[ This week, our partnership with game criticism site Critical Distance brings us picks from Kris Ligman on topics including thehistorical conventions of time limits in games, the authored natureof Proteus , and more .] Going anywhere? Why don’t you stick around for a while? I’ve gotsome links for you, and they’re the best you’re likely to read allweek. Straight from the best of game criticism, theory andcommentary, it’s This Week in Video Game Criticism! We start off with the member blogs section of Gamasutra, whereSebastian Alvarado continues his incisive series on the portrayal of neuroscience in games , this week turning his attention to Deus Ex: Human Revolution . Meanwhile, fellow Gamasutra member blogger Sam Kite thinks we’ve got it all wrong about game cloning : “This argument about cloning being ok is mindless. It has nothingto do with cloning.
This is about being turned against one anotherby mutual isolation.” Elsewhere, congrats are due to Patricia Hernandez, who graduatedlast week and also punched out this lovely and eloquent article on why she enjoys the authored nature of Proteus more than the real deal: “The world of Proteus is in servitude to the player. Things here exist, more, werecreated, specifically to be experienced, to evoke something fromthe player. Proteus delivers this curated package while at onceproviding a playground for contemplative, aimless sauntering.Travel is not utilitarian here, it is not a means to get to whereyou ‘need’ to be. There’s an intrinsic idyllic quality about theworld, a landscape that’s to be appreciated for its own sake. And yet there is intention behind every pixel in the horizon.
Gamesaren’t an accident, they aren’t a miracle arising from chance.Games are designed. My admiration is more easily channeled toward things I canintellectualize and understand, things I can learn from, and thingsthat have purpose. The errant chance of nature? Not so much.” Speaking of Hernandez, you may recall she is also editor in chiefof Nightmare Mode, which also pulled together a remarkably strongweek. Newcomer contributor and Split-Screen vet Alan Williamson muses on how we can make death matter in games , while Bill Coberly pays tribute to Digital: A Love Story ‘s reinvention of the silent protagonist . Also on Nightmare Mode, Nolan McBride performs a deep reading on the player-character identification in The Darkness II. Cellular Phone Batteries
And Nightmare Mode co-editor Tom Auxier makes an aggressive case for how games have fallen out of touchwith the narratives of our daily lives : “In truth, this is where video games struggle to communicate mostwith the young: they are an old-fashioned mode of communication. Amajority of them tell the stories our parents, and our parents’parents, want to tell. They’re not stories about pursuing ourdreams, but stories about when we’ve already achieved them. We’renever no one, anymore: we’re assassin, we’re dragonborn, we’reCommand Shepard’s favorite store on the Citadel. China Smartphone Protective Case
We’re never MegaMan, a cyborg with natural gifts but who has to earn everything forhimself. Video games are stories about when we’ve already arrived.” Meanwhile, Rob of World One-Two would appear to disagree in this recent essay on Journey , arguing particularly for its philosophical and aestheticuniversalism: “For me, Journey is about the only thing that art worth any goddamn can ever beabout, which is what it is we’re all doing here. Journey is about truth, about base reality, about this experience of beingitself we so often ignore. It is a call to look around us andremember that, as David Foster Wallace puts it: “This is water.This is water.”” Two TWIVGC regulars, Eric Schwarz and Josh Bycer, also had strongshowings this week. Cell Phone Housing
Josh Bycer debates whether there is such a thing as unethical game mechanics , while in a similar vein, Eric Schwarz looked into the historicalconventions and current role of time limits in games : “There’s a certain Otherness to the timer, a sense of a foreignentity watching over us, monitoring our every move, and castingsilent judgment. The timer isn’t just about what we’re doing, butwhat we’re missing as a result. Every action loses valuable timethat could be spent elsewhere… and only the ticking clockknows if we made the right choice. The game is now aboutperformance, in more ways than one.” And you may have heard that a certain long-awaited game startingwith D and ending in -iablo 3 was finally released recently. Kill Screen’s Yannick LeJacq reflects how the Diablo series puts the agony in games of agon: “When I start to get exhausted, when bolts ofpain shoot through my knuckles and up my arm, I have to remindmyself that this is a game about hell.” Elsewhere, Unwinnable’sJenn Frank thinks the game is just too gosh-darn cute : “In playing Diablo III , I feel such an expansive detachment from its happenings andgoings-on.
Take, for instance, my unprejudiced penchant fordestruction: “We aren’t bad people,” I assured my friend Julian,right as his Witch Doctor punched a desk into smithereens. “We areonly cats who like to tip things over.”” The Gameological Society’s Drew Toal takes us through two classic games of thrones , while Moving Pixels’ Jorge Albor writes in praise of support characters . And Andrew Lavigne kicks it oldschool for us this week in moreways than once with this feminist psychoanalytical textual reading of Resident Evil 3 . Thanks to Medium Difficulty editor Karl Parakenings for sending inthese two recent articles: Heather Hale’s ” Online Gaming: Can’t We All Just Get Along? ” and Kyle Carpenter’s ” Minecraft : Development, Discovery, and The Final Frontier “. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention some of the greatinterviews and developer profiles that went down this week.Christian Nutt sits down with Quantic Dream’s David Cage about interactive narrative, while Simon Parkin paints for us a tender portrait of Metal Gear auteur Hideo Kojima.
And more tangential to game development, Kill Screen’s JordanMammo speaks with author Jonathan Gottschall on the narcotic propertiesof game stories . One of the cuter little curios of the week, 1Up has curated a series of “alternate history” speculative articles onwhere gaming might be today had history gone down differently . And you’re going to love this series of game characterillustrations by deviantArt artist PaperBeatsScissors of the stuff they learned from games . Lastly, a tip of the hat is due to two particularly stand-outbloggers who went far beyond the call of duty this week. MichaelWalbridge of Snackbar Games found and played every Molyjam he could get his hands on , and Superlevel’s Sebastian Standke has written up an extensive report on all 1,402 games of Ludem Dare 23.
Yes. Allof them. What a week! Oh, you’re leaving already? Remember to tweet and email us your favorite articles, and stop by again soon! Related news: This week in Video Game Criticism: From Battleship to the lowestdifficulty setting This week in Video Game Criticism: From valorizing warfare todesigning like a bastard This week in Video Game Criticism: From PlaGMaDa to video gamezinesters.