May 14th

Abstract image evoking bird silhouette
Sound, size, and space are all discussed this week as critics work out what makes games affect us more deeply.

Speaking

First, an investigative piece about paying people to chat and play with you, and then a reflection on the voices of the dying.

“the sounds of death are not shorthand. They are the things we are supposed to be paying attention to. Those sounds are supposed to grab us and keep us. They’re meant to haunt us beyond all reason and thought, and they work, at least for me.”

Excavation

Two pieces on remembering games this week suggest different ways of approaching our memories of games.

“There’s a lot to remember the Atari 2600 for beyond the cautionary tale about movie tie-ins and a New Mexico landfill full of literal shovelware. The console gave us third-party developers and 2D platformers, upgradeable cartridges, and a global market for games.”

Identification

Two approaches to relating to characters in videogames are found here, positioning the player-character as an avatar and as a representative of gaming as an activity.

“While researchers and game designers tend to assume that players automatically identify with the avatar or character that they control, Shaw discovers that this is not the case. Rather than the interactive aspects of games driving the process of identification, she argues that it is the affective qualities of game narratives that build connections between players and characters.”

Fetishistic details

Finally, two writers consider the meaning of interacting with the tiny details of a videogame world.

Gnog is about trying to understand the world, about breaking it into functional pieces and mechanical architectures. There is merit to the notion that miniaturizing life makes it more comprehensible; the fetishistic detail of Luyten’s dollhouse exists on a spectrum with a Lego set. But Gnog manages to escape the desire to have everything just-so”

Did you think that roundup was over quickly? I did! I’m not sure why there were so few pieces remaining by the time I got to the final list this week. If I missed something that you thought should have been included, let me know and I’ll consider it for next week.

Plugs

  • Heterotopias 002 by Heterotopias
    There is a new issue of the PDF version of Heterotopias, a new blog that has fairly consistently made the TWIVGB roundup since it got started earlier this year.

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