Welcome to This Week In Videogame Blogging, where I try to round up the best blog posts from the critical gaming blogosphere.
This week, Rob Lefevre’s reflective post about why he runs a gaming website caught my eye. Because of the decision by his managing partner to leave the Games Are Evil website, Lefevre has been left holding the fort on his own. He says,
So I’m rushing around, spending far more of my time off from being an education technologist on the internet instead of outside in the sunshine with my family, and my wife asks, “so, why do you do this?”
I quite like his answers, so be sure to go read them.
This is actually older than last week but it’s too good not to mention – Tom Armitage hits the nail on the head with his appeal for more “Hudson’s and less Hicks” type players. Of course, he’s talking about the characters from the 1986 film Aliens and how he’d
…like it if more gamers were more like Bill Paxton’s Private Hudson… I’d take a legion of stumbling, wise-cracking Hudsons over a dour Corporal Hicks any day.
It’s been noted all over the internet how much Aliens informs modern videogame Sci-Fi tropes, and it only makes Armitage’s argument all the more potent when talking about modern videogame players. I should add that he talks about it in the context of Valve’s Left 4 Dead and how that game is best enjoyed when you are able to make ‘Dangerous Mistakes in the Company of Friends‘. I couldn’t agree more.
Matthew Wasteland waxes prosaically about a bunch of things to do with games, real life, game design and the boundaries between bugs and “features”. I think there is a wonderful wealth of things to take away from his piece ‘The Very Opposite of an Airport‘ and that’s in large part thanks to it being written in the (increasingly popular) style of a short, fictional narrative. This is the kind of thing I am most excited for in games criticism and I’m planning on writing a bit more about the subject in the near future.
In his ‘Diamond in the Rough‘ GameSetWatch column, Tom Cross takes an in depth look at Steve Gaynor’s post ‘The Immersion Model of Meaning‘ from November 2008, which is itself a suggestion for an alternative approach to game stories. Cross applies the sort of rigour to his critique that wouldn’t be out of place in an academic paper – well worth a read, particularly if you are already familiar with Gaynor’s posts.
On Fidgit, Tom Chick investigates how a community of Christian gamers reviews, discusses and applies their own lens to games like Soulcalibur. It seems worthy of attention, in my opinion, because it provides an insight into a non-mainstream gaming approach. Chick says,
Videogamers tend to cluster into small and insular echo chambers, usually based around message boards and fan communities. Because of this, I feel it’s important that we see the games we play through other people’s eyes.
An interesting discussion was had over in the comments thread for a post on the new game Crane Wars at Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Mostly it’s interesting because the review was rather critical of aspects of the game and a number of actual developers responded courteously in the comments thread with suggestions and explanations. It’s great to see this kind of dialogue – last week it was game developers discussing with each other, this week it’s developers engaging with their critics constructively. One day I hope this will stop being noteworthy because of its regularity.
Duncan Fyfe writes this week about the relationship us blogger/writer/critic-types develop with our games. Namely, that it’s actually not the most fun ones that we enjoy, but rather the ones that stimulate and inspire us to write the most. I know this totally applies to me. Far Cry 2 anyone?
I’ll leave you with another entry from Indie Gaming Bingo, who ain’t afraid to tackle the big targets in Indie Gaming! This week, they go after Jason Rohrer’s Gravitation and note that,
If this game were any more “lo-fi” it would be a low quality speaker, because the term “low fidelity” has nothing to do with games when you think about it.
Which made me laugh out loud. Could IGB’s choice of game have been inspired by recent news that Jason Rohrer is leaving his indie spirit behind and has signed up to work for an advergaming agency? I guess it doesn’t really matter, in the end, we still get the goods. Also: I don’t blame Rohrer for wanting to eat more than dandelions and sourdough.
As always, if there’s a post I didn’t mention that you think should be included in TWIVGB, feel free to leave a link in the comments or email us at editors@this-website.