• Game Review,  Local Multiplayer Monday

    Local Multiplayer Monday – Wargroove

    In Local Multiplayer Mondays, we’ll feature a game that you can sit on the couch and play with friends on a variety of systems. Because sometimes we miss playing games with real people. Our first feature is… Wargroove Game type: turn based strategy game Players: up to 4 Play time: matches can take hours, but it depends on your playstyle and map. Systems: PC, Switch, PS4, Xbox One Fans of Fire Emblem and Advanced Wars will love Wargroove by Chucklefish, a turn based strategy game with cute stylized art and dozens of maps that will keep you entertained for hours. Players choose one of twelve factions, each with a commander…

  • Game Criticism,  Game Review

    Lacan and Limbo: Playing Games with the Mirror Stage

    (this game previously appeared on Dialog Wheel).    My glowing-eyed character bounds forward with child-like enthusiasm, arms swinging at his sides as I direct him to the right, the universal direction of “forward progress” in platforming games. He comes to the edge of a cliff, and I pause for a moment. I can’t see all the way to the bottom, but there doesn’t seem to be another way down. I urge my character down the steep slope, and he slides along the embankment, arms out to balance him, hair blowing in a virtual breeze. His movement is abruptly cut short at the bottom of the cliff, which is loaded with…

  • Game Criticism,  Game Review

    Letters from a Murder Suspect: Her Story Review

    Long before your cousin started wearing Invader Zim t-shirts and watching The Crow on a loop, gothic fiction flourished. Even if you’re not familiar with the tropes of gothic literature,  you’re probably familiar with some of the more famous works: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and the entire library of Edgar Allen Poe. Tales of gothic fiction typically feature dark and brooding anti-heroes with daddy issues, girls who hang out in moldering castles, and the ghosts of dead relatives or love interests. Given these tropes, it may seem strange to examine the video game Her Story through the lens of gothic fiction, but a closer look at the game reveals its tortured gothy soul.…

  • Game Criticism,  Game Review

    Experiencing Emotion Through Gameplay: a Look at Dear Esther

      (This article previously appeared on Dialog Wheel) As we’ve previously discussed on Dialog Wheel, games don’t necessarily have to be “fun” to be good.  I don’t sit down at the end of the day with a novel from James Joyce to unwind, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have something to offer me in terms of artistic value. By the same token, games like Dear Esther stretch our definition of “game”, and offer a different sort of enjoyment in playing through them. Dear Esther is a game determined to make you feel loss, and to ultimately accept that this is an inevitable part of human existence. Dear Esther comes from developer The Chinese…

  • Game Criticism,  Game Review

    Post Modern Mobile Gaming: Oquonie review

      Games saturate our media like never before, jockeying with each other in our physical and digital worlds for our attention. Billboards for triple A games demand to be noticed along freeways while Game of War and Candy Crush creep along the bottom of every app and website. Even indie games aren’t immune to the hype train, each of them clamouring to be heard in the sea of other small fish. So its both refreshing and disconcerting to come across a game that seems unconcerned with its own impenetrability. In fact, Oquonie seems to resist discussion about it by its very design. Tweet tweet motherfuckers. The game first came across my radar in February…

  • Game Criticism,  Game Review

    Cultist Ambitions and Card Game Seditions

      I begin this life as an aspirant. I’m not thrilled with this beginning, but it will have to do. I take a breathe and head to my job, dreary desk work for an accounting firm. It is tedious, draining my passion and reason, as I dream of grander things. And then, it appears to me in a dream. I glimpse something more and just like that, my descent begins. I speak in whispers, then in shouts about the mysteries of this world, until someone points me in the direction of a bookstore that has the knowledge I seek. I read everything I can get my hands on, all the…

  • Game Criticism,  Game Review

    We All Have a Choice: Thoughts on Bastion

    (This article was previously published on Dialog Wheel.) I will be to the first one to admit that I am not a “gamer”. I enjoy playing video games, and the culture that surrounds them is so welcoming and lively that I can’t help but be drawn in to the gaming world. Two things hold me back from diving headfirst into gaming. First, as a recently graduated English major, I lack the funds to buy each game as it comes out (This explains why I’m just now playing Portal 2–thanks Steam sale!). Secondly, as a recently graduated English major, I tend to spend more time with my first love, reading, than I…