It’s an exciting time to be a video game enthusiast. Feelings of welcomed anxiety accompany insatiable fascination with the coming of new consoles. You want to read everything you can, while jumping up and down like a four-year-old discovering trampolines. Along with these feelings comes a tsunami of analysis, debate, competition, reviews and industry predictions. The “old” consoles and games will receive price drops, the new consoles will fuel the fire of internet flame wars and, here at Snackbar, we’ll talk and talk and talk about the Xbox One and PS4 until our throats are sore. New, new, new.
All major changes have consequences. Nothing exists in a bubble; new consoles are great for some, but what does it mean for the sector of the gaming industry that won’t immediately benefit? Will brick-and-mortar stores slowly fade away, as Blockbuster did? Will we see the death of the mid-range developer? READ MORE
I just started playing Tales of Xillia, the latest entry in one of Namco’s longest-running series. It instantly hooked me with the lavish colors, the grand aspirations, the overly enthusiastic dialogue and an overabundance of exposition in the first few hours. The mechanics feel natural by now; menu systems, experience points, leveling up. Battle strategy and traversing an overworld map have become second nature to me, as I’ve played hundreds of games in this genre. I also get the benefit of playing games that emphasize beautiful worlds and incredible soundtracks. They’re an acquired taste, but I can’t get enough.
That doesn’t mean I always enjoy them. READ MORE
I love cooperative play in games. Playing with a partner isn’t always feasible, though, but thankfully games have been getting better at implementing AI partners. Ellie in The Last of Us and BioShock Infinite‘s Elizabeth show that escort quests don’t have to be excruciating, and if you don’t have a friend to play with, you’re not completely alone.
But Elizabeth isn’t going to punch me on the arm excitedly when we beat a tough boss, or scream at me loudly when an enemy pops out of nowhere. Ellie will never call me in real life and ask if I’m down to play a session of Gears of War or bring over beer. READ MORE
The Breaking Bad series finale aired September 29, and a void has been created in my television-watching schedule that will not be replaced anytime soon. It has received hyperbolic praise for the acting, direction, cinematography and level of commitment to a storyline that bordered on dark comedy in the first season to a tragic, operatic finale that left audiences shocked, speechless, stunned and satisfied. We’ve never seen anything like it. READ MORE
My girlfriend and I often play games together. It’s a good way to pass the time in the fall and winter months. When we can’t go for hikes, or kayak in Victoria’s beautiful inner harbor, we settle for placing lightning towers in Dungeon Defenders or doing a second playthrough of Borderlands 2. Like most experiences in life, ours with games are enhanced when enjoying with others. READ MORE
We’re living in the fastest time in human history. Our population is growing exponentially faster than ever before. Computers are making greater advances in weeks than they previously did in decades. Every site is racing to bring you information faster, and nobody is satisfied with a less than a lightning-quick Internet connection.
We need our modern consoles to be able to process graphics and audio at levels unheard of in years past. Lag has to be nonexistent, the frame rate can never drop below 30 frames per second, and loading screens must be kept short in order for us to fully enjoy what today’s entertainment can bring us.
But what does speed mean in games? READ MORE
Most games have a clear set of goals in mind for the user to experience. This usually involves completing the game’s main campaign; starting a new game, going through levels and defeating the end boss. Roll the credits. You can now discuss what you thought of the ending with fellow players, or start a discussion on the game’s themes without feeling left in the dark.
Some of the more interesting experiences come from when players go off the beaten path. They ignore the checklist given to them by the developers. Maybe they go for every achievement, or try to play with a heavy handicap, or try something nobody in the world has yet. It is this dedication to mastery that I find so fascinating. To apply time, practice and discipline necessary to master a game means there’s a deeper connection and a more personal attachment. Why does this happen? READ MORE
I have a real problem with not finishing things. I’ll read a book cover to cover almost every time, even if I hate it. I’ll never walk out of a movie. If I start watching a TV show, it’s likely that I’ll keep watching despite my level of interest. Games? I have a masochistic attitude. I force myself through to the end of nearly every one I start. Why? Do I see it as a challenge to persevere? Is it a way of suppressing emotions like boredom and continue the goal of completing the game? Does it build discipline? READ MORE
It was during a blisteringly hot, humid summer night that an image of snow brought a smile to my face. I was sitting in my sauna-like apartment, trying not to sweat through my thin layers of clothing (and failing) when I came upon a thread on the Internet about video games. This is not uncommon; seeing a comment thread about video games on the Internet is like walking outside and seeing other buildings. I was about to go to sleep when I saw a comment that I couldn’t shake.
It was about Chrono Trigger. Of course it was. It’s no secret that it’s my favorite game ever, but the comment I read could apply to any game in which the player has a connection to the characters they’re controlling. READ MORE
I can picture it now. A couple of young game industry upstarts have finally paid their dues, and are now at the helm of making a brand new game. It’s going to be released on all the systems. They’re talking to each other excitedly about what kind of game they want to make. Ideas are thrown around, gameplay elements are discussed and details are hammered out. They rehearse their pitch; they’re prepared for the studio heads.
Reality sinks in, and it’s not nearly as fun. The young developer’s faces shrink with each passing moment. No, you can’t introduce this wildly revolutionary idea. No, that’s not going to work for us. No, we’re not going to take that risk and no, you’re not going to disagree with us because we’re the money and you’re not. READ MORE