What I’ve Been Playing: The Feel-Good Edition

We’re well into 2013 (actually, it’s about 4% over at this point), and that means somehow I made it through another holiday season. That previous statement is a bit disingenuous… saying “somehow I made it through” implies that I didn’t knowingly leverage my other responsibilities (such as work and home repair) to escape from the…

Review: Assassin’s Creed III

Incoherent gameplay, bizarre design choices, and frequent bugs squander much of the potential of this visually and thematically stunning game. Disappointment, thy name is Assassin’s Creed III. Disappointment is a peculiar emotion. I can be angry without first having felt calm, and I can feel happy without first having felt sad, but to be disappointed,…

Review: Halo 4

Although Halo&nbsp4 introduces great new enemies, weapons, and environments, 343 Industries ultimately plays it safe with this new chapter by skillfully iterating on the canonical Halo experience.  One of the most disorienting experiences a critic can have is liking something, but not knowing why. In the context of video games it’s an epistemological hazard I usually…

Happy 2-Year Blogoversary!

It seems like a lifetime ago that I sat staring blankly at my computer screen in the windowless copy room at my graduate school that served as my makeshift office. It was then that I decided to launch Applied Gaming, because sanity desperately demanded I write about something that wasn’t “high-dimensional approximation of positive semidefinite…

Assassin’s Creed III: Early Thoughts

One of the problems with writing game reviews is that the process compels you to rush through each game as quickly as possible, so that you have an opportunity to share your opinions on a title while most people are still talking about it. While I enjoy having an excuse to tear through in a…

Review: Dishonored

Though it suffers from some of the common issues of first-person stealth games, Dishonored’s rich world and engaging gameplay make it well worth your time. I’ve always found extremely frustrating the style of gameplay typically engendered by stealth elements. In games like Metal Gear Solid or Assassin’s Creed, no matter how hard I try, I…

What I’ve Been Playing

October has been a hell of a month. First of all, on October 20th I completed the Extra Life 24-hour gaming marathon, and (with the help of some very generous friends) raised $1,462 for Boston Children’s Hospital. Other exciting events included catching a debilitating stomach virus during which I literally lost a week down the…

Extra Life 2012 Charity Gaming Marathon: Live Blog

A word of caution: my live updates may contain spoilers for Dishonored, and probably also for Lego Star Wars. If you’re worried that discussions of Lego pantomime might ruin the plot of a 30-year-old movie, you might want to stop reading now. Today’s the big day! It’s the morning of Saturday, October 20th, and I’ve…

Review: XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Remakes are always tricky, but Firaxis beat the odds to deliver a phenomenal game with XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Even those who have never touched an XCOM game before should give it a chance. Remakes and reboots are a dicey business. Whether you’re painstakingly modernizing a beloved classic for the next generation (see: Black Mesa) or…

Extra Life 2012 Is Tomorrow!

The Extra Life 2012 charity gaming marathon starts tomorrow, Saturday, October 20th! Starting at 8:00 AM, I’ll be playing video games for 24 hours straight. That should be more than enough hours to log some good quality time with Dishonored, although I’ll likely end up playing some Lego Star Wars with my son, and maybe…