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 you […]

Tensions in Bastion

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 […]

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

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

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