Revisiting some favorite themes, Episode 023 also sees us joined by J Goldberg, Community Manager at Volition. Having recently shipped Red Faction: Guerrilla, J sits down with us for a conversation on open world gaming and the significance of destructible environments (metaphorically as well as mechanically). We also take on fears of simulation and representation, shifting similarities between games and other artistic spaces, and player characters in fictional roles and their importance. Thanks to J, don’t forget about our book club, and enjoy.
And this, friends (for you are truly a friend if you’re still reading this…), is part of the reason why venturing into that wasteland of conversation titled/trademarked When Will Video Games Have Their Citizen Kane Moment? is still largely a waste of time. For Orson Welles, making Kane wasn’t about exercising a studio’s intellectual property rights, but exorcising his personal political demons. Kane is a work of art perfectly and hermetically sealed within its historical moment, yet it’s an expression so precise, poisonous and personal that its angry energy still infects us, a white dwarf high-beaming us from light years away.
Like Virgil and Dante, Welles’s voice refused to be ignored (which has to be disappointing for Knight, probably. One should just be able to listen to what they want, right?) because of its arrogance, audacity and white-hot brilliance, and he himself suffered great injury for his inability to darken or cool it. (Adding insult to injury, Welles’s original negative of the film was lost in a fire at his Spanish villa in the 1970s.) Art endures, convulsive, twisting itself into the future.
Not unlike the film industry during Hollywood’s Golden Age, the video game industry has a pantheon of studio-beholden stars who make compelling work, but still work that is primarily (a lot of times only) produced to be consumed, not considered. And frequently the attempt to seriously consider these expressions is met with that familiar anti-intellectual ditty titled “Oh Let It Go Already, It’s Just A (insert medium here)!” As much as we might try to convince ourselves otherwise, we do not live an age of ideas or even an age of information. We are living in The Age Of [Anti-]Intellectual Property(TM).
And but so, Alexander’s final analysis in this, our Glorious Age Of [A-]I.P., is prudent and pragmatic. Things Are What They Are. Everything That Is Is What It Is. And That’s Okay.
I mean, Right?
You tell me.
In Episode 017 we construct a scattershot conversation, pulling in everything from N’Gai Croal leaving Newsweek to video capture features in games. We were joined by friend of the show, Netwurker Mez, who took the time to contribute comments in real-time via Twitter as we recorded. With her help, we take on Noby Noby Boy, Skate 2, and Street Fighter 4, among others.
In Episode 015 we talk about Erik Loyer’s excellent new iPhone game, Ruben & Lullaby. R&L makes us think about hardware potentials and limitations, methods for emotional investment, and player roles in interactive art.
We are preparing for a new Book Club episode on Gamer Theory, so take a look at it and send us your input. We have invited the author, McKenzie Wark, onto the program, so your thoughts will hopefully be conveyed to him. We look forward to hearing from you, and thanks for listening.
In Episode 009 we team up with Shawn Rider from GamesFirst! for a conversation on Braid and Little Big Planet. We also talk about the social potential of gaming, web games journalism, multimodal art, and some of the other titles we’ve been playing recently.
Check out Shawn’s social networking project, CrashBomb, where you can track and compare games with your friends. As always, thanks for listening.
In this episode, responding to Spore and Little Big Planet, we discuss user-created content and how it relates to questions of ownership and authorial distribution. We also drool over our new MacBooks, get excited about unnamed upcoming guests, and talk over the haunting sounds of barking dogs. Thanks for listening.
In Episode 005 we talk Grand Theft Auto IV in a noisy hallway, wandering through such topics as:
The narrative structure of the game and comparisons to Edgar Allan Poe’s vision of story crafting.
Graphical representations, the timelessness of game space, and fear of art overtaking reality.
More episodes are coming soon. Thanks for listening.
Shane and I will be recording the Book Club episode of FWR within the next week or so and would be delighted to have you participate. If you’ve already picked up a copy of Corneliussen & Walker-Rettberg’s book Digital Culture, Play, and Identity: A World of Warcraft reader, please post your thoughts here on our blog or in our Facebook forum and we’ll incorporate them into the show. If you haven’t read the book but would still be willing to share your WoW thoughts/observances/experiences, we’d love to have you chime in as well.
More than anything, we are way more interested in facilitating a conversation about WoW and issues raised in the book than “reviewing” or critiquing. If you are even passingly interested in World of Warcraft, we want to hear from you.
The dust has settled on the personal interferences, vacation plans, and marathon sessions of Grand Theft Auto and Metal Gear Solid that have blocked our podcast progress for the last few weeks. We invite you to explore FWR Episode 004, in which we:
Record in a tiny closet during the Writer’s Edge conference in Portland, Oregon, and forget to introduce ourselves.
Discuss the portrayals of war in games in reference to the Call of Duty and Metal Gear Solid franchises.
Think about the labor issues involved with the recent controversy regarding voice actors in Grand Theft Auto IV.
Look for our GTA Blowout episode soon, and thanks for listening.
This week we get back on schedule with a bonus two-fer and very informal Episode 003. Shane gets way up on the mic and Trevor really hates it when E disses Powell’s. Some of the things we informalize on:
Easter eggs after credits (in Iron Man), ownership, individuality, Ronald Reagan, and labor unions.
Shock jocks, vinyl, enhanced podcasts, and fear of a fragmented reality.
Be sure to leave us a comment here at the blog, in our Facebook group, or at the Gmail address on the right. If you’re a reader as well as a gamer, you should probably get involved in the first FWR Book Club discussion that we will be fostering through the month of June, 2008. Thanks for listening.