If you have ever thumbed through my blog here, it doesn’t take long to deduce that the original three Crash Bandicoot games were essential to my childhood.
With that in mind, I am very pleased to share my latest piece of professional video game writing: a full-length feature on the process behind remastering the Crash Bandicoot trilogy. The feature was published and laid out by Engadget in early July, featuring in-depth interviews with art & design leads on the team at Vicarious Visions (VV), in addition to exclusive process-artwork that outlines their creative workflow. Continue reading Engadget Feature: The (re)making of ‘Crash Bandicoot’
A couple weeks back, I finished Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us — they’ve sure come a long way since Crash Bandicoot (though, I still pine for the franchise to return to its rightful owner).
As the final act came to a close, what struck me the most was how reflective the game was of itself, and how far its characters had come since the opening scene. The critical reception to The Last of Us has ranged from brightly glowing to argumentative and divisive, but what can’t be mistaken is how much thoughtfulness Naughty Dog has put into it. I jotted down my own thoughts on a few “mirrors” between the very beginning and the very end of the game, which I wanted to share here.
Warning: there’s a significant amount of spoilers ahead!
Continue reading The Mirrors of The Last of Us
Last night I picked up and finished Act I of Kentucky Route Zero by Cardboard Computer, and just about every inch of its design satisfies my current appetite in video games.
Aesthetically, it’s a stunning game that reminds me of the stylistic work seen in both Team Fortress 2 and Limbo. It utilizes sharp lighting, silhouettes and limited color palettes to tell most of the story, while exaggerated geometry adds even more character to its society. It also manages to reference other forms of art, such as poetry and theatre, without interrupting itself as a game. Continue reading En Route to Zero
The Walking Dead PS3 | Telltale Games | December
One of the conversations my generation seems most ready to have is what they’d do in the event of a zombie apocalypse:
- Whose house doubles as a good fort?
- Which local store would have the best stockpile?
- Whose car gets away the fastest?
- What kind of weapons could we make from what’s sitting in the garage?
- Who would you band with, and where would you all rendezvous?
It’s a fun game to play, partly because there are no right or wrong answers, but mostly because you get to learn something new about the people around you. The Walking Dead runs with these sorts of questions while putting the safety of others in the mix, making each subsequent one more complicated than the last. It tells an excellent story about people you could relate to, and not just for being a game.
Continue reading Playlist 2012: The Walking Dead
Dishonored PS3 | Arkane Studios | November
This was once a great city.
Or at least there are signs of it. Across the river are what use to be people’s homes – homes that are now used to avoid thug infested alleys and a corrupt police force running the suburbs. You can even find paintings on what walls are still standing, mostly of people filling the streets of Dunwall or ships importing goods.
It’s calming though, isn’t it? I’d often climb up here for the view between missions, but every vista in Dunwall is just that: a vista. The city is actually overrun with a rat plague. Looks can be deceiving.
Continue reading Playlist 2012: Dishonored
Torchlight II PC | Runic Games | October
The amount of time you invest in Torchlight II is directly proportional to what you get out of it. Spend part of it exploring the landscape and you will find something worth your curiosity. A band of soldiers surviving together in the wilderness. A ghost ship docks by the riverside. A lonely robot who’s just happy that you didn’t rob him.
The hook of Torchlight II is partly within your curiosity.
Continue reading Playlist 2012: Torchlight 2
Sound Shapes PS3 | Queasy Games | September
From a young age, I’ve always understood video games as an intersection between visuals and sound. Things run around on the screen until they run into something else, setting off some kind of alarm. It might be rewarding, penalizing, or warning you, but there is no denying its hidden rhythm. Somewhere between platforming, abstract art, content creation and music composition, Sound Shapes is a budding intersection between multiple forms of media as well. Continue reading Playlist 2012: Sound Shapes