Slender is a free indie game by Parsec Productions based off the Slender Man mythos that originated in a Something Awful forum thread about fake paranormal pictures. His creation and history are a fascinating story, a community-driven monster myth in the making, so it was only a matter of time until someone made a game about him.
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Last week I visited “The Art of Video Games” exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. It’s an ambitious attempt to give an overview of the medium’s development from it’s inception to the present day. It’s difficult to do justice to an entire medium in the space of a few galleries. Major blindspots exist (like the arcade and handheld scenes) and philosophical questions (such as the difference between narrative and ludic storytelling approaches) get flattened out in the interest of making the exhibit approachable for a wide audience. Regardless, it’s pretty neat to see a video game exhibit in the same building as Gilbert Stuart’s George Washington portrait.
Most of the exhibit used video and static artwork to demonstrate the featured games, but my favorite gallery was the one with playable games. I don’t think I’ll blow anyone’s mind by saying that the best way to understand video games is to play them, and I think the chosen titles served as a good sample of the best the medium has to offer: Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros., The Secret of Monkey Island, Myst, and Flower. Visitors weren’t simply playing these games, they were experiencing the interactivity that makes games unique and taking part in the generational and social dynamics that have risen up around the medium.
A number of critics (including myself) have reacted with some trepidation to some of the preview coverage of the reboot of the Tomb Raider series. Early previews of the adventures of the new Lara Croft tended to focus on the idea that the vulnerability of a younger, less experienced Lara would be a big part of the effort to tell the story of Lara’s origins as an archaeologist and all around stoic bad ass.
One such preview described how in the early parts of the game, as she has her first encounters with violence “she bleeds and bruises, trembles and cries, but ultimately pushes forward” (Meagan Marie, “Tomb Raider”, Game Informer, January 2011, pg. 44) . These images of vulnerability describing the video game icon seem unusual, though they make some sense in terms of the game’s storytelling goals, which seem to be, as noted, seeing how Lara became the character that we have come to know only as a mature and highly competent heroine over the last 15 or so years. This is “Lara before she was Lara”, after all.
If you are at all interested in the creative process, in what makes creators tick, and how they deal with their creation once it is out there, you should see Indie Game: The Movie.
Of course, our Moving Pixels podcasters are interested in video games, but this week we discuss why Indie Game: The Movie should probably be seen by anyone interested in the creative arts.
While playing through a pre-release version Resonance for review, I came across a number of obstacles that I struggled to overcome. The difficult line that puzzle games have to walk is that the player must be stumped—but only for a little while. Unfortunately, given that my review was time sensitive, getting stuck lost much of its charm in the last few days before its release. However, just before its official release, developer Wadjet Eye Games sent an email offering a walkthrough to any reviewers that thought they might need it.
I hadn’t come across a puzzle that I couldn’t figure out, but I worried that that time was coming. So, with a slight sense of shame, I asked the developers to pass along the walkthrough. It was an interesting offer that is pretty unique to games. It felt almost like getting offered a ten page summary for a book review or an extended “highlights” trailer for a film review. It felt like cheating. But walkthroughs can add a layer of depth to games.
// Short Ends and Leader
"Mystery writer Arthur B. Reeve's influence in this film doesn't follow convention -- it follows his invention.READ the article