Star Blazers Got Me Through The Shittiest Year Of My Childhood

I was a happy child, but I didn't have such a happy childhood. Other kids didn't get my weird vibe, especially in elementary and middle school. And one year in particular, we moved to a new city and a new school, and things got ugly. Only one thing kept me from losing my shit: Star Blazers. » 3/13/15 4:38pm 3/13/15 4:38pm

Why Star Trek: Voyager Meant The World To Me

Twenty years ago today, Star Trek: Voyager premiered. Of the five live-action Star Trek series, Voyager is not the best. If you were ranking them, Voyager and Enterprise would probably duke it out for last place. But none of that matters, because Star Trek: Voyager meant everything to me as a child. » 1/16/15 7:20am 1/16/15 7:20am

Why I'm Kind Of Tired Of The "Smartest Man In The Room"

He used to be so cool and unpredictable. He would breeze into a complicated situation and make it simple through the razor-sharp power of his intellect. But lately, he's gotten dull and predictable, performing the same party trick over and over. The "smartest man in the room" is overexposed lately, and he needs a… » 12/22/14 5:37pm 12/22/14 5:37pm

Great Villains Whose Schemes Aren't Just Aimed At Destroying The Hero

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Sometimes it seems like every villain is obsessed with murdering the hero of the story. (Or making the hero realize they're alike.) But it's not true — in fact, some of the best villains have their own goals, and the hero just happens to get in the way. Here are some great villains whose schemes don't revolve around… » 12/16/14 4:50pm 12/16/14 4:50pm

Stop Hating Original Science Fiction Movies Just For Having Tropes!

It never fails lately. We actually get a movie that's a new story, instead of a rehash or continuation of a venerable tale. And people immediately start piling on, pointing out all the stuff in it that's been done before. But just because something contains story elements we've seen before doesn't mean it can't be new. » 12/08/14 4:02pm 12/08/14 4:02pm

How To Turn Star Trek Into The Next Marvel Movie Universe

For anyone who has followed the film and television business in the last few years, they know one thing is true: mega-franchises are king. Right now, every studio is looking for its own version of Marvel's universe. But Paramount has one sitting right under its nose, and it's called Star Trek. » 10/07/14 3:54pm 10/07/14 3:54pm

Why The Bechdel Test Is More Important Than You Realize

We all talk about the Bechdel Test all the time, because it's so simple: Does a story have two women who talk to each other, about something other than a man? But almost every time it comes up, we all dismiss it, because it's too simple or too arbitrary. But actually, the Bechdel Test is more important than anyone… » 6/04/14 4:25pm 6/04/14 4:25pm

We Fell In And Out Of Love With Niko

I'd never played a Grand Theft Auto before. I mean, I understood the draw, but ever since I'd played Mafia, I felt no beckon to follow The Sopranos through an open-world Manhattan de-make. Wise guy this, blip-blap that. The whole rigamarole sounded like a chore, really. On top of that, my new girrrrrrrrlfriend and I… » 9/15/13 10:30pm 9/15/13 10:30pm

Ride to Hell is a Bad Game, but I Still Bought It for a Good Reason

Last year saw the glimmer of a movement to get a video game based on Sons of Anarchy, FX's biker gang series and a vicarious lifestyle fantasy for many viewers, one of them me. The possibility seemed to go no further than series creator Kurt Sutter's own hopes. » 6/29/13 7:00pm 6/29/13 7:00pm

A Glimpse of E3 With Their Own Eyes, Far From the Lights of L.A.

In line for Nintendo's booth, Terence Polk checked his smartphone and chitchatted about what he'd come to review. "Super Mario 3D World," he said, because he was skeptical—not because he was thrilled by what he'd seen in Nintendo's presentation. It was the second day of E3. In Winston-Salem, North Carolina. » 6/12/13 10:15pm 6/12/13 10:15pm

With Video Game Writing, the Devil Lives in the Details

In DmC, the new reboot of Capcom's Devil May Cry series, hero character Dante is the offspring of an angel mother and demon father. He looks human but is of another breed altogether, a species of celestial rarity called nephilim who are incredibly powerful. They're wild cards, nephilim are, and their bloodlines gives… » 1/29/13 12:00pm 1/29/13 12:00pm

The Video Games That Showed Up When I Least Expected Them

A controller gets put down. A disc gets shelved next to dozens of others just like it. But, sometimes, the game lingers. It creeps into your sleep and live on in the backs of your eyelids, demanding ever more from you. » 1/15/13 10:40am 1/15/13 10:40am

The Games for All of Us

With respect and admiration for, if not apologies to, the late Ernie Harwell, here's something adapted from his famous Induction Day speech at the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Aug. 2, 1981, which itself was adapted from this 1955 essay.

» 11/25/12 4:00pm 11/25/12 4:00pm

Hurricane Sandy's Effects on the Gaming Scene: From Blacked-out…

Hurricane Sandy didn't have an effect on the video game scene the way it would have if it had hit in a city like Montreal or San Francisco, where many of the most popular video games are made. But New York City and the surrounding region does have a vibrant indie gaming scene, millions of passionate gamers, a lot of… » 11/02/12 1:47pm 11/02/12 1:47pm

Should We Know Our Own Strength—Or Any Rating—In Video Games?

On Friday, Madden NFL 13 revealed the ratings for every quarterback in the league, inviting the usual pointless discussion about who should be ranked ahead of whom and why. » 8/05/12 11:00am 8/05/12 11:00am

There's Nothing to Steal: Why Everyone Hates the Free-to-Play Switch

I'm not proud of it, of course, but I've profiled others according to skin color. You see, glowing, primary color skin on a character in D.C. Universe Online » 8/03/12 8:30pm 8/03/12 8:30pm is a sure sign of a free-to-play player, especially if they're low level. It indicates they really didn't give a shit what they looked like when they rolled,…

Load "Great Memories",8,1

The Commodore 64 turns 30 today. Reams of copy have been written in tribute to this machine. It wasn't the first personal computer, but it truly was one that democratized them to millions of middle-class households. Releasing in August, 1982, it stepped into the breach a year later when console video gaming, as we… » 8/01/12 3:30pm 8/01/12 3:30pm

No Game Save for My Backup

Three days home, sick, with the complete understanding and sympathy of my employer. Fully conscious and ambulatory, with some grade-A camaro-drivin', country-music-songwritin', shirtless-guy-on-COPS prescription narcotics on the bathroom sink. Can't go outside and enjoy this nice day, cause I'm sick. Can't work, I'm… » 7/29/12 4:00pm 7/29/12 4:00pm