In her book, Rise of the Videogame Zinesters, game designer and critic Anna Anthropy argues in favor of a simple, yet radical change to the video game landscape. Her mission is refreshingly straightforward, as is her prose: “What I want from videogames is for creation to be open to everyone, not just to publishers and programmers. I want games to be personal and meaningful, not just pulp for an established audience. I want game creation to be decentralized. I want open access to the creative act for everyone. I want games as zines” (Rise of the Videogame Zinesters, Seven Stories Press, 2012, p. 10). She admits that it’s a daunting order, but then spends the rest of the book enthusiastically and convincingly showing that such a change is well within our grasp. Her book, which could have easily been a simple polemic against entrenched publishers, instead becomes an optimistic guide for people of non-traditional backgrounds to take ownership of the medium.
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There was a palpable excitement about King Kong shortly before its release in 2005. Peter Jackson had just come off the amazingly successful and Oscar winning Lord of the Rings trilogy. Unless Jackson pulls an “M. Night Shyamalan,” his name will forever carry with it instant notoriety, drawing a community towards his work eager to participate in whatever artistic endeavor he chooses to create. Like many other media properties of this sort, this built in community makes a natural target for cross-media promotions and transmedia storytelling. Remember that King Kong video game that—much to everyone’s surprise—was actually decent? King Kong and movie tie-in games like it seldom aim high, but they may yet provide an added value—intentionally or otherwise—to media communities.
I spent a good chunk of last week at E3, where I was inundated by games striving for authenticity. Most of these were shooters, most of them boasted impressive motion capture and textures, and most of them started to blend together after a while. In between explosions, I kept thinking about Botanicula (a humble point and click adventure game from Amanita Design) and how much more alive it seems than many of these photorealistic spectacles.
The third and final day of E3 2012 has come to a close. Some highlights include plenty of hands on time with the Wii U, new information about Assassin’s Creed 3, and the balance between creation and destruction on the show floor. It’ll take a few more days for everything to truly sink in, but until then, here are some more impressions:
Day 2 of E3 2012 has ended, and I can’t help but feel I’ve made it over the hump. Jorge and I started our day the way that most Angelinos do: we sat in freeway traffic for 45 minutes. That proved to be the last slow part of the day, as our schedules were packed with huge publishers and our downtime dedicated to combing the floor for interesting titles. Here are some of the highlights: