Opened World: Let’s Eat Capitalists

Taking Molleindustria’s 2006 release McDonald’s Videogame as a point of reference, we can breakdown its strategy of critiquing McDonald’s on multiple fronts as a way to identify productive ways that games can critique industry concerns. The game adopts the political values of Molleindustria founder and Carnegie Mellon University professor Paolo Pedercini, conveying a left-wing, activist urgency to … Continue reading Opened World: Let’s Eat Capitalists

Player Two: An Interview with Greg “Cosmo D” Heffernan

Interview by Miguel Penabella Originally conducted October 20, 2017 Edits and introduction written November 17, 2017 Greg Heffernan’s games always bear the mark of a musician. Under the pseudonym Cosmo D, his three games—Saturn V, Off-Peak, and The Norwood Suite—all heavily feature his own music in ways that experiment with sound’s relation to space. Saturn … Continue reading Player Two: An Interview with Greg “Cosmo D” Heffernan

Opened World: The Remains of the Day

Fallout 4 carries an air of melancholy by juxtaposing the gritty post-apocalyptic setting with the mundane scenarios these skeletons convey. Skeletons seated inside a rusted bus suggest the instantaneous impact of the nuclear bombs, perhaps catching average people by surprise on their way to work. Pairs of skeletons resonate with particular melancholy, suggesting lovers, friends, siblings, … Continue reading Opened World: The Remains of the Day

Unraveling the Traumatic Interior Spaces of Asemblance

This meditation on human grief unites the stories and themes of Asemblance and Solaris, as both works hinge on the imagery of a ghostly wife haunting the memory of each protagonist… In Solaris, a character calls these visions of Kelvin’s wife “the materialisation of your conception of her,” and later, “a copy, a matrix,” suggesting an unresolved trauma made manifest … Continue reading Unraveling the Traumatic Interior Spaces of Asemblance

Opened World: Complacent Politics

Ideally, George’s plotline should reveal the complex and unexpected reasons alliances were made by early black abolitionists, revolutionaries with colonial powers to sabotage the stable labor force of rival colonial operations. Instead, the game shrugs such nuances off. In hearing George criticize the hypocrisy of the Patriots who would uphold slavery, Aveline nonetheless sides with … Continue reading Opened World: Complacent Politics

Opened World: Walled City

Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days depicts transition, poverty, and the marginalized. In an interview within Heterotopias conducted by Martin and the game’s art director Rasmus Poulsen, the latter underlines an interest in showing unseen parts of the city such as alleyways and corridors lined with trash. Dog Days is a game about the ugly … Continue reading Opened World: Walled City

Beyond the Ordinary: Why Everything Should Be Put Into a Video Game

That everything should be put into a video game simply suggests that the typically excluded banality of everyday life should not be underestimated as a source of meaning. Instead of a focus on action-heavy shooter gameplay or sci-fi indulgence, the turn towards candid gestures like looking out through a window at nothing in particular can … Continue reading Beyond the Ordinary: Why Everything Should Be Put Into a Video Game