--C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory
Thursday, December 26, 2013
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
In hell, there are only two choices of games to play: Uno and, of course, Candy Land (the two games we offer to children to teach them hopelessness and their mechanistic place in a deterministic universe).
This is a strong argument against atheism. After all, what if I'm right?
I mean, Candy Land, for God's sake.
Monday, December 23, 2013
Saturday, December 21, 2013
Friday, December 20, 2013
Having spent a fair amount of time with Lorde's Pure Heroine album, I'm no longer certain that I am hearing something from the millenial generation, as I am hearing something from the end of the millenials. This may be the voice of a new group altogether, one that understands want, loss, and pain.
In that sense, the album speaks in a voice of retrograde populism that is familiar to anyone growing up in the late 70s and early 80s (We of the generic products. We of the single mothers whose asshole ex-husbands rarely bothered to pay child support. We of the gas crisis. We of the layoff, the corporate buyout and sellout.). I find it interesting that those who grow up with want lean towards a more romantic philosophy (witness Stephen Crane's cruel but funny send up of the working poor's love of melodrama in Maggie, Girl of the Streets), while those that have been comfortable have this ugly tendency towards a dull, mechanical, and hopelessly inhuman realism.
Those with pain have hope. Those without pain, cry, pout, and act petulant.
Maybe we're post-millenial. Maybe its because she's from New Zealand. I haven't been there since the late 80s, so I don't know what the economy is like currently, though the more distinct and explicit class divide familiar in more Northern European culture was definitely present in the general mood of the people that I met at the time.
Whatever is the case, I hear the "fuck what you value" attitude of punk, the despairing, but desperately enduring romance of "Livin' on a Prayer" or Springsteen in Lorde, even if her style is so completely different.
There's a more pure image of and assumption of violence here in her imagery as well, one that is familiar and strangely comforting to me. I love the image of the shirtless boy grinning and laughing after having spit blood in the mirror in the "Royals" video. I've looked in that mirror before.
We mean it, but I promise we aren't mean.
Delicate in every way but one (the swordplay).
God knows we like archaic kinds of fun (the old way).
Chance is the only game I play with, baby,
We let our battles choose us.
--Lorde, "Glory and Gore"
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
"Tennis Court" is awfully good, too. Still listening to the full album, but I remain impressed by what she seems to be communicating.
Plus, her eye makeup is always amazing.
Monday, December 16, 2013
I've seen her perform twice. Once with my beloved Wonderstuff, who are, of course, nothing like her at all.
Watching Siouxsie dance in "Kiss Them for Me" is a gorgeously horrific thing.
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
I was never the biggest kid. I was never the strongest, the fastest, the best co-ordinated. The only physical aptitude that I possess is probably not all that physical in nature at all. It's more a matter of willfulness. I could endure.
Taking a beating builds character, I guess.
Persevere, persevere, persevere.
I can bleed. I totally know how.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Friday, December 6, 2013
Not the most unique of observations or the most profound of pieces, but I've been driven to distraction this week. I'm half in reality and half... somewhere.
I am in the mood to eat someone's heart, though. I haven't done that for awhile.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Fables: The Game. Much like the comic book, meh...
While Nick and Eric might disagree, not up to the quality of The Walking Dead. I hope Telltale punches it up in future episodes.
Monday, November 25, 2013
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Thursday, November 14, 2013
More fun with parsing swear words, gendered terms for animals, and misogyny.
Unfortunately, I am merely a misanthrope. Not really all that controversial a position these days.
That's Faith up there. She's a prostitute.
Honestly, this essay is just ho hum. Kinda cutesy in my opinion, nothing more.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Monday, November 11, 2013
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Monday, October 21, 2013
If T.S. Eliot, Samuel Beckett, and David Lynch made a game, well, first off I would play it. But it would also, of course, be Kentucky Route Zero.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
I am so bored of game critics being embarrassed by and afraid of GTA. Get over it, guys. It might upset some apple carts, but we aren't fucking Puritans. Stop being so afraid of satire.
