The Player: Video game reviews and ruminations

Todd Martens explores the world of video games in his series of stories, The Player.

'Uncharted 4: A Thief's End' serves up action ... and personal issues

'Uncharted 4: A Thief's End' is the last in the video game series. It shows a more vulnerable action hero Nathan Drake.

'Late Shift' is the first fully realized choose-your-own adventure movie. Or is it a game?

With the viewer making plot decisions at crucial moments, 'Late Shift' blends movie and game seamlessly

After the backlash: video game critic Anita Sarkeesian is concentrating on 'Ordinary Women' and still daring to defy online sexism

Video game critic Anita Sarkeesian has a new Web series in the works, 'Ordinary Women,' about little-known women in history.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter ride may conjure a new path for theme park rides

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter's Forbidden Journey ride's popularity may affect theme parks for decades to come.

Nintendo's 'Star Fox Zero' is one of a kind, but is it playable?

Major Nintendo releases are typically highly-polished, moderately zany and, if not downright accessible to a mass audience, at least approachable. The best of

The virtual reality era is ready for the living room. Will it be a iPhone-style game changer?

The race in virtual reality is on, as Oculus' Rift headsets arrive this week, and two more high-end VAR headsets are on the way.

New mobile video games that will keep you going

New mobile video games worth playing include 'I Love You to Bits,' 'Story Warriors: Fairy Tales,' 'SPL-T,' Super Phantom Cat' and 'The Swords.'

Not the same ol' gamer: Mobile games better at winning hearts of women

The video game world prepares for a new battle: Consoles versus mobile devices

Do I really need a murder simulation? The video game revolution is thrilling, but potentially unsettling

To those who doubt we are on the eve of a new virtual reality era, Palmer Luckey, the 23-year-old founder of Oculus and inventor of the Rift headset, had one

How 'Rocket League' combined cars with soccer to create video game magic

'Rocket League' creator Dave Hagewood talks about the popular video game's early beginnings.

'Fire Emblem' is about family, so it's already complicated before battles and love enter the picture

'Fire Emblem' comes in three parts, deals with adoptive and birth families and love. So it's kind of complicated

From 'Walking Dead' to walking dread: 'Firewatch' creators mix heartbreak and the creeps

The creators of 'Firewatch,' the debut game from Campo Santo, get personal with their psychological thriller.

A character called Yarny helps tie together memories and personal connections in 'Unravel'

Swedish designer Martin Sahlin wanted to help people think about loose ends with his game 'Unravel'

Can't crack 'The Witness'? Part of the fun is in the mystery, not just the answers

The difficult yet beguiling new puzzle game 'The Witness' is built for patient contemplation.

Why 'Oxenfree' may just be the first must-play game of 2016

The tiny Night School Studio bets big on its first video game, the lively and story-heavy 'Oxenfree.'

In facing death, the game 'That Dragon, Cancer' embraces the complexities of life

The video game "That Dragon, Cancer" turns the player into a baby knight facing the relentless disease. Powerful stuff. A review.

Video game trends for 2016: Virtual reality, further blurred lines between TV and gaming

Interactive entertainment will progress in 2016 as virtual reality spreads and games take on aspects of other mediums.

2015's 10 best video games stretch from 'Cibele' to 'Rise of the Tomb Raider' to 'Super Mario Maker'

Todd Martens' 10 best video games of 2015 — and one that felt uncomfortably too close to reality.

Games in 2015 were better when they stepped away from the guns

Video games like 'Cibele,' 'Prune' and 'Ori and the Blind Forest' made the shoot-out titles feel dated and tone deaf.

'Call of Duty: Black Ops 3' puts a female soldier on the battlefield. What took so long?

The "Call of Duty" franchise has had players (as soldiers) do battle underwater, shoot in outer space, wear jet packs and even attack zombies.

In 'Disney Infinity' video game, the 'Star Wars' universe can be upended, if you like

In the 'Disney Infinity' video game, players can remix "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" to suit their needs.

Do modern console games coddle current players rather than court new ones?

Video games are raking in hundreds of millions of dollars, but players are aging, with fewer young players emerging behind them.

How 'Star Wars Battlefront' created the B-side to John Williams' score

Some of the first sounds you hear in "Star Wars Battlefront" are instantly recognizable. The exuberant brass notes strike a triumphant tone from John Williams'

'Rise of Tomb Raider' excels in peripheral puzzles

The Lara Croft of "Rise of the Tomb Raider" may believe in fairy tales, but that doesn't mean she's willing to put up with nonsense.

'Star Wars Battlefront' looks and feels like 'Star Wars.' Is that enough?

Luke Skywalker was surrounded.

What 'Fraggle Rock' has to do with the new mobile game 'Leonardo's Cat'

Michael Frith spent the bulk of his career working with the Muppets. Today, the latest project from the semiretired artist has him reimagining history and

'Minecraft: Story Mode's' adventures have familiar plots but characters worth rooting for

Telltale Games' 'Minecraft: Story Mode' has plots, unlike the original 'Minecraft,' and though they seem familiar, they appeal.

