Video Game Review: “Artifact”

At first glance, Valve’s new collectible card game “Artifact” looks like little more than a “Hearthstone” knock-off, which is ironic seeing as the game is set in the universe of “Dota 2,”(itself a mod of another of Blizzard’s titles: “Warcraft III”).  …

At first glance, Valve’s new collectible card game “Artifact” looks like little more than a “Hearthstone” knock-off, which is ironic seeing as the game is set in the universe of “Dota 2,”(itself a mod of another of Blizzard’s titles: “Warcraft III”).  And yet, like “Dota,” “Artifact” does far more than simply copy the model provided […]

How Many Writers on a Song? Why Teamwork Makes the Dream Work (Guest Column)

Of the 30 most-consumed songs featured on the 2018 Hitmakers list, several credit more than 10 songwriters and a few, like Travis Scott’s epic “Sicko Mode,” utilized as many as six producers. Some might scoff that it takes more than a…

Of the 30 most-consumed songs featured on the 2018 Hitmakers list, several credit more than 10 songwriters and a few, like Travis Scott’s epic “Sicko Mode,” utilized as many as six producers. Some might scoff that it takes more than a dozen people to come up with a few minutes of music, but the truth […]

From ‘Last Tango’ to ‘The Last Emperor,’ Bernardo Bertolucci Was the First and Last of His Kind

The year 2018 is shaping up to be a tragedy of epic proportions for lovers of world cinema. In April, Czech director Milos Forman passed away, and now, in late November, within a matter of days, we have lost avant garde maestro Nicolas Roeg and that gr…

The year 2018 is shaping up to be a tragedy of epic proportions for lovers of world cinema. In April, Czech director Milos Forman passed away, and now, in late November, within a matter of days, we have lost avant garde maestro Nicolas Roeg and that great Italian iconoclast Bernardo Bertolucci. Consider: Forman’s “Amadeus,” Roeg’s […]

Death of Dreams: What Happens When Game Studios Shut Down

Visceral. Motiga. Runic. Capcom Vancouver. Boss Key. Bandai Namco Vancouver. Telltale Games. These are just some of the studios that have been closed in 2018, causing more than 1,000 jobs to evaporate. They join beloved companies like Sony Liverpool, L…

Visceral. Motiga. Runic. Capcom Vancouver. Boss Key. Bandai Namco Vancouver. Telltale Games. These are just some of the studios that have been closed in 2018, causing more than 1,000 jobs to evaporate. They join beloved companies like Sony Liverpool, Lionhead, Vigil, Team Bondi, Factor 5, Slant Six, Pandemic, Guerrilla Cambridge, Ensemble, Red Octane, and hundreds […]

It Starts with a Flicker: How Games Can Bring Humanity Closer Together

I was once removed from a synagogue by security because members of the congregation thought I was a terrorist. It was 2006, and I was on a three-week-long backpacking trip in Australia and eager to participate in the Kol Nidrei service of Yom Kippur, t…

I was once removed from a synagogue by security because members of the congregation thought I was a terrorist. It was 2006, and I was on a three-week-long backpacking trip in Australia and eager to participate in the Kol Nidrei service of Yom Kippur, the opening of the holiest holiday of the year. But instead […]

First They Came For Acosta. Why We Sued Trump Before He Acts Again (Opinion)

It didn’t start with Jim Acosta, but we might be able to end it here. Last week, President Trump and his White House followed through on longstanding threats by revoking reporter Jim Acosta’s press credentials in retaliation for his doing his job. Afte…

It didn’t start with Jim Acosta, but we might be able to end it here. Last week, President Trump and his White House followed through on longstanding threats by revoking reporter Jim Acosta’s press credentials in retaliation for his doing his job. After enduring similar threats and retaliation during Trump’s campaign and presidency, CNN sued […]

With One Line, William Goldman Taught Hollywood Everything It Needed to Know

William Goldman, the Oscar-winning writer of screenplays for “All the President’s Men” and “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” who died on Friday, coined the best line in the history of Hollywood, and it wasn’t even for one of his movies. “Nobody know…

