Why Killing Orcs in Mordor is more intimate than sex in Mass Effect: Power and Intimacy in videogames

I am 12 years old. I am standing behind a Russian soldier, my SOCOM pistol pressed into his back. I whisper:

I am one military hardware enthusiast you don't want to mess with: gimme those tags

Poor man.

A minute or so later he is limping away, bleeding profusely from multiple gunshot wounds and trying in vain to call for help over his broken radio. If I were feeling kind, I’d shoot him in the head with a tranquilizer dart and stuff him in a locker somewhere.

I am not feeling kind.

I pummel and kick him until he loses consciousness. Then I wake him up, and do it all over again.

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GAMES ARE BROKEN, BUT NOT IN THE WAY YOU THINK

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When Roger Ebert infamously decried that video games can never be art, it clearly touched a nerve.

Now, I’m not saying that Ebert was right. His cultural elitism is irrelevant. But, the response of the gaming community was incredible. It sparked a wave of discussion and debate over something as insignificant as a definition. If Ebert has claimed that music was not art, would it have received the same attention? Would the music community have found his blog post anything other than hilariously misguided? Of course not.

But gamers and critics rallied against Ebert’s claim because they feel games still have something to prove as an art form. They think games are broken. And in a fundamental, blindingly obvious way – they are. But this brokenness (which we will address later) is often ignored; and instead the issue is overcomplicated with largely irrelevant pseudo-academic discourse and diction.

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EVERYTHING IS A GAME (also: hello)

Get the hell off my blog.

Woah! Wait, don’t mind him! You are perfectly welcome. For some reason I turn into a dick when I’m illustrated.

So, yeah, this is my game blog. I hope to update it with a variety of content; animations, reviews, critical discourse – any medium, so long as it looks at gaming from a fresh and colourful perspective.

This multi-medium approach is inspired by games themselves. I think people incorrectly think of video games as one cohesive ‘medium’, neatly slotting alongside films, novels and music in your categorical mindspace. I don’t think games are just a medium, I think they are a digitisation of all mediums – a unification of previously separate art forms through computer code. Continue reading

Sneaking on the D-Pad: Why Metal Gear Solid benefits from being like Pac-Man

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1998. That’s fourteen years ago now – more if you’re a citizen of the future. I remember fondly the time I spent as a youngster; enjoying 90s action films when I was too young to realise they were genuinely crap, watching children’s cartoons when I was too young to realise they were genuinely brilliant and wondering why my penis felt all tingly and nice when I hugged a pillow between my legs and thought of Kate Winslet. They were simpler times, really – videogames being no exception.

I still remember being hunched over our Playstation, constantly replaying the demo levels of Metal Gear Solid and snapping more necks than a nine year old should be allowed to snap. But back then, as with most games of the time, there was always an element of artificiality to the experience which prevented the guttural choking sounds of my enemies from being anything more than audial conformations of my victory over a simple game element. It was only later in life, however, that I realised that this artificiality – the angular levels, the identical guards, the constantly repeated sound effects – was actually part of the game’s cohesive and endearing design. I came to this realisation whilst playing an archaic Pac-Man machine in my local pub.

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