Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Monday, December 22, 2014
Sunday, December 21, 2014
Monday, December 15, 2014
Thursday, December 11, 2014
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
I kind of love everything about this. It's the simplicity of the central plot focus coupled with the overly complex and baroque quality of everything else on display here.
I'm tempted to apologize for admiring this and maybe it's just that I haven't slept much as usual, but I just admire the moxie of this little project.
Monday, December 8, 2014
As always I've spent a lot of time this year playing games, a lot of League of Legends and a lot of small indie games. I've found myself largely moving away from the triple A space and looked to smaller more minimal things for the most part of late. I've played some good games and some games that want to be a lot more than they are--but weren't. However one of the best games that I played this year was a game that is a couple of years old, is something more like a triple A title, and that wants to be more than merely "a game." And it is more than that.
Spec Ops is an effort at creating something like a classic tragic narrative in a video game, something not generally possible in a medium where eternal life and growing more and more powerful and competent in order to "win" is usually the central goal. The game is able to define a tragic situation for the protagonist and implicate the player in the flawed nature of the game's "tragic hero." It's an awfully interesting and well executed experiment in game storytelling.
Since I was so take by the game and we hadn't discussed it in the past, we focused on it this week in lieu of some big Christmas sequel that is less experimental and is more of the same.
Monday, December 1, 2014
Sunday, November 30, 2014
An essay on the body and The Binding of Isaac, not something that I haven't exactly done before. Then again, Rebirth is a remake of the original, so it isn't like playing it isn't exactly a thing I haven't done before either. Nevertheless, the grotesque and the way that the body communicates remains a topic that I find inescapable personally. It gets stuck in my craw.
I may, however, have to spend some time this winter on a few projects that are related to this kind of idea that have been brewing in my brain for some time now (something with Watchmen at least, though there are some other things that continue to ping the back of my brain). These may be things I go to print with, though. I kind of need to move back to more formal, more traditional scholarly publications for a little bit I think.
I kind of need to make it clear that I still "have it" if I want to bother with the "right way" of doing things. I haven't published anything in print since I wrote on Palahniuk's Invisible Monsters and Choke a few years ago. Tick tock. Time to put in some time again.
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
The following is a discussion of the final episode of The Walking Dead Season Two, a more interesting episode than the previous ones in my estimaation.
I still can't figure out if I've used this image before. It sort of seems like it to me, but I just can't recall.
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Saturday, November 22, 2014
Friday, November 21, 2014
I am under no such illusions.
Don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Render unto Caeser what is Ceaser's.
And, I'm out.
Monday, November 17, 2014
(i'll squeal said she
just once said he)
it's fun said she
(may i touch said he
how much said she
a lot said he)
why not said she
(let's go said he
not too far said she
what's too far said he
where you are said she)
may i stay said he
(which way said she
like this said he
if you kiss said she
may i move said he
is it love said she)
if you're willing said he
(but you're killing said she
but it's life said he
but your wife said she
now said he)
ow said she
(tiptop said he
don't stop said she
oh no said he)
go slow said she
ummm said she)
you're divine!said he
(you are Mine said she)
Friday, November 14, 2014
I then asked her why she didn't follow the plan, and she simply shrugged and said, "I don't know."
By the way, according to my dream, cursed soup has a creamy broth.
Which to my mind explains the seductive qualities of cursed soup. I like soups with a creamy broth very much.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
What to say about Moonkid? It's a game about not saving the world, which is strangely related to something I said on this blog just a couple days ago (that or I'm merely projecting my recent thoughts on a game that I played shortly after thinking them--that kind of thing happens to me on occasion).
Oh, and I really love the character design of Moonkid's mom, who appears in the above picture.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Monday, November 10, 2014
Discussion of the penultimate episode of The Walking Dead Season Two.
Light she was and like a fairy
Her shoes were number 9
Herring boxes, without topses
Sandals were for Clementine
Thursday, November 6, 2014
Some assorted thoughts on perspective in video games, the value of first person in some instances and the value of third person (which I usually prefer) in others.
Friday, October 31, 2014
Thursday, October 30, 2014
'S funny, I always say that horror isn't really a genre that I especially care for. But here I am writing article after article about horror games lately. I'm also in the middle of another one as we speak.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Quite a nice game. Slightly reminiscent of The 7th Guest, but far less kitschy.
Chronological puzzles place the emphasis on the idea of the reconstruction of narrative. Thus, the game weds its mechanics with its more intense focus on storytelling.
I put this more plainly here:
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
This is a podcast that we did on horror games. For the life of me, I can't recall the conversation. I am really pleased with the splash image, though.
Maybe the conversation is good, too.
Sunday, October 26, 2014
Monday, October 20, 2014
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Monday, October 13, 2014
Friday, October 10, 2014
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Monday, October 6, 2014
Saturday, October 4, 2014
Friday, October 3, 2014
2. There's no crying in princess saving.
3. Slim down. There are too many reasons to enumerate all of the ways that this will be so beneficial to you and to your goals.
4. There's no whining in princess saving.
5. Don't die.
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Some concluding thoughts on The Wolf Among Us, which I apparently played wrong.
