Quantum Break

Quantum Break is better TV than videogame

In Remedy Entertainment’s Max Payne (2001) and Alan Wake (2010), the player can approach television sets and watch short, surprisingly detailed videos. In Max Payne, these include soapy melodrama Lords and Ladies and the paranoiac, Lynch-riffing Address Unknown. Alan Wake sticks to a Twilight Zone-inspired anthology series called Night Springs. These TV shows are worth mentioning as a reminder that Remedy has never been shy about recognizing its influences. As such, Max Payne is a blend of Hong Kong cinema gunplay and conspiracy-laden noir. While Alan Wake is a Stephen King thriller filtered through the lens of Twin Peaks and…


The brilliant cruelty of Bravely Default’s nonlinear narrative

If I started this article at the end it probably wouldn’t make much sense. There’s a reason most writers put words and events in chronological order to tell a story. Some stories, however, are best told out of order. Charlie Kaufman’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) works this way as it uses the chaotic scrambling of the nonlinear narrative to explore the limits of human memory. So too does a recent episode of Doctor Who, “Heaven Sent” (2015), which uses a repeated narrative to highlight the stubbornness and fortitude of the Doctor’s character. For videogames, taking these same…


The Chaos Theory of adolescence

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. LIFE IS STRANGE (PC, PlayStation, Xbox)  BY DONTNOD Entertainment Life is Strange has wavered throughout its past three episodes, the boldness of its rewind mechanic not always enough to outweigh the cringe-worthiness of its dialogue. Until now, this episodic narrative game seemed only to shine in spite of itself—though when it did, it was like a beam of light showing a new path for choice-based gaming. With the third episode, “Chaos Theory,” Life is Strange secures its place as an important (if imperfect) entry into the conversation between…