(N.B. – I'm largely approaching this discussion from the broad perspective of modifiable difficulty levels in games, as that's my own perspective. I touch on accessibility in places, and I think accessibility in gaming is an area where the industry still needs to make a lot of progress, but it's not something I'm qualified to … Continue reading To Test My Abilities – On Celeste, Gamers, and Gitting Gud
Changing gears from video games, I took a month or so to do a deep dive into the fandom for the most recent Venom movie, to explore the film's appeal...
Are You Feelin' It? A little while ago, I came across an op ed in the New York Times that caught my eye, not necessarily because of the content, but because of who wrote it – Sherry Turkle, an MIT sociologist and psychologist who has, over the past 20 years or so, made a very … Continue reading Really Feelin’ It: A Meditation on Empathy and Technology
My actual "review" of Obduction is only a few sentences long, and goes something like this: "Cyan Worlds almost returns to form with Obduction, a game that scratched my spatial puzzle solving itch, but ended up being something of a one trick pony despite a passably interesting narrative and lovely environmental design. The game suffers … Continue reading The Refuse of Life – An Obduction “Review”
Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature (Espen Aarseth, 1997) is not a work that is interested in interpretation, in any sense of the term. It is an early intervention, an attempt from the early- to mid-1990s to get down to brass (or silicon) tacks before the budding medium of digital literature could be either colonized by old ways … Continue reading Cybertext: A Review
Those who know me will know that I recently jumped on the Myst train, precisely 25 years and one or two target-audience-generations after the first game came out. One of the things that first struck me about the game, other than how painfully early-90s it was, was its movement scheme: a jerky, abrupt point-and-click that … Continue reading Myst, Riven, and Making the Most of Movement
“Any game,” Marshall McLuhan says, “like any medium of information, is an extension of the individual or group...[Games] are a kind of talking to itself on the part of society as a whole.” McLuhan here isn’t talking about video games – he wrote Understanding Media in 1964, a full 8 years before the release of … Continue reading Just a Thought: Games, Systems, and Society
In early video game studies, many academics separated themselves into one of two main camps: ludology and narratology. These two academic traditions still shape the field today, and questions of gameplay, narrative, and how best to combine the two persist in critical and popular discourse...
All of indie developer Supergiant Games’ projects to date have featured silent protagonists, and while that mechanic itself isn’t particularly rare, Supergiant has, in line with their reputation, always taken the time to tie it tightly into their narratives. However, in my opinion, nowhere have they done that as well or as compellingly as in … Continue reading “You Turned Left”: How ‘Transistor’ Plays With Agency