Deinonymous: an Exploration of Truth in Videogames

Prepare to have your mind blown.

Journey – Are we there yet?

by Ludusaurus

An uninspired romp along the road most travelled. A functioning chat system is just one of the many things missing in Journey.

~ Ludusaurus Rex

 Columnist Ludusaurus Rex is a novelist, painter, and urban gardener.  When not working under his pseudonym, Banksy, he blogs about the power of video games to organize anarcho-nihilists into drum circles to celebrate the unexamined disestablishmentarianist underpinnings of Victorian coming-of-age rituals.

Bloodforge – Poetry Written in Blood

by Ludusaurus

After suffering through the docu-marketing, corporate boardroom circle-jerk of Indie Game: The Movie, I had just about given up hope that game developers would be brave enough to create more cerebral, emotional and unique Xbox Live Arcade games—then I played Bloodforge.

Immediately, I was engrossed by the originality of the gameplay, which places a refreshing and daring emphasis on violence—something most publishers shy away from these days—and introduces a clever mechanic known as “quick-time events” that have you climbing and dodging enemies via cinematic animations. All this carnage is seen through a heavily vignetted camera that jerks about confusingly, emphasizing the chaos of battle and the inner turmoil of Crom, the game’s main character. The gray hue of the snow and the sunless, smoke-filled sky serves as a commentary on the enduring legacy of the Industrial Era.

Yet as captivating as the de-saturated vistas or the peerless combat experience may be, the gripping narrative makes it impossible to forget your character’s motivation: kill the gods who killed his family. This unique story provides a firm grounding in the world and infuses your every button press with meaning. Every enemy killed signifies a greater loss of Crom’s humanity and the reluctance with which players approach consecutive encounters does much to argue for pacifism as a means to solve society’s most pressing issues.

After just the first level, the player empathizes with the vulnerable Crom as he timidly yet thoughtfully attempts self-control amidst a cacophony of derogatory Viking stereotypes and sexualized tribal iconography. Just when the player has fully internalized Crom’s pain, a scene reveals Crom giving in to social pressures and impaling himself with his phallic, yet distinctly ‘inner-city’, sword. The developers have drawn a subtle yet powerful link between the colonial zeitgeist and today’s neo-capitalist obsession with corporeal perversion.

Bloodforge is irrefutable proof-positive that games, even Xbox Live Arcade games, can be art. My hope has been re-forged.

~ Ludusaurus Rex

 Columnist Ludusaurus Rex is a laureate, artist, and beat poet.  When not hosting one-man game jams, he blogs about the power of video games to reignite the intrepid sensuality of Vietnam-era protests as envisioned in the archaeo-feminist defense of the Dewey Decimal system.

A Soviet Plot with a Gem of Truth

by Pogonosaurus

On a cold Soviet morning in 1984, programmer and hooligan Alexey Pajitnov published a title that would resound as a catalyst for despair across entire continents.

To this day we are uncertain why he unleashed it upon the world. Perhaps the winter cold seeped into his body as he clacked away at his type-writer (few realize even today that Communists can only code on type-writers) and the chill hardened his heart to the world. Perhaps a secret and deep-buried desire for freedom spurred him to lash out. Perhaps it was simply the vodka.

Whatever the cause, Tetris, or as I prefer to call it, The Great Blocky Canker, became the channel through which Pajitnov expressed to the outside world his fascination for the the rigidly structured nature of Soviet society. The rigid contours of the title reflect the stratified elements within Russian class-structures; the old farmer’s tune soundtrack trumpets the (even then) withering cause of the proletariat. From a windswept hovel nearby what historians now humorously refer to as the  Academy of Science of the USSR, Pajitnov broadcast a visual-audio-mechanical metaphor that not only exalted the state that oppressed him but also succeeded in propping up its economy until the great victory of ’92. Iustitia non stipes moratus, thankfully.

This is not to say that I don’t hold a certain admiration for his craft. Indeed, Pajitnov’s work carried more significance than he probably realized. Within the framework of Tetris’ mechanics we see the struggle against the fundamental forces arrayed against humanity. Gravity inexorably pulls upon the blocks with which we try to construct society. Success inevitably turns to failure as a completed rows, long belabored for, disappear before our eyes. The game’s noted fascination with death is itself riveting; no matter how talented the “player” (I use the word loosely to describe the victims unfortunate enough to become carriers of this digital malaise) may be; despite his struggle to twist and squirm from his plight, defeat and despair will ultimately come. It is a fascinating treatise  on the struggle of existence, no matter how misaligned its unfortunate creator may have been.

“From Russia with Fun”? Nay. From Russia with moral turpitude. Yet within the rough one may still see the corners of a diamond, twinkling with a vibrancy in sharp contrast to the muted stone.

~ Pogonosaurus

Founding editor Pogonosaurus is a stalwart defender of America, and can almost certainly purchase your little sister to be his ill-treated mistress.  He also blogs on videogames for the benefit of the working class, opening their simple minds to the creative works of their superiors.

Braid – It Jon Blows

by Ludusaurus

It’s Mario meets Prince of Persia: Sands of Time. You cannot rewind the time you’ll waste with this shallow platformer.

~ Ludusaurus Rex

 Columnist Ludusaurus Rex is a writer, poet, and free-thinker.  When not riding his fix-gear, he blogs about the power of video games to tear down the walls that post-modern society has erected between the last vestiges of neoconsumerist forms of expression and the sexual revolution as seen through the eyes of the French-Algerian intelligentsia.

Angry Birds – Deconstructing the Barriers of Society

by Pogonosaurus

By this point there are few who have not played Rovio’s Angry Birds. Yet while the layman may consider the game “fun” for its quirky and delightful sense of humor, the deeper narrative of the title is sadly overlooked.

It should be clear to all that Birds draws much of its inspiration from the 1967 film legend Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. A grim echo of Stanley Kramer’s exploration of the  breaking down of social barriers, the title reminds that society is a structure in threat of imminent collapse. Like Katherine Hepburn’s character Christina, the player must not only accept a shifting economic system (represented by the collapse of the “castles”) but eventually become an active agent in the process.

I would be remiss if I did not also point out the obvious ties to George Orwell’s Animal Farm. There are swine within all our structures: some are equaller than others – all must be destroyed (much as we should root out and destroy Communism within our own society.)

Birds is, ultimately, also an exploration of our own psychology. Our animalistic instincts for mayhem and destruction find an outlet in within the framework of the mechanics. As we pull back upon the slingshot, we give a tug on our own desire to annihilate the porquine plagues within our consciousness. Ut veritas invenitur in perditionem.

~ Pogonosaurus

Founding editor Pogonosaurus is a stalwart defender of America against the corruptive influence of Communism.  He also blogs on videogames for the benefit of the working class, opening their puny minds to the creative works of their superiors.

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