Looking back

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I first stood in front of the Raging Thrak Inn when I was twelve. The game was still called Gemstone III, and no one in the house was allowed to use the phone when I played, lest I get “booted.” I was a different character then. I quit playing when I was fourteen, then joined … Continue reading

Even marriages end when you die, Kaidan

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“I understand why you cheated. But I still love you, Shepard. I want to understand what this is between us, and make it real. That’s what I want. What do you want?” I pause before answering. Not because I’m torn for choice, but because I don’t know quite what to say. I do know what … Continue reading

The sport of youth and fashion of the age

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In the twenty-four years I’ve been playing video games, I think I’ve become pretty well rounded. Platformers, RPGs, shooters, puzzlers, text-only, you name it — I’ve tried it. There is one chink in my armor, though, and it’s sports games. My cousin was the only one in the family with a Super Nintendo growing up. … Continue reading

A Shepard prepares

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I have always been a great player of pretend. I love telling stories. As I child, I was often accused of having an overactive imagination. When I’d play outside with the neighborhood kids, I’d go beyond the typical “cops and robbers” and do “mob boss versus grizzled detective who’s getting too old for this stuff,” … Continue reading

Dispatches from the capital wasteland

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April 9, 2009 I’m unsettled. I’ve never traveled for work before, but I like that it’s a thing — “traveling for work.” “Do you get to do any traveling?” people ask when you tell them you’re considering a job. “Two or three times a year,” in this case. “That’s great!” they respond, as if it’s … Continue reading

Super Mario Bros. (Yes, the movie)

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The recent video game film, Wreck-It Ralph (2012), has been called by some “the best video game movie ever made.” On the surface, that sounds like quite the endorsement, but if you dig deeper, such a title doesn’t carry much weight when you look at the rest of the sample in question. In short, it … Continue reading

Objectionable content

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I can’t pause the game because “Start” on my Sega Genesis controller is for blocking. Instead, I jump around from one side of the screen to the other, hoping that I don’t jump on a fireball or impeccably-placed uppercut from the AI-controlled Johnny Cage as my dad passes through the room. I contemplate resetting the … Continue reading

A room of its own

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This past week, I visited the Smithsonian Museum of American Art’s “The Art of Video Games” exhibit for a second time, and I’ve read so much criticism of the exhibit that I’d like to start off with what it does right. Having video games on featured display at a major U.S. art museum is undeniably … Continue reading

Stories for all your various summer needs

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While summer reading lists tend to put one in mind of trashy paperbacks stashed away in canvas bags for beach reading, not many of us will spend the entire summer in a folding chair. Thus, a good set of summer reading suggestions will include options suitable for a variety of situations and pursuits. Whether you’re … Continue reading

Cave Story: The right game at the wrong time

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I have a friend that claims you can never love a book unless you read it for pleasure — “The right book at the right time,” he says. But I think it’s easy to appreciate the right book at the wrong time too. It’s certainly easier to love a book read at one’s own leisure, … Continue reading