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super mario 3d world

I never played Super Mario 3D World on the Wii U. I’ve historically been a big fan of the mainline Mario games, but I don’t like them quite as much as I used to, and in particular the more linear outings don’t grab me as much as the more open ones. I think they’re very […]

super mario galaxy 2

In general I think of myself as the sort of person who feels compelled to complete video games at a narrative and geographic level, following all of the obvious side quests as well as the main line, but not to master their mechanics. And of late I haven’t been entirely comfortable with that state of […]


For its most recent game, the Vintage Game Club returned to its Tim Schafer roots with Psychonauts. Which I was curiously ambivalent about: many people speak highly about it, but I hit 3D platformer fatigue fairly suddenly several years ago, and only one game has really managed to break through that. Still, it’s a genre […]

xbox 360

I (correctly) didn’t think that I’d have enough video games on consoles I already own to get me through the holiday break, so I got an Xbox 360 a couple of weeks ago. Some notes: I messed up a couple of cables when installing; probably because I’m conditioned to think that they’re all broken, it […]

ken robinson on schools and creativity

Ken Robinson’s TED talk on “Do schools kill creativity?” You can also watch it at its web page; I like the chapter markings on the full-screen version of the video player on their page. (Not the embedded one here.) I heard about this talk via two separate routes: Presentation Zen and Evolving Excellence. Two blogs […]

super mario galaxy

My thoughts on Super Mario Galaxy got long enough that I spun the first part off into a separate entry. In short, we’re back to linear platforming, with tons of jumping, done very well. One question that any platformer has to answer is: what non-core player abilities will it mix in? Jumping is great, but […]

picross ds

Picross is Nintendo’s name for a certain genre of picture logic puzzles. Wikipedia has a pretty good explanation, and it’s easy enough to find places where you can play them online (this site seemed like the best of the first page of search results): the game consists of a grid, together with a set of […]

the evolution of platformers

My current spate of video game playing began in grad school when my friend Wayne gave me his old NES, together with Super Mario Bros.. If I’m remembering correctly, Jordan later found a copy of Super Mario Bros. 3 at a yard scale, after which I was doomed to several years of platforming addiction. Not […]

metroid prime 3: corruption

Whenever I start a new Nintendo game in an established series, I do so assuming I’m going to be disappointed. Their core series made the leap brilliantly to 3D, opening up gameplay in ways that I’d never imagined. And then, with one idiosyncratic exception, Nintendo has mined that gameplay in subsequent installments, not adding anything […]