Tuesday, September 2, 2014

2/9

§GAME SERIES
§SILENT HILL§ That's what has been missing from the series. The manipulation. The off-kilter madness. The worlds within worlds on top of worlds, in Silent Hill itself and between the player and the game, all tied together in an elaborate metatextual knot. The sequels, particularly those developed in the west, saw only the gore and the monsters. They saw Pyramid Head as an iconic slasher movie villain rather than a very specific Jungian symbol. They saw the fog, the meat and the rust, heard the sirens, and slavishly copied them while spectacularly missing the point.

Finally, that may be about to change. Hideo Kojima has long said he'd love to make a Silent Hill game, and since this is the guy who made Psycho Mantis taunt you with the contents of your memory card, I'm confident he sees the potential for more than just a gonzo splatter game.

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2014-08-17-why-silent-hill-2-is-still-the-most-disturbing-game-ever-made

§

§BIOSHOCK§
Bioshock 2 is the best Bioshock. It has the best gameplay and story, yes, but it also is the best at being Bioshock.
/.../
 Bioshock is about extreme philosophy, parenthood, and the subversion of flesh, mind, and environment. Bioshock 2 is the purest instance of this formula.
/.../
The other Bioshock games present philosophies of abuse and ask you to lend them credibility. Bioshock 2 hands you apparently-nurturing altruism and asks you to see the darkness in it. Not only is that more interesting but it’s also more ethical.
http://ludusnovus.net/2014/08/29/the-sublime-bioshock-2/







§COMMUNITY

We, “video games,” do not “take care of our own.”

On the contrary: We expect freelance professionals to function as our avatars, to say and do what we ourselves wish we could say and do. And when the battle becomes too much—when the fight is too great, the baddies too numerous—we absolve ourselves by shutting off the Xbox.

http://infinitelives.net/2014/08/31/you-have-to-protect-yourself/
§

Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian, Zoe Quinn & More
| Game/Show | PBS Digital Studios
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iO8Cck3vm_o

§

Women as Background Decoration: Part 2 - Tropes vs Women in Video Games
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5i_RPr9DwMA

§

The News is Ruined
http://www.gametrailers.com/videos/qc6a91/the-final-bosman-the-news-is-ruined

PC vs Console: Why the Hate?
| Game/Show | PBS Digital Studios
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XH1UuxxmiQ4

Design Club - The Blue Shell - Why Mario Kart's Most Hated Item Makes It Better
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFfga8-3SZI







§DESIGN
Extra Credits - First Move Advantage - How to Balance Turn-Based Games
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRHdIScOMWQ
§

Castlevania & History Special - Did You Know Gaming? Feat. Markiplier
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WY1TUJal0E

§

Games typically want to communicate the importance of the power to choose, while pieces like Benthic Love have you contemplate the function of choosing anything in the first place.
http://www.mattiebrice.com/benthic-love/

Thursday, August 21, 2014

21/8

§HISTORY LESSON
A few years ago Kirk Battle, going under the pseudonym L.B. Jefferies, was one of the most prolific critics of the burgeoning amateur bloggers arising from the boom of 2007 and 2008.

http://www.critical-distance.com/2014/08/15/episode-19-a-critic-by-his-window/

§

43 hours after the Wasteland 2 Kickstarter launched it was funded. Fargo was at inXile's office outside Los Angeles at the time. The team was "doing a little jig" he says. "It was like a New Year's Eve countdown. The first 10 years I couldn't even get the trademark. Then another eight years of hardcore pitching getting nowhere. It was a great moment."
/.../
"It was amazing to me," Fargo recalls. "When you do contracts they come from anywhere but trust. You have 10 pages of pain about how to get paid. What happens if you're not on time? They could take your project away from you. They could take your trademark. They could shut down your company. They could take over your company. They could sue your company. You can have damages that are related not just to that but to their stock market price dropping. You can be on the hook literally for a billion dollars for screwing up a contract. I came from that world to, 'here's the money up front, Brian. We trust you.' What a difference."
http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2014-08-05-the-long-journey-of-wasteland-2

§

The Secret History of Videogames & The Military
| Game/Show | PBS Digital Studios
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsNrHwPdIDc







