Critical Distance: This Week in Videogame Blogging #6

Game cinematography and the player as director.

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Critical Distance is proud to bring to the New Statesman a weekly digest of its popular This Week in Videogame Blogging feature, which promotes the best, often little-known, incisive criticism and cultural commentary on interactive media. This week, we discuss the ways in which the cinematography of games differs from that of film as well as a game which casts you in the role of the director.

On Paste Magazine, Gita Jackson argues that developers pushing for a cinematic feel with 30 frames per second are ignoring the actual standards of cinematography, and the conversation surrounding them. With a side of other camera-related tropes.

Meanwhile, there’s a whole genre of moving image-based story telling that allows characters in the first-person perspective to have dirt and blood smeared on an invisible screen in front of their eyes. It is an accepted and even expected part of this form—it’s not a matter of degradation, but of how we as viewers and players are going to move on from this point.

On Kill Screen, Andrew Yoder talks about Andrei Tarkovsky's Nostalghia and how exploration tends to kill videogame spaces. And elsewhere on the same publication, here’s Jess Joho on the feminine history of computing and how it is being overwritten.

At Vice, Carolyn Petit looks at Average Maria Individual and Kentucky Route Zero as decentralizations of traditional protagonists, a feature which gels nicely with Lindsey Joyce's recent article about Kentucky Route Zero, which argues that, in it, players take the role of director rather than assuming the position of any one actor on stage.

Positioned as director, the game requires your attention on several levels, since you try to understand both the characters you instruct and the narrative you orchestrate, as the story’s not-quite-omniscient narrator. On the one hand, you take on an over-the-shoulder perspective focused on character development and specificity, but on the other hand, there is the bird’s eye view of narrative totality [...]

On Gamasutra, John Andersen remembers the late Shinya Nishigaki, developer of the Dreamcast games Blue Stinger and Illbleed. Elsewhere, Stephen Beirne reads Kanoguti's Walking as self-suggestive horror.

Metal Gear? Here’s Heather Alexandra talking about participating in the recursive training of Metal Gear Solid 2's Raiden by replaying and perfecting sections of the game. Meanwhile, Melody of Melody Meows writes about the different attitudes towards sensual violence of Raiden and Mistral in Revengeance.

Finally, Cara Ellison's visit to Marigold Bartlett and Christy Dena marks the end of her magnificent Embed With series, in which she traveled around the world visiting game developers great and small. The series is reportedly due for an ebook edition in the near future.

There is much more available in this week’s full roundup at Critical Distance! Tune in again next week and be sure to follow us on Twitter @critdistance for all the latest and greatest games writing from around the web.