Cheater pt 2: Shortcuts

The act of cheating in games stems from the desire to get away with doing what one knows is against the rules.  While not always malicious, it is always for the player’s advantage through a deception or trick.  In my three part series Cheater (part 1), I explore the way gaming culture has altered the way we…

Tow Up, Snow Down: Challenge

Tow to the top In Just Cause 2, I loved finding a powerful helicopter and towing my favorite dune buggy up to a clear mountain pass and riding it down the mountain.  In Just Cause 3 I kept this tradition alive and have made it into a challenge. Tow up, Snow down: Challenge (Just Cause 3) …

The Wolf Among Us: being brave and kind

In narrative games I typically try to steer more towards being kind and diplomatic, yet The Wolf Among Us makes it clear that being nice is a luxury the player cannot afford via a world with dire consequences for not getting to the truth in time. Its timed dialogue selection sequences force the player to be decisive…

To continue or start over: reacting to mistakes

Starting fresh There is something so exhilarating about starting a new game, everything is new, all the choices and cinematics have meaning. The world feels concrete and absolute due to our choices, yet we still wonder how things would be different if we had made a different choice, or gone a different path. Making a mistake and…

Snap Judgement: Risky Road

As consumers we often make snap judgements about the games we play; in my article Analyzing games: studying vs consuming, I discussed the challenges we face when trying to study games for their true value as opposed to simply going by our user experience as consumers. However, in the mobile market we often come across games…

Cheater pt 1: cheat codes

The act of cheating in games stems from the desire to get away with doing what one knows is against the rules.  While not always malicious, it is always for the player’s advantage through a deception or trick.  In my three part series Cheater, I will be exploring the ways gaming culture has altered the…

The affordable Switch: how low prices are helping Nintendo compete

The Nintendo Switch release date is fast approaching, and with it the gaming community has been speculating what the price point would be for the console.  As trends would indicate, console prices go up as economic inflation and subsequent generations drive up the cost. However, Nintendo has been able to keep the introductory price of the Nintendo…

Escaping prison: system analysis and strategic planning

As I discussed in my articles Bael the Thief – part 2: prisoner practice, and Heroic Thief: the process of making a villain a hero, part of taking my thief character build and story, and ascending them past being a petty criminal is the process of allowing him to fall and then redeem himself. As such, and important component…

Bael the Thief – part 2: prisoner practice

Step forward prisoner! After concluding that to be a noble thief I would have to follow the path of a redemption story in my article, Heroic Thief: the process of making a villain a hero, I decided that the opening leg of Bael’s path to righteousness would have to include a descent into darkness.  I had…

Drawing a connection: mechanics & theme

Games today focus heavily on theme, whether we are talking about board games or video games, theme plays a major part in deciding what games get published. A byproduct of this mentality and marketing strategy is that we often see the exact same mechanics being reskinned over and over to sell to a demographic based…

Unity: an unreal solution to indie game development

Most people know that video games are software, however, what they might not recognize is that they are built within game engines. Game engines provide suites of game development tech and tools needed to create and run a video game. While most game development studios create their own proprietary game engines, other, typically smaller game studios…

Insults vs Insights: how toxic talk hurts the video game community

Trash talk and competition When I was a young gamer, playing console games with the kids on my block, I remember we would play games against each other and talk trash. It was all in good fun and we would tease each other for an especially poor match.  In the match results for Goldeneye 007 multiplayer, I…