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mass effect: andromeda

Mass Effect: Andromeda starts off by dropping you into the middle of the action. You’re part of a large-scale colonization mission in a new galaxy, things have gone wrong upon arrival, you’re part of a team sent out to investigate, and your ship has crashed. This sort of opening is one of the series’ strengths: […]

game of thrones and life is strange

I played through Game of Thrones and Life Is Strange at the same time this fall. I started both of them when about half the episodes were out, and played through one episode a week (alternating weeks between the two games), so I got a slightly compressed but still episodic experience out of them. If […]

morality play

Single-player narrative games frequently put you on the side of somebody actively fighting for justice: I’m in the middle of Dragon Age: Inquisition right now, for example, and that game has the all-too-familiar RPG plot of a chosen one saving the world. This means means that, of Jane Jacobs’ two moral syndromes from Systems of […]

digital: a love story

I wish I hadn’t waited a month after finishing Digital: A Love Story before writing about it: I don’t think I had a lot to say about it when I finished it, but I had something to say about it then, or at least I had something to say in/after the VGHVI Symposium on the […]

gdc 2013: thursday

The talks I attended on Thursday; all were good, but the Walking Dead one was particularly enlightening. 10:00am: Our Games, Our People, Our Community: What Do We Owe Each Other?, Dustin Clingman 11:30am: Saving Doug: Empathy, Character, and Choice in The Walking Dead, Jake Rodkin and Sean Vanaman 2:30pm: Sex in Video Games, David Gaider […]

dragon age 2

Dragon Age 2 starts off with a frame: the Seeker interrogating Varric about Hawke’s deeds, and calling bullshit on him. So: it’s first of all a game about story. But not a story with a clear ending or a clear path; and not a story where we the player (or, for that matter, the player’s […]

my mass effect 2 romance

I recently listened to the first episode of the Border House podcast (there’s also a transcript available if you prefer), which focused on romance in BioWare games, leading off in particular with a long discussion of the romance options in Mass Effect 2. I very much enjoyed their discussion, but I also got the impression […]

catherine

I’ve already talked about the puzzle gameplay in Catherine; what about the rest of the game? For me, the tone was set with the very first question I got asked in the confessional: “Does life begin or end at marriage?” Which is an analysis of marriage that I would never for a moment consider performing: […]

dragon age: origins

So. Dragon Age: Origins. I’m a pretty big BioWare fan, though more on their action RPG side: Jade Empire was the game where I fell in love with them, and of their two recent games, it’s not due to chance that I played Mass Effect 2 first. But I enjoy their games in general, and […]

mass effect 2

The original Mass Effect was one of the games that pushed me into buying an Xbox 360. I played through it quickly and had a great time, though for whatever reason I haven’t spent much time thinking about it since then; BioWare seems to make games that push my buttons very well but don’t put […]

bioshock

I was intending for BioShock to be one of the first games I played on my 360 but, well, one thing after another came up, and it took me a couple of years to get around to the game. In the mean time, it has garnered some amount of discussion, so I’m fairly sure I […]

mass effect

Mass Effect is the latest RPG from BioWare, makers of the excellent Jade Empire. Like that one, it’s an action RPG: combat takes place in the middle of the environment you’re running around in, and different characters don’t take turns attacking each other. (Though the details are quite different: in particular, the combat is based […]