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OpinionAesthetics of video games

February 7, 20181482 min

Last week I wrote about the role of choice in videogames as a storytelling medium. This week I’m going to address videogames as a visual art. For the last two decades, a large focus for major games has been photorealism — making games look as indistinguishable from reality as possible. Game developers have had great success in this endeavor, particularly as technology has improved. Human models that once had six triangles for a head now sit...

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One of the great values of art, film, photography and literature is that they are our only means, outside of direct experience, of grasping and confronting the reality of war, history and ideology. Videogames are often thought to lack this property by a public for whom “videogame” conjures images of Mario or machine gun fire. This is understandable, but mistaken — and I like Mario and shooters. In the hands of skilled and serious developers, videogames...

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This time last year, I wrote an article in which, among other things, I described my infatuation with New Atheists like Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris. In that article, I said, “From the (admittedly few) conversations I have had with people of faith, I’ve found that they have frequently failed to seek out arguments against their faith and, if they have, they offer defenses of dubious scientific value or invoke the emotional reassurance of...

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Winner: Bird Bakery Finalists: Bakery Lorraine, Nothing Bundt Cakes OK, I get it — the cupcakes are delicious. The tables are twee. And the latte is filled with enough sugar to make it more dessert than coffee. But where the hell is Armie Hammer? I saw peach and blueberry cobblers, gluten-free brownies, even tomato pies, but no Armie, the husband of Bird Bakery founder Elizabeth Chambers. Known for his Parent Trap turn in “The Social...

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OpinionMy time among the Deplorables

November 30, 2017302 min

“You could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it.” These words, uttered by Hillary Clinton at a fundraiser on Sept. 9, 2016, are some of the most infamous of the 2016 campaign. They sparked an immediate backlash and the term “deplorable” was proudly adopted by Trump and his supporters as a badge of pride and a rallying cry....

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The world feels unstable. Domestically, political and social divisions are at a higher pitch than ever in my living memory and perhaps since the tumultuous years of the 1960s. I’ve felt a distinct loss of political control as social retrogrades, cultural revanchists and scientific ignoramuses gain ground in legislatures around the country. Simultaneously, there is the broadly covered civil unrest in the United States and worse situations abroad, such as far-right parties coming to power...