Posts Tagged With: Featured Article

The Family History: Part One 1

Bioware games chronicle how one person unites disparate personalities and turns them into an unstoppable force. Dragon Age II is the epitome of that idea, a family saga ruled by people and not events. It’s been the RPG model for NPCs to show the player the way, guiding them from one quest to another. That tendency finds its best realization to date, and it’s all because of the characters and what they have at stake.


“Why are you holding onto me like this?” – Gendered Relationship Dynamics in Final Fantasy VIII 1

FFVIII’s investigation of masculine dominance is overall fairly subtle, but at least one element of it is not: characters in FFVIII that fulfill roles of traditional masculinity tend to be incredibly incompetent.


Walking The Planes 2: A History of the Planes in Dungeons & Dragons

Before properly setting out on our planar adventure, it is worth exploring what significance the concept of the planes has had in the history of Dungeons & Dragons throughout the years. As we’ll see, the planes have been present almost from the very start of the game, and have remained part of it ever since.

A model of the Inner Planes from the first Player’s Handbook (1978).

How Many Americans?

When the meta experience of Spec Ops begins to shift away from supporting this black-on-white reasoning as the cause of the game’s conflict, it presents quite the gut punch; Good Guys and Bad Guys both begin to lose value as simple definitions.


Malinowski’s Beach: Notes on Play as Anthropology

In March 1914 the bespectacled scholar Bronislaw Malinowski was put down by a greasy tug boat on the sands of Mailu Island in Papua New Guinea. Standing awkwardly for a while on the too-hot earth, he described himself as feeling – for a moment – a sense of deep discomfort and revulsion. Straightening his tie, the cotton of his shirt sticking in patches to his skin, Malinowski made his way from the rolling breakers to a group of women standing at the edge of a forest clearing. He was there to live among them, a “participant observer” whose role – […]


When My Ship Comes In

The arrival of a long-awaited ship can signify the fulfillment of a great many promises: the return of an expedition, a trade mission, or of loved ones. The incoming vessel bridges the vast divide of the ocean, if only momentarily. A moment full of potential. That potential is full of uncertainty. We think we have an idea of how events will play out, but we are not sure of anything in life. We have to make do with that limit to our control, however much we may dislike or fear it. On August 11, A Ship Sailed into Port, a […]


You Must Stuff Your Fridge Before Venturing Forth 1

Baldur’s Gate 2 opens by stuffing two different people into the fridge, one man and woman. How do these differ?


Is Kratos Black? 7

It began with a simple question: “Is Kratos black?”


An Ode to Objects 6

In many memorable games, it’s the places and people that stay with me long after I finish playing. But today I want to talk objects (or items, things).


Queer Lovin’ Blues Part 2: “Character Matters, Not Race or Gender”

This time, I’m going to take a look at BioWare, who tend to come closer to depicting queer characters with actual dignity. Yet, there remain tremendous problems.


On Minimalism and the promised land

Minimalism is close to my heart because minimalism has a way of getting at complexity by other ways and means.


Work Harder, Hard Worker

Why do we still have all these people spending their meager earnings on hosting services, trips to conventions, games, and tools for making games? Why don’t they just give up and prioritize civilian employment?


Quiet Time 2

There’s a recurring section of Assassin’s Creed IV that makes me uncomfortable: taking forts.


A Personal Choice

Without tangible game benefits or a preordained character personality to guide my decision, I am forced to really think about the choices being presented to me


“Scarce Heard Amid the Guns Below” 4

There has long been a concern surrounding the representation of the First World War: that it is beyond the imagination of those who have not experienced it.