Brandon Erickson's blog
By Brandon Erickson on January 16, 2008 - 7:18pm.
Just as English literature buffs should be knowledgeable about the heavyweights of the Western canon—Macbeth, Huckleberry Finn, Ulysses, etc.—so too should videogame critics be acquainted with gaming’s megahits, games like Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, and, yes, the Halo series. So, like the English lit student who struggles to wrap his or her head around Ulysses, not because it’s enjoyable but because it’s important, I decided that I should at least try to understand Halo.
By Brandon Erickson on January 9, 2008 - 4:53pm.
I have a difficult time making choices in videogames. Usually this isn’t really much of an issue. Most games don’t ask players to choose one path or response over another and thereby close off a particular area or sub-story. On some level, I still cling to the idea that giving players multiple story paths from which to choose and more ways in which to shape their own experience represents an important part of gaming’s continuing evolution. So why is it so hard for me to make choices?
By Brandon Erickson on January 2, 2008 - 9:13pm.
Having recently received The Orange Box as a Christmas gift from my dad, I can now count myself among the multitude of lucky gamers who have experienced Portal. As fantastic as it is—and it is indeed fantastic—one of the biggest revelations I’ve had as a result of playing Portal is the concept of in-game commentaries.
By Brandon Erickson on December 26, 2007 - 5:27pm.
Frankly, I haven’t played nearly enough games this year to justify making a “best of” list. Not only that, but I think “best of” lists are usually far too subjective to warrant the concreteness with which they’re presented. That being said, I still got to play some truly exceptional games this year. Of the games released in 2007 that I have played, the following three were my favorites.
By Brandon Erickson on December 19, 2007 - 7:28pm.
As I write this, I'm in a tiny little town in middle-of-nowhere Oklahoma. My cell phone barely holds a signal. The sole television in the house is a 12-inch that only shows programs of a religious nature. All the food is vegan. Alcohol is prohibited. The lone internet connection is a dial-up through a computer that takes several seconds to display a word after it has been typed. Oh yeah, and videogame playing is expressly forbidden.
By Brandon Erickson on December 12, 2007 - 12:03pm.
Despite the enormous success and popularity of Guitar Hero and the recently released Rock Band, it seems that there is still a small but vocal group of cynics and naysayers who like to pop up in internet forums and belittle players for "wasting" their time on "fake" instruments when they could be learning the real thing. Here are three reasons why these criticisms are completely out of tune with reality.
By Brandon Erickson on December 5, 2007 - 7:08pm.
The arrival of Super Mario Galaxy marks the continuation of one of gaming's most beloved franchises. It also happens to mark the extension of Nintendo's remarkable streak of critical supremacy. According to the review aggregator site Game Rankings, the top-rated game for each of the last three console generations appeared exclusively on a Nintendo machine. So what does this mean?
By Brandon Erickson on November 28, 2007 - 9:34pm.
For most players, videogames are regarded as consumable products, like cheeseburgers. For them, longer game translates to better value and (supposedly) better game. For me, this kind of thinking seems not only narrow, but bad for videogames.
By Brandon Erickson on November 21, 2007 - 1:43am.
BioShock has attracted a great deal of attention for its central moral question of whether or not to rescue or harvest the little sisters. But as powerful as this dilemma was, there's another game that has left me feeling far more morally drained.
By Brandon Erickson on November 14, 2007 - 8:58am.
With the recent release of the Check Mii Out Channel (or Mii Contest Channel), I thought it might be a good time to voice some of my criticisms of the new channel and of the prospect of holding Mii contests in general. To get right to the point, the Check Mii Out Channel—both as a vehicle for hosting Mii contests and as a forum for recognizing talented Mii artists—is fundamentally useless and doomed to failure. In short, this latest Wii channel is too little, too late. Here's why.
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