Category: Blog

“You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade”: The D-Day Landings in Video Games

The seas are rough, the landing craft crash through the waves, and the ramps lower to meet a wall of German machine gun fire that scythes through the soldiers packed into the small boats. As corpses fall into the water, dying it red, the player advances, trying to seek some sort of protection. So begins a typical level in many video games whose focus is the Second World War—the invasion of Normandy, France. D-Day: June 6, 1944.… Read the rest

Super Trendsetter 64

19 years ago, the famous fictional Italian plumber appeared in a game that launched with the gaming system known as the Nintendo 64. Super Mario 64 was the plumber’s first 3D platformer and it was also the same game that revolutionized the genre of 3D platforming. As many of you know, the Super Mario series was filled with 2D platformers before the release of the Nintendo 64 game, so the transition was something completely different and unexplored.

2D_Mario_&_3D_Mario

Games before Super Mario 64 always had a camera that was fixed, so that player could not interact with it and change the angle while playing the game.… Read the rest

The Order: 1886 (Or How One Game Embodies Much of What’s Wrong with AAA Games)

Recently, a friend of mine was shocked to discover The Order: 1886 in a used games store, as it had only been released a few weeks prior to her visit. Thinking she was experiencing a great streak of luck, she bought the game, when, in reality, she might as well have broken a mirror or walked under a ladder.

It is by no means an exaggeration to say that I found the The Order: 1886 to be baffling on almost every level. After having spent a great deal of time both playing the game and watching my friend play it, I have lost a great deal of faith in AAA titles.… Read the rest

On Bethesda and Mods

Bethesda Game Studios is known for the popular Elder Scrolls series, and in more recent years, the Fallout franchise.  Their open-world RPGs have consistently topped the charts on sales and replay value. But ultimately what makes these games so popular is the ease-of-access for modifying the games files, and the helpful communities that have evolved around this key feature. So the question is, who really makes the content players keep returning to? The developers, or the fanbase?

The original Falllout games were published by Black Isle Studios, and where spiritual successors to the Wasteland series by Interplay Productions from the 1980’s.… Read the rest

We All Have Fears, Even the Bad Guys.

Realism in Middle-Earth? Now, I’m using realism in a subjective sense, talking about the realism in the diegetic world of Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor. Realism is going beyond just the look of the game. Of course the game is beautiful, the areas of Mordor you can explore have desolate barren wastelands, over run by Uruk scum while other areas are lush and expansive that seem to be teaming with life. Even your character has a unique realistic design. His hair seems greasy and unkempt, as it should in this type of environment. When it rains your clothes become saturated, and are given a unique shine while other objects in game will have the rain bouncing off them as they would in a real world setting.… Read the rest

Magically Scientific, Scientifically Magical: The Many Genres of Destiny

by Daniel Epperly

One of the most anticipated videogames to be released in several years was Destiny. Developed by Bungie, the studio that originally created the Halo franchise (though the Halo team split off several years ago and formed 343 Industries), and published by Activision, Destiny was awaited with eager, clamoring impatience by the world’s gaming community, but after its release the eagerness and excitement turned to frank disappointment, and even outrage. The perceived failings of Destiny have been discussed, theorized and argued about ever since, but even though it may be difficult to discuss the game at all without at least touching upon the game’s controversies, that is not the subject of this article.… Read the rest

Mountain: Simple Game with Deep Meaning

This article has spoilers for the game Mountain

 

I was drawn to Mountain for it’s simple approach and minimal gameplay style. It’s not that pricey and from what I could tell, you watch a mountain spin around. What I wasn’t expecting was a game that would make me surprisingly emotional towards this mountain. The game also has surprisingly deep meaning with the world and how we approach gaming.

 

Mountain was designed by David O’Reilly the same man that made a fictional game in the movie Her. The fictional game called Alien Child where the player has a belligerent alien that responds to the player’s world and yells obscenities and insults at them.… Read the rest

The Success of a Puzzling Professor

Puzzle-based games have held an important role in the history of video games, including classic titles such as Tetris and Portal. The sub-genres of puzzle games range from falling block puzzles to puzzle platformers, but by far the sub-genre that I have found the most interesting has been the logic puzzle genre. This opinion has been largely influenced by the handheld adventure puzzle game series, Professor Layton.

The first Layton game was released in Japan by game producers Level-5 and Nintendo in 2007 and in North America the next year. The initial success of this game spurred the creation of five sequels, a crossover with the Phoenix Wright game series, a few books, and a movie.… Read the rest

Mario’s Extra Lives: The Theory of Schrodinger’s Cat

In Super Mario Bros., why does Mario start out with three lives?  No, I’m not talking about how it’s less burden on the player if they mess up or how the player can just start over if they die.  Looking at the question from Mario’s perspective, why does he have three lives?  There’s clearly only one Mario and if he dies, he is dead; so there must be some factor giving him extra chances.  Since there is only one Mario, the only conclusion we can draw is that he is not dead when he dies (sometimes) but how is that possible? … Read the rest

The Struggles of an Aviation Geek Gamer

“Don’t you get bored just sitting there staring at a plane?”, my friends would often ask me. This was the question I would be asked time and time again, regarding my enthusiasm for PC aviation games. For most of my gaming life, Microsoft Windows-based flight simulation games have been the center of interest for me regarding video games. Being an avid aviation geek has rubbed off on me in the biggest way when it comes to my gamer profile. I have lost count of the number of aviation-related computer games I have played over the years, many of which ended up disappointing me, due to their lack of realism in terms of aircraft dynamics ect.… Read the rest