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Dark Souls

…narrative and aesthetics” in a “Dark Souls Roundtable” podcast. In “How Dark Souls Presents the Hero’s Journey“, Sole Porpoise compares Dark Souls to Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth.

Ash Lake (Personal Reflections)

At the very bottom of the word, at the base of an ancient tree, lies Ash Lake. As haunting as it is serene, it seems to suggest a place before time. A place where a weary hollow might collect their thoughts, and reflect on their journey. After all the questions on what Dark Souls means for design and difficulty, of what it means for games, the only thing…

Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

March 2020

…good for our mental and emotional well-being? In the case of the DOOM series, yes, suggests Screen Therapy… with caveats. (Autocaptions)

On Walking

Three videos offer different analyses of games built around modes of slow exploration.

  • Journey (2012) and Mental Health | Screen Therapy – Screen Therapy (8:39)

    Courtney Garcia continues her Screen Therapy series by discussing the emotional benefits of encountering ‘awe’ in Thatgamecompany’s Journey. (Autocaptions)

  • EcoGaming #4: (Capital “R”) Romantic Games – Lord Faust

    Lord Faust argues for rebranding “walking simulators” as “Romantic games” owing to their emphasis on positioning

Breath of the Wild

…of tiny “questions” through the whole journey.

And while a single word itself is not invoked, Carolyn Petit’s “the pilgrimage” connects place and memory in Hyrule and her own world. “I had to imagine that what Link was really looking for was to be reminded,” she writes, “through memories of the people he loved and the places they’d shared, of who he was, what he was fighting for, what he was living for.” Similarly, Elizabeth Henges uses BotW as a fulcrum of memories. She shares how her late mother introduced her to video games, leading her to meditate on…

Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

September 30th

…| Unwinnable Alyse Stanley scrutinizes the problematic arguments We Happy Few makes about medication-based treatment of depression.

  • Bullets are the Pennies | Unwinnable Levi Rubeck contextualizes the loot box trend with a personal family history of gambling.
  • Journey – ZEAL – Medium Ella T.C takes the reader on a visual journey through their affective experiences with Journey over the years. This one is beautiful!
  • The Amazing Wholesomeness of Being a Grandma | Unwinnable David Shimomura looks at a game that navigates a tale of declining mental health with dignity and heart.
  • “The beauty of…

    Gregory Whistance-Smith | Keywords in Play, Episode 21

    …game. And also, the structure of the entire game world can take on meaning that way.

    Zoyander: I enjoyed that one a lot. I found it, particularly as you say, like when it gets in dialogue with metaphors, and you have this really nice way of like, highlighting text within paragraphs at that point in the book which, like, okay, like, like, in caps, like, here’s a metaphor, like life is a journey or something like that. And like, this is using the image schema of the path. And it’s really nice to kind of see that unfolding, as…

    September 25th

    …the purpose of life is to admire the space around us, then any journey is a means of fulfilling that purpose, and any ending contradicts that purpose. It’s important to note that we learn the true nature of the universe in the middle of our journey, not at the end. The journey brings revelation and understanding. The destination brings a stop to the revelations and understanding. Being reset after reaching the galactic center seems anticlimactic, but it’s really an exclamation point on the idea that the game has been expressing the whole time. The infinite universe is awesome.”


    July 15th

    …his personal reaction to Max Payne 3 in “The Ugly Paulistano.”

    The Extra Credits guys released two videos, last week and this week, examining Journey step by step as a prime example of the Hero’s Journey. Meanwhile, Bruno Dion wrote a reply on Medium Difficulty to Steven Poole’s argument that Journey messed up its own ending.

    Charles Wheeler, the writer of The Rules on the Field blog, writes “QWOP and Simulation Design” in two parts.

    Another two parter, this time by Rampant Coyote on “Advancing the Role of Role-Playing” in video games, what they’ve done and where…

    May 27th

    …World One-Two would appear to disagree in this recent essay on Journey, arguing particularly for its philosophical and aesthetic universalism:

    For me, Journey is about the only thing that art worth any goddamn can ever be about, which is what it is we’re all doing here. Journey is about truth, about base reality, about this experience of being itself we so often ignore. It is a call to look around us and remember that, as David Foster Wallace puts it: “This is water. This is water.”

    Two TWIVGB regulars, Eric Schwarz and Josh Bycer, also had…

    March 25th

    …on the island, it makes very little effort to create a sense of embodiment.”

    Meanwhile, thatgamecompany’s latest PSN release, Journey, has garnered some interesting responses for its singular aesthetic and themes. Jamie Love praises the game’s unique take on multiplayer:

    Journey cuts […] to the raw source of motivation and hope we find in others, to the fact that our existence on its own is not enough to necessitate that we continue for our own sake. Certainly we live for ourselves to project strength and obey the demands of our DNA, but beneath that skin, we always

    July 10th

    …different take on the videogame “preview.” In his essay on Journey at Nightmare Mode, Lockaby writes:

    The world of Journey exists in the remnants of communication. Venturing beyond the silent deserts we cross as if into a peristylium—each canyon houses within it a garden of History; each footfall is a Great Listening. And yet our listening alone will not repair this world: the language that failed it will fail us too. Journey asks us to build something stronger.

    That’s all for this week! As a reminder, you can send us your links through email or Twitter….