The Great Expectations of Spec-Ops: The Line

2014’s final Moving Pixels podcast at PopMatters covers the ever-divisive Spec-Ops: the Line (Williams, G. Christopher, Nick Dinicola, Eric Swain. “The Moving Pixels Podcast Steps Over ‘The Line’.” PopMatters. Dec 8 2014.). It was a good discussion and it inspired me to review a some of the writing about the game which, in turn, inspired … Continue reading The Great Expectations of Spec-Ops: The Line

…When All You Have is a Hammer

Continuing from my previous thoughts, Spec-Ops and Hotline Miami, perhaps the two most visible “violent games about violent games,” have player-characters who only use violence to interact in the world. While Spec-Ops is far more on-the-nose about how destructive that attitude is, both put the player in a scenario where violence is the only language they have to communicate … Continue reading …When All You Have is a Hammer

Everything Looks Like a Nail…

One of the things I find most fascinating about the conversation about videogame violence is the nebulous threshold that separates “inappropriate” from “provocative” portrayals, “excessive” from “effective” ones. Reactions to Spec-Ops: The Line fluctuate widely, with some praising its harsh frankness and others ridiculing its shallow pretensions. People are either captivated or duped by it: it … Continue reading Everything Looks Like a Nail…

Tighten up the Narrative in Level 3: The grammar of videogames

[Originally posted on Medium Difficulty] In the great sandwich of videogames, game mechanics are the baguette and game stories are the stuffing. Whether a game is simply a thin spread of butter on an oven fresh bun or a triple-decker steak’n’cheese with pan fried vegetables and extra dressing, a game is composed of these two … Continue reading Tighten up the Narrative in Level 3: The grammar of videogames

“We’re helping people, Adam”: Deferring Responsibility in Deus Ex: Human Revolutions

Between review games I’ve been picking away at Deus Ex: Human Revolutions. It’s a game with a fair share of problems: the shoehorned-in boss fights completely break the game’s tone, its plot and characters are wafer-thin, some of the character designs are a self-parody and it’s clumsy with some of its more complicated themes. Still, … Continue reading “We’re helping people, Adam”: Deferring Responsibility in Deus Ex: Human Revolutions