On a Deeper Level : “Heroes of the Storm” and Familiar Identity

By Michael Dellapi, Highlighter staff columnist I was surprised and mostly delighted to find that the “Heroes of the Dorm” finals were being showcased on national TV recently when my suitemate was trying to watch a college basketball game on ESPN2. “Heroes of the Dorm” is a Blizzard-sponsored tournament for the third-person MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena)…

On a Deeper Level VII: Pokemon as Time Capsule

By Michael Dellapi, Highlighter staff columnist After playing an extensive amount of “Pokken Tournament” with my suitemate, I quickly became nostalgic over the Pokémon games that had shaped the majority of my childhood. Likewise, I decided to put down “Pokken Tournament” for the time being and looked towards my 3DS. (This occurred partially because my…

On A Deeper Level VI: Batman V Superman

By Michael Dellapi, a Highlighter staff columnist It is safe to say that the recent superhero film “Batman v. Superman” was a critical flop in most accounts. A failure it certainly was, but not for the reasons that many would assume it to be. There are many that argue that the failure in the film…

On a Deeper Level V: XCOM and Fail States

By Michael Dellapi, Highlighter staff columnist The strategy genre of video games approaches fail states in such a way that is distinctly unique from games of other genre. The closest parallel to the way that failure is presented in tactics games could arguably be classic arcade games, which were deliberately designed for the player to either…

On a Deeper Level IV: Far Cry 3 and Manipulating Input

By Michael Dellapi, a Highlighter staff columnist Like many young students that tried to distract themselves from actual work during class whenever their teacher handed out laptops, I spent more time on websites like “Addicting Games” than I care to admit. In particular, my friends and I found ourselves latched onto “The Impossible Quiz.” The…

On A Deeper Level III: Dark Souls

It’s hard to deny that “Dark Souls” didn’t completely change the face of the games that came after its release. Thanks to its obscene difficulty and largely rewarding combat system, “Dark Souls” became exemplary for many RPGs that came after it. Although “Demon’s Souls” came before it, “Dark Souls” is more solidified in gaming culture…

On A Deeper Level III: Undertale

Sound design is arguably one of the most integral yet underrepresented departments in terms of establishing tone in a game. The proper use of audio cues in a game can ultimately make or break the themes conveyed in the narrative. Luckily, “Undertale” brilliantly delivers on the auditory front with one of the most memorable video…

On a Deeper Level II: Kirby and the Merits of Simple Pleasures

Recently in my Games Studies class, we were required to read excerpts from Johan Huizinga’s “Homo Ludens.” Huizinga explores the existence of the “play spirit” that presents itself across history regardless of culture. The play spirit essentially represents the notion that play is simultaneously illogical and indescribable. With this in mind, playing a game comes…

On a Deeper Level I: Devil May Cry

The “Devil May Cry” video game series has long been defined by its seamless, combo-intensive combat system and its iconically “edgy” protagonist Dante. During the late 90’s, Dante typified the very ideals of coolness, serving as a testament to the latter portion of the decade as a whole. From his bleached white hair to his…