• "Not all shooter violence is violent per se. As the game critic Erik Kain notes, "killing people in video games is actually just solving moving puzzles." Which is a true, smart, and helpful way to think about video-game violence. However, most puzzles don't bleed or scream. Why do gamers want their puzzles to bleed and scream? And why on earth do they — do we — also want our bleeding, screaming puzzles to be embedded within a nuanced story?" This is subtle, nuanced writing about an oft-repeated topic; the subtlety is what makes this good. Also, his list of "shooters that handle violence well" is pretty much the same as mine – Metro 2033 was one of the most striking games I played this year.
  • "This ghastly indie-art-game prose: it’s writing that tries to communicate ideas in the same way that game mechanics communicate ideas. Such writing offers allusions and suggestions, hints for the player to assemble, but it shies away from specifics or a through-line plot. Characters often go unnamed, or are named something thuddingly symbolic, or are Everyman. Theme is presented heavy-handedly (you wouldn’t want players to miss it!) and via the most cliché images. Expect frequent references to light and dark, cold and loneliness, broken hearts and shattered dreams. Memories may get a look in. Also death. It’s like reading a collage of the manuscripts sent to a high school poetry contest right after one of the students got in a fatal crash." Emily is right, and it's something I hate about certain games: just how *self-consciously* "indie" they are.
  • "While everyone else is going sleek and elegant and natural, Tiger is all experience points and loading screens and instant challenge pop-ups and club-tuning holodecks. Skate feels like skating, Fight Night feels like boxing, and Tiger feels like a game about golf." I don't like golf; I love computerised golf. I don't like Tiger; I love Links in all its forms, and before that, Leaderboard. This is a brilliant – if long – piece of writing on a short history of PC golf, and what's wrong with Tiger in this day and age. (Apart from, you know, the whole sex-addict thing).