§ZELDA


Some could argue that, because Yuga is the one who patronizes and objectifies women, and because Link eventually kicks Yuga’s ass, the game itself is presenting these behaviours as unacceptable. I disagree. Just as a text is not feminist just because its heroine is strong a game does not become un-sexist when it features a villain rather than a hero acting in a sexist manner. Let’s face it: The Legend of Zelda’s history does not do it any favours.
http://big-tall-words.com/2014/07/28/my-last-princess-women-as-objects-in-the-legend-of-zelda-a-link-between-worlds/

The Zelda series is a garden you can keep inside your drawer, not a wide, expansive landscape that absorbs you. The environment in Oracle of Seasons, and to a less direct extent, in other Zelda games, is both an enemy and a lover. It’s the uncomfortable source of conflict, theme, plot — it’s something to be feared and understood and respected, but also something to overcome. It has authority over me as the game system, but it can also be gamed. It can destroy me, and it can also be destroyed. It has a precarious but learnable pattern. Master that pattern. When it swings left, go right. Harmonize with that pattern, like Din’s dance. Master the dance, and master nature.
http://www.pushselectmagazine.com/2013/07/17/man-vs-dungeon-ecology-in-zelda-and-the-conquest-of-nature/





§VIDEOS
Game Theory: World of Warcraft will SAVE the Economy
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDfNoCjtXvQ

§

Queer Mechanics in Tabletop Games
https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1vxuNdMCF-dlHcWFf5mYAGw55FwqNFtSYPYk83zB8O8I/edit#slide=id.g24620197_09

§

PlayStation Now Is Here. Streaming is Popularizing. God Save Us.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GeX38RD52-4

§

How Are Games Biased Against the Disabled? | Game/Show | PBS Digital Studios
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyASY5wv_Qo








§DESIGN
Wayward Manor goes most wayward in terms of game design, such that the possibility of interacting inside a Gaiman story in a meaningful way becomes impossible. We are left with a game that, rather than immersing us in story, stands as proof that games don’t just need better writer to make game stories better.
http://killscreendaily.com/articles/how-does-wayward-manor-fit-neil-gaimans-ouevre-it-doesnt/

§

Violence is seldom framed for what it is: uncontrollable, self-perpetuating and unpredictable. Games treat violence as a stable fuel for their ambitions.

http://big-tall-words.com/2014/08/13/everything-looks-like-a-nail/

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

5/8

§NOW AND THEN
Extra Credits - Episode 200! - How Far Have Games Come Since 2008?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKmNzujz-Aw

§

Is Minecraft the Most Important Game Right Now? | Game/Show | PBS Digital Studios
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkKNt6Xq1dY

§

Retro Review: System Shock 1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vnh0l_Ecpx4






§DESIGN
SWT - Inputs and the Rift
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEht8W6w2Rc

§

Players sit up and pay more attention when they think they might die. Permadeath games and the like don't even bother with the fake-out; if you make a mistake, boom, goodbye, thanks for playing.
/.../
Quicksaves, regenerating health and other sorts of developer generosity are well-intentioned but often diminish the experience. These systems make no demands, so the player sleepwalks through the game. Let's call it: some of these shooters are just walking simulators with a bit of colourful pizazz. There's nothing to lose, so there's nothing to play for. This isn't to say all games need extraordinary challenge, but how risk compensation affects player behaviour is not something that should be ignored. Tricks to simulate risk might work but it's all too possible players will figure them out after which point they begin to relax. Suddenly, it's a walking simulator.
http://www.electrondance.com/how-to-stop-making-players-lazy




§QUEER
Kim Kardashian is surfing this wave of male tears all the way to the bank. In a world with limited opportunities for famous women as they age, Kardashian broke the Internet simply by lending her likeness to a single mobile game. And to read Kardashian as a vapid figure who does not deserve her fame is to fundamentally misunderstand the ways in which women exercise agency within the sexist constraints of celebrity culture.
http://www.dailydot.com/opinion/hating-kim-kardashian-makes-her-stronger/

§

Let’s talk about how folks in fandom were rewriting [Mass Effect 3] in a massive variety of creative and clever ways for over a year before that one dudebro did it, in horribly out-of-character quasi-prose, and was the subject of front-page Kotaku articles showcasing his devotion to the series.

Let’s talk about how female-dominated fannish spaces have been around for decades. Let’s talk about how “fans brought back Star Trek in the 70s!” always brings to mind stereotypical Trekkie dudes and not the women who were actually organizing and running conventions.

