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Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

October 24th

…for the PopMatters Moving Pixels blog this week, all about ‘Sacrificing horror for the sake of human competition’. Schiller looks at whether multiplayer compromises the horror elements of Dead Space 2 and if the trade off is worth it.

The single most outstanding piece I read this week was undoubtedly Christopher Thursten’s take on Metro 2033 [mirror] at the Exit/Warp blog. Here’s a significant excerpt to whet your interest:

Like Bioshock, Metro 2033 is a game about the relationship between ideology and personal agency, set in the crumbling remains of a society trapped in a destructive and

Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

January Roundup: ‘Player’s Choice’

…when unlike real life, video games validate our goodness thereby making it even harder to be evil.

Taking a different tack, Phil of Tim and and Phil Talk About Games, took the opportunity to discuss ‘Player’s Choice’ in terms of multiplayer games – specifically Counterstrike. Phil describes his self-imposed play style is being comprised of ego (challenging himself to use challenging weapons) and empathy (considering whether everyone in-game is having a fun/good experience). Phil states,

These two tendencies–one which is essentially showing off and another that boils down to some kind of strange fairplay–might seem to be

March 13th

…looks at Rapture’s villains as partial entities of SHODAN [mirror], because one can never read enough on System Shock 2. Paul at Little bo Beep, a site I just heard about, asks if Bioshock really is a good critique of Ayn Rand’s philosophy [mirror]. And Josh Harmon at Quarter Down calls Bioshock 2‘s multiplayer “an Avant-Garde Masterpiece” [mirror] in a great work of satire that I think may be more on the mark than he’s willing to admit.

In a way, BioShock 2 merely takes the multiplayer shooter to its logical conclusion. What is a n00b if not

TWIVGB style guide

…Inclusivity is a major topic in games criticism, and there is still much work to be done, through proactive interventions and critical reflection.

  • Sociality | Critical Distance How do people involved in interactive media interact with each other? What kind of social structures are we designing when we design games? This is a topic of interest to sociologists, community managers, and anyone with a stake in multiplayer gaming.
  • If you want, you can replace a blockquote with an embedded video, or an image, or a gallery of images. Senior Curator Zoyander Street is particularly keen on…

    Dark Souls

    …with others that a game can be obscured entirely behind it.”. Similarly, In “Here With Me”, Brendan Keogh finds the “sensation of an overwhelmingly supportive community helping each other” both within and without Dark Souls delineated multiplayer. Both Patrick Klepek and C.T Casberg also ruminate on the joys of jolly cooperation .

    Undead Burg – Ladders to Nowhere (On Art and Architecture)

    For many of us, the revelatory relief of rediscovering the Undead Burg bonfire after narrowly avoiding dragon fire on that scorched bridge represents something fundamental to Dark Souls. It’s a moment where the twisting, interlocking nature…

    January 28th

    …design, and aims to highlight design strategies and define emotional and aesthetic outcomes for players.

  • Playing with Money (1): The Adventurer Shop – ihobo Chris explores the history of merchants in RPGs, and traces their changing significance as they moved from tabletop to videogames.
  • Everything I learned about game design last year I learned from Dead by Daylight – Keith Stuart finds remarkable opportunities for role-play in a multiplayer horror game without an AI enemy – and has stories to tell about beautiful moments emerging from player improv.
  • They Are Billions: Steampunk, Colonialism and the Undead…
  • December 10th

    …the background within a platform game.

  • The slow disappearing act of Demon’s Souls | Christian Donlan discusses the forthcoming loss of multiplayer functions in the iconic From Software title, with reference to an essay by Max Campbell on the decomposing works of 19th century pioneer of photography William Henry Fox Talbot.
  • “Sometimes, you get to see a picture as it is in the process of disappearing, and you get to play a game as some of its features are removed. These things retain a power, but it’s a new kind of power.”

    June 12th

    • Magic: the Gathering [June 6 – 10, 2016] | In Media Res In Media Res features a series of posts about card game narratives, aesthetics and dramatic game design.
    • Gamasutra: David H. Schroeder’s Blog – Notes from the Infancy of Network Gaming (1990) Returning to a more documentary form of writing, David H. Schroeder shares an article from the year 1990 speculating on design issues that would arise as games began to be developed for online multiplayer contexts.

    ” Monopoly and Tic-tac-toe are both played on paper, but that fact does not go far

    October 23rd

    …a guide to Minecraft for newcomers who want to understand and support their children’s hobby.

  • Stopping and Sitting – Haywire Magazine Josh Trevett examines the charming contradiction of character emotes that suggest inactivity.
  • “Sitting is a natural fit for the largest scale multiplayer games because of the nature of those environments. They’re filled with genuine life, real people roaming hither and yon in pursuit of their various purposes. Such a social space would feel uncanny if everybody were always standing and always busy with something; to take the time to sit, alone or with others, in…

    September 25th

    …this week look at the virtual economies of multiplayer games and management simulations.

    • Banished: It Takes a Village to Raise a Surplus | Play The Past Gilles Roy traces the history of management of surplus as reflected in city-building and survival games, asking what happens when methods of control become modes of play.
    • Gamasutra: Daniel Don Nilsen’s Blog – Community building economics Daniel Don Nielsen gives a behavioural economics argument for investing in community management.
    • Gamasutra: Matthew McCaffrey’s Blog – Virtual Worlds, Real Economics Matthew McCaffrey describes human behaviour in economic terms to demonstrate that game