This week, our partnership with game criticism site A Machine for Pigs Critical Distance brings us picks from Kris Ligman on topics including the "salvation" of and what military servicewomen think of how women are depicted in games. The Spirit of the Thing
On Tap Repeatedly you can find
this great deep read of Rome II
by Matt Sakey, a Roman History major.
On Madness and Play, Amsel von Spreckelsen
criticizes the conceit of dream levels in game
, not simply for being a lazy contrivance, but for reusing the same mechanics as the rest of the game. And at Errant Signal, Chris Franklin
hits the nail on the head regarding game critics' widespread misinterpretation of ludonarrative dissonance
Elsewhere, on Eurogamer, Simon Parkin offers
a heartstring-tugging look inside Final Fantasy XIV's troubled relaunch
And on the Jace Hall Show website, Jacqueline Cottrell has struck upon a novel idea:
how about actually asking military servicewomen what they think of depictions of servicewomen in games?
Maybe It's A Generational Thing
Damn kids on lawns, etc. On her professional blog,
Hamlet on the Holodeck
's Janet Murray
shares her DiGRA 2013 keynote slides
on the state of game studies.
Elsewhere, responses keep trickling in to Eric Zimmerman's
Manifesto for a Ludic Century
. Zimmerman has
collated many of the responses himself
, and attempts to lend a little stronger context to it. Meanwhile, over on Kill Screen, Abe Stein
takes issue with Zimmerman's manifesto
as attending largely to privileged members of post-industrial nations, leaving the rest of the world out in the cold.
has reproduced her talk from the No Show conference
, which serves as a response to both Darius Kazemi's "
" as well as the recent discussion over Zimmerman's manifesto.
Bright spark Zolani Stewart
pens an interesting exploration of an oncoming wave of "post-gun" game design
. Elsewhere on Polygon, L. Rhodes characterizes the recent Penny Arcade Expo furor as
existing on a much larger time scale
Now for a bit of history. Most have heard the story of chess champion Kasparov and IBM's Deep Blue super-computer -- on Eurogamer, Chris Donlan
shares the lesser-known, parallel story of building a computer checkers champion
relates the origin story of Omikron
, the game that launched David Cage's Quantic Dream.
All You Need is Indies
The Gaming Intelligence Agency has just completed
a week's worth of articles
on the oeuvre of
developer Christine Love.
On The Border House, here's
a great interview with Lim developer Merritt Kopas
Via our German correspondent, we've encountered
Christof Zurschmitten's critique of Gone Home
for Videogame Tourism, wherein Zurschmitten contends the game invokes horror tropes only to leave the player with little to no ambiguity.
On the same publication (and also German-only for the moment, sadly), Rainer Sigl argues that
Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs does the exact opposite
, being ripe for multiple interpretations. Here's a translation of one passage:
[Usually in horror-mysteries] puzzles are provided by rational spirits - once we solve them, the nightmare is over. The solution is our salvation.
A Machine for Pigs breaks with this tacit agreement... There is no solution. There is no salvation. As a result, A Machine for Pigs is primarily an aesthetic experience, living on its own intensity. This is Why We Video Gaming
It can't be avoided any longer. Let's get to the
Grand Theft Auto V
responses. I'll be avoiding the review format and sticking to critiques and other essays.
First up, on the International Business Times, Edward Smith argues that
when it comes to depictions of sexual harassment at least, GTA V is not satirizing, it's straight-up promoting
(content warning: descriptions of sexual harassment):
Before you ask (or before you head to the comment section to try and defend this bullshit) there is no critical eye here - there is no satire. You go to the club. You grope the woman. You have sex. And it is cool. There's no humour, no irony. It is just that straightforward. You grope the woman. And you get away with it.
On This Cage is Worms, Cameron Kunzelman suggests that
for all its reputation as a series for shock, GTA V is actually quite conservative
. Writing for Gamasutra, Leigh Alexander agrees, lamenting how
despite its many fine details Grand Theft Auto V feels out of interesting things to say
I'm one of the people who said I thought it would have been better if GTA V let you play as a woman, and that I thought the game was misogynistic. I still feel that way, but it's not because I'm offended, or because I'm sensitive, or because I want to intervene upon anyone's vision, or because I regret the things I did in older games. It's because I want new monsters. It's because I want to be shocked again.
Meanwhile, Alex Lifschitz adds that it isn't necessarily that
should have a female protagonist,
it's the often vitriolic reaction when the question is even raised
Tom Bradwell points to
a grotesque torture scene in the game
and wonders if it's actually doing
any favors (content warning: graphic description, video). On The New Yorker, Simon Parkin
contrasts the scene with the novel Lolita
and questions whether there is a difference to reprehensible behavior's creative merit when a player gets involved.
This is Not About GTA V
"The insular, incestuous, hive mind nature of the video game community is never so apparent as when there's a new blockbuster commercial product," Gamasutra editor-in-chief Kris Graft writes in
this blistering condemnation of the games press hype cycle
Likewise Not About
, Kotaku's Jason Schreier
points to the toxicity review scores inspire in players
Thanks once again for reading! As always we deeply appreciate your submissions by
email submissions form
, so please keep them coming!
There's still a bit of time to participate in this month's
Blogs of the Round Table
See you next week!