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spec ops the line

Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

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…

January 18th

…is far from over as it leaves a wake of orphans in its path.

Reference This

Our own Mark Filipowich likes Brendan Keogh’s book Killing is Harmless more than Spec-Ops: The Line, even though it’s totally Coppola’s seminal film Apocalypse Now and by extension Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness novel.

Wait, that’s it for this section? OK, moving on!

Identity Report

Jessica Conditt offers a multi-faceted look at the representation of black gamers, from the troubling lack of prominent black voices…

“The games industry is hurting badly as a creative medium in terms

June 4th

…and Prayers: The Problem with An Empty Gesture | Sufficiently Human Lana Polansky points out the effective but imperfect satire of empty gestures using the game Thoughts and Prayers.

  • How the Meaning of Vanquish (and Spec Ops: The Line) Changed – Writing on Games – YouTube (Video with subtitles) Hammish Black examines the how a game’s context changes what the game means within even just a few years.
  • Remodeling the Labyrinth | First Person Scholar Jeremy Antley highlights the problems with historically gamifying an on-going period of history, and players’ efforts to update the war game to better…
  • 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…

    December 13th

    …of 2020.

  • Creating Player Guilt in The Last of Us 2 and Spec Ops: The Line | Kat (Pixel a Day) Kat discusses why player guilt in popular games seems to be such a highly selecteive experience.
  • Crowded Apocalypse | Unwinnable Yussef Cole finds Fallout 76 to be crowded, convoluted, and loud–a step away from the games that preceded it, but not necessarily all for the worse.
  • Let’s Place: Narratives of Rebuilding – Haywire Magazine Daria Kalugina finds that even in dystopias as disparate as Death Stranding and The Last of Us Part II, a common survivor…
  • This Year in Videogame Blogging: 2020

    …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…