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December 16th

December 16th, 2012 | Posted by Kris Ligman in This Week in Videogame Blogging:

Do you hear that sound? It’s the sound of only three Sundays left to 2012. Let’s start your morning off right with This Week in Videogame Blogging, shall we?

AMERICA, F*CK YEAH

Capping off his recent feature on text-based war games, John Brindle shares a roundup of his extended interviews with high-profile interactive fiction authors including Emily Short, Porpentine and Paolo Pedercini.

On Eurogamer, Wesley Yin-Poole shares a nice long retrospective on what went wrong in trying to bring the Xbox to the Japanese market.

Over on Nightmare Mode, Canadian Reid McCarter and American Jordan Rivas get together to discuss Canadian-produced Assassin’s Creed 3‘s take on the American Revolution.

Meanwhile, on his own blog, Jordan Rivas relates how Call of Duty reminds him of a Katy Perry song.

KEEPING GATES

We catch up with John Brindle again back over on Nightmare Mode, where Brindle outlines a pretty compelling critique of gamer elitism:

[Jim Rossignol wrote that] we shouldn’t worry about what non-gamers think of games, because “in this instance,” he wrote, “we are the highly educated elite.”

It’s a good point. It arouses in me the instant desire to defend the fruits of the traditional education I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy (a word I choose advisedly) in both games and ‘real life’. Complexity of the kind impenetrable without years of copious and counter-intuitive study is valuable and beautiful for those who want to dance with it and I will defend it forever and always on those terms. Not everyone, however, gets invited to that party – and others are denigrated simply for not wanting to go.

This article is about how if the comparison of games to education is taken seriously and to its logical extent, it gives context and clarity to some of our loudest critical debates. But it’s also about how that comparison has cultural and political cultural dimensions we can’t avoid, because if gamers are an ‘educated elite’ they also act like one: valuing some kinds of game literacy over others, and restricting the provision of the higher forms.

DESIGN DOCS AND DIAGNOSTICIANS

Programmer Jean-Francois Levesque furnishes us with a wonderfully in-depth look at designing the fire propagation system in Far Cry 2.

Over on IGN, Rick Lane points out some noted shortcomings in games’ depictions of sword fighting, as well as design challenges the medium faces to portray it accurately.

Echoing some of the television studies work of Lynn Spigel, Crikey’s Daniel Golding shores up an interesting analysis of how the Wii’s marketing was in fact intended to render the console “invisible.”

THESE THINGS WE PLAY

Every week a good bulk of the criticism we see is devoted to particular games, from new releases to fond classics. Let’s tuck in.

Journey

On VGRevolution, Marc Price shares an emotional, personal account of grief, atheism, and finding ‘Heaven’ in Journey. Meanwhile, Bit Creature’s Patricia Hernandez provides us with a striking narrative of finding herself largely venturing alone in a game known for its imparted sense of companionship.

Bientôt l’été

This new project from Tale of Tales released mere days ago to positive response from many corners. Chris Bateman offers a substantial review including some worthwhile comment on the game’s imperfections. Moving Pixels’ G. Christopher Williams draws upon its chess game element to discuss the dialogue system.

Meanwhile, over on Video Game Tourism, Rainer Sigl criticizes the developers’ adoption of the term “notgames,” suggesting it rejects such works’ position as avant-garde. The comments below the article are worthwhile as well.

Far Cry 3

Unwinnable’s Stu Hovarth casts Far Cry 3 as a delusional fantasy which uses its problematic tropes consciously. Meanwhile, Gameranx’s Rowan Kaiser poses that the game is about colonization–literally, the white colonization of a tropical island, its resources and native population.

Star Trek Online

On Gamers with Jobs, Alex Martinez finds what’s missing from Star Trek Online: the franchise’s trademark optimism.

Persona 4

Twinfinite’s Matthew Kim approaches how Persona 4‘s villain embodies 21st century nihilism.

Max Payne

Andrew Lavigne tracks how the Max Payne series moves from Payne’s self-interest to a sense of social responsibility.

X-COM

Game Shelf’s Jason McIntosh describes how X-COM: Enemy Unknown games the player into constructing a narrative.

Back on Nightmare Mode, Tom Auxier touches on X-COM as well, in particular asking if strategy games and horror are incompatible. In the course of his essay, Auxier brings up some counter-examples, including a board game, which makes this a nice companion piece for our next section…

BOARD GAMES

On Kill Screen, Jason Johnson interviews Ralph Anspach, designer of Anti-Monopoly.

Meanwhile on Peasant Muse, Jeremy Antley wants to know why MoMA overlooked board games in the course of its recent game acquisitions.

MENTAL HEALTH

In this harrowing piece for Kill Screen, Mary Hamilton draws connections between her mental illness and her time spent gaming. (Trigger warning: frank discussion of self-harm behavior.)

#1REASONWHY

Filamena, Meguey and Brie Sheldon get together to share the story of inadvertently starting a movement.

IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR

Michael Abbott skips the conventional Game of the Year countdown list in favor of naming some of his favorite features, hardware, trends and special moments of the past year.

YOU BETTA VOTE!

Remember, remember! Submissions for 2012′s This Year in Videogame Blogging is open from now until midnight of December 28th. Read this post for more details, then head on over to our email submissions page to send in your recommendations for this year’s best in games blogging!

And as always, you can send in your weekly contributions by email or by @ing us on Twitter.

Until next week, stay frosty and/or toasty as your hemisphere and preferences dictate!

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