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Mai 16 13:07

Screenshot deluxe: Joshua Taylors "A Distant Sadness"

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Joshua Taylor was one of the screenshot artists I featured in my original article on in-game photography; his series "A Distant Sadness" collects haunting images of a war-torn Battlefield 3. I asked Josh a few questions on his latest project.

What was your inspiration for "A Distant Sadness"?
 
There really wasn't one particular photographer in history. The inspiration came from the culmination of work within the genre of "war photography". It was and is beautiful yet haunting.
 
Mai 05 07:51

Echoing Histories: Impressionism, Indie Games and Artistic Revolutions

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"Bridging Worlds"  is a series by LA-based artist and VGT guest author Eron Rauch about the blurred line between games and art. These articles are intended as conversation starters about the burgeoning intersection between the fine art world, academic studies of games, virtual photography, and video game creation. 

Imagine the scene: Paris 1874. The city is still in turmoil from the massive fallout of the Industrial Revolution. There are wild all-night cabarets, horse races to bet on, and salons where drinks and culture are passionately discussed. A great obsession with all things Japanese is the fashion amongst the newly well-off as the world continues to grow smaller. You’re at a party, sipping champagne, talking about the most important art event in the Western world at the time, the Salon du Paris.

Cut to Los Angeles, 2013. The city is still in turmoil and perpetual change after the fallout from globalization vis a vis the banking crisis and tech bubbles. The electronic dance music scene is exploding. Ultimate Fighting Championship title cards are the talk of the town, and hipster bars and neo-speakeasies fill the alleys. A great obsession with all things Japanese is the fashion amongst pretty much everyone. I am at a party, sipping a micro-brew beer, talking about the most important video game event in the world at the time, the Electronic Entertainment Expo.

Mai 03 12:33

First Person Walker Footnotes #3: Tale of Tales

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R

esearching for my article on "First Person Walkers" I sent a few questions to some of the developers regularly accused of producing "walking simulators", a term mainly used in a derogatory fashion. Tale of Tales, godfathers of artistic indie (not-)games and makers of quite a few games where walking is central to the gameplay, shared their thoughts on the topic.

Do you find the term "walking simulator" used to describe your games derogatory?

Not at all. Walking is one of the nicest things one can do on this planet. Very worthy of simulation. And the fact that we can now simulate the act of walking in a work of art illustrates in a very simple and direct way how exciting and new videogames are as a medium.

That being said, the term is a bit inaccurate for our games because the walking is rarely their crucial aspect. It's generally more important where you are walking and when and with whom. We're all about the nouns and the adjectives (more so, even, than the verbs).

Apr 30 10:18

First Person Walker Footnotes #2: Dan Pinchbeck

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Researching for my article on "First Person Walkers" I sent a few questions to some of the developers regularly accused of producing "walking simulators", a term mainly used in a derogatory fashion. Games innovator Dan Pinchbeck of The Chinese Room, maker of Dear Esther, Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs and the coming Everybody's Gone To The Rapture, was once again kind enough to answer my questions.
 
Do you find the term "walking simulator" used to describe your games derogatory?
 
Not really, although I think it was Jeroen Stout who said that it's a bad name, because they don't really simulate walking very well if all you do is hold down one key ;).  I just think we make first-person adventure games, but terminology isn't something I get very hung up on. I think maybe that's because I used to be an academic, so I'm grateful I don't have to worry so much about definitions anymore.
Apr 29 10:26

First Person Walker Footnotes #1: Ed Key

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Researching for my article on "First Person Walkers" I sent a few questions to some of the developers regularly accused of producing "walking simulators", a term mainly used in a derogatory fashion. Ed Key, developer of the lovely Proteus, had this to tell me on the topic.

Do you find the term "walking simulator" used to describe your game derogatory?

Yeah, I find it pretty stupid. I was talking about this on twitter recently and how QWOP is the only real walking simulator. Rich Wilson pointed out that Miasmata was another one - since this actually does emulate some elements of physically walking over different terrain, like momentum when running down slopes. My counterpoint to this: Why don't we call all tradional FPSs "face clickers"? It's a similar kind of reductionism.
 
On the other hand, perhaps it is genuinely useful for some people in identifying games within this vague genre of exploration with minimal interaction. I don't get too stressed about it.
 
Apr 01 13:25

"Seeking the dangerous sublime": An interview with Richard Whitelock on "Into This Wylde Abyss"

1511 Into This Wylde Abyss is a work in progress described by its creator Richard Whitelock as "a short game about struggling to survive on a freezing island and what happens in your final hours, inspired by the dangerous sublime, Paradise Lost and AdamAtomic’s Capsule". Despite the very sparse information available on the game, I was at once fascinated by its visual style and the use of in-game photography.
 
I asked its creator Richard Whitelock a few questions on the game, photography and his inspirations.
Mär 24 09:22

WORD/PLAY: From Shooter to (Interactive) Novel – An Interview with Misery Dev. Ltd.

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In our ongoing series WORD/PLAY we look at the fusing of literature and games. The link to the the written word is almost as old as the videogame itself, and recent developments both on the side of literature and the videogame have shown that the relationship between the two media is as vital and strong as ever.

Imagine that you were part of an international team of enthusiasts who have just finished the acclaimed overhaul of a notoriously complex and beautiful First Person-Shooter... were would you go from there? For Misery Dev. Ltd., they behind the MISERY mod for S.T.AL.K.E.R., the unlikely answer was: you try your hands on an interactive novel. The developers do not think of this move as a departure from their true and tested strengths, though: No matter the format, The Seed, which is currently looking for money on Kickstarter, is set in a post-apocalyptic landscape, with a focus on atmosphere and complex, dynamic systems. We talked with Nicolai Aarøe (creative director) and Damjan Cvetkov-Dimitrov (game developer) about this unusual project.