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What the hell is game studies good for?

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Screenshot

I know that this post's title may make it seem like I'm taking a page from Espen Aarseth's 2005 article of a similar name and Roger Travis' 2008 response to it. Trust me when I say that I'm casting my net a little wider than the design vs. scholarship vs. play disciplinary debate... not that that debate is irrelevant, but I'm simply responding to a different exigency.

The slippery slope of consumer respect and disc unlocks

BioShock 2 Screenshot

The other day, the subject of BioShock 2's recent Downloadable Content (DLC) came up and spurred a lively debate between a few people and myself on Twitter. As any tweeter knows, it's difficult to carry on an in-depth conversation with a limit of 140 characters, and trying to jump back and forth between several people at the same time is an even greater challenge. As a way of continuing the chat without the technical barriers, this post.

GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 31 Transcript

Transcript of GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 31: Interview with Game Developers Nathan Fouts and Bryan Jury

GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 31: Interview with Game Developers Nathan Fouts and Bryan Jury

We welcome back two of our favorite guests, Nathan Fouts of Mommy's Best Games, and Bryan Jury of Epicenter Studios. They bring us up to speed on what's been happening since their last appearances and talk about their new games, Shoot 1UP and Rock of the Dead. These guys are funny, candid, and filled with pie. With Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, and Tim "Bob Costas" Spaeth.

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Please send feedback and mailbag questions to podcast (at) gamecritics (dot) com.

Gaming and the academic job market

Heavy Rain Screenshot

How many lucky souls get the chance to do what they love for a living?

I love to teach. I love to write. And now I know for certain that I love to teach and write about video games. Teaching a Writing about Popular Culture course this past semester gave me my first taste of what it would be like to engage students on a topic that is truly meaningful to me, not just as a hobby, but as an intellectual interest and lifelong pursuit.

The Boss of Bosses

Mega Man 2 Bosses

That guy with the earthquake move. The ice thing. The stupid jerkface that won't hold still. Whatever their form, bosses have been a part of gaming since the early days of Atari. Personally I've always been a sucker for boss battles-they can very heavily influence my opinion of a given game. However, based on many games I've spent time with recently, Tim's question from the most recent podcast (mentioned around the 39:00 mark) is a valid one-do they even make good boss battles anymore?

The fallacy of universal authorship in games (and why Uncharted 2 isn't GOTY)

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Screenshot 

It's been suggested by critic emeritus Gene Park, staff critic Matthew Kaplan and others outside of the GC community, that adding more interactive choices/decisions to the popular PlayStation 3 title, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, would change the very thrill-ride nature and universal appeal of its gameplay. The argument is that the inclusion of such choice would result in something that was "not the point of the game".

Gene insists that: "...I've followed the game's development through media and it's been said time and time again (even in the game's in-game documentary) that the purpose of the game was never going to be about player choice, but providing the same experience for all players."

I disagree with this logic of thought for multiple reasons.

Interview with Jakub Dvorsky, lead designer of Machinarium

Interview with Jakub Dvorsky, lead designer of Machinarium

I recently had the pleasure of playing Machinarium, a fantastic adventure title from indie developer Amanita Design. Currently available on Steam and on their website, Machinarium has received accolades from many critics, myself included. Their CEO, Jakub Dvorsky, was kind enough to answer a few questions for me about the game his company, and his team.

The War Update: And then there was one...

Team Fortress 2 Screenshot

So it comes to this. The engineer, my favorite Team Fortress 2 class, the one in which I saw a need for some additional items before the medic update even came out, the one that I have almost 130 hours of playtime with, will be the last to get an update. I'm not mad. Really....I'm not.

Dreamfallen: Why some platforms and genres just aren't made for each other

Dreamfall: The Longest Journey Screenshot

Recently I began playing Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, the sequel to the adventure classic The Longest Journey. My expectations were oh so high, after the original's blend of fantasy, sci-fi, and wonderful characterizations made it instantly climb onto my all-time favorites list. My reaction upon seeing about 45 minutes worth of Dreamfall was similar to one who may have just come home to see his dog ripping apart the giant K'Nex roller coaster/burger stand/space station he spent so much time building-who is this monster, and what did they do the my masterpiece?

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