• The Bodyguard | Five Players
    There’s a man in a tube in a town in a desert. And he can’t get out. I’m going to help him.
  • Unconventional beauty: Leave Princess Theradras alone! | Border House
    The concept of a Princess has been drilled into our head as a beautiful, fair-skinned, Caucasian, damsel in distress who wears flowing gowns and is nothing but gracious and royal. How easily people disregard that the title is based on royalty and family ties, and that it is one of politics and not of choice. The fact that people think she is not worthy of being a princess just because she doesn’t look like something out a Disney movie is appalling to me. And not calling her feminine? She is a strong and powerful elemental who has birthed and raised the beginnings of an entire race, and is a royal princess in her faction of people. That’s a pretty cool woman, in my opinion.
  • Infinite Lag: A Seat at the Table
    Games have definite issues with gender equality, diversity, jingoism, and maturity amid other concerns; but as far as outward bigotry goes, seems to me there’s an awful lot more of that in the movies, on TV, and in political speeches than in videogames. I can think of many games I’d say have “problematic treatments of sexuality,” for example, but few that overtly encourage or legitimize bigotry on the level of a Jim DeMint.

UPDATE: Upgrading to WP 3.0.2 seems to have caused the RSS Digest plug-in to freak out, producing this gigantic post with links from way back when October was middle-aged. However, since all those links are completely worth it, I won’t be deleting them, but will merely hide them after the jump.

  • Discount thoughts: Cinematic Action Games: A Brief Critical Assessment
    To categorize cinematic action games as intrinsically shallow or lacking in value would be the worst sort of genre-as-pejorative thinking. Their approach to game storytelling has produced many strengths, but one central characteristic of the genre is also a critical weakness. The great artistic limitations of cinematic action games come from their disinterest in the player as a creative force.
  • How We Talk About Games: Graphics
    So why can I quote decade-old reviews of a game that’s only distantly comparable to Uncharted 2 and find the exact same statements, almost verbatim, that I find in today’s criticism? These statements aren’t wrong, but they’re shamefully insufficient. Critics are still speaking in vague superlative, as if they’re auditioning to be blurbed on the back of the box.
  • Me and the Wii – Chris Hecker’s Website
    (…) I screwed up because I stupidly didn’t realize how my quotes would sound out of context. It never even occurred to me that they would or could be taken out of context. I never imagined somebody would read a single quote from a dense 10 minute comedic lecture and draw conclusions about my beliefs from that, not to mention draw conclusions about me as a person, or even about my wife, who also got insulting mails as a result of the rant and its coverage.
  • Homosexuality and Fallout: New Vegas: A gay marriage made in gay Heaven | FileFront
    As much as we like to talk about how videogames are art and worthy of cultural respect, there’s no denying that the medium has a lot of growing up to do. Nowhere is this more evident than with the general treatment of homosexuality within games. I can list on one hand the amount of gay characters I’ve seen in videogames that aren’t treated as borderline offensive jokes or identified almost exclusively by their gender preferences. Even the ones who are portrayed in a serious light are often so overwrought and needlessly camp that it looks patronizing at best and ignorant at worst.
  • Radiator Blog: Gay (But Not “Gay”) Characters in Video Games
    The argument that [all] gay video game characters should downplay their sexuality might be well intentioned, but is ultimately representative of the most dangerous kind of homophobia — a homophobia wrapped in intellectualism, appearing “tolerant.”
  • The Escapist : Wussy RPG Girls
    If you’ve ever played a JRPG, particularly one from before the early 2000′s, chances are you’ve encountered the Wussy RPG Girl. Meek and doe-eyed, these healer characters double as the love interest and are usually billed as the “heroine,” though they seem to possess little power of their own. In fact, it’s rare that they do anything more heroic than grappling with low self-esteem or getting kidnapped – which tends to happen a minimum of twice.
  • Elder Game: MMO game development » How To Balance an MMO, And How To Stop
    Can you perfectly predict the weather? No, because it’s too complex — the “chaos factor” makes it impossible to perfectly predict. The same holds true of the balance of any modern MMO. This may be surprising. We create every aspect of MMOs, so why can’t we perfectly predict them? It turns out that the “chaos factor” in an MMO comes very quickly too — much more quickly than players realize — and there’s no way to model the entire possibility space.
  • The Escapist : Philosophy of Game Design – Part Four
    It’s the end of the line. We went from Aristotle and Plato to empiricism with David Hume to Marxist aesthetics with Theodor Adorno. It’s been a haphazard, horribly incomplete survey across several different branches of Western philosophy. Some would say it was rambling – and to them, I would counter that all who wander are not lost.
  • Back In The USSR: KGB / Conspiracy | Rock, Paper, Shotgun
    A wonderful thing about the PC is that we’ve got a back catalogue of games that dwarfs every other platform. That’s a technical term, meaning the PC has more games featuring dwarves than other platforms have games.
  • Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack The Ripper (**1/2) | Action Button Dot Net
    Bottom line: Holmes v. Ripper: Grapple in Whitechapel “has nothing to do with a deerstalker-adorned Holmes fist-fighting a cane- and top hat-wielding Ripper on top of god damn Big Ben.”
  • The Point Magazine | Call of Duty: Gaming and Reality in Modern Warfare by Joshua Casteel
    Call of Duty and America’s Army both helped to redefine videogame realism.Attempting to surmount the stock villainy at work in predecessor games like Wolfenstein (i.e. Nazis, ghouls, aliens and other pseudo-human “undead”), Call of Duty simulates the infantry and combined-arms warfare of the Allied Forces, with distinct “campaigns” relative to American, British and Soviet forces. Enemy forces are still that monolithic, “other-than-us” opposition, but enemy actions are limited to historically plausible scenarios—a significant development in realistic gaming.
  • The Escapist : Philosophy of Game Design – Part Two
    To review from Part 1: Plato valued absolute truth, irrespective of player preferences, and so he argues that good games come from good developers. Aristotle had a slightly more pluralistic account of truth that was player-dependent, and so he argues that good games come from good players – and “good players” are skilled players who can beat difficult games.

    For Part 2, we’ll derive some additional philosophies from Aristotle’s account – some more modern, mainstream player-centric theories that are all the rage right now.

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