Episode 9: Life is Strange – Suicide Ain’t Painless

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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.

Spoilers for the whole of Life is Strange, natch.

Cited works (in progress):

https://gomakemeasandwich.wordpress.com/2015/07/07/life-is-strange-and-the-importance-of-womens-stories/

https://mrpootler.wordpress.com/2016/11/11/life-is-strange-the-secret-to-its-success/

 

 

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Episode 8: Layers Of Fear – “Littered With The Corpses Of Once Beautiful Women”

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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

Episode 7: Finding Something To Fight For – The Last Of Us

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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

Resources and Recommendations:

We Don’t Talk About Kenny: Telltale’s Walking Dead Season 2‘ by Innuendo Studios

‘The Last of Us’ by Errant Signal

The Last Of Us – The Movie (Marathon Edition)‘ by dansg08

The Making of The Last of Us‘ from PlayStation

‘Passionate Detachments:An Introduction to Feminist Film Theory’ By Sue Thornham

Episode 6: New Forms – EGX, VR, Ads

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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.

Referenced and recommended resources:

‘Why is games TV advertising down year-on-year?’, Generation Media account executive Joe Phelan looks at the decline in games marketing so far this year and finds out in which sectors TV ads are concentrated.

Peter Molyneux Interview: “I haven’t got a reputation in this industry any more”, By John Walker

Advertising Codes: The UK Advertising Codes lay down rules for advertisers, agencies and media owners to follow.

‘Advertising Standards launches investigation into No Man’s Sky’ by Wesley Yin-Poole

Reddit thread discussing the No Man’s Sky official complaint to the ASA

‘Kane & Lynch 2 too violent for telly’, by Wesley Yin-Poole

‘How not to advertise games on TV’, by Volker Dressel

From EGX 2016:

Relapse: A horror themed adventure game

Troll and I is a third-person action adventure game with melee and long-ranged combat, cunning stealth, and dual character control.

29: A magical realist point and click game, that follows the personal experiences of Bo and Ao: two graduates preparing to move out of their flat.

Aaliyah: 2D Point and Click developed by Jameela Khan as part of the NFTS Games project

The Circle: VR role-playing developed by Manos Agianniotakis  as part of the NFTS Games project

All the Delicate Duplicates: A transmedia project that narratively toys with the concept of time, offering a series of windows into the lives of its characters.

Episode 3: Narrative – Lovecraftian Space Baby

Lovecraftian Space BabyVideo 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?

References and recommendations:

‘Being Amused by Apophenia’, by Bruce Poulsen: Short and sharp article about our need and desire to find patterns and meanings in our interactions, whether they exist or not.

‘Games, Story, and An Extended Metaphor’, by Andrea Phillips: A blog raising some interesting theories about the gamer’s relationship to narrative.

‘The first great works of digital literature are already being written’, by Naomi Alderman: Title says it all.  Good point, well made.

‘Simulation versus Narrative: Introduction to Ludology’, by Gonzalo Frasca: Well referenced academic article contemplating the difference between simulation and representation in games.

Robert Redford: ‘Technology deprives us of coming up with our own stories’ – video interview

4-Layers, A Narrative Design Approach

How RimWorld Generates Great Stories

No Man’s Sky: The Kotaku Review