For a very special episode, we’re joined by guest Cameron Kunzelman, former writer of Postscript column for VICE and Co-host Matthew Seiji Burns of Zachtronics, writer behind their recent release Eliza
We deep dive on the Apocalypse in fiction, why it’s so prevalent, and what makes it work or in many cases not work.
Ring. Riiing. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing. Who is it? Who could it be? Why….. love is calling….. and it’s… for YOU?
….. Actually, taking a second look at you, you’re kind of…. disheveled? Come to think of it, when was the last time you even showered?! Ugh, well… I… suppose we can work with this? Go change your clothes, slip into something nice, put your receiver on straight, clean your keys, whip out the phone book… yeah, y’know what, I think we can find you…
WARNING: This article contains spoilers for DOOM 2016 and DOOM: ETERNAL. But who cares about the story anyway, right?
The videogame market has, for many years, engaged in a form of self-referential cyclicality, from indie games hearkening to the minimalist pixel-art design of the medium’s early forebears, to the current wave of PS1 aesthetic resurgence and the much-beloved resurgence of the “boomer shooter”, all the way to the DOOM series’ reflection on nostalgic memories of the hyper-violent and frantic action of 90s FPS titles. This is, of course, nothing unique to video games as one need look no further than the box office hits of modern Hollywood to see that reboots, remakes, and reimaginings are the order of the day.
Enter Jean Baudrillard and his conceptualization of “hyperreality”, the indistinguishable muddling together of reality and the simulated as originally explored in Simulacra and Simulation of The Matrix fame.
There was a sentiment in many game communities in the early 00’s that you just couldn’t make a satisfying shooter game set in the universe of Star Trek. The aspirational sociopolitical commentary of the show with its emphasis on intercultural understanding came across to most as bereft of action potential despite its imaginative settings, fierce naval conflict, factional strife, and well-established arsenal of exciting technology.
The struggle to adapt Star Trek‘s more passive nature into a satisfying action romp was perpetually brought out as an argument against even trying to tackle this fool’s errand whenever there was anticipation of another franchise entry that would seemingly disrupt or misinterpret the storytelling strengths established by The Next Generation. Voyager, however, was a rulebreaking contender, well-known for a fire-tempered might-makes-right captain that made the show uniquely ripe for adaption, culminating in finally pulling off the unthinkable: a fun and gritty Star Trek shooter… the only thing is, it wasn’t the first.
On this episode, we sit down with Kyle Kukshtel, developer of Cantata and host over at the SuperCulture network. We talk about what they’ve been up to, their pivot into game dev, time spent at Killscreen, the state of Games Journalism, and the language we use to critique work. We also talk about the legacy of film critique on games through the lens of Cahiers Du Cinema, Critical Code Studies, Goose Game, and Disco Elysium.
We sit down with Mark Fillon of General Interactive in our new Spotlights series to talk about their new game, Chinatown Detective Agency, Wine Tycoon management sim Terroir, the southeast asia indie game scene, the evolution of Dubai, and working in a global market.
Deep within the deserts of New Mexico and the salt flats of Utah lie monumental accomplishments of human will, structures defined by their relationship to the land and the human perception of the universe. These installations, such as the works of Nancy Holt (Sun Tunnels), Charles Ross (Star Axis), and Robert Smithson (Spiral Jetty), are colloquially known as Land Art, a genre that sits at the intersection of architecture, sculpture, and earthworks (the history of which is chronicled by James Crump in his documentary Troublemakers).
While all art requires the passage of time and years of perfecting the craft, Land Art is differentiated by the scale of both labor and duration of construction, often taking place over nearly geologic timescales, both in pre-planning to select the perfect geographic locale and the fabrication process itself. Architects, land surveyors, local governments, construction laborers, land owners, local communities, permits, and weather are merely a drop in the bucket in terms of considerations and obstacles that must be tackled before even breaking first ground.
Digital Landscapes, on the other hand, require few of these considerations. Enter Pattern by Galen Drew.
For many years, the general public has had a misconception about the nature of Shakespeare, regarding his collective works as the pass-time of the upper-class and intellectual elite on par with opera. With funny accents and fancier words that are seemingly incomprehensible to a more modern audience accustomed to the casual pulp noir tone of radio plays and the action-packed police procedural that followed later with the advent television, the performance arts gradually fell out of favor.
The truth is, as many know, that Shakespeare’s plays were actually an extremely mundane form of entertainment in their time, on par with our perception of media in the vein of going to the movies or seeing a musical. His productions often tackled humorous or tragic concepts that everyone could relate to- love, daily life, sex, rivalries, and conflict, presenting them in a way that was engaging for the general populace and at times absurd. After all, community theater is just one step in a long lineage of narrative tradition, itself having supplanted wise elders at the campfire ingratiating their families with some nighttime storytelling.