Islands & Worlds

Not one, but two new articles by my hand were published today in the fourth issue of Five out of Ten, a lovely mag that pays its writers according to a very honest model: the writers split the revenue evenly. The first article is a semi-close reading of three games published recently: Dear Esther, Miasmata, and Proteus. If you’re familiar with the games, you’ll realise they have a common theme, and that is that they are all set on an island. As I try to argue, there are more similarities between the games than at first appears, but interesting differences too. In the article, I try to get at what kind of places the islands in these games are, and what that means for the overall meaning and experience of the games. On the way, I cover themes like isolation (and its etymology), memory, and death. The other article contributes to the issue’s central theme: storytelling in games: how do they do it, and are they any good at it? My perspective deals with the concept of virtual worlds and spatial presence, and how that relates to story in a game, and to our experience of games in general. Long story short: I try to rehabilitate the concept ‘world’ as occupying a central position in the study of games, with reference to some smarter people who’ve written great things about this subject. […Read more…]

Tale of Tales – The Endless Forest (2005 – present)

First released in 2005, The Endless Forest is a “multiplayer online game” and “social screensaver” developed by Flemish studio Tale of Tales. It was originally commissioned by the Musee d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean in Luxemburg in 2003, and has passed through various stages of development since its original inception. Version 3.3 was released in November 2009 and presents only the latest of these developments: the addition of a new location in the forest. […Read more…]