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returning to bioshock

After my unpleasant experience with System Shock 2, I moved on to BioShock. I wasn’t worried that I might have the same problems with BioShock that I had with System Shock 2: I remembered from my prior experience that BioShock took the Easy difficulty setting seriously (enough so that I was thinking of trying Normal […]

tiki farm constraints

(First, a few notes: 1) I have a conflict of interest with respect to the game I’m discussing here. I haven’t worked on it and I don’t have any particular inside information about anything I’m speculating about here, else I’d have to be rather more careful about what I write, but obviously I want it […]


I was excited that the Vintage Game Club chose Thief as its eighth game. I’ve never had a very good relation with stealth games (or stealth segments/aspects of non-stealth games); but I’ve heard enough good about Thief (especially from Justin Keverne) to make me cautiously optimistic that I’d like the genre more when I saw […]

saving, ethics, and the slog

There’s been a lot of discussion recently about choices in games, and the effect that game save mechanisms have on the ethical impact of those choices. I won’t even attempt to link to the vast majority of the conversation, but two contributions (both involving Nels Anderson) particularly struck me today: slides for a talk by […]

routinization, inscription, and facts

I can’t say I’ve internalized (routinized? inscribed?) Latour’s Laboratory Life yet, but in the mean time I present you with three quotes on routinization, inscription, and facts: To counter these catastrophic possibilities, efforts are made to routinise component actions either through technicians’ training or by automation. Once a string of operations has been routinised, one […]

deus ex: final thoughts

We’ve finished the VGC playthrough of Deus Ex; what did I learn from the experience? Well, one thing that I learned is that a lot of people have a lot more to say about the narrative and world of the game than I do. Which made reading through the discussion a lot of fun! And […]

random links: october 2, 2008

Achilles’ Phat Lewtz, on the Iliad and MMORPGs; huge amounts of fun from Roger Travis. Jordan on David Foster Wallace. My heart sank when I saw that Retronauts episode 49 was almost 3 hours long. But it’s all about the Dreamcast, including a great segment with Tycho, the best three hours of podcast listening I’ve […]

delany on violence in narratives

I was reading Delany’s About Writing recently when I ran across the following (pp. 408–409): Excitement, Drama, Suspense, Surprise, Violence Each of these five nouns names a very different effect. What makes so much popular narrative (especially in films and TV) seem so mindless is that someone, usually a producer, has mistaken one for the […]

deus ex, week two

As expected, I found the second week of Deus Ex to be a lot more relaxing than the first week. I had a better feel for the game and my character had a full inventory; this meant that my brain could stop seeing potential disaster every time I failed to be perfect at something and […]

math books

Miranda does her violin practice in the library/guest room; while she’s getting things ready, I spend some amount of time looking around at the shelves. Most of my books up there are nonfiction, and in particular I have a bunch of math books up there. In order to keep my books under control, I have […]

deus ex, one week in

The Vintage Game Club chose Deus Ex as its second game. I think I’ll probably do most of my commenting on the game in the forum, but I’ll leave some notes here periodically, too. For me, the most interesting aspect of the first week of gameplay is watching how badly suited my brain is to […]