News & Games Digest, 8/19-9/10
So I’ve decided to stop double-posting my News Games articles here and on that site, because I realized it was probably annoying for my readers. But I also don’t have the time to write clever sidenotes for each one, because I’m writing like four research papers right now. In any case, this is still just as much an archive as it is a blog, so here’s what you missed if you don’t follow the News Games blog.
Making Stimulus Readable & Playable is about an interactive map of California that helps you track where stimulus money has gone, breaking it down by county and category of each project funded. Made by one of the alumni of our project studio, it attempts the ideal of directed activity through an infographic. Basically he added a quiz to the thing, and the quiz requires you to teach yourself how to use each feature on the map. Pretty cool stuff.
Red Faction Guerrilla: Proceduralizing Terror? takes apart a Kotaku interview with some dude from Volition wherein he claims the game has nothing to do with the Iraq War. Rather, they looked to the struggle of Afghanistan against the Soviet Union for inspiration. Really? Of course it’s about Iraq. In attempting to create a blank slate of a space, they wrote all their own ideas about the conflict onto it. They also allow players to do the same. So you get people crashing airplanes into buildings.
Batman and the Rhetoric of Incarceration is my take on being Batman and the evils of Arkham, including a healthy portion of what it means to practice non-lethal apprehension of criminals and the thin line you walk when you depict the mentally infirm. I don’t really know if Arkham Asylum is an evocative space; it’s pretty drab for the most part. But I suppose you can treat it like it’s the primary antagonist, because it’ll kill you more than any stupid mutated thug with a peashooter will.
Game Bloggers Search Engine I created this nifty thing with Google Custom Search (beta). One of the things I hated about blogging was that I always had to sift through a million archives and ask people stupid questions on Twitter, all because Google was clogged by press releases whenever you searched for a game. This thing only searches independent, non-commercial blogs that avoid printing news and previews. Also, I created tabs that let you parse the search for gameplay, narrative, social issues, etc.
I got in a fight with a Joystiq editor a few days ago, by the way, because I maligned the writing of one of his fellow snarky aggregators. Basically, this dude wrote a “column” on Batman that had a neat three-part structure: 1) you play a role when you play videogames 2) this game’s role is a flying ninja 3) this ninja doesn’t kill people. This wouldn’t be something to comment on if the article didn’t begin with a warning that it was “pedantic” and “verbose,” or if the commenters on the site and a number of other Joystiq editors hadn’t told the guy that he was the best critic on the Internet, a genius, and various other honorifics he didn’t deserve. As long as these morons continue to clog my Google queries and ignore actual game critics, I’m going to make fun of them on my Twitter feed. And I’m going to be mean if they try to talk to me.