Games are primarily conceptual / performance art; games are culture; it's more important to witness a game than to play it.
Invoke other games or cultural phenomena; your game is a piece of interconnected culture, not a walled garden.
We often think of game development as a technical discipline, but so much of a video game has nothing to do with code or technology. You don't have to release a software patch to update a game; all you have to do is to change how people think about it and interact with it. To totally murder this metaphor: your voice is the most powerful auto-update utility ever.
Chapter One introduces a bunch of theory and argues that how the participatory nature of videogames does not render them immune to textual analysis.
Chapter Four makes the argument that ‘action’ is too reductively considered when we talk about videogames and that ‘looking’ and ‘listening’ are acting in their own right. To say a play ‘does nothing’ during a cut-scene greatly misunderstands how bodies engage with moving images.
Propaganda Games: Sesame Credit - The True Danger of Gamification - Extra Credits
The Arcade Review #2
"I was surprised how many people watched my rather strange film. At the same time, looking at the stats, I was even more surprised how few of the viewers actually watched the entire movie to the end. There is a lot of scrubbing going on. I somehow thought I'm the only one who jumps around on the timeline of internet videos, but it's everybody." His reaction was to produce a new short film, which eventually would become a short computer game, called Plug & Play. The idea was to give the viewers, who are all so eager to jump around the narrative, more control over his movie. At the same time he wanted to have more control over the way the audience experiences the film by not allowing to skip the narrative without interacting with it and therefore become part of it.
It’s a time when we’re increasingly within reach of each other, unbounded by physical distances due to digital technology, yet the overwhelming volume of information and possible number of connections to be made leaves us … where? Through Plug & Play‘s black-and-white binary world of male and female electronics—the plug and the socket—Frei seems to propose that we have become obsessed with fitting in with each other. The tragedy, it is suggested, is that we find it to be a difficult desire to fulfill.
The duration required for us to reject one another has been decreased substantially through these digital roulette wheels. And yet the time and effort required to actually connect with one another, to become friends or lovers, has not lessened at all.
motherhood is often kept out of the creation, consumption, and conceptualization of popular culture. A society ruled by the Kingdom of Fathers, as Rich
describes, relies on the devaluing of motherhood while also
simultaneously tasking motherhood with the most invaluable work on the
planet. A mother’s reward for breeding humanity is exclusion,
marginalization, and disregard. At most, motherhood appears in popular
culture as a concept: a perfect, selfless mirage or a horrid, selfish
monster. Her story is never told in full: from her exclusion in
something as silly as #dadbods, to the continued absence of significant
maternal stories in mainstream videogames, TV shows, and films,
patriarchy puts the mother in opposition to pop culture—after all
there’s no quicker way to kill a trend than to see your mom do it,
right? However, 2015 revealed glimpses of the mother’s elusive profile.
mothers are busy getting refrigerated, there’s no shortage of videogame
dads who capture the multiplicity of a three dimensional human being.
The dadification of games took place long before fatherhood became the
focus of a few “gritty” big-budget titles. As an echo of our culture,
the paternal mentality has defined videogames for most (if not all) of
the medium’s existence: from Space Invaders to Pac-Man, the notion of
protecting your territory, conquering death through iteration, and
measuring success through monetary gain birthed the medium, and
continues to dominate game design to this day.
So we return
to the million dollar question: what would a truly maternal videogame
look like? There’s no doubt that Toby Fox’s Undertale relies on the
inhumanly selfless portrait of motherhood, but it does so with a
Most players kill Toriel on their first
playthrough, even if they’re aware of the game’s morality system. But
this choice, rather than serving as a reflection of the player’s lack of
moral fiber, instead holds the mirror up to videogames themselves.
This, Undertale says, is the kind of player patriarchal game design
produces: impatient, quick to quit, and more than willing to sacrifice
their own mother and humanity in the name of…what, even? Progress? A
positive feedback loop? This vague and arguably meaningless concept of
“leveling up” through “experience points”—whatever the fuck that even
means in this context? As games like Undertale show, maternal game
design isn’t just about telling worthwhile yet disregarded stories. The
popularity of paternal game design is indicative of deeper issues,
ranging from how we as a society measure success and who and what our
After decades of paternal game design, I am
eager to unleash the potential of videogames born of woman. Motherhood
deserves more than a cursory glance, and play deserves the benefits of
creation instead of destruction. If and when that will happen, no one
can say. But in 2015, we captured a glimpse of what fruit it can bear.
The only visible measure in Orchids to Dusk is the oxygen level on the left of the screen (and there’s no way to refill it).
It’s like directing your own funeral.
The beautiful terror of Year Walk is that in it, your deepest fears and anxieties are based on the truth. In a deranged twist of events, what I am experiencing is essentially a love story.
My deepest fear is to have her eyes burn through mine and see her mouth the words, “I don’t love you anymore.”
At the end of the jump scares, ominous soundtracks, and haunting creatures, the fear of loss and betrayal is what lingers the longest in my Year Walk. We give ourselves entirely in seeking the truth and yearning for love to the point of a physical and emotional breakdown. Perhaps this journey is the most accurate description of love and heartbreak: a series of signs and symbols we have to decode, and we receive either the answers that provide us warmth, or remain lost in the freezing woods until we are freed to walk again.
As an adult, how does one learn to play electronic games? With no older sibling or friend down the block to teach, no community of mates to check in with, no memory of games from childhood, how does one begin, how does one progress?
I really think this could be easier. Can’t someone create a graduated list of games for adult-onset players, a series of games to take on, in sequence, that would build familiarity and component skills and even attitudes, in a conscious way? Most players I know have only the blurriest memories of how one learns this stuff, little sense of the parts that make up the whole: sorting it out might be an interesting project.
“The journey is more important than…the other thing,” muses one of your passengers, too enraptured by the pure alcohol of the drive to bother to complete philosophical cliches. And in a sense, that’s Glitchhikers. The emotion is more important than what the emotion might mean. Just being in the game matters more than…the other thing. The antithesis of other videogames, where making me feel something, some specific and preferably unclaimed by another developer emotion is the only and final goal, Glitchhikers allows me to ruminate, to imbibe, to simply “be”.
[Three Fourths Home]
the dream of climbing the social ladder puts emphasis on the economic costs and benefits of ‘making it’, but ignores the more immaterial costs, such as separation from one’s family and loved ones. That narrative does not factor in those costs because they are not part of its implied values.
the family is almost entirely dependent on a medical corporation, possibly a health insurance company.
another effect of the family’s limited options and urgent needs is that they are hoping Kelly becomes a part of that same oppressive structure, which is very twisted if you think about it, but it’s a consideration that they cannot afford to do.
People don’t fight back against the powerful abusing their power, they beg them.
in CL [Cart Life] there is a sense that one may very well hold on and live another day, if they try hard enough, if they know their way around the city, if they balance everything just right. And even that is a slightly more optimistic perspective than Three Fourths Home has to offer, because systems can be read, can become not scary but familiar, and they can be manipulated. TFH offers nothing but a one-way street, with an emphasis on the emotional resonance of that mechanic, but also on its inevitability: there are no choices to be made, the dialogue options offer only superficial alternatives. The player has no power to shape the story, because the Meyers have no power to shape their story, like they have no power over the tornado that is approaching their house.
Is Language a Virus? Starring Punished "Venom" Snake | Idea Channel | PBS Digital Studios
So, let's talk sex games.
Sex games, part 1: sex as bodies
Sex games, part 2: sex as gesture / sex as poking