Dope Farmer. (PopMatters)

My review of Dope Farmer is now up at PopMatters.

The New (York Times) Games Journalism.

The New York Times has a brief blurb on the New Games Journalism.

NBA Street V3. (PopMatters)

My review of NBA Street V3 is up at PopMatters.

World of Warcraft. (City Pages)

My review of World of Warcraft is now up at City Pages. Or maybe I should say it’s “in” City Pages. I have so little experience with print, I can’t even get the prepositions straight. And while seeing my name on an online article made me all neurotic and angsty, it’s nothing compared to the sheer freakiness of seeing my name on paper. One of these days, I’m going to have to get over this whole byline anxiety complex I seem to have.

The fun thing about reviewing WoW was being able to spend two weeks obsessively playing, and calling it “research.” The bad thing is that now that I’m done, I’m still playing obsessively, but with no excuse. I’m playing right now, in fact. I should be writing query letters or sleeping, but I’ve almost got the stuff I need to summon a Felhunter. I mean, a guy’s gotta have priorities.

Diner Dash. (PopMatters)

Speaking of casual games, my review of Diner Dash is now up at PopMatters. I’m a sucker for an “adult-oriented” game that’s actually for, y’know, adults. I’m also a sucker for pretty much anything by gameLab, so it’s safe to say I like this game.

Otogi 2. (PopMatters)

My review of Otogi 2 is now up at PopMatters. What amazes me most about this game — when I can stop staring at its prettiness — is the way in which they improved by leaps and bounds over the first game without actually fixing any of its flaws.

The controls are still as floaty as ever. In the first game, this tended to leave you at a great disadvantage against enemies as you flailed about trying to touch the ground. In Otogi 2, however, this floatiness is transformed into an advantage thanks to changes not in the controls, but in the level design. More topographic variety means more time spent jumping between low and high ground, which encourages hang time. A number of levels have you dashing between mountain peaks with nothing below you to land on, and one of my favorite levels has you literally flying through the sky as you take out an entire fleet of airships with no ground at all beneath you; it’s an exhilarating experience.

I’m still not sure why the camera didn’t drive me as crazy as it did in the first Otogi. It continues to spin slowly in directions you don’t want it to, but this time around, it doesn’t seem to lead to as many cheap deaths, despite the fact that there are just as many enemies surrounding you as before. The only theory I can come up with is that your weapons have slightly more range or speed than in the first game, so that blindly stabbing in all directions is more effective than it was. I don’t have a copy of the first game to check on this, though, and I’m too lazy to do any empirical testing anyway.

Not knowing exactly why it’s so much better doesn’t change the fact that Otogi 2 seems to have fulfilled the promise that I saw in the first game, and it’s rare for me to have such a fulfilling experience playing a sequel. It’s a nice thing to see.

Fight Club. (PopMatters)

My review of the videogame adaptation of Fight Club is up at PopMatters. I was hoping it would be an amusingly bad movie-to-game conversion, but as it turns out, it’s just a plain old piece of crap. If you liked the movie, go watch it again, or read the review series at The Dual Lens. If you like fighting games, play Soul Calibur or Guilty Gear. Just avoid this game.

Alien Hominid. (PopMatters)

My review of Alien Hominid is now up at PopMatters. It’s one of those games that’s a ton of fun, as long as you don’t stop to think about it. Thinking bad!

Bejeweled 2. (PopMatters)

Continuing with the theme of pleasurable addictiveness that I brought up last week, my review of Bejeweled 2 is now up at PopMatters.

And because I’m too lazy to go look in a thesaurus at the moment: is there a word for “addictive” that doesn’t carry so many negative connotations? I don’t really think that seeking little morsels of happy fun from a video game (or a TV show, or a book, or whatever) is necessarily a bad thing, but words like “addictive” or “compulsive” really make it seem like I’m describing pathology rather than pleasure. I wonder if I could get away with using the word “crackalicious” in a review.

BloodRayne 2. (PopMatters)

My review of BloodRayne 2 is now up at PopMatters. In an attempt to reach new heights of pretentiousness, I led the article with a quote from a Baudelaire poem; my only defense is that I wrote it last week while still hopped up on tryptophan, so my bullshit filters were impaired. Anyway, let me know if you think other parts of it are particularly full of bull, or (less likely) if it’s the greatest thing you’ve ever read.