A player fleeing from zombies in Day Z. (Image: Screenshot)
A rape in Day Z: what drives gamers to go Lord of the Flies on each other?
By Phil Hartup - 24 March 13:22

In a game where players can act out any kind of sadistic fantasy on each other - from taking hostage to force-feeding poison to breaking kneecaps - what incentive is there for humans to express their humanity?

A screenshot from Alien: Isolation. (Image: Sega)
The Aliens horde: the inconsistent movie franchise with the consistently decent spin-off games
By Phil Hartup - 14 March 12:28

While there hasn't been a good Alien movie for almost 30 years, the games of the franchise have been steadily churned out for decades.

Doom, always brilliant, rarely improved-upon. (Image: Id Software)
All these years later, there’s still nothing better than Doom
By Phil Hartup - 06 March 13:44

Development is an evolutionary process, and newer games end up objectively better than the older ones they replace – yet 1993’s iconic game Doom remains as fun and unique today as ever.

Space ninjas in action. Sometimes the old ways are the best. (Image: Digital Extremes)
Warframe: or how I learned to stop worrying and love weird Canadian space ninjas
By Phil Hartup - 24 February 15:09

It's not the most original title, but Warframe's sneaky space ninjas make duck-and-cover shooting fun.

Bioshock: Infinite was one of the biggest games of 2013.
The irrational end of Irrational Games
By Phil Hartup - 19 February 10:47

I come here today not to bury Ken Levine but to praise Irrational Games. When they were good they were very, very good, and when they were bad they made <em>Bioshock: Infinite</em>.

Flappy Bird: what is its secret, and why should we care?
By Phil Hartup - 07 February 17:17

The latest “viral” game is a decent take on a tried and tested formula. But is it really that good, or has it just piggy-backed on our love for <em>Super Mario</em>?

Digital destitution: what happens when you lose real-world money inside a game?
By Phil Hartup - 07 February 10:34

Games like <em>EVE</em> can result in players suffering big financial losses in real-world money. As in-game purchases become more common the problems of balancing what can be bought against what can be worked for will only become more complicated.

A screenshot from Skyrim.
Why games developers should welcome people tinkering with their products
By Phil Hartup - 20 January 17:16

The modding community around Skyrim shows that fans can be just as creative as developers - and that a thriving set of mods for your game can benefit everybody.

Fan art imagining Team Fortress, with women.
Do videogames need their own version of the Bechdel test?
By Helen Lewis - 07 January 11:01

Virginia Woolf wrote that the most striking sentence she read in literature was "Chloe liked Olivia". In games, what would the equivalent be?

A still from the Kickstarter video for Star Citizen.
Would you spend $275 on a spaceship in a game that doesn't even exist yet?
By Phil Hartup - 06 January 16:51

<em>Star Citizen</em> has raised well over $35m already, and you can't even play it yet. Is this crowd funding gone mad?

"An affront to the Brodudes": Games of the Year 2013
By Phil Hartup - 18 December 11:21

It's not been a great year for gaming (the PS4 and XBox One launches have taken up a lot of developers' time), but there have been some good releases worth celebrating.

Mean machines: why Christmas is the gaming season
By Tom Watson - 15 December 13:31

Tom Watson is dreaming of the latest console

The console camera of the future could track your movements through walls
By Ian Steadman - 11 December 13:01

MIT researchers have developed a camera that can build 3D models of users throughout a house - a potential game controller of the future.

If you love games, you should refuse to be called a gamer
By Simon Parkin - 09 December 13:56

The idea of the "gaming community" needs to die.

Tiny Death Star constantly directs you towards spending Bux, and certain mission
Please think of the children – the cutesy games with giant hidden pricetags
By Rich Stanton - 03 December 15:12

Are free-to-play business models, which often have no ceiling for maximum spend, really an ethical way to sell children videogames?

Face it, Black Flag would have been better without the Assassins. Arrrrr we tired of videogame franchises?
By Phil Hartup - 28 November 11:43

Make a game about being a pirate, let the player be a pirate, spend the money you would have spent on building the modern world part of the game on more pirate things. Like a parrot.

Why I won't be buying an Xbox One or a PS4
By Alan Williamson - 20 November 17:14

As a veteran of many Console Wars, Alan Williamson believes that the best console is the one you have with you.

New Statesman
Batman: Arkham Origins and why video games are good for the brain
By Tom Watson - 14 November 11:25

A scientific study and a grumpy gamer.

Arkham City and Mass Effect: Why do you so rarely get to play a character that experiences sexism?
By Phil Hartup - 09 November 9:04

There is gender in the world of video games but it is often one-dimensional or tokenistic. Games so often include prejudice and bigotry, but won’t direct them at player characters. Why?

What happens when you run the 2010 party manifestos through a video game?
By Daniel Griliopoulos - 04 November 14:12

Assassinations, bombings and coups, among other things, as the promises made in the 2010 election get tested in the game of Democracy.

A still from Grand Theft Auto V, which aims to give the masses what they want.
AAA games are supposed to be boring and unoriginal
By Phil Hartup - 07 October 14:00

To criticise the AAA game for a lack of originality is to misunderstand the fundamental nature of a video game with a multi-million pound development budget, says Phil Hartup.

The police helicopter from Grand Theft Auto V.
Video games are making us too comfortable with the modern surveillance state
By Michael Thomsen - 30 September 14:50

Games like Grand Theft Auto V pacify our worst anxieties about the evils of our culture, by turning those evils on their head and finding ways to repaint reality so that our impulses to pry can be seen as good.

Nick Clegg.
Memo to Nick Clegg: It isn't video games that are corroding people's minds - it's you
By Phil Hartup - 26 September 11:23

Nick Clegg is the latest in a line of politicians and journalists to scapegoat video games for violent behaviour in society - conveniently forgetting the military and societal damage he and his political allies are doing every day.

A screenshot from Grand Theft Auto.
Grand Theft Auto V: a giant, targeted missile of satire
By Tom Watson - 25 September 14:36

This game has such market power that it can defy all media attacks and laugh at itself, knowing that millions of us get the joke, says Tom Watson.

Democracy 3: Simulating government in a post-recession world
By Alan Martin - 18 September 9:17

Cliff Harris, founder of Positech Games, has been tinkering with his head-spinningly complex politics simulator Democracy for the last nine years, and is preparing for the release of the latest version.

New Statesman
Papers, Please: Why make a computer game about border control?
By Leigh Alexander - 16 September 14:41

'Papers, Please' is an oddly compelling and thought-provoking triumph.

A drone protestor.
Ruth Ozeki's Booker-shortlisted novel highlights a real dilemma for the games industry
By Vickie Morrish - 15 September 12:47

In Ozeki's novel, A Tale for the Time Being, a games interface developer is confronted by the possibility that the military will use his software to create user-friendly weapons technology. It is a conflict some in the gaming industry are desperate to avo

Eve player.
Politics from cyberspace: Welcome to the world of Eve
By Simon Parkin - 12 September 8:55

The virtual worlds of video games hold lessons for the real one. We could learn a lot about how to organise our politics by studying the best video games grounded in democracy, writes Simon Parkin.

Gamescom 2012.
Should games companies be held responsible for the woes of addicted gamers?
By Vickie Morrish - 11 September 16:30

Game companies have started taking responsibility for an unfortunate byproduct of their success – “pathological” addiction - after a series of studies at British universities.

New Statesman
Rome 2: Total War is a limping herbivore of a game - until you fix it
By Phil Hartup - 10 September 16:54

It's little wonder that the second Rome game has divided opinions so starkly. But it is salvageable.

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