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Video game critic, journalist, independent publisher. Trophy husband. Plays some guitars. Contributor to Gamechurch, Medium Difficulty, editor of Push Select.

Location:Manitoba, Canada

stories by Steven Sukkau

How smart people can make dumb games

As Taylor Clarke points out in this now-infamous Kotaku piece, you aren’t treated to a whole lot of depth in your average video game. You’re probably just running around shooting lasers at aliens, or navigating an environment while you punch people until they die. This is the story and nothing else matters.

Saving an empty galaxy: Why a Mass Effect 4 is impossible

It's not easy creating motivation to save an empty, lifeless galaxy. I'm talking about losing the suspension of disbelief, taking out the implied habitations, and looking at the numbers. How many people did you see on earth? Maybe a few dozen marines, bustling through the military complex, and a small gathering of the ruling officers and their lackey's when the Reapers attacked. Then one or dead humans here, a small child there, and then a cityscape with millions of implied lives.

Embarrassing and dishonest: TV’s portrayal of gaming

It's a personal embarrassment to me whenever TV commercials or movies depict kids playing video games. It directly drove my parents to crusade against the "brain mushing" effects of gaming when I was a child, and it flat-out annoys me as an adult when I’m around my in-laws. This is because mainstream media always portrays someone playing video games in one of two ways: the brain-dead zombie or the button-mashing seizure victim, and both are equally unrealistic.

Being poor is good: Why engineered currency scarcity improves a game

Imagine a exquisite field of grass, blowing in the Hyrulean wind. Now picture an unbroken line of clay pots surrounding the field, fresh off the pottery wheel. Bet you don't see plants or earthen wares, do you? No, you see cold hard cash because that's how Zelda games have conditioned you. Money is your reward for exploring and adventuring. Inside each pot and underneath every clump of dirt is the possibility of a hidden rupee. But what would happen if you knew your rupees were worthless? Would you still feel compelled to play the game?

Five games that make it more fun to be evil

As a child, I discovered that snapping plastic bricks together made "having fun" an arduous task in comparison to stomping my sister's idyllic, fully formed Lego neighborhood. I learned my lesson: Being evil is easier. While childhood proves that bullies will always get what they want, video games reward bad behavior with cooler abilities and weapons. Besides, wouldn't you rather have crowds run in fear than applaud you for fetching those boots they lent to a neighbor?

Moral lessons in gaming

They call me the Paragon of Justice: a pilgrim wandering the wasteland/galaxy laying waste to the bandit scum plaguing the land. A sense of justice floods over me as I rout a band of evil necromancers, and a tiny voice whispers in my ear, "You are a good person."

Video games shouldn’t be fun

I'm not the head of Activision, a Nintendo shareholder, or even an exec at EA. However, if (through some kind of hilarious Steve Urkel-esque mix-up) I accidentally shuffled into an important meeting of all the top video game executives and plopped down beside Bobby Kotick, I wouldn't just sit there quietly. At some point during the investors report (or whatever it was that I stumbled into), I'd clear my throat, slam my fist against the table and yell, "Stop making games fun!”