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The Philosophical Basis of Exploration Cues in Game Design

Republished from The GameSaver, whose purpose it is to use objective philosophical analysis to save the video game industry from imploding.


…it’s your game. You decide how you want to play, I mean, we’re not the ones who are going to tell you how to play...” – Mathieu Ferland, senior producer at Ubisoft Montreal, describing the design philosophy of Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory.

Obviously you can’t instruct people on how to enjoy art.” – Lisa Foiles, video game commentator (and former “All That” star) stating what she believes to be a truism relevant to a gamer’s choosing how (and whether) to explore a game world.

Together, these two quotations represent a malignant viewpoint stretching from video game designer to video game player. The second quote comes from one of Kotaku’s (few) intellectual features now roughly a year old. It is the perfect encapsulation of the average person’s view of art. Because this view is so widespread, what I am about to say is tragically controversial: there is an objectively correct way to read books, watch movies, view paintings, and play games. Read the rest of this entry


Medal of Honor is a “Creative Risk” From Which EA Will Not Back Down Despite Media Criticism

Frank Gibeau, president of EA Games, told Develop that what they are doing with Medal of Honor is tied to creative vision. “We respect the media’s views,” he said, “but at the same time [these reports] don’t compromise our creative vision and what we want to do.”

More than creative vision–art!

“At EA we passionately believe games are an artform, and I don’t know why films and books set in Afghanistan don’t get flack, yet [games] do. Whether it’s Red Badge Of Courage or The Hurt Locker, the media of its time can be a platform for the people who wish to tell their stories. Games are becoming that platform.”

Hmm. I was under the impression that art provoked critical thought of some sort? How can you claim to produce art when you can also say that you don’t intend to push too hard? Now, I know what you’re thinking. Patricia, that’s a quote from DICE, and they’re just handling the multiplayer aspect. So what? They are still speaking on behalf of the game, but more importantly, we already know that games with multiplayer components do not have to suffer a complete dichotomy from the single-player. Brink has taught us that multiplayer can be completely purposeful and integrated into the main game: hell, there’s no dichotomy between the two modes, there. Am I to believe that EA wanted to give such justice to the subject that they’re fine with providing us a mindless game mode, which only exists to satiate new consumer demands for online multiplayer? There’s really no excuse for it.

So, then, is it any surprise that they’re proud of what they’re doing? “The development teams care very much about what they’re building, and of course a bit of criticism from the media causes some to get demoralised, but at the end of the day we’re proud of what we’re doing. Brining Medal of Honor back was no small feat.”

And why brave all the criticism for this game? Because they want you to see “what it was like to be in a soldier’s position.” Because that experience is completely transferable in an entertainment medium, right?

Dante’s Inferno for the 8-bit generation

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R. K. Milholland, author of the popular Something*Positive webcomic (site NSFW content), added a new poster to Positive*Thinkers, his comic’s store recently. It depicts his interpretation of Dante’s Inferno – using 8-bit and arcade game characters. You can see Satan (a three headed Donkey Kong with additional Bowser and Wart heads) as he tries to escape his imprisonment… instead condemning himself, and the other sinners, within an eternal prison of ice. I always knew Kickle was a bit of a bastard.

The poster is 11″ x 17″ – perfect for hanging on your living room wall! It costs around $7-$8 shipped, a helluva bargain. You can also buy other stuff, like shirts, art prints, original comic art and Super Stupor comics.

Braid movement piece is awesome, confusing

You know, I went to an art type school, but dance always confounded me. I don’t understand it. There’s just something about it my brain refuses to comprehend. Like, these people are moving, and it’s supposed to be artistic, but I just…what are they doing?

Following a corollary of the old adage that all good things must become other good things, someone decided that Braid the video game wasn’t quite good enough, and decided to make Braid the performance piece. And no, I don’t mean Soulja Boy or some dude under Tim Rogers’ employ, I mean honest to goodness dance people, dancing the plot of the game.

Apparently we are all sons of bitches.

Some Fallout New Vegas Art

ART! It’s not what games are, according to Ebert. So we have destroyed the time-space continuum to bring you this artwork from Fallout New Vegas, straight from the king of cosmos himself, IGN. Reproduced here are the highest quality rugs and linens:

Cazadores! That new enemy we talked about in an earlier post about Fallout, which really could be any post of ours because I tend to post about things I like. Fallout is a thing I like.

Hit the jump to see some other great artwork of the landscape kind! By which of the more exciting kind! That’s why there’s a lot of exclamation points involved!

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