Five pieces of writing, one new site recommendation, three games and two videos. Contributions from Courtney Stanton, Matt W, Jimmy Maher, Jenn Frank, George Buckenham, Alex Pieschel, Eric Lockaby and David Kanaga.
"Wildly Unfair Comparison: Journey vs dys4ia" by Courtney Stanton (Superopinionated), 15 March 2012. Stanton's under-reaction to Journey is interesting and a lot of fun.
Which means that people are flipping out over the fact that someone finally managed to make an online multiplayer experience that doesn’t guarantee a million new submissions to FatUglyorSlutty.com, basically. Not to go all old-meme on you, but don’t be afraid to to dream a little bigger, darlings. Fuck.
"Emotions in Emergent Storytelling: An Example (or, Virtual Kitties)" by Matt W (Saucers of Mud), 11 October 2009. Linked in the comments of Less Cause, More Effect, Matt W takes his cats in games seriously. Interesting read about how players bring their own meaning to a game. (I'm not sure I really like the term "emergent storytelling" that much, but don't let that stop you.)
“You have a sad feeling for a moment, but it passes.” This means that your pet has died out of your sight. I was very upset. Townser could have taken either monster individually, but they’d ganged up on him, and I hadn’t known to whistle him away. I rushed back over to find “a large cat corpse named Townser.”
"This Game Is Over" by Jimmy Maher (The Digital Antiquarian), 8 April 2012. Picked this one up from gnome's Twitter account and this is an awesome read for anyone who dug the historical excavations of Where We Came From last year. It's about the initial evolution of copyright laws and cloning in the video games industry.
Even leaving aside Atari’s aggressive attempts to expand the definition of software “piracy,” the Pac-Man character himself was trademarked. Releasing the game as-is risked lawsuits from multiple quarters, all much larger and richer in lawyers than On-Line Systems. The result could very well be the destruction of everything he had built. Yet, the game was just so damn good.
"Why soccer games?" by Jenn Frank (Infinite Lives), 15 March 2012. A conversation about sports games that passes through some interesting places. I pulled this quote to get your goat, but it's not representative.
“Here’s something,” Carson continued without taking a full breath. “Do you think that people who play video games are a little, uh, sociopathic?”
"What we mean when we talk about stories in games" by George Buckenham, 01 March 2012. I feel bad because I forgot to put this in the margin notes of A Theoretical War. George "v21" Buckenham highlights there are also problems over what the word "narrative" means. Thanks to Ed Key for bringing this to my attention.
Here, she's directly saying: to create a feeling of tragedy, we need to trick someone into thinking they have agency, when they don't. And the biggest problem we have is that they can always take the nuclear option and metagame their way back into having agency. And if they have agency, why would they submit to your tragedy?
Games That Exist. Alex Pieschel has been running his site since the start of the year. His mission is to cover a free game each week, generally something offbeat. One post a week - that's my kind of site! This is one of the sites featured in The Electron Dance Slow Feed in the sidebar. Alex goes beyond simple reviews and veers off on all sorts of game design tangents. Here's my favourite bit from his inaugural post, on Cart Life:
Now that I’ve got your attention, let me tell you that I just spent the afternoon of my precious day off from the Starbucks where I work to play a retail/life simulator that meticulously recreates the process of pulling an espresso shot. What the hell is wrong with me?
Mutation is a strange, atmospheric experience. Picked up via Free Indie Games and had to play it several times.
Leon Arnott's "All Against One" is a lot of fun and an insane amount of gameplay eked out of 2D deathmatch-versus-AI. Picked up via Free Indie Games.
Recommendation via Badger Commander, the Molyjam game "Nebulous Hero" is clever and humourous. Enjoy this joke while it's still fresh.
I Can't Read Show Me Pictures
Eric Lockaby has stolen Ken Levine's voice for his video "Notes from Underground". It is the first episode of what I assume is a series on Nightmare Mode titled "Art Game Thunderdome". It moves too fast for you to effectively grapple with what you're seeing but I love watching the art game to end all art games collapse into traditional gaming tropes.
David Kanaga (Proteus, Dyad) has made some game scores. Here's one. There are some more on his site.