CHICAGO – When faced with adversity, the best way around it is to somehow break into song. That is the feeling behind the Brown Paper Box Co.’s “Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret,” running April 7th and 8th at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. The event features company member Kristi Szczepanek as host, and presents song stylings by other company members, including Anna Schutz, plus some special guests. For details and ticket information, click here.
CHICAGO – “Q.U.B.E.” Director’s Cut is the definitive extension of 2011’s “Q.U.B.E.” (Quick Understanding of Block Extrusion), and it is an utterly compelling game with an elegant mix of gameplay, storytelling, and aesthetic. Those elements, for the most part, combine to make an extraordinarily intriguing and mind-bending puzzle adventure.
CHICAGO – “Journey” is a gentle breeze. It approaches gradually – alighting your skin and igniting your thoughts with its poetic brilliance. It’s as much a game as it is an exercise in interpretive storytelling and emotional art design, and everybody – gamer and non-gamer alike – should play it.
CHICAGO – After playing Life is Strange shortly after its launch, I thought it was the type of game that would make a minor splash then fade relatively quickly into obscurity. The concept was genius, but the execution, particularly in terms of visuals and dialogue, was severely lacking.
CHICAGO – Dontnod Entertainment struck potential conceptual gold with “Life is Strange.” Iterating on Telltale’s point-and-click episodic narrative adventure formula, they’ve crafted a truly intriguing world that begs to be explored through the lens of protagonist Max Caulfield’s eyes.
CHICAGO – Sometimes you get a freebie. While seemingly millions of other players were cursing the house that Houser built, stuck waiting for “Grand Theft Auto: Online” to load the first tutorial mission, I was already in and playing a day after launch.
CHICAGO - If you ask me the first console game to get giant robots punching each-other right is the N64 Cult Classic “Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon”, which is strange because that game is the most absurd thing I ever played.
CHICAGO - It’s scary that I live in a world where that most gamers didn’t start with the Nintendo Entertainment system like I, and my peers, did. Having the first three levels of “Super Mario Bros.” memorized, playing “Teenage Mutant NInja Turtles The Arcade Game” until the way-too-late hour of 11pm on a school night, and nearly ending friendships over “Battletoads” were experiences I once thought universal to all game players.
CHICAGO – Despite being a massive game, the best parts of “Grand Theft Auto V” are the little details: The way whiskey sloshes around in a glass, how characters show up to cut scenes in their custom saved cars, how surfboards litter the beaches, the numerous dynamic touches like the radio updating you on a given happening you had a hand in, as well as little narrative details that hint at “GTA V” being about something a little bigger than it lets on.
CHICAGO – I don’t know if “Madden 25” wanted to slap me in the face each time I loaded a game, but it did, and my cheeks are still red. Practically every load screen in the game features some tidbit of “Madden” history, things like “Madden was the first football game to feature 11 players on both sides of the ball” and “Madden 2006 featured the now infamous vision cone”. Which, in theory, is cool - I’m a gaming enthusiast who’s bought this game every year since 2003, sometimes twice depending on the platform, and the chance to relive the memories of “Madden”s gone-by is a welcome experience. Until you think about it. For all the features these loading screens tout, few remain. I lament the loss of my precious “Weapons” system, Madden IQ, surprise onside kicks, and, yeah, even that bastard yellow vision cone.
CHICAGO – A part of me likes thinking that somewhere in the Middle East, an American like Sam Fisher is prowling. Clear and present danger abound, mind racing with a dozen different ways the next few seconds could play out. A guard wanders close to his hiding place. Does he take them out with a silenced bullet to the head? Show mercy and knock them out - or simply let him walk by?