I am in lovely St. Louis, MO, for the weekend. We're going to visit the Gateway Arch, catch a Cardinals game, and barbecue. Oh God, how we will barbecue. Unless my plane crashes, that is.
What a morbid way to start a links post.
-Hardcasual is always good, but every once in awhile they really knock it out of the park. Such is the case with "Professor Layton Solves Brain Teaser, Grisly Prostitute Murder." Amazing.
-Leigh Alexander makes a good point about how the leisurely exploration gameplay of Shadow Complex seems to be at odds with its ticking-timebomb storyline. There is a point, at least, at which your character determines that he's going to go back in, which I took to mean that he was planning to arm himself to the teeth before taking on the bad guys. Still, I did follow the blue line most of the time, and I was more than satisfied with how things played out.
-Nels Anderson makes a point I often try, and fail, to make: that "fun" is the wrong word for most video games. For some people, fun clearly is the objective, and there's nothing wrong with that. But many people are seeking more meaningful interactions with games, and for those people, fun's got nothing to do with it. The more kinds of experiences games can give us, the better.
-The passage of time has enabled some more sober looks at Grand Theft Auto IV. Still a great game, but it's hard to argue with the kinds of criticisms Sparky Clarkson makes. "For me, this is the defining flaw of GTA IV — so many of the missions, cutscenes, and incidental moments actively undermine the propositions the game is trying to sell you on." Paradoxically, the more choices a game gives you, the more obvious it is when the game makes decisions for you. I've never felt constrained in a Half-Life game, for instance, even though I'm just a puppet on a string.
All right, time to party with the St. Lunatics.