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, […]

Just a Few Reviews


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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, […]

We Can Be Heroes



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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