Symposium Playversation, 5 December 2019: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Can playing Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic save civilization? We’re going to find out!

We’ll discuss the question on Discord, from several different perspectives, as I play the classic RPG this Thursday at 8:30pm EDT / 5:30pm PDT. Stream on twitch.tv/8mph1.

Among other things, I’m going to be inviting your thoughts about the state of the Star Wars storyverse as a whole and using KOTOR as a way into how interactivity functions within it. If we end up deciding to devote a future symposium to Jedi: Fallen Order, well, I suppose that’s just how it goes.

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Gaming Session: Minecraft, November 21, 2019

Minecraft a week early this month, because of Thanksgiving; 8:30pm EST, 5:30pm PST, voice chat over discord.

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Symposium, November 7th: Slay the Spire and Magic: The Gathering

recycle

As we’ve made our way through various roguelikes in symposiums past, we’ve often discussed how discovery of their mechanics is one of the genre’s most satisfying rewards. Deckbuilders and collectible card games operate within a similar design space, but they offer a totally different lens to it, as players have immediate access to the game’s mechanics and are asked to not only discover their interactions, but optimize them to have a chance at victory.

Slay the Spire and Magic: The Gathering offer two different variations on this exploration of player-driven procedurality – are both of them successful? If they both succeed, do they do so in different ways?

We’ll discuss all of this and more on Discord this Thursday at 8:30pm EDT / 5:30pm PDT.

Supplemental Material:

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Gaming Session: Minecraft, October 31, 2019

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

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Symposium: Erica, October 3, 2019

Screenshot 2019-09-30 22.56.50

Screenshot from Erica (2019)

Update: Rescheduled for October 10, 2019.

The full motion video (FMV) genre seemingly died out in the late-1990s as increases in rendering technology helped games move into a more “realistic” turn. Yet, in recent years, Until Dawn (2015) and Her Story (2015) have returned to the genre through bringing back increasing usage of a stronger film language to tell a more “visual” story in the medium of video games. Presented as a series of moments where a choice can be made before the video then takes over the action on screen, the recent Erica (2019) is a full motion video game. Yet, at the same time, it is also a much more well-shot movie-like experience than the more cheesy nature of the original genre and exemplar games like Dragon’s Lair (1983) and Night Trap (1992).

This month, let’s consider that line between movie and game. Where is the ludic threshold? Where does agency start in video games? Can an experience be a game without agency? When was Erica (2019) the most effective in telling its story: when it gave a sense of control, or when it took it away from the player?

Voice chat over Discord, 8:30pm EDT / 5:30pm PDT.

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Gaming Session: Minecraft, September 26, 2019

Minecraft this week! Thursday at 8:30pm EDT / 5:30pm PDT, voice chat over discord.

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Symposium: Persona 5, September 5, 2019

We’re talking about Persona 5 this month!  I’m pretty sure we’ll want to talk about Ann’s depiction in the game: ways in which we find that depiction flawed, ways in which we find that depiction in contradiction with itself.  And I’d also like to talk about how the mechanics of the series has evolved from Persona 3 /4 to Persona 5, about what aspects of that evolution we saw in Tokyo Mirage Sessions, and what changes in Tokyo Mirage Sessions weren’t retained in Persona 5.

Voice chat over Discord, 8:30pm EDT / 5:30pm PDT.

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