William Goldman, the Oscar-winning writer of screenplays for “All the President’s Men” and “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” who died on Friday, coined the best line in the history of Hollywood, and it wasn’t even for one of his movies. “Nobody knows anything.” If you work in this business — and Goldman was clear-eyed about […]

The Rebirth of Classic Tragedy Through Sublime Artistry of ‘Dark Souls’

In 1872, German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche published “The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music.” Much like Aristotle’s landmark “Poetics” from the 4th Century BC, it’s a work of dramatic theory that is dedicated to identifying the prerequisit…

In 1872, German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche published “The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music.” Much like Aristotle’s landmark “Poetics” from the 4th Century BC, it’s a work of dramatic theory that is dedicated to identifying the prerequisites for tragedy. In 2011, Hidetaka Miyazaki released “Dark Souls.” Commonly recognized in terms of its extreme […]

An Insider’s Look at Hollywood’s Diversity Efforts and How Far It Still Needs to Go

I am a white man working in Hollywood. I grew up in Beverlywood, an all-white, predominantly Jewish, Los Angeles neighborhood sandwiched between 20th Century Fox Studios and MGM, where my elementary school had only one black student. I am compelled to …

I am a white man working in Hollywood. I grew up in Beverlywood, an all-white, predominantly Jewish, Los Angeles neighborhood sandwiched between 20th Century Fox Studios and MGM, where my elementary school had only one black student. I am compelled to write about diversity in Hollywood because “diversity” — in front of and behind the camera […]

Five Reasons L.A. Hasn’t Found Its Sundance Film Festival Yet

Thursday night, when the AFI Fest launched with a starry “On the Basis of Sex” premiere at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, the event opened its 32nd annual edition to a much different festival landscape than it had in previous years. That’s becau…

Thursday night, when the AFI Fest launched with a starry “On the Basis of Sex” premiere at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, the event opened its 32nd annual edition to a much different festival landscape than it had in previous years. That’s because just one week earlier, Film Independent announced that it was pulling […]

Intellivision’s Amico Might Be first Adult Console … Why That’s a Problem

September 1972, Sunnyvale, California. The first PONG machine is dropped off at Andy Capp’s Tavern, an establishment for adults. Later, manager Bill Gattis notices the machine isn’t working. The circuitry didn’t fail, nor was the monitor faulty. The co…

September 1972, Sunnyvale, California. The first PONG machine is dropped off at Andy Capp’s Tavern, an establishment for adults. Later, manager Bill Gattis notices the machine isn’t working. The circuitry didn’t fail, nor was the monitor faulty. The coin box was so stuffed full of quarters it wouldn’t accept any more credits. … The modern […]

What the Dark Side of Working in Esports Can Teach Us About Capitalism

The starting assumption of this column is that esports is better understood as an extension of the world at large than a world unto its own. From gun violence to judicial debates, esports are merely one context in which the rest of the social, economic…

The starting assumption of this column is that esports is better understood as an extension of the world at large than a world unto its own. From gun violence to judicial debates, esports are merely one context in which the rest of the social, economic, and political world plays itself out. And one of the […]

Remembering Those Who Perished at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue (Guest Column)

I am a Pittsburgher. I grew up in Squirrel Hill, an amazing, diverse and accepting neighborhood. And Tree of Life, the synagogue that was attacked last weekend, is my synagogue. To be exact, Tree of Life is a building that houses three different congre…

I am a Pittsburgher. I grew up in Squirrel Hill, an amazing, diverse and accepting neighborhood. And Tree of Life, the synagogue that was attacked last weekend, is my synagogue. To be exact, Tree of Life is a building that houses three different congregations: Tree of Life, Dor Hadash, and New Light. The huge synagogues […]

The Rockstar Effect: How Mega-Budget Games Change Release Dates For Everyone Else

The fall video game release schedule is usually a non-stop sprint from late August until the first week in December. Titles large and small crowd into the busy holiday shopping season, fighting for a piece of the pie. According to market research firm …

