Jan 28, 2013

2012: Year in Review

2012 was marked by the sense of developers digging deep into gaming's past to build its future. Some of those attempts reinvented old genres and titles, marrying old with new, while others stumbled half-drunkenly into the treasure vaults of nostalgia, hoping to fool us by appealing to a past without a future. Here is a list of what is not necessarily the best (though in most cases, they are), but better than 2012 gaming alternatives.

Max Payne 3, Hotline Miami > Hitman: Absolution

Rockstar's best game in years and a masterpiece from a new voice in gaming both tackle violence in games. Max Payne 3 sees that violence as both disgusting and divinely cathartic; the paradox that violence is and why it means so much in modern society. Hotline Miami isn't really concerned with violence itself, but with player interaction and interpretation of violence.

On the other hand, Hitman: Absolution has violence in it. Fetishized violence, in particular.

But wait, doesn't Hotline Miami do some of that in its very cover art, featuring a man grasping a half-naked woman who is covered in blood? The difference is tone and presentation: Absolution wallows in "sexy" and sexual violence. Its most striking image, present in its trailers, is that of wholesome nuns stripping off their habits to reveal leather bondage gear and machine guns - naturally, this links the violence that follows to kink.

Jan 6, 2013

2012: The Year of Dreaming Dangerously

In 2011, we witnessed (and participated in) a series of shattering 
events...it was the year of dreaming dangerously, in both 
directions: emancipatory dreams mobilizing protestors...and 
obscure destructive dreams....
-Slavoj Zizek,  
The Year of Dreaming Dangerously
from http://pensamiento-critico.tumblr.com
2012 was our year of dreaming dangerously. For video games, yes, but also for their players, their journalists, their crafters.

The "emancipatory dreams" arrived from the ability to subvert publisher rules via Kickstarter, thanks to Double Fine Adventure. Increased publicity for Kickstarter from Double Fine-onward means more Indie games by small teams have potential to produce quality work. 

Throughout the year, game charities and individuals collaborated to raise untold masses of wealth for sick children and other noble causes.
On Twitter, there was a revolt a few surges away from the Internet-connected Egypt protests of 2011 in the form of #1ReasonWhy.