First Person Podcast Episode 22

Do Not Adjust Your Scare Goggles: VR Horror and Horrific VR

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“Is 2016 The Year of Virtual Reality?” Chris Morris asked in 2015 in an article for Fortune. In June of this year, Brian Crecente writing for Polygon magazine declared 2016 “both the peak and turning point of virtual reality”. The sense that the crest of VR’s popularity may have already peaked was the idea behind this month’s podcast, in which our participants Betsy Brey, Rob Parker and Justin Carpenter revisit the question with only a slight revision: was 2016 the year of VR? Continue Reading

Unraveling Anthologies

A review of Unraveling Resident Evil

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Over the past few years on listservs, social media, and at conferences, I’ve seen more calls for anthologies focusing on a single game rather than a theme. Single-topic anthologies are common enough outside of game studies, but this does indicate a certain level of canonization (which has been traditionally resisted) occurring in the field. Continue Reading

Horrific Controls

Resident Evil 2 & the Mechanics of Fear

Commentary - Resident Evil 2

Resident Evil 2 provides us with an illuminating take on how the controls of a game can play into its immersion. At the time of release, and still to this day, the control scheme of Resident Evil 2 has been the one aspect of the game constantly criticized. The controls are sluggish, requiring the player to constantly press up on the directional pad in order to run forward, regardless of the direction the on-screen character is facing. This is in stark contrast to the majority of other games in which a direction is pressed on the gamepad to correlate with the direction the character is moving on the screen. In retrospect, though, this might just be one of the hidden strengths of the early Resident Evil games, and one of the very reasons for viewing Resident Evil 2 as being a truly definitive survival horror game… Continue Reading