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Worth Reading: 04/13/2012

Even though it's April, Patrick's going down the horror rabbit hole, which also means plenty of contemplation about everyone's favorite subject: death.

Maybe this guy will show up in Condemned 3. Actually, I don't care. Just give me Condemned 3.
Maybe this guy will show up in Condemned 3. Actually, I don't care. Just give me Condemned 3.

An hour before everyone went home last Wednesday, Drew sat me down and showed me how to record a Quick Look for the site. I took some notes, mostly forgot about the whole thing, and then realized this past Tuesday, “Oh, god, I really have to figure out how this works.” You have me to blame for any audio issues, which was mostly because I didn’t know how to best tweak that on the fly.

It’s because of the added video responsibilities that I haven’t had much time to write features for the site, though I’ve continued to conduct interviews and gather material for stories that I will hopefully write next week. And, yes, that includes a follow-up to the fighting game story from not so long ago. Eventually! Right.

We apparently have access to a transcription service that should hopefully increase my turnaround on stories. It doesn't take me that long to write a basic feature, but it takes forever to carve out time to transcribe, the least talked about, most mind-numbing process within journalism.

In any case, I need to finish this up so I can go see Cabin in the Woods. Speaking of...

Hey, You Should Play This:

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I intend to play more horror games than I actually do, which is probably true for just about, uh, everything. Deep. Horror strikes a chord with me because the unbridled emotional response to true fear is addicting--it makes me feel alive. I return to the horror genre over and over again like an addict, having to dig into deeper and deeper holes in search of something else that will get on my nerves. Horror games seem to have an easier time of that than horror movies, and I recently played through the original Nightmare House, a user mod for Half-Life that’s basically an interactive haunted house. I don’t want to say much more, though, except to encourage you to just download Nightmare House 2, provided you have a copy of Half-Life 2: Episode Two, since it includes both--and it’s free.

Good luck. I’ll write something more substantial on both of these after I finish Nightmare House 2.

Also, You Should Read These:

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You might have figured I’d be plugging a different piece from The Atlantic this week, but I haven’t gotten around to reading the publication’s profile of Braid designer Jonathan Blow yet, and I still have thatgamecompany’s Journey on my mind. Gaming academic Ian Bogost uses Journey as an opportunity to discuss the design philosophy of thatgamecompany as a whole--specifically, designer Jenova Chen. Bogost believes you can play Chen’s creations from the last few years and come to an understanding of his design process, walking us through his observations of flOw, Flower and Journey. I’ve also jotted down plenty of books I should read after finishing Bogost’s analysis.

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Warning: it’s possible to infer spoilers about Journey reading this, and there are definitely spoilers in the article.

Yes, another exhausting piece using Journey as a jump point. Stay with me, as Douglas Edric Stanley takes a vastly different approach, instead contemplating the ways death is expressed within games, often as a gameplay mechanic, less as an emotional hook driving the experience. Any time there’s a discussion of death in games, you’re sure to see someone discussing Jason Rohrer’s Passage (which is available on iOS, apparently), and I’m reminded once again that I have not played (tried?) Tale of TalesThe Graveyard. In any case, while the various representations of death are Stanley’s starting point, by the end of his essay, which includes the most amazing “walkthrough” for Super Mario Bros. I’ve ever seen, he’s covered player choice, communication and plenty more.

Patrick Klepek on Google+