most game worlds I'm not sure I care rather than just going through the motions.
Toggle Commented Feb 8, 2010 on Scrambled at Brainy Gamer
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That sounds like a great idea in theory and probably is, but it falls apart a little in practice. Do we define genre in games by gameplay mechanics or by subject matter? Then comes the inevitable contructs and implications of some genres over others, which don't really apply since games now tend to overlap each other. Nearly every game is a roleplaying game now-a-days. you inhabit a role and go through their situations. Uncharted 2 could be considered that, even if it doesn't rely on the stat based conventions of traditional RPGs. First Person Shooter is a persepective, but is differenciated from Third Person Shooter, (Love to see a second person shooter.) which tend to get called shooters. Which is Fallout 3, a shooter or an RPG. Then the Sandbox titles. Do we call them that, because of the mass amount of things you can do within the world that cover so much? Grand Theft Auto 4 is a third person shooter, a driving game, a racer in aspects, social simulator. Then what about MGS4, which allows quite a lot, but isn't in a wide open arena. Then there is the manner in which the game can be viewed. For racers there are simulations like Grand Turismo and 'Arcade' style racers like Ridge Racer or Crusin USA. Or combat racers like Full Auto or openworld races like Burnout Paradise or kart racers like Mario Kart. Modern Warfare 2 is considered more of a sport in of itself than a story driven game. MAG is an MMO that is also an RPG and a shooter. And all genre definitions go out the window in the face of Second Life.
Toggle Commented Feb 8, 2010 on Scrambled at Brainy Gamer
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I hadn't thought of Mass Effect as a redux of The Magnificient Seven, but now that you mention it, it is very apt. Though I'm a classisist so I'd liken it to Seven Samurai instead. I think the genre conventions that we have are becoming more and more useless and we are only now noticing something that really began almost a decade ago. When Kingdom Hearts came out I remember it being called an Action RPG to differentiate it. Now we have FPS with RPG elements ala Bioshock or going Classasit again: System Shock 2. Action games with forced sleath levels, now stealth games with action levels. Really the entire Action/Adventure genre is there for the shadwo pigeonholing counsel and no one else. To say Indego Prophecy, Zelda, GoW (doesn't matter which one) and NSMB all belong in the same category is ludicrous. Though there really is nothing going to prevent it, because it is easy short hand for those who don't care about such distinctions. It is getting to the point where I'm not exactly sure who these types of reviews are for. It's not for us buorgeois video game literati and Joe Schmoe doesn't even know they exist. I'm with Justin on "Never Gonna Give Your Teen Spirit Up."
Toggle Commented Feb 7, 2010 on Scrambled at Brainy Gamer
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I got to give it to both of Fumeda Umito's games, Ico and Shadow of the Collosus. Both start with such wordless and atmospheric build ups, introducing you to a world without a single word of explaination. Plus the light in start brightness, give you the sense you are entering another world, slightly off from your normal lighted one on the couch.
Toggle Commented Jan 20, 2010 on Got any openings? at Brainy Gamer
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Just want to point out another great post that comes out in favor of the level. From Jorge Albor over at Expirience Points. http://experiencepoints.blogspot.com/2009/11/sensationalist-in-defense-of-no-russian.html I've already given my own opinions in the comments section, so I wont waste time repeating myself.
This from the man who did a post last week on Diablo 2. If the recent figures for Dragon Age are any indication, they may not finish the game, but they will still buy the time intensive game. You mention co-op. Now there is a sticky situation. If game has online co-op it doesn't have couch so-op and vice a versa, but that's a different complaint. Co-op to me is a compltetly different animal. Left4Dead to me is a single player game that can be played 4 times at once, if that makes any sense. I think the difference, because there is one, is that there is a different mentality behind co-op and competative multiplayer. The best co-op games utalize them in a story set component: Resident Evil 5, Left4Dead, Little Big Planet, etc. I was super hyped about Uncharted 2 ever since it was annouced, then I heard it would have multiplayer and my hype level stayed the same, but then I heard it would have 3 player co-op and my mind blew a gasket. The idea that you can play with your friends instead of against them is very different and attracts a different mentality, one that I prefer. I hesitate to say different type of player, because there are those that play both, but they bring a different mentality to the play. Those that don't end up getting strangled to death by a smoker.
