Looking behind

Rather late on this one, but the folks at brainygamer.com started a group play-through of Deus Ex, the watershed shooter/RPG hybrid published in 2000. It started last week, but it's based around a public forum, so jumping in at any time and following along should work just fine. I presently lack the resources to join in myself, but I love the idea of a book-club approach to exploring games.

I wonder if this would work with other sorts of games? Pick a notable but rarely played board game, and have a large group of people around the world play it separately a few times and then trade notes on the experience, perhaps?

Meanwhile, The Gameshelf got a nice shout-out from indie-game maven Auntie Pixelante last month. She made the observation that the show enjoys taking several games from completely disparate media (with special attention to the gulf between digital and tabletop games) and finding ways to link them together anyway. Oddly, this isn't one I hear too often, even though it's indeed central to how I organize each episode. It's been so long since we last put a show together that I was like, "Hey, that's rather clever of them."

As for Ms. Pixelante's own work, she's clearly quite fascinated by games that use giant chunky pixels for their visual style, to the point that she's designed a couple nice ones herself. Mighty Jill Off borrows some sprites from the ancient arcade game Mighty Bomb Jack, and then wraps them in a rubber-fetish suit and makes them climb to the top of an absurdly tall tower. I played this straight through to the end in about half an hour. I haven't yet gotten all the way through Calamity Annie, a pure-twitch game themed on quick-draw gunfights, and which makes very clever use of its single verb (shoot!) to get through interactive cutscenes.

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