Essay: Can Independent Games be Authentic?

The word authenticity, has become so integrated into the language of our everyday lives, that there is a preconceived understanding of the word, despite the concept itself being abstract and without a clear-cut definition.
A rock band can be authentic. So can an expensive wine from a specific region. And so can the jeans we wear or the yogurt we eat for breakfast. These things are all wildly different in nature, and yet they all claim to be the same exact thing: Authentic.

Continue reading “Essay: Can Independent Games be Authentic?”

The Chronos-Ludo Manifesto

We declare war on the wastage of time.
We declare war on the game studios indulging the idea that more, is more.
We are repulsed by the production of mindless content undermining the intelligence of players.
We declare war on side quests and collectibles. On level-caps and unachievable achievements.
Our time, as players, is not a simple commodity to be squandered and spoiled.

We did not come here to be dragged through a mindless limbo of exp grinding, just to make you feel entitled to the 40£ you took from us in exchange for the glorified walking simulator you call a game.
We don’t want your DLC. We don’t want your custom skins. We don’t want your sequels.
We came here to play.

We represent a new generation grounding in respect and integrity to the player.
The games we make, contain nothing but a game.
We will tell stories. We will weep. We will tear our souls from the imprisonment of nostalgia.

Tomorrow, we begin building a new utopia in the midst of the burning ruins of soulless sequels and remakes.
We came here to play.
But now, instead, we build.

 

References:

Danchev, Alex (2011) 100 artists’ Manifestos: From the Futurists to the Stuckists. Penguin Classics. London, England.

Is Nostalgia a Danger to Video Games?

Video games have come an immense way since the birth of the industry. The technology used to create the original Spacewar! in the early 1960s seems to be of a completely different world from the current AAA games with their hyper-realistic graphics and incredible virtual worlds. But despite the technological advancements, the modern gamer still tend to keep their distance from new titles, in order to look back on a time of games past.
Is this nostalgia a tendency obstructing the development of the medium?

Continue reading “Is Nostalgia a Danger to Video Games?”

The Inadequacy of the “Gamer” Phrase

Not too long ago, people identified themselves as gamers, fully knowing exactly what the word meant.
The stereotypical gamer was a person who would spend hours on end playing games, and enjoying particularly difficult, brain-shattering challenges. (Juul, 2010) But more importantly: The gamer identity came – just like any other label – with a community, and a sense of social security.
In recent years, however, with the rise of app stores, smartphones, and the possibility to download and distribute games in a matter of minutes, everyone is a gamer. From commuters to kids. So is the “gamer” stereotype still relevant?

Continue reading “The Inadequacy of the “Gamer” Phrase”

When are Animated Characters Uncanny?

Psychologist Sigmund Freud came up with the idea of the “uncanny” in 1919.
The uncanny is a specific emotion of fear that is experienced when something isn’t quite as it should be. Like a taxidermied animal, or an antique doll.
In 1970, roboticist Masahiro Mori warned that robots could indeed also provoke these negative feelings of unease, if they appeared too human. Based on these findings, Mori introduced the theory of the uncanny valley, depicting a drop of attraction towards the animate object, after it achieved human features. This unsettling feeling will – according to Mori – only disappear when the robot is completely indistinguishable to an actual living human being.

But is the uncanny valley theory likewise applicable to animated digital characters, like the ones found in animation movies and video games? Continue reading “When are Animated Characters Uncanny?”

Essay: What defines a video game genre?

Genre is something that is already well known and established in other humanistic fields such as literature and film studies. But with games only recently entering the academic scene as a valid area of study, the specifics of what defines a genre is once again opened up for questioning.
As consumers, we generally think of a genre as being a combination of the many individual components of the game production pipeline: Art, sound, setting, story, player goals and challenges. They all have an impact on which category the game eventually fits into, and this makes it easy for consumers to pick up something they know they will like.
But with recent academics debates raging – narratology versus ludology, and the difference between interactive games and other media – it might not be that simple.
This essay sets out to understand what defines a game genre, both from an academic standpoint, and in terms of how they are produced. Do the same rules that apply to film and literature apply to games? Or are games a completely separate entity, when it comes to genre?

Continue reading “Essay: What defines a video game genre?”