Review: Put this in your brain

Put this in your brainPut this in your brain by Stu Norvath
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As usual, a collection of my status updates. Overall a good set of essays. Some deeper than others.

Intro – Neat intro by a member of MCR about the role that games play in our lives

“Backward Flow” – About Dune the game and book that I wouldn’t have understood a couple years ago. “As an upper-class white man,

Paul isn’t just better at being civilized; he is better at being uncivilized.”

“Rapture” – Comparing a Lovecraftian game and the Ukraine Crimea thing

“Safe Space” – comparing games to dealing with anxiety.

“I shot the Centurion” – a look at what it means for a game to truly give the user choice. A fun read as I’ve come to see what a lie the choices in games like Mass Effect can be.

“Mission: Unclear” – Interesting essay compares how both elections and the stories told in FPSs fail due to the paradox of choice. People are paralyzed by knowing too much about the candidates. In games,preference for widest market eliminates choice.

“The Myth of Choice” -Loved Choose your own Adventure. This essay gives a history lesson and makes some interesting points on what those books tell us about ourselves.

“Interactive Thingers” – Most personal one so far explores how games have changed through the decades and how that has changed the gamers. Very neat.

“Notes on Luftrausers” – When the author calls out Tim Rogers in opening line I know this is going to be a good essay. Rogers completely changed the way I view games – gave me a vocabulary for what I loved most in them. The author also has an Opening quote in paragraph from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Overall great meditation on what makes great games great.”

“Depth of Field” – explores the grammar of the FPS game and how it requires learning to read with that grammar.”

“Death and Form” – Kane and Lynch as an exploration of Surrealism. Very interesting way of exploring hyper-gruesome games.

“Definite about its Purpose” – Never thought about how much death isn’t explored in video games. It really could move beyond the current role of fail state in many games.

“We All Become” – Reading this, I’m sad I never played Transistor. I really enjoyed Bastion. Perhaps I’ll eventually get to it.

“From a Great Height” – The Fall sounds like the type of game I’d really enjoy playing. I enjoy stories of apparent AI paradox – like the I, Robot short stories.

“We Don’t Talk Anymore” – Interesting conversation about a game betraying you via the ending. This is about Prince of Persia, but could just as easily have been about Mass Effect 3.

“Catching ‘Em All” – I never got into the Pokemon games – I was way older when it came out. But I can see how playing while OCD could be dangerous.

“Dance, Dance, Dance” – An essay that views player controls as body metaphor. It’s one of those things where you usually want the control to be flawless, but some neat exploration can come from making it as cumbersome as reality is or can be.

“The First Step” – An Alaskan native tribe creates a video game to help pass on their values to the next generation.

“Netrunner and my Kid” – About playing board games with his kid.

“Teacher’s Challenge” – teacher tries to use video games to teach and keeps failing to get the students engaged despite a number of them identifying as gamers.

“Burning the Library” – A look at assassin’s creed and what it is choosing to convey about history; despite a facade of complexity, it’s an overly simplistic view of various sides of conflicts throughout history.

“The Many Lives of Edward Thatch” – Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag as an excuse to revisit pirate lore. Neat treatise on Blackbeard.

“Contest of Attrition” – About Banner Saga and how you’re just trying to survive, not defeat the Big Bad. It’s a reminder that games can be about different aspects of the human condition.

“Marjorie” – An exploration of how Pinball machines are art and what they convey to us. Also a look at how copmlexity is both good and bad for the game.

“Finding Cullen” – An article on why Cullen from Dragon Age became an Ascended Extra.

“Who Watches the Watchers” – The role Clementine plays in The Walking Dead S1 and S2. Rings quite true as Clementine is what I thought made TWD worth playing.

“Neverending Horror” – When horror can succeed in video games and how it fails (when you gain power)

“Through the Fog-Choked Streets” – A different look at where horror succeeds in video games by comparing to books and movies

“Alone in a Dark Room” – A simple game can still have multitudes hidden within.

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