Life is Strange is one of the stand-out games of the last few years. What makes it work so well, though? And what’s going on under the surface? Is there a difference between raising issues under-represented in gaming and actually dealing with those issues? We take a look at the subtext, the mechanics, the characters and the games it sits alongside.
For halloween our intrepid heroes delve deep into the gothic with a look at Layers Of Fear. Beneath the game’s beautiful exterior lurks a dark, worm-ridden subtext, but like the best of the genre there’s a perverse pleasure in coming back for one more taste…
Spoilers for Layers Of Fear and its Inheritance DLC.
References and Recommended reading:
Carol J. Clover. Men, Women and Chainsaws; Gender in Modern Horror Film
Vivian Sobchack. ‘Child/Alien/Father: Patriarchal Crisis and Generic Exchange.’ in Close Encounters: Film, Feminism, and Science Fiction
Barbara Creed. ‘Horror and the Monstrous-Feminine; An Imaginary Abjection.’ in The Monstrous-Feminine: Film, Feminism, Psychoanalysis
Linda Williams. ‘When the Woman Looks.’ in Horror, the Film Reader
Barbara Creed. ‘Dark Desires; Male Masochism in the Horror Film.’ in Screening the Male: Exploring Masculinities in the Hollywood Cinema
Peter Hutchings. ‘Masculinity and the Horror Film.’ in You Tarzan: Masculinity, Movies and Men
Brigid Cherry. ‘Refusing to Refuse to Look; Female Viewers of the Horror Film.’ in Horror, the Film Reader
Dale Townshend (Editor), Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
We spent this podcast looking at the last 6 issues in relation to ‘The Last of Us’, so expect all the spoilers, some bickering, lots of pondering and thoughts on topics such as damaged dads, absent mums, patriarchy, narrative points, game play versus story telling, character point of view, and all the subtext, that’s right, all of it.
Spoilers for the games: The Last of Us, Left Behind DLC, Life is Strange, Gone Home, Bioshock Infinite, Walking Dead season 2, Witcher 3
Having braved EGX 2016, our podcasting heroes relate their tales of daring dos, some gaming dont’s, highlights of EGX, thoughts on VR as a new way of role-playing and their insiders take on the ASA investigation of No Man’s Sky. Much beer is had.
In which our heroes discuss the way parents are represented in recent games . . . or not represented most of the time, if they’re mums. Questions on our minds were: how do divorce rates and single-parent families affect representation in games? Does the in-game patriarchy reappropriate ‘female suffering’? Daughters, hot or not? Do daughters sit in judgement on the decline of patriarchy, or inherit the power-baton from dear ol’ Dad? What’s progressive about these games and what might they be saying about the role of women in hyper-masculinised landscapes?
Spoilers for the games: Last of Us, Witcher 3, Bioshock Infinite, Walking Dead 1 & 2, Dishonored.
The relationship episode, which doesn’t contain any sex. We discuss how relationship building in games affects our sense of character, and how our characters affect relationships. Do predefined characters, such as Geralt in the Witcher games, encourage more meaningful relationships than ‘blank canvas’ characters? And is ‘blank canvas’ character an expression of our wish fulfilment?
Spoilers ahead for The Witcher 3, Dragon Age Inquisition, Life Is Strange and the Mass Effect series.
Video games haven’t started the apocalypse quite yet. Before the end of the world, we had time to talk about traditional narrative and open, sandbox-style gaming. Does the natural human compulsion to seek patterns and meanings make narrative easier or harder to find in games? And how do individuals appropriate that to a personal, and meaningful experience?
Welcome to our second episode, in which we learn just how hilarious analysing humour in games can be.
Discussed in this episode:
Comedy in games, featuring Headlander, The Stanley Parable, Jazzpunk, Grand Theft Auto series, Tales From The Borderlands, Goat Simulator, Skyrim, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Fable 2, Fallout series, Portal series and Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude.
Films: Ghostbusters (2016), Contact, Crazy in Alabama and In a World.
If you’re looking for the playthrough of the Hitman Gary Busey mission, head to our YouTube channel here.
This is the teaser for our upcoming podcast. We’re a pair of Londoners caught up in the gaming scene and will be looking at how games impact on culture and vice versa. More chin-stroking than score-giving.
We’ll also take a look at films and events in and around London town.
We may also talk about booze. We’ll certainly be drinking it.