This is week 33 out of a possible 52 for the year 2009. What's the significance of week 33? Nothing, except that it means it's time for a new This Week In Videogame Blogging.
Eliot Fish at his new SMH blog uncovers the surreptitious link between forthcoming Bioware game Star Wars: The Old Republic and the Sydney Harbour Bridge (check out the last link on the page).
LB Jeffries writes two great pieces this week, the first, a great analysis of the old Lucasarts game 'Tie Fighter' which looks at the themes of the game in light of our Post-9/11 world.
Comparisons between the United States and the Empire over the past eight years are nothing new. Internet memes, Family Guy gags, and general references to American Imperialism throughout the nation's history all make it an easy analogy. As the only Star Wars game that has you serving under the Empire without remorse, TIE Fighter is a unique game because it lets you experience being a servant to a massive government just after a terrorist attack.
The second, 'Movies That Wish They Were Games“, reads sort of like a critique of the last ten years of summer blockbusters. Says Jeffries, “They already have video games where I can smash an entire skyscraper, why would I want to watch someone else essentially play a game in front of me?” Why indeed.
I don't really need to add more than a link and the title to this one: “My Favourite Part of WWII was the Zombies” by Hard Casual.
Touché, Bitches writes about the rise of Game Criticism/Journalism online and how Web 2.0 is (potentially) raising standards of print gaming journalism. Anecdotally, I'd say this is probably a true reflection: one only needs to take a glance at scans of magazines from the late 80's to see that.
On Ian Bogost's blog: an intriguing read this week was “A Theory of Cuteness” with insights into how western cuteness differs from Eastern (read: Japanese) cuteness. Oh, and also of note is that Bogost’s other blog ‘Water Cooler Games’ (which he co-founded with Gonzalo Frasca) has closed this week. What is with this new trend with blogs actually ending? Here’s what Ian has to say about WCG’s closure on his personal blog.
Chris Dahlen is setting quite a dangerous precedent: three columns and three mentions in TWIVGB. I might have to skip next week to keep up the fa^^ƒÂ§ade of non-partisanship (kidding!). This week he's discussing the strange side-project of composer Vincent Diamante, who made, along with a friend, a mobile arcade cabinet.
It would be terribly remiss of me not to point out that at some point last week, System Shock 2 turned 10. That's older than some small children! What better way to celebrate than re-read Kieron Gillen's always fine essay 'The Girl Who Wanted to Be God'.
Fierce Punch makes a good point about developers who want to punish and make players work for their game: They work for us!
If the entire game-buying public stopped purchasing games at once, every developer in the world would go under. The reverse isn’t true. If game developers got fed up one day, threw their hands in the air and said “enough”, all we lose is a hobby. We don’t lose our livelihood. …Guess what that means, developers? You work for me.
James O'Connor wrote a a post called 'I Fought the War, But the War Won' this week. Here's a quote,
Already games have done a terrific job of showing us that there are real 'winners' in war, but surely by now that's a tired point, no matter how well it's told; it's a lesson that holds a different value for the side that actually loses in the conventional sense. Whether this would mean taking on the role of a foreign invasion or simply portraying the loss of the Allied forces, I'd love to see an interactive exploration of the devastation of losing out in a massive conflict, one that will affect everyone and everything your virtual avatar was fighting for.
I've long been an advocate of games exploring themes that go further than player empowerment and domination. I'd love to see a game that mirrored the futility and frustration real soldiers must have felt in wars like the Vietnam War where, no matter how many individual battles they won or soldiers they killed, the country still slipped from their control. I think it would take a gutsy and experienced studio to do it though.
And lastly, Gregory Weir's latest monthly game 'Silent Conversation' is out and has been causing some non-silent conversations in my twitter stream. Also the entrants to TigSource's latest Indie game compo are ready for your all-seeing judgemental eye. Oh, and I should mention, the theme for the competition was Adult/Education. Don't say I didn't warn you! (My pick for the winner of the ones I've played so far would be 'I Have Candy Get in the Van'. Creepy as hell.)