In the fifth chapter of his essay collection Extra Lives: Why Video GamesMatter, author Tom Bissell meets "Al," a staffer at the 2009 DICE convention, an annual game industry event held in Las Vegas. "By 2020," gushes Al, "there is a very good chance that the president will be someone who played Super Mario Bros. on the NES."Read more »
GAMER It took a piece of state-of-the-art hardware and a team of abundantly talented animators and programmers to get me back to the gaming basics. I'd assumed control of Commander Shepard, hero of Mass Effect 2, and I needed to weigh my many options; making the wrong choice would have disastrous consequences. As the Xbox hummed and guzzled power from across the room, the back of a takeout menu became its newest pen-and-paper peripheral — a list of pros and cons.Read more »
World of Warcraft
Blizzard Entertainment (PC, Mac)
Most games don't celebrate anniversaries, nor do they last long enough to celebrate five. World of Warcraft is so unlike most games that its recent milestone seems like just a pit-stop on the way to its 10th, or 15th year. Produced by Blizzard Entertainment in Irvine, the Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game (MMORPG) has rewritten the rules of the possible when it comes to computerized entertainment, smashing records of size, scope, and popularity with every new press release.
Since it debuted Nov. Read more »
(Gearbox, 2K Games) XBOX360, PS3, PC
Video games are a remarkably derivative medium, recycling old tropes and exhausting cliches. This is made more frustrating by the industry's relentless hype machine, which trumpets newer, better, more unfamiliar games, only to deliver tired titles bound up in a patina of pretty, cutting-edge graphical distraction.
Borderlands is one of the rare games that inverts this paradigm. Read more »
GAMER Soccer is the world's most popular sport, so it follows that soccer video games are among the world's most popular games. With such a mammoth amount of cash on offer, the battle to be the planet's premier publisher of simulated footy boasts extremely high stakes. Read more »
GAMER The fall release schedule lacks the marquee names and rabid hype that defined the previous year in gaming, but thumb-callused consumers everywhere should have much to look forward to following a summer of ho-hum titles.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Infinity Ward/Activision), PS3, Xbox360, PC After farming out a by-the-numbers semi-sequel, Call of Duty: World at War, to developers Treyarch, Infinity Ward has redeployed. Read more »