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This Week in Video Game Criticism: A Rogue for All Seasons
This Week in Video Game Criticism: A Rogue for All Seasons
December 4, 2013 | By Zach Alexander

December 4, 2013 | By Zach Alexander
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More: Console/PC, Social/Online, Indie, Design



This week, our partnership with game criticism site Critical Distance brings us picks from Zach Alexander on topics including the player's idealized self as avatar and the storytelling of Rogue.

psychology dot org

Jamie Madigan sums up some research on the human tendency to make avatars that are idealized representations of ourselves.

Maria Konnikova sums up flow, decision making, and the history of the first-person shooter.

Hey, did someone say first person shooters? Richard Weiss shares his experience playing Modern Warfare in a modern warzone: “Working in Iraq - and getting a taste of real adrenaline, even as a civilian - didn't turn Modern Warfare weird for me; it made it boring.”

games culture dot biz

Cara Ellison digs into the role of a reporter: “The very act of a journalist’s presence is changing the answers, tack and outcome of the interview.”

Speaking of interviewers with great energy, Kris Ligman dives into a Saint’s Row IV expansion and gets some great stuff out of the developers. Kris is great. Someone should give Kris a job doing this sort of thing.

design dot edu

J. Parish has a bunch of long-running series dissecting the design of various games. Right now they’re running through the Game Boy classic Metroid 2. Over at RPS, Adam Smith has a great conversation about the detailed simulations of Football Manager , including a great tidbit about how global warming has forced the team to update weather data for Great Britain. Brendan Keogh talks about the right way to play Doom 3.

Robert Yang says “Half-Life is magical and interesting and subtle, but not in the way that gamer culture mythologizes it. (At the same time, let's still be critical of what Half-Life does, and the values it represents to both players and developers.)”

The Aztez Development blog has a history of going in-depth about combat systems in games, and this hand-drawn breakdown of enemy attack patterns in Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow is a great example.

A new tumblr has sprung up, asking questions about the digital representation of plants and how they get translated into games. Also, Joel McCoy writes up the reasoning and tech behind his excellent own tumblr, Book of the Dead.

critiqueal distance dot com

Five out of Ten has a new issue with proceeds going to charity

Mark Filipowich dives into Barthe’s Death of the Author, Mattie Brice’s Death of the Player, and a bunch of other deaths. And over at Pop Matters, he says maybe interactivity should take a dirt nap, too. Someone should make a gif tumblr of all those deaths.

Speaking of Miss Brice, she has a piece up about Sequence and music-in-games. Rowland Manthorpe pokes at Device 6, and other “literary” games. Could they end up changing the publishing industry? Jeff Vogel asks about the conflation of sexiness and brutality in the recent Tomb Raider game (Warning: As always when it comes to this game, contains images of some of the really unnecessary and brutal deaths Lara suffers through).

Aevee Bee tells us about trust and storytelling and Rogue. Eric Swain digs into the title of “Memoria”. Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins says her favorite thing about AC IV is the bathroom. “If someone had simply decided that gender wasn't an important part of this side of the game, it would have been easy to slip into using "male" as a default position”. Chris Franklin tears into the nitty gritty of what exactly The Stanley Parable is a parable for.

Today’s Gaming Drama dot tumblr dot com

Those consoles that launched are having their post-launch hiccups in the press. The PS4 allowed for livestreaming, which was quickly abused. WARNING: contains description of sexual assault.

Christopher Buecheler sums up another controversy this week, explaining why a job posting for Penny Arcade should be incredibly unappealing. Kawaiiko-chan was also motivated to put up their own job posting. Finally, remember that whole rogue-alike-like-like thing last week? Like an underground coal seam set alight, “what is a roguelike” still smolders away.

That's it for this week! Thank you for reading. Remember to send in your submissions via Twitter mention or our email submissions form.


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