Rob Sherman meditates on the connections between writing and games. "This difficulty lies in the very word “games”, this glyph that we all accept to stand for something greater, and its association, in our culture, with another word. Play." [more inside]
Every film Pixar has produced has landed in the top fifty highest-grossing animated films of all time. What's their secret? Mathematics. Oh, and 22 Rules of Storytelling. [more inside]
Earth, 2147. The legacy of the Metal Wars, where man fought machines—and machines won. Bio-Dreads — monstrous creations that hunt down human survivors... and digitize them!In 1987, before he created Babylon 5, J. Michael Straczynski was a writer for Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, a live-action sci-fi show for kids. 24 episodes were produced. Straczynski wrote or co-wrote 14 of them, including multi-episode plot arcs. A line of interactive toys brought the battle into kids’ living rooms, and Captain Power was also one of the very first shows on television to feature computer animation in every episode. But in an attempt to appeal to both children and the adults who watched with them, the campy show included some concepts and scenes critics deemed too violent for children and lasted only a single season in syndication. The full run of the show has now been uploaded to Youtube. [more inside]
The biggest literary influence on my approach to game design, however, was one of the writers I worshipped as a teenager: Alice Sheldon, aka James Tiptree, Jr. Tiptree had one particular recommendation for starting a story: “Start from the end and preferably 5,000 feet underground on a dark day and then don’t tell them.” This is precisely how we begin Half-Life. It was a deliberate antidote to the many game openings that involved pages and pages of backstory presented in scrolling text. - An interview with Marc Laidlaw, writer for the Half Life series.
Boredom begone! There exist a preponderance of games which (mostly) require nothing but pen and paper, ranging from the relatively mild Fictionary and Word Association, to the more artistic Exquisite Corpse and Eat Poop You Cat (seen previously as an online game), and finally the downright nutty Dvorak and 1000 blank white cards. My favorite, by far: the elusive other foot.
This is what happens when you put some of the best writers in UK comedy around a table to discuss videogames. Needless to say even the above average videogame writing gets a deserved hard time. Via the Spaced Out forums.
New Games Journalism (a Wikipedia definition for the uninitiated), appeared on MetaFilter last December with a link to the now legendary 'Bow, Nigger' article. In the first quarter of 2005 the buzz surrounding the phenomenon grew. Articles like This is Why Your Game Magazine Sucks got the attention of the Guardian, who examined the role of NGJ in a February article. In March, they linked to ten unmissable examples. At about the same time, the movement got its very own publication, The Gamer's Quarter; and in June PC Gamer wrote an open letter to the gaming community requesting articles about, well, anything really.
The New Games Journalism is a manifesto written earlier this year in an attempt to re-shape the way that video game reviews are written, moving away from a stats-based view (these are the weapons, the graphics quality is X, the A.I. is as good as Y), and toward a more narrative approach. The goal, essentially, should be to convey to the reader what it's actually like to play the game. Be sure to follow the link to "Bow, Nigger" as an example. This review of Eve Online (pdf) is another good example. Are other areas of media criticism in need of a revolution?