Monthly Archives: February 2011

Hey there! So, I’ve been absurdly busy this week; a new job, classes pick­ing up in pace, and crises arriv­ing and lin­ger­ing. It’s now come down to Saturday, though, and to be hon­est, I don’t have the capac­ity right now to really do jus­tice to the con­cept I wanted to talk about. However, I did just get Gamefly, and so I fig­ured that I would review the games that I get in from a nar­ra­tive per­spec­tive. So essen­tially, I’ll be eval­u­at­ing whether they tell a qual­ity story, whether that story has good pac­ing, whether their char­ac­ters are believ­able or inter­est­ing, and so on and so forth. I imag­ine that I’ll make […]

Just a Few Reviews

On Trailers So, first of all, if you haven’t already watched the trailer in ques­tion, here it is: This trailer has been going the rounds and being watched by bajil­lions of peo­ple, and get­ting lots of praise like “the best trailer for a video game ever made.”  Professional Internet People have spent a great deal of time dis­cussing the ram­i­fi­ca­tions of this trailer: Does it mean that Dead Island will tran­scend the usual zom­bie game dis­re­gard for actual char­ac­ters and emo­tional real­ity?  Are video games finally matur­ing as a medium? Some peo­ple accuse the trailer of sim­ply being a cheap attempt to elicit an emo­tional […]

On Trailers, Zombies and Extra Credits

The Idea What I want to talk about today is the con­cept of “scope” and dis­cuss two major areas where scope can become a prob­lem in video games. On Scope Like any good philoso­pher, the first thing I need to do is define my terms.  By, “scope,” I mean, gen­er­ally, the sorts of things the game is try­ing to do, and what kind of game it is try­ing to be.  Is it try­ing to be a gigan­tic epic telling a mas­sive story of love and loss and war?  Is it try­ing to be a small, character-driven piece show­ing you what it is like to be a par­tic­u­lar kind of […]

To Thine Own Self Be True

This week, I’ll be exam­in­ing the heroic nar­ra­tive and it’s close, close rela­tion­ship to video gam­ing! I’ll start by defin­ing what I mean by heroic nar­ra­tive, and then have a short dis­cus­sion on what its propen­sity in the world of gam­ing means for games as art. A Narrative Undaunted Now, I should make a dis­tinc­tion here between the hero nar­ra­tive as a form and hero­ism as a con­cept. Though many games con­form to the hero nar­ra­tive, the char­ac­ters in those games may not nec­es­sar­ily be all that heroic. Heroic activ­i­ties are uni­fied by this trait: the hero fig­ure res­cues another, typ­i­cally a help­less per­son or per­sons, and this […]

We Can Be Heroes

When Valve announced that they had been col­lab­o­rat­ing with the Musée du Louvre to pro­duce a new title uti­liz­ing their ven­er­a­ble Source engine to pro­duce the world’s first first-person vir­tual museum, the gam­ing world was stunned that such a pro­duct would be devel­oped with­out any announce­ment until right before its release. Much con­fu­sion was gen­er­ated as peo­ple guessed wildly at how an engine pri­mar­ily used to develop FPS titles could be used to pro­duce what sounded like a glo­ri­fied visual ency­clo­pe­dia. The dis­cus­sion grew even louder when Valve announced that it would be a mul­ti­player title, even though no details about game­play had been […]

Art as Games: Valve’s Louvre

Distance is going to be an impor­tant theme in this arti­cle, and so I’d sug­gest read­ing the arti­cle in which I intro­duce the con­cept, located here. Low lev­els of dis­tance con­tribute to any nar­ra­tive expe­ri­ence in video games, but it is absolutely essen­tial to a hor­ror game. Because of the nature and aims of a hor­ror game, it is very easy to iden­tify games that fail to lessen dis­tance. Such games can be played with­out expe­ri­enc­ing fear, usu­ally because of fail­ure to prop­erly immerse the player in the avatar char­ac­ter. This means that, in order for a hor­ror game to suc­ceed, it must demon­strate […]

No Escape