Cake Salad (a reply to Cameron Kunzelman)

This open let­ter is a reply to Ca­­me­­ron Kun­­zel­­man’s piece “On Video Games, Con­tent, and Ex­­pres­­sion”. It is about cake (layer­ed and un­layer­ed), salad, music, opera, ana­lo­gies, and about games. Any­one is free to reply here or on their own blog. […Read more…]

Type Travels: The Sword of Welleran

Recently, I’ve become more and more inte­res­ted in book design and type­setting, and I deci­ded that I wanted to become bet­ter at it, and offer it as a ser­vice to other people. In the grow­ing world of e-books and digi­tal read­ing, there is some­thing of a dearth of good design, and the aes­the­tics that I admire in prin­ted books have for the most part not found their way into the digi­tal realm. As an exer­cise, I’ve star­ted play­ing around with some pub­lic domain fantasy lite­ra­ture that I wanted to read any­way, such as the (early) works of Lord Dun­sany. In that spirit, I’ve recent­ly com­pleted a PDF set­ting of The Sword of Welle­ran And Other Stor­ies, origi­nally pu­blished in 1908. […Read more…]

On Mouths

Mouths are weird. They’re not quite like other parts of our body, most of which are ‘objects’ in them­selves, even though they are some­times redu­cible to smal­ler parts. A hand has fin­gers, a palm, and so forth, but is also what it is: a hand. A mouth has lips, teeth, gums, a tongue, but it is no­thing in itself. A mouth is an empti­ness. […Read more…]

Some brief notes on hunting in
Dragon Age: Inquisition

Hav­ing recent­ly fin­ished Dra­gon Age: Inqui­si­tion — the main story­line and pretty much all of the sin­gle pla­yer side­quests, that is — some as­pects of the game’s ap­proach to hun­ting ani­mals and beasts keep stick­ing in the back of my mind. I’ll try to dis­en­tan­gle them here, brief­ly. […Read more…]

Games within games (within games)

In this piece, I wanted to briefly dis­cuss some ways in which play­ers cre­ate sub­games in video­games, and what they say about the nature of vari­ous types of play and game spaces. I’ll start with a dis­cussion of ap­proa­ches to ‘ghost’ and paci­fist play­styles in stealth games, and how these play­styles have become in­cor­po­rated or re-appro­priated in the rules of vari­ous host games. After­wards, I’ll dis­cuss how role­playing in multi­player video­games is prac­tically always a sub­game enac­ted out­side of the digi­tally arbi­trated game rules. Finally, just to mess with you, I’ll at­tempt to stretch my own model by talk­ing about parti­cular sub­games I’ve tried to play within the role­playing sub­game. […Read more…]