The Spectacle of Career Professionalism in Modern Warfare 2

Call of Duty offers a specific kind of action spectacle, that of witnessing career professionals efficiently carrying out their jobs, in which saving the world at the last second is rendered as rote work. By making explosive superheroics mundane, the games ultimately lionize its characters and deeds. The game, especially the thunderous Modern Warfare 2—all climax and … Continue reading The Spectacle of Career Professionalism in Modern Warfare 2

The Scenographic South

Scenography builds mood and meaning into the theatrical production via choices in stage design that accentuates human performance above all else. This emphasis on performance through scenography informs the architectural spaces of Cardboard Computer’s episodic game Kentucky Route Zero too. Point-and-click adventure games like it often mimic the perspective of the theatergoer viewing a proscenium. They … Continue reading The Scenographic South

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