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Title: - Video Game Theory and Criticism  •  Size: 58904

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Friday 03-Mar
  • EA's "Black" opens like a film. So why doesn't it feel like one? (16)

  • Thursday 02-Mar
  • Considering Gravity (7)

  • Monday 13-Feb
  • The Medium Is Not The Message (21)

  • Thursday 19-Jan
  • All Your Readers Belong To Us (10)

  • Friday 13-Jan
  • Censorless Violence (12)

  • Tuesday 10-Jan
  • Disneyfied (Disney Fried?) (20)

  • Friday 30-Dec
  • The Escape from Xmas (14)
  • Videogames: Closing the Annoying Gap (24)

  • Tuesday 15-Nov
  • Gerbils (19)

  • Thursday 13-Oct
  • Suddenly Serious about Games (12)

  •    Ludology vs. Narratology Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
    Wednesday, February 04 2004 @ 04:13 AM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    I recently interviewed Rand Miller (of Myst fame) for a story I am working on. I especially liked this quote. I think he does a nice job of clarifying the narratology vs. ludology distinction. -- David

    "One of the reasons I think Myst was successful was that people are used to being entertained with stories. There're lots of ways to entertain, but the two primary ones are story—which is television and movies and books and all that—and the other is gameplay—blackjack and football and Parcheesi. There’re other ones, but those are two we are very familiar with."

    "I think the mass market audience is more familiar with story. The first campfire the guys on the hunt come back with a story to tell--that is something anybody can partake in."

    -- Rand Miller, co-creator of Myst and Riven, speaking about his new game Uru

    Most Recent Post: 08/28 03:03PM by Anonymous


       The Gamer Stereotype Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
    Wednesday, January 28 2004 @ 02:41 AM UTC
    Contributed by: PimperG

    Over at Dungeons and Dreamers Brad pointed to an article about academic acceptance of video game studies.

    It is interesting to see institutes of higher learning casting a doubtful eye on video games. Then again, the problem is likely much larger. As the following essay by my teenage friend Alec makes clear, gaming has a ways to go to reach general "acceptability." -- David


    read more (450 words)

    Most Recent Post: 08/28 08:35AM by Anonymous


       The Ludonauts Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
    Monday, January 26 2004 @ 09:05 PM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    General NewsThanks to the fine folks at I found the new site:

    The Ludonauts.

    If you read buzzcut on a regular basis, you'll know that I enjoy wrestling with thick problems and take a perverse thrill taking video games seriously . These guys fit into the same category and have generated an impressive stack of content in a short period of time.

    Check them out!

    Most Recent Post: 08/28 12:06AM by Anonymous


       The Iron Law of Rationality Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
    Tuesday, January 20 2004 @ 05:33 PM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    All games have rules. What is perhaps most interesting about video games is that they are formed completely by rules. Unlike other types of games, there is no room for negotiation, improvisation, interpretation or cheating, unless allowed for in the rules. The nature of the computer, the digital medium, is such that everything encoded into the game must be based on rules.

    The medium of the video game is ultimately a medium of rules.

    And that, I suppose, probably sounds pretty scary to a lot of people.

    read more (852 words)

    Most Recent Post: 02/18 04:12PM by David


       Mediums run full circle Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
    Monday, January 12 2004 @ 08:25 AM UTC
    Contributed by: blink56

    I was perusing my local Barnes and Noble tonight and stumbled across something that widened my eyes.

    No, it wasn't a new game. B&N doesn't sell games, silly.

    It was a book based off of a video game. You read right. Star Wars Galaxies' series of novels by various authors.

    We all know that movies use books for their stories quite often, and we see video games use movie licenses all the time. This rare find is something of a different color however. George Lucas has chosen to expand his universe with the medium of video games, and apparently the novelists got jealous.

    This really isn't all that new though. I've seen books based on video game characters before, but they're typically aimed straight at kids that play too many video games and have parent's that are worried about the lack of reading. I own some mario-based "Choose Your Own Adventure" type books for proof.

    So, why is this different? Because it's aimed at the casual readers who choose to frequent the Star Wars galaxy to satisfy their craving for the written word, and the gamers that are playing the games. I'd be very interested to see stats on who would buy this book. Do publisher's think they've just expanded their reader base or do the video game companies see it as "hidden" advertising? I may not have known that this book was based off of a game at all if it weren't for the cover that features various low-res polygonal video game characters from the game in an intense screenshot.

    It seems now that there is nothing stopping the media circus from unleashing its full potential. Full deployment of money-making items on all fronts! We're moving into a world of seamless mediums, and judging by the new generation that has grown up with it all, the melding will be seamless as well.

    Most Recent Post: 08/27 08:15PM by Anonymous


       GTA: Cultural Parasite? Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
    Friday, January 09 2004 @ 02:09 AM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    Last night I was talking to a fellow from Scotland. Once he found out I write about video games, he mentioned that some fellow from near where he lived had created some game that was supposed to be a huge hit.

