Virtual reality is a developing medium.
As gamers and developers alike discover the potential of this new technology together, there are certain questions that need to be answered as to how best to explore digital spaces in a way that feels comfortable, while still presenting an open world that players can properly engage with. Continue reading
There’s a moment in Life is Strange that reminded me strongly of my own time as a teenager. Not the intense teen drama or the time traveling, but rather one of the spaces in between. The early morning haze, a best friend’s bed, the quiet strains of “Bright Eyes” in the air—maybe this sounds cheesy, but when I played through that scene, I had to let the whole song finish before moving on. Though I had the option to interrupt it at any time, I couldn’t bring myself to end that quiet moment prematurely—I loved it too much.
Fast-paced action may be exhilarating, but there’s something to be said for a more introspective, quiet gaming experience, too. A faster pace lets you experience the thrill of being an action movie star, while a slower pace is typically more about embodying a character or exploring a particular story. Different pacing affects the tone, with each style representing a unique take on video game storytelling.
It’s important to be nice to other people.
Little things like greeting others with a smile, or trying to not invade other people’s personal space, make interacting more enjoyable for everyone. Conversely, inappropriate or confrontational behavior can easily offend others or make them feel uncomfortable.
While being hundreds or even thousands of miles away from someone you care about is never easy, thanks to innovations in communication technology such as Skype, Facetime, and instant messengers, people are able to keep in contact in ways that past generations could only have dreamed of.
After all, it wasn’t that long ago that the only way to keep in contact with someone on another continent was through the postal service. Continue reading
Video games contain some of the most impressive settings and locales in all of fiction.
The talents of hundreds and thousands of artists have gone into creating immersive worlds of wonder and beauty that are an absolute joy to navigate as part of a video game experience. Continue reading
Looking through the eyes of another person is a powerful experience.
It’s often hard to relate to people who harbor a different worldview than us. We tend to wonder why people with different political or religious beliefs see things the way they do. Even when we’re doing our best to sympathize with the trials and challenges that others face, to truly understand a person’s point of view can be challenging when we don’t have first-hand experience of what they’ve been through. Continue reading
I love crowdfunding. Sure, I’ve had a few duds among the projects I’ve backed, but for the most part, it’s been a positive experience. There’s nothing quite like knowing you were part of the creative process of some wonderful new project or seeing your name listed in the “special thanks” section in a game’s end credits.
But backing these projects is about more than personal satisfaction. Crowdfunding video games helps ensure that risky titles—those that push against mainstream ideas about what games are or can be—keep the industry thriving and innovative. Without crowdfunding, we wouldn’t have the Oculus Rift, Shovel Knight, or FTL, three of the most exciting creations of the past few years.
It’s not just about getting games funded, either. Crowdfunding is also a barometer for consumer interest, and high popularity can spur publishers to pick a game up and bring it to the attention of an even broader audience. There are few things more inspiring than a good rags-to-riches (or indie-to-classic) success story, and sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer fertile ground where the first seeds of such stories can take root.
When I was younger, sometimes I would lay down to sleep after an evening spent rotating blocks in Tetris and have a hard time turning off my brain. Behind my eyelids, in the dark of the night, I could still see a familiar pattern of falling geometric shapes. My brain was trying to solve a puzzle that wasn’t there anymore.
Virtual reality is a wonderful, immersive tool that can provide us with hours of realistic, believable entertainment. But what happens when we turn it off? If Tetris can lodge itself firmly in a ten-year old’s mind, you can be sure VR’s going to have an impact that lasts long after you’ve taken off the headset. Continue reading
If you see a toilet in a game, it must be flushable.
Rarely does an in-game toilet have any bearing whatsoever on gameplay, but if there’s a toilet in a game, you better believe I will try to flush it. Portal begins with an attempt to flush the radio. In Gone Home, I made sure every one of those toilets got flushed. Even in Fallout, proper post-apocalyptic flushing practices must be observed.
How many cities have you visited in your life?
Ten? Twenty? A hundred? No matter how many you’ve seen, it’s a miniscule number compared to the variety that planet Earth has to offer. This is to say nothing of all the incredibly uncharted locations around the world—rich, thick Amazonian jungle, snowy arctic fjords, and vast, arid deserts that no human has ever fully explored.
With virtual reality, gamers have the opportunity to see the world, all from the comfort of their own living room. Beyond real world locales, it’s even possible to play the tourist in an imaginary setting, traversing Middle Earth or exploring the galaxy. Continue reading