StarCraft II: Battlefield of Ethics

Pale, crumbled skin and brightly glowing blue eyes. A weak but upright figure, covered in heavy, hovering armor and a blade of pure psi­-energy on each arm. The Protoss of the StarCraft universe are masters in complementing their seemingly weak physiology with highly advanced technology to produce an impressive appearance. It is their leader, Artanis, who sets out to fight in a conflict of good and evil in the newest title of the StarCraft series: Legacy of the Void (2015). At least, that’s what the general perception of the game’s story seemed to be after its release last year. It’s…

A Series of Gunshots

A Series of Gunshots calls out senseless gun violence in games

In the narrowest of senses, Pippin Barr’s A Series of Gunshots is a shoot ‘em up. All you do is fire a gun. The game has no other mechanics or activities. It is, however, the farthest thing possible from a traditional shoot ‘em up. A Series of Gunshots is composed of a series of gunshots. Who’d have thought it? The game consists of a series of black and white scenes. No humans can be seen. Do they even exist in this world? Press a key—any key other than spacebar. A gun goes off. The shot is heard. A window in…


An interactive theatre show brings out the capitalist monsters in most of us

Very few people get out of bed and plan to run a horrible sweatshop, but here they are, a collection of young, presumably liberal adults, doing just that. They are participants in Zoe Svendsen’s interactive play, World Factory, at London’s Young Vic Theatre. Audience members form teams. They sit in clusters, figuring out how to deal with problems at their Chinese clothing factory. These problems touch on a variety of issues—worker conditions, dealings with clients and suppliers—but, insofar as we’re talking about capitalism here, everything comes down to the bottom line.  “Because the choices are binary they are rarely palatable,”…


The Charlie Hebdo debate arrives in the videogame world

You’re not against free speech, are you? This interpretive trap awaits anyone attempting to publicly wrangle the legacy of Charlie Hebdo. In late April, the PEN American Center announced that its literary gala would honor the French satirical newspaper. In response, a series of authors including Junot Díaz and Joyce Carol Oates penned a letter arguing that PEN missed the distinction between “staunchly supporting expression that violates the acceptable, and enthusiastically rewarding such expression.” This furore goes back to January 7th, when two gunmen open fired in Charlie Hebdo’s office. Twelve people died in the attack. A further eleven were…