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GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 29: Divinity II, Star Trek Online beta & Listener Mailbag

We're back! Our first show of 2010 offers looks at Divinity II: Ego Draconis and the Star Trek Online beta. Plus, we answer your letters about adventure games, lazy developers, insta-DLC, and games of the (last) decade. With Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, and Tim "Not Roy Scheider" Spaeth.

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Please send feedback and mailbag questions to podcast (at) gamecritics (dot) com.

Redefining property: The digital distribution dilemma

Lightningshirt

Imagine selling lightning in a bottle. It's a curious and somewhat paradoxical image, isn't it? Our heads can't quite wrap around the idea of packaging the intangible... of owning a fleeting moment in time that leaves behind nothing when it is gone. That's because lightning isn't an object. It's an idea. It's the way our eyes and minds make sense of natural phenomena, ionic polarization and discharge in the atmosphere. These phenomena exist in physical space, in our reality, but the visual impact of their interaction—the brilliant ghost image left in our heads, the multi-veined concept we call "lightning"—doesn't exist as we perceive it. Yet it exists for us.

Gaming and the academic job market

Heavy Rain Screenshot

How many lucky souls get the chance to do what they love for a living?

I love to teach. I love to write. And now I know for certain that I love to teach and write about video games. Teaching a Writing about Popular Culture course this past semester gave me my first taste of what it would be like to engage students on a topic that is truly meaningful to me, not just as a hobby, but as an intellectual interest and lifelong pursuit.

GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 28 Transcript

Transcript of GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 28: Game of the Year and Best/Worst of 2009

The Boss of Bosses

Mega Man 2 Bosses

That guy with the earthquake move. The ice thing. The stupid jerkface that won't hold still. Whatever their form, bosses have been a part of gaming since the early days of Atari. Personally I've always been a sucker for boss battles-they can very heavily influence my opinion of a given game. However, based on many games I've spent time with recently, Tim's question from the most recent podcast (mentioned around the 39:00 mark) is a valid one-do they even make good boss battles anymore?

The fallacy of universal authorship in games (and why Uncharted 2 isn't GOTY)

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Screenshot 

It's been suggested by critic emeritus Gene Park, staff critic Matthew Kaplan and others outside of the GC community, that adding more interactive choices/decisions to the popular PlayStation 3 title, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, would change the very thrill-ride nature and universal appeal of its gameplay. The argument is that the inclusion of such choice would result in something that was "not the point of the game".

Gene insists that: "...I've followed the game's development through media and it's been said time and time again (even in the game's in-game documentary) that the purpose of the game was never going to be about player choice, but providing the same experience for all players."

I disagree with this logic of thought for multiple reasons.

Dragon Age: Origins — Return to Ostagar Review

Technically, a Return. Effectively, More like a Quick Pit Stop

Dragon Age: Origins — Return to Ostagar Screenshot

HIGH The new armor and weaponry is pretty good stuff.

LOW It's about an hour long, total.

WTF Where are all the dialogue options?

Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time Review

Is There Really Anything Else to Say?

Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time Screenshot

HIGH The final two bosses.

LOW Stupid, useless Qwark getting in the way all the damn time.

WTF The Great Clock must be protected from those who would abuse it—I get that. But then Clank seems to have no problem using it for himself and Ratchet.

Forced to grind in Final Fantasy XII

Final Fantasy XII Screenshot

Getting pretty close to the 30-hour mark and I'm still enjoying the game quite a bit. It's probably the most pleasant Final Fantasy experience I've had since Final Fantasy X, but as the game goes on, more and more of its warts are starting to show.

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