'Day of the Tentacle' remake tries to look like the game of your memories

Playing a game from 1993 can be jarring. The heavily pixelated graphics may have worked fine on tiny monitors, but they don't translate well to big-screen TVs,

Can a video game make you a better friend? 'The Beginner's Guide' tries

'Beginner's Guide' would rather give you life advice than a mission.

New 'Halo' is technically improved, but lost its heart along the way

Microsoft's new 'Halo 5: Guardians' game is diverse and technically improved, but somewhere along the way it lost its heart

SXSW: Female gamers tell their stories in 'GTFO,' which tackles industry sexism

The following column was originally published more than a year ago. This week, citing threats of violence, organizers canceled two panels related to harassment

Crash Override offers relief from harassment in the gaming world

The following column was originally published earlier this year. This week, citing threats of violence, organizers canceled two panels related to harassment and

2014 Games: There was ugliness, but diversity won

The following column was originally published last December. This week, citing threats of violence, organizers canceled two panels related to harassment and the

What riot grrls and raves have to do with 'Slam City Oracles' and 'Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime'

The new games 'Slam City Oracles' and 'Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime' go against the gray in gaming by being bright and cheery.

'Super Mario' looms large in the game world 30 years later

'Super Mario Bros.' revolutionized gaming 30 years ago, and the new 'Super Mario Maker' brings players even further into its world.

Will Apple TV kill your video game console? Probably not

Apple on Wednesday introduced an update to its Apple TV platform that places an increased emphasis on games. And all of it looked a tad familiar to those who

'Volume' brings a rebellious heart to video game trends, turns class warfare up a notch

Take the myth of Robin Hood, add a cyber-punk look and mix in some hacker sensibility. Welcome to "Volume," which just so happens to be one of the most

Happy 30th, 'Super Mario Bros.,' and thanks for the lessons big and small

As 'Super Mario Bros.' turns 30, longtime fan Todd Martens ponders what he's learned from the plumber's fantastical world.

All puzzles and no action, 'Lara Croft Go' is a simplified, thoughtful take on 'Tomb Raider'

When "Tomb Raider" was rebooted in 2013, the game ushered in a number of changes for its main character Lara Croft. 

Blind girl seeks lost cat: 'Beyond Eyes' is a journey of discovery

The video game "Beyond Eyes" tugs on the heartstrings — a blind girl looks for a missing cat— but becomes a journey of discovery.

'Star Wars' character Finn has the "most powerful weapon" in 'Disney Infinity 3.0'

On Sunday, the final morning of the all-things Disney convention, the D23 Expo, video games took the spotlight. And then "Star Wars" dominated it.

Disneyland's fabled make-out ride Adventure Thru Inner Space returns through virtual reality

Disneyland's long-lost Adventure Thru Inner Space ride gets new life at D23 Expo, where virtual reality simulations are on tap.

'Galak-Z' is hard to decode, but the trying is fun

'Galak-Z,' a new video game by 17-Bit, is difficult but quite good.

Joel McDonald's puzzle game 'Prune' has flowered quickly

Designer Joel McDonald's "Prune," in which players nurture trees, has been one of the hottest video games on the market.

Geeks are the new overlords. Great. Now can we get over ourselves?

Geeks, finally, are cool. But 'Pixels' and the new Ernest Cline book 'Armada' all but punish you if you're not one.

In an era overrun with nostalgia, 'King's Quest' is a thoughtful take on a classic

Too much thinking, argues a blacksmith in the new "King's Quest," leads to inaction. She says this as if thought were a lamentable trait. Let's be thankful

In the indie game 'N++' you get only one life -- and time is ticking

'N' was created as a reaction to all that was excessive in video games. Just a stick figure ninja in a gray world. Now, with 'N++,' color and music have been added. Go play.

Nintendo's President Satoru Iwata was always willing to take a risk

Satoru Iwata, the Nintendo president who died at 55, pioneered the casual game market with 2006's release of the Wii

In reality, Project Morpheus, Oculus Rift aren't the most exciting things at E3

Virtual reality sets Project Morpheus and Oculus Rift can charm, but no-goggles games 'Beyond Eyes' and 'Wattam' charm more.

Ready to play 'Guitar Hero' and 'Rock Band' again? Game makers hope so

The huge-selling 'Guitar Hero' and 'Rock Band' are being brought back by makers Activision and Harmonix

Toys-to-life gaming at E3 is set to land big, but it's not all child's play

Toys to life, a growing category in video games, is set to make a splash at E3; analysts say it has yet to reach its potential.

'Adr1ft' helps 'shamed' game designer pull his life back together

New video game 'Adrift' helps game designer shamed on the Internet pull his life back together

Gaming against sexual assault, with 'Decisions That Matter' and other video games

Gaming against sexual assault, with 'Decisions That Matter' and other video games

Splat goes Nintendo all over the shooter with 'Splatoon' fun

Nintendo's 'Splatoon' aims for something more than blood and guts with a colorful, fun twist on the shooter game.

'Sunset': An engaging game about war's toll on a housekeeper

Video game review: 'Sunset' by Tale of Tales explores war's toll on ordinary people