Analysis of Bungie’s Destiny preview: too many chefs in the kitchen

I’m excited about Bungie’s upcoming game Destiny although I really don’t think I should be. On paper the description and explanation of the game seems awesome, but when Bungie shows off what they actually have it just looks bland and homogenous.

I think the best example of what I mean can be found in this video from GDC ’13 where Destiny’s writer and design director Joe Staten and art director Christ Barrett discuss the process they went through designing and implementing choices for Destiny.

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Aliens vs Predators that don’t exist

avpnew

People seem to be pretty disappointed with the recent Aliens: Colonial Marines game. That reminds me, I’ve been pretty disappointed with every Aliens vs. Predator game that’s come out. In my opinion they aren’t really AvP games at all and a true AvP game does not exist… yet!

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Failures in storytelling: A scene from Halo 4

So, there’s a thing that amateur writers often do that ruins their stories, and that is to make the universe revolve around their main characters (rather than staying true to the characters, staying true to the situations they’re in, and staying true to the effects of their actions within those situations). Everything always works out for the characters, the good guys agree with them, everyone looks up to them, anyone that disagrees with them is instantly a bad guy, etc. What ends up happening is that certain moments or scenes feel forced or fake because, even if it’s only subconscious, we know something doesn’t fit; we know we’re not looking at a realistic or even sensical world. We all could probably pick out a dozen such instances from movies et al., but one such glaring moment  occurred when I played Halo 4 recently, and I felt like picking it apart.

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The difference between the physical game and the conceptual game

Looking back on my old posts I realized that I already wrote on the topics in this article previously. Not only that but the previous post is more entertaining. At least in my opinion. So, check it out if you prefer: Differentiating Between Physical And Conceptual Interactions

Gamers, there is a difference between art object and art subject which needs to be addressed when talking about games.

It seems most people that write or talk about games seem to fail to understand that every aspect of games, and art & entertainment in general, has both a physical component, the object, and a conceptual component, the subject, that comprises the whole. Most of them seem to feel there is just one component of games and I’ve seen people refer to the physical component and then the conceptual component of a game as though they were the same thing. I don’t need examples.

When we say we are “playing a game” we are actually saying two things simultaneously: we are playing the game physically, which means we are interpreting and manipulating physical objects in precise and purposeful ways, and we are playing the game conceptually, which means we are interpreting and manipulating the ideas and concepts that the physical objects link us to. We can see the exact same thing is true of a book or a movie. When we say we are “reading a book” we are talking about two books, one which is made of tangible matter and one which is made of intangible ideas. We are holding the physical object in our hands as we turn the physical pages and look at the physical symbols printed there. We are also holding the conceptual story in our minds as we progress through the intangible concepts, characters, and ideas.

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The best alien races in video games

Table of Contents

Page 1:

Intro

Rubric

A quick note on Mass Effect

Honorable mentions

Page 2:

1. The Ceph

2. Eridian Guardians

3. The Shivan

Page 3:

4. Hunters

5. The Krynn

Intro:

Aliens are a guilty pleasure of mine. That shouldn’t sound dirty to you. It’s not. Although it could be. If you’re into that. Or whatever, it doesn’t matter. Aliens in fiction have always captured my imagination for some reason. I’ve always enjoyed reading about them and using them as a window to a new perspective on reality. The inclusion of cool aliens can even get me to enjoy something I normally wouldn’t, such as movies starring Vin Diesel. This is only true of “cool” aliens, interesting and unique creatures that either capture the imagination or provoke speculation. Star Trek’s aliens don’t have this effect on me because they’re shit. Star Trek is a universe where racism is scientific fact, where all aliens are just humans with at least one character trait that universally spans the entire species. And visually they don’t look any more interesting than a teenager wearing a name tag saying “I’m weird”. Screw Star Trek.

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Analyzing the implied story of “By Committee” in Marathon Infinity

“By Committee” is one of my favorite levels in Marathon, I love prison escape levels, but the Volunteers entry on this level misses a lot of what’s going on here.

The analysis of “By Committee” fails to answer several questions we should be asking while playing this level. One glaringly obvious question: Where are the Enforcers? We’re in Pen 13 Garrison which contains a prison and a dungeon both of which fall within the domain of the enforcers. There should be Enforcers everywhere in this level, up in the guard towers, looking down from balconies, standing guard outside the prisons, etc. So, where are they? There is no sign of them except for one alien gun lying on the ground. Let’s figure this out.

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Authoritarian Control

How authoritarian control is holding games back and the Solution that will help games move forward

Table of contents:

  1. Intro:
  2. Intro 2:
  3. What is authoritarian control?
  4. A note on comparing books to games
  5. The Solution (and examples of anti-authoritarianism)
  6. What’s wrong with authoritarian control?
    1. Waste’s player’s time with involuntary restrictions and by undoing the player’s work
    2. Jumps between different games without the player’s control
    3. Makes games less accessible by making exploration more difficult (Part 1)
    4. Makes games less accessible to scholars (Part 2)
    5. Handicaps designers and developers
    6. It is a sign of a designer’s cowardice
    7. It is disrespectful to the audience
  7. Why the solution is not a problem
  8. Outro

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