Game visuals in Gears of War 2, and RIP CGW

Two quick notes for you game-hungry readers… First if you’ve seen the screenshots for Gears of War 2, you might want to compare them with the screenshots for Gears of War 1. You’ll notice that: a) GoW 2 is gorgeous.  Haze, smoke, particles. Details recede into the background. Textures are richer and more plentiful. AND… […]

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Best videogame monster

Best videogame monster: now accepting your nominations The best videogame monster. Now that’s a competitive category. Like best movie villain, except a heck of a lot more likely to make your palms sweat. Even if you’re a novice videogamer, you’ve probably seen your share of incredible videogame monsters. Some examples that spring to my mind: […]

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What happened to M. Night Shyamalan?

What the heck happened, M. Night Shyamalan? I just saw the ad for the new M. Night movie. It’s designed to look like some kind of andromeda strain movie. “There appears to be an event happening,” a man intones. This, according to our statistics, is the blandest, most uninformative, passive-voice piece of advertising ever recorded […]

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Gameplay Cliches

Gameplay cliches get a lot of chatter, but when the game is successful and has a core experience that people enjoy, no one says a word. Case in point: Gears of War. Mine carts. Ammo boxes that are strewn around abundantly. Crates that contain ammo boxes. Also strewn around at every juncture. Lava levels. Gears […]

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Napoleon Dynamite and other dance scene movies

Time to break open the scope on this blog a bit and chat a bit about movies — not overtly fanboyish movies like Blade but movies in general. You see, today I was speculating about a new subgenre of popular non-musicals. Outsider movies that feature a “big finish” dance scene. Specifically, Napoleon Dynamite and its […]

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Game design: Call of Juarez

Game design case study of the Xbox 360’s Call of Juarez I played a decent chunk of this shoot-em-up – “the only Western first-person shooter experience on Xbox 360” – the other evening. I’m curious as to what other Westher shooter experiences there might be in the game universe. I’m offering $25, public accolades, and […]

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Game writing: “I want my car back” and other reasons to fight

Game writing is sometimes worse off than I think it is. Really. It’s just gawdawful ridiculous, even in some of the most hallowed franchises. I have to give props to EGM (Electronic Gaming Monthly) for their WTFiction!? series. These two-page spreads at the back of the mag are shining examples of how to pinpoint ridiculous […]

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Game developer subtly admits, “Our game writing was swill!”

Game writing in the original Gears of War is one of my pet peeves*, and I haven’t unloaded that gem yet. However, I’d like to quote a little news nugget I found in the February EGM. In a teaser about Gears of War 2 (Xbox 360), page 59, developer Epic Games is emphasizing the writing. The writing? […]

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Game design goofup: goodbye, Devil May Cry 3

Game design has changed from the Dark Ages of arcade development. Back when arcades ruled the roost, a game designer could assume a few things about his* audience. They were under 18. They were male. They were playing in a movie theatre lobby or arcade. And they were really freakin’ bored. The classic arcade audience […]

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