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His name is Buck…

Far Cry 3 Screenshot

Buck is a peculiar hitman in Far Cry 3. Apparently employed by the game's big bad, Hoyt, Buck has an interest in men, and in ancient Chinese artifacts. As it happens, he presently "owns" one of protagonist Jason Brody's male friends, and will exchange him if Jason retrieves a ceremonial knife originating from the treasure ships of Zheng He. Since Jason needs the knife for another purpose, it is obvious from the beginning of the adventure that he will come away from Buck's tasks with both friend and knife. That's how these games work, and Far Cry 3 is relentlessly conventional in that respect.

Extra Credits: Funding XCOM, Part 1 and 2

Why have we become to concerned with a zombie apocalypse? What about the much more likely—or at least more interesting—prospect of an alien invasion? But before we even talk about a defense system to fight back that alien attack, Extra Credits asks if there are even any aliens to worry about.

The flaw in the design

Far Cry 3 Screenshot

Several weeks ago Seb Wuepper posted a critique of Far Cry 3's design at Gameranx that I did not find compelling. Wuepper's argument reads less like criticism of Far Cry 3's design per se than a complaint about the fact that this game is not Far Cry 2. I am sympathetic to his point because I also prefer Far Cry 2. However, I don't feel that not being some game I like more is a fundamental argument against design quality.

Bastion's narrator speaks of next role in Transistor

Transistor (Supergiant Games) Screenshot

Few booths were as busy at PAX (Penny Arcade Expo) East 2013 as that of Supergiant Games. Over the last two years, the Bastion creators have become indie superstars. Despite the circus, I found a few minutes to speak with Logan Cunningham, the voice of old man Rucks from Bastion, on how it feels to reprise his narrative role trapped inside of the eponymous weapon in Bastion's next venture: Transistor.

Extra Credits: Global Games—Brazil

Extra Credits is trying a new feature where it introduces viewers to burgeoning video game markets. The first one tackled is Brazil and while I see the country's potential, this particular presentation doesn't do the best job of selling Brazil as a great new game market. Sure you can still buy a Sega Genesis/Mega Drive—brand new—and who doesn't want that? But video game piracy seems to still be pretty rampant there. It also looks like one of those territories that isn't the least bit interested in fixing things from a consumer, governmental and industry standpoint.

Extra Credits: The Beast Macabre

In this response piece, Extra Credits expands on the subject of horror in games. This time the crew talks about the three types of "monsters" available to developers shedding a little insight into why some fall flat.

Extra Credits: How To Start Your Game Narrative

The gist of this particular Extra Credits presentation is that developers should focus on the gameplay first and then wrap their story around that. It sounds like a no-brainer until you realize that a practice of de-emphasizing story at the onset is standard operating procedure in the video game development community. The result have been unoriginal and unsophisticated stories. Maybe we need more developers taking a stand and pushing through those barriers to focusing on story and come up with something that can really move the medium forward.

Extra Credits: Depth vs Complexity

This time, it's the ratio of depth vs complexity that Extra Credits seeks to explain.

Extra Credits: God Does Not Play Dice

Extra Credits has a response-episode to feedback for a recent episode about religion and games. As usual the guys do a great job challenging those that blindly worship science.

Extra Credits: Religion in Games, Parts 1 & 2

The Extra Credits guys and gals certainly aren't afraid to tackle the big topics, even though it can take them a while to get to them. There aren't too many other topics surrounded with more landmines than that of "Religion in Games." And in fairness to crew, a lot was covered in the 12 minutes of video, but it feels like they only brushed the surface (no Christian-based games?). Hopefully, there is another, deeper discussion in the works that covers more of this subject matter.

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