CFP: The Legacy of Radiohead's 'The Bends' 20 Years On [Deadlines: 29 Jan / 12 Feb]

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Wednesday, Jun 12, 2013
Between the images of the destruction of the game industry and its salvation lie actual Twine games, which are both much more mundane than folks imagine and far more fascinating than the hyperbole implies.

Twine is a relatively new game development tool that makes it easy to create a simple game. I hesitate to describe it any further because many different people have managed to make it do many different things. However, when someone says Twine game, the image conjured in their mind is that of a choose-your-own-adventure-style interactive fiction experience.

Everything about Twine is contentious or rather it’s causing people to at least check their assumptions on what they knew about games or their genres. There are some in the interactive fiction community wondering if games in this style qualify as such next to games developed with parser based interfaces. You have those of the formalist persuasion saying that they are not games at all and the less thoughtful members of the gamer population saying they are utter wastes of time.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Photopia and Galatea are not iterations on interactive fiction, but something entirely new that happen to use the same form.

This post contains spoilers for Photopia and Galatea

Last time I looked at two examples of contemporary interactive fiction that were iterations of the classic text adventure genre. If I can borrow from Scott McCloud’s Six Steps of Art from his book Understanding Comics, those games sought to adjust and play with the craft and structure of their chosen medium. Photopia and Galatea are not iterations, but something entirely new that happen to use the same form. The two games I want to talk about now dig down and look at what the form of interactive text can accomplish and focus instead on the story and form levels of McCloud’s same steps.

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Not limited by what can actually be represented on screen, interactive fiction can stretch the limits of creators' (and players') imaginations as well as create deeper narrative interaction.

Gaming is a large and vast medium, and yet game critics tend to only focus on such a narrow margin of that whole medium. Big studio blockbusters and certain types of independent games take up the limelight and the column inches, as it were. Very little gets mentioned outside certain parameters. Even in this more indie friendly climate, so much gets lost or pushed aside.

There are plenty of games not within the normal parameters of the gaming mainstream that don’t get their criticism. They have much smaller and more niche audiences. One of those wells that I’ve been dipping into lately is the world of interactive fiction. The genre is an evolution of the text adventure had the genre never moved past the text parser and into the realms of graphical interfaces. Not limited by what can actually be represented on screen, they can stretch the limits of their creators’ (and players’) imagination as well as create deeper narrative interaction.

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Tuesday, Apr 30, 2013
I don’t know if there is a more complex, divisive part of fan culture than cosplay. The fact that it is an artform that trades on the use of people’s bodies’ means that it’s treading into murky political waters by its very definition.

A recap of part one and part two: the Expo Hall is an over-crowded high stress environment with little reward, whereas the Tabletop area is a calm arena of interest and wonder. The panels are hit or miss, but either way, you have to show up early to get in. And being a game journalist at one of these events isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be, except when it is. Oh, and there are lines for everything.

That last one doesn’t go away as we reach the end of this little guided journey through PAX East. In fact, I think it stands as probably the single common denominator for all PAX experiences. I got to experience much at PAX East, as I generally try to see everything I can at least once, but it isn’t possible. Going in you have to know what you are at the convention for and must be steadfast in what you want to do there. Wavering costs you time, which in turn leads to waiting in lines even longer. A dreadful fate indeed.

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Tuesday, Apr 23, 2013
This is a gamer’s convention. Even waiting in line, we will game.

Last time I talked about the Expo Hall, the show floor for video games, and the Tabletop area, the show floor for non-video games. They are, however, a fraction of the entire convention.

They comprise the majority of the bottom most floor of the convention center. The floors above it consist of a single hallway that wraps around the inside edge of the building leading to various rooms filled with various additional activities. The most notable, or at least the most widely advertised, are the panels.

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