Let’s talk about how women are over 50% of moviegoers. Let’s talk about how women make up nearly 50% of gamers. Let’s talk about how, despite all this, the industry is still almost entirely guys making content for guys.


I’m just saying. Let’s fucking talk about this.
http://eponymous-rose.tumblr.com/post/84698057207/wait-wait-wait-while-im-still-having-my-grumpy


Sunday, July 27, 2014

27/7

§DESIGN

Sequelitis - ZELDA: A Link to the Past vs. Ocarina of Time
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOC3vixnj_0

§

Extra Credits - The Fighting Game Problem - How to Teach Complicated Mechanics
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_xG1Yg_QoM

§

Design Club - Super Mario Bros: Level 1-1 - Game Analysis
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZH2wGpEZVgE

§

Design Club - Portal: Test Chambers - Tutorial Mechanics
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_AsF3Rfw8w

§

Design Club - Mark of the Ninja - Stealth Games and Visual Cues
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vJNqseX-rs

§

Extra Credits - Choices vs Consequences - What Player Decisions Mean in Games https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7iklM_djBeY

§

Let's Talk About Boring Upgrade Systems
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TR-EuyU2hb8

§

Errant Signal - Civilization
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBlEscMLjy0


§MISC VIDEOS
Can We Ever Stop Toxic, Racist, & Abusive Gamers?? | Game/Show | PBS Digital Studios
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yvISdKG7Ng

§

Why Do People Do Sick and Twisted Things in DayZ?
| Game/Show | PBS Digital Studios
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3B2s-wswcM

§

Extra Credits - The Waiting Game - Why Weird Games Become Cult Hits
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptk93AyICH0

§

Why is SEX So Terrible in Videogames? | Game/Show | PBS Digital Studios
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vASCpg8TetY





§MISC ARTICLES

Zelda: Sales Numbers in Context
http://www.zeldainformer.com/articles/zelda-sales-numbers-in-context#.U7qOVbGA91S

§

If “Rugby is a beastly game played by gentlemen and soccer is a gentleman's game played by beasts,” as the age-old sports quote playfully asserts, then Call of Duty is an adult game played by children and Super Smash Bros. is a children’s game played by adults.
http://killscreendaily.com/articles/melee-masterpiece-melee-demon/

§

Lovecraft’s protagonists are always men of learning, the brightest sparks of all that we have built; their understanding makes their fall so much the greater.

The terms used to illustrate this dark realization are many. The scholar Timothy Evans (in his essay “A Last Defense Against the Dark: Folklore, Horror, and the Uses of Tradition in the Works of H. P. Lovecraft”) describes the structure with reference to the tropes of a detective story, in that the Lovecraftian narrative “leads not to a solution (like a detective story), but to a realization of the illusory nature of truth and the unknowability of the cosmos.”
/.../
In this vein, Amnesia: The Dark Descent is an almost textbook Lovecraftian horror. The creeping darkness that hounds the cultured protagonist – remember, he is an archeologist – is a profoundly alien and horrifying presence.
/.../
But Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs is a very different beast.

/.../
What A Machine for Pigs presents us with is moral cosmic horror – that the universe, despite the walls and roof of laws and morals and the illusion of progress, is a ravenous and bloody place; that the world’s turning is predicated on suffering; that time and time again, despite whatever moral window-dressing we put up to improve the decor, we cannot bleach away fresh bloodstains.
http://gamesarenotart.wordpress.com/2014/07/03/a-machine-for-pigs-and-cosmic-horror/

§

A secret box is a game which is built around some form of content and challenge is trivial or absent. The emphasis is on conveying moments or ideas to the player rather than testing the player's abilities.
/.../
So screw your “walking simulators”. I've got a mountain of secret boxes over here that I'm anxious to explore.
http://www.electrondance.com/screw-your-walking-simulators

§

Hollywood needs a love story. It’s hard to imagine a film like Her without one. But love stories assume not only that direct, sensual connections between beings is possible, but that such relations are our ultimate goal. Mountain imagines Her as if the film been titled It instead. It offers a subtler version of what a life attached to unfamiliar things might feel like. Not comfort or intimacy, but estrangement and confusion, mixed with curiosity and wonder. But most of all, while Her depicts a future on an alternate timeline we must struggle to believe, Mountain reminds us that we need not wait to commune with things. They’re everywhere, overwhelming us, sticking to us, piling up around us. And they are here not to save you, nor to destroy you. They are just here. What if that were enough?
http://bogost.com/writing/mountain/

