Welcome to another hefty instalment of This Week in Videogame Blogging.
First up, Daniel Floyd, he of the funny voice filter, presents part 8 of his video lecture series on games. This one is about ‘Video Games and Moral Choices’ apparently and was co-written with game designer James Portnow.
Simon Cottee played a game of Sleep is Death. That in itself is not extraordinary, but he turned it into a short film called ‘Rule’, which is rather extraordinary.
Boing Boing had a piece this week called ‘Chimerical Avatars and Other Identity Experiments from Prof. Fox Harrell’. The key point of the study being that,
Much more is at stake than just fun and games. Prejudice, bias, stereotyping, and stigma are built not only into many games, but other forms of identity representations in social networks, virtual worlds, and more. These have real world effects on how we see ourselves and each other.
Kirk Hamilton at Gamer Melodico wrote down some in-game quotes from Splinter Cell: Conviction this week and finds that quotes removed from their context can give one a very different impression of what kind of a game it is.
Tanner Higgin this week wrote about ‘Kick Ass and the Ethics of Gameplay’ for his blog Gaming the System.
Kate Simpson wrote a two-part series of posts about Dragon Age: Origins titled ‘Blood Vessels’, which she describes as ‘a look at how character origins contributed to narrative themes of blood and identity’.
Andrew at Little Bo Beep takes somewhat more of a contrarian viewpoint on the game this week, in a post entitled ‘Dragon Age is not the next Baldur’s Gate’.
Paste Magazine’s Jason Killingsworth writes about ‘The Daily Grind’ at the Start Press videogame blog.
Graduate students from the Georgia Tech Digital Media program have a new blog called ‘Rules of the Game’ and it’s an intriguing new approach to games writing. There’s some confusion about this piece by Simon Ferrari that calls itself “Analysis – Art Style Orbient” as it gives a score at the end, “based on how well the writer thinks the aspect in focus is designed.” Ferrari also writes this week about the time he spent in a MUD as a kid. As a young teen without internet better than dialup until I was about 16, I was intensely jealous of one particular friend who played a MUD called Dragon’s Gate. Intensely jealous.
Speaking of MUDs, Steven O’Dell at Raptured Reality asks if we’ve ‘Got mud?’ He’s not talking about Multi User Dungeons, however, but rather about the mud made from dirt and water and the game MotorStorm. O’Dell describes it as
…an amalgamation of genres that somehow seems to meld together quite effectively, but ultimately leaves the final product with a feeling that something is missing.
The kids game ‘Tumblin Monkeys’ get more of a rise out of Chris Dahlen than God of War III. (Which could say more about Tumblin’ Monkeys than God of War, but I digress.) Dahlen sees a disconnect between the game’s slick controls and its protagonists rough and brutal demeanour.
Denis Farr writing for The Border House this week maintains a keen and sceptical eye about a story that emerged from the UK’s Daily Star, involving a woman receiving an injury falling from a Wii Balance Board and acquiring as a result “persistent sexual arousal syndrome.” Farr’s post wouldn’t be out of place in one of TWIVGB’s other favourite blogs, Gaming Watch.
Frequent contributor to TWIVGB Eric Swain has written about ‘Games as Structure’ this week, and it’s a long post discussing a host of games, concluding with the ponderous statement “the designer creates the story, but the player creates the plot. Just make sure you know which part you’re dabbling in.”
And lastly for the week, Justin Keverne has been running a short series of imagined quotes from various games this week; Betrayal; Fear; Love; Regret; and Isolation. I like that he’s doing something different here than just writing another essay about X or Y game (not that there’s anything wrong with that, but there’s scope in games criticism for so much more), so check it out and see if you like it too.