Sep 222010

Mafia II borrows so much from GoodFellas that 2K Czech probably ought to give Scorcese and Pileggi co-writing credits. Direct references to the film appear in a couple of specific scenes, but the real influence is more fundamental. GoodFellas depicts the mafia as a group of buddies, and Mafia II is built around the same idea. Although family matters motivate the game’s protagonist, Vito, when it’s convenient for the plot, the real impetus for his journey through the Empire Bay underworld comes from his friends. Unfortunately, the game’s vision of mafia life falls apart because of its ill-considered adherence to [Read more…]

Oct 142009

My compilation of critical writing about Grand Theft Auto IV has gone up at Critical Distance. If you have a couple of hours to devote to reading some interesting writing about the game that was supposed to change everything then hop on over and get clicking. There’s a lot to read, and I ended up including a pretty diverse set of posts, from straight essays to cross-blog dialogues, to one post from Corvus’ site that ended up in there because of a really interesting comment. Also, because the game appeals to such a broad swath of gamers, I made an [Read more…]

Aug 272009

Dimitri Rascalov runs for his life, as he must, because he has angered the wrong man. Niko Bellic, a former soldier and incredibly efficient killer, has sworn to avenge his cousin Roman’s murder on Rascalov’s orders, and has tracked his enemy to this dilapidated casino on the edge of town. Now Dimitri’s only hope is to escape in his helicopter. Niko pursues him across the roof, sees him about to escape, then races halfway across the building to grab hold of the landing skid. Moments later, he is shaken off into the water next to a speedboat. Now there will [Read more…]