The Stranger is a "delicate mess" and would rather you left it that way

Every videogame world makes a foreigner of us. As the player, you always come into a new virtual space as a tourist. Through exploration, you learn how to properly maneuver and experience the alien world. Yet one aspect of the foreigner experience is missing from videogames: the true citizens of this alien world don’t mind your tourism. In fact, game designers usually try to make the player’s transition from tourist to citizen as quick, seamless, and painless as possible through streamlined tutorials.  Certain games, like Far Cry 3, literally renders the player a tourist. But by making the foreignness of the player into the…


Far Cry 3 writer battles critics on Twitter, summons drug PSAs for defense

Far Cry 3, with its torture scenes and male-and-male rape and its leading millennial star named Jason Brody, is positioned as a work of cultural critique, a meta-commentary on the addictive gameplay systems and unsightly tropes found in popular shooter videogames. We’ve written about that before. But the crowd wasn’t buying it on Tuesday during a session at GDC featuring the game’s lead writer, Jeffrey Yohalem. The general mood in the room and, as a corollary, on Twitter, was dismissive. Part of the problem is that Yohalem wasn’t speaking, but rather flying through his script (by my count, at about…


Crashing helicopters? Infinite enemies? Do games rely on too many tropes?

Like any other movement or medium, games are defined by the norms. Tune in to a country music radio station (we’re not suggesting this at all, by the way) and you’re guaranteed to hear a steel guitar, vocals that sound more like yodeling, and at least four songs about America. Turn on the tube and you will generally find the same reality show about noodling or some poor schmucks competing for a job. While I can see the novelty in watching a balding, shirtless boob pull a thirty pound catfish out of an underwater hole with his bare hands, games…