Sunlight catches the desert haze, sifting light through the veil as dusty coughs emanate from the tailpipes of rusty jalopies and broken machinery. Worn signs tell of faded histories, the accumulating dust covering up vivid memory with barren apathy in a forgotten desert watering hole. A vulture squawks in the distance, foretelling death’s harsh presence … Continue reading Slouching Towards Los Santos
When stepping into one of the many taverns and inns after journeying across the windswept plains and peaks of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, all I want for my protagonist is to retire to a comfortable corner of the room and tuck into a satisfying dinner. One of the most fulfilling pleasures of the wintertime … Continue reading Better Beans and Bacon: Notes on Skyrim
What happens when videogames frustrate narrative lucidity and the expected norms of play? Every Day the Same Dream, a 2009 short game authored by Paolo Pedercini and his Italian collective Molleindustria, resists the formulaic patterns of videogame composition to produce new meaning. Gaming essayist Braxton Soderman points to Molleindustria’s penchant for disruptive play, recounting the … Continue reading Living the Dream: An Allegory for Breaking Procedure
Speechless is a first person suitor game, or a meet ‘em up, though it challenges the generic framework of both. Specifically, Speechless aims to resist the conventions of dating sims or romance visual novels that objectify women as merely sexual “goals” in the service of heterosexual male fantasy. The player assumes the role of an … Continue reading Pseudo Game Jam 2014 – Speechless
Within’s barren environment silently shifts and reforms, revealing fresh apertures or subtle dips in topography with which to lose oneself in again. The introduction of the game locates the player in a small chamber without exit, awaiting change and a chance to escape. No objective marker directs the player. Rather, as in a dream, one … Continue reading Traversing the Anxious, Dreamlike Architecture of Within
André Breton, living amidst the eccentric artistic scene of Paris in 1929, wrote in his Second Manifesto of Surrealism, “The simplest surrealist act consists of running down into the street, pistols in hand, and firing blindly, as fast as you can pull the trigger, into the crowd.” I kept this passage in the back of … Continue reading Death and Form
Preserving and redistributing videogames demands navigation through knotty copyright laws and even more difficult problems restoring, marketing, and operating games from outdated technologies. The question in the title of this article, then, can be reworked as such: Why isn’t there a widespread effort to maintain videogames worthy of preservation and artistic consideration given these mounting … Continue reading Why Don’t Videogames Have Their Own Criterion Collection?