I swear if Swift published "A Modest Proposal" today, these kids would be horrified that he wants to eat all the Irish babies.
Stop being so tone deaf and so fucking delicate.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Sunday, October 13, 2013
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Ah, moral panic has become so blase.
Or at least this flavor of moral panic.
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Of late, we've recorded a bunch of podcasts in a short span of time, so the details of this one are a little fuzzy in my mind. I seem to recall that I was pleased on the whole with this discussion, which is a good thing, right?
That is assuming I trust my own judgment these days, of course...
I like the splash image at least. Cheesy, simple, but I understand black nail polish.
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Monday, September 23, 2013
I'm glad we got in the Way Back Machine (way back being merely the beginning of the year) to discuss Kentucky Route Zero. Firstly, because on this my third playthrough, I yet again discovered things I hadn't seen or realized were present in the game before. Secondly, because I wrote a little bit about it earlier in the year, but probably not as much as the game deserves.
The game is so very smart, so very fun, and so very challenging (from an intellectual perspective, not a ludic one). The kind of game I truly love, the puzzle, the labyrinth, the joke of attempting to unweave the inscrutable (that joke that has defined three decades or so of whatever I am).
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Sunday, September 15, 2013
Forgot to note that we posted a podcast on Rogue Legacy last week. Taking a look at the end of the game led me to even further developing some of my ideas about the game and its economic implications, which I did touch on in a recent column but maybe even more so here.
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Upon entering the second bathroom in the house that comprises the totality of Gone Home's game world, I was struck by the fact that there are no mirrors in this house or this game, a game very much about recognizing others and exploring the self. So, this post is about the implications of having no mirrors, no seemingly direct access to seeing someone's face, and how often, as we do in Gone Home, we only have the ability to interpret via the things and imagery that a person has constructed about themselves.
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Some thoughts on social bonds and the problems with creating them in current gen MMORPGs.
Just offhandish thoughts more than anything else.
Saturday, August 24, 2013
The thing that I admire most about Gone Home is its craftsmanship. It's a tremendous example of detail-driven world building.
The theme is home, and the world clearly conveys that theme because the world is home.
Friday, August 23, 2013
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Monday, August 19, 2013
Scads of thoughts on The Walking Dead: 400 Days and the value of taking on multiple personas.
This one is a long one.
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Friday, August 9, 2013
Shadowrun Returns is good, evoking a strange nostalgia for me for a game world that I forgot I knew pretty well back in the day.
That being said, I really want to talk about a tabletop board game right now, Elder Sign. I want to talk about the benefits of editing something down from the tedious and unwieldy to simpler interactions and simple decisions. Probably next week.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
It reminds me of the time I fell.
It's time for sin and Catholic guilt.
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
An awfully long podcast about Killer 7.
As always, I believe I got lost in talking about how Suda's games are about games. Not sure I articulated it as well as I have in some past articles. I dunno.
A review of the very nicely designed Rogue Legacy:
Monday, July 29, 2013
I often say that I prefer dogs to cats. Cats are self indulgent, self absorbed creatures. They remind me too much of people. They remind me too much of myself.
The dog, on the other hand, is a noble creature. Seemingly selfless, ever loyal, ever faithful, and capable of unconditional love.
My basset hound puppy, of course, escaped again, bolting outside (as she loves to do) to run roughshod over the neighborhood. I took a small piece of boneless chicken and a leash as my implements of entrapment. She made me chase her two blocks, but as always, she was trapped by her stomach, a creature of appetite, a creature of impulse. Once again, I was reminded of people and once again too much (unfortunately) of myself.
Sunday, July 21, 2013
Thursday, July 18, 2013
I swear if I hear this phrase one more time...
Yeah, I get what people are trying to suggest with it, but it's usually used by middle to upper class white kids that don't know that poverty exists everywhere.
