If Not Creating Truth, Then Suspending Disbelief

Ultimately, the challenges the "uncanny valley" poses to motion capture and animation will be overcome by technology. But suspension of disbelief is just as important to a game's storytelling, writes the actor who portrayed Ethan Mars in Heavy Rain. » 5/09/10 2:00pm 5/09/10 2:00pm

When Will You Reach the End of Gaming?

A week ago, we pondered the chance of living to 100 and still playing games at that age. But even as the gamer demographic trends older, many feel like the time will naturally come when they'll put down the controller. » 5/02/10 1:00pm 5/02/10 1:00pm

What's So Fun About Games, Anyway?

Rather than ponder games' artistic merit, Brian Hertler tackles a question that's a little more lighthearted, yet no more answerable: Just why do we find video games - even the simplest ones - so fun? » 4/25/10 1:00pm 4/25/10 1:00pm

Where Have All the Good Bad Guys Gone?

Every adventure requires an antagonist, someone or something corrupting the world you're in. It's a basic need. Yet why do so many games serve up foes whose evildoing provides more of a chore to be undone than a memorable struggle? » 4/18/10 1:00pm 4/18/10 1:00pm

Why Games Need More Than One Simple Word

No matter who is brought in to write a story or dialogue, the industry still treats the written word in such a utilitarian way that it has a second-class citizenship among the other art forms comprising a video game. » 4/11/10 1:00pm 4/11/10 1:00pm

Religion in Games: Less a Leap of Faith, More a Suspension of Belief

I've no idea why, but it seems no accident that the week before Easter I went back to start over the original Assassin's Creed, the only game I've ever played that is set in the Holy Land. » 4/04/10 1:00pm 4/04/10 1:00pm

Can Video Games Be Campy?

In a culture so infused with irony, the appreciation of campy works - outrageous movies, terrible art, worse music - is absolutely mainstream. Does it apply to games? Can games strive to be campy? Or are they already so? » 3/28/10 1:00pm 3/28/10 1:00pm

The Difference Between Scary and Horror

I have a fear of horror films, and by extension horror games. I'm just too attenuated to suspense and having the hell scared out of me. But what I'm really experiencing, argues one writer, is just that: scary, not horror. » 3/14/10 2:00pm 3/14/10 2:00pm

Javelins, Zerg Rushes, Ninja Looting and Other Social Dilemmas

It's there, and you know how to use it. It's an exploit or a glitch or some imbalance in the AI. Morally, it's wrong. But what if everyone else is doing it? Or just the potential for them doing it? » 3/07/10 2:00pm 3/07/10 2:00pm

Indoctrinating the Veterans of a Virtual War

In the past year, 70,000 men and women enlisted in the U.S. Army. Sixty-seven times that amount - 4.7 million - played Modern Warfare 2 on a console or PC, released one day before Veteran's Day. » 2/28/10 2:00pm 2/28/10 2:00pm

Weekend Reader: Games, My Guardian Angel

It is hard to read of a young man, essentially homeless, spending Christmas alone in a games store and not feel a twinge of sadness. But it's a memory more sweet than bitter to someone who considers games a lifesaver. » 2/21/10 2:00pm 2/21/10 2:00pm

Why the Game is the Thing, Even for Uncharted 2

Many have praised Uncharted 2: Among Thieves for its story and cinematics almost to the exclusion of its gameplay. But the latter is chiefly why it was one of 2009's finest games, argues one writer. » 2/14/10 2:00pm 2/14/10 2:00pm

On the Obligations of Video Games

Steve Gaynor, a designer at 2K Marin, understands that he works in an entertainment field, and provides a product nonessential to basic human needs. That doesn't mean video games - and their makers - have no obligation to the public. » 2/07/10 2:00pm 2/07/10 2:00pm

Tacit Dissent: Why Great Characters Must Speak

The issue of silence in Half-Life or Fallout 3 has a long discussion history, but one critic doesn't consider it a virtue. Stripping the voice from a main character is "a pathway into madness and schlocky conceits," he says. » 1/31/10 2:00pm 1/31/10 2:00pm

Product or Media? The Intersection of Games and Design

A director of design and an avowed "hardcore ludologist" ponders why the well constructed games he nominates do so poorly in design competitions, engaging a debate over whether games are a media or designed objects. But they're both, he says. » 1/24/10 2:00pm 1/24/10 2:00pm

Questions of Faith: What is Religion's Role in Games?

Unsurprisingly, many game developers and publishers would rather stick a fork in a live power outlet than discuss religion in games, much less write it into a game with a role more complex than archetypal good-vs.-evil belief sets. » 1/17/10 2:00pm 1/17/10 2:00pm

Comparing Two Games That Sell Themselves

Paid downloadable content and in-game advertising are two touchy issues in gaming discussions, and two recent releases have in a way brought both together, one more artfully than the other. » 1/09/10 2:00pm 1/09/10 2:00pm

Explaining the Commitment to Duke Nukem — Forever

Why would anyone spend 12 years working on a single game, with no assurances it'll ever be finished. It's called "escalation of commitment" - a classic good-money-after-bad bargain, and a psychologist thinks it explains Duke Nukem Forever. » 1/02/10 2:00pm 1/02/10 2:00pm

For the Goomba, What's Their Motivation, Again?

Boss battles are critically important to most video game genres, providing climactic story points as well as the kind of challenge for which the game was bought in the first place. But what about the minor foes of a game? » 12/26/09 2:00pm 12/26/09 2:00pm

The FPS: Where Freedom isn't Free

As game designers become more like film directors, the paths they lay out for players becomes increasingly scripted and, frankly, downright restricted. Still the illusion of freedom persists in this genre. » 12/19/09 2:00pm 12/19/09 2:00pm