Revelations: Escapism, Curiosity and Nightmares

Jordan Ekeroth guides you to some of the best writing about Halo, Profanity, and more.

Written by Jordan Ekeroth / Published on November 9, 2012

Listen my children and you shall hear, some thoughtful games-writing, so be of good cheer!

This installment of Revelations is going to take you on a tour of the internet and help you find some interesting reads about age-old questions as well as some cultural hot-topics.

1. Heroes get remembered but legends never die

As I finished the campaign of Halo 4 earlier this afternoon, I couldn’t help but feel as though Halo could very well be the quintessential sci-fi universe of our generation, just as Star Wars and Star Strek have been in generations past and subsequent properties like Stargate have been to a lesser extent. (Though its potential may be inhibited by the lack of “Star” in the title?)

It was then that I discovered an article from Jorge Albor at Popmatters who wrote about 343 Industries and the phenomenon of a community that enthusiastically followed the transfer of a property from it’s creator to another studio, simply because of their commitment to Master Chief and his adventures.

“Master Chief may never die simply because we won’t let him.”

2. What the cuss?

Our own Richard Clark said some bad words over at Bit Creature after a game forced him to confront whether or not it was okay to use colorful language to get extra points.

It’s not that these words don’t lurk inside of my mind. When I play Letterpress, they emerge instantly from the grid, mocking me mercilessly and tempting me to sin against my own conscience. I see racial and sexist slurs, scatological synonyms, sexual action verbs. I close my eyes and look at the screen again.

Oh, there we go: “FOOT”. Good job me.

3. In defense of games as pure escapism

In a truly thoughtful and well-written article, Aaron Gotzon explores the psychology of existential crises and the awkwardness of self-cognizance before announcing that he has no problem with viewing videogames as a sort of coping-mechanism. If that sounds a bit heavy for you, perhaps a quote of his will clear things up for you.

Sometimes, I just don’t play games, even though I’m a gamer. No, that’s not quite right. Sometimes I avoid videogames because I’m a gamer.

No? Still confused? Still, this is an incredibly insightful and thought-provoking piece. You would do well to take the time to work through it.

4. Curiosity killed everybody

Tap the cube. Tap it again. Again. Again. Again. Again. Again again again again.

Sound like fun? Well that is the only mechanic in Curiosity, the new “game” from Peter Molyneux that is currently available for free on both Apple and Android App stores, and let me assure you, there are a LOT of people playing it so far; eagerly tapping away, stripping away layers from a digital cube, longing to uncover the mystery hidden at the center of it. (Only one person will get to see the center.)

It’s certainly a novel idea, and if you want to, you can be a part of it. You may even be the lucky one to reach the center.

5. Speaking of free…

If you like free things, and if you like reading smart people talk about videogames, you may be interested in this free ebook from Swedish art critic and researcher, Mathias Jansson, entitled “Everything I Shoot Is Art.”

I haven’t gotten to read it yet, but I am definitely looking forward to skimming it, at the very least.

6. You’re going to have nightmares

Just kidding! You actually may have pleasant dreams after learning that Nightmare Mode, a videogame criticism website, is back in action after a lengthy hiatus. They’ve always featured good writing and are a site worth keeping your eye on. Here for your viewing pleasure are two articles to introduce you to the type of content they run.

Rachel Helps is a Mormon who kills people in videogames. How does she get away with it? Well, she has an answer.

Our own Jonah Stowe also wrote for them about how real-life socializing can impact the way we relate to virtual spaces and activities.

7. Why the establishment is terrible

Good journalism has never been afraid to stand up against powers that be and be honest about things that are terrible. One terrible thing that still stains recent memories of the AAA gaming industry was the abrupt shutdown of Kaos Studios by THQ Interactive after the studio’s title, Homefront, did not measure up to the sales standards which THQ had set.

Now, Polygon has the inside story of the experiences and feelings of the men and women who worked on Homefront, a project that many felt to be doomed from the start.

“…another reason THQ did not lavish too much effort on finding a more experienced leadership team for Kaos: the odds were good that Kaos would be shut down before it ever made another game.”

Well, hope you enjoyed it all this week. If you have any recommendations, let us know. If you like our weekly column here, don’t hesitate to tell all your friends!

Au Revoir.

About the Author:

Jordan Ekeroth has the crippling inability to say anything more than what he thinks he means. Follow him on Twitter: @JordanEkeroth