The fall video game release schedule is usually a non-stop sprint from late August until the first week in December. Titles large and small crowd into the busy holiday shopping season, fighting for a piece of the pie. According to market research firm NPD, an average 55 percent of United States video game hardware and […]

Our Game Streaming Future: A Dystopian Retreat From Innovation, Risk

Imagine a world where your favorite game is playable on any device: your PC, your phone, your toaster. This idyllic daydream — our amusements readily available in all places, finally unchained and free — is being promised to us not by niche…

Imagine a world where your favorite game is playable on any device: your PC, your phone, your toaster. This idyllic daydream — our amusements readily available in all places, finally unchained and free — is being promised to us not by niche hobbyists working in their garage but the biggest of tech company titans. And […]

All 11 ‘Halloween’ Movies in the Franchise, Ranked

Proving that you can’t kill pure evil, Michael Myers returns once again to pierce fresh victims with an assortment of cutlery in Universal’s “Halloween” reboot. Though this latest entry in the franchise ignores the events of the last nine films, enough…

Proving that you can’t kill pure evil, Michael Myers returns once again to pierce fresh victims with an assortment of cutlery in Universal’s “Halloween” reboot. Though this latest entry in the franchise ignores the events of the last nine films, enough references are included throughout it to make several of the sequels well worth revisiting. […]

It’s Time for Magic Leap to Get Real

Magic Leap’s first-ever L.E.A.P. developer conference in Los Angeles this week was a chance for the company to finally stop the naysayers. Decried as over-funded vaporware for years, the event represented a unique opportunity for Magic Leap to show tha…

Magic Leap’s first-ever L.E.A.P. developer conference in Los Angeles this week was a chance for the company to finally stop the naysayers. Decried as over-funded vaporware for years, the event represented a unique opportunity for Magic Leap to show that it was the real deal, and that it mattered for the future of visual computing. […]

The New Dynamics of Brand Creation: Digital Content Has Changed Everything (Guest Column)

The media and advertising world just got a lot more interesting. You see, a funny thing happened while you were streaming video on your phone, listening to podcasts and interacting with your smart, IP-connected TV: Great advertising morphed into great …

The media and advertising world just got a lot more interesting. You see, a funny thing happened while you were streaming video on your phone, listening to podcasts and interacting with your smart, IP-connected TV: Great advertising morphed into great content that consumers don’t just passively consume. They actively demand it if you want their […]

Will Lady Gaga in ‘A Star Is Born’ Flip the Script on Female Singers-Turned-Actors?

To a much greater degree than their male counterparts, many of music’s top female singers have attempted to make the leap into the next frontier: acting. Yet only a few have managed to sustain major screen careers. Does Lady Gaga possess the thes…

To a much greater degree than their male counterparts, many of music’s top female singers have attempted to make the leap into the next frontier: acting. Yet only a few have managed to sustain major screen careers. Does Lady Gaga possess the thespian talent to pull it off? She already has a Golden Globe, for “American […]

Netflix ‘Black Mirror’ Stunt Reflects Well on Interactive TV’s Future

When Netflix first began experimenting last year with non-linear storytelling in some of its children’s shows, it barely registered as more than a footnote to everything else going on at the streaming service. But with a Bloomberg report Monday s…

When Netflix first began experimenting last year with non-linear storytelling in some of its children’s shows, it barely registered as more than a footnote to everything else going on at the streaming service. But with a Bloomberg report Monday suggesting this style of content will be showcased in a series of specials beginning with an […]

‘Totally Helpless’: A Dad and Daughter’s Experience When a Concert Turns to Chaos

Ray Andersen, who moonlights as popular children’s entertainer Mr. Ray, was born into a love of music, having grown up in the iconic Pleasant Valley Way home immortalized in the Monkees’ 1967 hit “Pleasant Valley Sunday” by prev…

Ray Andersen, who moonlights as popular children’s entertainer Mr. Ray, was born into a love of music, having grown up in the iconic Pleasant Valley Way home immortalized in the Monkees’ 1967 hit “Pleasant Valley Sunday” by previous owners, and award-winning songwriters, Carole King and Gerry Goffin. No wonder his 13-year-old daughter also caught the […]