[This week, our partnership with game criticism site Critical Distance brings us picks from Kris Ligman on topics including choosing characters to transcend gender norms, how inadequately games represent the realities of combat, and more.]
Twas the night before GDC, and all through the net, not a blogger was stirring, not even Patrick Klepek…
(Well, not really.)
Welcome, welcome to This Week in Video Game Criticism! As things are beginning to kick off in San Francisco, your friendly neighborhood curator is starting the conference early with some sunny, spring-worthy critique and commentary, worthy only of the best!
So without further ado, let's hit the net running. Nightmare Mode has just introduced a new video series which manages to combine all of your favorite things: pretentious literary references, game design, a sharp wit and Eric Lockaby's Escher maze of a mind. Welcome to the Art Game Thunderdome!
Shifting from the labyrinthine world of the art game scene which only exists in Lockaby's imagination to the industrial world of mainstream gaming, we move to Stephen Altamirano, who muses on world records in the field of sports and electronic games, and in a broader sense, living games versus static code in an era of networked gaming and frequent developer patches.
Elsewhere, Damien McFerran offers up a retrospective on SEGA in its heyday. And Ken at Next Gen Narration digs deep into the ramifications of skipping combat:
"To me, this is a part of the evolution of games. We are stretching out, and learning new ways of expressing a story and ourselves in this medium. Answers will not come without injurious forays into frontiers that either do not work, or fail to communicate. More choices always strikes me as something positive, especially in a medium that has so much more potential than any other art form."
"For me, monsters represent a part of my feminism that shouts for there to be another option – one separate from the expected roles that are presented again and again in popular culture. Monsters become integral to my feminism in their disruption of normal social codes."
"Vanille's role as the narrator, along with the aesthetic that came with being from Pulse, reminds me of the social function as storytellers women in some Native American (and I'm sure other) cultures, serving as their tribes' memory and history."
"When I saw one of Luck's jockeys push a horse to its limits I was reminded of the way we play games, constantly pushing our virtual puppets to fight, win and frequently die. Recently, I experienced a moment in a videogame where I felt like a jockey, whipping the flanks of my horse. [...] I suddenly felt bad for pushing so hard, for wanting to progress so badly that I paid no concern to the little life that was in my hands."
"This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed in videogames. How would you feel if you accidentally killed an innocent child in a game? If the words "MISSION FAILED" appeared, but then disappeared after a few seconds, leaving you to continue as normal with no repercussions. Any normal person would feel guilty, but that's my point. Combat troops are not normal people."
On the contrary, the word W repeatedly invokes to describe their fellows in arms is "sociopaths."
Unfortunately, we've reached the end of this week's offerings of the best and boldest of game criticism, commentary and analysis. But hang tight! We'll be back next Sunday shoring up the best from GDC, as well as the rest of your greatest submissions! Remember to send us your recs via Twitter or email, and party safe, all you cool kids!
[This week, our partnership with game criticism site Critical Distance brings us picks from Kris Ligman on topics including ...]