An Interview with David Brevik – Part 1

graybeardgames

Jeffery Klaehn: What led you to launch Graybeard Games?

David Brevik: After working at Gazillion as the CEO for several years, I wanted to get away from management and back into making games. When I was a kid I wanted to be a game maker, not run a business. So after I left, the goal was to create a company where I could get back to design and programming. Continue Reading

FPS Special Issue: Call for Papers

Queer Making and Design

Call For Papers

CFP: In The Queer Art of Failure, Halberstam suggests, “Under certain circumstances failing, losing, forgetting, unmaking, undoing, unbecoming, not knowing may in fact offer more creative, more cooperative, more surprising ways of being in the world.” In reimagining what it means to fail and what it means to succeed, queer games can offer rich experiences that move beyond the goals and practices of the hegemonic status quo of mainstream games. Queer design perspectives, particularly when they fail to meet the expectations of the status quo, can bring “difference” to “our discussions of video games and the experience of play” (after Ruberg 2015), and we want to hear all about it. Continue Reading

The Therapy and Anxiety I Recognized in Celeste

Stanley Cover

It’s early morning, and I’m trapped by an unlocked door, the front entrance to my home, during a year I’d rather forget. Through the window, a breeze rustles trees heavy with leaves so green and vibrant it pains me to stare at them for too long. They stood bare the last time I stepped outside.

This thought lodges a gag of shame in my throat as I slip on a pair of worn tennis shoes and convince myself that a stroll around the neighborhood is something I do all the time, a decision made in impulse and not in agony. It’s only a door, just a door, I repeat. My anxiety – no, let’s be honest, my full-blown agoraphobia at this point – would not get the better of me today. Continue Reading

Safiya Umoja Noble’s Algorithms of Oppression

A review

algorithms of oppression

In Vincent Mosco’s The Digital Sublime, the author describes the cult of technology as “cyperbole,” a kind of social fervor toward new methods of communication. Electricity, telegram, television, the computer and, now, the internet all had phases in their development that emphasized the utopian potential of a new and popular technology. But, according to Mosco, the real social influence of technology isn’t apparent until it becomes banal, after the utopian promises are unfulfilled and new technology has been integrated into existing power structures. A consequence of globalized industrial capitalism is that technology becomes the locus of progress that paradoxically weaves so neatly into daily life that it becomes unnoticeable. Continue Reading

Against Timelines

The Legend of Zelda as Variations on a Theme

Morris - Cover Image

The chronology of The Legend of Zelda series is a source of great debate among fans, who have created several potential timelines, most involving three divergent realities in their convoluted attempt to incorporate every game. Even articles that discuss the timeline logistics in earnest acknowledge how absurd the undertaking is (Jackson 2017). Nintendo developed each game without planning an inclusive timeline, yet this fervent fan speculation prompted Nintendo to release a “definitive” timeline in the 2011 collector’s book Hyrule Historia (Aonuma et al.). The fact that the most recent release in the Zelda series – 2017’s Breath of the Wild – has no evident place in these timelines draws renewed attention to their inadequacy. Continue Reading

The Problem with Transactional Sex in Open-World Games

Pane Cover

Sex in video games has come a long way. Comparing the groan-inducing humor of Leisure Suit Larry or the meta-goofiness of Tomb Raider II to the more nuanced romance in modern games like Dream Daddy, Cibele, or To the Moon is inherently difficult because the former treats love like a joke and the later actually explores the pratfalls of intimacy. As games have increased in complexity—both aesthetically and in raw processing power—some have begun tackling sex with the same seriousness you’d expect from a high-brow novel or movie. But unfortunately, most games sink to the level of sexual discourse we see so often in popular culture where men feel entitled to women’s bodies. Continue Reading

What the Final Girl Sees

Gender Psychology and Slasher Tropes in the Deception Series

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Content warning for discussions of sexualized violence.

Outside a small handful of reviews with each new release, little attention has been paid to the Deception (Tecmo, 1996-2015) series. This is in spite of the critical depth a close reading of these games can afford. In an industry that has consistently struggled with representing women, all but the first Deception game see female protagonists driving the narrative (Zorrilla 2011, Van Name 2013, Statt 2016). And during a time when commercial games like Resident Evil (Capcom 1996), Alone in the Dark (Infogrames 1992), and Clock Tower (Human Entertainment 1995) looked to film for their exploration of horror (Edge 2010, par. 5; Rasa, 2017), the Deception games looked to slasher films and offered players a world in which they both actively perpetrate violence and avoid such threats themselves. Continue Reading