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

24/6

§FEMALE/MALE REPRESENTATION
This, we are made to understand, is how you become a heroine, a tomb raider. Our lead characters have to be hard, and while we accept a male hero with a five o'clock shadow and a bad attitude generally unquestioned, a woman seems to need a reason to be hard. Something had to have been done to her.
/.../
When you want to make a woman into a hero, you hurt her first. When you want to make a man into a hero, you hurt… also a woman first.
/.../
"Sherlock Holmes gets to be brilliant, solitary, abrasive, Bohemian, whimsical, brave, sad, manipulative, neurotic, vain, untidy, fastidious, artistic, courteous, rude, a polymath genius. Female characters get to be Strong." Further, we seem to have problematic ideas of how women become Strong -- men break them, we assume.
/.../
Abstracted ideas about post-traumatic stress disorder or the catch-all "mental health issues" are common in games -- apparently the logic is if we're trying to advance narratives in action games, we need to find nuanced rationales for why we're killing so many people with aplomb.
http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/219074/What_did_they_do_to_you_Our_women_heroes_problem.php

§

you’ve got a situation where female characters do get scrutinized more than male characters do, and in some ways can be seen as holding a banner up for female characters. A lot gets heaped on their shoulders. Lara Croft gets a lot more scrutiny than Nathan Drake does, as a female.
/.../
male characters aren’t shown as being scared or vulnerable, why should female characters? Well, just because it hasn’t been done with male characters doesn’t make it wrong! It’s probably more of a problem of the way we depict male characters.
/.../
It’s very difficult to keep that good affable character when they’re having to slaughter loads of people. But what we tried to do with Lara was at least have the first death count. As you say, she’s uncomfortable with having to do what she needs to do. Those feelings start to bubble to the surface, and she does sort of push them away because she knows she can’t think about what she’s doing. It will incapacitate her if does.
http://killscreendaily.com/articles/interviews/tomb-raider-writer-rhianna-pratchett-why-every-kill-cant-be-first-and-why-she-wanted-make-lara-croft-gay/

§

... female players who sent out friend requests have a greater chance of being accepted than male players do. Furthermore, the chances of acceptance differs based on how the player spoke in the game, and congruence with gender stereotypes. Male players who spoke negatively or trash talk in the game and female players who were silent or meek have the greatest chances in getting their friend request accepted
http://vgresearcher.wordpress.com/2014/06/13/reactions-to-a-womans-friend-request-in-an-fps-game-holz-ivory-et-al-2014/

§

Women as Background Decoration: Part 1 - Tropes vs Women in Video Games
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZPSrwedvsg

§

Dynaheir, a proud, strong woman, is killed so her associated man can have motivation.  Khalid is killed so that Jaheira, a proud, strong woman, can become the player’s girlfriend.  The two fridgings differ in many ways, but are similar in that they both treat women as plot devices, and as prizes to be won or lost.
http://ontologicalgeek.com/you-must-stuff-your-fridge-before-venturing-forth/

§

Ubisoft went the extra mile and claimed that the reason there were going to be no playable female assassins in their upcoming Assassin’s Creed title is because it would double the development cost and it was “a reality of game development”.
http://gomakemeasandwich.wordpress.com/2014/06/13/friday-freebie-the-ubisoft-is-full-of-shit-edition/








§MISC VIDEOS

Will the End of Net Neutrality Be Bad for Gamers? | Game/Show | PBS Digital Studios
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEHG1s1uv5o

§

Is the FPS Dying or Evolving? | Game/Show | PBS Digital Studios
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9PNz5WUXdo

§

Why Shouldn’t Air Control be Sellable?
http://www.errantsignal.com/blog/?p=644

§

Air Control - A Steam Abuse Story
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/jimquisition/9281-Air-Control-A-Steam-Abuse-Story

§

Extra Credits - How Minecraft Changes the Future of Games - Minecraft Generation
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0K8G6BFg1Wk






