Monthly Archives: July 2011


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What I want to do today is to talk about genres and classification, and to do so primarily by evaluating two claims: the first, that Portal 2 is a puzzle game, and the second, that Dragon Age 2 is not an epic. I intend to look at what these two sentences really mean, why they have been said, and what sort of attitudes are revealed in their utterance.

A Rose By Any Other Name


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Usually my posts are entirely abstract, meant to enter­tain, inform, irri­tate or enlighten, but thus far I have avoided prac­ti­cal affairs. For the most part, video games are either enjoyed or they are not; an expe­ri­ence is gleaned, or it is not; but role­play­ing games are some­thing else entirely, for the player, cer­tainly, but espe­cially for the man or woman behind the metaphor­i­cal, and often lit­eral, cur­tains. Today I am step­ping into the role of the advice-giver, for I have dis­cov­ered that per­haps I have some prac­ti­cal, ser­vice­able wis­dom to pass on in this arena. I became aware of this in a con­ver­sa­tion with a friend last […]

Wars of Worldcraft



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Friend and long­time Ontological Geek reader/commenter Afh has writ­ten us a guest arti­cle on the sub­ject of world-building, posted here for your enjoy­ment! One of the great things about the human imag­i­na­tion is that, as well as com­ing up with ideas for use in the real world or con­jur­ing up fic­tional ele­ments (such as a child’s imag­i­nary friend), imag­i­na­tion can cre­ate an entire uni­verse or world, straight out of whole cloth. This power is some­thing I have always admired in oth­ers and cher­ished in myself.  Imagination ren­ders us into gods, with uni­verses blos­som­ing from empty fir­ma­ment to spread and grow on paper, or film, […]

On the Plurality of Worlds


In my orig­i­nal Additional Pylons, I intro­duced the idea of dis­tance. I haven’t stopped refin­ing my under­stand­ing of the con­cept since then, and so today I’m going to share some of my thoughts regard­ing its ram­i­fi­ca­tions and inves­ti­gate some incred­i­ble artis­tic pos­si­bil­i­ties that gaming’s nat­u­rally low level of dis­tance opens up. To that end, I am going to begin by iden­ti­fy­ing an impor­tant func­tion of art that is often simul­ta­ne­ously a sig­ni­fier of qual­ity art: the cri­tique of struc­tures and styles of thought, and the offer­ing of a fun­da­men­tally dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive. I am going to stand on the back of Jarrod’s post on art way back when, […]

Going the Distance