[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 checks out stories on addiction, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, and McDonald's toys.]
This week, Tim Rogers published a multi-part Gonzo style documentary of GDC
wherein he spends a week with Bob of ‘Bob's Game
’ fame. Your mileage may vary, but there were some interesting sections and it’s certainly a unique take on the GDC experience.
Another big long article of note is Tom Bissell’s Observer piece on Videogames, Cocaine and addiction
, which is simply stunning. One of my PhD supervisors actually emailed me to ask if I’d read it, so know that it’s certainly making the rounds, and with good reason.
Elsewhere, Trent Polack writes on his blog Polycat about ‘The caged destruction of Battlefield: Bad Company 2
’. It’s a game I’ve been enjoying this past week as well.
Jorge Albor writes about ‘Controlling emotions in Heavy Rain
on the Experience Points blog. In addition, Steven O’Dell continues his ‘Origami Collection’ series he started last week with the newest entry ‘Mundane Magic
’, commenting: "Just how can the act of shaving or picking up some mail be fun in a videogame?"
For Ada Lovelace Day this week, the Border House ran a huge selection of essays on and interviews
with women involved with games and the games industry. As Brinstar notes of her time at GDC: "While many shared observations (and sometimes firsthand experiences) of sexism in the industry and rightfully griped about sexism in games and games marketing, all of the women I encountered were optimistic and hopeful for the future. There’s no other field they’d rather be in, and all of them were passionate about their work and ambitions."
CT Hutt at Press Pause to Reflect talks about how games manage the players level of mental engagement in ‘Playing with your brain
’. He particularly says: "Great video games, like all great art, are most effective when they engage us completely, when they encourage us to be active thinkers and problem solvers rather than passive participants."
Designer and professor Frank Lantz wrote at Game Design Advance about, to quote his tweet, “Jon Blow, Sid Meier, Rob Pardo and truth in game design
”, which is to say he skilfully wove a couple of threads together from GDC. A highlight: "Shouldn’t games be an opportunity for players to wrap their heads around counter-intuitive truths? Shouldn’t games make us smarter about how randomness works instead of reinforcing our fallacious beliefs?"
LB Jeffries looks at ‘The Literary Merits of Dante’s Inferno
’ for PopMatters: "Boiling down the first book of the Divine Comedy to its surface elements is a bit trickier than it sounds because you either think the poems are about three stages of the afterlife or that they’re about Dante’s spiritual transformation as he grapples with accepting God’s authority."
Finally, Michael Abbott at The Brainy Gamer, in a slight departure from his regular writing about videogames, relates a short experiment he conducted
with McDonald’s toys for boys and girls, his daughter and finding out which one is more ‘fun’ - a compelling end to this week's round-up.