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Extra Credits: Mechanics as Metaphor, Parts 1 & 2

The guys at Extra Credits discuss mechanics as a metaphor or "mechanics with meaning" and for a visual aid, they use an interesting game or non-game called Loneliness. A description wouldn't really do the game justice, but it is well worth your time to try it for yourself considering the game is free.

One of the more interesting things brought up in this two-part series though is the lack of trust game creators show the player. Modern game creators simply do not trust the player to fail, experiment or uncover any meaning (assuming the creators intend for there to be any) while playing. After playing Loneliness you might understand why. It is a pretty gutsy thing to attempt in a free game, imagine how it would be received should you require payment for a similar experience.

Infinity Blade: Awakening Book Review

Infinity Blade II Screenshot

In general, I'm not a big fan of video game novelizations. Most titles I play through satisfy my curiosity about their stories and characters via the normal cut-scenes and dialogue, but once in a while I want to know more. With its unorthodox mixture of high-tech, magic, and a fetish for impossible armor, the Infinity Blade series produced by Epic Games and ChAIR is one such property.

The Walking Dead: Episode Five—No Time Left Review

The End

The Walking Dead: Episode Five—No Time Left Screenshot

HIGH The walkie-talkie resolution wasn't a total disaster.

LOW The conflict in the final scene felt too staged.

WTF Where's the obvious dialogue option in the alley?

Your choices don't matter

The Walking Dead: Episode Five—No Time Left Screenshot

World War Z and The Walking Dead take a similar conceptual approach to the zombie apocalypse, but have fundamentally different views on human society. The basically optimistic World War Z suggests that social problems are a surface malady that the zombie apocalypse would strip away, letting the moral strength of mankind ultimately show through triumphantly. The Walking Dead, on the other hand, sees social order and altruism as artifice, a contortion of natural human behavior that falls apart once the zombies consume the social mass that held it in place.

Gamecritics.com Podcast Episode 82: Thanksgiving Giving and Wreck-It Ralph

It's a special 1/5 British edition of the Gamecritics.com podcast. This week we tackle Wreck-It Ralph, Thanksgiving shout outs, and what we've been playing during our long hibernation. Featuring Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, Richard Naik, and special guest host Sinan "Redcoat" Kubba.

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

Mad milk

The Walking Dead: Episode Two—Starved for Help Screenshot

Like many people who played Telltale's episodic game, The Walking Dead, I had read and enjoyed many of the comics beforehand. I appreciated that they took the subject seriously. I don't mean that in the sense of a John Romero film, where the zombies themselves are rather silly but serve to illustrate serious social questions. Rather, like World War Z, The Walking Dead decides on a set of rules about zombies and a premise about people, and unflinchingly follows those principles into the abyss.

Hero Academy Review

Battling Epically Slowly

Hero Academy Screenshot

HIGH Taking out an enemy's crystal in a single turn.

LOW Waiting for an opponent to submit their turn.

WTF Still waiting… two months later.

Extra Credits: Digital Resale

Recently, European courts ruled that digital property is the same as physical property. Extra Credits does a brief breakdown of what that could mean for games should such a ruling be held up on appeal and duplicated here in the United States.

Extra Credits: Perfect Imbalance

The guys at Extra Credits look into incorporating imbalance in a game. Ironically, imbalance is just the thing that when worked into character classes, weapons, tools and gameplay rules can wind up giving both the wet-behind-the-ears newbie and grizzled veteran new strategies as each plays and progresses through a game.

Extra Credits: Perfect Imbalance

Extra Credits: The Hero's Journey, Parts I & II

Extra Credits has an interesting two-part discussion about the hero's journey, a concept explored by Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Thatgamecompany's Journey is the game example featured here (along with The Legend of Zelda) but this seems to be a concept exploited in all entertainment genres.

Extra Credits: The Hero's Journey, Parts I & II

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