Genre reinvention and digital nostalgia for the tangible in Hitman Go

Hitman Go

TWEET: Steven Poole admires the craftsmanship of Hitman Go One of the most satisfyingly surprising things that can happen in modern industrial art is when a cultural property reinvents itself in a different genre. The classic example is Alien, a horror film, becoming Aliens, a war film. (Prometheus is arguably the first true science-fiction film… Continue reading

Could it be time to abandon the word ‘videogame’ altogether?


Recently, I had an illuminating Twitter discussion with some eminent writer colleagues and the lexicographer Kory Stamper about whether you should write ‘videogame’ as one word or ‘video game’ as two. I have long argued that the former is preferable, since these things are not just ‘games’ that happen to have a ‘video’ component, but… Continue reading

Why do games like OlliOlli have the power to physically move us, even when it’s pointless?


Skateboarding is something I’ve never done. If God had meant us to travel that way, he would have given us vulcanised rubber wheels for feet. But a few clumsily negotiated levels into Vita’s lo-fi 2D abstraction of the sport, OlliOlli, something clicks and I am nailing landings and catching gargantuan air, bro, or whatever skaters… Continue reading

Blackbar and Device 6 turn working to access digital content into an artform


Notwithstanding the planet-wide marketing jizzfest over gamification, sometimes things that aren’t videogames are too much like videogames. Lately, for example, I have been enormously irritated by the fact that one of my favourite magazines has changed the way its iPad app works, all but destroying its usability. The New Yorker app used to present its… Continue reading

Why we should be more confident talking about games we haven’t played


Torture in videogames, runs one argument, is too casual. The rapid, sadistic hurting of a recalcitrant enemy in your average military shooter is the gory equivalent of pressing a button on a vending machine that dispenses information. Cumulatively, such scenes also reinforce the highly dubious view that torture works. So in order to make us… Continue reading

Touchscreen violence is still relatively new, but why are developers wary of exploiting its full potential?


This month I have mainly been shooting vast quantities of men in the face. That would make it a perfectly ordinary month were it not for the fact that I’ve been doing so on two portable electronic devices that a decade ago would have seemed like futuristic sci-fi mockups for a high-budget movie. The contrast… Continue reading

Minimalist, high-art Dots is smug, snide, smirking and has a viscous smarm that exudes from every pixel


Some games imply a world rather than showing one. When I play the popular mobile game Dots, I envision a smooth, futuristic world where the game is solemnly played all day by sprightly and tanned pensioners dressed in tailored white linen, stroking their Dots-running phablets while padding around barefoot in spacepod homes built entirely of… Continue reading

On The Last Of Us and videogames’ apparent ‘Citizen Kane moment’

Citizen Joel

You can imagine how thrilled I was at the prospect of getting my hands on what everyone on the Internet was assuring me was videogames’ ‘Citizen Kane moment’. Although I ridiculed that cliché several years ago, I now understand – having done slightly more scholarly research – that the phrase ‘Citizen Kane moment’ is in… Continue reading