Come to Detroit some time, and I'll show you houses that my sister and her husband insulated because people had their heat shut off and had ice building up on the interior of their walls (and, yes, helping out with paying the heating bill was also part of the solution, but they were looking for something that might serve as some longer term help since it was likely to happen again). Or come to my Salvation Army, and I'll introduce you to some guys I know that live in their cars. Now, I suppose you think these guys are "privileged" because they own a shitty '84 Buick Skylark, but I assure you that the overall picture isn't a portrait of an ideal society, nor is the car itself a particularly ideal place to eat and sleep in.
The phrase "First World Problems" is clever. I admire cleverness, but in this case, stop being so very clever, open your eyes, and help someone out that might need it. They're probably closer at hand than you think.
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Doesn't anyone listen to punk anymore?
I may sound condescending, but I often feel like I need to explain what punk is to just about everyone around me. That punk wants to provoke discomfort, regardless of how offensively that provocation might be to liberals, conservatives, your mom, or your dog, is something I feel like no one "gets" anymore.
In a culture so worried about words and who is going to be offended by what, we sure don't seem interested in intentionality. We just indict, indict, indict. It's the New Puritanism, and I can't bear it.
That isn't exactly what this article is about, though, just my own vague tangental musings.
This is about Suda 51 and how he tells me to "fuck off" whenever I play his games and how I kind of love him for it.
Friday, July 12, 2013
Monday, July 8, 2013
Monday, July 1, 2013
Having recently written about the HUD and its relationship to how we experience game worlds and the drama of game plots, I wanted to talk with someone else about how they view these seemingly "meta" elements of games. The following conversation with Nick Dinicola is the result:
Friday, June 28, 2013
Some thoughts on the interesting but frequently stupid Remember Me.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Friday, June 21, 2013
The double bind of the HUD: it seems artificial, yet its existence in many games represents information necessary to believe in the drama of the game.
Zap, zap, pow.
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
So, I saw Man of Steel. It's so-so. The main problem, I think, is that Superman and Lois Lane just don't have enough personality to care too much about. The female Phantom Zone villain is pretty fun at times, though.
Supes hasn't had much luck in video games either, and today I considered a few reasons why, which mostly have to do, of course, with his omnipotence and omnibenevolence. I consider whether or not either of them leads to mechanics that can make a game that might actually be fun to play. Superman might just be "anti-fun."
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
My girls and I have been playing Tera Online lately -- separately, since we only have one computer that can run it well. It got me thinking about why I'm playing this multiplayer game as a single player experience, which I think has much to do with the way that the grind has changed in modern RPGs.
Monday, June 3, 2013
The indie scene continues to be where it's at these days. I want my games faster, more challenging, and different. Monaco's aesthetics are cool, and it's gameplay grows on you nearly as quickly, especially the multiplayer.
While I have become more and more a glutton for punishment over the years, enjoying games that make me play more and more perfectly in order to survive, the interesting thing about Monaco is how mistakes become the best parts of the game.
Bad situations in this game and silly mistakes turn into events that are a pleasure to solve. Your or another player's error redefines the objectives of any given level as you have to figure out how to improvise to make that well planned heist -- that just fell apart somehow -- get back on track again.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Death, sex, and video games. Okay, maybe just death.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Oh, Nick and I did a podcast on minimalism and games a week or so ago.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Thursday, May 2, 2013
I kind of threw this together at the last moment. It's a piece based on some thoughts I already chatted about on the last podcast that concern how Infinite, like the original Bioshock, approaches its concept of game worlds, player choice, and scripting. Of course, these questions also, perhaps, reflect how the series presents its sense of the real world itself, free will, and determinism.
Monday, April 29, 2013
This week Nick and I were joined by a former student of mine, Charlie Hoffman, for a really, really extended discussion of Bioshock Infinite. (One might call the conversation... infinite. Ha! Did you see what I did there?!?).
It was a really good discussion I think, though, and well worth the investment of so much time.
Among other topics, like Disney princesses and exceptionally violent men, we discuss choice, determinism, and guilt. Themes that I think that I know all too well.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Suffering to write, writing to suffer.
Thinking and pacing, as always. Pacing and thinking.
This piece is probably too personal. Probably too scatter shot.
Like most of my head.
Ah, well, somebody will read it. Somebody already has.