Elemental Challenge Day Thirty-One: Art


The image above represents almost infinite possibilities. A blank canvas, an empty sheet of paper, the reaches of imagination, however you interpret it the point is that it’s open to anything. That’s what art is. Today, on this final day of our 31-Day Elemental Challenge, we’re talking Art games.

I think the diverse answers below are indicative of the subjectivity of our responses toward art. The word “art” means different things to different people. Some think of the classics. Some think of the experimental. Some think of the modern. Some think of the Renaissance. Art is just a human activity through which we express ourselves. Are video games art? That question, and our affirmative answer to it, has historically formed the foundation of our work on this blog since our inception. It informs the reason why I don’t think writing thousands upon thousands of words about mere games is…

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Elemental Challenge Day Thirty: Retro Games


Welcome, NPCs, to the second to the last day of our month-long 31-Day Elemental Challenge! We’ve come to it at last: the Retro games category. At once we’re confronted with the difficulties of having to define our terms. Problem is that terms like classic, retro, vintage, old school and the like get thrown around a lot without much general consensus on what they mean, or any authority on them to help with their definitions, for that matter. So the question remains, what counts as retro and what doesn’t?

Personally, I’ve come up with what I think is a reasonable definition for retro. You may have encountered it here on this blog before, or maybe you haven’t. Please indulge me: I think a rational cut-off point for “retro” is at the start of the 5th generation of consoles, at the end of the 4th gen with the SNES and the Sega…

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Elemental Challenge Day Twenty-Nine: Handheld/Mobile Games


Over the years, at least four branches of gaming have developed: the console thread, the PC thread, the VR thread, and the handheld thread. Handheld games aren’t a genre but they are a classification of games and often the blunt fact of their existing on a handheld device that has less power than a home console or a PC defines what’s possible for their development and mechanics. That, in essence, is what makes handheld games interesting. They can feel much more bite-sized, much more focused, but they can rely on many features unique to handheld devices such as link cables, roaming around, AR, sunlight reception, battery levels, and so on.

I recently tried to make this point in my review of Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas. I felt that this was an example of a game which didn’t take advantage of its existing on a handheld platform. Rather, it…

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Elemental Challenge Day Twenty-Eight: Roguelike


Hola, NPCs! Don’t mind the leering, icy stare of death, my friends. That’s just because today we plan to talk of Roguelike games! Roguelikes are a more unusual and specific genre than, say, your commonplace platformers, shooters, and RPGs. These are characterized by high levels of difficulty (foremost), as well as dungeon crawling, randomly generated levels, collectibles, and permadeath. Each playthrough in a roguelike is always different and the games tend to be short but you’ll be dying a lot so it hardly matters. Early roguelikes took their subgenre’s name from the game Rogue, since they were like it. That’s kind of funny, ain’t it? That’d be like if we called subsequent influenced games Mariolike, Zeldalike, Call of Dutylike. At least there’s some specificity in that bit of silliness.

Here’s us struggling to talk about roguelikes.

FF3-NES-Summoner2.png  The Green Screen Mage

I love me some Dungeons & Dragons…

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Taking the Happy Torch

Does the torch go out if you didn’t notice you were passed it two weeks ago?

Hi all

This blog’s going to be a departure from my ongoing gaming retribution. In fact it’s going to be quite a departure for me really. Recently, Imtiaz Ahmed, who writes the excellent Power Bomb Attack blog, wrote a blog about the ten things that make him happy. At the end, he passed the ‘Happy Torch’ to some other bloggers, to share what made them happy.

Naturally, being the disorganised mess I am, I only noticed two weeks later. So, with apologies to Imtiaz, here’s my list…

Continue reading “Taking the Happy Torch”

Elemental Challenge Day Twenty-Seven: Indie


Five days to go, NPCs, till the end of the Elemental Challenge!

Next, tie up your man-buns, bust out the Beatles on vinyl, fasten the brass fittings on your leatherbound book-bag, order your favorite mocha-nilla-turtle-deep-fried-non-fat-soy-almond americano, and crochet up your hemp-sewn smocks because it’s time to take on the hipster scene of video gaming: Indie games! Indies (short for “independent”) aren’t defined as a genre but they’re categorized and classified by the characteristics of being developed by small studios running on lower budgets. Typically, they have greater focus on single features because of this and they don’t usually tend to be these huge, sprawling open-world adventures. Another trend in indie games, which I love, is their fondness for pixel art. Indies are what games would be like if they still developed them for the Super Nintendo, and the like.

There are some really great diamonds in the rough, and…

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Elemental Challenge Day Twenty-Six: Survival Horror



Swallow your fears and pull the covers over your heads because it’s time to talk about Survival Horror! This spooky genre is primarily defined by its dedication to everything frightening: body horror, supernatural horror, psychological horror, jump scare horror, clunky gameplay horror. You name it. There’s little more terrifying than having to stand still to shoot a gun, or making every bullet count because your never know when you’ll run out. A lot has been done with this genre in gaming over the years and it has more than its share of viral hits.

These are just a few of our favorites, or least favorites depending on which one of us are the biggest sissies.


FF3-NES-Summoner2.png  The Green Screen Mage

Horror might be one of my least favorite genres. I am a big baby. But I love Until Dawn! It has one of my favorite horror…

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