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Articles by Keith Yost

January 15, 2014
Given that Magic: The Gathering has been around for two decades, I have to imagine virtually everybody reading this paper has at least a passing familiarity with the popular trading card game. At a minimum, we’ve all seen one of its millions of players playing it, and those of us who actually got into the game could come up with a dozen ways to describe it. Maybe “complex,” or “deep,” or “competitive.” Personally, I’d summarize it in three words: “Expensive as hell.”
August 23, 2013
There’s a feeling in the pit of my stomach when I reach the end of a really good book. It’s hard for me to describe it to another person unless they too have felt it before — it’s like emptiness, a dull pain, a longing for the story to continue. It’s a shock to the system, a natural psychological response to having the environment and characters that you’ve immersed yourself in suddenly ripped away. It’s an absolutely horrible sensation and if, in the future, I forbid my children from going to school and decide that they should remain illiterate for all of their days, you won’t have to look further than this paragraph to know my motive.
June 14, 2013
As Washington Post staff listened to the fantastical stories being woven by Edward Snowden, our leaker du jour, I can’t help but wonder why they didn’t greet his tales with a healthy dose of skepticism. Surely the memory of Bradley Manning, the private who cried wolf, couldn’t have been distant in their minds. For all the grand claims of U.S. malfeasance that Manning made, when his stolen database of secret diplomatic cables was finally out for all to see, there was very little that appeared out of the ordinary. Now the confused youth sits in a maximum security prison, discredited among all but a few small groups that still misguidedly regard him as a cause célèbre.
June 7, 2013
A couple weeks ago, Nintendo declared that it was going to enforce its copyright over third-party made “Let’s Play” videos, and began demanding ad revenue from the YouTube videos of gamers playing Nintendo games.
May 3, 2013
I have something of a love-hate relationship with the 4X (eXplore/eXpand/eXploit/eXterminate) genre. The typical 4X game is an uneasy marriage of amazing strategic depth, the grandeur of empire, and tedious micromanagement. As a consequence I find myself in a cycle where I develop a desire to play a 4X game, binge for some period of time, and then quit the genre for months after getting burned out navigating menus.
April 19, 2013
First person shooters have always been one of my favorite genres of video game. I grew up at a time when computing technology was just starting to meet the challenge of inexpensively rendering a shooter. As a kid, I was weaned on a generation of post-Doom titles, like Quake II, Counter Strike, and Team Fortress Classic, and for a time, the mere improvement of hardware was enough to keep the genre exciting. Each iteration of the first person shooter produced higher and higher graphical quality, and I didn’t spend much time lamenting that the gameplay and plot of Crysis was not many steps beyond that of Goldeneye 007.
April 5, 2013
Typically when I write a video game review, my focus is on answering the question, “Should you buy this, and if so, for how much?” This framework works fairly well for video games, but not as well for books or movies or music or the Mona Lisa. Some things you don’t review so much as you critique. You can judge a work’s creative merit, but trying to translate that merit into dollars and cents is futile.
March 15, 2013
When I was 10 years old, my favorite game in the world was SimCity 2000. I was fanatical about it — I spent whole weekends planning out city blocks on sheets of graphing paper and testing them to see which was the most efficient. I spent so many hours on the simulation that it’s possible it sowed the seeds of my political leanings.
January 30, 2013
It’s rare to come across a proper stealth game these days — by which I mean it is so rare that it’s hard to know if what I consider good stealth games are even stealth games at all. Maybe it’s the stealth genre that I dislike, and I just happen to enjoy a couple games that call themselves stealth games.
November 16, 2012
One of my earliest memories as a gamer is from the age of 10, playing XCOM: Terror From The Deep (1996). I didn’t own the game — some neighbors did — but when I’d finished my chores (and sometimes when I hadn’t), I’d bike over to their house and hijack their computer for as long as was socially acceptable (and sometimes longer) to fight the alien invasion.
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