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by Eric Kravcik

13 May 2010


This discussion of God of War 3 contains spoilers.


Unlike the previous two games in the series, God of War 3 finally confronts Kratos in a more substantial way, especially the result of living a life filtered through the eye of revenge.  Cover art can sometimes give an insight into a developer’s artistic intentions and Sony Santa Monica decided to make a statement by dismissing Kratos’s backside (as seen on the boxes of the previous two games) and decided to concentrate solely on representing his eye.  It is said that the eye is seen as the entrance to the soul, and that through this window, we can see what kind of person someone is.  This emphasis on the eye foreshadows a difference in the way that we will feel about and perceive Kratos once his saga comes to an end.

At the start of the game, there is an emphasis on perspective and scale as Kratos is climbing up the back of a Titan on his path to Mount Olympus.  The way that the camera pulls in and out to showcase the sense of scale is nothing new, but the fight that comes shortly after with Poseidon introduces a new perspective on this protagonist.  After completing a familiar series of quick-time events, we eventually come face to face with Poseidon. Only this time, we see the world through Poseidon’s eyes.  From this perspective, we see the brutality that Kratos inflicts on others with no remorse or sense of morality.  At the climax of this encounter, we are instructed to poke out our (Poseidon’s) own eyes.  If you thought that Kratos was on your side, then you should rethink your position.  Kratos doesn’t care who he has to kill, even the one responsible for his success thus far (the player).  The end of the battle leaves Kratos covered in the blood of a character whose perspective you, the player, have been seeing from. In a sense, he has murdered how you perceive him from now on.

by Rick Dakan

13 May 2010


There haven’t been a lot of console games in the past month that I’ve wanted to play or PC games really. But, hey, I bought a new iPad on release day, and it’s a gaming platform too! So, drawn by both the comfort of my couch and the shiny excitement of a new toy, I’ve been doing most of my gaming on the iPad.

I’ve had an iPod Touch for a year or so, but I never gamed on it much. The screen’s too small, and I generally preferred my DS for mobile and couch gaming. However, the big screen iPad promised better graphics and a more expansive experience all around, and it delivers. I don’t think that I’ve turned on my DS since I stood in line at Best Buy all those weeks ago. As with the DS, I play mostly strategy and puzzle games on the slate. Indeed, addict that I am, I’ve bought Civilization: Revolution for both devices now. Well, all three if you include the Xbox 360 version. I do love that game on any platform.

by G. Christopher Williams

12 May 2010


Amnesia is an oft used (and overused) trope of video game narrative.  Certainly, one can understand the allure of introducing a character unfamiliar with the world and himself as the basis for an avatar for the player just loading up a video game.  This state is more or less the state of the player, and, thus, introducing the player to the world and the character that he will be inhabiting over the course of the game makes practical sense.  It is about as similarly useful as the old chestnut in fantasy literature of introducing main characters from another world into a fantasy landscape (a la Narnia) or the country bumpkin into the larger fantasy world (The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings), which likewise allows the reader to be introduced alongside such inexperienced characters to the workings of an unfamiliar world.

While Access Games’s Deadly Premonition falls back on this idea of the player being familiarized with a world through an “outsider” to that world (in this case, a reversal of the usual “country bumpkin” model, as Francis York Morgan is an experienced, urban dwelling FBI agent who finds himself on assignment in the weird world of small town America), it suggests a much more interesting way of defining the relationship between the player and this character in another way.  Rather than creating a parallel between the amnesiac and the newbie player, the schizophrenic becomes the metaphor in Deadly Premonition for the relationship between the player and the character.  That metaphor is a fairly compelling one.

by L.B. Jeffries

11 May 2010


At the Art History of Games Conference in Atlanta, Celia Pearce gave a talk about the history of interactive art before video games became popular. The difficulty that multimedia must always deal with when trying to gain access to something like a museum is that interactivity is an intrinsic part of the art work. While something like a Fluxus exhibit is easily recognized as only working if people can touch it, other forms of interactive media are often confused with their final product. A Jackson Pollock painting, for example, is just as much about the rhythm and flow of splashing the canvas as it is the final picture. For this reason, a lot of his paintings will feature a filming of the actual painting process so that the viewer has a better appreciation of a work that they might otherwise dismiss. This isn’t a concept that works just for painting. It can be relevant to any form of media.

One of the most interesting musicians making the internet rounds these days is Pogo, his music takes samples from films and converts them into unique tracks. Reworking syllables into new phrases and cutting music where there was none before, the video which accompanies the song often becomes intrinsic to enjoying the music. It resembles the need for Pollock’s painting to have an accompanying video because the two forms of media mix to create a greater appreciation in the listener. After flipping through a couple of different interviews that Pogo linked to on his website, I decided to just pick & choose the relevant responses then convert them into a post.

by G. Christopher Williams

10 May 2010


This week our discussion of game worlds moves from the claustrophobic halls of the asylum to the vast reaches of space.

Continuing our consideration of game worlds and their effect on our experience playing games, we consider both the broad galatic maps of Mass Effect as well as the narrower confines of intergalatic ports of call and the bridges of starships and how they impact on Bioware’s collection of characters.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

'Five Came Back' Is an Unusual and Seminal Suspenser

// Short Ends and Leader

"This film feels like a template for subsequent multi-character airplane-disaster and crash projects, all the way down to Lost.

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