Grand Theft Auto 3

The false legacy of Grand Theft Auto 3

This article is part of PS2 Week, a full week celebrating the 2000 PlayStation 2 console. To see other articles, go here.  /// Up until Grand Theft Auto III (2001), it was standard to classify videogames by their central mechanics. There were stealth games, platformers, shooters, racing games, action-RPGs, turn-based RPGs, fighters, puzzle games, action-adventure games—and the expectation was that every game would feature a whole range of genre-informing actions and rules, typically interspersed with sections devoted to “story.” The problem is that this naming structure was a presupposition in itself: what if you wanted to do all of these things…

cloverfield 6

What the hell is Cloverfield, anyway?

It all stands out to me as clear as yesterday. A scrawny, bright-eyed teenager circa ‘07, sat across the aisle with his friends, popcorn gripped between thighs, the SMS touchpads of flip-phones being thumbed impatiently. It’s the opening weekend of Michael Bay’s Transformers and we are ready to see some gigantic robots. Our excited chatter is quickly hushed with the operant cue of the dimming house-lights and the sound of a worn projector sputtering to life. Images of an upscale house party fill the screen—a scene so far removed from our expectations that the question as to whether we were…


Speak Up, The Order: 1886

This article is part of a series called Shut Up, Videogames, in which critic Ed Smith invites games old and new to pipe down, or otherwise. In this edition, he looks at the genre defying third-person action-adventure, The Order: 1886. It’s no masterpiece—it’s the story of immortal knights fighting werewolves and vampires in Steampunk London. But The Order: 1886 (2015) is still more than videogame critics deserve. Its low review scores and petulant detractors are proof, once again, that games could never become art (whatever that would mean) because the people playing them and the people responsible for curating them simply wouldn’t allow…


Fight monsters or kiss them? Undertale will let you decide when it arrives next week

Kickstarter darling Undertale came into our lives in 2013 with the scent of butterscotch-cinnamon pie. It cradled us in its furry arms, gave us comforting and encouraging glances, before leaving us to rot—cold and alone—for two long years. Now, it’s finally returning next Tuesday the 15th, and I can already feel my heart swelling for the conflict resolution haven that is Undertale‘s world. talking through your feelings with violent enemies  Playing as a naive human child, you find yourself trapped in the Ruins, an underworld where the humans banished all manner of monsters long ago. Luckily, early on in your…


A VR treadmill that (potentially) doesn’t want to kill you

In the increasingly crowded market for home omni-directional treadmills, there is one that doesn’t look like a form of mind-washing reconditioning at a terrorist training camp. Recently on display at the Silicon Valley Virtual Reality Expo, the Infinadeck is a frameless, treaded walking machine that seemingly allows you to move around naturally.  That isn’t always the case, as we’ve seen with the Cyberith Virtualizer and the Virtuix Omni, two similar VR peripherals that turn the natural act of perambulating into a circus performance within hoops and railing. But the Infinadeck is far from perfect in its current prototype state. Currently…