Vincent Acovino | Texas Public Radio

Vincent Acovino

At the turn of the '90s, the attention of the video game industry was locked onto two major companies battling for the lion's share of a growing industry. One was Nintendo, whose ubiquitous Italian plumber was a household name.

The other was SEGA, a brand known for its spiky hedgehog, sure, but also for signaling a specific kind of '90s cool that set itself against other video games of the time. While Nintendo stuck to their family friendly "games-for-all" aesthetic, SEGA put out video games that were thematically riskier and more mature.

Thomas E. Lo is an anesthesiologist who works at Montefiore Nyack Hospital in New York. Since the coronavirus outbreak, his job has gotten dangerous.

"The exposure risk as an anesthesiologist is extremely high because when we intubate a patient, we are literally less than a foot away from the patient, who is in distress, and we're right by their airway, which is where the virus is," Lo tells All Things Considered.

And that exposure risk is made worse by widespread shortages of crucial personal protective equipment, or PPE, like masks, gowns and gloves.

When Half-Life released in 1997, it was unlike any other first person shooter — a genre of video games predicated on the central mechanic of blasting things with a firearm. Popular pioneers of the genre, like Doom and Quake, were known for being over-the-top and full of bombast.

Half-Life is not like those games. It begins not with a bang, but with a slow, methodical tram ride.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The video game designer Keita Takahashi is best known for Katamari Damacy, released in 2004. It's about a god named the "King of All Cosmos" who, while drunk, accidentally destroys the stars in the sky. His son "The Prince" is left to clean up his mess by rolling up objects on Earth into sticky masses that grow so large they become new stars.

In the world of cinema, we're led to believe that a given film lives or dies by the creative decisions of a single, all-powerful hand: the director. In the world of video games, things are (usually) different.

Instead, game players and critics tend to celebrate (or condemn) the work of studios and development teams. This focus on a collective group of individuals as opposed to a monolithic auteur feels more honest. After all, video games are made by hundreds — sometimes thousands — of hardworking creatives.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

MoviePass is no more. The movie ticket subscription service is shutting down. But despite its failure as a business, NPR's Vincent Acovino reports it may have succeeded in disrupting the movie theater business model.

What's worth writing about at a time in history where both everything and nothing seems worthy of our attention? Anything, argues Jia Tolentino.