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Episode 22 – On ‘Killing is Harmless’

…reception and how things have change over time in his critical methods. We also get into musing on the book’s cultural and historical placement given the recent boom in video game criticism books.

http://www.critical-distance.com/podcast/Critical-Distance-Confab-episode-22.mp3

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SHOW NOTES

Brendan Keogh

Critical Damage

Darius Kazemi Review: Killing is Harmless, by Brendan Keogh

Cameron Kunzelman’s On Killing is Harmless

Susan Sontag’s “Against Interpretation”

Susan Sontag’s “On Style”

Noal Carroll’s On Criticism

David Sudnow’s Pilgrim in the Microworld

Spec Ops: The Line Critical Compilation

Opening Theme: ‘Close’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Kotaku UK archive

…of Cthulhu subverts the horror genre with player choice

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  • Battlefield V: how not to reveal a game
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  • Taro Yoko on friendship, religion, and killing kids
  • Inside the 100000 magic deck
  • MGS5’s soundtrack is all about the kojima konami split
  • The landscape of the Last of Us
  • The artists and paintings that bleed through Bloodborne
  • The doomed heroes of Dark Souls
  • Why Gwyn must die
  • The games that dare to sail…
  • Kill Screen archive

    …timeplay horrible pre movie advertising game

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  • reconsidering epic violence god war saga
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  • Grand Theft Auto IV

    …code, and Tony Rice, like many players, found himself making decisions based on what he thought Niko would do.

    And yet, Niko does show a kind of joy – a drunken appreciation of power. He shouts out boasts in the game’s firefights, and it seems that once the gun enters his hand, he doesn’t mind killing so much after all. In the cutscenes, he constantly bemoans the violence, but that doesn’t stop him from murdering his way across Liberty City once the game part starts, as Trent Polack and Shamus Young point out. While Krystian Majewski felt…

    Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

    March 13th

    …now I have one. Johannes Koski is self-confessed not “the kind of person the GTA games are marketed for” and yet, she is interested in finding out what she can find to like about the game. A new and different perspective on an old game! More of this, bloggers! Surprising herself, Koski even enjoys the killing:

    GTA games have a lot of killing, no surprise there. But it’s very interesting! The violence is so varied and presented on so many different levels. There’s the very obvious in-your-face violence of the cut-scenes, the killing sprees the missions demand, and

    April 30th

    …– Bullet Points Monthly In this remarkable essay, Julie Muncy finds a queerness in the alternative temporality of robot life.

    “Automata‘s death drive takes on an odd metaphorical resonance. It becomes, in essence, a sort of queerness—a means of rejecting the values of heterosexual reproduction, principle among them the emphasis it places on the future. For Adam, 2B, 9S, and the whole of artificial life that wars over the earth, there is no future. In the absence of that hope, new possibilities emerge.”

    Long-restless spirits

    Survival, death, and killing remain important topics for

    Assassin’s Creed III

    …important historical event.

    Initially, announcement trailers (video link with autocaptions) seemed to indicate that the “outsider” protagonist angle was a cover for an old American tradition of Brit bashing. When Ubisoft released its “Connor’s Story” trailers in the US and the UK though, many noticed Connor killing colonial troops in the UK trailer (video link with autocaptions), and only hostile redcoats in the shortened US version (video link with autocaptions). In this regard, Carol Pinchefsy at Forbes mused that the UK trailer was “more historically accurate”:

    It’s unsurprising that Ubisoft left out that part [Connor killing bluecoats]

    Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

    February 23rd

    …violence is wholly justified, or necessary?

    • The Righteous, Musical Violence of Ape Out – Haywire Magazine Stephen Mansfield explores the energetic violence of Ape Out as a counterpoint to the more meditative examination at play in Hotline Miami.
    • On Killing Hitler | EGM Michael Goroff delves into the history–and the critical limitations–of Hitler revenge fantasies in games and beyond.

    “Killing Hitler is an easy choice. Who is more universally recognized as deserving of a violent death? But Hitler’s evilness is largely left abstract in video games, presupposing a knowledge and understanding of why Hitler’s

    November 15th

    …articulate and commit to a meaningfully progressive ideological framework without all kinds of caveats and asterisks. Anyway, here’s three of this week’s highlights unpacking difficulties and tensions within the series.

    • Killing | Cole Writes Words Cole Henry studies the evolving thematic implications of killing across the Watch Dogs series.
    • In Watch Dogs: Legion, queer identity is still flavor text | Polygon Carolyn Petit finds dissonance in the fact that the indentity intersections of your operatives in Watch Dogs: Legion have so little bearing on their struggles against fascism.
    • Watch Dogs: Legion Is Completely Detached from Reality

    July 4th

    …of killing in Cruelty Squad to the simulated viscera for grilling in American fast food.

    “Cruelty Squad doesn’t care about the human body, and neither does the person who decided I should be able to buy Monster™ Brand Energy Drink and partake in “a spicy Greek.” In its own way, the locus of punishment from Cruelty Squad has a specific and hideous analogue in the real world. It is no less neon-coated here then it is there.”

    Exegesis

    Next up, a trio of extended analytical reads unpacking each game’s critical themes. Yes, that