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David Thier

David Thier is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, The New Republic, IGN.com, Wired and more.
Expert Thoughts

Google Is a Supervillan: It’d Be Funnier if It Weren’t True

Superhero or supervillain? (Wikimedia Commons)

We imagine, for a second, that we are writing a movie script.This script features an international technology company run by a pair of charismatic billionaires. It’s omnipresent and yet difficult to define, with deep pockets and huge, high-profile projects that seem to bear only a passing resemblance to actual revenue streams. Most of these projects involve eerily sophisticated methods of finding out as much as possible about everyone on Earth. In recent months, this company has made headlines buying drones, home monitoring software, artificial intelligence, and a firm that makes military robots. Read More

Unproven Thieries

San Fran Millionaire Using Cash To Create His Own Modern Day Hunger Games

Screen Shot 2014-05-31 at 10.44.12 PM

There is money hidden in San Francisco if you have the time, inclination and Internet savvy to look for it. And this time, it’s not arbitrarily awarded venture capital. Someone has been hiding envelopes of cash throughout the city and giving hints to its location—the lucky scavengers are finding a couple hundred dollars a pop. Follow his feed for some pictures of some very happy hipsters.

In other news, the glorious Emperor Zuckerberg, First Citizen of the Bay and Protector of Silicon, rode through the streets of San Francisco on a litter pulled by self-hauling slave bots, tossing gold coins to the gleeful citizens below as they stretched out their arms for a touch of his flowing garments. Or maybe not, but give it time. Read More

Unproven Thieries

Video Game Writers, Stop Dismissing Free-to-Play Games

A still from Clash of the Clans. (Photo via Flickr)

Question: You are a writer, tasked with analyzing popular culture for the purposes of edification, attention and profit. You’re going about your business, which likely consists of lamenting the lack of innovation in your chosen field. All of a sudden, something actually unexpected happens. A new genre emerges, instantly capturing the attention of audiences around the world with a basic structure that represents a radical departure from most everything on the market. What do you do?

The answer, of course, is to dismiss it as anathema, a dangerous threat to all that is good in the world and a pathetic diversion of the unwashed masses. Tried and true.

That’s what the world of traditional videogame journalism has decided to do regarding free-to-play mobile games, which happen to include some of the most popular games on Earth, enjoyed by millions. Read More

Unproven Thieries

It Might Be Time to Let Oculus Rift Go — And That’s Okay

Just scrolling through some friend requests. (Photo via Getty)

It was not hard to predict this particular backlash. A Kickstarter darling, one of the golden children of the video gaming world and a particular favorite of the notoriously clannish PC gaming community, got bought by painfully mainstream social media empire Facebook for $2 billion. Geeky bleeding edge tech, meet ubiquitous Silicon Valley titan and platform for both Farmville and Cityville. The ever-wary video game community began to rage.

The company in question is modern virtual reality standard-bearer Oculus Rift, once among the most popular entities in the video game community, now shunned by its early supporters in hopes of gaining broader acceptance. Sort of like Lindsay Lohan in Mean Girls. Read More

Expert Thoughts

Octodad Is a Brilliant Kafkaesque Piece Of Art — And a Pretty Fun Video Game, Too

It might happen at a grocery store, it might happen in your living room. You reach out for some banal task, something you’ve done a thousand times before, only this time, it’s impossible. You’re body freezes, your mind locks up and a thousand horrible failures swirl around in your future . You don’t know how, but it’s all gone wrong, so quickly. Normalcy is lost to the ether. You look around you. You know that nobody else feels this way. They just do things. It looks so easy. And my god, they’re all looking at you because they know.  Read More

Unproven Thieries

No DICE: The Embarrassing Insecurity (and Meaninglessness) of the ‘Oscars of Video Games’

And the award goes to... (Photo: Flickr)

Here are a few things that are true about the DICE Awards, held last week in Las Vegas and promoted as “The Oscars of Video Games.”

One of the nominees for “Best Online Game” was essentially non-functional months after its release. In that category, the broken game was one of only two nominees actually released this year—the winner was four years old.

The winner for “Best RPG” was released in 2013, and it was largely agreed to be just okay. There is an award given for “Best Downloadable Game,” a category which makes no sense in an era when literally every game can and is downloaded. Read More