Two What I’ve Been Reading entries in a row? What is this madness?

Sorry, I was busy this week and didn’t have time to blog. I’ll probably be busy over the next couple of weeks too. *sigh* Such is the curse of having a real life on top of an Internet life. In any case, I have some links for you on this fine Sunday. Enjoy.

  • Robert Rath of The Escapist traces the origins of the grey-brown aesthetic in modern military shooters back to Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan. Film and video game buffs alike will find this to be a good read.
  • David Talbot of the MIT Technology Review reports on a wacky experiment: a crate full of Android tablets was given to two remote Ethiopian villages, with no instructions whatsoever. Within a few months, the kids had managed to hack the camera and the operating system, despite not knowing English. It seems as if children are far more clever and resourceful than we give them credit for.
  • Aleksander Adamkiewicz calls for us to stop putting so much emphasis on normative morality in our critiques of video games. His point is well-taken; attempting to impose one’s morality on individual works is a fool’s errand. However, I don’t agree with him entirely. We shouldn’t be concerned that not every game conforms to modern standards of morality; however, we should be concerned that so few games do.
  • Richard Cobbett of Eurogamer argues in favour of adding a “look at” feature to modern video games to give players background information about the game world. As someone who enjoys the exploratory aspects of video games, I’m inclined to agree, but the feature shouldn’t be intrusive or interrupt the flow of gameplay. I quite like the approach Mass Effect used with its codex, which the player is free to peruse at his or her own leisure.
  • Finally, I can’t believe this is actually a thing, but Eigen Lenk has created a text-based multiplayer shooter. It’s as ridiculous as it sounds. Give it a whirl and let me know what you think.

Again, I apologize for not blogging this week. I recently started the Assassin’s Creed series (five years late to the party). Some time in the coming week, I might write up some thoughts on why the series attained such a high level of popularity despite a mediocre first installment. Until then, have fun, stay safe, and keep off the grass.