California Literary Review

Video Games

A Throne of Games – Volume 1 – A Historie of Consoleflict


May 14th, 2012

Tell me, O muse, of that time long ago when there were no video games. When the people did not gather in the halls of the arcade where a round of happiness was bought a quarter at a time, but the pool hall where a beer cost the same if it was cheap, or so […]

Video Game Review: Pandora’s Tower


May 13th, 2012

What was once iconic – big hair, slender waists and massive…uh…assets – has become a laughable stereotype as developers refuse to push forward and innovate with their designs. Japan used to be a trendsetter in terms of game design, and it’s a shame to see things descend into mere mimicry of what has already been. In terms of aesthetics, Pandora’s Tower suffers deeply from this refusal to move on.

The Finale Solution – Three of Them, Actually.


May 10th, 2012

End Errors: Game, Postscript For the last month or so, I’ve been talking about how terrible endings are in video games. Over the course of two articles, one focusing on a decent variety of problems, the other exploring a single issue in depth, I think I managed to at least identify what the five biggest […]

Video Game Review: Fez


May 3rd, 2012

While not completely original (Paper Mario and Echochrome both used similar mechanics) the concept has never been more meaningfully implemented than in Fez. Not only is it a neat way to make this game different from other platformers, but it’s also a metaphor of the theme of the game – changing your perspective on life in order to achieve enlightenment.

In the Therapist’s Chair: Kingdom Hearts and Minecraft


May 2nd, 2012

What makes video games brutal is often their most basic premise.  If you think too long and too hard about exactly what it is you’re doing, a creeping sensation starts to prickle the back of your mind.  If you put yourself in the shoes of your avatar, would you be so gung-ho, would you even be capable of walking out of the front door?

The Massive Effect a Boss Makes


April 19th, 2012

End Errors: Game, Part Deux! Whoah! What was that, it’s almost feels like I skipped through time. Like this article isn’t actually it’s own premise, but the continuation of another article, one from the past. Weird. Anyway . . . So far we’ve seen how video game endings can fail in a literary sense (denouement), […]

The Dialogue Tree Welcomes a New Climber!


April 16th, 2012

With that done, I now must ask Laura to introduce herself by revealing something embarrassing. To let the folks reading this know that not only is she smart and talented, but a gamer through and through. It’s also the final part of the ritual, and you don’t want to leave the painted goat hanging for too long.

Video Game Review: Silent Hill: Downpour


April 15th, 2012

An attempt to transfer Murphy to a higher security prison inevitably goes horribly wrong, leaving a bus of inmates and prison guards dead and Murphy stranded in “The Devil’s Pit,” a derelict tourist attraction, with no means of escape but a tram car down to… well, you can take a guess.

Endings are Void – Dark Souls VS Skyrim – Part 6


April 4th, 2012

or “Without art in the ending, a game ends up without art.”   For those that are new, welcome! For those that have been following this series, now in it’s sixth (I think?) installment, I know it seems like I may have forgotten about it. I hadn’t (mostly), but like certain Canadians, I just didn’t […]

Video Game Review: Binary Domain


April 1st, 2012

Binary Domain portrays such a future; a world in which technological development has become so advanced that among humans walk robots which look to be of flesh and blood, which have real memories, lead real lives and possess no knowledge of their true origin. Beneath the skin of these Hollow Children beats no heart, but as they are gunned down one by one throughout the game’s narrative it is called into question who the real monsters are in this story.

Video Game Review: Mass Effect 3


March 18th, 2012

A few nights ago, I finished Mass Effect 3. As the credits scrolled I again sat silent in the dark, dumbstruck by what I had beheld. Not out of the bittersweet satisfaction that comes with the conclusion to any story, but in the confusion and anger that occurs when you’ve witnessed a crime you could do nothing to stop.

Gaming’s Best and Worst of 2011 – A Delayed Interruption


March 6th, 2012

or Adam’s Alliterative Awards Attached Arbitrarily At Awesome And Awful Amusements! I know this blog’s been missing for a few weeks, er, pretty much all of February. Which is a shame as I was in the middle of this HUGE SERIES chronicling the CORE ASPECTS of all of gaming using Skyrim and Dark Souls as […]

Video Game Review: Gotham City Impostors


February 26th, 2012

GCI’s extreme customization options are nice, but aside from the “psychological profiles” option rewarding play styles that match disorders found in the DSM-IV, it’s not that unique. No, the big meaty difference here are the slipshod, homebrew gadgets that each of the imposters employ. From springy moon-boots, a pop-out hang glider, and a hand-cranked grapple gun, all of Batman’s traversal gadgets are present in a garage built form.

Video Game Review: NeverDead


February 15th, 2012

The misused and undercooked immortality concept could have been much more than the result, but it’s at least a solid first step in a unique direction. This is exactly the type of game that needs a sequel to hammer out some fundamental problems, add depth, and plant seeds for a unique tale to develop, but the “Eh, it’s alright I guess” overall quality will most likely prevent that from ever happening.

Video Game Review: AMY


January 25th, 2012

No, what truly hurts is that AMY squanders more potential than a philosophy student. Especially to me, as the game combines a favorite genre, Survival Horror, with a favorite game, ICO, and adds a dash of novelty by using a character you don’t often get to play as: an average woman ill-prepared for combat using her cunning to get by.

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