This doesn’t have anything to do with video games, but I can’t stop listen to Lorde’s “Pure Heroin” album. She’s only 16-years-old? Jeez.
The second week of Shocktober has come to an end, and I’m pretty proud of what’s been filed in support of the best month of the year so far. I had bigger ambitions for what might be on the site, but I also underestimated how much work it would be to balance that with other responsibilities. It doesn’t help that I’m supposed to give that TEDx speech next weekend, an event that distressingly hangs over my head every day. At this point, I just want it over with. The inevitable is stressful.
An interview earlier this week caused me to lose some sleep, but only because I’m not used to talking with film directors. I can do a game interview in my sleep, but everything else is slightly outside my wheelhouse. But it’s not enough to be good at what you’re already comfortable with, and that’s an easy way to creative stagnation. Publishing non-gaming material on the site has been really enjoyable, and I’m considering ways to keep that up even when Shocktober has come to a close. What? Not sure. Your thoughts are welcome.
Have you been enjoying your horror flicks so far? I’d hoped to file a series of dispatches this month to provoke discussion, but I haven’t watched nearly as many movies as I wanted, and one of them was a late night repeat viewing of Martyrs because my brother hadn’t seen it before.
“This movie is fucked up," he said.
He’s right. He fell asleep halfway through, though. That ending, man? It’s way, way worse.
Hey, You Should Play This
And You Should Read These, Too
Sometimes games are subversive, sometimes players are. Not every game successfully allows for players to have true agency when defining their play style, often because one style is more successful than others. But what happens when you disagree with what the game is asking of you, even if you’re not rewarded for it? Steven Strom decided to play Killzone: Mercenary without killing anyone, which is definitely an option for players but not one that seems very obvious from the violent-prone narrative. Strom points out how this enhanced some aspects of the story, too:
"Consequentially, I also fought fewer enemies, as there were no alarms raised to call in reinforcements. Over time, I found this to be a relief. Yes, fewer enemies meant easier objectives and greater rewards, but also meant a clearer conscience. As the first Killzone to humanize both the ISA and the Helghast, the impetus to think of my targets as more than fodder made me uncomfortable in the role I filled as Danner. A mercenary is meant to kill for profit, but even as I profited, minimizing casualties became my priority. I was forced less often forced to think about what each enemy NPC – characters that weren’t simply in it for the money – might be doing had they not been thrust into war; what they might have done if I hadn’t intervened."
Big shocker: Clive Thompson is a smart dude who says smart things. Gameolgoical, which is properly folding into The A/V Club going forward (a smart move), has a short interview with Thompson, an avid game player. Would you have guessed he’s into bullet hell? Not me. But what struck me about his conversation with Drew Toal was his thoughtful response to a question about about whether or not video games are a good thing for us as a society:
"So there has been this attempt over the last 10 years or so by people like me, who grew up playing video games, to sort of argue that these are good things. That they’re not horrible experiences for kids. They’re not going to turn them into robots or violent monsters. And one of the first lines of attack was to make a counter argument, that games increase your spatial awareness and all these things. I’ve always regarded that as not only beside the point, but maybe a bad point. Art shouldn’t have to justify itself on the level of how it improves our lives. It’s intended to be a metaphysically, or spiritually, or culturally interesting and thoughtful and entertaining and troubling experience, and that’s what games do when they’re really good."
If You Click It, It Will Play
Like it or Not, Crowdfunding Isn't Going Away
- A horror game where the main protagonist is in a wheelchair? That's The Last Cargo.
- The Long Dark is a post-apopcalyptic game without zombies or monsters. Well, except humans.
- Cosmic Star Heroine is well on its way to smashing its Kickstarter goal. Good for them.
Tweets That Make You Go "Hmmmmmm"
"It's bad that the first time I'll play Pokemon is after I've had sexual relations with a woman. That's not the order of life." - @ja2ke— Nick Breckon (@nickbreckon) October 11, 2013
Why not delete your friend's Pokemon X/Y save data in two weeks' time for the ultimate scary prank? #JimsHalloweenTips— Grim Sterling (@JimSterling) October 11, 2013
Oh, And This Other Stuff
- Tadgh Kelly on why some people write with such anxiety about the state of games.
- Video game designer Mike Selinker writes an open letter to Speaker Boehner.
- Eron Rauch writes about the difficulties in "exhibiting" some video games like Dwarf Fortress.
- Can someone hire Jeff Green, please?
- Designer Rob Lockhart takes a look at Battleship and wonders: can we make it fun again?
- Samantha Allen talks about teaching through games, this time through Bastion.
- Yep, someone ported Bomberman to the Commodore 64. What?
- Crytek, I hope your "reasoning" for having these character models is a joke.
- A thoroughly fascinating technical breakdown of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker.
- PlayStation Blog speaks with the man who designed the PS4's appearance.
- You know, I'm okay with fan fiction that decides to cross Gone Home with X-Files.