Smile and Nod

Every Monday, The Escapist's Russ Pitts presents a treatise on games, the games people play and the people who play them, sharing his decades of experience as a gamer and media producer. With biting wit, cutting commentary and in-depth analysis of the trends driving today's media culture, Smile and Nod is a must-read for everyone with a brain and the eyeballs to feed it.

Smile and Nod

Russ Pitts examines how RealID would destroy the very people it was meant to protect.

Smile and Nod

A profound RPG experience isn't just possible in Red Dead Redemption, it's unavoidable.

Smile and Nod

Playing as a villain may leave you wondering just how good you really are.

Smile and Nod

Russ Pitts likes Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. Not because it's revolutionary, not because it's deep, but because it lets you fling dudes toward the first star on the right and straight on 'til morning.

Smile and Nod

Years of playing videogames have left Russ Pitts a bit lax when it comes to reading instructions, and as a result he nearly ends up as shark bait.

Smile and Nod

Russ Pitts wonders what happened to the fun at this year's E3.

Smile and Nod

Russ Pitts is off to Los Angeles for this year's E3, and he's taking the video camera with him. It seems reasonable to expect shenanigans.

Smile and Nod

What do brunch, movie rentals and Best Buy have in common? They all remind Russ Pitts of his showdown with Billy Kramer and the appeal of flying beneath the radar.

Smile and Nod

Who wants to be a drummer? Not Russ Pitts, that's for sure, but maybe he's just too old to appreciate Rock Band.

Smile and Nod

Russ Pitts returns home from the Webby party in Manhattan to play Russian Roulette, Jelly Belly style.

Smile and Nod

Russ Pitts fights the summer gaming doldrums by busting out five oldies but goodies.

Smile and Nod

I have to admit to a certain reticence when it comes to praising games. Like most writers, I can usually find something not to like about a game, and those bits usually make the best copy. But 30 hours into Grand Theft Auto IV I can easily say it's my main contender for Game of the Year. Hell, it's in the running for Game of the Decade. I'd even go so far as to say it's the best game I've ever played.

Smile and Nod

If I could have paused the sun, located my jogging pants, stopped a second to thoroughly tie my shoes, found my iPod without tearing apart the whole house and tripping over the dog and gotten out the door without knocking over old paperwork snowdrifts I'd been neglecting for months, I'd have been a lot happier. But life is not turn-based. In life, the other guy is moving during your turn, too.

Smile and Nod

This is the story of how I almost bought a boat, but didn't. How I tackled a storm of projects I'd been putting off for years, all for the purpose of spending the weekend in the Atlantic Ocean, the wind at my back, my troubles left on the shore behind me. Almost.

Smile and Nod

I couldn't help myself; it was a really nice hoodie. They offered it to me at the registration desk at this year's D.I.C.E. Summit in Vegas, and I almost refused, but it came with a bunch of other stuff and, although I wasn't sure I wanted any of it, I was curious to see what all was in the bag. So I took it. I asked for a medium; all they had was a large (if you can believe that), but I took it anyway. I didn't think I would wear it, it being too large and all, but I took it and immediately felt ashamed.