[This week, our partnership with game criticism site Critical Distance brings us picks from Eric Swain on topics including how Journey messed up its own ending, why we play violent shooters, and more.]
Another week for us to present the best in game writing from around the web, another This Week In Video Game Criticism.
First, earlier this month we have the release of the 7th issue of Ctrl Alt Defeat
magazine. Of particular interest is Brendan Keogh's piece on video games as comfort foods and our own Kris Ligman's essay on hoarding in Skyrim
Fernando Cordeiro at Nightmare Mode describes the living reality of San Paulo, the crime and the collective mentality that leads to it. Along with that he describes the view Brazilians have of Americans culminating into 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 they can go
Now come some back and forths.
Tom Bissel wrote another excellent essay at Grantland, this time on the new Heart of Darkness adaptation, Spec Ops: The Line in 13 distinct thoughts
. Not everyone was impressed, however, Gobi at Fuyoh sees something fundamentally off in they way Bissel critiques, calling them rather fuzzy and full of surface-level critiques behind the wonderfully constructed prose
Stephen Totilo asked several designers and academics the question 'What makes a good video game?
' on his search for his own answer. Eric Zimmerman, one of the people Totilo asked, wrote his own response to elaborate on his quotes
By all accounts the Game Masters exhibit in Melbourne, Australia is a rousing success, and Daniel Golding goes into detail in his review
of it for Game On. Two weeks ago, Alois Wittwer went to a panel featuring Warren Specter at the exhibit and writes on his own feelings towards player agency
in games and given player's reaction to it that it might be all right to restrict players a little.
Ian Bogost hypothesizes that in light of the OUYA earning, as of me writing this, $4.77 milllion that Kickstarter may not be an investment or pre-order, but just another form of entertainment
Speaking of Bogost, Zynga. Matt Carey looks at Zynga's slot machine
game as a sort of metaphor for the company's products as a whole and that investors are starting to get wise to game design.
Chris Batemen at ihobo writes about "The Thin Play of Dear Esther
" and contextualizes some of the absurdity in determining whether or not it is a game because none of these objections helps to understand the play of Dear Esther.
Robert Yang looks at various heist games in honor of him recently attending BLDGBLOG/ Studio-X event on bank design. He takes it to the next level of "How does it affect the way we design video games and levels about heists. How should be we abstract the heist?
Jonas Kyratzes reflects on his early decision of what name to release his games under at a time when indie wasn't a word and he could be argued to be the one who coined the term. It is about creating a persona to present as much as it is about creating games
Jim Ralph at Ontological Geek explores the grammar of video games and how much of it is in the present tense
, and uses Dark Souls
to highlight how it takes advantage of this.
David Auerbach at N+1 wrote "The Stupidity of Computers
" as they try to parse out our language to help us find information and how we in the end bring ourselves down to the machine's level to get what we want. Beware: this is really long.
Walter Garrett Mitchell writes "Alfred Hitchock Would Make Great Games
" for the Escapist looking at auteur theory and thankfully as some of the misconceptions people have in what it means and applying it.
Speaking of auteur, the Eurogamer has a look at Chris Crawford
and the hard times he's had ever since his infamous Dragon Speech in '92 that signified him leaving the industry.
Simon Ferrari has finally put up new content on his blog, this time in the form of a new podcast "The Review" (which apparently wasn't a name being used by anyone) with himself and Charles Pratt talking about a single game. The inaugural episode
is them talking about Spelunky
And finally, for Unwinnable, Jenn Frank's "I was a Teenage Sexist
." Read it.
Don't forget every week we take submissions via email here
and on twitter here
. I'm out.