Browsing posts from: March 2020

Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force (2000) – by Raven Software and Activsion
Star Trek The Next Generation: Klingon Honor Guard (1998)
– by Microprose

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.

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Now in Crunchy variety

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.

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Ever feel weighed down by your worries? Can’t get out of bed without falling out of it? Late to appointments? Can’t find anyone to talk to about it?

The answer is simple: Pretend you are a plane, and start throwing your troubles out the cargo bay door! It’s a classic technique. Kiss your stress BON VOYAGE!

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Pattern – By Galen Drew (Soundtrack by Michael Bell)

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.

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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.

So… what’s this got to do with Half-Life?

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(Content Warning: Parents, Familial Relationships)

Bookstores are a special kind of consumptive hell, their walls insulated with the drab unending detritus of bygone publishing trends. Countless tomes wash up upon the shelves where Graphic Designers trade in their enthusiasm for cynical cash-ins to survive, their work adorning the latest innovations in shallow pop-philosophy, tacky comic books disguised as ‘novels’, and ahistorical biographies that skip over all the messy bits. Yet here you are, still browsing them in an endless mobius strip of indecisiveness, stuck wandering between the trite poetry and the robust offerings of wizard fan fiction, trying to find something compelling for dear old dad.

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Jazz TimeBy Keavon Chambers, Conor Walsh, Gabriella Santiago, Joe DeLuca, Yu Park, Nathan Ybanez

The Great Engine has ground to a halt, parts are missing, smoke is everywhere! Is that guy’s hair on fire??? The inner workings are so incomprehensible, it’ll take years of expert analysis to figure out how to fix all of this. Panic! Fish! Despair!

Well, the economy aside, there is some good news: your time machine is broken, and that’s waaaay easier to understand how to fix.

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Our protagonist crash lands on a distant star, trapped on a sandy beach with nothing but determination and a trusty spherical lifeboat. As the calm waters lap against the shores, The Seeker takes a moment to center herself and steel her courage, embarking on her journey at dawn to recover the remains of the spacecraft to build a new future on.. Aquamarine.

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