Literature and films have done much to illuminate the inner workings of the Mafia on behalf of the law-abiding public. But the videogames that have tried to explore these themes typically opt for amusement over insight. Shawn Williams wonders what it would take for game developers to make a true-to-life Mafia game.
When most gamers think of mob gangs, they gravitate toward titles like Mafia and Grand Theft Auto. But one series has continued to offer a distinctly Eastern take on organized crime: Sega's Yakuza. Pat Miller looks at the original Yakuza and what its good-hearted gangsters suggest about Japanese culture.
Most stories about the Mafia are tragedies, depicting great but flawed characters who are laid low by fate. Unfortunately, this tragedy doesn't usually make it into Mob games, with one notable exception: Grand Theft Auto 4. Brendan Main examines what makes GTA IV's Niko Bellic a different breed of videogame criminal.
For patients recovering from debilitating injuries or illnesses, months of physical therapy can be a daunting prospect. But when it comes to alleviating the monotony of regular exercise, videogames may be able to help. Lauren Admire investigates how hospitals are using the Wii to aid in their patients' recovery.
Three months ago, a medical journal published a report that could have serious implications for gamers' health. But instead of treating it as an opportunity to educate their audience, gaming sites treated the story with skepticism and contempt. Chris LaVigne examines how this information became distorted and why it matters.
Feeling unhealthy, overweight and depressed? There's an oft-overlooked solution to your body image woes: Play more videogames. Craig Owens spends two weeks with a selection of fitness games to figure out which ones make the cut.
When you're a kid, there's nothing quite like playing outside. Yet kids today have fewer opportunities to engage in unsupervised outdoor play than ever before. Sara Grimes looks at how games can encourage kids to experiment and explore - both in game worlds and outside.
Most strategy games take a somewhat streamlined approach to warmongering. But one game has built its reputation on portraying combat in almost microscopic detail: Best Way's Men of War. Jim Rossignol sings the praises of this little-known Ukrainian RTS.
Typically, videogames about war are only interested in portraying the winners' perspective. But one World War II simulation discards the standard hero narrative in favor of a much deeper, darker and more nuanced approach. Rob Zacny explains why Silent Hunter III is a model of how to tell the losing side of a war story.
Thanks to movies and videogames, today's military recruits have more exposure to combat than those of any period in history. But when soldiers take unnecessary risks in the name of playing the hero, this exposure becomes a liability. Shawn Williams investigates how entertainment media's glorification of war may affect modern soldiers.
First-person shooters and RTSs may be modern inventions, but they're really only the latest in a long line of games that attempt to simulate the experience of combat. Greg Tito offers an overview of the history of wargames, from Ancient Egypt's Senet to Prussia's Kriegsspiel.
Earlier this year, Namco Bandai celebrated the 30th anniversary of the seminal mecha series Mobile Suit Gundam with a life-size statue of its hero's iconic battle armor. But the country's love affair with robots goes much further back than Gundam. John Funk sheds some light on why robots - especially those of the "giant, fighting" variety - are so popular in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Nowadays it's assumed that Mario has always been Nintendo's chief mascot. But for a brief period in the mid-'80s, that duty fell to an unlikely character: Nintendo's Robotic Operating Buddy. Sam Machkovech explains what went wrong with the ill-fated robot, and how his influence nonetheless lives on in modern games.
Robots in science fiction often serve to remind us of what we're not: nuts and bolts versus blood and guts; unflinching steel versus frail flesh. But one videogame robot's story is more personal than those of his human companions: Chrono Trigger's Robo. Brendan Main examines what makes Robo more than just another mechanical sidekick.
A mechanical monk in the court of the Holy Roman Emperor in 1560 and a videogame NPC in 2009 have more in common than you think. Jim Rossignol looks at the history of automata and how they've managed to captivate audiences for millennia.