Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Some Inspirational Videos

I have been naughty and have neglected posting for a week or so. It was willful neglect too, but as I have said before, my absence is school-related and not for lack of things to talk about. There is still much, much more I want to talk about.

For instance, I've only just now clued in that TED has some great Transmedia-themed talks, some of them by the likes of Rhianna Pratchett. I feel downright shameful that I was unaware of how involved she's been in the videogame writing community. She's contributed to Tomb Raider, Heavenly Sword, Mirror's Edge and Prince of Persia (PS3) to name just a few. Check out the video below of her TED talk about how storytellers are important to video game development. 

On a slightly different, but related note, Amy Hennig is a big inspiration of mine. I've always loved how tight her narratives weave into the games she's involved in (again, if you haven't already guessed it, I'm a big Soul Reaver fan) and the following interview with her only increased my admiration of her work.

Although, I don't completely agree with all of her argument (mostly where online gaming is concerned) Jane McGonigal has done some excellent research on how video games and video game culture can improve society. See below two videos of note on this.

For the record, I don't hate online games...I spent years on PSO I and II for Dreamcast and FFXI. I do, however, believe that the typical online experience is flawed. I've met some really obnoxious individuals and encountered elitism in the extreme in online communities. While McGonigal has made some excellent arguments for the bright side of online gaming, I feel that she's painting it a little too rosy. Also, World of Warcraft is a good example to use for online games, but I feel her future talks could do with a bit more variety. That last critique is just me nitpicking, however.

That being said, I finished Journey last weekend and I'm happy to say it's restored some of my faith for the positive aspects and potentialities of online gaming, both as an interactive art medium and as a wonderful gaming experience. See below a video on the theories and research Chen did for the making of Journey.

Alright, that's enough for now, I'll save the other videos I've watched for another post.

Let's meet at the next save point!

P.S. More of a note to self, but I need to compile a video games backlog and make a list of topics I'd like to discuss in the future. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


I'm sorry to say I cannot post this week as midterms are upon us (good luck to any students trucking along out there!). I may update by the end of this week, but I'm thinking it's about time I properly started using tags. If I don't update, I'll be working on that issue.

Let's meet at the next save point!

Classic Shinkawa from Creative Uncut

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

999 and Critical Thinking

I must first apologize for posting late, however, I have a good reason! I'm doing a bit of creative writing volunteer work at my university. So, towards that end, yesterday I had to attend a reading. I've also been crazy busy getting ready for a presentation at the end of the week. Ah well.

My sister suggested I do a post on 999: 9 Hours 9 Persons 9Doors, because it's awesome. If you're looking for a good DS title, pick this one up for sure. It's got a thriller/mystery/survival vibe, with some great puzzle gaming thrown in for good measure.

The story is simple at the onset, being of nine individuals that must complete grueling puzzles in a race to find an escape route from a cruise ship that's been rigged to sink in nine hours. However, as the game progresses this Saw-like concept gets increasingly intricate. There's multiple endings, so there's plenty of replay value, but more importantly there's character development.

Every character in this is distinct from one another and they all mix and mingle according to your choices (and in some cases) against your wishes. It is planted in the beginning of the game that one two of your group members is potentially untrustworthy, and once the guessing game starts you begin to reason that any of the group of characters suspect. Even yourself (Junpei). So there's a double aspect to the puzzles in the game. On the one hand, you must complete the puzzles on the ship or die trying. On the other hand, you have to figure out who are the bad apples of the group, because only a certain number are allowed to escape the ship according to the rules of the game.

The art style is perfect for the game. Not extremely complex at first glance, but distinct enough that none of the characters looks too homogenous. I'm actually quite impressed with the variety of the cast. There's punks and conservatives, androgynous and manly, young and middle-aged. A nice swatch of different cultures. It may be a more typically moe anime style, but the artwork is not uninteresting for it.

Let's meet at the next save point!

P.S. I may E.T.A. some stuff later on. 

Images as always from Creative Uncut