§MISC ARTICLES
Post-apocalyptic games, from Fallout to The Last of Us or Metro 2033, play to expectations. When one hears “post-apocalyptic,” the word conjures up images of half-destroyed tower blocks, highways filled with empty, rusting cars, basically the remains of the now dead civilization. But those images are more apocalyptic, really. The post-apocalypse what happens after the reset button has been pressed. Unfortunately, a great number of games that use the setting give the uniform answer of “not much at all.”
http://www.awesomeoutof10.com/no-fresh-starts-what-the-post-apocalypse-can-offer-but-doesnt/

§

Yes, the presentation is, at times, unfortunately ugly – but below the skin, Remember Me has a series of fantastic touches and a sense of care about its thematic coherency that ultimately mark the game as truly memorable.
http://ontologicalgeek.com/remember-me-and-artistic-ambition/

§

The Spiny Shell is the most profoundly existentialist element of the Mario canon.
It disrupts the entire logic of this familiar fantasy universe. We were told we could jump on things to destroy them! We were told we could flip them asunder! But no - all promises are tentative, even in the Mushroom Kingdom. Spiny Shells are chaos, unfairness, injustice. For those of us who were kids when Super Mario Bros. arrived, the Spiny Shell taught a lesson, and the lesson was: you are alone in the universe. Enough with your childish expectations. This is the real world, and just when you think you've mastered it, it'll pull the rug out from under you. You have to find your own way.
http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/218696/The_Blue_Shell_and_its_Discontents.php

§

When you understand everything about a fully scripted world, it can only seem so much smaller in looking back on it.
http://www.popmatters.com/post/182687-the-size-and-wisdom-of-myst/

Monday, May 26, 2014

26/5

Can Video Games Be A Spiritual Experience? | Game/Show | PBS Digital Studios
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vK91LAiMOio

§

Postmortem: The Chinese Room's Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/218372/Postmortem_The_Chinese_Rooms_Amnesia_A_Machine_for_Pigs.php

§

Glitchhikers belongs to a tradition of game authorship, rather than game design. The idea is to stop designing videogames in service of ‘fun’ (or any other phenomenological sense), and instead to author videogames that explore ideas, themes, the human condition and so forth using literary techniques rather than behavioural conditioning and psychological experimentation.
http://blog.brendanvance.com/2014/05/19/blowjobs-loneliness-and-glitchhikers/

§

This rather huge article is intended to collect and structure a complete overview of how gender design works and how gender design is currently done in games.
http://howtonotsuckatgamedesign.com/2014/05/press-x-make-sandwich-complete-guide-gender-design-games/

§

Matt Chat 242: Chris Avellone on Torment, Tides of Numenera
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06YvwO3V4Ms

§

Extra Credits - How Games Empower Us - Education: Agency
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T39kYzzv_3Q

Sunday, May 18, 2014

18/5

§VIDEOS

Game Theory: Flappy Bird, PewDiePie, and Pasta Sauce

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyXcr6sDRtw

§

The Future of Games | Game/Show | PBS Digital Studios
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oON6S4fXS4k

§

Does "Indie Game" Mean Anything Anymore? | Game/Show | PBS Digital Studios
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8iwDkE8mw4

§

Extra Credits - How Games Prepare Kids for Real Life - Education: 21st Century Skills
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hoeAmqwvyY


§TEXTS
I'll tell you some stories about balancing Yomi. First I'll give you two myths about game balance, then I'll tell you about tier lists and matchup charts, and then a bunch of specific balance problems we had to solve in Yomi.
http://www.sirlin.net/blog/2014/4/18/game-balance-and-yomi.html

§

let's move on to the two hardest problems in horror.
http://frictionalgames.blogspot.se/2014/05/alien-isolation-and-two-hardest_5.html

§

Why we ignore gamers behind bars
/.../
Prisoners play games. How play might liberate or counteract or reinforce a life of confinement is probably for those prisoners to dissect. Not us. From the outside, what we hear—me, Alejandro, Robert, Shane, and now you—is a voice completely disconnected from that experience. They’re asking for information, but they’re asking moreover to be heard.
http://killscreendaily.com/articles/why-we-ignore-gamers-behind-bars/

§

Oculus Rift has plenty of potential for changing human interaction, but what about other animals? One project from Iowa State University assistant professor Austin Stewart (via FastCo Exist) imagines how VR goggles could make chickens believe they’re free-range, even when they’re not.
http://techcrunch.com/2014/05/15/an-oculus-rift-for-chickens-gives-animals-the-freedom-to-roam-without-the-roaming/