31 Matching Annotations
  1. Oct 2016
    1. By rendering a virtual Middle East as a frontier inhabited primarily by male terrorists where the American military (and by invitation of the gaming industry, all subjects with a reasonably modern computer) can engage in a cleansing and perpetual war, the world finally begins to resemble the one outlined by George W. Bush shortly after 9/11

      Intriguing reversal of orientalism: originally orientalism imagined the Middle East as a feminine space, while now it's a male space.

  2. Sep 2016
    1. it’s pretty much the only thing in a book’s toolbox for creating immersion, and it works in games too

      Uh, no.

    1. The aim of her technique here is to link the player to mental instability through use of the cube (both in language and game world). Of course, the technique is an obvious failure since the player does not feel any strong personal attachment to the cube to the point of mental instability. It's a hole in the performance, but one I doubt many players realized due to the layers of implementation.

      I disagree here. Players do notice—or at least this one did.

    2. make fun of institutional processes
    3. understating of the possibility of danger are standards of institutional talk, yet the consequences are usually kept behind doors.
    4. the typical, false politeness that one receives in such institutional contexts.
    5. visually portrays itself as an institution

      using narrative architecture!

    6. the idea of a front and backstage
    7. All institutions have a backstage that mask their inner workings.

      This is true even of places such as a college!

    8. we have a place where we manage the performance and a place where we give that performance

      Interesting to think about videogames this way. And does this intersect at all with Galloway's two axes?

    1. Play is free activity but Portal only offers this in constrained doses.

      Again, this is the definition of play

    2. Portal is an algorithmic exploration of human struggle against algorithmic processes.
    3. It is the tension between the cold, hard certainty of algorithms and the creativity

      I just don't see Portal as about the conflict between algorithms and creativity. I see the game as a critique of institutions, not algorithms.

    4. Portal's art-worthiness is in its exploration of the increasingly algorithmic nature of the world.
    5. In Portal, the gun’s apparent freedom always opens up into the same trap.

      But this is also one definition of play. Salen and Zimmerman call play "free movement within a more rigid structure." See Rules of Play.

    6. test chambers embrace the limitations of level design

      Portal literalizes the concept of level design.

    7. This murderous intent brings together multiple narrative elements foreshadowed in the game,

      The authors seem to read the game as an allegory about science gone wrong. But I see Portal as a satirical send-up of all those science fiction films about science gone wrong.

    8. Rattmann’s scribbles, therefore, warn Chell to beware the player. The game is a lie.


    9. Even here, when the Milgram-like nature of the experiment is clear

      I just don't see Glados here acting like some Nazi scientist, and I don't see the player as somehow just "following orders." The whole scene is a joke, because the Companion Cube is obviously just a cube.

    10. GLaDOS compels the player to be part of the algorithmic process.

      More like, Glados compels the player to be part of the scientific method. (A fucked-up extreme instance of the scientific method, but still.)

    11. Some players may even assume that they are Chell - akin to Heidegger’s notion of a tool being ready to hand rather than present at hand

      I call bullshit here. Totally superfluous Heidegger reference.

    12. sure the voice is a computer

      Huh. I never questioned whether Glados was human or machine.

    13. Aperture Science Computer-Aided Enrichment Center. We hope your brief detention in the relaxation vault has been a pleasant one.

      I hope the authors talk about the humor of Portal. So much of the official narrative voice is full of double-voiced meaning and irony. To wit, "relaxation vault"? And "computer-aided"—these and many other examples are dripping with irony.

    14. there are ways that only games can signify

      What can games do that other forms of media cannot?

    15. The key mechanic1 - a gun that shoots portals or tunnels that allow physical movement between unconnected spaces - explores the meaning of freedom when trapped in the algorithmic processes of what we perceive as reality. 

      The heart of their argument: the portal gun helps us explore the tension between freedom and confinement.

    16. As algorithms are used in and applied to social situations they become forces that shape and persuade.

      Probably important to note the difference between algorithms and heuristics, which are more like a "rule of thumb." I wonder if the authors here are confusing the two.

  3. Aug 2016
    1. since the categories are neither narrative nor game-like in themselves: order, speed, frequency, duration, simultaneity, and time of the action.

      Looking at Tetris in terms of time, or temporal relations.

    1. In simulations, knowledge and experience is created by the player’s actions and strategies, rather than recreated by a writer or moviemaker.

      Yet, simulations also embed algorithms made by the game designers. The designers decide how to model the world they're simulating. So, knowledge does come from the designers.

    2. games are not intertextual

      Wrong. So many games rely on knowledge of the conventions of the genre. And the games that subvert the genre only make sense because designers and players know about the genres.

    3. Likewise, the dimensions of Lara Croft’s body, already analyzed to death by film theorists, are irrelevant to me as a player, because a different-looking body would not make me play differently

      What about Mr. Bean: Tomb Raider?

    4. So why should not games also be a type of story?

      A rhetorical, or genuine question?