RE:BIND

Browsing posts from: Mx Medea

“And when we tell ourselves we have reached the paroxysm of horror, blood and flouted laws, of poetry which consecrates revolt, we are obliged to advance still further into an endless vertigo.” – The Theater and its Double (Antonin Artaud, 1958).

I wish to swiftly dispose of the formalities, preferably via the edge of the knife, if not the tip of the pen, and thus we begin.

Much has been said of video games and art, are they art, aren’t they art, how can one deny they are so, when do we get our Citizen Kane, when will the medium finally be reified through this endless endeavor to replicate the extrapolative force of The Good Piece of Art that we have decided is all that lends credence to a medium’s creative practices? But let us present an alternative, to eschew the respectability of The Good Piece of Art and instead pursue The Art That Which is Art, to hear the cries for the Citizen Kane and rebuff them with a cry for The Holy Mountain and the Pink Flamingos.

Pictured: Art (Pink Flamingos, 1972)

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Hello

What defines the self? A name? A role? The tasks we are set to? What others perceive us to be? What we perceive ourselves to be? Or perhaps something more? This question has possibly plagued mankind more throughout the ages than any other, but it defines a key conflict in the world of OFF in which we emerge fully-formed, and find our existence immediately questioned. As we begin we find ourselves perceived as little more than a figment of the imagination of a humble cat.

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Behold, the true face of horror (SOMA)

Horror, a genre known for having as many pitfalls as there are fall-prone protagonists, and one that is notoriously hard to integrate into video games. While there are countless examples of Horror done poorly across all media, games present a slew of challenges very specific to the medium which are far too often not taken into account during development, leading to lackluster Horror title upon lackluster Horror title. This is apparent enough that some commentators have even come to eschew the title of Horror game, opting instead for Horror themed game.

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There’s a lot to be said about the Fallout series, and almost all of it has long-since been said. However there’s one aspect of the series, particularly its first 2 entries, that has been playing on my mind.

War….war never changes.

Far from a cool slogan, this phrase, though oft-misunderstood, helps to frame a larger discussion of games from a critic and developer perspective.

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As GDC comes to its close and everyone begins the long journey home, we hope that the last week has been a positive experience for you, whether at GDC or not.

In case you missed it, we’ve been busy this week. So, if you need something to read on the way home, or to just decompress with as you take in recent events, we’ve got you covered:

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Preface:

Well, here we are again. There’s been a lot of talk lately about parasocial relationships, the type that we unilaterally form with artists, social media figures, writers, but I like to think that isn’t how you feel about me as a writer. I think that in the reading of this deconstruction there’s an unspoken overlap on some level going on, a trade of understanding. But we’ll get to that, for now let’s take that proverbial last strike of the hammer into Getting Over It With Bennett Foddy.

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Preface:

Well, here we are again, I’m crossing my fingers that most of you made it this far, and I’m glad for each and every one of you who did. I have a lot left to say, and I hope you have a lot left to read, so without too much delay, let’s get right to the second section of our deep dive into Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy.

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Preface:

Getting Over It With Bennett Foddy is a game by the titular Bennett Foddy that was released in the far-gone year of 2017 to much contemporary critical acclaim and analysis. Why then revisit an already well-explored game years after its release? Personally I find it almost poignant to talk about the game as a memory, as an experience that has stuck with you that you find yourself reflecting on years down the road, much as one reflects on tough times, challenges overcome, or mistakes that they’ve made. We engage in this all the time in our lives, and what is art, if not something that seeks in an ephemeral but present way to be part of our life experience?

Now, this article is going to be a long one, it’s not titled Volume I without reason. This isn’t our normal fare, it’s dense and a slow burn, after all this game has a lot to say and I’ll be touching on far less than half of it, but I hope you’ll find it meaningful. So go get some water and settle in, I won’t judge if you can’t finish this in one sitting so don’t feel pressured to, if you need to take a break this article will still be here, and you can pick up right where you left off.

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When I was younger there was a strange atmosphere to exploring the internet, the heady sensation of an explorer standing on the edge of the world. You could find the most fascinating places to delve into and map out through obscure web forums, conversations with friends who would drop mysterious locations that they had discovered themselves in your lap, or even a spiraling web of Wikipedia notations.

It was on one of these early web-dives that I, entirely by chance, came across Knytt Stories, a seemingly little known game series by Swedish developer Nicklas Nygren (@Nifflas on twitter). The series had multiple fantastic main entries with countless pages of fan-made content that I spent the next month playing through, one after another.

Knytt Stories, or geocities? You decide.

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Don’t let this guy fool you, Doom is not a Rhythm game

Why modern mainstream FPS games flee from the demons of their forebears

Running through hallways. Low on health, out of ammo, not knowing if the next corner would lead me to the salvation of a health pack, or to a horde of demons ready to slam dunk a fireball down my throat with no way left to fight back. Haggard, tense, tired.

This was my experience with Doom in the 90s, and one I’ve found sadly lacking across the last decade of mainstream games, replaced instead with regenerating health, demons that explode like piñatas of goodies, and a misplaced sense of near-immortality. Games, unlike any other medium, provide unique experiences at the intersection of story, setting, and mechanics, but it’s a fundamental shift in mechanics across the medium that is responsible for this spiral from horror to god complex.

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