The new Tomb Raider character evolution

Tomb Raider: The New Feminist Dream?

Why did Tomb Raider had to be reinvented? What was wrong with the generously breasted, fully lipped flawless female pistol wielder that used to territorial piss on ancient tombs with lame British jokes? If you look back in the press, it seems as if the Indiana Jones femme fatale concept has suddenly become exhausted, at least from the game publisher’s point of view. Does this mean that games are growing up, or is this the direct result of the fact that the demographics of players are changing, that women are slowly taking their rightful place at the keyboard and gamepad? Continue reading…

Waterloo

Poker Mechanics in Video Games

I’m not a big poker fan. In fact, I don’t know my Flush from my Straight most of the times. But this doesn’t mean I don’t recognize a robust game mechanic when I see one. And after all, before there were video games, there were board games and before there were board games there was the almighty poker. I think all game designers have something to learn from the good ol’ Texas Hold’em. Moreover, poker can make a video game experience feel round, or completely different. Let us see some ways in which poker mechanics are used throughout games. Continue reading…

Fragment from The Creation Myths by Rodel Tapaya

Computer games as Myth Reconstructions

It took a while but I finally got it done. I’ve read through and corrected/edited  my first academic paper, made sure everything is hunky dory and finally published it online. I could swear this was in my New Year’s resolution like at least two years ago. Nevertheless, I am finally proud to announce my first tackle with the academic world – Computer games as Myth Reconstructions. A juicy 80-page essay filled with action, adventure and game drama. And some really exotic stuff you’ll never read anywhere else because it’s all from my head. Also featuring a fragment from Rodel Tapaya’s The Creation Myths on the cover (thanks Google art project). Continue reading…

Classic video game characters

A Short History: The Rise of Video Game Genres

When thinking about the evolution of video games, we cannot, in any situation, separate it from technological advancement. “The history of the video game is, in parts, a history of technology” (Juul, 2001:online) because games rely on the processing power of technology to function, and even more extensively, to be visually represented. Some academic literature claims that the appearance of video games as such owes a lot to a cultural shift of perspective. But it is debatable whether this cultural shift was produced by an initial technological boom or that cultural development actually inspired new technology.

The truth is probably somewhere in the middle, so that games appeared as a result of the mutual influence between culture and technology. To make myself clear, I’m going to quote Juul’s example: “the computer game was originally developed on equipment designed for military and academic purposes. But today the computer game is the driving force in the development of much hardware such as 3d graphics accelerators.” Continue reading…

Role-playing like a boss - in your dreams

Gamers are better at lucid dreaming

If you’re not in the least interested in the improving of the self, you might not know what a lucid dream is. A lucid dream is a  dream in which the dreamer is aware of the fact that he or she is dreaming and can alter the flow of the whole dream scenario. If you have at least once, during a nightmare, become conscious of the fact that you are indeed just dreaming and could wake up from the torment, you might very well be on the path of becoming a very effective lucid dreamer. Continue reading…

Video games: ludic qualities versus representational dimension

The academic literature has made a bad habit out of defining video games as a form of cultural discourse that replicates the texts of either literature or cinema. But I think that firstly, video games should be at first studied as such, as games. In this respect, though, games still are a fuzzy concept. Nevertheless, as Buckingham (2006) admits, we can argue that games are defined through play, the framework of which is sketched out through rules.  Games, in contrast to other forms of media, “are not self-contained and they involve a different type and level of participation from that of reading a novel or watching a movie”. But, besides this participational aspect of play, it is disputable what other aspects should be encompassed by the term “video game”. Continue reading…

Seeing video games as an academic field of study

I got up this morning with the crazy idea of recommending a website to you all. www.gamestudies.org will surely change your view upon the video game industry. This periodical academic journal has engaged in analyzing video games form all cultural points of view. I lately saw someone using a league of legends hack – and they rushed through the game like four times faster than everyone else. Whether you want to find out how multiplayer shooters like Counter-Strike generate new language, compare The Sims to other popular titles (Grannies really ARE cooler than trolls, don’t you think?!) or just gain another point of view on one of the most famous games of the 21st century (World of Warcraft), you are surely bound to find out interesting things.

Continue reading…