A Look at the Players’ Bill of Rights

Phoenix Wright

For Did You See This Wednesday, we’re taking a look at a classic piece of writing on games.

Over at Gamasutra, writer Laralyn McWilliams resurrected an old essay by Graham Nelson, who, if you’re not aware (and I wasn’t), did a lot of legwork for the interactive fiction medium. These adventure games essentially formed the basis of video games as we know them.

Perhaps Nelson’s most famous essay about game design is known as the Craft of Adventure, in which he meticulously outlines what he titles the Players’ Bill of Rights. These rules are a set of standards that game creators must honor when dealing with players. And oddly enough, it’s still just as meaningful almost 3 decades later. Continue reading A Look at the Players’ Bill of Rights

Art Reveals Truth: Do Games Reveal Truth?


Oh, no. Not this debate again. Yes, I’m afraid so. To quote The Dude, “New shit has come to light, man.”

But not on purpose. Video games were the farthest thing from my mind as I was reading an interview on NYMag.com with David Simon, creator of “The Wire” and “Treme”. Simon used to be a journalist, but has moved on to television. His shows are known for their realistix slang, authenticity and frankly, being better than 90% of the stuff out there. He was asked, if he loves realism so much, why doesn’t he make documentaries. This was his response:

We know more about human pride, purpose, and obsession from Moby-Dick than from any contemporaneous account of the Nantucket whaler that was actually struck and sunk by a whale in the nineteenth-century incident on which Melville based his book. And we know how much of an affront the Spanish Civil War was to the human spirit when we stare at Picasso’s Guernica than when we read a more deliberate, fact-based account. I am not comparing anything I’ve done to any of the above; please, please do not presume that because I cite someone else’s art, I claim anything similar for anything I’ve done. But I cite the above because it makes the answer to your question obvious: Picasso said art is the lie that allows us to see the truth. That is it exactly.

Which stopped me in my tracks. We do, as a people, learn more about humanity from fiction than we do history books, which are devoid of emotion, but full of facts. Fiction may skimp on facts, but there is a soul there that highlights the best and worst of the world.

So my question is…what truth do video games allow us to see? What insights have you gleaned from playing games? I’m not talking about learning what a FAMAS is or even being more curious about Objectivism from playing Bioshock and looking it up on Wikipedia, but more of glimpses into the human condition and lessons of life that are readily apparent in other mediums. Answering this question will go a long way towards settling the debate on whether games are art or not.

Source – Nymag.com

Cross-Contaminated Media: Star Wars

Star WarsWelcome back to Cross-Contaminated Media, a series in which I explore successful franchises that have made the transition to video games from other media, and vice versa. I know that in my previous article I promised that I would look at Blizzard’s franchises, but I felt that it would be appropriate, given the recent release of the Ultimate Sith Edition of The Force Unleashed, to take a look at George Lucas’ eminent sci-fi empire.

When the original Star Wars movie was released back in 1977, few predicted that it would become the massive entertainment juggernaut that it is today. For good or ill, George Lucas had the foresight to retain international merchandising rights, and once video games were beginning to enter prominence as an accepted form of entertainment media, LucasArts was founded to capitalize upon this new venture.

LucasArts didn’t find its early success with Star Wars titles, though; in its beginning days it was well known for its clever and inventive adventure games ranging from Maniac Mansion to Monkey Island. The first Star Wars title produced in house was X-Wing in 1993, a fairly deep space-combat simulator made for the DOS operating systems. Though the graphics and game-play appear dated now, the game is still highly regarded in fan circles with the TIE Fighter game being declared the favorite of the series.
Continue reading Cross-Contaminated Media: Star Wars

Cliches I Never Want To See In Game Reviews Again

idol_lVideo game reviews have a difficult existence. Some people use them to decide whether or not to buy games, others use them as ammunition in the Console Wars. Usually, very strong emotions are attached to these reviews. But one thing we seem to be missing that we should get mad about is the lazy and irritating cliches that constantly pop up in reviews, even from such esteemed sources as EGM.
Continue reading Cliches I Never Want To See In Game Reviews Again

GamerSushi Asks: Would You Rather?

There comes a time in every gaming community’s young life where its members sit around a campfire and share about their personal gaming preferences. Since we don’t have a fire, and I’m afraid of face-to-face interactions with other humans, I thought the interwebz would be a good place for us to share what we enjoy about gaming.

In “Would You Rather’, I simply ask a series of questions, and you follow up with your responses. Give as much or as little explanation as you want with your answers. Unless they suck. In that case, you’re cut from life.

Continue reading GamerSushi Asks: Would You Rather?