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Brian Hertler
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I have a confession to make: like many other students in this class, I’m not a fan of online communities, or playing online in general. Frankly, I find that there are way too many people. I prefer to play with AI bots, which are less erratic and don’t expect me to communicate with them. So I embarked on an exploration mission of these online worlds as an experiment. Honestly speaking, I was more of a “guest” than a “resident,” as Pearce describes the differences between visitors to Disneyland and members of online communities in “Narrative Environments.” The MMO I looked... Continue reading
When we were filling out our “character sheets” at the beginning of the game project, I listed my strength as writing, and my weaknesses as programming and art. My nickname had been “The Narratologist,” and my superpower was something like “really good with Linguistics, narrative theory, and creative writing.” Naturally, the game I ended up working on was a platformer with a complex back-end and no dialogue or story -- whoops! This didn’t stop me or my teammates from developing a story, of course. We actually planned a series of cut-scenes, and even went so far as to design different... Continue reading
I was drawn to writing about the 2006 role-playing game Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 (published by Atlus, and henceforth referred to as Persona 3), due to its superficial resemblance to the Purple Moon game Rockett’s New School, as described by Brenda Laurel in Utopian Entrepreneur: much of its gameplay revolves around navigating a social community in school, within the context of a strong, character-driven plot. However, unlike the “utopian” games that Laurel describes, Persona 3 ultimately devalues its social aspects, fails to create an androgynous or otherwise “safe” space for female gamers, and at base falls back on the... Continue reading
Just re-posted in .doc and .ppt formats.
A text document and associated images for the upcoming game GROWTH. The game is developed by Team Growth: Mariam Asad, Matthew Drake, Tom Gibes, and Brian Hertler. Download GROWTH Description. A full explanation of game concept, mechanics, etc. Download GROWTH Pitch Materials. The current game logo, documentation of our brainstorming/early testing sessions, and a walkthrough of the first two levels. Continue reading
Given the history of rich cross-pollination between gaming and art -- represented best by the figure of Marcel Duchamp, who both incorporated games into his art and approached the artistic process as a game in itself – it seems natural for a vast middle ground to emerge, as artists use games or game-like processes as a vehicle for expression. These “alternative” games typically subvert one or more of the elements comprising the traditional definition of a game, while still remaining, unambiguously, games in their own right. I will examine three examples of alternative games – Earthball, White Chess, and Spacewar... Continue reading
Yars' Revenge, published in 1981 for the Atari 2600, remains a unique game with elements rarely seen in modern games. It also suits all four of Caillois's game classifications quite neatly (as they are described on pages 131-140), and I'll begin by describing the game in reference to these four attitudes. As an overview, the player is cast as an insect-like creature (a Yar), tasked with destroying an enemy base (a Qotile) that can become a dangerous projectile at random intervals. The Qotile is protected by a thick shell, which the Yar can breach either by shooting at it or... Continue reading
The Culture of Chess: Topic B by Brian Hertler Chess occupied an uncertain moral position among the twelfth and thirteenth century European clergy. Though the game was initially viewed with suspicion or even outright scorn -- being an excuse for gambling (Yalom 28), acting as a trigger for passion of a violent (103) or sexual nature (137), and even incorporating dice in some variants (28) -- it became widespread among the nobility, and skill in the game became expected for aristocrats of both genders (94); meanwhile, acceptance of the game gradually filtered into the clergy itself, and chess even became... Continue reading
The rest of the articles in the series are pretty interesting as well; the Grad Student Mafia in particular might appreciate the backgammon mini-essay (which references a couple of rules that we didn't implement in class):