Toggle Commented Nov 17, 2009 on A sliver of pie at Brainy Gamer
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I think you over estimate the single player as well. I forget where I read it, but people who play the muliplayer mode accoutns for around 10-20% of purchasers. They also happen to be the most vocal. Many people are not online and have not connected their consoles. The vaste majority do play the single player and only the single player. I am one of those people. I couldn't give a flying f*** about the multiplayer in almost any game, which is why buying and playing Battlefield 1943 constantly this summer was so weird. Part of the problem is that the elite few squeeze out those who come in late. They don't have the skills or the time or patience to keep up. Though it also baffles me that these games try to create a new expirience, and after all these games and interations a large faction of people are sticking with Halo 2. Also what did MW2 add to mulitplayer. It has one new mode and no one has been adequaately been able to explain what is so different about it. Thoguh I think that complaint is a moot point given your other grievence towards single player games like Dragon Age. It's not so much what is told but how it is told. That has always been the rule for stories. None of Shakespears stuff was original, but he told it in an original and interesting way, boom greatest playwright ever. It not always the subject matter, but the presentation. I guess it could be the same with FPS. Though Resistance, Killzone 2, Modern Warfare, and Halo 3 all look the same to me. Battlefield 1943 and Left4Dead seem to be the presentation exemptions.
Toggle Commented Nov 17, 2009 on A sliver of pie at Brainy Gamer
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I can one up you Micheal, I haven't played any games in the last few weeks. I don't know what it is. I just can't muster up the engery or excitement or whatever it is to sit down and play. It doesn't help that the two games I am most excited for are on the PS3 and I had to leave that at home. So I am forceable removed from the new game cycle. I couldn't play the new releases if I wanted to. Frankly I'm not all that annoyed about it. Last year I skipped the fall glut altogether and started playing them after Christmas and this year will probably be the same. The games I do have available are almost all PS2 classic titles that I never got around to. Putting those two sentiments together I wonder if there isn't a certain foundation set in us by all the hype machines. I have all these old titles and I know they're good and I've wanted to play them for a while, but I cannot bring myself to sit down and actually play them. It's like the excitement is missing. Like without the hype I don't even want to play the games. I feel like I've been condition and its going to take a while to deprogram.
Toggle Commented Oct 21, 2009 on Off the path at Brainy Gamer
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Has it really been that long that she's now old enough to drum? Wow. That put one hell of a smile on my face. Great way to start the afternoon.
Toggle Commented Oct 11, 2009 on Zoe on the skins at Brainy Gamer
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I'm going to sound like an ignorant dumbass, but one reason I have not talked or spoken anything about BIS is twofold. 1 - I didn't know it existed. I had never heard of this specific title until your post. There has been so much attention for Scribblenauts uto to its release that we were anticipating it, but the same amount of pre--release press has not been thre for BIS, even if it might be the better game. 2 - It is a matter of money. Not all of us critics can afford a game a week. I'll be lucky if I end up with a game a month this fall. If I did have the money I would only be able to buy one game and that game out of the two would be Scribblenauts. It interests me more. And to discuss BIS without playing it would be irresponsible. It's the same reason that this fall that I will be focusing on titles of yesteryears that have not gotten the attention by simple virute of having not been around during the Middle Circle boom. As for bloggers getting sidelined by Clint Hocking and spending their time discussing his design agenda. Yes an inordient amount of time has been spent discussing emergent narrative and the such. The reason is because Clint Hocking is a high profile and very vocal theorist and designer. He gets into the discussions himself and is learning along with us. Personally I think we may be focusing as a whole on the wrong desgin discussions he brought up, but that is for another time. Would I love to discuss the design theory of and with Greg Zeschuk? Absolutely. Anyway if you are looking for diversity of dicussion it will be comming in a few weeks. When the glut of titles starts hitting people will have to choose which titles they want to focus on and they wont all choose the same titles.
Toggle Commented Sep 22, 2009 on I'll take refinement at Brainy Gamer
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I have to say that is so sadly tragic. What occured to me while reading was "That's life." To think that a video game can evoke such a sentiment Most don't come close, but it really feels like your expirience there is the closest video games have come to a mirror. Though it does feels like a fully developed outline. All this talk of the Sims made me want to try it. But I can't afford Sims 3 and was given a free copy of Sims 2, so I need to know if Sims 2 works in the same way. Can it create such stories or is it not advanced enough?
