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  • 02: Danger

    …forget the particulars of him, of course, and I can now hardly recall the sound of his voice or his specific mannerisms. But danger is forever entwined with him in my brain.

    Which is why, of course, my own article about death ended up being about Matt as much as it was my father. I remember quite clearly being so hurt when another teenager told me that if Kurt Cobain committed suicide, he must have been a coward. What does that say about me, and my suicidal thoughts, then? What did that say about Matt, and his heroin? How…

    September 25th

    …Virginia’s spatial storytelling techniques are being praised at a time when there is ever more writing taking on the spatial qualities of games’ expression, not just visually but through sound as well.

    • Sunday Sound Thought 38 – Sensory Interplay Shaun Farley argues that sound may be a more important part of how games express a sense of place and meaning than most people recognise.
    • Bjarke Ingels’s new game is everything good and bad about his architecture – Kill Screen David Rudin argues that minimalism can just be nihilistic
    • The joy of VR ‘desk’ games | ZAM

    October 2nd

    …to sound, these two articles examine the role of sound as a core part of how games communicate with players.

    • The neglected history of videogames for the blind | Kill Screen This remarkable feature looks into the material context of developing audiogames over the past 20 years, as well as describing the direct experience of playing them when sighted.
    • Thoughts and opinions on sonically handling fail states in video games | Designing Sound Wilfried Nass interviews sound designers on the nature of failure, in games, art, and life.

    “‘I think the closer you try

    October 16

    …siders, colorblind options, and tutorials. I’d never thought of voice acting as an accessibility tool, rather than a directorial choice.”

    Instructional Storytelling (Advanced)

    A number of this week’s pieces also explored how technical storytelling elements add nuance to videogames:

    • The Art of Machphrasis: Stories Inspired by Video Games | Medium Kawika Guillermo describes “machphrasis” as a kind of literary technique that alludes to a horizon of possible experiences in the way that a game opens up possibility to its player
    • Sound Design for Theater: Another Medium for Our Craft | Designing Sound Career sound

    Kentucky Route Zero

    …downturn can result in broader real estate shifts as tenants are displaced or foreclosed, leaving behind vestiges of their presence.

    Though not a piece of critical writing, Kemenczy’s lecture at GDC on the Scenography of Kentucky Route Zero (video, autocaptions) is a candid, informed, and delicate presentation of the ways in which the developers reference theater and film.

    Theme IV: The Sound

    Sound is an important component to Kentucky Route Zero. So much so that composer Ben Babbitt is listed as a core member of Cardboard Computer’s development team, not merely a collaborator.

    In an excellent…

    April 3rd

    …new topics in player experience and sound engineering; check ’em out!

    • Ethically designing unethical worlds | Game Developer Ruth Cassidy talks to the makers of several notable simulation and strategy games about the tricky balance of presenting a world with problems without producing a system made out of different problems.
    • A History of Hup, the Jump Sound of Shooting Games | WIRED Bryan Menegus presents a thorough historical examination of That Grunt.

    “Pessimistically, it might seem like the rock-star developers of the time threw a sound into their splashy new game because they could

    Gears of War

    …2 suggest an interesting correspondence between the design of the sound effects and the game mechanics. The mainstream music industry puts a lot of effort into making everything as loud and noticeable as possible and Gears of War seem to be taking a similar approach. The sound effects have likely been “compressed extremely harshly” so that they are as “clear and loud” as they can be, and this idea seems to have carried over into the entire aesthetic environment and gameplay of the series. Though it is paced to provide moments of calm in counter-point to the bombast of its…

    99 Free Games from 2009

    Another one from the Experimental Gameplay Projects minimalist competition, this one is like a browser based Flash version of futurist Paul Marinetti’s typographic experiments. If there was more interactive fiction that combined that sort of thing with an odd soundtrack that sounds like a Balinese gamelan band gone haywire, I’d be much less likely to flee in terror when I see that phrase come up.

    51/52. Waker & Woosh

    A pair of prototypes from the ever interesting Singapore/MIT GAMBIT Game Lab designed to explain physics concepts to middle schoolers. One uses a narrative to get its points

    April 27th

    The magic circle. You opened it. We came.

    Welcome to This Week in Videogame Blogging. We have such sites to show you.

    Sound Advice

    Liz England offers up a useful analogy for thinking about the role of the game designer. Meanwhile on Videodame, former theatrical sound designer Sara Clemens shares a story of a particular sound bug in Ico and how such errors can have a catastrophic effect on a game’s emotional storytelling.

    Go Make Me a Sandwich has continued its series on how to combat offensive game design, with a particular focus on race