Poe, Thoreau, and Dickinson as Video Game Avatars

Poe, Thoreau, and Dickinson as Video Game Avatars

Henry David Thoreau advised his peers, “Let us first be simple and well as Nature ourselves, dispel the clouds which hang over our brows, and take up a little life into our pores.” Thoreau’s contemporaries professed similar emotional, individualist, and idealist sentiments. I respect authors of the American Romantic and Victorian period of literature; however,…

Altering Classic Video Games

Altering Classic Video Games

I recently watched independent animation film director and designer Léo Verrier’s short film, Dripped. The 8-minute film presented a fictional story of a burglar who stole famous paintings from museums and proceeded to eat the artwork. Shortly after the thief consumed an artwork, his body morphed into a figure or design from the specific painting….

|
Comments Off

Video Games in the Humanities Classroom

Video Games in the Humanities Classroom

Before I came to The Strong, I taught writing and literature courses at the Rochester Institute of Technology and elsewhere, which fits right in with writing electronic games blogs. As video games occupy more and more of our playtime, it is not surprising that some educators are finding opportunities to use gaming to teach writing…

|
Comments Off

Satisfy Your Wanderlust with These Video Games

Satisfy Your Wanderlust with These Video Games

I have wanderlust. In college, I found like-minded companions in Dean and Sal from Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. In one passage, Sal recognized why he felt compelled to travel and explained that he had “no place he could stay in without getting tired of it and because there was nowhere to go but everywhere,…

|
Comments Off

Video Games and the Power of a Daydream

Video Games and the Power of a Daydream

In the past, many considered mind-wandering a tool used to procrastinate; however, psychologists and neuroscientists today agree it is a vital cognitive tool. Psychologist Jonathan Schooler explained that allowing the mind to wander provides opportunities to explore additional possibilities and often leads to “bursts of creative insight.” This caused me to think about how daydreaming…

|
Comments Off

Aliens, Astronauts, and Video Games

Aliens, Astronauts, and Video Games

Since the 17th century, individuals have discussed the possibility of extraterrestrial beings. What is the possibility of extraterrestrial life? “Guaranteed,” Harvard physicist and search for extraterrestrial intelligent life leader Paul Horowitz declared in a 1996 interview with Time Magazine. It is “so overwhelmingly likely that I’d give you almost any odds you’d like,” he said….

|
Comments Off

Using Woodblocks to Reshape Video Game Art: An Interview with Incredipede’s Thomas Shahan

Using Woodblocks to Reshape Video Game Art: An Interview with Incredipede’s Thomas Shahan

Not that long ago, critics debated whether video games qualified as art. Now, thanks in large part to artist and microphotographer Thomas Shahan, Colin Northway’s forthcoming game Icredipede, available for preview, many put the question to rest. Shahan specializes in capturing the personalities of countless insects and spiders in his arthropod portraiture. His muses—Tabanus Horse flies,…

|
Comments Off

Less is More in These Video Games

Less is More in These Video Games

Designer Robert Morris once said that “simplicity of form is not necessarily simplicity of experience.” I found this especially pertinent to the simple, yet stunning game play of both PixelJunk Eden and NightSky. In PixelJunk Eden, a player controls Grimp as he jumps and swings across plant life to activate seeds in the different gardens….

|
Comments Off

Happily Ever After For These Video Game Heroines?

Happily Ever After For These Video Game Heroines?

Fairy tales and other stories of magic lack a single author, and often writers, directors, and video game designers play with classic versions. Two recent video games, The Path and Alice: Madness Returns, deliver noteworthy heroines to a few traditional tales. For centuries, various versions of Little Red Cap or Little Red Riding Hood presented…

|
Comments Off

A Video Game I Quit Playing

A Video Game I Quit Playing

Modern Americans are constantly bombarded with choices—local markets sell up to 25 different brands of water, media sources overload us with reports from the campaign trail, and college freshman opening a course catalog can be overwhelmed with options. Some people believe that choice rationally reflects desires, traits, and situations, and if we’re grounded in our…

|
Comments Off