Symposium: Death Stranding, September 3, 2020

We’re talking about Death Stranding this month; I’ll be leading the discussion. I’d like to explore the pleasures of traversal, building, and helping.  And I’d like to explore what it means for a game to be so very much its own thing.

Thursday at 8:30 EDT / 7:30 CDT / 5:30 PDT.

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Gaming Session: Minecraft, August 27, 2020

Minecraft this Thursday! 8:30 EDT, 7:30 CDT, 5:30 PDT.

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Symposium: Animal Crossing, August 6, 2020

This month, we’re going to be talking about Animal Crossing: New Horizons, with Ariel leading the discussion.  From Ariel:

This month’s symposium is on how the latest Animal Crossing has pulled in aspects from mobile gaming, including monthly events, daily rewards, and incorporating a literal smartphone as part of the interface.

As usual, we’ll talk over Discord: 8:30 EDT, 7:30 CDT, 5:30 PDT.

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Gaming Session: Minecraft, July 30, 2020

Minecraft this Thursday! 8:30pm EDT, 5:30pm PDT.

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Symposium: Final Fantasy 4: Free Enterprise, July 2, 2020

This month, Pat is leading a discussion on the mod Final Fantasy 4: Free Enterprise. Quoting Pat:

When RPG designers first began to work in the digital medium, it quickly became clear that a truly faithful translation of the tabletop experience was impossible. As such, those designers developed new artistic strategies for making digital RPGs possible at all. Roguelikes and JRPGs were two very different sub-genres representing two very different artistic decisions. And yet, in FF4:Free Enterprise Edition, we are faced with a game that tries to recombine these distantly related sub-genres into one experience. We will focus on how this is possible, and which parts of each experience are able to survive hybridization.

Talk to you Thursday, 8:30pm EDT / 5:30pm PDT!

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Gaming Session: Minecraft, June 25, 2020

Minecraft this Thursday! 8:30pm EDT, 5:30pm PDT.

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Symposium Playversation: Akrham Horror: The Card Game, 4 June 2020

I’m fascinated by the co-op LCG genre, so I’ll want to talk about how its mix of deck-building, narrative, and co-op mechanics create its particular style of immersion. When we dabbled in the digital version of Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, we talked a little about how the element these games seem to share of participation in a developing storyworld (notably Tokien’s mythos and the Marvel universe, in addition to Lovecraft’s legendarium) might go hand-in-hand with the same kind of power-fantasy we tend to bemoan in mainstream games. It may be interesting to discuss whether that holds true in this game: though Lovecraft’s work is problematic in many ways, it can hardly be said to present a narrative of conventional heroism.

Conversation on Discord, game-streaming via OCTGN on

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Gaming Session: Minecraft, May 28, 2020

Minecraft this Thursday! 8:30 pm EDT / 5:30 pm PDT.

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Symposium, May 7th: Kentucky Route Zero


EMILY: (To Ben) One of the first uses of the term grotesque to denote a literary genre is in Montaigne’s Essays. The Grotesque is often linked with satire and tragicomedy. It is an effective artistic means to convey grief and pain to the audience, and for this has been labeled by Thomas Mann as the “genuine antibourgeois style”.

BEN: Literary works of mixed genre are occasionally termed grotesque, as are “low” or non-literary genres such as pantomime and farce. Gothic writings often have grotesque components in terms of character, style and location. In other cases, the environment described may be grotesque – whether urban (Charles Dickens), or the literature of the American south which has sometimes been termed “Southern Gothic”.

BOB: In the 16th century, such artistic license and irrationality was controversial matter. Francisco de Holanda puts a defense in the mouth of Michelangelo in his third dialogue of Da Pintura Antiga, 1548:

“this insatiable desire of man sometimes prefers to an ordinary building, with its pillars and doors, one falsely constructed in grotesque style, with pillars formed of children growing out of stalks of flowers, with architraves and cornices of branches of myrtle and doorways of reeds and other things, all seeming impossible and contrary to reason, yet it may be really great work if it is performed by a skillful artist.”

STEVE: Wow, was that a quote block?

EMILY: Vasari, echoing Vitruvius, described the style as follows:

“Grotesques are a type of extremely licentious and absurd painting done by the ancients … without any logic, so that a weight is attached to a thin thread which could not support it, a horse is given legs made of leaves, a man has crane’s legs, with countless other impossible absurdities; and the bizarrer the painter’s imagination, the higher he was rated”.

STEVE: Well, that seems sort of harsh. Should we Discord at 8:30pm EDT? Is Discord a verb? I guess it is now. Let’s do that.

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Gaming Session: Minecraft, April 30, 2020

Minecraft this Thursday! 8:30pm EDT / 5:30pm PDT.

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