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December 6th

December 6th, 2009 | Posted by Ben Abraham in This Week in Videogame Blogging:

Time again for another instalment of This Week In Videogame Blogging – but first a quick preface. I want to apologise to all the people who have emailed links over the past few months with and suggestions to pieces of critical writing. Most of the time I haven’t responded, but I do get them and I appreciate all of them. So if I didn’t include yours in a weekly roundup it’s probably because I didn’t think it was quite appropriate, but please don’t let that discourage you from sending them in the future – even links to your own writing and criticism – as I rely on a whole network of people for most of the new discoveries I make.

Onwards, to this week’s worth reading articles: David Wildgoose of Kotaku Australia uses a Gamasutra interview with a trio of the games industry’s leading comedy writers to spin off into a discussion of how and why some games manage to pull off humor while so many others fail.

From Critical Distance editor David Carlton comes this winning trifecta of recommendations: The first, of a vintage slightly older than this week, is by Terri of Geek Feminism who discusses the always interesting issue of ‘Casual versus Hardcore’. The second, by Danc of Lost Garden, concerns ‘Three false constraints’ that bound the current discussion of the future direction of videogames. He notes that,

…single player game mechanics may never become a populist technique for saying meaningful things about the human condition.

Third and finally, Carlton recommended this strange videogame oddity – someone has written the equivalent of a small novel about their time spent playing Far Cry 2 in an ‘ironmode’ style. Why would anyone ever do such a thing?

Dan Bruno this week has an alternative take on genre, positing that “a video game genre elucidates how and where a gamer’s skills will transfer between similar titles.” An interesting way of looking at it.

Let’s get a pool going – when will the next TWIVGB without a post about Dragon Age: Origins be? Not this week, as Denis Farr in his Gay Gamer column writes about “Romancing Zevran” in a discussion of the romantic options for gay male characters in Dragon Age: Origins.

Jim Rossignol pointed out this week that Zombies are getting a bit passé as generic ‘guilt free’ videogame enemies. His half-serious suggestion is that Giant Robots could be the next big thing, but my money is on Aliens coming back into fashion. Maybe we could get a second pool going?

If you’ll recall, last week I mentioned that the new blog Borderhouse was one to watch. For those of us watching they certainly haven’t disappointed coming up with a plethora of interesting things to read this week. Here’s one, taking a look at the phenomena of the platemail bikini, but there’s a bunch more also worth taking a look at.

Cary at the ‘Play Like A Girl’ blog saw a rather questionable advertisement by Sony for Uncharted 2 and was justifiably annoyed with it. She says,

…no, this is not the most horrible commercial in the world but it is an enforcement of some very strong and very persistent stereotypes. All I’m saying is, life’s good outside of the mold.

Dan Kline writes about replayability, and how most definitions of ‘game’ don’t come close to mentioning that a game must be “replayable” and yet he rightly notes that many people consider it an important part of what makes a good game. A lot of food for thought in here.

In Andrew Vanden Bossche’s latest Game, Set, Watch column he writes about what makes Faith form Mirrors Edge a memorable character.

Have a look at this; Trent Polack has imagined transcribed a conversation from the early days of film. It’s well served by its brevity, and I initially thought it was some sort of parody. Truth is stranger than fiction.

Michael Abbott has been playing Assassin’s Creed II this week and he wonders about dialect and language, specifically;

When Shakespeare says we’re in Milan, what does that mean? Are we all, audience included, now Milanese too?

I have no problem with reading subtitles and foreign language films, in fact often preferring them, and I’ll take authentic performances over dubbing any day.

Lastly, lots of people and outlets are doing or have end-of-decade lists, and Mitch Krpata is doing the same.

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