QWOP, GIRP and the Construction of Video Game Realism

Jonathan McCalmont @ 14-09-2011

 

1: A Problematic Concept

Whenever mainstream news outlets mention video games I cringe. I cringe because every time traditional news outlets move beyond their traditional territory and reach out to an unfamiliar cultural milieu in an effort to appear plugged in, they invariably wind up making both themselves and that cultural milieu look awful. The awfulness comes from the fact that journalists in unfamiliar territory tend to take authority figures at face value and, in the world of video games, this generally results in precisely the sort of hyperbolic bullshit that makes video game journalism such an oxymoron. Continue reading “QWOP, GIRP and the Construction of Video Game Realism”


Stuxnet infographic video

Paul Raven @ 28-06-2011

I’m not sure that the graphics in this capsule video about the Stuxnet virus add a great deal of information to the narration, but they sure look pretty >[via FlowingData]. Almost pretty enough to distract you from the scary underlying message, namely that SOME NATION-STATE OR ANOTHER WENT AND DESIGNED A WEAPON TO SPIKE IRAN’S NUCLEAR WHEELS WITHOUT CONSIDERING THAT IT MIGHT GET RE-CODED, REVERSE ENGINEERED AND TURNED BACK ON THEM BY THEIR ENEMIES.

Just goes to show that spending a lot of money on 1337 black-hat h4x0rz doesn’t preclude you being a short-sighted fool… or perhaps simply being the sort of political actor whose idea of the long game is to give everyone in the room the same weapon and see who moves first. At this point, I’m not certain which is the scarier prospect.

 


Plan Of The City: NYC architecture relocates itself to Mars, throws party

Paul Raven @ 03-06-2011

I get a fair few emails in the Futurismic mailbox saying “hey, I did this thing, maybe you’d check it out and blog about it?” Roughly 80% of them are either poorly disguised corporate pitches or stuff that’s just not very good, but every now and again I get something like this: Plan Of The City is an animation by regular reader Joshua Frankel, and it’s really rather wonderful. So consider this your Friday afternoon brain-break; take thirteen minutes to watch the architecture of New York fly itself to Mars, accompanied by some rather moving music. Go.

You can find out more about Plan Of The City and Joshua’s other works; give the guy a bit of attention, why not? Thanks for getting in touch, Mister Frankel. 🙂


Sucker Punch: Video Games and the Future of the Blockbuster

Jonathan McCalmont @ 20-04-2011

One of the great failures of 20th and 21st Century film criticism has been the failure to recognise that Blockbusters are a genre unto themselves. Forged in the 1970s by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, Blockbusters borrow the trappings of other populist cinematic genres – such as science fiction, fantasy, espionage, war and disaster movies – but their aesthetics are entirely divorced from the concerns of the genres they borrow from.

In this column, I would like to examine the nature of the modern Blockbuster and argue that the next source of genre material for Blockbuster film will be video games. However, while there is much promise to be found in the idea of a film/game stylistic hybrid and Zack Snyder’s latest film Sucker Punch hints at much of that promise, it seems that the form of video games itself is as yet too underdeveloped to provide film makers with anything more than another set of visual tropes that will be used, re-used and eventually cast aside as the Blockbuster genre continues its predatory rampage through popular culture. Continue reading “Sucker Punch: Video Games and the Future of the Blockbuster”


Cassini flyby

Paul Raven @ 15-03-2011

I’m a bit on the busy side in mundane meatspace at the moment. I’m in the process of planning a house-move back to my home town, and there’s nothing so torturous or frustrating as the bureaucratic sides of the tenant-landlord relationship, even (or seemingly especially) when you’re the sort of tenant who looks after the place where you’re living (because you’re treated by default as if you’re going to be one of the other sort). Still, all will surely resolve in due time, and I’ll be back in the real city that contains the imaginary city that my own blog was named for…

But I digress. In lieu of me pontificating on something topical, here’s a slice of pure sensawunda in the form of a composite video of Saturnian flybys. What’s extra-awesome about this is that those images aren’t CGI or artist’s impressions based on distant data; these are actual real images. Taken by a fuggin’ spaceship we built. A spaceship that has flown past fuggin’ Saturn.

Barber’s Adagio probably helps, but if watching that doesn’t give you a bit of a lump in the throat or a burn in the tearduct, I’m pretty sure you’re not really human.


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