“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

Commentary - FIFA14

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