[This week, our partnership with game criticism site Critical Distance brings us a fresh new roundup of links from Eric Swain, featuring some of the most interesting articles about Call of Duty: Black Ops, character portrayals in RPGs, and how other media influence game content.]
Starting off with a much-discussed topic, Gunthera1 at The Border House blog applauds Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops commercial for its diversity
in regards to race, gender, profession age and body type. However, Sam Machkovech writing for The Atlantic calls it a "Twisted Advertising Campaign
," while Gus Mastrapa at Joystick Division takes a step back and decides that tacky is a better term
And, as usual, the marketers were right. This commercial for Call of Duty: Black Ops
fits right it with Dancing With The Stars, infomercials for the Snuggie and C.S.I. Miami. Nobody will even bat an eye.
Moving on, Lucien Soulban on his blog of the same name wrote a six part series on how to write for video games
. And Joe Myers talks about difference between Eastern and Western approaches to the RPG genre in its approach to heroes
, with the west firmly implanted with a philosophy of 'I', while the JRPG focuses on the 'we'.
Eileen Stahl, in contrast, focuses on the "Wussy RPG Girls
": their origin and where they stand now. And naturally, Lake Desire writes a response
to Eileen Stahl's article on The Border House.
In another notable post, Kirk Hamilton at Gamer Melodico speaks with Tasha Harris from Double Fine Productions on its latest release, Costume Quest
, and manages to only embarrass himself twice in the interview's three parts
There also has been some varied talk on game criticism theory this week. Mark Serrels talks with Adam Ruch on Kotaku about his academic study of games and his desire to make it more accessible to those who want to read it
. Evan Griffin at Bitmob explains the theory of "Game Feel
" as a form of examining games and demonstrates it on Flower
Jeffery L. Jackson at Video Game Theory and Language wonders if TV's cultivation theory can be applied to games
and what that would mean. Doctor Professor at Pixel Poppers gives unto us the "One Commandment for Game Sequels
," I wont spoil it. And Jonathan McCalmont at Futurismic wants games to "Tell Your Own Damn Stories!
" He's a big proponent of emergent narrative.
Elsewhere, Brice Morrison had a good week on his blog, first writing about "The 5 Degrees of Fun
" not as a ranking, but how we as humans describe experiences. He talks about the rift between "Indies" and "Social Games"
and where it comes from. And finally writes how "Minecraft Illustrates the Two Keys to a Sandbox Game
Speaking of Minecraft
, at Second Person Shooter, Kent Sutherland writes about his experiences with Minecraft
and how it is just different from every other game. And Chris Davidson on Bitmob opens up and uses a personal experience of betrayal
and how it happened to fall in conjunction to betrayals that come about in games.
Roger Travis, on his Living Epic blog, starts to write about "The Bioware style
" in preparation for a chapter he is submitting for a volume on digital RPGs. And J.P. Gant writes on his Infinite Lag blog about fictional primary sources
, what they do to expand a fictional experience, and how they are/could be applied in video games. Plus - Bob Chipman has a new video series at the Escapist that started this week and his opening episode wonders how evolved Halo really is
Mike Dunbar from Chronoludic begins a series of posts looking one by one at the greatest sources of inspiration Red Dead Redemption
took from various Westerns. The first one explores the themes taken from Sam Peckinpah's revisionist Western The Wild Bunch
Troy Goodfellow on Flash of Steel also begins a series of posts looking at how various civilizations are portrayed in strategy games. He took his list from the choices in Civilization
and is going in alphabetical order, starting with America
. Jim Sterling writing for FileFront calls the portrayal of homosexuality in Fallout: New Vegas to right way to go about it
: to act like it is another characteristic and not the defining characteristic.
And finally, a pair of posts from Nick Dinicola at PopMatters. The first compares the pros and cons between Epic and Episodic Adventure Games
. The other expresses his disappointment in the forced alliances in Fable III
, where the game removes the choice the series loves so much.