Sunday, September 28, 2014
Friday, September 26, 2014
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Watched Django Unchained again the other night with some folks who hadn't seen it before. About two seconds of a panning shot following a gunfight immediately brought the concluding sequences of each level of Hotline Miami to mind and provoked the thoughts that make up this post on the "celebration of carnage" represented frequently in Tarantino movies and in Hotline Miami. Memory is a funny thing.
Sarra says this post reads more like stuff I write when I'm writing well (as opposed to a lot of what I've written lately). She's probably write. She usually is about these kind of things.
Monday, September 22, 2014
Sunday, September 21, 2014
Saturday, September 20, 2014
I wrote a dissertation once a long time ago called little gods. I was unaware of this quotation at the time.
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
We did publish a podcast on Monday featuring three little games available to play for free online, only one of which I think is worth playing. That is, of course, the brilliant little browser-based econ sim, A Dark Room
Saturday, September 13, 2014
Kind of glad I wrote this critique of Dead Rising's lowered difficulty before I officially reviewed it because this is my only real complaint about the game. Frankly, it's as fun as always, just maybe too easy.
In this blog post, I discuss the problems of how the lowered challenge contradicts some of the genre's conventions regarding scarcity and its overall tension.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Monday, September 8, 2014
But I'm a total sucker for this still.
("Killing An Arab" is also good, though. Robert Smith's take on The Stranger.).
Pretty imagery in Transistor. Somewhat forgettable game.
Sunday, September 7, 2014
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
There's this weird, character in black face in The Binding of Isaac called Steven. I never quite knew what he was all about, but I did know that he was a character from another game by McMillen, Time Fcuk. So, I finally sat down and played through Time Fcuk the other night to maybe see what Steven represents to McMillen.
Having played it, I'm still not sure why he is in what appears to be black face, but I did have a number of things to say about Time Fcuk and how it fits into the McMillen canon.
Monday, September 1, 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Finally got the chance to play through Spec Ops: The Line (thanks, Isaac). It is really good, like Bioshock good as far as dealing with its themes in a really interesting and thoughtful way.
The game got me thinking again about video games and how they tend to fit into the broadest literary categories (tragedy and comedy), so I'm talking in part about Pac-Man as a tragic hero once again (which I always find amusing).
Sunday, August 24, 2014
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Some thoughts on the post-Minecraft phenomenon of playing unfinished games:
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
A day later than usual, but this podcast marks a point near the end of our discussion of The Wolf Among Us. I seem to recall liking this episode a bit better than the previous ones.
Saturday, August 16, 2014
--Norman Mailer, 1973
Friday, August 15, 2014
Another essay by a UWSP student. Erik Kersting graduated with a degree in English last year:
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
A few thoughts on a very old, very trashy game. That being said, some of this discussion is likely going to be useful to me for some other things I'm writing, and to be frank, the most extreme genres are often the starkest and most straightforward in their symbolism. They become easy to make a point with. Horror works as easily as sex farce and vice versa.
Sunday, August 10, 2014
Saturday, August 9, 2014
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Not the most amazing game ever, but interesting. It's got a Stephen King vibe in spots, but I really kind of got more interested in its circularity and repetition and what that means in the greater context of the medium.
It's brief and worth poking around a bit maybe just for its simplicity.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Had a ton of fun insisting that Sarra play the free-to-play horror game, The Cursed Forest. An audience gathered and much screaming commenced. Always a pleasure.
Even though I'm generally not a huge fan of horror as a genre (I'm not really into gore for gore's sake), the game is really rather superb (plus, it's more creepy than gory--more what I do like when I actually enjoy horror). Really smart design in terms of evoking horror and playing with player expectation.
If you haven't heard of it, you should check it out because it's free and it's good. The developer is not a native English speaker, so don't blame him for the sometimes less than stellar flavor text. Frankly, if the game could have the text cleaned up a bit (and/or insert some visual intro and conclusion, rather than text at all), I think he could sell it on Steam quite successfully for a low price (it's pretty short--about an hour and a half). It would be well reviewed, I think.
Saturday, July 26, 2014
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Monday, July 21, 2014
My obsession with Kentucky Route Zero continues apace.
Sunday, July 20, 2014
Saturday, July 12, 2014
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Not sleeping well. Not thinking well. However, wrote about a passage from Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and the way that it corresponds thematically to A Dark Room.
Hope it manages to make sense, since not everything is completely coherent in my own brain at the moment.
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Sunday, July 6, 2014
Thursday, July 3, 2014
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
My current fixation is A Dark Room. (Like I need more fixations. I'm dripping in them.).
There is something so elegant about this game and its incremental drip of information about its systems to its player, then its exponential explosion of those same systems, matching a similarly slower then rapidly expanding sense of its world.
This may be my game of the year.
If you know nothing about it, you should really check it out. Read my article after you've played it for awhile. It's better to know nothing going in.
Friday, June 27, 2014
A couple of years ago, I taught a graduate level course on interactive fiction. A student of mine named Kate Worzala produced an essay for that class on Tale of Tales's game The Path that I thought was good enough to encourage her to submit to PopMatters.
This year I taught an undergraduate version of that course. Again, I had a student, in this case, Paul Grosskopf, who produced a paper that I really felt should be published. So, here it is, an essay that uses Julia Kristeva's definition of "the abject" to help explore the relationship between the two protagonists of Beyond Two Souls.
Check it out. It's quite good.