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by G. Christopher Williams

25 Nov 2015

I’ve finally gotten around to playing Hotline Miami 2, so I’ve been thinking a lot about blood lately.

For those unfamiliar, Hotline Miami and its more recent sequel Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number are horrific games full of carnage… and, well, more carnage. In the first game, you play as a psychopath who receives messages on his answering machine that provide locations for him to commit mass murder in. In Hotline Miami 2, you play as a series of psychopaths doing much the same.

by G. Christopher Williams

27 Oct 2015

In the morning he braved the sun. He needed to enrich his supply of Vitamin D and raise his arms sunward, petitioning gods, he said, even if it meant the stealthy genesis of abnormal tissue.
“It’s healthier to reject certain cautions than fall in line. I assume you know that,” he said.
—Don Delillo, Point Omega

It’s nearly Halloween again, a time to ponder monsters.

by G. Christopher Williams

21 Oct 2015

I’m pretty addicted at present to Darkest Dungeon. But then again, I’ve always been a bit of a masochist.

Those who are drawn to games like Dark Souls, Super Meat Boy, and The Binding of Isaac should understand. Play is supposed to be a pleasure, but folks like ourselves recognize that you can’t fully appreciate pleasure without pain.

by G. Christopher Williams

7 Oct 2015

The thing that struck me most about reading the first issue of Titan Comics’s Assassin’s Creed was its focus on an element of the video game series that has faded in its interest for me over the years. This issue spends much of its time, not in the past, but in the present with a character who will be experiencing the simulated memories of an Assassin.

I was fairly intrigued by the first Assassin’s Creed game’s decision to frame the experience of playing an assassin during the time of the Crusades with a conceit that allowed the game to justify some of the more game-like qualities of a somewhat historical simulation. While most of the player’s time with the game is spent in the guise of Altair, the game’s titular assassin, the game also featured brief narrative vignettes that concerned a character named Desmond Miles. In the present, Desmond was actually hooked to a machine called the Animus that allowed him to “play” his ancestor’s past (his ancestor being Altair) through the simulation of that period created by the machine. You know, like he was playing a video game.

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).

//Mixed media

Because Blood Is Drama: Considering Carnage in Video Games and Other Media

// Moving Pixels

"It's easy to dismiss blood and violence as salacious without considering why it is there, what its context is, and what it might communicate.

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