Archive for March, 2011

The Dig (1995)

Most SCUMM era adventure games start off with a high concept, a general idea of what the setting and story is going to be, and then work from there. The specifics of the jokes, puzzles and narrative details are often unrelated to one another. The mechanics of the puzzles and the layout of the various areas often have to do with gameplay while the story is told around those gameplay elements. The brilliance of The Dig is that the world informs the approach to the gameplay, creating a fantastic synthesis of gameplay and story. (more…)


Tomb Raider: Anniversary (2007)

Games, at their worst, misinterpret player intent and turn it into an undesirable in-game action. While sometimes this can be rooted in the design philosophy of the game, more often than not, it’s the result of a lack of control, communication and clarity on the part of the designers of the game. It’s this issue which taints the majority of the experience of Tomb Raider: Anniversary. (more…)

Grand Theft Auto III (2001)

Grand Theft Auto III is a brilliant metaphor for American consumerism, coupling esthetics and gameplay to create a critique of capitalism. The open world freedom and undeniably fictionalized American location reinforces a powerful statement about how the American dream can go so wrong. However, as well as it works on an ideological level, the underlying mechanic do not always allow for the seamless flow between ideology and play. (more…)