Features Archive

0

Two Years After The Wolf Among Us.

The Wolf Among Us is a remarkably dense game, even by Telltale standards. By the end of the game, ideas of community, identity, storytelling and even more have been dealt […]

The Wolf Among Us is a remarkably dense game, even by Telltale standards. By the end of the game, ideas of community, identity, storytelling and even more have been dealt with and examined in ways that other games aspire to. More than any other video game out there, it takes a huge advantage over the idea that videogames are more akin to TV than film. As we approach two years since its release, I can’t help but miss its presence on a monthly basis on my console/PC, in a way that a lot of games simply can’t fulfill.

Once you get down to it, massive video game releases don’t really focus a lot on writing. By this I mean, dialogue and structure. This isn’t to say that video games are not good at story (atmosphere and tone complement dialogue and structure, and good story games, such as MGS or Silent Hill manage to compensate for clunky dialogue and messy structure with those)  but rather that games often treat writing, as in the creation of dialogue and structure that help convey powerful characterization, as secondary to the world building. Execution vs. concept, essentially.

Read the rest of this entry »

Continue Reading...

0

Better Call Saul and why we’re good, man:

By the end of the remarkable first season of Better Call Saul, Peter Gould and Vince Gilligan have crafted an incredibly confident first season of TV showcasing the many things […]

By the end of the remarkable first season of Better Call Saul, Peter Gould and Vince Gilligan have crafted an incredibly confident first season of TV showcasing the many things that made Breaking Bad one of the most indelible dramas of the last 15 years while finding a fascinating new angle on the morality play they started all the way back in 2008 by reversing the polarity of its protagonists.

Read the rest of this entry »

Continue Reading...

0

Video Games are not Films. They are TV.

The most recent trend in video game storytelling is releasing the games in monthly chunks that are entirely concerned with advancing a narrative. This trend, of telling stories in interconnected […]

The most recent trend in video game storytelling is releasing the games in monthly chunks that are entirely concerned with advancing a narrative. This trend, of telling stories in interconnected semi-regular releases is meant to emulate the feeling of TV. And yet, as of right now, TV has moved closer and closer towards using the season as the main unit of storytelling (versus “the episode”)

The argument could be made, especially considering Telltale’s resolution to continue both The Walking Dead and the Wolf Among Us in a format akin to a TV season, that the season is still a valid construct that could apply to the critical discussion of these games. However, the emphasis on the season on TV in recent years is quite different than the one exhibited by The Walking Dead or Life is Strange. Stories like True Detective’s seasons are more like volumes of a book series, while told on regular weekly installments (equivalent to a book’s chapters) each one to be interconnected into a bigger whole.

Read the rest of this entry »

Continue Reading...

0

Remembering Wes Craven: Horror’s Guiding Voice

Without Wes Craven I might not have gotten into horror. I probably didn’t know it at the time. I was four and the idea of directors and writers wasn’t really […]

Without Wes Craven I might not have gotten into horror.

I probably didn’t know it at the time. I was four and the idea of directors and writers wasn’t really that prominent in my brain. What was prominent was a snarling one-liner spewing killer that was everywhere at the time: Freddy Krueger.

If you ask me, Freddy Krueger is easily the best of the well-known slasher monster as well as the most accessible. If you want any proof, just look at the Freddy mania that gripped America in the late eighties and early nineties. Even now he’s a household name, occupying the same mental space as Frankenstein and Dracula. Not only does the brilliant presence of Robert Englund provide not just the menace of other slashers but the charisma of a rock star and a gleeful bully. Freddy Krueger was someone who fascinated kids as much as he terrified them.

Read the rest of this entry »

Continue Reading...

0

Video Game Superheroes Aren’t Very Heroic or Super

Superheroes, at their very core, are power fantasies. They’re about empowering individuals with the ability of righting perceived or real wrongs in the world. Allowing them the ability to quite […]
Superheroes, at their very core, are power fantasies. They’re about empowering individuals with the ability of righting perceived or real wrongs in the world. Allowing them the ability to quite literally mold the individual’s world into a universe that makes relative sense. Most of these stories are centered on entirely heroic individuals who fight for high values against easy-to-distinguish crimes and attacks on society/humanity that we can all recognize as inherently amoral.

Yet, because of the growth the genre across the 20th century, superheroes and the milieus they populate have become more varied in morality breadth and thematically interests. Stories from The Boys’ anti-corporate screed to Hawkeye’s fascination with the (relatively) mundane populate the comic book medium and give readers of superheroes a huge variety of choice in regards to how they consume their favorite genre. Read the rest of this entry »

Continue Reading...

