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April Roundup: The Long Journey

McCarter explores the history and self-perception of Japan’s Yakuza, and how that enduring myth has served as the engine that fueled the Yakuza series, and the long journey that has propelled Kiryu into and out of the underworld time and again in service of his stalwart moral character coming to shirtless, brass-knuckled blows with the criminals who don’t fit the romantic ideal of a noble criminal.

And that’s it for this month. Our journey, at least this particular version of it, finishes here. There’s more journey to be found over the next horizon though, so take a deep breath, collect…

April 2018: The Long Journey

…Round Table by expanding our field of view to look at the grander picture: the whole journey from beginning to end.

Big, sweeping games often break things apart the same way we do for time. In vast RPGs, we often separate the quests or movement of our journeys by whatever central town we’re in, or the continent, or the chapters. These jaunts aren’t just collections of hubs or individual movements in a heroic symphony, but pieces of a bigger journey. Let’s delve into that.

Rarely does the videogame vocabulary successfully encompass the whole journey from beginning to end. Most games…

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April 1st

…woobie Brendan Keogh writes about how companionship makes the game feel lonelier.

Showing his professorial side, Michael Abbott offers up an analysis of Journey‘s Eastern spiritual aesthetics:

Perhaps Bogost is right when he contends “surely every sect and creed will be able to read their favorite meaning onto the game.” […] Thematic ambiguity invites interpretation, but when I play Journey, I see specificity. From where I sit, Journey is the most vivid and succinct expression of dharma and its underlying philosophy of liberation that I’ve encountered in popular culture. More specifically, Journey elegantly conveys sapta bodhyanga, or the Seven Factors

April 8th

…go to Patricia Hernandez, who writes in Gameranx about the racial problematic of the krogan.

[G]ames like Mass Effect indulge in a power fantasy related to control and influence. […] To indulge on the power fantasy where we have utter control over other people’s lives is to assume whiteness, typically male whiteness.

As Mass Effect conversations start to cool, however, discussions on Journey are still heating up. Simon Parkin kicks things off with a stellar interview with Journey auteur Jenova Chen. Meanwhile, referring to Chen’s MFA thesis on “flow,” Michael Abbott investigates whether Journey faithfully represents its underlying concepts.

Ian…

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Dragon Age II

…is the fact that its mishmash of smaller issues “ never build towards a whole, coherent story.”

The unexpected journey

Perhaps part of Gallaway’s major disappointment is the fact that his expectations were for some version of the Hero’s Journey; his articles seem to suggest as much. This isn’t what Dragon Age II truly provides, as it instead opts for something more akin to the Heroine’s Journey–at least according to prolific Dragon Age theorizer and Tumblr user Flutiebear. In some ways, it almost feels like Flutie is directly responding to Gallaway’s criticisms while explaining what the Heroine’s Journey is and…

This Year In Video Game Blogging 2012

…Game BloggingEvery year the majority of the talking is about the games themselves, ranging from looking at the title as a whole, to one particular aspect of it, or to connecting it to the greater trends and themes of the medium. This goes for both games of this year and games of old.

By far the most talked about game of the year was That Game Company’s Journey. Ian Bogost for the Atlantic looked at the studio’s evolution as a creator entity in “A Portrait of the Artist as a Game Studio.”

Michael “brainygamer” Abbott contends Journey is not another…

June 3rd

…and media. And Roger Travis returns to the subject of player choice in Mass Effect, saying:

The very large differences in the ways players of Mass Effect have viewed the way choice works in the trilogy deserve attention from a practomimetic perspective first because they represent critical perspectives worth refining. Second, and more importantly, however, those differences demand attention because of their affective nature, in light of what I would call the fundamental relationship in practomime between form and affect.

On the subject of Journey, Nathan Hardisty suggests that “What Journey does is introduce a computer into the most purest…

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This Year in Videogame Blogging: 2014

…contributions to 2014’s discourse on games and we look forward to his future work!

Should Old Acquaintance Be ForgotImagine a box, wide and vast. We crisscrossed the box every which way. We found an edge and, with one hand on the wall, began to walk along it. We reached the corner and turned with it. And again. And again.

After a long while, we had circled the inside of the box. Then we began the journey again. Over and over we walked the perimeter of the box. Each journey took less and less time. Our stride grew as did we….

October 16

It’s been quite a while since I’ve been called to round up This Week in Videogame Blogging and clearly I’ve forgotten how easy it is to let the time go by. We’ll call that a consequence of having so much great games crit to cover.

Instructional Storytelling (Beginner)

Many writers this week discussed games that lay an effective foundation for telling a story:

  • The Hero’s Journey of Journey | Gamasutra We begin with Stanislav Costiuc’s blog reposed on Gamasutra working through the stages of Joseph Campbell’s “hero’s journey” as it maps onto Journey
  • Ambassador Games for Storytelling | Outside

May 25th

…tabs are full of references to it. For Popmatters, G Christopher Williams talks about the performance of “Too Late to Love You Now” as a postmodern, performative experience. At Storycade, Amanda Wallace pens an open love letter to KRZ.

Over at the Escapist, Robert Rath examines what bugged him about Halo 4: when your story ends with a sleeping messiah who’s never meant to re-awaken, what happens when they do? Contrasting this hero’s journey, Sande Chen writes about the heroine’s journey in games and the identification between avatar and player. Brendan Vance explores another journey, this time down the…