August 2003

New York is a city of thousands of journalists and nearly as many news outlets. Amid such media noise, one small publication is creating news content that stands out from the crowd.

"About 10 percent of people will read a story based on its subject matter,"# said Jonathan Mandell, executive editor for the Gotham Gazette. "Our goal is to get the other 90 percent to learn about the issue."

For the Gazette, a city news site published by the New York Citizens Union Foundation, interactive content is the key to that goal.

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There are some problems with video game journalism.

Smart-ass reply: What video game journalism? *rim-shot*

It’s often subjective and biased.

World-weary reply: Why are we so obsessed with objectivity?

Magazines and web sites report on questionable rumors as if they’re true.

Editor’s reply: You’ve got to get the scoop, kid.

The major outlets cull whole stories directly from press releases and each other.

Confrontational reply: It’s easy to criticize. Let’s see you do better, huh?

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Turnabout is short on the flashy production values, but it covers all the basics perfectly with a clean interface, an intuitive edit mode, and a mercifully included "undo last move" command. The only thing missing is a two-player mode—I can only imagine how much fun it would be to race a friend to the end of some of these twisted levels.

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Back in the heady days of the 16-bit console wars, the Sonic games were the only ones that made me waver slightly in my steadfast support of Nintendo. I reveled in every chance I got to visit one of my Genesis-owning friends and experience the gaudy loops and insane speeds of the Sonic series. Eventually, I even broke down and bought a used Genesis just to play Sonic games.

Now that the fog of war has lifted and Sonic is firmly in the Nintendo camp, I play Sonic Advance and wonder what the heck I was thinking.

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Expecting nonlinearity from Stuntman is a mistake, as a real movie stuntman does not get much nonlinearity in his line of work He gets paid to do a predetermined set of stunts and do them correctly. Anything less requires a retake, which, while frustrating, is also realistic, and provides the player with an incentive to do better next time. The game does not require perfection, though; most scenes allow you to miss some stunts with no penalty more severe than a smaller monetary bonus. Realism in simulations is often sacrificed for the sake of fun, but we shouldn’t be too hard on Reflections for taking a different route.

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