The_Critical_Is Roundup

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GUEST POST: Constructions of Gamer Identity in Popular Television

“Penny exemplifies the stereotype of the desexualized female gamer—she has not showered in days, has no idea what day it is, and feels no shame in eating stale Cheetos out of her unbrushed hair.[4] This desexualization of Penny is unique to her, as Raj, Leonard and Howard who all play the game, express themselves vocally at all costs about their desire for coitus. Sheldon is painted as constantly confused by sexuality and undesiring of it, but it is never attributed to his nerd/geek-ness. The men are portrayed as having a normal, healthy obsession with the game and thus keep their sexuality, while when Penny plays it, and is sucked in, she loses hers because, as Sheldon says in an earlier episode, “no one can be that good looking and good at video games.”[5] More than that, this show overlays a laugh track, like most sitcoms, making it nearly impossible for the audience to create another reading of this female character.”

in the _world_

Assassin’s Creed Unity

In anticipation of the game’s November 11 release date, Ubisoft has released a new video detailing the Parisian world of Assassin’s Creed: Unity. While there are still no playable female assassins (although I suppose Ubisoft is stepping up its game a bit), the game world has been significantly enhanced. Arno, the assassin, can solve murder mysteries, engage in co-op treasure hunts, take on extensive side missions, and explore the rich world of eighteenth century Paris all while completing the main mission. In addition, the video gives us another example of just how stunning and life-like the graphics of the game are–it’s almost as though we are in Paris ourselves.

The Black Glove

Do these game captures look eerily familiar? The Black Glove is the newest game from Day For Night Games, the developers of the Bioshock series. The player is the new curator of The Equinox, a failing 1920’s era theater, and must find a way to revitalize the commissioned artists’ work so that the theater does not fail. The Black Glove takes the importance of choice from Bioshock to the next level, as players actually change the story and course of the game through the decisions they make. Through gameplay (literally: arcade gameplay), the player gains the ability to go back in time, change either the artists’ content, medium, or muse, in order to affect what happens in the present time of the game. As a result, there are many possible narrative paths that the game can take, and while short in comparison to Bioshock it can be played differently multiple times.

If this sounds interesting and exciting to you, head over to the game’s Kickstarter to view the demo video and throw in a dollar or two so that the game can actually exist!

Battlefield Hardline

In the past decade there has been a trend of first-person shooters that take place in war zones, using the current US military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan as game plot fodder. Visceral Games is no stranger to this genre, whose Battlefield series takes place during WWII and the Vietnam War among others. Uncritically, the series is moving to another site of American militarism–America. Battlefield Hardline has players playing not as soldiers, but as police doing what the police do: fighting crime by shooting everyone. An August review of the game from the Paris Review outlines the troubling accuracy and tastelessness of the game, noting that the game trailer was released a mere four days after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and highlights the opening scene of the trailer in which a white criminal uses a young white woman to lure her boyfriend, a young black cop named Marcus, and his partner, a Latino named Nick, into his clutches. Additionally, we don’t learn the two are cops until the next scene, as they try to escape. The woman is distraught upon learning that her boyfriend would also be taken, and as Marcus is being led away the criminal says that “race is not a factor here–my dislike of you is strictly personal”. It is as though making the cops not white was the game’s attempt to get around accusations of racism, but as we see in the scene above it doesn’t really work.

you have to see it to believe it game trailer of the week

This week’s highlight goes to the trailer for Battlefield Hardline, which you really have to see to believe. This game glorifies the militarization of American police, using men of color as police to try to get around discussions of how this militarism disproportionately affects communities of color. Interestingly, on Visceral Games’ website when asked why the game release is being pushed back to 2015, it is because they want to create the deepest and most complex game experience possible, including “evolv[ing] the cops and criminals fantasy into a truly unique Battlefield Multiplayer experience” and “adding a few new [features] that will support a deeper “crime revenge” story experience”. The idea of fantasizing about “cops and criminals” in a game world where the player is effectively all-powerful, the weaponry is top of the line, violence is encouraged, and (at least in the trailer) the cops are black and brown so the player doesn’t have to feel like a racist is terrifying, to say the least. Lastly–remember as you watch that this trailer was released within the same week that Michael Brown was killed by Ferguson police.

Battlefield Hardline trailer (YouTube)

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