Games within games (within games)

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Digital Media & Videogames, Folklore, Social Interaction & Networks, Space & Spatiality

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.

Ontological Geek Podcast: Episode 3 — Moral Bodies (+ Bonus)

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Death, Digital Media & Videogames, Ethics, Music, Politics, Psychology, Religion, War, Violence & Terrorism

After a hiatus, we’re back with Onto­lo­gical Geek pod­casts again. This time, Aaron Gotzon and I had former editor-in-chief Bill Coberly and Amsel von Spreck­elsen as guests, and our main topic was bod­ies as a locus of mor­al­ity in games, par­tic­u­larly sec­tions where con­trol in taken away from bod­ies and they are des­troyed in a spec­tacle, which at the same time is the out­come of a moral judg­ment, such as at the end of a duel, like in Mor­tal Kom­bat’s ‘fin­ish hem/her’ sec­tions. Besides that, we talk about Dar­ren Korb’s music in Bas­tion and Tran­sistor, and a vari­ety of other games.

Let’s Play Whale’s Voyage

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Digital Media & Videogames, Space & Spatiality, Travel & Exploration

I’ve star­ted a Let’s Play of the 1993 sci-fi role­play­ing game Whale’s Voy­age over on my You­Tube chan­nel. I’ll col­lect the epis­odes on this page. Check back soon for new instal­ments, and/or sub­scribe to my You­Tube chan­nel to be noti­fied when the new epis­odes come online. Also, feel free to leave any com­ments here or on twit­ter. Hope you enjoy!

Walking the Planes 1: Introduction

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Astronomy, Digital Media & Videogames, Ethics, Mythology, Religion, Space & Spatiality, Travel & Exploration

As prom­ised, my series about Plan­es­cape and the Planes in Dun­geons & Dragons kicked off this month. The first in­stalment is only an intro­ductory piece, in which I set out my ideas for the future of the series. Hope­fully it will whet your interest; check back here or on The Onto­logical Geek soon for the second piece!

When My Ship Comes In

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Death, Digital Media & Videogames, Film, Religion

I had been want­ing to write some­thing about Cameron Kun­zel­man’s little game On August 11, A Ship Sailed Into Port for some time now, but recently I sat down to do it and it turned into a vague tex­tual and audio­visual medi­tation on death, choices, and get­ting by. It’s a bit of a loose, experi­mental column, but maybe you’ll enjoy it. Please do check out Kun­zel­man’s game, as it takes only five minutes, and if you’ve never seen Werner Herzog’s Nos­feratu before, here’s your chance to see some scenes.

Ontological Geekery

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Digital Media & Videogames

Since early last year, The Onto­lo­gical Geek has been my main out­let for writ­ing about games. The site is the brainchild of Bill Coberly, who stepped down as Editor in Chief this week because he’s going to law school. Con­grat­u­la­tions, Bill! You can read his good­bye post here. Our new helms­wo­man is Han­nah Duvoix, who has been a con­trib­utor to the site for a long time as well. She wrote some words of intro­duc­tion as well.

Centers and Peripheries of Games Criticism

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Digital Media & Videogames, Languages & Linguistics, Social Interaction & Networks

Last week, Rami Ismail made a brief but import­ant call for a bit of aware­ness con­cerning the status of Eng­lish as the lin­gua franca in (the major part of) the games industry. I had been gath­er­ing thoughts on a dis­cus­sion of the role of lan­guage in games cri­ti­cism, spe­cific­ally, for a while, so I figured now would be a good time to make things a bit more con­crete. I had writ­ten a para­graph call­ing for aware­ness of lin­guistic diversity in games last sum­mer, but didn’t really take the argu­ment any­where, so let me build on what I wrote there.