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September Roundup

October 3rd, 2012 | Posted by Alan Williamson in Blogs of the Round Table:

I am delighted by the response to the BoRT revival. There were so many excellent submissions, and I hope you enjoyed writing them as much as I did reading them. If you caught our mid-September roundup, look after the horizontal line for the later submissions. Without further ado…

September’s theme was New Horizons:

2K’s Chris Hartmann recently said that achieving photorealism was the key to opening ‘new genres’ of games. Without discussing whether or not this is true (it isn’t), what genres or subjects have games left uncovered, and what should they be focusing on? Alternatively, if photorealism isn’t the limiting factor on the diversification and evolution of gaming experiences, what is? Were Belgian Eurodance group 2 Unlimited right with their assertion that, in fact, there are No Limits?


Amanda Lange argues that new genres rely on new means of interaction i.e. new input devices, and that gamers need to be developed with those new inputs in mind- something that will become apparent when the Wii U is released. By the way, does anyone want to buy my Kinect?

Nate Andrews talks about how games should include troughs of banality to complement the peaks of action, referring to how a future open-world Hitman game could play out. Although I’m not sure if I want to play as Agent 47 cleaning his bathroom and buying groceries, there are some obvious parallels with Léon here, which is never a bad thing.

Mike Schiller says that instead of looking for a Citizen Kane of gaming, we should be looking for its Taxi Driver instead. I think we need a new word instead of ‘game’. How about we call them ‘digics’ or something? Can I make up a word just like that?

Peter Shafer also wants new methods of input and feedback to make games (digics) less of a “one-sided conversation”. He argues that while digics are good at communicating, they’re not great at listening. They are that blustering guy in the pub.

Cha Holland favours “pulling the wings off fairies”, demystifying the digic development process and humanising digic creators. She also calls for a wider range of niche perspectives in criticism and development- you could perhaps call it ‘The Anthropy Principle’.

Trent Shaw uses the prevalence of violence in the modern digic as a springboard for talking about how mechanical limitations and character relationships that only occur relative to the player limit the possibilities for sincere connections.


Rachel Helps thinks that games’ innate strengths in simulation should be expanded to areas as wide as pregnancy, disease and debilitation, and or even a personality-driven spin on The Sims. Although based some of my past experiences with flatmates, that might fall into the “survival horror” category.

Jeff Wheeldon talks about the myth of redemptive violence and its influence on the concept of ‘heroes’ in gaming, arguing for a heroism that is for justice and not just the thrill of the fight.

Nathan Blades’ epic ‘A Future of Polygonal Friends’ is an omnibus on the current state of AI and where it can be taken in the future, focusing on AI as a character-driven narrative tool rather than mere opposition.

Morgan Brown’s grandmother doesn’t think much about video games, but he sure does: he points to the more absorbing and demanding qualities of games as a good basis for tackling societal issues at large.

Eric Swain wants an unrealistic future, where explanation is not required and our concept of ‘realism’ gives way to to a more abstract nature of reality that still imbues meaning for the player.


Alright, that’s the first hurdle out of the way. Thank you to everyone who contributed and made this an amazing first month back for BoRT!


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<iframe type="text/html" width="600" height="20" src="http://www.tinysubversions.com/bort.html?month=September12" frameborder="0"></iframe>

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