I know it’s late this week, so let’s get right into it.

There are two video essays this week. Continuing his series examining Shadow of the Colossus and Ico, TheGameLocker published the third part this week. At the Escapist Daniel Floyd in his weekly video essay examines a single choice in Mass Effect 2, the implications and how only video games can present this moral dilemma as it does.

Michael Abbott explores the backlash G4’s review of Metroid: Other M inspired because actual criticism had the gall to slip into the piece.

Kateri looks at how Dragon Age: Origins escapes the women in the fridge trope, by actively playing on it and making use of the character rather than have them be part of the furniture, saying:

“I felt it like a punch in the stomach. It helped that the voice acting was a masterpiece of subtle emotion, but more than that – it was all true. She had been a plot device, her pain mere emotional leverage to set my protagonist on his journey. I had barely given her a second thought since the game proper began, focusing on my “important” quests, my “real” party members. But in that moment, she refused to let me do that. Screw you, hero boy, she seemed to be saying to my PC, you were the lucky one. I was raped, and you got to use it to your own advantage and then forget about it. I have never had the luxury of forgetting about it. Every day that you were triumphing over evil and hunting for treasure, I had to remember it, and live with it, and carry on anyway.”

Stephen Slota looks at what survival horror can teach us about math over at School in 64-Bits.

L.B. Jeffries looks at the classic debate of adventure games Sierra v. Lucasarts with a critical look at where each stood with respects to the genre. Also at Popmatters, G. Christopher Williams looks at how we market our games versus how book publishers market their product and the effect the absence of a name has on our particular medium.

Roger Travis at his blog Living Epic calls Halo: Reach an Epic and the implications of what it means for a game to be a classical epic.

“We should not turn away from a fundamental problem here: I’m a guy on a sofa, not a Spartan giving his life to save humanity. Indeed, the very interactive nature of the practice of playing Halo tends to emphasize, rather than cover over, the enormous gap between pretending to be Noble 6 sacrificing himself and actually dying nobly: when the game ends, we’re still on the sofa.”

The New York Times magazine has an interesting article by Chris Suellentrop, in relation to Call of Duty and the US military. While at Game in Mind, Matt Kaplan looks at the recent controversy of being able to play as the Taliban in the most recent Medal of Honor as an exercise of a Jew on Team Nazi [mirror].

Brendan Keogh writing at his Critical Damage blog, looks at how Liberty City evokes a real living, breathing city from the perception of the three inhabitants you can play and how each one gives a wildly different view of the same game space.

At Video Game Theory & Language, Christian Iconography is looked at in Dragon Age: Origins by Jeffrey Jackson.

CLINT HOCKING is back to blogging, looking at convergence in media and in our culture.

Zoran Iovanovici at Gamasutra writes about the theme of centralized power in the Metal Gear Solid series and what it can teach us about our present world, concluding:

“That’s arguably the true magic of the MGS saga – it makes players ask some pretty big questions. And for good reason, too. With real world organizations like the Trilateral Commission, Council on Foreign Relations, the U.N., and WTO pushing for globalization, a global currency, a global court, and essentially a centralized New World Order; clandestine groups like the Bohemian Grove, Bilderberg Group, and the Club of Rome calling shots behind the scenes; questionable global slush funds like the Red Cross hoarding money for unknown projects; and world threatening mega corporations like Monsanto seeking to control global food supply, the issues that MGS brings to light can hardly be glossed over.”

Sean Beanland goes back in time to play the first two Diablo games and examines the strangeness of some of their design choices, even among other rougelikes.

Chronoludic’s Mike Dunbar writes about Pathologic [mirror] and the concept of death and disease therein.

And a post I never would have thought possible in the last decade, Charge Shot looks at Duke Nukem Forever, its history and the world that left it behind.

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