Savage Beasts

The Spatial Conflict Between Civilization and Nature in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

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It is hard to talk about playing the fantasy role-playing game (RPG) The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim without talking about its digital environment. Its vastness. The freedom with which players can move through it. With an impressive “16 square miles” (Hong p. 42) of digital landscape on offer, there certainly is a lot of world to explore. Continue Reading

First Person Podcast Episode 25: Game(s) of the Year(s)

Another Year, Not Another Award Show.

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In our January 2018 podcast, Betsy, Chris, Will and Justin discuss their picks for games of the year, with a twist: categories ranged from the social (“Fine, stop yelling I’ll play it award”) to the academic (“game that made me rethink my research”). FPS has previously experimented with alternative formats for game of the year awards before, asking podcast participants last year to focus on the games that resonated with them most and to reflect critically on the awards themselves in the year before. Stick around for the end of this year’s podcast, when the FPS crew each discuss their one true game of the year. Continue Reading

Interview with Katja Rogers

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Katja Rogers is a Computer Science PhD student from the Institute of Media Informatics at Ulm University, Germany. As a visiting researcher at the University of Waterloo, her project focused on the effects of audio on player experience in a VR horror game. Her previous projects involved topics such as NPC design, evolutionary algorithms, persuasive and pervasive games, as well as augmented reality. Continue Reading

Gorilla Warfare

Playing Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze Together in 2017

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We shrink down from three dimensions to two and a half, assuming our more primal forms: I an ape, she a smaller ape. Together we jump over chasms and swing from tree to tree on vines, gathering bananas, coins, puzzle pieces, and balloons. Occasionally, we succeed in collecting elusive blocks, each emblazoned with a letter: a K, an O, an N, or a G. Continue Reading

An Interview with Shannon Sun-Higginson

"GTFO" is a new film that looks at harassment of women in the gaming industry. Directed by Shannon Sun-Higginson, the film features interviews with prominent female game developers, as well as new animated sequences from Naoko Saito. Credit: Shannon Sun-Hugginson / "GTFO"

Shannon Sun-Higginson is a Philadelphia-based producer, director, and editor. Her first feature documentary GTFO, about women in the video game industry, was funded on Kickstarter, premiered at SXSW 2015, and has been featured in The New York Times among other… Continue Reading

Gotta Scan ‘Em All

No Man’s Sky and The Universe of The Possible

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I just need to find one more species. The constant background radiation is frustrating but not impossible to deal with, though it is starting to make the search a little tedious. I got lucky spotting species 5, finding two Upicenae Elgarten after cresting a small ridge and sighting them in a depression below me. I was doubly lucky that the massive carnivores didn’t spot me so I was not forced to elude their pursuit. Now I just need to find species 6 and something tells me it is also a carnivore. I’m not sure what it is, just a sense that I have based on extensive personal experience that is right often enough that I’ve learned to listen to it when it is insisting on something. Continue Reading

Ritual of the Moon

Time and Reparative Game Design

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Much has been made recently about ‘crunch’ and the dangers of cramming development into bursts of unhealthy and inaccessible work habits. It has been written about in Kotaku, The New York Times, and many other places. The solution sounds so easy: just don’t crunch. Take your time. Live your life outside of making practices. But what are sustainable practices of making? Those which follow the ebbs and flows of sometimes the erratic and out-of-grasp force of creativity? Continue Reading