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spec ops the line

Now Accepting Submissions for TYIVGB 2015 Edition

…you remember this piece of writing. They are pieces that get cited to this day, even years later, would fall under this category. Examples from previous years:

–The New Games Journalism by Kieron Gillen (2005) –The Lester Bangs of Video Games by Chuck Klosterman (2006) –Ludonarrative Dissonance by Clint Hocking (2007) –Taxonomy of Gamers by Mitch Krapta (2008) –Permanent Death by Ben Abraham (2009) –Video games can never be art by Roger Ebert (2010) –The Pratfall of Penny Arcade – A Timeline (aka Debacle Timeline) by Unknown (2011) –Killing is Harmless: A Critical Reading of Spec Ops: The Line

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June 18th

…Leigh Harrison considers whether the storytelling in Horizon Zero Dawn demonstrates the limitations of gaming as a medium, or just RPG design orthodoxy.

  • We Need Another Boundary-Breaker Like ‘Planescape: Torment’ – Waypoint Cameron Kunzelman wants to see more critical reflexivity in mainstream gaming.
  • “In the age of hype and Jason Derulo, I wonder about the next Planescape: Torment. I don’t mean spiritual successors or Kickstarter-funded jaunts down the memory lane of isomorphic RPGs. I’m talking about the next game that wants to have an ambivalent stance toward the genre it’s a part of. Spec Ops: The

    September 7th

    …DiZoglio compares Little Inferno with Yvgeny Zamyatin’s “The Cave” as pieces that ask their audiences to tread the line between survival and civilization.

    G. Christopher Williams, the final boss of the Moving Pixels blog at PopMatters, describes the race toward defeat in Spec-Ops: The Line as a videogame tragedy:

    Walker and the player’s final choice in the game mark the tragedy of this downward spiral from badass video game hero to a character and player that is morally comprised by the very activity of playing hero.

    James Wragg of Thrusting Sticks manages to write about…

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    Now Accepting Submissions for TYIVGB 2014 Edition

    …(2005) –The Lester Bangs of Video Games by Chuck Klosterman (2006) –Ludonarrative Dissonance by Clint Hocking (2007) –Taxonomy of Gamers by Mitch Krapta (2008) –Permanent Death by Ben Abraham (2009) –Video games can never be art by Roger Ebert (2010) –The Pratfall of Penny Arcade – A Timeline (aka Debacle Timeline) by Unknown (2011) –Killing is Harmless: A Critical Reading of Spec Ops: The Line by Brendan Keogh (2012) –Tropes vs. Women in Video Games by Anita Sarkeesian (2013 to present)

    2. Any pieces that are an excellent example of larger trends surrounding the most talked about games of

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    November 18th

    …back this week with an interview with Brendan Keogh, specifically about his upcoming ebook on Spec Ops: The Line, Killing is Harmless.

    And a bit of signal boosting for the road: James Week reached out to us over email about his current Indiegogo crowdfunding project Pwned!, “A feature-length screwball comedy for the internet age of which 100% of proceeds go to charity.” It has a ways to go on its (admittedly ambitious) funding target but if you’re interested, I’d very much encourage you to check it out!

    Thanks for joining us, dear reader. As always we greatly appreciate…

    September 2nd

    …but these are flimsy when you take a look at the superfluous things a developer does decide to include instead. Or maybe there’s the uncomfortable implication that Caucasians are, as far as the game is concerned, actually more important than other races—and that’s why there’s more options for them.

    On the subject of games and agendas, here’s a piece on Spec Ops: The Line straight from the horse’s mouth, as it were: a feature from narrative designer Richard Pearsey on the narrative objectives and process of the game.

    Over on my old stomping grounds of PopMatters Moving…

    Episode 46 – Talking on Games



    Writing on Games YouTube Channel

    ‘Her Story‘ and the Birth of the Reader

    Revisiting Killer 7 or: Art as Technique

    Dark Souls Helped Me Cope With Suicidal Depression

    Why Blighttown Really Matters (Dark Souls) – Writing on Games

    How the Meaning of Vanquish (and Spec Ops: The Line) Changed

    The Real Problem With Steam

    Music Games and the Joy of Making Mistakes

    Writing on GamesCast

    Writing on Games Patreon

    Opening Theme: ‘Close’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

    Closing Theme: ‘Wishing Never’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

    Far Cry 2

    …Number 9 spot counters. A lot of time passed between Armitage’s piece in 2008 and Keever’s in 2017, and many of Keever’s criticisms are interesting and fair – but Keever also makes those criticisms after having played Spec Ops: The Line, and Kane and Lynch 2; games that did not exist when Armitage was writing. Similarly, Keever’s understanding of Ludonarrative Dissonance is much more sophisticated than Armitage’s (or mine) was in 2008, and stands on the shoulders of excellent analysis such as that of Lana Polansky from 2015. If only we knew in 2005 what we know today, Far Cry…

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    December 14th

    …at the Paley Center about women in the gaming community, both as players and characters.


    If your eyes need a break from the screen, there’s some good stuff for your ears this week too!

    This week, our own Eric Swain and the Moving Pixels Podcast takes on Spec-Ops: The Line, while The Crate and Crowbar more broadly discuss the things we do in games we’d like others not to see. Even more broadly, Dan Golding’s new podcast “A Short History of Video Games” discusses video game history across the generations. Lastly, Justice Points invite Javy Gwaltney…

    2020 in Videogame Blogging

    …Feature: Carrion – Team Shapeless Horror 4lyf | Gamers with Glasses (Content warning: suicidal ideation) Tof Eklund relates horror to queer childhood, identifying with monsters and seeing the shapeless, unknowable deep as a better destiny than attempting to survive a confined existence.


    • ¿Pueden los videojuegos criticar su propia violencia? | GamerFocus (No spoilers) Aiming to better understand the discomfort of violence in The Last of Us Part II, Julián Ramírez gives an overview of design strategies that several writers have argued gave games such as Hotline Miami and Spec Ops: The Line a critical position…