Shut Up, Gaming Positivity

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 today’s atmosphere of “gaming positivity” in games criticism. Rather than challenged by the emergence of different games and different creative voices, I feel like the culture of blithe acceptance in the gaming industry has simply widened. Old reviews of shooters and sequels, scaffolded by a checklist of “graphics, gameplay, replay value,” are today lampooned even by the big sites—I think anyone with the sense to not leave comments on things…


High Scores: The Best Videogames of 2015

Header image and artwork by Caty McCarthy 25. Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime (Asteroid Base) Neon cuteness belying hardened spacefaring carnage. A manic platformer disguised as a cheerful shoot-em-up. Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is a lot of things, and all of those things are descending on you at the exact same time. With the evil forces of anti-love surrounding you as you save imprisoned space bunnies, Lovers works best with two players sitting side-by-side, working together against near-impossible odds. An AI-controlled dog or cat can accompany you on your suicide mission, but facing down increasing waves of enemies next to…


What do you get when you combine Her Story with an owl? Hoot Story

I’m the owl guy. When my webcam pops on during Google Talk or Skype chats what you’ll see is a miniature china owl looking over my shoulder from atop the fireplace. It does not hoot but sometimes I hear it. Directly behind me, at the other end of the room, is a cushion with an owl embroidered onto it sat on my brown sofa. And what sometimes sticks to the bottom of my mug o’ tea? A coaster with two little owls on them.  If you start talking to me about owls I will tell you facts about them: 1)…