Author Archives: Steve Gillham

Symposium, February 5th: Darkest Dungeon

Our past explorations of procedural generation have confronted the tensions between design of the unknown and its representation. For Spelunky to live, death had to lose its way in the winding tunnels, while the more procedural whims of King of … Continue reading

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Let’s Try This Symposium Again, October 13th: Super Mario Maker and The Beginner’s Guide

A Skype outage sabotaged our attempt to have this discussion last week, so let’s take another swing at it on Thursday. Here are the notes for the original discussion: https://vghvi.org/2016/10/02/symposium-october-6th-super-mario-maker-and-the-beginners-guide/

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Symposium, October 6th: Super Mario Maker and The Beginner’s Guide

In our last symposium, our examination of play through virtual reality interrogated a viewpoint that is so player-centered that we had to come up with a new aphorism (metaphoric presence) to attempt to describe the player’s role as a disruptive … Continue reading

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Symposium, March 3rd: Ori and the Blind Forest

With Ori and the Blind Forest, there are thorns for every rose. An evocative opening provides a bittersweet reminiscence, which becomes more resonant as the player retraces and resurrects the storied past of the forest by navigating a tangled hawthorn … Continue reading

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Symposium, October 1st: Splatoon

In “Effective, but Defective,” music critic Robert Christgau wrote about a perceived critical leniency that was afforded to Tom Waits, whose fractured folk-singing has carved out a memorable — and distinctly anti-pop — niche. Christgau confesses that “yes, [Waits’s] gifts are … Continue reading

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Symposium, April 2nd: King of Dragon Pass

When King of Dragon Pass was originally released for the PC in 1999, its event-driven storytelling engine was accomplishing a goal that its players had not yet realized they wanted to achieve: a fluid, procedural narrative that emphasized the dynamics of tribal … Continue reading

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Symposium, August 7th: Rise of Nations

In the realm of strategy games, years can be played as minutes and Rise of Nations, which was originally released by Big Huge Games in 2003, provides a striking contrast between its broad historical scope and the surprisingly brief window … Continue reading

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