Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

Look at him! He does backflips!A great way to start the week is to spend some of it looking back on the previous. Time then for This Week In Videogame Blogging.

Tired of the run-of-the-mill, dry, videogame criticism? Does the idea of some subversive, satirical commentary on the ‘Games as Art’ discussion by way of children’s drawings tickle your fancy? Why are you looking at me like that?

Eskil Steenberg (solo, independent developer of forthcoming MMO game LOVE) talks about the importance of backups (or their non-importance), procedural generation and why a game being procedural is not the same as being random.

Jim Rossignol writes at length for Rock, Paper, Shotgun about the recently published book ‘Game Addiction’ and why, despite some initial reservations, it seems like a solid book.

Chris Dahlen, a bit of a chronic freelancer, has been without a regular home for some time. As of this week he now has a new column at Edge Online. If they are all this good, we’re in for a treat. He starts by examining the threesome potential in Overlord II and why their approach is actually a somewhat tasteful and mature one. He says,

That man (or woman) on-screen – that’s me. I don’t want to just sit there watching myself have intercourse if I can’t control it. And I definitely don’t want to control it, because trying to steer a sex act using a game controller is as ludicrous as ludicrous gets.

The most prominent piece of news this week was that Gay Gamer respectfully declined to be a runner-up winner for EA’s Dante’s Inferno “Acts of Lust” contest. As Tom Chick said on his own blog, “Hell hath no fury like that of a gay man ridiculing heterosexual folly.”

The Runner is a great blog that is part-storytelling and part analysis and critique of the game Mirror’s Edge. It’s got a new episode out this week, all about the use and application of colour. (Edit 2016-28-09 – Direct link replaced with archive copy)

Colour isn’t something that’s applied to Mirror’s Edge by an artist. Colour’s part of the design itself, as much as the layout of the pipes and balance beams are, and as much as the combat and puzzle design is. Colour directs, it informs and it frames the story. In a game where you’re often running to fast to make out your surroundings, the colour speaks to the player in ways that complicated architecture or visual cues cannot. There’s no lava level here, no enemy flags flying. So instead, they flash lights at you. Danger. Safety. Escape.

Michael Clarkson has obviously been playing Red Faction: Guerrilla, as he takes it to task this week for not engaging with its subject matter in a deeper way. Some very intelligent and biting critiques from Mr. Clarkson but I haven’t played the game so I can’t comment on how accurate they are. Judging by my feelings towards the developer’s previous game, Saints Row 2, I think he’s probably pretty close to dead on the money.

Although his cause embodies a different philosophy, the game’s ironically-named hero Alec Mason adopts the same tactics and general approach as the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Iraq. While the game rigorously penalizes the death of almost every civilian, Mason uses hit-and-run attacks, exploding vehicles, and ambushes to push an occupying force off Mars. The game certainly doesn’t lack for fun, but it’s inappropriately ambivalent about engaging its subject matter. Red Faction‘s weakly-constructed fiction is too flimsy to hold up a serious consideration of real guerrilla war, but too strong and topical to dismiss those implications.

I know it’s been short, it feels like we’ve barely begun, but I’ll leave you this week with a link to an Offworld story that details a new iPhone game that happens to feature a cameo from everyone’s favourite TigSource cockpit-compo winner – Enviro Bear! There will always be a tiny soft spot in my heart for Enviro Bear and by the looks of it that’s the case for more than just I. The article details, however, more than just the cameo – it talks about Indie game developer camaraderie. Lovely stuff all round.