The Cave

Dec. 19, 2013 | 2:19 p.m.

‘Doki-Doki Universe’: Video games make a play for emotions in 2013

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“Doki-Doki Universe” begins with heartbreak. A robot is left alone on an asteroid, dumped there by his human family. The robot has only a sentimental, hug-happy balloon as a companion for the next 32 years. Then things get abstract. The game, released this month across numerous Sony platforms by the Bay Area’s HumaNature Studios, has one main objective — to make players feel as much as to challenge them. Like many of the most intriguing of 2013 games, the bright, colored-crayon-like world of “Doki-Doki Universe” wows not by being a technological showcase. Instead, in a year that brought us fancy next-gen game consoles from Sony and Microsoft, “Doki-Doki” impresses by illustrating how a still-growing medium can provide a moving, affecting experience via simplicity. (Check out our picks for the top 10 games of 2013 in the gallery above.) “Specifically,” said […]
Dec. 19, 2013 | 1:59 p.m.

‘Last of Us,’ ‘Super Mario 3D World’: 2013′s 10 best video games

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In this time when news is disseminated ever more quickly, The Times asked its critics to list the best of entertainment and culture in 2013 in tweet form. Here are Todd Martens’ selections for the best video games of the year, presented in 140 characters or less. “Gone Home.” (PC, Mac) The family is away, but their secrets are hidden throughout the home. A reminder that everyday drama makes the best fiction. “Papers, Please.” (PC, Mac) Overworked, stressed-out, underpaid, disrespected. The grind? Familiar. The Eastern Bloc immigration setting? Gripping. “Super Mario 3D World.” (Wii U) Mario, only weirder. Here, sport a cat suit to claw, meow and pounce through a crazy, colorful world. Cats! “The Stanley Parable.” (PC, Mac) An ordinary cubicle life is thrown upside down. Imagine if our lives were narrated and directed by Spike Jonze. “Fire Emblem: Awakening.” (3DS) Dragons, swordsmen, wizards. […]
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