In response to "The Most Important Night of Our Lives" from The Escapist Forum: I tried a Japanese dating sim once while I was in high school, and it left a bad taste in the mouth that still lingers occasionally like bad bile. Even if it is part "social training", it mostly seems like it's fulfillment of a fantasy. I cannot stand games being a fulfillment of one's social fantasy, and one of the reasons is because THAT is when games can become more of what someone wants reality to be instead of facing it. It's troublesome.
There's also the gameplay aspect. Harvest Moon is the only game with dating sim elements I enjoy simply because there's actual gameplay surrounding it. Most of these dating sims don't have any real gameplay at all.
In response to "Ten Myths About Serious Games" from The Escapist Forum: Nice to see some facts set straight. One myth I'd encountered is that serious games are always about advocating an opinion (frequently in the most shamefully propagandistic manner possible).
- Bongo Bill
In response to "The Escapist's Ten Halloween Treats":Dana, you're not alone in your dread of the zombie levels in Thief. I felt an embarrassing amount of relief to find they weren't in The Metal Age (short of a quick stroll through a certain cemetery). It was all about the sound; I'm not sure which member of the Lookingglass team was responsible for those disturbing undead wheezes, but he or she deserves both my hatred and respect.
As for Bioshock, I'll never look at a dress dummy the same way again.
- Justin Fletcher
One game that also never gets enough love is the Condemned game from Sega. It was an XBOX 360 launch title that got lost in the shuffle, despite being one of the more interesting titles available. There is a department store scene where mannequins begin moving around from early on in the department store level. This is done rather subtly at first, before it becomes more expected, but it adds a very creepy atmosphere to an already creepy game.