Category:  Staff Musings

By Stephen Hilger, July 3, 2014 0 Features, Staff Musings

(Editor’s Note: Stephen’s views are his own and do not reflect on Pixelitis as a whole, but we expect everyone to be kind and remember Wheaton’s Law.)

As most of the internet knows, the glorious Arin “Egoraptor” Hanson recently made a video comparing The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Of course, by doing so, he has inadvertently ignited many hideously malicious internet arguments.

But the video itself is definitely worth a watch. Hanson’s Zelda commentary is part of an ongoing series dubbed Sequelitis in which he analyses a game and its sequel to unearth exactly what went right and wrong. It’s a great series that’s a perfect mix of his established sense of humor and admirable intelligence. He’s really a great critic whose individual thoughts promote great discussion, which is one of the end goals of being a successful critic.

So there was no doubt in anyone’s mind (including Hanson’s) that a video where he lampoons Ocarina of Time would cause a great stir among nostalgic twenty-somethings and Zelda fans as a whole. OoT is commonly hailed as a masterpiece and is almost untouchable because of that.

And while I greatly enjoyed the video and agreed with him on many points, I thought I might try to compose a formal counterargument (much like the deformed character at the beginning of his video). Hanson certainly seems to invite debate, and I thought it might be worthwhile to explore some of the reasons why Ocarina of Time is so widely hailed as the best game of all time.

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By Mercer Smith-Looper, June 30, 2014 0 Features, Staff Musings

With the announcement of a Grim Fandango remaster for PS4 and PS Vita at E3, a renewed slew of vigorous players saying “I wish I could play that” has started to occur.

I, with the lucky happenstance of having played and loved this game as a kid, am here to share with you a quick overview of what I think makes this game so great and why you should be so amped up to play the remaster.

You play as crime-solving, travel agent skeleton Manny Calavera who lives in the Land of the Dead, a place where the souls of the recently dead live after being evicted from their flesh homes. The gist is that people will only stay until they are able to make their journey to the Ninth Underworld, though some (like Manny) end up sticking around longer than expected. (more…)

By Stephen Hilger, June 20, 2014 0 Features, Staff Musings

Telltale Games is doing all the right things. They’ve proven that the point-and-click adventure genre is still effective while also being one of the few studios able to showcase how videogames can be used to uniquely tell a narrative.

As I’ve written before, I’m an embarrassingly huge fan of the company’s iteration on Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead.

While The Walking Dead is probably what they’re most known for, Telltale has also enjoyed critical success with their take on the Fables comic series The Wolf Among Us, and are planning on tackling the Game of Thrones and Borderlands universes in the future.

Considering how willing the company is to turn full-fledged fictional worlds into point-and-click adventures, here are a handful of series that I think would translate well into a “typical” Telltale game.

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By Stephen Hilger, May 17, 2014 1 Features, Staff Musings

(Editor’s Note: Stephen’s views are his own and do not reflect on Pixelitis as a whole, but we expect everyone to be kind and remember Wheaton’s Law.)

The current generation is a strange era for the Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing experience.

MMORPGs, as they’re more conveniently acronym-ed, were once a mystically appealing genre. The very idea that one could play a game with a whole community of people online seemed to be the next big step in videogames as a medium. But now that WoW is a shell of its former self and Elder Scrolls Online debuted with more of a lame thump than a boom, perhaps the era of MMOs is coming to an end?

I find myself tracing the history of the genre and my own personal experience to determine what factors may be contributing to the death of the MMO.

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By Pixelitis Staff, May 7, 2014 3 Features, Staff Musings

After the much discussed Atari E.T. landfill dig proved a long debated urban legend to be true, we found ourselves wondering one thing:

Was E.T. really that bad?

Our own Stephen Hilger and Brendon Bigley decided to play the game and record their experience in an attempt to determine what ultimately caused it to become one of the history’s most maligned games and set off a major industry meltdown in the ’80s.

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By Mercer Smith-Looper, May 5, 2014 0 Features, Staff Musings

Celebrating nerd culture should be easy to do. Whether you’re a product of ’80s Saturday morning cartoons or a neophyte of console gaming, we’ve all had our own obsessions. That being said, some instead seem to forget that fact and opt to ostracize others for a laugh and a buck.

For those unaware, gatekeeping is the idea that anyone considered to be “other” or different from the overall group should be silenced. This is most commonly used in fandoms and gaming as a term to describe restricting someone’s access to a community based on whether they fit the “expected” image or persona.

A recent example of this is the controversy surrounding the “I like my fangirls like I like my coffee. I hate coffee” t-shirt produced by Tankhead Custom Tees for WonderCon a few weekends ago.

