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Shooting and missing

BioShock Infinite Screenshot

The discussion around BioShock Infinite's combat doesn't just involve the question of whether its quantity of violence is essential to the story (yes), or whether telling a story where its quantity of violence is essential is interesting or worthwhile (no). Some of the discussion has centered around the question of whether the combat mechanics are any good. Eric Schwarz has written a fantastic post that describes most of the combat mechanics, and I want to expand on it a little. Even though I think violence helps to express the kind of character Booker is, I don't think the combat systems of BioShock Infinite do much to help characterize him, and in some ways actively oppose that characterization.

Consoleation: The war on used games—Xbox One, Consumers Zero

Xbox One Image

What a shame.

That's about all I can say about Microsoft's game-changing decisions regarding the Xbox One. It could have been worse, but the damage is pretty severe as it stands.

Consoleation: The War on Used Games—Choose wisely

Consoleation: The War on Used Games—Choose wisely

When I was growing up, my family didn't have a lot of money. We didn't own a family console until my mom bought a Colecovision from a tag sale in 1987. Before that, my maternal grandmother's Atari VCS was sometimes available in 1979 onward when we visited or even lived there due to money troubles. I did get a VIC-20 for my birthday in 1984 and then a Commodore 64 for my middle school graduation in 1986 from my paternal grandmother, but those weren't so much game consoles as they were hybrid devices. I did own a few games for both systems, but not a significant amount.

Interview with Insomniac's Ted Price on Fuse

Fuse Screenshot

At E3 2011, as part of the Electronic Arts press conference, Insomniac Games announced Overstrike—a campy, over-the-top cooperative shooter. Around a year later, the game had received a facelift and a new name: Fuse. I spoke to Insomniac Games' CEO Ted Price about rebranding, multi-platform development, and what it is like to launch a brand-new franchise at the end of a console cycle.

The Constant Monster

BioShock Infinite Screenshot

BioShock Infinite is a violent game, and it has to be. That's a contrast to BioShock, an equally violent game where combat conveyed nothing about its main character and had little to do with the game's themes other than spurring the player to engage in its various economies. Any stimulus—using plasmids to solve environmental puzzles, for instance—would have sufficed. That's not so in Columbia. Violence is essential to who Booker DeWitt is, and what Columbia is. Their story cannot be told without it.

Interview with Modern Dream's Ollie Clarke

Interview with Modern Dream's Ollie Clarke, The Button Affair

You might not have heard of a new game outfit called Modern Dream yet, but you will. They've recently released a slick 2D runner called The Button Affair, and are already starting a new project inspired by the works of acclaimed abstract painter, Wassily Kandinsky. I spent a short while chatting with Oliver Clarke, one of the members of Modern Dream, and this is what he had to say about buttons, affairs, and what it's like to start making your own games.

Extra Credits: Differences in Scale vs Differences in Kind

Extra Credits looks at employing scale (i.e. more enemies) and tone to break up gameplay and maintain a player's interest level. Extra Credits' example of a game that got this right was Call of Duty: Modern Warfare—who knew that Call of Duty could be the game to actually teach us something?

Consoleation: Nintendo vs. the (third-party) world

Madden NFL 25 Screenshot

Let's get the hyperbole out of the way first. Not having a Madden game in 2013 will not kill the Wii U. It's instinctive to think that a lack of EA presence on the platform could be akin to a kiss of death, similar to what we saw with EA spurning SEGA and the Dreamcast. This is a different animal, I think.

Nobody at the tower

BioShock Infinite Screenshot

One of the things I found most striking about BioShock Infinite is how sloppy it was. The ending, as I already discussed, is a self-contradicting mess held together only by sharply-timed revelations and plonky piano music. The quantum morass of its final moments is only one of the game's problems, though.

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