Let's say something came up and you had to miss your classroom discussion last week -- or just couldn't concentrate and want to make sure you caught everything big, but you don't want to be left out and confused at the next session. That's when you hope a friend took notes for you. I am that friend. If you missed last week's games discussions on the internet, you can check my notes:
Six Days in Fallujah and Realism:
Two weeks ago, the internet was afire with news and rumored details after Konami announced Six Days in Fallujah
(to be released in 2010). Scattered reports say Konami is interviewing US as well as insurgent
veterans of the battle. It's hard to tell what the game will actually be. Developer Atomic, publisher Konami, and press who witnessed the announcement report various, contrary goals
for the game, from objective documentary to thoughtless fun
modeled after Gears of War
. Others are trying to place the project between Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
and more rhetorically-charged games like September 12
. Obviously, it's too soon to know what the result will be.
This past week was full of discussion of the concept of a game based on the Second Battle of Fallujah
. How can we better simulate the emotional weight
carried by the combatants? Do we want true verisimilitude
at the expense of "fun"
? Is it too soon
? Too delicate
for AAA titles to handle well
? How does this game stand to change the way non-gamers
view video games?
Garnering less buzz but possibly worth comparing is the discussion
of the highly realistic theHunter
, which both chooses a somewhat less sensitive topic and charts a new course for interactive game development.
While these debates were raging, Leigh Alexander
and Ian Bogost talked
about "our 'Citizen Kane,'" cinema analogies in games discussion, and the artistic legitimacy
of video games. Jason Rohrer had his own comments
Two weeks ago, James Portnow made a distinction
between "choices" and "problems" in games. "Problems" have a tactically superior option, while the game rules don't show a preference in "choices." Last week, Craig Stern continued
the conversation, importantly noting that a problem's with optimal solution communicates the designer's perspective on the issue. Dan Bruno tackled a similar issue, finding that good role-playing often means making decisions contrary
to your player-character's best interest.
Justin Keverne tracked
the ways games and gamers work together to form the Magic Circle, and provided examples
Bobby Schweizer talked about the how the conversation
between gamer and game shares some discursive qualities of journalism.
Video Games and the Humanities:
Brenda Brathwaite applied
various art education models to game design education. Scott Juster at Experience Points read
from the perspective of a game critic.
Brian Shurtleff's GDX presentation
sparked a conversation regarding what stage plays
can teach game designers.
Have you picked up The Legend of Zelda and Philosophy
? Henry Jenkins interviewed
contributors. Offworld dug
There's a great survey of the history of chiptunes
and their relationship with games.
Congress is funding
a game to teach about online predators.
EVE Online's metagame play
continues to pave new paratextual roads
. (via Infovore
India is getting its own
games industry. Some members of India's Hindu community take offense
to one game.
Games Criticism News:
McKenzie Wark was on the First Wall Rebate podcast
, talking Gamer Theory
, participatory writing, and agon
in the modern world.
Psychologists are talking about the importance of free play
. (via Raph Koster
Talks at NYU's games center
New Media Literacy Conference
May 2: Learning in a Participatory Culture
Philosophy of Computer Games conference
GDC Austin (focusing on online games) call for papers
Be sure to drop me a line if there's anything you find interesting this week. I'll try and include it in next week's notes.