This week, our partnership with game criticism site Critical Distance brings us picks from Joe Koeller on topics ranging from the aesthetics imparted by framerates to the relentless optimism of Peter Molyneux.
No Godus or Kings
It's been a rough week for 22 Cans. On Monday, Rock Paper Shotgun voiced doubt whether their current project, Godus, would ever be finished, which was followed on Wednesday by Eurogamer catching up with Bryan Henderson, winner of the life-changing prize from their previous title, Curiosity, and ultimately led to a very aggressive interview with studio head Peter Molyneux by John Walker.
Some saw this style as the necessary approach for dealing with the notably hard-to-pin-down Molyneux, others condemned the accusatory tone with which he was pilloried for ills of the crowdfunding environment at large. Daniel Joseph writes:
The people who need the least advocating for in games press are “consumers” who throw some money at vaporware.
The actual tough questions come after we think through the system that produces this kind of situation in the first place. Why do we tolerate the grey areas that Kickstarter operates in, in relation to its inherent ability to take advantage of consumer ignorance in such matters? Why do we talk about people who might be disappointed with a game they bought rather than the those who might be run out of a job by such a reckless boss?
Over on the German side of things, Marcus Dittmar also finds some harsh words for the interview.
Just Like the Movies
On Paste Magazine, Gita Jackson argues that developers pushing for a cinematic feel with 30 frames per second are ignoring the actual standards of cinematography, and the conversation surrounding them. With a side of other camera-related tropes.
Meanwhile, there’s a whole genre of moving image-based story telling that allows characters in the first-person perspective to have dirt and blood smeared on an invisible screen in front of their eyes. It is an accepted and even expected part of this form—it’s not a matter of degradation, but of how we as viewers and players are going to move on from this point.
In other film-related news, Carolyn Petit talks about the documentary Atari: Game Over covering the 1983 industry collapse and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, the game that is, perhaps wrongly, given the blame for it. A movie about a movie-themed game then. Double whammy!
On Kill Screen, Andrew Yoder talks about Andrei Tarkovsky's Nostalghia and how exploration tends to kill videogame spaces. Meanwhile, Zach Budgor examines perspective and movement in Metroid Prime, the first in a series of three articles devoted to the series. See also Metroid Prime 2 and sequels by Gareth Damian Martin and Metroid Prime 3 and loneliness by Levi Rubeck.
Cara Ellison's visit to Marigold Bartlett and Christy Dena marks the end of her magnificent Embed With series, which will soon be available in ebook form, I understand.
Jess Joho on the feminine history of computing and how it is being overwritten.
On PopMatters, our own Eric Swain considers The Banner Saga's colloquial approach to lore, while G. Christopher Williams looks at Grand Theft Auto protagonists and their moral compasses over time.
Evan Narcisse talked to the most dedicated explorer of Shadow of the Colossus.
On Gamasutra, John Andersen remembers the late Shinya Nishigaki, developer of the Dreamcast games Blue Stinger and Illbleed.
Here's Carolyn Petit looking at Average Maria Individual and Kentucky Route Zero as decentralizations of traditional protagonists, a feature which gels nicely with Lindsey Joyce's recent article about Kentucky Route Zero, which argues that, in it, players take the role of director rather than assuming the position of any one actor on stage.
Positioned as director, the game requires your attention on several levels, since you try to understand both the characters you instruct and the narrative you orchestrate, as the story’s not-quite-omniscient narrator. On the one hand, you take on an over-the-shoulder perspective focused on character development and specificity, but on the other hand, there is the bird’s eye view of narrative totality [...]
Speaking of Kentucky Route Zero, Magnus Hildebrandt has finished his guide to the cultural and literary references of Episode 3. It's only available in German right now, but as for the earlier episodes, will be translated soon.
The first episode of Critical Switch is here, so why not listen to our own Zolani Stewart's smooth voice expound Bernband. Not enough weird games for you? Stephen Beirne reads Kanoguti's Walking as self-suggestive horror.
On that note: the dreadful architecture of NaissanceE.
On a lighter note: Amy Knepper sharing five co-op games that helped her marriage.
Moving on. Despite the duplicity of using time travel to more effectively fake interest, Todd Harper is vaguely optmistic about the direction of Life is Strange. Jed Pressgrove less so.
Metal Gear? Heather Alexandra about participating in the recursive training of Metal Gear Solid 2's Raiden by replaying and perfecting sections of the game. Meanwhile, Melody writes about the different attitudes towards sensual violence of Raiden and Mistral in Revengeance.
Dragon Age? On Girl From the Machine, Gaby writes about relationships and powerlessness in Dragon Age 2. Meanwhile, David Carlton applies Christopher Alexander's framework from The Nature of Order to Dragon Age: Inquisition.
On the German side of things, Video Game Tourism has begun its monthly game club by examining The Binding of Isaac from various angles.
Laralyn McWilliams shares research on the practical benefits of diversifying your workforce.
Jason Schreier provides us with some absolutely nightmarish tales of videogame companies treating their employees like shit.
Love's Labours Linked
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