Sit down, grab a beer, and ponder two authors' different perspectives on character development, discuss the intricacies of advertising and industry lawsuits with your fellow gamer, or share your frustration with a mundane requirement. We've all been there before. Take the edge off with these community stories!
The Uncanny Valley: Is the Other Side Any Greener?
By Ben Maxwell
Can video game avatars become so realistic that players turn away in revulsion? Ben applies the hypothesis of the uncanny valley — that as robotics become more human, they're more likely to repulse us — to characters and settings in titles like Uncharted and Ico.
Hero Worship Part 2: At the Altar of Self
By Gerren LaQuint Fisher
I'm in agreement with Gerren that the voiceless (and sometimes faceless) protagonist better transports the player into the experience than any carefully crafted hero. I certainly felt much more involved in Half-Life as Gordon Freeman rather than merely playing the crowbar-wielding scientist.
Red Dead Redemption Equals Blackjack Frustration
By Jonathan Ore
I share Jonathan's frustration with Red Dead Redemption's quest requirement of winning a casino game: Sierra's classic point-and-click adventure Police Quest did the same thing, and that caused me to stop playing for a long while. Has a required minigame ever forced you to quit in disgust?
Marking Can Blur the Lines between Culture
By Sean Hinz
Sean compares the ad campaigns for Bizarre Creations's Blur in the United States and France. In his in-depth analysis, he describes the marketing techniques at work and concludes that cross-cultural relevance is a difficult balance to strike. But still sex sells anywhere.
For those not paying attention to recent events, Stephen helpfully brings us up to speed on the lawsuit between Activision and former Infinity Ward studio heads Jason West and Frank Zampella. His analysis concludes that the duo could halt development of any future Modern Warfare games and downloadable content if they win the case. Is that the sliver lining in all of this?