Walking the Planes 3: Pluralities

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Digital Media & Videogames, Politics, Social Interaction & Networks, Travel & Exploration

The third art­icle in my series Wal­king the Planes has just been pub­lished over at The Onto­logical Geek. It’s about the Plane­scape set­ting and how its em­pha­sis on diver­sity and plu­ra­lity has affec­ted me, both in dis­cover­ing the set­ting as a teen, and now­adays. I’m not really sure yet what the next epi­sode is going to be about, as I have mul­tiple half-fin­ished ideas boun­cing around in my head. You’ll have to wait and see!

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.

Time for a Story (On Papers, Please and Gone Home)

Posted 3 CommentsPosted in Digital Media & Videogames, Gender & Sexuality, Literature & Narrative, Politics, Travel & Exploration, War, Violence & Terrorism

Two recent indie release (Papers, Please and Gone Home) inspired me enough to pen a little ar­ticle last week. Today the piece found a home on The Onto­logical Geek.

In the ar­ticle, I ex­plore how Papers, Please simu­lates the way in which bureau­cracies can force us to treat people like cattle, like num­bers, like items on a list. Through in­si­dious sys­tems the player — in­ha­biting the mind of a bor­der offi­cial — is forced to spend as little time on immi­grants as possi­ble, while still follow­ing all the rules im­posed by your govern­ment. I con­trast this to the ex­peri­ence of Gone Home, where we can take all the time we want to dig into the per­sonal lives of an Amer­ican fam­ily, and ex­peri­ence their tou­ching stor­ies.

Hot Wet Air Trading Cards

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Digital Media & Videogames, Politics, Social Interaction & Networks

Steam has tra­ding cards now, as all my gam­ing rea­ders will pro­bably know. The whole thing is a pro­found­ly vacu­ous capi­talist enter­prise of the kind that cyn­ics gobble up for break­fast. You can get the cardies for free just by play­ing your games, but that’s be­cause they don’t have any sub­stance apart from a data­base entry some­where. Sure, games are just a bunch of bytes too, but at least some crea­tive people have spent their brow­sweat de­sign­ing the things, whereas the cards are just cropped bits of art from those ac­tual­ly usual­ly pretty sub­stan­tial games. You can’t even play with the damn things!

2012: A Year in Books

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Astronomy, Languages & Linguistics, Magic, Mystery, Mythology, Poetry & Prose, Politics, Religion, Science, War, Violence & Terrorism

What did I read in 2012? I’ve found look­ing back at my last year in books helps me chart some themes and devel­op­ments in my (men­tal life), so I’ve decided to do it again this year. I read 92 books in 2012, a little fewer than in 2011, but they were big­ger books, and my page total ended up higher. This doesn’t count all the art­icles I’ve read, but we’ve got to draw the read­ing ner­d­age line some­where. It’s all slightly arbit­rary any­way.