Designer Lenses

A Review of Jennifer deWinter’s Shigeru Miyamoto

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“Beware of Heroes.”

Frank Herbert offers these words as an overarching thesis for his novel Dune, which chronicles the exploits of Paul Atreides as he rises, unwittingly, to his destiny as an intergalactic messiah, fuelled by prophecies of genocide he can foresee, but can no longer forestall. Continue Reading

First Person Podcast Episode 9

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This month on the First Person Podcast four editors fan out in our ALL ZELDA ALL THE TIME episode. We play Zelda trivia, we wax nostalgic about our favorite Zelda games, we hard-core rag on our least favorite Zelda games, we talk timelines and aesthetics, and speculate on what’s to come. Continue Reading

Nintendon’t

First Person Podcast Episode 7

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Instead of examining a specific game on Episode 7 of the First Person Podcast we turn a eye, an upraised eyebrow, and a single tear towards Nintendo and its recent decisions. Four disapointed Nintendo fans look at the many controversies and rumours currently surrounding both Nintendo as a company as well as their current and upcoming games. In this episode we cover the Fire Emblem localization, Nintendo’s lack of reaction to GamerGate, Nintendo firing Alison Rapp, the launch and staying power of Miitomo, and the rumours about implementing a choice between male and female link in the new Zelda game. Beyond this will also discuss larger issues of localization, how sexuality is depicted in games, and wonder how many different varieties of “hard core” gamers we’ve encountered. Continue Reading

Shovel Knight Redug

The Retro Game as Hypertext and as Uchronia

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First, I will use Jean-Marc Limoges’ work on reflexivity and mise en abyme – a figure whereby a work’s structure is self-replicated within itself, i.e., a play in a play, or a film in a film – which he constructed from his predecessor Jacques Gerstenkorn (Gerstenkorn, 1987). I will use his summary table and adapt it briefly to video games, placing the examples of reflexivity in Shovel Knight laid out by David Boffa in his essay (2015). In so doing, we must recognize a kind of difference that Gerstenkorn and Limoges traced in film, between the cinematographic and the filmic. Similarly, we would do well to distinguish between the ludic (referring to playing and games in general, abstract principles and terms), and the gamic (the individual games themselves). From their work, I argue that reflexivity can, broadly, occur in four types in video games: Continue Reading

Link Dons the Mask of Truth

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask’s Postmodern Critique

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It’s lonely at the top of the mountain. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has reigned supreme more or less uninterruptedly as the Greatest Game of all Time in popular culture for nearly two decades. Other challengers have periodically risen from the masses (The Last of Us, Journey, whatever GTA game came out last, etc.), but the conversation always finds its way back to Ocarina. Conversely, Nintendo has been accused of sitting on its creative laurels with nearly every Zelda game they’ve put out since Ocarina. It’s an unenviable position: how do you navigate the already precarious balance between convention and innovation when the foundational title you put out ten sequels ago remains such an enduring sacred cow? Continue Reading

The Legend of Zelda

Hyrule Historia

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Nintendo’s recent release of Hyrule Historia has the internet abuzz about Zelda timelines and character sketches. This piece of ephemera is obviously worth picking up for a die hard Zelda fan, but its use value for a game scholar is more questionable. The text does contain pertinent “facts” about the Legend of Zelda universe but I am still unsure how much this information will change perceptions of the series, or the scholarship around it. This review will examine the many different sections of Hyrule Historia in order to discern what such an official piece of metatextual “history” can offer. Continue Reading