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Entries in gaming (15)


My Own Personal Key of the Twilight

I’ve worked on a decent number of games since first becoming a translator, but few that many have heard of. The first project I was involved with where I recognized the name was .hack//G.U., the sequel series to the original .hack. While I was happy to work on a series that I thought may actually be played by people I didn’t know (and one I personally thought was interesting enough to buy and play through its Japanese release in order to better localize it) like so many of my other projects it seemed that the games’ English release came and went with little more than a passing mention on Gamespot. While mildly disappointing, it was not really unexpected (by this point I had long since become used to the idea that the games I worked on were far more likely to be passed over than to be the subject of discussion) and I soon moved on to other projects and left the series behind.

Several years later, through the strange and wonderful way that Twitter brings people of divergent backgrounds with common interests together, I found myself following, and being followed by[1], Kris Ligman, best known as the curator for the excellent Critical Distance but also the first real fan of G.U. I’ve met, as well as the author of the piece linked in the title. After years of translating games it was the first time I’d met someone where my work actually had real, tangible meaning for someone other than the people paying me. And while I don’t delude myself into thinking that I was essential to providing that meaning (if it hadn’t been me working on the games it would have been someone else, a point belied by the fact that they got someone else to do the third[2]) the fact that I ended up directly contributing to it is one of the most fulfilling things I could have hoped to happen when I first became a translator.

Needless to say, my offer to help her with her future analysis stands, and if this article is any indication I can’t wait to read it.

  1. The more relevant Twitter has become to our digital lives the more I’ve wished for a word that meant “both following and being followed by”.  ↩

  2. The agency that brought us the project never asked us to localize the third for reasons they never revealed, so my professional involvement was strictly limited to the first two.  ↩


Why we shouldn't dismiss non-gamers when they talk about games

Alan Williamson:

As an self-professed adventurer of digital fictions, it hurts to admit that much is rotten about the state of video games. But the way to improve this cannot be to dismiss games as “not all evil”, which suggests that most games are evil as if Satan himself was distributing the software. Is that why you can’t play a game backwards? Even if Kellaway doesn’t care about their place in the cultural conversation, I do, because they are as much a reflection of culture as anything else. GameCity is important: quite frankly, games deserve a better discourse than what is currently on offer. We need more criticism that is intelligent, personally reflective and nuanced; treating games more like experiences and less like gadgets. We need to critically examine the role of games in culture, because we can only demand more from our media when we understand where they fall short. Sure, video games are fun, but they’re serious fun.


The Sometimes-Beautiful Struggle

Games have an incredible, novel, awe-inspiring capacity to frame experiences. Games can translate life, ideas, themes, skills and so on in a fascinatingly tangible way. Games have this ability to reveal to us sublime truths using only small details, teach us lessons using patterns and consequences, and impart symbolism and meaning through clever and heartfelt dynamic systems.

But to do this really well, games must also look to life. The hard parts. The dirty parts. The horrid and terrible parts. We cannot ignore them. Rather, games must reflect on what about life is resonant, formative, human. Reality has to be broken—and that’s ok. Art is one of the ways in which we try to organize it.


The One Hundred Dollar Question

Jonas Kyratzes on the reaction to Steam's new Greenlight fee:

A disappointingly large number of developers and journalists could not even imagine that some people don’t have this amount of money. I found this genuinely shocking. It’s not that they hadn’t experienced it themselves, but that they could not even conceive of it. That’s a disconnection from reality so fundamental that it is quite frightening. Ever wonder why there aren’t more political games? This is why. Not only are the majority of developers (those who have a voice, anyway) white heterosexual middle-class males from the US or the UK, but a scary amount of them have absolutely no understanding of the existence of anything outside their own experience, and are in fact offended by the very suggestion that anything else exists.


The Other One

An excellent piece by Lana Polansky that I wish she'd never had to write.


On PAX, Assault, and Gamer Culture

Scott Madin:

Nerd culture resists change, and perceives efforts to bring change as attacks, no matter how moderate, no matter how careful the phrasing. I think the best hope is to work to make explicit what it is the pillars of the subculture support: to label their behavior indelibly as sexism, and to finally attach some modicum of shame to behaviors that should always have been seen as shameful. Challenge harmful structures, don’t support them. Don’t let praise for misogynist companies and institutions go unquestioned. make all but the most committedly sexist nerds uncomfortable voicing their boy’s-club attitudes, and make it socially unacceptable for the majority to associate with the hardcore misogynists.


With Hands Outstretched

Incredible piece by Patricia Hernandez. It's ostensibly about gaming, but it's really about much more. Well worth a read.


It's time game journalism grew up

Leigh Alexander:

The problems with the commercial industry are bigger than incidents of harassment online, or discomfort at an event such as E3. These things are symptoms of a cultural sickness at the heart of the commercial game industry, tied to how releases are marketed and covered, and we are all complicit in perpetuating it.


You are What You’re Worth

A sobering, important piece by Mattie Brice about class, economics, and priorities.


On Writing In The Internet Economy

Alan Williamson:

The model of not paying for things is a fundamentally broken one. It should have died when the dotcom bubble burst, but it has resurged with the proliferation of ad-supported apps (mainly on Android phones) and free information via Facebook and Twitter. […] As journalism has shifted from tangible products like newspapers and magazines to blogs and websites, it’s harder to justify charging users- which is why paywalls don’t work, either, because they run counter to our expectations of how a site should operate. Writing for free is not the cause of this, but it’s certainly a catalyst.