Demon’s Souls and the Meaning and Import of Virtual Death

Jonathan McCalmont @ 09-11-2011

 

  1. Bad is Good and Good is Bad

The problem with video game writing is that it tends to be written by fans of video games. The corruption and stupidity of games journalism are not isolated quirks of the system but symptoms of a flawed approach to the medium. Fans, by their nature, approach their choice of medium wanting to fall in love: Good games are filled with good things; bad games are filled with bad things. Love the good things. Hate the bad things.

While I think that this approach to art can be intensely rewarding, I also think that it has its weaknesses and the most obvious weakness is a failure to recognise that bad things can sometimes be good.  They can be good because these bad and un-fun things make the good bits glow that much brighter, and because even painful and unpleasant experiences have meaning and importance. This is a column about the role of death in video games and how a more sophisticated appreciation of one of the least fun aspects of the gaming experience might unlock the door to a world of new themes and experiences. Continue reading “Demon’s Souls and the Meaning and Import of Virtual Death”


September 2010 is Cyborg Month

Paul Raven @ 01-09-2010

Remember me mentioning the 50th anniversary of the word “cyborg” the other day? Well, here’s how I knew that: it’s thanks to Tim “Quiet Babylon” Maly*, who has decided that this particular neologism needs celebrating. And so, September 2010 is Cyborg Month, which will see fifty posts (mostly essays, but possibly all sorts of other webby content) from a wide selection of clever and interesting people (including, presumably in the name of making up the numbers a little bit, yours truly) about cyborgs, to be collected on a just-for-purpose Tumblr blog.

If you’re thinking “posts about cyborgs” is a little vague, I am assured that the vagueness is quite deliberate: “cyborg” is a fuzzy and much-misused term, and I think Tim’s basically trying to capture its multiple meanings and manifestations (and, indeed, manifestos) as they stand at this point in its chequered yet meteoric history. I’m very flattered to be taking part: I’ve seen who some of the other contributors are, and I think I’m very safe in saying that if you enjoy the various articles and waffle-topics I post about here at Futurismic, you’re definitely going to want to bookmark or subscribe to that Tumblr feed. Serious brainfood coming down the pipe, yes sir.

[ * Yes, yes, I know. Tim Maly will, I very much hope, be contributing (as promised by myself long ago) here at Futurismic in some capacity, at some point in the near future when he’s a little less busy**. And y’all can blame that contributory absence on me for being too quick to announce the contribution, rather than on Tim for not contributing, OK? OK. ]

[ ** I always sympathise with busy people. I sometimes like to think I’m a busy person, but then I look at how much stuff really busy people get done, and realise that I’m actually just a disorganised person with aspirations to busyness. Which is better than nothing, I guess. ]