Welcome to another fine edition of This Week in Videogame Blogging, where we curate the most interesting articles in the critical blogosphere—or “ludodecahedron”, as some prefer to call it—for you to peruse and enjoy. Though whether this week’s edition is truly “fine” is something better left for you to judge, dear reader.
The first article to grace this week’s edition is Adam Ruch’s piece on the immersion of first- and third-person games in Kotaku Australia. He writes:
“My issue lies somewhere in between the concept of immersion and character-identification, which aren’t exactly the same thing. The two are related, and reinforce each other, but can also operate independently and in different ways. The first way, the ‘common wisdom’ is repeated in game design manuals and states that first-person perspective is more immersive and makes the player feel more like they are the character in the game.”
Elsewhere on the internet, contributing writers to Kill Screen review a few of their favorite fatalities in Mortal Kombat. Here’s Kirk Hamilton with his review of Mileena’s special attack, “Be Mine!”
“Oh, the hunger of Mileena. The insatiable desire of this beautiful golem, driven mad with rageful horniness, built to be as a goddess but cursed with the fang-laden mouth of a Lovecraftian fish-monster. She regards her helpless prey, drawing out the moment before launching both of her sai into his chest, leaving him standing skewered and bleeding before her. She sensually saunters over, laying her hands upon his cheeks and gently turning him to face her. It’s a quiet, intimate moment, almost shocking in its immediacy. Conquered and conquerer, their eyes nearly meeting—in another lifetime, in an entirely different kind of game, this could melt into a romantic embrace. But … no. Mileena tears his head from his body, stepping into the spotlight and removing her mask. With her true visage revealed, she lowers her horrid maw and feasts upon the severed face of her foe, throwing the remains to the ground and moaning in blood-soaked ecstasy. I could lie and say that wasn’t the hottest thing I’ve seen all day, but where would that get us?”
Kirk Hamilton also wrote an article on Paste Magazine on the subject of genres and classifications in videogames.
“Videogames certainly present all sorts of unique challenges when it comes to genre; to start with, they exist across a wide enough experiential spectrum that even the simplest ones require multiple types of classification. We must take into account how a game looks, its setting, and if applicable, the type of story it is trying to tell. But first and foremost, a game’s genre must describe how it plays, the ways in which we can expect to interact with it.”
Also on Paste is Sinan Kubba’s article on what went wrong with Mirror’s Edge, and how to fix it.
Returning to the subject of genres, K. Cox shares her thoughts—or meditations—on the adventure game, a genre long maligned for its strict linearity.
Matt Weise writes about “The Sublime Joy of Flight” for the MIT Gambit Lab, in which he shares his experience with Pilotwings Resort and relates it to his love of flying games.
On his blog Dubious Quality, Bill Harris writes about a storm that’s currently brewing in the game industry, which should give everyone something to worry about. According to the post, game publishers are attempting to starve the traditional games press out of business in an effort to “control the message” about their products as much, and as often as possible.
Johannes Koski continues his investigation into the women of Liberty City on the Border House. The article is part two of a three-part series.
Jorge Albor of the Experience Points blog has a few words to share on the launch of Portal 2’s ARG, which lead up to the release of the game. He writes:
“The marketing stunt, if we can call it that, is unsettling, at least personally, because it fires a spotlight on the cultural power differential between the development studio and its player fan base.”
On Zang.org, William Huber writes about “critical gamification,” and the recent trend of “gamification,” which is quickly becoming a part of marketing buzzspeak, and how critics can deal with it.
Wrapping up this week’s edition of TWIVGB is a piece by Paul Bauman, who rarely updates his Iterations of Cid blog. He’s written a piece on Earth Reborn, a new board game that manages to provide meaningful experiences through strategy elements in its gameplay.