[We're partnering with game criticism site Critical Distance to present some of the week's most inspiring writing about the art and design of video games from commentators worldwide. This week, Ben Abraham examines pretentiousness in games, cultural accessibility, and intelligent use of the Wii remote.]
I’m not sure how I missed including this last time I compiled TWIVGB – it’s Margaret Robertson with a piece she originally wrote for a Polish newspaper, freshly dusted off and popped online. It’s about ‘games as dating tools
Sent in by Matthew Gallant and continuing the trend of sourcing from outside this week in blogging, Lost Chocolate Lab performs an ‘Informal Game Sound Study
‘ by looking at the sounds of footsteps as heard in a number of games. Footstep sounds are a microcosm of the broader issues of game development.
Gallant also recommends Brilliam’s piece ‘Pretense, Affectation, Videogames
‘ in which Brilliam diagnoses what he sees as the problem of affectation in the game enthusiast community: “the real problem: we, as game nerds, are too embarrassed by our pretentiousness to call it what it is.
” Not sure I agree with this one, but thought provoking nonetheless.
Keeping the contrarian theme going is the blogger known as Voorface, who writes in a post titled ‘Against Immersion
‘ that “Pretending that video games are real is a way to avoid living. One of the definitions of the verb “to immerse” is “to embed; bury”. Immersion is nothing less than a death wish.
” To offer a quick alternative – my understanding is that in some spiritual philosophies the letting go of ‘self’ can be a path to enlightenment.
The ‘Game Narrative Triangle
‘ by Fraser Allison is a thing worth reading. Allison takes the usual author/player dichotomy in game narrative and storytelling and adds a third element to the mix – the computer.
Found via Rock Paper Shotgun’s always worth reading Sunday Papers – as video games (or at least hardcore/mainstream games) are a very dude dominated subculture, I thought this tangentially related piece had real applicability to the industry and to video game communities – How to ‘make your dude-dominated subculture more accessible to women
At the intriguingly named Wing Damage blog, Jesse “Main Finger” Gregory asks ‘Will We Still be Able to Play our Games in 20 Years?
‘ Another pertinent question might equally be will we even want
to play these games in 20 years?
Michael Abbott has the following to say in a post on The Brainy Gamer called ‘The Waggle Wanes
’: …. it seems to me developers (especially 3rd-party) have finally embraced the notion that waggling the Wiimote may not always be the best or even necessary option. Looking over the list of Wii games I’ve played over the last 6 months, I see lots of terrific games that made little or no use of motion-control (or rendered it purely optional), and none suffered for the loss.
Zoran Iovanovici continues his series for GameSetWatch on ‘What Metal Gear Solid
Has To Teach Us’, this time looking at Metal Gear Solid 3 and Baudrillard’s concept of Hyperreality
. Also from Iovanovici is this piece at Gamasutra analysing ‘Humanism And The Virtues of Violence and Patricide in God of War
Jeffrey Jackson at Game Language comes out swinging with a pair of posts on ‘Cultural Hegemony within the world of Mass Effect
’. Part one has this to say: In the universe of Mass Effect, the organization called Cerberus is either a terrorist group or a pro-human organization. In cultural studies, however, it could be considered something else: an instrument designed to combat cultural hegemony.
And then read the follow-up, part two
LB Jeffries writes for Pop Matters about the ‘Transparent Difficulty in Order of Ecclesia‘
. Also at Pop Matters, G Christopher Williams has been playing the new Prince of Persia
game and finds ‘an aesthetics of demolition’ in the game. From there he goes on to discuss ‘Abusing the world
‘ and the games like Red Faction: Guerrilla
that involve some level of subtraction from the world as part of their game mechanics: Even games without obvious opponents frequently depend on the idea that erasure is the solution to the problems that games pose and that some measure of satisfaction is derived from such erasure. Indeed, a similar pleasure is evoked in a seemingly less destructive game like Tetris.
Paul Sztajer, now blogging at Fabula Ex Machina, writes in ‘A Matter Of Perspective
’ about the separateness of gameplay genre from the issue of perspective. He says: There’s an innate problem in defining the narrative form of a game: the gameplay genre may point towards one form, while the narrative essence of the gaming medium points in a different direction. Yet this description seems to underplay the sheer complexity of the issue, a complexity which seems to lie mostly in the concept of perspective.
And finally for this installment, Matthew Weise at Outside Your Heaven explains “Why Red Dead Redemption Is Disappointing
”. We must dissent!