"Don't be a dick." That simple notion is the first of Victor Lucas' 3D rules. The others? Don't dick around and don't hang out with dicks. Some would lead you to believe the games press is filled with dicks. It's not. With this in mind, I seek out the best games writing - from news to interviews to reviews and beyond - and highlight it here.
I love you, mom.
Here are two posts that reiterate that. No other introduction is worthy.
Read: My Mother, Commander Shepard by Daniel Starkey on Gameranx.
Read: Allow Natural Death by Jenn Frank on Unwinnable.
As we go into the New Year and make resolutions, these articles serve as a good reminder as to what the true meaning of the season is: Live for yoursellf and your family and friends.
From all of us at Good Games Writing, have a Happy New Year and healthy and prosperous 2013.
Journey has been the talk of the town lately, so Good Games Writing is looking at what all the fuss is about.
Gamesugar (as spotted by @megashaun) takes an interesting approach, in which Journey isn’t viewed as art outright, but rather, an experience.
The nameless stranger that lingers on my mind is the one that crossed the icy mountain path with me, taking shelter behind stone markers as strong winds threatened to thwart our advance, and huddling in the shadows while large beasts flew overhead. As we overcame these obstacles, the path forward began to vanish in the rising winds, and my feet became heavier with each step forward through the thickening snow.
What kept me pushing forward on the analog stick was my companion, slightly ahead and providing a beacon, a reason to continue pushing against the blinding storm.
Complementing that article is The Artful Gamer’s evaluation of Journey, in which it is deemed art and an experience:
If Journey is poetry-prose that explores the long march from childhood to death through the four elements, then Thatgamecompany has managed to dig deeper into truly human existence than any other game I can think of. Sure, Journey can be broken down into game mechanics, architecture, plot elements and characters, but ultimately the experience it offers involve primeval feelings, and those who will inexorably analyze the game will miss the point.
Unwinnable’s Brendan Keogh opts to avoid hyperbole and instead just relay a story:
How do you teach when you aren’t even really there? One was on their own dumb, blind, stumbling journey and I was on my own. We were together, in a sense, but we were so far apart. There was little I could do but tolerate their failings again and again. Still, I was glad to have a companion, and I think One was, too.
However, that sense of camaraderie can be marred, as Brad Gallaway found:
Prior to playing the game, I heard people talking about feelings of camaraderie or making some sort of connection with the partners have appeared, but I didn’t find that to be my experience at all. Instead, I think I resented the fact that this beautiful landscape was being shared with people who had no interest in partaking of it with me.
Finally, videogames can be seen as a language of their own—that argument came from Jason Killingsworth earlier this month, and it emerges here again—and Journey is proof positive:
There is no established language in Journey, barring a handful of early game button prompts, and as much of the game’s experience is instinctively felt as it is logically understood. As players explore the game’s desert landscape they are presented with visual cues that are recognizable from any context: tombstones, altars, stone shelters…All of it is presented in a way that combines the power of universally understood symbols with intuitive elements of play.
A wide array of approaches have been taken with writing on Journey. Games that elicit such varied responses—whether loved or hated—have enormous value. Viewed as art, experiences, or just games, they offer the chance for divergent viewpoints. Trust us when we says that’s a good thing.
Love, Jamie. “Sweet ‘N Low - My Journey” (Gamesugar: March 20, 2012) <http://gamesugar.net/2012/03/20/sweetn-low-my-journey/>.
Lepine, Chris. “Wind, Sand, Snow, and Stars: Thoughts on Journey” (The Artful Gamer: March 19, 2012) <http://www.artfulgamer.com/wind-sand-snow-and-stars-thoughts-on-journey/>.
Keogh, Brendan. “The Solitude Of Playing Journey for PS3” (Unwinnable: March 27, 2012) <http://www.unwinnable.com/2012/03/27/alone-together-in-journey/>.
Gallaway, Brad. “My Journey” (GameCritics: March 28, 2012) <http://www.gamecritics.com/brad-gallaway/my-journey>.
McCarter, Reid. “Journey, Abstraction and the Invention of Language” (Digital Love Child: March 28, 2012) <http://digitallovechild.com/2012/03/28/journey-abstraction-and-the-invention-of-language/>.
Gus Mastrapa’s “Pretension +1” column is always filled with great insights. In his latest, he connects the real world experience of horse racing (derived from his tv viewing, of course) with how players treat their avatars in video games.
Recently, I experienced a moment in a videogame where I felt like a jockey, whipping the flanks of my horse. Opposing me wasn’t nature or fate or other horses but the game designer his/herself. There was what I wanted. And there was what the designer wanted. Between the two of us was my poor avatar. With my thumb wedged against the stick I pushed the puny thing against a brick wall, grinding it into the dirt. I suddenly felt bad for pushing so hard, for wanting to progress so badly that I paid no concern to the little life that was in my hands.
Mastrapa, Gus. “Pretension +1: Luck and Gaming” (Unwinnable: March 2, 2012) <http://www.unwinnable.com/2012/03/02/ride-em-till-they-break/>.