Resource Based Humanity

I can’t remember how many turn-based strategy games I’ve played in a row but these days it seems like the games that excite me the most involve commanding sprites along a grid in small, squad-sized skirmishes. Case in point, the most recent I played was The Banner Saga. In The Banner Saga, the player guides two separate caravans … Continue reading Resource Based Humanity

Invasion Tactics

Somewhere right now there’s a guest author at some university telling an enthralled gathering of undergrad wannabes “all stories are conflicts.” That isn’t true, but fiction in European, expansionist traditions treats conflict as the foundation of storytelling. Of course stories can and do exist without conflict, especially outside the aforementioned traditions,1 but the assumed truism … Continue reading Invasion Tactics

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII and Defamiliarization

If somebody were to make a game out of that one twitter bot that proposes random situations (@AndNowImagine) the result would look something like Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. I really enjoy the game (Review: Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. PopMatters. Feb 19 2014.), though I admit that I had an extended honeymoon phase with … Continue reading Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII and Defamiliarization

Meta-Game Fan Fiction

This week, Mike Joffe at Video Games of the Oppressed has been proposing a number of games to play within other games. A number of his games have been based in retro console RPGs like Pokemon and Earthbound. The proposed games make for interesting opportunities to personalize experiences that are generally pretty consistent from player … Continue reading Meta-Game Fan Fiction

Expeditions Conquistador and Post-Imperial Arrogance

[Originally posted on The Border House] It’s no secret there’s a not-so-subtle undertone of colonialism in a lot of games, particularly in strategy games. Eador: Masters of the Broken World has the player reorganize the universe into its “proper” state by conquering every available territory in the game (Filipowich, Mark. “Eador: Masters of the Broken … Continue reading Expeditions Conquistador and Post-Imperial Arrogance

The Universe Rolls 20’s

I wrote my most recent article on the value of chance in video games (“Gaming the Dice: How Randomness Contributes to Game Experiences”. PopMatters. Jun 11 2013) based, mostly, on Expeditions Conquistador. In Expeditions Conquistador (God, what an awful title) I chose to play the game on the Ironman setting. With Ironman activated, the player … Continue reading The Universe Rolls 20’s