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Statistically Speaking

The latest episode of the GameCritics.com podcast is up, in which myself, Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, and Tim Spaeth discuss the finer points of review writing. There was a brief talk at the beginning about the number of reviews we had each written, which got me thinking about the numbers following everything I've written thus far for the site.

Interview with Jorge Rodriguez, head of Lunar Workshop

I was one of those kids who, when all of the other kids were out playing tag and ring-around-the-rosie, I was on my IBM compatible Windows 3.1 machine programming QBasic games because I enjoyed it. I started learning programming when I was 6 and it didn't take long for 6-year-old me to stump my dad (the computer engineer) so I was self-taught from an early age. My first program was "Hello World" but everything I wrote since then has been a game. I've always been attracted to making video games for some reason. I spent a lot of time when I was younger making MUDs and building mods for Quake, Half-Life and Source. One of the bigger projects I worked on was "The Specialists", a Half-Life mod that was pretty popular back in its day.

Phoenix Wright Is Fucking Awesome

As anyone who has the misfortune of following me on Twitter will know, I've been engrossing myself in Phoenix Wright for the past few days, and the game has pretty much been riding solo in my newly acquired DS. I'm just about at the end of episode 5, so not totally done yet. However, unless the game suddenly turns into Mega Man X7 within this last case, I can safely say that Phoenix Wright will rocket straight to the top of my "late to the party" list. And as a bonus, I have the correct spelling of "Phoenix" memorized after years of always relying on spellckeck.

Megaton

I've been going through some of my gaming backlog recently, partially due the to the magical appearance of a Nintendo DS Lite in my closet. I have no idea where it came from, I don't remember buy and none of my old roommates reported losing it. I've approached it somewhat apprehensively, lest it be the focal point of a plot by some supernatural force. Enough about The Lost DS though. I'm here to talk about something much different.

The Review Revue

I've been asked on more than one occasion about how I approach the review writing process and what I like to see in reviews. I never have a firm answer, which is kind of unsettling to me since I frequently engage in discussions on the Twitter and such about what reviews should and should not be. There is no one answer to that question, but it does get me thinking about about the half-cocked ramblings I regularly try to pass off as game journalism.

The Engineer Update—Gotta Move That Gear Up


It has arrived. After two years, over 120 other updates, and about 145 hours honing my construction skills, The Engineer Update for Team Fortress 2 has come. The new toys are quite a bit different than what I expected, although I don't work at Valve, so what the hell do I know other than how to lodge a wrench into an unsuspecting spy's skull?

Interview with Ron McDowell, CTO of Magrathean Technologies

Interview  with Ron McDowell, CTO of Magrathean Technologies creators of Incognito

Recently I had the pleasure to review Incognito: Episode One, an intriguing title from developer Magrathean Technologies. The game, as the name so aptly implies, is the first in a series of Their CTO, Ron McDowell, was kind enough to answer a few questions for me.

Why does game storytelling have such low standards?

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots Screenshot

Storytelling is an art form in and of itself, just like painting or music. And of all the art forms that comprise video games, story is often at the low end on the totem of importance. This is perfectly acceptable to me-games are more often than not held up by mechanical and/or aesthetic components, leaving the story as icing on the cake. However, this does not mean that any game that even attempts to have a deep and/or dynamic story can automatically be heralded as storytelling mastery.

A gaggle of WTFs: Heavy Rain's story

Heavy Rain Screenshot

When I was writing my Heavy Rain review, there were a lot of specific things concerning the plot that I wanted to talk about, but couldn't due to the spoilerness. So those qualms are going to go here, safely hidden behind that big bold spoiler warning you see below. So, shall we?

(Warning: The rest of this post contains Heavy Rain spoilers)

Journeys with a terrible game: Star Wars Rebellion

Star Wars:  Rebellion Screenshot

The year was 1999. A plucky young lad fresh out of the 8th grade, I had just finished reading Timothy Zahn's fantastic Thrawn trilogy a year earlier, which began my immersion into the Star Wars expanded universe. There's a lot of good stuff to be found in said universe-the aforementioned Zahn books, the Rogue Squadron series, the Crimson Empire comics and so forth. So you can imagine my anticipation of The Phantom Menace, the long awaited beginning of the prequel trilogy.

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