"Don't be a dick." That simple notion is the first of Victor Lucas' 3D rules. The others? Don't dick around and don't hang out with dicks. Some would lead you to believe the games press is filled with dicks. It's not. With this in mind, I seek out the best games writing - from news to interviews to reviews and beyond - and highlight it here.

Theme by Andy Taylor, modified by Aaron Hudspeth.

 

Jenova Chen: Journeyman - Eurogamer

We spotted this thanks to the legendary @kierongillen, and think it’s quite brilliant. Part of that is that Jenova Chen, subject of the interview, is brilliant in his own right:

"But listen: none of us was born to be an asshole," he says. "I believe that very often it’s not really the player that’s an asshole. It’s the game designer that made them an asshole. If you spend every day killing one another how are you going to be a nice guy? All console games are about killing each other, or killing one another together… Don’t you see? It’s our games that make us assholes.”

There’s also a sense of deja vu in the article, where Parkin comes full circle from his introduction. How he weaves the interview together is straightforward, but all the same masterful. We think you should give it a read.

Take A Journey With These Articles

Journey has been the talk of the town lately, so Good Games Writing is looking at what all the fuss is about.

Gamesugar (as spotted by @megashaun) takes an interesting approach, in which Journey isn’t viewed as art outright, but rather, an experience.

The nameless stranger that lingers on my mind is the one that crossed the icy mountain path with me, taking shelter behind stone markers as strong winds threatened to thwart our advance, and huddling in the shadows while large beasts flew overhead. As we overcame these obstacles, the path forward began to vanish in the rising winds, and my feet became heavier with each step forward through the thickening snow.

What kept me pushing forward on the analog stick was my companion, slightly ahead and providing a beacon, a reason to continue pushing against the blinding storm.

Complementing that article is The Artful Gamer’s evaluation of Journey, in which it is deemed art and an experience:

If Journey is poetry-prose that explores the long march from childhood to death through the four elements, then Thatgamecompany has managed to dig deeper into truly human existence than any other game I can think of. Sure, Journey can be broken down into game mechanics, architecture, plot elements and characters, but ultimately the experience it offers involve primeval feelings, and those who will inexorably analyze the game will miss the point.

Unwinnable’s Brendan Keogh opts to avoid hyperbole and instead just relay a story:

How do you teach when you aren’t even really there? One was on their own dumb, blind, stumbling journey and I was on my own. We were together, in a sense, but we were so far apart. There was little I could do but tolerate their failings again and again. Still, I was glad to have a companion, and I think One was, too.

However, that sense of camaraderie can be marred, as Brad Gallaway found:

Prior to playing the game, I heard people talking about feelings of camaraderie or making some sort of connection with the partners have appeared, but I didn’t find that to be my experience at all. Instead, I think I resented the fact that this beautiful landscape was being shared with people who had no interest in partaking of it with me.

Finally, videogames can be seen as a language of their own—that argument came from Jason Killingsworth earlier this month, and it emerges here again—and Journey is proof positive:

There is no established language in Journey, barring a handful of early game button prompts, and as much of the game’s experience is instinctively felt as it is logically understood. As players explore the game’s desert landscape they are presented with visual cues that are recognizable from any context: tombstones, altars, stone shelters…All of it is presented in a way that combines the power of universally understood symbols with intuitive elements of play.

A wide array of approaches have been taken with writing on Journey. Games that elicit such varied responses—whether loved or hated—have enormous value. Viewed as art, experiences, or just games, they offer the chance for divergent viewpoints. Trust us when we says that’s a good thing.

Love, Jamie. “Sweet ‘N Low - My Journey” (Gamesugar: March 20, 2012) <http://gamesugar.net/2012/03/20/sweetn-low-my-journey/>.

Lepine, Chris. “Wind, Sand, Snow, and Stars: Thoughts on Journey” (The Artful Gamer: March 19, 2012) <http://www.artfulgamer.com/wind-sand-snow-and-stars-thoughts-on-journey/>.

Keogh, Brendan. “The Solitude Of Playing Journey for PS3” (Unwinnable: March 27, 2012) <http://www.unwinnable.com/2012/03/27/alone-together-in-journey/>.

Gallaway, Brad. “My Journey” (GameCritics: March 28, 2012) <http://www.gamecritics.com/brad-gallaway/my-journey>.

McCarter, Reid. “Journey, Abstraction and the Invention of Language” (Digital Love Child: March 28, 2012) <http://digitallovechild.com/2012/03/28/journey-abstraction-and-the-invention-of-language/>.

Musical DNA: how Austin Wintory wrote the song that helped create Journey

I know what you’re thinking: doesn’t Kuchera basically do the same thing as GGW on a section of the PA Report called “The Cut”? You’d be right - and recommended to check out his daily links, if you didn’t know he does - but it raises the question…who is to promote his good work? No better candidate than us, is there?

Anyways

“Extremely interactive music would be something like procedural audio that’s being generated in real time by some kind of system. Which is as unmusical as it can get,” he explained. “Perhaps I’m old school… I’ve had arguments with fellow composers, but I’ve found that music is emotional and meaningful when played by a person. Musicality is a human quality.” He’s not against electronic music, but it wouldn’t have fit the tone of Journey. He described flOwa game with an all-electronic score that responds to the player in a direct way, as a kind of musical instrument.

Kuchera, Ben. “Musical DNA: how Austin Wintory wrote the song that helped create Journey” (The PA Report: March 2, 2012) <http://penny-arcade.com/report/editorial-article/musical-dna-how-austin-wintory-wrote-the-song-that-helped-create-journey>.