    "Yes," I assured him. "Grand Theft Auto" is one of the biggest games of the past few years."

    We talked a little more about it, and although he didn’t play games, he chuckled at my descriptions of the game as something that had generated a lot of bad press. I said that I thought maybe people were thin-skinned and didn't get the joke.

    He just laughed and said, in effect, "Well, you know the Scottish sense of humor is pretty sarcastic and cynical."

    Which all made me think--would the people who react so strongly to GTA feel a little better if they knew that the game came from Scotland?

    Let me explain.

    read more (221 words)

    Most Recent Post: 08/27 09:53PM by Anonymous


       Work or Play? Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
    Tuesday, January 06 2004 @ 08:08 AM UTC
    Contributed by: blink56

    Game TheoryThis will expand my thoughts on video game endings that can be found under critical elements.

    I just recently bought and beat Mario Kart: Double Dash and noticed something very peculiar in the ending. I won't spoil anything, but after receiveing the last reward in the game, it says, "here's for all the hard work you put into this game."

    Now, wait a second. I thought I was playing his game for fun. It's not supposed to be a tedious effort!

    read more (697 words)

    Most Recent Post: 08/27 07:32PM by Anonymous


       Some Quotes and A Point Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
    Saturday, January 03 2004 @ 11:34 PM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    First the quotes, then the point.

    "Society has traditionally always tried to find scapegoats for its problems.Well here I am."
    --Marylin Manson

    "Rock 'n Roll: The most brutal, ugly, desperate, vicious form of expression it has been my misfortune to hear."
    -- Frank Sinatra

    "Commercial rock 'n' roll music is a brutalization of the stream of contemporary Negro church music an obscene looting of a cultural expression."
    -- Ralph Ellison

    "It's the movies that have really been running things in America ever since they were invented. They show you what to do, how to do it, when to do it, how to feel about it, and how to look how you feel about it."
    -- Andy Warhol

    "Movies are one of the bad habits that corrupted our century. Of their many sins, I offer as the worst their effect on the intellectual side of the nation. It is chiefly from that viewpoint I write of them - as an eruption of trash that has lamed the American mind and retarded Americans from becoming a cultured people".
    -- Ben Hecht

    "Television is chewing gum for the eyes."
    -- Frank Lloyd Wright

    "The television, that insidious beast, that Medusa which freezes a billion people to stone every night, staring fixedly, that Siren which called and sang and promised so much and gave, after all, so little."
    -- Ray Bradbury

    read more (302 words)

    Most Recent Post: 08/27 04:06PM by Anonymous


       The Dean of Political Games Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
    Wednesday, December 24 2003 @ 11:40 PM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    General NewsI avoid politics because the strong smell of cynicism and Machiavellian maneuverings that reek of sulfur. In fact, some of my biggest distaste for the current Bush administration has to do less with policy, and more with the inhuman realpolitik of his regime. For Bush, it’s about winning, not about people.

    For those reasons I, like a lot of other people, have been thinking maybe Howard Dean wouldn’t be such a bad guy to be president. The “fighting centrist” acts like he just wants to do the right thing. And in American politics, that’s a rare and possibly mythical beast.

    Then I see the Howard Dean for Iowa game. Cyncism with a Norman Rockwell face.

    read more (625 words)

    Most Recent Post: 08/28 07:47AM by Anonymous


       Pre-Socratic Game Theory Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
    Wednesday, December 10 2003 @ 06:40 AM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    We love the “The Matrix” and have given its creators blillions of dollars because of our infatuation with all the tight black leather, balletic violence, cool robots, glorious special effects and the possibility that all the psychocybermysic babble actually might be meaningful. And even if there are no deeper truths or hidden messages of any importance buried behind the CGI, at least there is the eye-popping CGI.

    Many critics, whether panning or praising “The Matrix” have pointed out that the film has obvious roots in and similarities to video games. “The Matrix”, it seems, isn’t just a clever metaphor for Cartesian solipsism, it works pretty well as a big budget cinematic formulation of a video game.

    If you pick up this possibly philosophical thread as winds through slick Hollywood filmmaking and into video games you can stitch together an interesting thesis that ties some of the earliest philosophical concerns together with the soul of video games and provide some interesting reasons why “The Matrix” might be more conceptually related to games that it seems at first.

    The argument I want to make is not particularly obvious, and relies on some creative connecting of themes. Sort of like “The Matrix”, it might pay off, or it might just be some cool ideas that befuddle rather than enlighten. But, if you will, take the blue pill, and I’ll show you how the roots of Western rational thought might just be expressing their truest nature in video games and how “The Matrix” is actually a good parable of how video games reflect our deepest philosophical concerns.

    read more (2048 words)

    Most Recent Post: 08/27 12:02PM by Anonymous


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