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Recommended: Do You Speak Game?

Recommended: Do You Speak Game? (photo)

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One thing that gamers often forget is how off-putting the initial experience of diving into the medium can be. The interfaces and inputs-using a gamepad’s right stick to control an in-game camera, for example-can seem like a foreign language at first. And it’s part of a critic’s job to help translate and tease out what’s worth paying attention to in a new aesthetic environment. But they have to want to do it.

That’s the premise of N’Gai Croal’s excellent column for Edge Magazine. He pins the central idea on Roger Ebert and Nicholson Baker’s recent grappling with games and how they differ. I like how Croal compares and contrasts Ebert’s refusal to engage with modern video games with Nicholson Baker’s open-minded exploration of the form.
Here’s a key bit:

And while there’s a strong sense in which Baker wasn’t writing for you or me – who have played many games and are highly conversant about them – it’s invaluable to be reminded just how much interactive literacy high-end console games require; how many conventions and assumptions go unchallenged; how far they have to go and how much the interfaces may need to evolve in order for the medium to become truly massmarket.

The whole thing’s worth a read and serves a great reminder that, while video games may be capturing the public consciousness, they still have a long way to go in terms of seeming friendly to non-gamers.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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