Welcome to the first week of This Week in Videogame Blogging for Critical Distance – for the week to 19th April, 2009. Let’s get into it.
This week the gents from Eegra wrote a critique of the body of work of a certain game journalist and his propensity for overusing food metaphors in reviews. ‘Who is Kevin VanOrd and Why Is His Jaw Tired‘ is a must read for anyone involved with game reviews, or anyone sick of poorly written reviews (I’m lookin’ at you L.B. Jeffries). After that, check out the follow-up ‘Kevin VanOrd is a Remarkably Cool Dude‘. Lovely to see people with a sense of humour.
Pulling one from the ‘obliquely related to game criticism’ pile, here is an interview with one quarter of Rock, Paper, Shotgun and otherwise generally famous games writer Kieron Gillen. Interesting how he talks about how his work on comics informs his work with games, and vice versa. Quite the creative gentleman that Gillen.
Tom Chick is in my top 5 current writers about games when it comes to writing about experiences with games. Here he is talking about Demigod in game Diary ‘Meet Sedna.’
L.B. Jeffries put up a new piece in his Videogames and Dreams series this week, which as a series I highly recommend. I’m going to link to this latest one even thought I rather strongly disagreed with portions of it – I think he leans a bit more heavily on Freud than he should – but there’s gold in there and it’s worth searching around for it.
Michael Abbott at The Brainy Gamer did a pair of posts this week on voice acting in games, which gained some significant traction in the blogosphere. Chances are, you’ve probably already read the first and the second however there is a much greater chance that you missed this much older post that Michael put together in September of ’08 that gave some truly atrocious voice acting examples. To remind people of older posts: This Is Why We Exist; We Remember. (Oh, and if Michael’s post doesn’t sate your desire for less-than-excellent voice acting, try Audio Atrocities)
For those of us whom discussions of game music get us all warm and fuzzy inside, here’s a nice summary of a GDC presentation by Troels Fohlman. Fohlman is most well known for scoring the newer games in the Tomb Raider series (Think Anniversary onwards) but he is also known for his amazing ‘micro scoring’ game music technique. I wish I had heard of and read more about it when writing my thesis, because it really sounds quite extraordinary.
Another great games writer called ‘Tom’ but this one is Tom Francis and the absolute must read post of the week goes to his alternate ending to Bioshock. This stuff is red hot. I’m sure everyone will have read it soon and then we can all pretend that this is how Bioshock actually ended. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
And now here’s a few links from a week-or-so ago that I was too busy to sculpt into a weekly post at the time:
Another post related to audio – Mike Brothers talks about how the sonic component of Peggle works to keep him addicted.
Graduate School Gamer writes about why graphics in games actually do matter to player immersion. I can attest – I upgraded to Vista to see the effect of DirectX10 for Far Cry 2 and now I wouldn’t dream of going back.
Justin Keverne writes about his fave game development studio and looks at it’s traceable impact on design. Longitudinal studies! (are a waste your life and your money, according to a friend of mine)
John Walker uses words to induce a knowing smile in his readers. Here he is playing as a ‘Bastard of the Old Republic‘.
‘A Games Design Blog’ talks about failure, punishment and player learning through the lens of Team Fortress 2, Far Cry 2 and CLINT HOCKING’s GDC talk on intentionality and player failure.
Semi-Retro – Mitch Krpata schools us on how to use Killzone 2 sniper controls. Isn’t it a bit ridiculous that in our field a blog post from last month is considered old? Another reason Why We Exist.
This was The Week (and a bit more) In Videogame Blogging.