Thursday, April 12, 2012

Swinging and Shifting

I had a few articles published this week that are unrelated other than for the fact that I am really happy with all of them.

The first is over at Unwinnable and is about how Driver: San Francisco's use of the "it's all just a dream" trope is used to great effect to, paradoxically, reinforce the diegesis and coherency of the game's fictional world. I absolutely loved Driver: SF when I played it earlier this month. It is one of those games that just got my mind spinning and I have like half a dozen different articles I want to write about it. If you missed it late last year, I strongly recommend going back and playing it. It does so many interesting things very well. Also, I must say I was more than pretty happy with being able to use an entirely apt Wolf Parade song as the article title.

The second article is at The Conversation, a website funded by and run by a collection of Australian universities. It's not quite an academic website per se, but a website where journalistic articles and discussions can take place about academic research. I wrote about some research that claims to show gesture-based controls are "more immersive" than traditional, button-based controls, and why I find that very hypothesis highly problematic. This was the first thing I've ever written beyond the enthusiast gaming press, and it was a really interesting challenge to write about these things in an accessible way--accessible to both non-academics and non-videogame players. I think it turned out okay.

And in the world of print, I have two articles in the latest E240 issue of Edge Magazine. The first is a feature article called "Just Being There" (at least, that is what it was called when I sent it off to the editors; it could have changed!) and is about how games like Journey, Dear Esther, and Proteus are challenging traditional (I would say archaic) definitions of what a game 'is' but deliberately pushing at the borders of such definitions. I've seen a low-res screengrab of the article from when I had to do the captions and the visual design is incredible. I'm really excited to grab my own copy of the magazine when it finally makes its way to Australia.

The second article in the magazine is a studio profile of Bastion developers Supergiant Games. Greg Kasavin et al were nice enough to have me over to their lovely new studio space during GDC last month. I'm really happy with how this piece turned out, too. They are a fascinating group of developers with a really interesting and grounded approach to game design. Hopefully I conveyed this successfully in my piece!

If you read any of these pieces, I'd love to hear what you think.

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