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Best Of Member Blogs: From A Job Hunting Victory To Metaphysical Decisions

Showcasing highlights from Gamasutra's Member Blogs, our weblog writers talk about a victory in job searching, variability in game design, and metaphysics' impact on gameplay and narrative in RPGs.
In our weekly Best of Member Blogs column, we showcase notable pieces of writing from members of the game community who maintain Member Blogs on Gamasutra. Member Blogs can be maintained by any registered Gamasutra user, while invitation-only Expert Blogs -- also highlighted weekly -- are written by selected development professionals. Our favorite blog post of the week will earn its author a lifetime subscription to Gamasutra's sister publication, Game Developer magazine. (All magazine recipients outside of the United States or Canada will receive lifetime electronic subscriptions.) We hope that our blog sections can provide useful and interesting viewpoints on our industry. For more information, check out the official posting guidelines. In this week's highlights, our weblog writers talk about a victory in job searching, variability in game design, and metaphysics' impact on gameplay and narrative in RPGs. This Week's Standout Member Blogs - Still Glad To Be Here (Robert Madsen) IT programmer-turned-game programmer Robert Madsen lost his job in January after a year in the games industry. Determined to break back in, he applied for over 300 development jobs over the course of the last six months, finally landing a new gig at Other Ocean Interactive. Here, he explains his journey to find a new job. For his effort, Robert will receive a lifetime subscription to Gamasutra sister publication Game Developer magazine. - Towards Video Game Variability (Emanuel Montero) Software engineer and PhD student Emanuel Montero explains the difference between internal and external variability in video games, in order to explore how developers might offer gamers more variation within a given title. Does more variation mean a deeper gaming experience? - Metaphysical Decisions (J. Bronaugh Vorderkunz) J. Bronaugh Vorderkunz talks about metaphysics in role-playing games, comparing RPGs with a clear "controlling deity" to games like Fallout, which has no controlling deity. When there is no deity to intervene or guide a player, what does that do to a gamer's in-game decision-making, and in turn, how does that affect gameplay and narrative? - The Invisible Narrative of Games - OR - The Story of Chess (Frank Forrestall) Artist Frank Forrestall expands upon his blog post from last week, when he took a fresh look at the games as art discussion. Inspired by discussion from that piece, he uses chess as an interesting example of a game with an invisible narrative. - Design Notes: DS starting screens (Francisco Souki) Carnegie Mellon grad student Francisco Souki has a gripe about DS start screens. Some may declare "nitpicking," but he may have a point here...

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