The Way We’re Being Played

Here’s how I learned to stop worrying and learned to love the console. For years I’d thought it was a sucker’s game to buy a dedicated machine when you could play on your multi-use PC. I looked on the proliferation of PlayStations in the ghetto as electronic malt […]

The Romance of Indie Games

I came across Ernest Adams as the writer of a column for the excellent gamasutra.com, a website dedicated to “the art and science of making games.” Adams’ column, The Designer’s Notebook, discusses some of the arcane and complex issues facing game designers in language understandable to people outside […]

What Little Boys Are Made Of

No one wants to give a kid a bucket of blood for Christmas. But give them a videogame that’s too dorky, and they’ll be trading it in before you can say Rated E for Everyone. I’d heard good things about The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (Nintendo, […]

War Reporting

I know how Tim Carter feels. When I tell some people that punk rock saved my life, I get funny looks too. In his documentary about Counter-Strike (Sierra, 2000), Carter tries to make a connection between videogames and martial arts. I think he fails at this, but he […]

Making smarter trash cans

I’ve managed to climb down the scaffolding in the pouring rain and get to an open window. It leads to a kitchen, and from there I hear voices: it’s the cleaners, or rather the hired killers masquerading as cleaners who have been dogging my every step. They’re watching […]

Professor Zork

Problem-solving is fun! I learned this lesson not from my teachers, not from a book, but from computer games. Specifically, from text adventure games like Zork, Lurking Horror and Leather Goddesses of Phobos. Typing in commands like “go north,” “take candy,” “ask sam about instrument,” allowed you to […]

Playing Soldier

Wargames are huge and always have been. If you think the latest videogames are anything new, think chess. Think toy soldiers. They’re fun, they’re violent, and they have a moralistic narrative frame that makes them palatable to most political persuasions. Not mine, however. I’d always prefer to be […]