Mirror’s Edge, Post-Completion

After the final cinematic for Mirror’s Edge played, the credits rolled, and the trophies for completing the game and never shooting anyone popped up, I was sad that it was over. It was a surprising feeling because during the campaign there were at least four moments during which I nearly gave up entirely and/or came very close to snapping my controller during an expletive filled moment befitting The Big Lebowski. I should have been feeling relief. My relationship with Mirror’s…

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Playstation Home, Theatre

I just want to clarify my hate-on for Playstation Home. Yes, it’s great that it’s free and this is something new for a console and yadda yadda, but this is a system for dealing with people that I don’t want to deal with. The theatre was the last place I saw. I walked in there, took a seat in the straight in middle in the center row and waited for the “film” to start. The screen had a big, fat…

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World Beneath Her Feet

The world of Mirror’s Edge is well realized without being explicit. Unlike the worlds of, say, Kojima, DICE does a great job of “show, don’t tell.” The exposition in the between-chapter cinematics always revolves around the protagonist, Faith, and her interactions, often brief exchanges, with other characters. There are no long soliloquies here. More so, the environment that Faith traverses says a lot itself. There are news bulletins in the elevators (slash loading screens) that tell the city’s story, but…

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Crystal Sculptures

The YouTube video page of crystalsculpture and crystalsculpture2 (I don’t know why there are two, also both pages feature an epileptic inducing background. You have been warned.) are full of sheer radicality. Both pages are packed with all sorts of retro 70s and early 80s (and even 60s) computer animations, motion graphics, and odd ephemera (old horror trailers, documentary excerpts, commercials, and even a home video.) In particular, I like this clip from a Peter Ustinov hosted show about an…

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Photography, Game Design, and I

You don’t need a life improvement book to tell you that the more you do a thing the better you get at it. This should be common sense. You can elaborate on the specifics more, as Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers” does by stating that it takes, amongst other things, 10,000 hours of work and effort to “achieve international stardom,” but the core idea is simple: practical experience defines skills. There’s a corollary to that. The better you get at something the…

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Atari, 2019

At one time, Atari was the future. Then overpriced junk flooded their systems, they misdirected their focus into computers rather than games, and they rejected a proposal from a little company called Nintendo. As the NES took over the world, defining the modern console gaming world, Atari was left in its dust. There were attempts to stay relevant in the newly Japanese dominated market — Nintendo, SEGA, NEC — but they all failed. After years of valiant attempts to regain…

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Windsor, Ontario

Driving down Ouellette Ave. you get the sense of being in a metropolis. Buildings tower higher and higher above the street the further north and the closer to the downtown you seem to get. Then Oulette opens up to Riverside and you realize that a wide river divides you from the rest of the skyline and that between where you stand and where the city continues is an international border. You see that where you are is all there is.…

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Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix Demo

My review in brief: zero out of ten. As a demonstration of the game, this is the biggest failure in the entire XBox 360 marketplace. A caveat, first: I am a long-time fan of Street Fighter II. Many quarters were spent on it in convenience stores and many, many more quarters — and I had to save for a long time — were saved to purchase Street Fighter II Turbo for the SNES. It cost a little over $100 after…

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This Week in Digital Downloads

If you haven’t played Rez yet and you have an internet enabled XBox 360 and you’re in the US, then there’s no excuse now: it’s on sale. If you are in the rest of the world, no such luck for you. In a bizarre decision, Microsoft’s online sale is restricted to the US. Now, I understand it when they can’t offer content or features here — like Netflix — because of all the copyright and ownership restrictions, but not discounting…

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Site Tweaks

Those that only see this weblog through an RSS reader might not have noticed that I’ve made a few tweaks around here. The second column of links, imported from delicious, has been moved to the bottom of the page. Since there’s only the one core column now, I’ve merged the wordmark, which sat above the second column, with the header image and centered everything. I haven’t changed a single thing in the main body since I was happy with the…

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Essen Spiel Report, Part Two

After discovering that I missed half of the bloody show, I started wandering some more. These lost halls were quite a bit different, in content and atmosphere, from the big boardgame publisher halls. They were the Kentia Hall equivalent for boardgames. Here you’d find all sorts of games by small game makers and two-person companies looking to get noticed. This is where all the comics were stashed, which I ignored. There were also a few jewelry and knick-knack sellers here…

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Brief Thoughts on the NXE

Microsoft saw fit to unleash their NXE acronym, which I assume stands for “New XBox Experience,” upon the masses today. This major XBox 360 OS update, which completely revamps the system navigation and appearance, adds a few welcome features, and one that no one was clamoring for: avatars. After minutes of using it I have to say: “I want my old experience™ back.” The old system wasn’t perfect, it had a lot of flaws with organization (especially in the online…

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I Did 99 Laps and the Trophy Ain’t Won*

I have a love em/hate em relationship with Achievement Points and, now, Playstation trophies. On the one hand, as I’m sure you’ve noticed with my nods to Geometry Wars Evolved 2, I am a very competitive person. Trophies and points are a good measure of that. On the other hand, these rewards feel like artificial extensions for the games they are attached to. There are exceptions. Some are very well designed, getting people to try different things with the game…

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