BG 39 – Don’t Take It Personally, Babe, It Just Ain’t Your Story: High School, Privacy and Blended Identity

Futurismic have my latest Blasphemous Geometries column.

This month’s column is about Christina Love’s latest indie game Don’t Take it Personally, Babe, It Just Ain’t Your Story, which can be downloaded for free on a variety of platforms.

Set in a weirdly Japan-ised American Highschool in 2027, the game explores issues of identity and social media.  As I suggest in the column, the game is best played as a companion piece to Love’s previous game, the equally excellent Digital: A Love Story, which I wrote about a little while ago. Together, the two games tackle the process of putting oneself online and interacting with other online souls from quite starkly diffing perspectives.

PS: In the article, I mention a paper by Andrea Baker called “Mick or Keith: blended identity of online rock fans”, it can be downloaded (for free) HERE.

BG 38 – Sucker Punch: Video Games and The Future of the Blockbuster

Futurismic have my 38th Blasphemous Geometries column.

The column is one part review of Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch to one part examination of the nature of blockbusters to one part analysis of trends in popular culture and the way in which video games are coming to replace super heroes as the blockbuster genre medium of choice (hence the length):

Sucker Punch mirrors the growing intertextuality of the video game experience by having Baby Doll shift seamlessly between the reality of the game, the reality of the brothel and the reality of the insane asylum. However, what makes Sucker Punch such an interesting film is not the fact that it displays an impressively detailed understanding of video game aesthetics, but rather the way in which it uses these images and techniques to attempt to create a cinematic effect.

BG 37 – The American Dream is SPENT

Futurismic have my thirty seventh Blasphemous Geometries column.

Entitled “The American Dream is SPENT: Two Visions of Contemporary Capitalism”, the column looks at two different browser-based business simulation games and shows how, despite both operating on the assumption that capitalism is a functional rules-based system, the games use their different depictions of that system to produce withering critiques of contemporary capitalism.

BG 34 – Digital: A Love Story; Nostalgia, Irony and Cyberpunk

After a month’s break, Futurismic have my thirty fourth Blasphemous Geometries column.

The subject of this month’s column is Christine Love’s amazing indie (and freely downloadable!) game Digital: A Love Story and how some video games deploy nostalgia in a decidedly ironic register in order to both revisit the past and deconstruct our desire for a non-existent idyll.

BG 33 – Tell Your Own Damn Stories! Games, Overreading and Emergent Narrative

One of the most startling things about the opening to Grand Theft Auto – San Andreas is that the cut scenes are well-written.  Their characters are well drawn, their dialogue is consistently funny and their narrative arcs are drawn boldly and with a real grasp of human psychology.  In the world of video-game cut scenes such artistry is practically unheard of.  In fact, by and large, you are far more likely to remember a cut scene for its terrible dialogue or woeful translation than you are for its aesthetic quality.  Unfortunately, as far as most video-games are concerned, the problem stretches beyond a few laughable cut scenes and into the realms of systemic narrative failure: Like operas and porn films, video-games are universally badly written.

And yet games are more than capable of telling great stories.

My solution?  Hang all video-game writers and Tell Your Own Damn Stories!

My thirty third Blasphemous Geometries column over at Futurismic explains how.

BG 31 – Paying Attention is Not Fun : Crackdown 2

Futurismic have just put up my latest (and somewhat delayed) Blasphemous Geometries column.

The column looks at Crackdown 2 and wonders why its main narrative is so utterly incapable of maintaining our interest.  Is the problem bad writing?  Have our brains been re-wired by the internet as suggested by Susan Greenfield and Nicholas Carr?  And if it has, should we care?