Two Minute Game Crit – Metal Gear Solid: Crouch and Zoom

 

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Transcript:

Hi, this is Two Minute Game Crit and I’m Stephen Beirne.

There are many ways to create a relationship between the player and their character, but if you’re a Metal Gear Solid game, it all boils down to just one: crouch and zoom.

It’s the first thing you learn in the first Metal Gear Solid, and it’s taken nearly twenty years to perfect. So why has crouching and zooming remained so effective through all this time?

Firstly, because it conveys to Snake a sense of body.

This is vital for any stealth game. It’s the player’s role to guide Snake through each level while hidden from enemy view, and that means getting intimate with the contours of his body. You need to know precisely when he’s out of cover, how far he can reach, and how fast he can move.

Since any slip up can end in disaster, you have to be mindful of his body and its place in the world at all times.

Bodies in MGS are fragile, they break and they age and lose bits of themselves. But they’re also conduits to a character’s spiritual uplifting. So when bodies communicate with one another it’s an intimate affair.

For the player, keeping a low profile is simply how we survive. In every crouch we express care and attention towards Snake and his well-being.

Which leads us to the zoom.

A camera in a game is never just a camera. It’s also an extension of the character’s mind. They can use it to see around corners, and pick up on the slightest of details, like this exchanged glance.

More than anything, the camera defines power, by what’s inside the frame, and vulnerability, by the bodily cost of framing it. There’s always a tension in seeing what you need to see while keeping Snake safe, and this tension creates drama, which in turn creates a relationship.

You can always tell how Snake is feeling by the way the camera works with his body. Whether he’s exposed, energetic, cagey, or grandiose.

Because it always contrasts with our natural position: crouched and zoomed.


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Articles on Race and Ethnicity in Games from non-American Perspectives

Articles on race fron non-American perspectives

Below is a collection of articles, papers, videos, etc. that interrogate issues of race, ethnicity, colonialism, representation, and other related subjects in videogames from non-North American perspectives.

What is shown here is intended not as an all-encompassing list of such materials, but rather a jumping off point for those who wish to read and/or share alternative perspectives on a wide variety of topics under the umbrella of ‘race in games’.

Every link was submitted by individuals from various communities and disciplines. For the collection to grow, it needs your help. If you know of something in any language that may belong here, please leave a comment below with the author, title and link, and hopefully I will get around to incorporating it into the post soon after. If you’d prefer to send a recommendation through Twitter, you can reply to this tweet here.


English

Denis Farr (2012) ‘Papo & Yo: Monsters Inc.’ Gameranx http://www.gameranx.com/features/id/9204/article/papo-yo-monsters-inc/

Sos Sosowski (2015) ‘The indigenous tribe of Witcher 3’, http://sosowski.tumblr.com/ http://sosowski.tumblr.com/post/121111103487/the-indigenous-tribe-of-witcher-3

Souvik Mukherjee (2014) ‘Playing Subaltern: Postcolonialism and Videogames’,  Meaningful Play conference, Michigan State University https://www.academia.edu/8984862/Playing_Subaltern_Postcolonialism_and_Videogames

Souvik Mukherjee (2013) ‘‘The Playing Fields of Empire’: Empire and Space in Videogames’, Games and Philosophy Conference, Bergen https://www.academia.edu/5113669/_The_Playing_Fields_of_Empire_Empire_and_Space_in_Videogames

Stephen Beirne (2015) ‘Irish Travellers and American Blindspots’, Normally Rascal http://normallyrascal.com/2015/06/30/irish-travellers-american-blindspots/

Tauriq Moosa (2015) ‘Colorblind: on the Witcher 3, Rust, and gaming’s race problem’, Polygon http://www.polygon.com/2015/6/3/8719389/colorblind-on-witcher-3-rust-and-gamings-race-problem

Ulrich Schädler, Andrew Morris-Friedman (2003) ‘“Juden Raus!” (Jews Out!) – History’s most infamous board game’, Board Game Studies, vol 6 https://www.academia.edu/2149566/_Juden_Raus_Jews_Out_History_s_most_infamous_board_game

Various authors, Mark J. P. Wolf (editor) (2015) ‘Video Games Around the World’, The MIT Press https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/video-games-around-world

Vit Šisler (2008) ‘Digital Arabs’, European journal of Cultural Studies http://ecs.sagepub.com/content/11/2/203.abstract

Vit Šisler [Warrants another entry for their larger body of work, though too varied to list individually] http://uisk.jinonice.cuni.cz/sisler/publications.htm

French

Sybille Lammes, Sébastien Martinez Barat, Johan Hoglund, Mehdi Derfoufi (2009) ‘Le gaming postcolonial : géopolitique du jeu vidéo’ [Collection], Poli https://polirevue.wordpress.com/anciens-numeros/numero-1/

This Week I Read – Pure Again, Final Fantasy VIII and cultural rumblings

Hello and welcome. For newcomers, this is where I share with you a bunch of articles, comics, games, podcasts – anything about videogames that I read over the past week and think you might also enjoy, with the goal of helping the flow of discourse and spreading the word on these authors and their works. This week there’s a good scattering of subjects covered, from sexual dimorphism to responsibility, a couple of underdog games of the year, and some reminiscing on a few 90s classics.

Links and articles that contain minor spoilers (minor narrative beats or gameplay segments, etc.) will be marked with a *. Those with major spoilers (major plot twists or story beats) will be marked with a **.

Starting on a high note, definitely read this piece by Zoya Street on his game of the year, Pure Again,** a game about trans experiences that makes no assumptions about gender and an article that beautifully conveys what that means. You can play Pure Again by Kevin McGowan here.

On Not Your Mama’s Gamer, Samantha Blackmon reflected on BioShock Infinite‘s satire in context of the Tea Party’s racist appraisal of some of its imagery.

Mattie Brice threw her hat into the ring on the topic of ‘gamer’ and the notion of games as a meritocracy. I wrote something similar the other week, too.

IndieStatik wrote about the harassment directed at some developers who tried to get their game Greenlit while having the audacity of being women.

For Robot Hyena, Bryce Mainville discussed what sexual dimorphism says about character design, using a few MMOs as example.

I don’t normally do podcasts but Indie MEGABOOTH have a 40-odd minute bit between Christopher Floyd, Rob Manuel, Patrick Lindsey and Maddie Myers on A Dark Room** that is well worth your time. A Dark Room is available to play in your browser here, it’s one of the best games to come out this year so I’d recommend playing it before you listen to the podcast.

Speaking of A Dark Room, check out Elizabeth Simins’ comic on The Bygone Bureau.

In Chris Leggett Gameranx piece, he talked about the power of media to affect the minds of audiences as a rebuff to efforts of dismissal of dangerous games when convenient.

On Gamespot, Josiah Renaudin** discussed the humanity and maturation of the character of Squall, Final Fantasy VIII‘s protagonist, especially how he found some of himself in the same journey.

The week before last, C.Y Reid wrote about movement, flow and horror in Doom for Midnight Resistance.

From last May there’s this video critique of BioShock Infinite by Matthewmatosis.** It’s a pretty level take-down of the game that’s now making a load of Best Of lists, but it also includes a very clever contrast of Infinite with Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee. Also it might be of benefit to Irrational Games to hear what an Irish accent sounds like.

And last week, I spilled my heart on the sole good moment of BioShock Infinite.**