A reading list, regarding videogames, play, et cetera.
Feel free to change the formatting.
Articles, essays, etc.
Quote: 'Everyone likes to trumpet the atmosphere of Super Metroid
, so let’s trumpet it, once more (toot toot) — though, let’s also trumpet all the more loudly the distinction that, like the environments and mechanics, the game’s atmosphere and level design are vitally bound. Or: the atmosphere is the level design. Scanning all the articles, reviews, retrospectives, and Top 100 lists, it’s queer to note that anyone will eagerly talk about the game’s blanket-thick ambiance but gloss over the structure which lends so much of the support.'
Quote: 'Games have a history of dealing with their over-the-top violence by similarly inflating plot and character, embracing and even parodying the cheerful, outsized fascism of the action movies from which much of them sprang. They give you caricatures, encouraging you to not take the violence any more seriously than the rest of the presentation: it’s all in good fun, your Duke Nukems say, just relax and appreciate the joke.
Kane and Lynch are not a joke. Even if they weren’t paunchy middle-aged men making questionable hair decisions, they’d still be ugly, because what they do is ugly, and what they do is something the average player has done thousands of times before in different contexts: they kill. Then they go on their way, and kill again.'
Quote: 'Despite its reputation for over-delivery, Metal Gear Solid 4
challenges the player precisely because of what it leaves unsaid. Previous MGS
games provided contradictions in message and action that created an exciting tension. They vilified war while valorizing warriors, told the player to kill and then dispensed rewards for not killing, required sneaking only to force discovery through cutscenes.
falls mostly silent on these fronts. It offers few, if any, opposites to reconcile. While we have no way to know whether or not these silences are deliberate, we find suggestions in MGS4
's reliance upon a “war economy” context that the omissions have a purpose. This purpose is hardly insular or navel-gazing but relates uncomfortably close to the conversations about ultraviolence stemming from this year's E3 as well as the trend toward the “gamification” of non-game activities.'