Monthly Archives: August 2011


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About two weeks ago, I finally managed to sit down and play through Bastion, an excellent indie action RPG developed by seven-person studio Supergiant Games that was released in mid-July. It's an excellent game, and if you haven't already played it, you should. It's now available on both Xbox Live and Steam for about $15, and is definitely worth the price.  It's certainly not perfect, but nothing ever is, and it is definitely good enough that it can be recommended wholly without disclaimers or qualification.  Fundamentally, it's very good, and you should play it.  It's almost certainly better than what […]

Tensions in Bastion


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Happy birth­day, Ontological Geek! In honor of our first year (feels weird to say “our” in this con­text, since I start­ed writ­ing in January), I’m going to turn to that tra­di­tion­al cel­e­bra­to­ry activ­i­ty: war. War film has been huge­ly pop­u­lar since the begin­nings of the medi­um, and that style has def­i­nite­ly influ­enced the first-person shoot­er genre in video games. A great deal (half or more, I’d reck­on) of first-person shoot­er games fea­ture a war of some sort; only the rare shoot­er, such as the non-side-scrolling Metroid games, fea­ture a story that has a sole pro­tag­o­nist up against an unor­ga­nized, non-military foe who isn’t involved in some […]

Trenched Warfare



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See the title! One year ago today, I post­ed the first post on the Ontological Geek, to an audi­ence of my wife and a few of my friends.  Today, I post this anniver­sar­i­al (not a word) update with a few lessons under my belt and a year’s worth of arti­cles and com­ments post­ed on the Internet for all to see and, hope­ful­ly, enjoy. First, I want­ed to make sure to thank Matt Schanuel for writ­ing the Additional Pylons col­umn for the last eight months or so, as well as Jarrod Hammond, Tom Coberly, and Afh for writ­ing guest arti­cles. I would also be remiss if I didn’t thank my wife, […]

The Ontological Geek is One Year Old: The Annual Report, 20102011


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The Philosopher-Geek has already writ­ten a very good post on the mean­ing­ful game, and that might be impor­tant to read before you step into this one, because I’m going to inves­ti­gate two spe­cif­ic traits that he lists in that post. The spe­cif­ic traits I am inter­est­ed in dis­cussing are: 1. The Meaningful Game does not allow the player’s choic­es or pos­si­ble actions to derail the game or con­tra­dict its char­ac­ters, and 2. The Meaningful Game does not con­tain side-quests. These two points are most com­mon­ly bun­gled in games that reflect the “sand­box,” “free-roaming,” or “open-world” style of design, and so I’d like […]

The Sandbox



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I am hes­i­tant to give him the traf­fic, but I sup­pose you should watch this video, since that’s what this arti­cle is about.  It is not real­ly safe for work, though, so do bear that in mind: I gen­er­al­ly try not to pick fights here, but the ideas expressed in this video caused me to raise an eye­brow and strong­ly con­sid­er tear­ing out my hair, and I believe they might be deserv­ing of some atten­tion.  Further, I do think that I have some things to say that are worth lis­ten­ing to. Now, I’m not sure, exact­ly, just how seri­ous Jim Sterling is with this video, but […]

Questioning the Jimquisition