Book Review: Video Games as Culture

Considering the Role and Importance of Video Games in Contemporary Society

Meda-Calvet - CoverCropped

I want to emphasize that this is not a book in which the reader will find untouchable truths: rather, it is a tool that explains, in a very clear and understandable way, some of the debates and discussions that are still open around video games and their communities. Hence, I would not dare to say that this is going to be a definitive or complete book, but the beginning of future works and new publications that will take as their starting point some of the questions that Muriel and Crawford have synthesized and summarized so well in it. Continue Reading

“You Turned Left”

How Transistor Plays with Agency

cover image - transistor essay

Indie developer Supergiant Games’ Transistor (2014) is a brooding yet beautiful cyberpunk-noir story that features Red, a woman struck mute by a shady elite organization, and her companion, the disembodied voice of a man emanating from a futuristic USB-drive-slash-broadsword.

Red’s muteness places her squarely in a long tradition of silent video game player characters who exist less as integral parts of their personal stories, and more as hollow interfaces for players to project their will into the game’s world and narrative. Continue Reading

Real Soccer

Strategy & Realism in FIFA 14

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In recent years, authenticity has also meant a commitment to FIFA accurately modeling the on field action of modern soccer, moving closer towards realistic simulation. However, FIFA is a necessarily incomplete version of soccer and can only prioritize some aspects of the sport it seeks to adapt. This article examines the priorities of FIFA’s simulation, how they shape the game and underpin its ambitions for realism. I will suggest that, while FIFA models many aspects of real soccer well, that which it does not adapt–complex strategy and teamwork– undermines its authenticity and contributes to significant gameplay problems. Continue Reading