Latest Blog Posts

by G. Christopher Williams

30 Sep 2015

I am once again teaching one of my favorite courses this semester, an upper division course that I run every couple of years called Violence in Literature and Film. Among novels like Crime & Punishment and Cormac McCarthy’s brilliant and horrific Blood Meridian and films like Old Boy and A Clockwork Orange, my students and I are also reading Shakespeare’s bloodiest and most vile play Titus Andronicus.

Since I am not a Shakespeare specialist, I was brushing up the other evening on my knowledge of the Elizabethan and Jacobean revenge tragedy by reading a number of essays including a kind of quick and dirty encyclopedic entry on the topic over at Shakespeare Online. The essay notes some of the more common and more horrific types of subject matter presented in plays written in this mode, including “cannibalism, incest, rape, and violent death” (of which Titus Andronicus includes three out of those four elements and additionally offers dismemberment, which, like most of its other elements, is intended to occur on stage, right before the audience’s eyes).

by G. Christopher Williams

29 Sep 2015

I’ve written about video games for more than 10 years. During that time, I’ve talked about sex in video games, religion in video games, representations of masculinity in video games, representations of femininity in video games, politics in video games, clothing styles in video games, economic issues in video games, morality in video games,  violence in video games, self identity in video games, death in video games, reproduction in video games, but I have never written a single article about dogs in video games.

To be honest when trying to remember games in which I had encountered dogs in the past, I had a pretty difficult time. I remembered that Grand Theft Auto V featured a Rottweiler named Chop that you could hang out with if you wanted to. I didn’t get into Chop much, despite him representing a breed that I’m rather fond of. He seemed like too much of a hassle to play around with much. His mechanics and value weren’t intuitive to me, so I quickly abandoned the idea of developing a relationship between he and Franklin. I had more important matters to attend to in that game. I also remembered that another Rockstar game, Bully, had a mission in which a dog figured quite heavily, and I remembered that Fallout 3 had a dog in it, but that’s a game that I only played a small chunk of, so I don’t know that much about Rex. Beyond that, I found myself struggling to think of any other dogs in games.

by G. Christopher Williams

28 Sep 2015

With its third episode, “Chaos Theory”, Life is Strange gets stranger. Sure, this is a coming of age story that just happens to include a teenager that can time travel and has visions of an impending apocalypse, but the story so far has remained fairly focused on the difficulties of growing up and attending high school.

While that focus continues to be significant to this choice-driven, episodic point-and-click adventure, Max’s power in this episode begins to develop in new ways,  opening up the game’s interest in choices and consequences on an even larger scale.

by Nick Dinicola

25 Sep 2015

As I watch Geralt of Rivea get a haircut in The Witcher 3, I can’t help but think of the hype that surrounded his hair before the game came out. The graphics card manufacturer Nvidia made a big deal about their new “HairWorks” tech and how it gave long hair a more realistic look and bounce. As I walk out of the barbershop with a clean chin and short hair, I can’t help but think, “Well, so much for that.” AMD tried to create similar hype for their TressFX hair tech in Tomb Raider, and the result was hair that hovered a few inches over her shoulders and blew in her face with every minor twitch.

by Sean Miller

22 Sep 2015

In a recent post, I mentioned that I did an informal survey of app artwork currently available for public consumption. One of the first ones that I found was an app called Poetics by the New York-based artist Seth Carnes. Carnes published the first version of the app on the Apple App Store in 2007.

Carnes took time to speak with me via email recently. As I learned, Poetics continues to evolve. What follows is a lightly-edited transcript of our conversation.

//Mixed media

Con Brio: The Best New Live Band in America?

// Notes from the Road

"There’s a preciousness to McCarter and the rest of the mostly young band. You want to freeze the moment, to make sure they are taking it all in too. Because it’s going to change.

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