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spec ops the line

Spec Ops: The Line

Depending on who you ask, Yager’s military-themed cover-shooter Spec Ops: The Line is either the most exciting game of recent time, or the most disappointing. Some argue that it is incredibly insightful and provoking, challenging many of the most rigid and ingrained conventions of videogames generally and military shooters specifically. Others argue that its own adherence to these conventions voids any insights it might make. Either way, the wealth of critical attention the game has received rightfully demonstrates that The Line is an important game

This split of the critical reception has afforded an outpouring of articles and

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July 30th

the way, goes further than this, showing that the game uses narrative complexity to construct daring choices that run counter to the assumptions of how stealth works.

  • Art Tickles: Defined by Their Exception – Haywire Magazine Taylor Hidalgo discusses the work of David Cage, arguing for the broader value of things as separate to whether or not one personally likes them.
  • Spec Ops The Line… 5 Years Later – YouTube (video: auto-captions. Spoilers for Spec Ops: The Line) Raycevick summarises the history of Rockstar Vancouver, and finds all kinds of hidden gems to build up an argument about…
  • This Year In Video Game Blogging 2012

    …been called “print,” but the world has changed in that time and things that would have been traditionally published have in some cases moved into digital representations of the same. Not in every case, but we honor both here.

    One of the most talked about critical efforts this year, Brendan Keogh’s ebook Killing is Harmless: A Critical Reading of Spec Ops: The Line is a massive achievement for game criticism.

    The book has received its own share of in-depth responses as people weighed in on its take of the game. Both Cameron Kunzelman and Darius Kazemi offered up…

    Episode 22 – On ‘Killing is Harmless’

    In 2012, critic and Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology PhD candidate Brendan Keogh released his long form critical piece on Spec Ops: The Line in the form of an ebook. Killing is Harmless: A Critical Reading of Spec Ops: The Line was at the time the first known published book of criticism on a single game. In the years since a cavalcade of books of video game criticism has been published and more to come in the future.

    Two years after initially publishing the book, we decided to interview Brendan to get his perspective on the book, the

    This Year In Videogame Blogging: 2017

    the difficulty in properly resisting.

  • Choosing the impossible: Did BioShock define the last 10 years of video games? | AV/Gameological – Matt Geradi, Sam Darsanti, William Hughes, and Clayton Purdom A group of writers look back on the 10-year-old BioShock and the influence it has had on the gaming landscape over that time.
  • Spec Ops: The Line…5 Years Later | YouTube – Raycevick – Lucas Raycevick Raycevick looks back on Spec Ops: The Line and finds that it holds up superbly well, in his in-depth examination of the details of its mechanics and narrative. Mutliplayer not so much.
  • Brendan Keogh | Keywords in Play, Episode 31

    …is a senior lecturer in the School of Communication and a Chief Investigator of the Digital Media Research Centre, Queensland University of Technology. He is the co-author of The Unity Game Engine and The Circuits of Cultural Software (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019; with Benjamin Nicoll), and is the author of The Videogame Industry Does Not Exist (MIT Press, 2023), A Play of Bodies: How We Perceive Videogames (MIT Press, 2018), and Killing is Harmless: A Critical Reading of Spec Ops The Line (Stolen Projects, 2012). He has written extensively about the cultures and development practices of videogames in journals such as…

    Now Accepting Submissions for TYIVGB 2013 Edition

    …it or keep seeing it brought up. Pieces that get cited to this day. Examples from previous years include:

    –The New Games Journalism by Kieron Gillen ‘05 –Ludonarrative Dissonance by Clint Hocking ‘07 –Taxonomy of Gamers by Mitch Krapta ‘08 –Permanent Death by Ben Abraham ‘09 –Video games can never be art by Roger Ebert ‘10 –The Pratfall of Penny Arcade – A Timeline (aka Debacle Timeline) by Unknown ‘11 –Killing is Harmless: A Critical Reading of Spec Ops: The Line by Brendan Keogh ’12

    2. Any pieces that are an excellent example of larger trends within the

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    This Year in Videogame Blogging: 2014

    …him that The Crew‘s fantasy of accumulating power is not the Americanism he wanted to engage with.

    Stephen Beirne found he had made a mistake in Spec Ops: The Line under pressure by a moment in the game’s fiction. Comparing the game with BioShock Infinite, Beirne found that the moment left a far greater impact than BioShock Infinite‘s carnival throw because he could “point back to afterwards and see a ghost of myself living in it, so impassioned and alive as to be conceited of the absence of any alternative, so foolish and honest and gloriously mine.”


    Episode 32 – Supplementary Grades

    …Extra Credits creates a short cartoon Youtube video as a basic introduction of design concepts, craft implementation and surrounding issues of the videogames industry. Over the years, supplementary shows have been added. You can check them all out (as well as specific episodes we discuss on the podcast) below!

    Direct Download


    Extra Credits Channel

    Extra History

    Extra Remix

    Extra Play

    Design Club

    Video Games and Storytelling

    Call of Juarez: The Cartel

    Spec Ops: The Line Pt. 1

    Spec Ops: The Line Pt. 2

    Power Creep…

    July 2nd

    …to oppress them.”


    Of course, games about combat don’t have to lack critical reflexivity – and games that offer dialogue as a way of solving problems are not necessarily nonviolent.

    • Why Are There So Many Games About Cops This Year? – Waypoint Cameron Kunzelman rightly points out that most of the recent indie games about policing have come out of Eastern Europe, and tries to offer explanations for their familiarity to US players.
    • Dan Golding — Spec Ops: The Line and the fine art of subversion Dan Golding highlights the role of rock…