Weekly 5 – 3/8/13


Hello and welcome back to the Weekly 5. Here’s some more hot links fresh off our computer screens and on to yours.

Tomb Raider Review – Todd

Here’s a really nice review of the new Tomb Raider game written by Maddy Myers. As Todd wrote, “it takes a strong, player-centric review of the experience of the game, rather than a list of its pros, cons, and stats.” It really is an excellent read, and a great example of how games criticism can be done right.

Cart Life Review Rik

Keeping with game criticism, here is a great review of the indie darling Cart Life written by Chris Dahlen. In it, Dahlen points out that the game is powerful, in part because it operates on two levels, writing “Cart Life deftly plays on its dual nature as a retail sim with an extensively-scripted story. Again and again, the game will pull you into one mindset with its style of play, and then take advantage of your mindset by hitting you with a different kind of experience, right when you’re not ready.”

Are Games… oh God, We’re Still Talking About This?Abe

The fires of the “are games art” debate got stoked again recently by Dr. Brian Moriarty, who continues to insist that games, at present, are not. Paolo Pedercini from Molleindustria wrote an excellent summary of the arguments to this point, and of course he adds his own analysis of the discourse.

Allan Calhamer Passes Away at 81Mikael

Calhamer, the inventor of the board game Diplomacy passed away at the age of 81 on the 25th of February. Diplomacy is regarded as a tremendously influential game in many game development circles, and many members of the staff here at the Lab have memorable experiences of the game. The New York Times wrote an excellent obituary talking about Calhamer and the game for which he was most known.

Backflip Madness is MadnessAbe

I can’t put down Backflip Madness. It is, well, madness. It’s this fabulous iOS game in which you control a rag-doll gymnast, trying to flex and extend his legs, tuck, roll, and straighten, all to execute totally awesome backflips and land on your feet. Luke Plunkett  over at Kotaku smartly compares it to QWOP which probably explains why I like it so much.


Abe Stein is a Research Affiliate at the MIT Game Lab and recently completed his SM in the Program in Comparative Media Studies at MIT, writing about sports videogames. He has authored a number of articles about sports and sports media and is co-editor of the book Sports Videogames. He currently works as an Associate Director of Communications at Wheaton College, in Norton, MA and as a researcher with the eSports company Azubu, and have studied and written about sports media.