Toggle Commented Sep 15, 2009 on Why we Sim: my story at Brainy Gamer
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Here's an experiment. Take a fanchise that we all know then hand it off to another devleloper, whom we also know very well, that happens to have a completely different style and see what the finished product looks like. Thanfully Nintendo has given us this opportunity with the Metroid game by handing it off to Team Ninja. Let's see what happens when the makers of Dead or Alive get ahold of Samus. Will the game change entirely or will the franchise cloud the vision of what is there?
Toggle Commented Jul 17, 2009 on The signature touch at Brainy Gamer
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I'm not sure if there will be a dissimilation with game studios like there was with Hollywood mainly because games are more than a vehicle for creation they are also software programs. This restricts the ability that presnt hollywood has of mix and matching differnt people for a single project. There can be no team ups because of this restriction. Personally I can tell a Bethesda game from a Bioware one. And often I find myself saying this seems familiar only to find it connected to a studio whose other games I have played. You say franchises draw more recognition with style. Yes because most studios do all the titles in the same franchises. It's with the exception that it becomes very much apparent. Prince of Persia The Sands of Time was made by Ubisoft Montrial. Warrior Within by Ubisoft Hong Kong. If you didn't know the title, you may have trouble knowing one was a sequal to the other. The new one was also made by a different studio as Montrial was working on Assassin's Creed and 2. Which are to my eye are much more identifiable as Sands of Time's style. You mention Final Fantasy, but most of them went through the same studios or cross studios, but three that were made by a different producer and creative director stand out as the most different and most unrecognizable as in the Final Fantasy style. (2, 11, and 12) 2 and 12 made by the same director and the outside of the box JRPG thinking shows itself. It comes down to awareness. Is it there, apart from me and those like me, not a chance. Mostly because there isn't an effort. Dragon's Age I think is the first effort to connect itself with a studio's previous acheivements calling it the spiritual successor to Baldur's Gate and even that is rather hush. Do you think it would hurt sales if they said like in movie trailers "from the makers of _______" when a new game came out.
Toggle Commented Jul 17, 2009 on The signature touch at Brainy Gamer
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One thing that made me nervous was how the DLC is being presented online. Does it say that it just unlocks what is on the Disc or does it say new course. I was confused by your argument at first because of this. I thought they were new courses which are perfectly in EA's right to charge for. This is a different option. I think that its perfectly fine. I wouldn't pay for it, but then I'm the idiot who wants to play how the game is presented. Not everyone is like me, but why should that matter. It doesn't change the game itself and only matters to the people who want it. People will look at the DLC and see if they want to pay for it. If it is too high, they wont buy it. The internet is capitalism at its best. Many of the barriers to information are removed here and the consumer is more informed. Another thing occurs to me. If they are the casual gamer type who doens't have the drive or the time to unlock everything, will their system be hooked up to the internet in the first place?
Toggle Commented Jun 15, 2009 on All you need is a little DLC at Brainy Gamer
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I think everyone ehre had been sticking to games that have been released as we don't know the eventual quality of future titles. Speaking of the drought I'm surprised that the companies have learned nothing from last year and most of the major releases are comming out in the fall.
Toggle Commented Jun 8, 2009 on Drake's serial adventure at Brainy Gamer
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I get that and I think it's a better worded arguement than anything I've written yet. Yes it is a strange dicotomy that would pose a problem in any medium other than video games and 80s action films. Video games take their cues from the aforementioned films coming around at the same time and has never really shakened that association. The types of eniemes make it much more palitable and I feel that Uncharted 2 will continue that with their Serbian war criminals. But yes alternatives would be nice. It's partially why I liked Mirror's Edge so much. Of course it could then be reveled that he is in fact a well mannered psychopath.
Toggle Commented Jun 7, 2009 on Drake's serial adventure at Brainy Gamer
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Don't fforget Metal Gear Solid 4, Heavenly Sword, Noby Noby Boy, Super Stardust HD, and all the games comming exclusively in the future. I think it may be that not alot of good games or hyped up games came out at once and it give the impression there isn't enough to justify it. Though I can understand if you already have a 360 it takes away the crossplatform games as part of the deal.
Toggle Commented Jun 7, 2009 on Drake's serial adventure at Brainy Gamer
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