Saturday, November 28, 2015

Crit Links 28/11

I found myself creating a series of characteristics that I believe would be found in any Great Work of gaming.  In short, I found myself identifying something like a Platonic Form for gaming’s great works, a Form I will call “The Meaningful Game.”


The Delta of Randomness - Can You Balance for RNG? - Extra Credits


Inquisition manages to undermine a lot of its own dramatic pauses.

Let's talk about a minstrel.
The combination of the two songs, neither of which has a counterpart for an alternate choice, very strongly suggests one "correct" narrative interpretation of events: the Inquisitor sided with the mages, supported the rebellion, and had to fight Samson.
Leliana's presence during Dragon Age II is mostly a secret. And yet in a way, in the pubs and taverns where the Bards have ears, she was there all along.

Because her work so often involves autobiographical events, [Nina] Freeman says she is sometimes accused of being self-absorbed or egotistical. But rather than an exercise in vanity, she sees her work as the opposite: an opportunity to look back at herself and her choices with an unflinching and critical eye.
“I think it’s good to be self-reflective, because otherwise, what are you doing? You’re just letting other people shape who you are instead of being self-critical and learning from your actions. I spend a lot of time thinking about what I do in retrospect, to try and be a better person, because I think I do a lot of things wrong.”

I like to think there's an element of subconscious deliberation at work, because a lot of the time I'll get half-way through making a game, and then suddenly its 'meaning' will dawn on me," she says. "I like this approach because a lot of the time it's cathartic and surprising. I didn't realize what Rain, House, Eternity was really about until I had nearly finished it, and it was a powerful, deeply personal moment for me, and it also allowed me to make an ending that was much more appropriate than what I'd planned."

While most games fetishize nostalgia (Final Fantasy VII Remake, Shovel Knight, Axiom Verge, Downwell, Every Other Bit Game Ever), Homesickness reminds you why the past should stay in the past.


More Ways to Use Randomness - What is the Goal of RNG? - Extra Credits


Yet while most media coverage congratulated Nintendo for finally making a female version of the famed character an option, the actual context of Linkle's existence reeks of that unique Nintendo brand of faux progressivism. It might sound good on paper, but in practice only shows how little Nintendo actually understands about what the problem is.

As Anita Sarkeesian might point out, Linkle is a classic example of the "Ms. Male Character" trope.


As a teenager I was duped by Metal Gear Solid. As an adult, I remain only cautiously optimistic about D4.

5 Queer Video Games Breaking the Mold

This '80s influence upon popular videogames continues on into the 2000s, managing to reveal itself both without much filter and in fusing with the anti-hero archetype that arose at the turn of the century.
This antihero archetype is what Brenton J. Malin dubs the “hypersensitive killer. It arose with such TV shows as The Shield and The Sopranos. He is at once relentlessly immoral yet more in touch with his emotions than his peers, depicting the “extremely contradictory masculinity of the turn of the 21st century,” according to Malin.

It would seem that, finally, with Dad Quest, the concept of dadification is freed from the shackles of patriarchy. No longer are fathers supposed to be grizzly, gravely, possessive guardians. Instead, Dad Quest encourages parents to literally throw their children into situations that allow them to figure it out the world for themselves.


These moments all share a common theme; they actively ask the player to step back from traditional forms of videogame interactivity. Yes, traditional methods of input are utilised: triangle allows Joel to pat the giraffe, and Conway and Shannon’s conversation is still navigated utilising clicks of the mouse. But these scenes are not dominated by their interactivity in terms of prescriptive button inputs and subsequent movements on screen. Rather, they are defined by their interactive inaction. And yet, they are deeply engaging moments.


This blog is about my personal journey (roughly chronologically) through 40 years of computer role-playing games (CRPGs). I play each game and discuss its strengths and weaknesses, its place in the history of RPGs, its influences, and just what it's like to play the game today.

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