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Opinion pieces that aren't long or detailed enough to be considered feature articles.
Matt Barton's picture

The Halls of Redemption

If you were a pirate back in the 80s, or enjoy abandonware titles today, do you ever wish you could in some way repay those designers or developers who made your favorite games?

Matt Barton's picture

Ancient Greeks, Modern Fun

I've been reading some good books lately about the subject of fun and videogames, such as Koster's Theory of Fun and McGonigal's Reality is Broken, plus whatever I see cropping up on Google Reader. Anyway, I've been studying their definitions and trying to come up with a synthesis, plus adding in a few things of my own from my studies of Ancient Greece. Needless to say, almost everything these authors feel is new or original is just the latest incarnation of things taught by Aristotle and Plato.

These are some thoughts I'm trying to work up into a book project, but there's a few of the core concepts.

Chris Kennedy's picture

Life and the ESRB - Leave it up to the computers?

ESRBESRB I'll be the first one to say that computers are only as smart as those that would design and write the software. That said, the New York Times recently posted an article concerning the ratings system of the ESRB and how it will move from human-based grading to computer-based grading. It isn't that the computers have some sort of A.I. that plays the entire game through an assigns a rating (wouldn't that be grand?) but rather that the games will move toward a questionnaire-based rating system.

Matt Barton's picture

Your Gaming Future, Gaming Past

In my upcoming Matt Chat with Scratches designer Agustín Cordes, we talk a lot about our perspectives on classic games such as Myst and King's Quest, and how those have changed over time. Agustín says that he doesn't consider Myst (1993) to be a vintage game, simply because it feels too modern to him compared to the earlier King's Quest (1984). It made me start thinking about how we perceive time when talking about individual games. There is 9 years difference between Myst and King's Quest, but 18 years have passed since Myst first graced the Mac (16 for PC). It seems to me that each year that goes by seems to compress that 9 year gap to make it seem shorter, so that it seems like Myst followed very closely on the heels of King's Quest (and thus I feel comfortable grouping both under the category "classic"). For Agustín, on the other hand, that gap seems much wider, perhaps because the Myst-style is still "modern" in the sense that most adventure games still follow its model.

Matt Barton's picture

Numbers Stations and Encryptions

Brian DunningBrian DunningI was going through the older episodes of Skeptoid, one of my favorite podcasts, when I listened to one on Numbers Stations. These are mysterious shortwave radio transmissions that usually consist of an automated voice reading off sequences of apparently random numbers. The most rational explanation for these stations is that they are secret government communications to spies or saboteurs using something called a one-time pad, something else I hadn't heard much about before.

Matt Barton's picture

What does your preferred gaming genre say about you?

What does your genre say about you?What does your genre say about you?I've been thinking a lot lately about the personality differences among gamers. Some of us love RTS; others are bored to death by them. Some would happily play SHMUPS (ahem, Mark) until they collapse, whereas others find them frustrating or even tedious. In short, there is a broad spectrum of games out there to enjoy, and I'm wondering what your preferred genre says about you.

Read on to see what your favorite genre says about you!

If your favorite genre is...

Adventures. You enjoy fantasy and escaping the humdrum of daily existence, which probably doesn't satisfy you. You have vivid dreams and enjoy feeling intelligent, yet in touch with your emotions. If you veer more towards the LucasArts/Sierra style adventures, I'd say you're young at heart and find humor even where most people don't. This could manifest itself in a zany personality, or someone who likes to make quips.

Matt Barton's picture

The Game You Wish You'd Played Back Then: A Personal Question

Blade of Blackpoole: Awesome for '83. But now?Blade of Blackpoole: Awesome for '83. But now?Here's a question I've been pondering today: : If you could alter your history so that you could have played any game that you missed when it was new--what would you choose? For instance, maybe you missed out on a game because of your chosen platform or inability to upgrade--such as the early Amiga or Atari ST hits. Or maybe you took too long to move to DOS and missed out on the DOOM era. Then again, maybe it was CD-ROM games that slipped past you, and you didn't play MYST until long after the excitement died down.

The reason I ask is that we all know it's just not the same to play these games for the first time today. If you didn't play Ultima back in the 80s, you're very unlikely to appreciate it now. The same goes for just about any early classic; even Pac-Man and Tetris were probably much more impressive and mind-blowing back when they were released. No matter how we try to immerse ourselves and overlook the "limitations" of the era, it's still difficult to really appreciate them.

So what game would you choose? If you're having a hard time deciding, make it a top five or ten list.

I can't wait to read your responses!


davyK's picture

Middle-aged gamer's collection #26-31 Tetris box set

title title title title
#26-#31 Tetris Box set

Tetris (Gameboy)
Tetris & Dr. Mario (SNES)
Tetris Plus (Saturn)
The New Tetris (N64)
The Next Tetris (Dreamcast)
Tetris Worlds (PS2, Gamecube)
Tetris Party + Tetris Party Deluxe (Wii)

Bobby Fischer was one of the greatest chess players ever - he became world champion in 1972 and could have been champion longer had he been of a more conservative disposition. Fischer was an American and the fact that he became world chess champion is like a beautiful flower growing up through cracks in a pavement. Chess champions tend to come from Russia or the old soviet block countries where chess players are discovered and developed within a system that is part of society - their champions are the inevitable outcome of that system. Fischer came from no such system - he was a maverick genius who came out of nowhere.

Christina Loguidice's picture

Is Gaming Addiction Different from Other Addictions?

I have been thinking about addictive behaviors lately. It seems almost everyone is addicted to something, whether coffee, cigarettes, food, alcohol, sex, shopping—you name it, and someone is addicted to it. Videogames are no exception, and as we all know, gaming is often blamed by the popular media for causing violence, deviant behaviors, obesity, and a host of other undesirable effects. A recent study published in Pediatrics by Iowa State University researchers that examined a little over 3000 schoolchildren in Singapore found that “Greater amounts of gaming, lower social competence, and greater impulsivity seemed to act as risk factors for becoming pathological gamers, whereas depression, anxiety, social phobias, and lower school performance seemed to act as outcomes of pathological gaming.” They note that their findings add to the discussion on whether gaming addiction is the same as other addictions.

Matt Barton's picture

OT: The Rhetoric of Wikileaks

Last week, Konstantinos Dimopoulos of Gnome's Lair asked me to post my thoughts on Wikileaks. I've been keeping tabs on the story as it unfolds, though naturally the sheer bulk and speed of all the coverage (in all media) quickly overwhelmed me. However, when I saw that someone had already created a persuasive game about Wikileaks called Leaky World, I knew I had to try to collect my thoughts on the matter.

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