Saturday, 7 March 2009

The Week in Videogame Blogging

Straight into it: What has been worth reading this week in videogame blogging?

The Brainy Gamer has two pieces this week; the first is ‘Gee Whiz’, about a visit by prominent author James Paul Gee, known best for his writing education reform and his book ‘What videogames have to teach us about Learning and Literacy’. The second is ‘Cold Jungle’, an opinion piece about why Far Cry 2 left him out in the cold. Be sure to check out the comments thread on that one.

Insult Swordfighting has another of his unique amalgamation of Gamespot user submitted reviews for the as-yet unreleased game ‘Resident Evil 5’. I like these posts, because Mitch Krpata has to add so little to the “reviews” themselves to highlight their ridiculousness and by extension, the absurd level of hype often surrounding upcoming videogames.

Versus Clu Clu Land goes admirably high-brow in discussing Theodore Adorno’s ideas about ‘the culture industry’ theorising that it may explain some things about why we play games like Golf and Halo in his post ‘On Masochism’. Iroquois Pliskin also writes about the departure of venerable game journalist N’Gai Croal from his regular position at Newsweek – because obviously ‘Games Journalism Needs Games Journalists’ and good ones at that.

Level Up, in it’s first and also the last entry in Noted on the Blogs is the now defunct blog of the aforementioned N’Gai Croal. He posts his farewell post in which ‘The Man Behind the Royal 'We' Says 'So Long'’. I personally learnt a lot about blogging by reading Level Up – his talk about developing your own voice in writing guided my own early efforts. Croal will be gone, but not forgotten I am sure.

Rock Paper Shotgun, which is now apparently the UK’s biggest gaming blog, can always be guaranteed to have something worth reading. This week the best has to be ‘Bangalor Galore - An Empire: Total War After Action Report’ by RPS sometime-contributor Tim Stone. The ability to capture the sound and the fury of a battlefield in writing about a videogame is why RPS is consistently among the world’s best. More relevant to the business side, an interview with ‘Capcom on Digital Distibution, PC Ubiquity’ reveals a surprisingly forward thinking and proactive game developer. They remind me of Valve Software, actually. And lastly from RPS, less a piece of writing and more promotional video: ‘Laid Back Payback: Soviet Assault Blues’ which is notable for an emerging trend in utilising music effectively in promoting games (Remember those Gears of War trailers? I actually wanted to play that version of the game – the poignant, introspective, intelligent one).

Banana Pepper Martinis proves why L.B. Jeffries is one of the best semi-professional writers out there this week by synthesizing ideas from Carl Jung and some work done by psychologists studying dreams in the post ‘Videogames and Dreams Part 1’.

Hit Self Destruct is the blog of Duncan Fyfe, who I know nothing about other than his name and that he lives in New Zealand. However, geographic isolation means nothing when you have as unique and distinctive writing style as Fyfe, which he shows in a mini-series of posts this week called ‘Domestic City’ of which there are 9 parts. They focus on games in some strange, hypothetical future where people take games seriously or something! Like that’d ever happen…

Pentadact, by actual professional games writer Tom Francis, writes a great series of travelogue posts about Fallout 3. Strictly speaking not from this week, Francis writes somewhat New Games Jouranlism-ish in ‘Fallout Girl: Striking Distance’, and it’s a cracker of a read. I wish I had that much fun in Fallout 3.

Pixel Vixen 707, everyone’s favourite Alternate Reality Game blogger writes in ‘The Buddy System’ how it’s often the little things, rather than the overwritten, unbelievably corny storylines in games that mean the most to her. I’ve come to realise that I feel similarly, and much prefer compellingly immersive details to overblown narratives.

Hardcasual the satirical website with a decidedly ‘Onion’ feel writes just about videogames. This week take a tongue in cheek look at both the ridiculousness of some claims that videogames are a waste of time in ‘Video Gamer Realises Frivolity Of Hobby’ and at… I’m not quite sure what, in the post ‘Other Blogs Just Popular Because Girls Write Them’. Pre-empting calls that “Oh teh noes gurlz are taking over mah game blogz!!!!1!!!!1!” perhaps?

Lets go with that, until next week readers!


Matthew Gallant said...

Hey, great idea Ben!

Chris said...

Seeing our little corner of the internets linked on your site made my Sunday. Thanks!