Weekly Update: Non-Linear
So hey, on account of some deadlines at my day job, I’ll be lying pretty low for the next couple of weeks. No post at Robot Geek this week, but I’ll see if I can’t throw something together for next week. (e.g., “How Not Playing Videogames for Two Weeks Makes People Go Crazy,” or perhaps something like, “Gamification and Paper-Writing: Apparently This Was a Terrible Idea!”)
As an excellent substitute, please enjoy some of the fine stuff I’ve been reading this week.
Rowan Kaiser’s in-depth analysis of Dragon Age: Origins. Great rundown of the narrative mechanics (and mechanical problems) of a game I can never get enough of picking apart.
Goddammit, Chris Bateman’s writing about how games can’t make you cry again! Hogwash! Anyhow, it kicked off a damn good discussion in comments, culminating in this stellar response from Sparky Clarkson.
Michael Abbot argues that Games Aren’t Clocks. This piece bugs me for reasons I can’t quite pin down yet. Yeah, maybe it’s unfair to judge every game by its mechanics. But if we don’t, are we ever going to develop an aesthetic of mechanics? Or will it just be easier to give up and criticize everything like it’s a novel?
Mattie Brice and I disagree on a lot of things when it comes to RPGs; especially on whether the illusion of choice is a crafty hack worth striving for, or unacceptable halfassery. Mattie makes the argument for the latter position (among other things) in An Apology for RPGs.
Arrin Dembo has the definitive post on Dead Island‘s Feminist Whore controversy. I bet a couple of guys found that super-hilarious after twenty hours of programming. Let’s all take this moment to remember that embedding jokes in your code is never, ever a good idea. I mean, if someone’s reading your code after you’re done with it, there’s a good chance they’re already mad at you. Either because they’re looking for bugs, or because they’re trying to do something with it and your structure makes no goddamn sense to anyone outside of your team.