Despite packing up and moving all my possessions to a new house, This Week In Videogame Blogging is here with some of the best blogging about games from the week leading up to May 9th.
Chris Dahlen this week sends us a link to The Onion AV Club’s ‘Sawbuck Gamer’ group scattershot coverage of any and every game they can get their hands on. It’s quite the list. Dahlen also asked Alan Wake ‘Why Won’t You Let Me Be Stupid?’ [dead link, no mirror available] in his Edge Online column, and points to the indie gem Machinarium as a game that doesn’t spare the brainteasers.
Mariam Asad at Rules of the Game wrote about Heavy Rain’s particular use of camera angles [mirror] this week, drawing upon a lot of cinematography theory for her analysis.
John Davison of GamePro says developers and players alike agree that “Games are too hard, they’re too long, and they provide way too much stuff” (even if they might never own up to it) [dead link, no mirror available].
Kyle Orland takes a look at the organisation of the Halo: Reach beta give-aways and takes the opportunity to re-examine game journalism’s reliance on game PR. His conclusions, while hardly new to anyone familiar with the occasionally too-cosy relationship between journalists and PR [dead link, no mirror available], nevertheless strike an important contemporary note. Says, Orland, ‘The next time you wonder why game journalism is often seen as just an extension of video game PR, remember “events” like this.’
“It’s Never Just A Game” [mirror] is a series by James Vonder Haar currently running at The Border House blog, and in the first instalment he looks at why escapism in service of entertainment is no excuse to uncritically accept negative or derogatory stereotypes.
Emily Short, in her ‘Homer in Silicon’ Game Set Watch column, writes about “Character Creation and Fallout 3”. She suggests a radical re-thinking of the process of character creation, saying:
I would make different and more interesting choices if, instead of doing character-building in a clump at the beginning, that process were more gradual.
Fraser Alison at Red Kings Dream writes about multiplayer online Halo [dead link, no mirror available], relating a particular first-hand experience with ageism.
On Friday, Jim Rossignol had a bit of a think about the nature of DLC versus single player subscriptions, and asked his readers at Rock Paper Shotgun, “Would You Pay A Sub For Single-Player?”
Ferguson of Interactive Illuminatus brings to our attention “the similarities between narrative structure and game structure”.
Rob Zachny’s ‘Keys to the Kingdom’ column at Game Set Watch looks at the ‘Diplomacy’ expansion for Sins of a Solar Empire, and the ever-fragile nature of alliances.
In the middle of these and other notable occurrences this week, there was a somewhat more melancholy note we would like to reflect upon – this week Clint Hocking (Splinter Cell Chaos Theory, Far Cry 2) announced that he had tendered his resignation from Ubisoft’s Montreal studios. Giving no details about what he would do next, only explaining that he had gotten too comfortable with the habits built up over eight-and-then-some years at the now former studio, Hocking is striking out into the unknown. His story is one that can encourage all of us – writers, gamers and designers alike – to not settle for second best, but to strike out into unfamiliar territory and see what comes of it. I’m sure I’m not alone in wishing him a speedy transition to whatever and wherever he decides to turn his considerable talents in the near future.
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