Another week, another This Week In Video Game Blogging, done by yours truly, the master of the shotgun style of aggregation.
We begin at Popmatters Moving Pixel’s blog where early in the week Kris Ligman finishes the sites set of posts focusing on the amateur game Dungeoneer by looking at player guilt. G. Christopher Williams declares “Everybody wants to Own the World.” Jorge Albor looks at civic education games and how Mass Effect 2 may have one-upped them on their own turf. And finally Nick Dinicola explains how the tension of Metro 2033 comes from the contrasting the cramped populated areas with the large barren ones.
Mark Serrels on Australian Kotaku looks at the hows and whys of the Moral Panic Cycle of video games, talking with Texas A&M Professor Christopher J. Ferguson in the light of the then upcoming R18+ rating vote in Australia. Also on Kotaku, commenter Kiori Hayabusa writes a decent length defense of why Roger Ebert has the right to not give a shit if games are art.
IGN UK’s Michael Thomsen, the same man who declared Metroid Prime to be the Citizen Kane of video games, writes a lucid Contrarian Corner post on Fallout: New Vegas.
Jose Gonzalez Bruno on his blog gamereader (which he should tell some people exists) writes about the “Tyranny of the Masses” with regards to the Mass Effect 2 player data, saying:
As we have seen, publishers and developers have profoundly different ways of looking at the world, and this creates the possibility of conflict when it comes to interpreting player data. Developers may look at a statistic such as “80% percent of players chose the soldier” and see it as an eminently solvable problem of menu design and presentation, but publishers could just as easily seize on that as a justification to cut costs or-worse-to make additional money off of the dedicated fan who is willing to pay for DLC. The worst case scenario is that developers will end up losing such arguments more often than not, and we the audience will end up settling for lesser games.”
Chad Birch at GameInternals writes “Understanding Pac Man Ghost Behavior.” The title is sort of self-explanatory.
Dr. Joel (as in he has a doctorate) of Electron Dance writes about Abstraction in video games, specifically war simulations. Using the movie War Games as a jumping off point.
Many will remember the climactic moment when Joshua runs through hundreds of nuclear war simulations, trying to find a win scenario- the result being, of course, that he can’t, and we go home with the message that nuclear war is bad. In the 1980s my generation wasn’t worried about al-Qaeda terrorism; we grew up fearing nuclear war, the literal end of the world. In 2010, this is no longer the most important scene of the movie.
Of more significance is a scene a few minutes earlier when the military brass at NORAD don’t know whether they’re witnessing an imminent nuclear strike or a simulation.
A number of articles look at various items on the general design front. Denis Farr at his blog Vorpal Bunny Ranch looks at the “Long Corridors” of Final Fantasy XIII and Mass Effect 2 and how they helped him complete the games. Colin Northway guest blogging at Andy Moore’s site talks about the rods and cones in our eyes and how it affects precision platforming in Super Meat Boy. Adrian Forest from Three Parts Theory gets back to writing talking about how in game maps are used as a dynamic part of the fiction. While at Second Person Shooter, Laura Michet tells us about a completely user created game: 1000 Blank Cards and the utter insanity that arises.
The Border House’s Cuppycake looks at the unconventional beauty of Princess Theradras from World of Warcraft.
Pyrofennec from Ars Marginal looks at the turn Dark Fantasy has taken in response to expanding or breaking the mold that Tolkien established and the disgusting place it has lead. At the end he then sees how this has effected Dragon Age: Origins.
J.P. Grant at his blog Infinite Lag writes a politically inspired post about how gaming is viewed and the responsibility of not fighting but educating the mainstream to what gaming is about.
Shawn Graham writing for Play the Past describes his experience to use Civilization IV in an attempt educate his students on an era of the Roman Empire using the game’s systems.
Tanner Higgin from Gaming the System says there is a few things Bayonetta should learn from Lady Gaga when it comes to making men uncomfortable.
At Bit Mob, Dennis Scimeca takes an interesting close look at a video game personality I had never heard of before, but is well known in the industry. Gerard Williams is a vibrant and energetic personality that is a divisive figure, with some saying he’s a needed quantity and others saying he represents what is wrong with gaming journalism.
Dilyan at Splits Screen Co-op explores the question of “Why Do We Play Video Games?” with numerous answers and quotes from around the blogosphere.
Our own Ben Abraham at his blog, I Am Ben Abraham, first brags about his article in the latest issue of Kill Screen Magazine, but then explores the topic of how we approach our criticism saying we are being too analytical and not persuasive enough.
Emily Short writes in her GameSetWatch column Homer in Silicon about the indie game Life Flashes By by Deirdra Kiai saying that the cause and effect of choices and actions are far more personal and far more affecting the mainstream games.
Zach at Hailing from the Edge talks at length about the successes and failings of the Assassin’s Creed franchise.
Jeffery L. Jackson at Video Game Theory and Language writes about “The Fractured State of Social Media in Gaming” this week.
And finally, the people at Extra Credit working over at the Escapist Magazine bring us the first in the long promised videos on diversity in games starting off with “Sexual Diversity.”
And after my impassioned post two week ago about our need for everyone to send us links to make our job easier and TWIVGB better, I’d like to thank those who submitted a link this week, all three of you.