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Wednesday, Jul 30, 2014
Fear is strangely an experience best shared with others -- even in seemingly less than social mediums, like single player video games.

I’m not especially fond of horror as a genre. Maybe it is because horror is not often the best written genre in cinema. Maybe it’s because I really don’t enjoy viewing things that are gory.


That being said, I do find that generally horror is a highly moralistic genre (maybe the most moralistic genre), since it tends to portray good and evil in the starkest terms possible (there are typically no fine lines between ugliness and evil, for instance, in horror). I tend to find this vaguely interesting, as I am drawn to works that are concerned with morality and ethics in the philosophical sense. However, that also being said, I more often find that revenge films and even exploitation cinema are more interesting than the typical horror film in exploring these ideas (give me Quentin Tarantino over Clive Barker any day of the week).


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Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014
Quest for Infamy attempts not just to ape the adventure games of old but to attempt a kind of storytelling that was not quite possible in an earlier era of game development thanks to the limits of technology.

With all due respect to my fellow Moving Pixels contributor Nick Dinicola, regarding his Quest for Infamy review, I must disagree. He recognizes that Quest for Infamy is a throwback to the classic adventure games of the ‘80s and ‘90s. However, it feels like he doesn’t appreciate the specifics of the game’s design legacy, calling it “a purposefully poorly designed adventure game.” I don’t think Quest for Infamy is poorly designed at all. I think it’s a rather solidly designed game hampered by a few execution hiccups that hold it back from being a really great game.


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Friday, Jul 25, 2014
Is story so tangential to the gaming experience that even a self-professed story-lover can play an entire game and not glean a single plot point from it all?

I hate skipping cut scenes. I never do it. I understand wanting to get into the game quickly, but cut scenes are important. They’re part of the experience, whether you like them or not, and they’re a major mouthpiece for what the game is about thematically. Beyond that, I’m very interested in how games tell a story, their ambition versus the reality of execution. Often the failures are just as interesting as the successes.


But all that didn’t stop me from skipping the cut scenes in Sniper Elite 3, and the one important story cut scene in the Destiny beta. I know, I’m a bad person, but I just didn’t care. I didn’t care about the characters, I didn’t care about the plots, and I didn’t care about the themes. I didn’t care about anything those games had to say, and I don’t know exactly why.


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Thursday, Jul 24, 2014
Can we overcome the Darkness through the power of dance? We’ll see.

I’ve been thinking about dancing in video games and not in the Dance Central, “you are the dancer” sense. I’m talking about games where dancing is far from (at least as far as I can tell) the central interest of the game. I’m talking about the Destiny beta, a weird place where you are the universe’s savior and also its interstellar b-boy. Dancing is seemingly a light hearted and minor action in the game, but it is an important illustration of how difficult it is to maintain a game’s thematic tone.


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Tuesday, Jul 22, 2014
Fighting games are more deeply centered on physical movement than any other game genre and that focus highlights the myriad of ways that motion can be presented.

It’s strange what can become normal when disbelief is suspended. So much of what is culturally understood about guns, government, science, other people, and so on is informed by the liberties taken by popular fiction. Fiction reflects reality. People can tell fiction from reality, but each still informs the other. Video games have tried with varying degrees of success to capture a somewhat accurate reflection of reality in a number of ways, but one area that they still tend to fall short in is in portraying a sense of physicality. Digital avatars are most often a neutral blob of pixels waiting to be unceremoniously shredded apart, or they are inorganic and plastic representations with barely any feeling of tangibility (Mark Filipowich, “The Gamer’s Dressing Room”, Game Church, 14 January 2014.). Graphical fidelity feels like a natural excuse, but the relatively low-fi Walking Dead series is able to communicate the pain, exhaustion, and physical terror of its characters through the smallest audiovisual cues and Twine artists like Merritt Kopas and Kaitlin Tremblay are also talented at communicating a sense of physical presence in their textually based games.


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