June 24, 2008

Critical Approach to Analyzing Games

Filed under:Theory — Lake Desire @ 12:54 pm

My gaming and academic work have lined up rather nicely. I started this blog in a women’s studies class when I was a junior. At the time, I was in an interdisciplinary program studying science fiction and gender, and that eventually opened up to include race and cyborg theory. All of that provided plenty of blogger fodder for videogame discussions, although looking back I could have written more accessibly in my old posts since for theory to really mean something, it needs to speak folks in the real lives we actually live. I just got so excited when I learned those smarty-pants words, I was giddy to use them.

I study English now, already less than a year away from finishing my master’s degree, and although I’ve written on videogames in some of my classes English studies lacks that personal is political drive that prompts me to blog on media. If anything, I feel like blogging takes time away from my studies. Fuck that! If I can write about videogames in school, what I study can come back around and make an appearance here.

BomberGirl of Girl in the Machine writes an accessible post Musing Over Method in which she uses the theory of new criticism (or perhaps more accurately new historicism) to debunk the “authorial intent” defense of an art. She writes in response to defenses of Resident Evil 5:

Which brings us back to my initial question: What’s a writer / artist / video game designer to do when a critique reveals some important theme in her work that she neither foresaw nor intended? Getting defensive about it definitely won’t help; it’s out there, it’s what it is. Absolutely everyone is prejudiced to some degree, including when it comes to race and sex. It’s my firm belief that a lot of racism and sexism is actually subconscious, molded by our experiences of social conventions throughout our lives, and the first step to overcoming these prejudices is to recognize that they exist. You are not a Horrible, Awful, Terrible person for admitting you’ve done something prejudiced. The point is to see that it’s there, and to do something about it; to fix it, to change how you think; to spread awareness to others.

Theory is a pretty useful approach to analyzing games, and defending critical thinking and debunking passive absorption of media. Especially since gaming is especially not passive in comparison to television/movies or even reading.


June 17, 2008

Living my childhood dream

Filed under:Dungeons and Dragons — Lake Desire @ 8:17 pm

I’m finally living my childhood dream of playing Dungeons and Dragons. I’m playing with some folks in my English department and my friend Abby (the retro review writer for Cerise). We’re a big group, eight total, and half of us are ladies. We just made characters tonight. All of the numbers are kind of confusing, but the world-building and races and roles each class has in the party is pretty familiar from playing RPG videogames.

I’m a middle-aged dwarf named Olshar, which means fat moon. She has a beard and is politically radical with a martyr complex. I’m a paladin since I like tanking in MMORPGs.

I’ll post more updates with how my first D&D campaign goes! If I like it well enough, I’d eventually like to DM for an all ladies group.


June 7, 2008

Plans for New Game Plus

Filed under:Personal — Lake Desire @ 3:25 pm

My blogging hiatus does not mean I’m going to give up blogging! On the contrary, I am finally getting the internet at home this September, so I ought to have more time online to post. I’m planning on opening my topic of discussion in New Game Plus to include more on my life than gaming and tangental geeky stuff. I intend to blog more on activism, radical politics, and academia. And of course, write about being a nerd with game and film and nerd culture criticism. I plan on figuring out how to put a new layout on my blog, too.