0

Interview: Tomm Hulett, ex-Silent Hill developer at Konami

Not much more than a week ago, Konami announced the cancellation of their Kojima-Del Toro-Reedus spearheaded project, “Silent Hills”. The game was announced with one of the most successful demos […]

Not much more than a week ago, Konami announced the cancellation of their Kojima-Del Toro-Reedus spearheaded project, “Silent Hills”. The game was announced with one of the most successful demos released, “P.T”. However, upon rumors of Kojima’s withdrawal from Konami and the removal of P.T from the Playstation Network, it seemed more and more likely that the project was not coming along. Then Del Toro confirmed it wasn’t happening a day before Konami finally dropped the other shoe on us.

One of our correspondents reached out to Tomm Hulett, whose work on the Silent Hill franchise goes from Silent Hill: Origins to Book of Memories. Hulett’s work has shaped the modern perception of Silent Hill for better or worse. We decided to interview him about the franchise’s future as a fan and about his time as one of its main creative voices.

Read the rest of this entry »

Continue Reading...

0

Aesthetic Vs. Execution: On Andrew Jarecki and Robert Durst.

As of right now, we’re about to enter five days after the explosive finale of The Jinx, HBO’s documentary series reconstructing the life of Robert Durst, a millionaire who may […]

As of right now, we’re about to enter five days after the explosive finale of The Jinx, HBO’s documentary series reconstructing the life of Robert Durst, a millionaire who may or may not have killed at least three people in cold blood. And the ending is probably one of the most hauntingly powerful moments captured in film on the last two decades if not more so. It’s the product of careful and laborious craft, investigative work and sheer determination.

In many ways, I think that’s what’s so easily compelling about The Jinx. It’s a brilliant piece of manipulation on par with anything that Orson Welles would do by the end of his career in documentaries like F For Fake. However, the film has many problems, some of them are downright ethical while others are purely aesthetic. It is still, after all, the product of a filmmaker who gave us Capturing The Friedmans, a film that was willing to go the extra mile in order to craft a narrative (and that extra mile often involved the deliberate manipulation of information)

Read the rest of this entry »

Continue Reading...

0

Me and John Stewart.

I’m seven years old. The year is 2001. The date is, well, you know what it is. I come home. At the time me and my parents were living in […]

I’m seven years old. The year is 2001. The date is, well, you know what it is.

I come home. At the time me and my parents were living in a dingy mid-town apartment in Barranquilla, Colombia. I just came back from school. I literally don’t remember anything else about that day. Other than my parents and my grandmother, huddled in front of the TV. They were watching two planes crash into two gigantic towers of steel. I thought this was a movie. I ignored it. I went to bed early, tired and didn’t ask any questions. The next day, I hear all about it and I feel mildly dumb for assuming it was a movie.

What you need to understand is that these events were incredibly unreal to me. Not even in my wildest dreams could I imagine the US being subject to such a destructive terrorist attack. To us, the US was the haven. The endgoal. The dream. You know that story. You’ve heard it thousands of times. We heard it millions.

Read the rest of this entry »

Continue Reading...

0

Martin Luther King Jr is humanized in Selma

One of the most frustrating aspects of biopic films in American/British films is how overtly simplistic they are. Biographies tend to lionize their protagonists and reduce their life to moments […]

One of the most frustrating aspects of biopic films in American/British films is how overtly simplistic they are. Biographies tend to lionize their protagonists and reduce their life to moments meant to stir emotion through orchestral scores and sweeping shots meant to showcase genius or courage.  They also tend to not show why these characters/people were remarkable, instead showing the historical consequences of their genius and/or courage as we barrel through a series of wikipedia notes (and sometimes, it’s even less accurate)

While Selma has been criticized by many as inaccurate in its portrayal of LBJ, the truth is that the problem at play is not about accuracy. Historical films are not really documentaries. It’s fine to contort history into a dramatic context in order to create a more powerful narrative that audiences can relate to. The issue is when emotional truth is lost. While Selma might have decided to go against LBJ’s personality and principles, it still manages to be a film that’s true to both the reality of the civil rights movement then and the reality of racial oppression in America today.

Read the rest of this entry »

Continue Reading...

0

Saving Sleepy Hollow: The Things That Keep It From Regaining Its Former Glory.

I love Sleepy Hollow. I love the time-displaced Ichabod, I love Abbie and her loose-canon sister Jenny, and I love the imaginative monsters it’s given us week after week. I […]

I love Sleepy Hollow. I love the time-displaced Ichabod, I love Abbie and her loose-canon sister Jenny, and I love the imaginative monsters it’s given us week after week. I love it even now, after a series of grave mis-steps, including new characters that haven’t worked out as well as had been desired, pacing issues, and just a general loss of focus moved the show from something I was frequently excited to see to something a lot more lukewarm. The mid-season finale -a thing that TV is apparently doing now- featured a pretty big shift for the show, so I had hoped for a more positive shift. However, the addition of an archangel as a villain seems to imply that rather than restructuring what worked and made the show unique the show is moving in a more generic, safe direction.

Read the rest of this entry »

Continue Reading...