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Pennsylvania Polka

April 6, 2009

groundhogI have to apologize for the dry run of activity on this blog. As the final weeks of class are on the horizon and I have been busy with some personal matters, you—neglected reader—probably have been wondering what has happened? Well, fret no more because I have been pondering some new exciting material for the site once the summer season sets in. In the mean time I thought a little fun post would suffice. I meant to post this story a couple of weeks ago when it was timelier but alas my procrastination and oversight have failed me once again. Rather than wait another year to finally make this little critique public, I feel that since it recently snowed in my hometown of Chicago I feel that this story is quite appropriate, offering no better opportunity to investigate one our the earliest videogame movies: Harold Ramis’s comedy classic Groundhog Day. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why graphics still matter

March 21, 2009

far-cry-2I finally made the plunge and updated my PC. After months and months and scrimping and waiting for bargain deals to pop-up online I finally have the components to completely upgrade my gaming rig. Looking back, it has taken over a year to collect all the parts necessary. The final result is I can run DirectX 10. Immediately after booting up the new hardware with the most updated drivers and I checked on a few older games I had in my library to see the difference. Though I was happy with the results it was not until I began running Far Cry 2 that it really hit me: graphics matter. Read the rest of this entry »

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Reiteration, remediation, & recourse (Part 2)

March 14, 2009

madbraidI spoke last time about reiteration without touching upon the importance of remediation. Especially for new media, remediation functions as an access point presenting the new with the familiar. It is no surprise that we see in videogames the necessity to invoke and relate to the cinematic experience as a starting point for new gamers. The advent of music games, Wii titles, and casual games are perfect examples of using these sorts of access points to introduce a new audience. But while remediation functions wonderfully in new media, its use in game design is questionable. Read the rest of this entry »

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Reiteration, remediation, & recourse (Part 1)

March 11, 2009

gameboysHaving recently completed Resident Evil 5, it became apparent to me how the game is structured in both narrative and mechanically almost identical to the previous Resident Evil installment. This posting, however, will not be a discussion about the game but instead, something that has continued to nag at my brain for the past couple of weeks: the notion of reiteration in videogames or rather, more specifically, the philosophy of technological development that has “plagued” game design and mechanics for these past decades. Read the rest of this entry »

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BoRT Feb’09 [Paranoid Android]

February 24, 2009

scannerI have long considered the idea of contributing to CorvusE’s “Blogs of the Round Table” over at Man Bytes Blog. But time and ambivalence have reserved my position to an onlooker more often than a participator. Therefore it is almost poetic that my first entry for BoRT not only comes late in the month but also branches off from Travis Megill’s January BoRT entry over at The Autumnal City. In it, he proposes the idea of designing a game from a literary source: Philip K. Dick’s cyber-punk, science fiction novel A Scanner Darkly. Read the rest of this entry »

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A lot of something out of nothing

February 23, 2009

noby-pressThere has been little or no discussion of Katamari Damacy designer, Keita Takahashi’s PSN game Noby Noby Boy. Of the few articles I’ve found, reviewers have noted its eccentric charm, simplistic design, and lack there of on any sense of traditional conceptions of what makes a game. There is no goal; no objective; no threat. What instead has occurred is that many people have settled on the notion that Noby Noby Boy is basically a toy. Reviewers have either decided that it is a fun little demo that requires a short period of your time to get the gist of what the game is all about and then put it down forever or that the game provokes a sense of play that many gamers had in their childhood when picking up a videogame for the first time. Read the rest of this entry »

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Cracks in the business design

February 19, 2009

themoviesAt the start of the week Slate Magazine’s N. Evan Van Zelfden posted an article called “What is killing the videogame business?” In it, he provides many interesting numbers on the massive growth of videogame sales the past year adverse to the numbers of massive layoffs we have seen within the industry during this recession. He concludes that the fault lies on the major development houses transitioning their financial production models to the Hollywood business model. High production costs and low returns are the culprit. I have posted about this subject previously, but not with the same level of specificity and investigative research that Zelfden has done in his article. But he is missing an aspect of the Hollywood studio business model that is glaringly absent in his article. Read the rest of this entry »