The Antlers Release Free EP

Normally, I’m not going to attempt to hock anything here, but The Antlers are a band that everyone should pay attention to, and a free EP by them is not something that I can just ignore and not share with people.

And a video for the song “Sylvia,” which is probably one of the most haunting songs of 2009:



In Which I Beat a Dead Horse – Narrative in Gaming (Part 3)

I tend to – often mistakenly – pride myself on not being a “gamer.”  There are other words, other definitions, that I would attempt to place myself in, were I to do that sort of thing, in some effort to put this thing called me in some preconceived box.

That is to say that all of the things that I write about gaming come first from a writer and a reader of fiction, and second from a gamer and a person who enjoys those experiences: the fun, the visceral, the intellectual pursuits that I seem to aspire to in my continuing journey through interactive storytelling and in some effort to find it.

There are those that would say that gaming itself could function without story involved.  This is absolutely, unequivocally true.  I have no preconceived notions of that.  Yet I would argue that we would lose an exciting, powerful, stimulating medium through which to tell those selfsame stories.

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Narrative in Gaming (Part 2)

Like any technology or industry, video gaming has its innovators.  From the hype machine, the audience is lead to believe that innovation comes quickly and frequently, with the medium constantly evolving and in a state of flux.  Some prominent voices (read: Michael Pachter) seem to think that stability is something to be feared, so predictions of upheavals and new tech and the like are constantly on everyone’s radar.  And the mainstream press and gaming blogs pick up on it, because like it or not, such predictions are “news” in the industry, and aren’t something to be frivolously ignored, no matter the ultimate outcome.

The truth, however, is that the gaming industry as a whole – publishers, developers and consumers, as well as a host of other peripheral industries, such as gaming journalism and PR and marketing – relies on stability in games.  What is taken for innovation is actually an evolutionary iteration of established mechanics or tech, instead of something that is a full-blown innovation on established mechanics.

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Narrative in Gaming (Part 1)

Narrative storytelling in gaming gets a bad rap.  Few but vocal are the ones that find it a necessity, and while their numbers are growing, tastes in the mainstream gaming culture still aren’t mature enough to handle the growth necessitated by the stories that many developers want to tell.

First-person shooters, in general terms, are the most underdeveloped of the lot, and many of them sell millions and millions of copies.  Certainly, Bioshock and its predecessors are exceptions, and worthy exceptions at that.  But these are not the rule.  Even these fine examples of design and narrative fell apart due to convention and cliché at the end of their respective journeys, something that proved disappointing to the players who found themselves caught up in 2K Boston’s cautionary tale.

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What this is…

Months ago, I attempted a previous blog, and didn’t much follow through with it.  Four or five posts down the line, and I had moved on, not forgetting but not updating, not keeping things going.

It was kind of an odd thing for me to do, and it’s even stranger for me to being blogging again.  The idea, I figure, is twofold: I need to write and write and write, and blogging is as good a method as any (even if it’s more or less supplemental to other writing interests of mine), and I need to add my voice to the cacophony of voices already out there and attempt to stand out a bit.

This blog is going to focus mostly on media: games, film and music, and my personal thoughts on developments in each industry, as well as some thoughts on what I’m working through or what I’m enjoying at that point in time.  I intend to provide intellectual responses to problems posed in the forms of media I’m working on.  For example, if I wanted to examine sexuality in The Ballad of Gay Tony, the new Grand Theft Auto expansion, this would be a forum to do so.

However, Absolution in Suspension will also be a place for me to talk, in a very peripheral manner, about my life and some of the things that are going on there.  Certainly this is not the goal of the blog, and to examine this in greater detail than I intend on doing will be to distract from the purpose.