Thursday, January 22, 2015

Every Blade of Grass: The Pros and Cons of Photorealism in Video Games

I believe that this is the first serious piece that I have written about aesthetics in quite a while. It largely concerns a discussion of photorealism and the problem with the "chasing after of photorealism" as the ideal visual aesthetic of video games.

It was inspired by an interview that I read with the Tangentlemen, a group of indie game developers, many of whom come originally from large publishers and are now seeking to do something outside of that space. The things that Rich Smith, formerly of Infinity Ward, had to say struck a chord with me (the specific inspiring quotation that I refer to is in the essay itself at PopMatters), which mirrored some of my own thinking about visual aesthetics and games that I have been kicking around for some time.

I especially like his distinction between the concept of an "illustrative" visual aesthetic in contrast to a phorealistic one, as I think it is a useful way of understanding the real potential of the visual aesthetics of video games and seats them properly alongside mediums like painting, sculpture, comic books, and cartoons, rather than cinema (as critics too often do).

The original title of this essay was "Video Games and the Aesthetics of the Impossible," which is, perhaps, a drier title, but also might indicate more simply what it is that I am advocating.

Every Blade of Grass: The Pros and Cons of Photorealism in Video Games

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

I Performed an Abortion to Save the World, and All I Got Was This Lousy M Rating

In which I discuss my advocacy of using the X, NC-17, and Adults Only rating more often and more appropriately in media. While I am not a huge fan of rating systems generally, I'd at least like them to be used accurately and usefully if they do have to exist.

I Performed an Abortion to Save the World, and All I Got Was This Lousy M Rating

Monday, January 19, 2015

Moving Pixels Podcast: Our Best Games of 2014

I'm still not sure that I have a handle on what games were great last year. It feels like I didn't play or complete much.

I just finished Jazzpunk and The Stick of Truth, for example, and I think those might have made my list in this discussion had I played them earlier. I'm also still playing Assassin's Creed: Unity.

That being said, I can't recommend a few of the titles that I talk about enough, like A Dark Room, the always compelling continuation of Kentucky Route Zero, and without a doubt the soul crushing life simulator This War of Mine.

I just wasn't into games by the big publishers this year. As usual, for the most part, the interesting stuff is being done by the indie developers.

Moving Pixels Podcast: Our Best Games of 2014

I was wearing eyeliner.

She was wearing eyeliner.

The last time I wore eyeliner I was 18.

I was at the prom.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Jazzpunk Is a Collaborative, “Jack-in-the-Box” Comedy

From tragedy to comedy.

This week I'm talking about the collaborative nature of comedy in Jazzpunk. In other words, how the player collaborates with the game to complete its jokes.

Looking at the screenshots I chose to add to the article makes it appear to that Jazzpunk is a very stupid game, but it really isn't. It's charmingly weird and often charmingly clever. The game simply doesn't look good in stills.

Jazzpunk Is a Collaborative, “Jack-in-the-Box” Comedy

Monday, January 12, 2015

Thursday, January 8, 2015