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FPS players feel better after dying than after killing others, say researchers

An article in the February issue of the journal Emotion presents some strange findings regarding players' emotional reactions to killing and being killed in a first-person shooter (FPS). Conventional FPS wisdom would suggest that players like shooting enemies and dislike getting shot. The research findings, however, paint a different picture.

Game of the Years

This year, one game stood head and shoulders above all the others, the chasm in quality between it and even its nearest competition was such a yawning chasm that it would take 8-12 Batmobiles to vault across it. Which game was it? Discover within...

The importance of save systems in videogames

Most anyone who has been playing videogames for any appreciable length of time is well acquainted with the agonizing distress of “dying” in a game and losing several hours of hard fought progress. Like it or not, save systems have a huge influence on our enjoyment of a game.

Would a videogame by any other name smell as sweet?

Does the “videogame” label properly capture what videogames have become? Will the term “videogames” still be used 20 or 30 years from now? Recent titles like BioShock and Mass Effect are pushing games to a realm of narrative and interactive depth that make the term “game” seem ill-fitting. As the boundaries of the medium continue to expand, I suspect that the “videogame” label will only feel increasingly inadequate.

Moving away from mindlessness

After listening to Jonathan Blow’s “Design Reboot” lecture last December, I made a small resolution that I would try to reduce my time spent on games that rely on meaningless reward systems. Putting it into practice, however, has proved tougher than I thought.

Looking back on the Wii

Now that the Wii's novelty has worn off, a number of questions come to my mind: Is the Wii really all it’s cracked up to be? Does the Wii remote actually improve the gameplay experience? Do motion-sensing controls really do all that much to increase the player’s overall enjoyment or sense of immersion?

Trying to appreciate Halo

Halo 3 Screenshot

Just as English literature buffs should be knowledgeable about the heavyweights of the Western canon—Macbeth, Huckleberry Finn, Ulysses, etc.—so too should videogame critics be acquainted with gaming’s megahits, games like Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, and, yes, the Halo series. So, like the English lit student who struggles to wrap his or her head around Ulysses, not because it’s enjoyable but because it’s important, I decided that I should at least try to understand Halo.

The Hsu Editorial

Got my copy of EGM yesterday, but didn't have time to crack it until I had started seeing reports about Dan Hsu's editorial in the latest issue today. Apparently, some publishers have gotten peeved at EGM's less-than-favorable coverage of specific games—Mortal Kombat, Assassin's Creed, and whatever junk sports game Sony's put out lately.

Tolerating ambiguity: The challenge of making choices in videogames

I have a difficult time making choices in videogames. Usually this isn’t really much of an issue. Most games don’t ask players to choose one path or response over another and thereby close off a particular area or sub-story. On some level, I still cling to the idea that giving players multiple story paths from which to choose and more ways in which to shape their own experience represents an important part of gaming’s continuing evolution. So why is it so hard for me to make choices?

The noob's guide to optimizing Crysis

Crysis Screenshot

I don't care what Cevat Yerli says about their "upscaling" game engine, Crytek's partnerships with Intel and nVidia, or the many gamers (including me) who insist that Crysis scales well and runs just fine. The reality is that this is a game that, despite a relatively lengthy development cycle, was probably released one generation of hardware too soon.

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