The Beginner’s Guide

When we play a good game, we often get lost in its world, characters and story. When a game truly grips us, we see ourselves as active participants at the foreground of the narrative. Games that raise the bar, stand the test of time and endure make us forget about the fact that we’re sitting on a couch and playing a game. When we truly immerse ourselves, all of the work put into coding, animation and art design fade into the background, leaving the fiction of the title to take over completely. In many forms of entertainment and expressive media, the audience seldom fails to give credit where it’s due, but developers in the gaming industry are often overlooked as the artistic powerhouses behind their work.

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Ubisoft’s Identity Crisis in Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate

A recent video released by IGN claims that twin siblings Evie and Jacob Frye of Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate not only eclipse all time favourite Ezio Auditore da Firenze (of Assassin’s Creed II fame), but are the best characters in the series thus far. It’s a tall claim that is sure to draw some ire from long time fans, since Ezio’s establishment as franchise favourite is practically impeachable. Yet after having played two-thirds of the main campaign and clocking in many hours of side missions and free roam, I can’t help but agree with the folks over at IGN; my personal love for the Frye twins has crystallised.

Let me explain why.

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Codex Entry 4 – Social Benefits

Congratulations on locating Codex 4. Here’s the experience you’ve come to expect with this series:

When I’m being unfair, I’m tempted to think of my little brother as the stereotypical, socially inept gamer nerd who is content to stew in his isolation for the rest of his days at home. It’s tempting to also think that because he enjoys playing video games with such gleeful wonderment, that it precludes the chance of any sort of meaningful relationship in his life, let alone a social one.

And yet.

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Codex Entry 3 – Motivational Benefits

When it comes to intelligence, there are two types of people:

  1. Those who believe that intelligence is fixed. That it is not malleable, and therefore can not be improved.
  2. Or those that believe intelligence is changeable, and as such, can be cultivated through time and effort.

This is not an article about the motivations behind why people play video games, but one that explores how video games engender effective motivational characteristics both in and outside gaming contexts.

Congratulations on finding Codex 3. Here’s some experience to get you over to the next level.

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Racial Diversity in Games

The release of Assassins’ Creed: Syndicate saw a noticeable change to the pre-game message which, prior to this installment of the franchise, has consistently opened the game. The original message is as follows:

“Inspired by historical events and characters. This work of fiction was designed, developed and produced by a multicultural team of various religious faiths and beliefs.”

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The New Age of Scary Games

The horror genre behaves like a teenager. It goes through many phases. In looking at how horror in film has developed, classical monster flicks originally dominated the box offices. Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Mummy were all the rage. Slashers then stepped into the spotlight; Freddy Kreuger and Jason Voorhees terrorized naive college students with their menacing silhouettes and unrelenting thirst for gore. Since the debut of Paranormal Activity, found-footage horror has popped up all over theatres and VOD websites.

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Why Are We So Affected By Video Games?

Coming off the back of the newly released finale episode of Tales from the Borderlands, Telltale Games’ five part graphic-adventure game series based on Gearbox Software’s Borderlands franchise, I’m tempted to think back to a course I took in university about advanced media theory. It was a horrifying course to get through, but it nevertheless contained interesting topics and theories to think about. One in particular was affect or affective amplification in video games.

Now bear with me as I delve back into my memories of this particular media course, and my valiant attempts to find any connection to video games in order to survive it.

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