The company made a public statement on Facebook discussing the fanboy variant of this t-shirt, which seeks to perpetuate the issue. Not only is this behavior outdated, but also inexcusable.

‘’The fangirl/fanboy shirts can best be explained like this: fangirls/boys =/= fans. Fans are people who like and genuinely respect a fandom, and it’s creators. Fangirls/boys are like those creepy fedora wearing neckbearded bronies, or hetalia fanfiction shippers, who make us all collectively cringe in pain at what they do to the things we love.

No one should ever defend these kinds of people. Seriously, they make the rest of us look bad.’’

They make the rest of us look bad?! While the original t-shirt dealt primarily with the idea of females, it seems that the issue actually stretches much further.

Not only does this alienate the women and “fangirls” of the world, but also the populace of other lesser known or accepted subcultures.

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By Stephen Hilger, May 3, 2014 2 Features, Opinion, Staff Musings

(Editor’s note: There are going to be spoilers for Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.)

The practice of creating an effective horror protagonist in games seems like it would be a hard one to balance.

If they’re too capable, all semblances of tension and fear go out the window. Make a character too helpless, however, and you run into a situation where it’s often hard to have fun playing as them.

That’s why in the second season of Telltale Games’ critically acclaimed The Walking Dead series, Clementine strikes a chord for so many people. She’s an 11 year-old girl trying to survive in a zombie-filled world. Thanks to her small frame, she can only do so much about any potential threat, but she’s nimble, quick and can handle a gun when needed thanks to Lee’s training in the first season.

It’s those facts, coupled with her constant teetering between life and death, that make her one of my favorite horror protagonists in games.

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By Karen Rivera, April 11, 2014 0 Features, PAX East 2014, Staff Musings

As fans of videogames and nerd culture, the staff of Pixelitis has always strived to share the efforts of fans and people who dress up and enjoy their favorite fandoms. As such, we’ve taken steps to spotlight the hard work and dedication of cosplayers over the years.

But speaking for myself as an editor and photographer, it’s safe to say I’ve run into a few awkward conundrums involving cosplayers.

As the pool of gamers and people that participate in nerd culture grows by the day, there’s still a lot left to be said for respecting one’s space, especially as male or female cosplayers. Gender-bending cosplay is becoming more common, as I saw in NYCC last year. I value the expression put behind the amazing costumes, but just because the characters they portray are dressed a certain way does not make them targets for bigotry or sexism.

Since we’re here at PAX East, now might be a good time to discuss how we share our enthusiasm in a way that everyone can get behind.  (more…)

By Stephen Hilger, April 10, 2014 5 Features, Humor, Staff Musings

(Editor’s note: Following Tuesday’s major Super Smash Bros. reveal, our very own Stephen Hilger decided to channel Captain Falcon in what he believes would be the F-Zero superstar’s feelings on his glaring omission from the game’s roster. Think of this as a humorous editorial, rather than the ravings of a madman…)

To Whom It May Concern,

I debated for hours whether to address this letter to Nintendo, Namco Bandai, Sora Ltd, Masahiro Sakurai himself, the fans or my fellow smash bros, but since you’ve all stopped replying to my calls, tweets and Xanga messages, I thought I’d publish my thoughts for all to see.

Now reader, if you have the time, I’d love to show you my feelings

One question in particular bothers me:

WHY HAVE I NOT BEEN CONFIRMED FOR THE NEXT SUPER SMASH BROS?!

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By Patrick Kulikowski, March 25, 2014 15 Features, Staff Musings

(Editor’s Note: Patrick’s views are his own and do not reflect on Pixelitis as a whole, but we expect everyone to be kind and remember Wheaton’s Law. Also, this article contains heavy spoilers for Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes and mentions of disturbing sexual violence.)

Leading up to the last week’s release of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, both Konami and series creator Hideo Kojima stressed that it would ruffle a few feathers with its grittier style of storytelling.

After playing through Ground Zeroes, it dawned on me that he really wasn’t kidding.

During a preview event for MGSV in Tokyo, Kojima said he was “already thinking about sensitive things” during the writing process.

“If we don’t cross that line, if we don’t make attempts with what we want to express, if we don’t go beyond that, we won’t be able to achieve what movies or novels have achieved,” Kojima said. “It’s trying to go beyond what the original media was supposed to be. If we don’t go this far, games will never be considered as culture.”

And the nine-minute long E3 2013 trailer for The Phantom Pain gave us a glimpse into the controversial themes that we can expect: child soldiers, torture and ruthless executions.

While the release of MGSV’s prologue has given us an early glimpse into how dark the series can get, it was one moment of jaw-dropping, sexual violence that personally left me with chills as the credits rolled. (more…)