[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 looks at the movie Kick Ass, those Tumblin' Monkeys, and MotorStorm's mud.
First up, Daniel Floyd, he of the funny voice filter, presents part 8 of his video lecture series
on games. This one is about ‘Video Games and Moral Choices’, apparently, and was co-written with game designer James Portnow.
Simon Cottee played a game of Sleep is Death
. That in itself is not extraordinary, but he turned it into a short film called ‘Rule’
, which is rather extraordinary.
BoingBoing ran a piece this week called ‘Chimerical Avatars and Other Identity Experiments from Prof. Fox Harrell
’. The key point of the study being that, “Much more is at stake than just fun and games. Prejudice, bias, stereotyping, and stigma are built not only into many games, but other forms of identity representations in social networks, virtual worlds, and more. These have real world effects on how we see ourselves and each other.”
Elsewhere, Kirk Hamilton at Gamer Melodico wrote down some in-game quotes from Splinter Cell: Conviction
this week and finds that quotes removed from their context
can give one a very different impression of what kind of a game it is.
Tanner Higgin this week wrote about ‘Kick Ass and the Ethics of Gameplay
’ for his blog Gaming the System: "This ethical confusion, wherein audiences misread a film by applying gamic logics to film, demonstrate the desperate need for better videogame literacies that teach viewers how to interpret and understand games."
Kate Simpson wrote a two-part series of posts about Dragon Age: Origins
titled ‘Blood Vessels
’, which she describes as ‘a look at how character origins contributed to narrative themes of blood and identity
Andrew at Little Bo Beep takes somewhat more of a contrarian viewpoint on the game this week, in a post entitled ‘Dragon Age is not the next Baldur’s Gate
In addition, Paste Magazine’s Jason Killingsworth writes about ‘The Daily Grind
’ at the Start Press videogame blog: "During my Faxanadu level-grinding, the spectating part of me couldn't fathom how willingly I performed an identical set of actions for well over an hour just for the modest reward of a new shield or magical attack. Beyond simply abiding the exercise, I find it oddly relaxing and enjoyable—the feeling of slow-and-steady, incremental progress that culminates in someplace worth going, or something worth having."
Graduate students from the Georgia Tech Digital Media program have a new blog called ‘Rules of the Game’ and it’s an intriguing new approach to games writing. There’s some confusion about this piece by Simon Ferrari that calls itself “Analysis – Art Style Orbient
” as it gives a score at the end, “based on how well the writer thinks the aspect in focus is designed.
” Ferrari also writes this week about the time he spent in a MUD as a kid
. As a young teen without internet better than dialup until I was about 16, I was intensely jealous of one particular friend who played a MUD called Dragon’s Gate. Intensely jealous.
Speaking of MUDs, Steven O’Dell at Raptured Reality asks if we’ve ‘Got mud?
’ He’s not talking about Multi User Dungeons, however, but rather about the mud made from dirt and water and the game MotorStorm
. O’Dell describes it as “...an amalgamation of genres that somehow seems to meld together quite effectively, but ultimately leaves the final product with a feeling that something is missing.”
The kids game ‘Tumblin Monkeys’ gets more of a rise out of Chris Dahlen
than God of War III
. (Which could say more about Tumblin’ Monkeys than God of War
, but I digress.) Dahlen sees a disconnect between the game’s slick controls and its protagonists rough and brutal demeanour.
Denis Farr writing for The Border House this week maintains a keen and skeptical eye about a story
that emerged from the UK’s Daily Star
, involving a woman receiving an injury falling from a Wii Balance Board and acquiring as a result “persistent sexual arousal syndrome.” Farr's post wouldn't be out of place in one of TWIVGC’s other favorite blogs, Gaming Watch
Frequent contributor to TWIVGC Eric Swain has written about ‘Games as Structure
’ this week, and it’s a long post discussing a host of games, concluding with the ponderous statement “the designer creates the story, but the player creates the plot. Just make sure you know which part you’re dabbling in.”
Matt West from the Australian videogame blog Armchair Diplomat wrote a piece called 'Heavy Rain: Squeezing the magic from the mundane'
, a criticism of the game's slow pacing.
And lastly, Justin Keverne has been running a short series of imagined quotes from various games this week; Betrayal
; and Isolation
. I like that he’s doing something different here than just writing another essay about X or Y game (not that there’s anything wrong with that, but there’s scope in games criticism for so much more), so check it out and see if you like it too.