Wow. Amazing material: More Ryan Andrews.
Infamous was an interesting game. My son and I played through it over the last couple of weeks. A couple of quick ideas:
1. There’s no gore but the game does go for grit.
2. The game play is pretty tame though the combat can be psychologically relentless.
Gameplay in Infamous is driven by an interesting ethics or choice narrative. Cole, the protagonist, can move through his goals taking good or evil actions, thus calling attention to why Sucker Punch designers deemed one action good and one action bad. When I was first confronted with the decision fork, I chose good action, that is to attack a group of soldiers inhibiting escape off a quarantined island by avoiding harm to civilians. The evil and easier method of fighting would have been to start the battle shielded within the crowd, thus keeping the focus of fire off of Cole. The notion of the human shield is pretty thick throughout the game.
As the player moves through the game in the process uncovering information about several conflicts, some personal, some environmental, the player takes on a pattern of ethical behavior, hence establishing player “character.” It just doesn’t seem right to run down the roads healing people with your healing powers and then deciding next day to leach them of their life force. The later action is an “evil action.” The fictitious space, demolished after an explosion, is comprised of three plague infested islands. Nothing in the behavior of the survivors or the strange enemies compels good or evil choices from the player. In other words, to beat the game, the player can ignore ethical risk, but in my case I felt compelled to follow the ethical chain, so, at the end, I made what felt was the right choice given my behavioral habit
I could go back now and play the game in two additional ways and consider how outcomes might change: take on an evil persona or mix the personas.
In any event, character in Infamous is what I would describe as novelistic, as it takes time for Cole to emerge as a fictional being. There was one ethical scenario where Cole emerged as a character separate from the player, which is what’s interesting about play. We learn a lot about characters in story and novels by learning how others react to them or how they affect others, though we can’t affect any of these relationships. What’s different about the game is that what appears to develop is an observational third, the persona who watches the avatar and the player from a distance, the persona who says, “How will I play such and such a scenario; how will I direct Cole?”
Scott Eric Kaufman at the Valve is exploring image and narrative here in the context of comics.
Will he delve into McCloud?
Joshua Radke has posted a new comic titled Stitched Crosses. The first five pages are up for reading.
A former English Templar is hiding from God and his past. The lady of his heart and a noble Hospitaller try to slow his downward spiral to despair. A letter left by a slain mentor acts as the calling that the knight must return to the Land of Christ, and his failures. There he will determine whether God means to set his conscience free from the weight of his burdens and restore him, or whether he must sacrifice himself to attain his absolution…
As Christendom makes a push to retake Outremer from Saladin’s Muslim forces, historical events and exciting period action serve as the canvas to this story of one knight wrestling with his spirit.
Ian Gordon on comics.
Reading Reading Comics while on the road in Australia and the USA the chapter on Starlin and his handling of Warlock jumped out at me together with the chapter on Tomb of Dracula. To be sure these two chapters took me back to the 1970s when I was in the habit of reading comic books on a very regular basis for amusement and diversion, but it was not so much a sense of nostalgia that gripped me but a sense of rediscovery and that these comics had spoken to me in ways that at the time I could not articulate.
Susan Gibb writes
Storyspace has indeed opened up Paths into much more than it started out being, and I’ve posted several times on its methods of accomplishing this. However, in this particular project, in changing the narrative structure–rerouting I guess you’d call it–I find any creative force squelched by the need to find connecting words that build bridges between the threads of story to make the whole thing work.
This sounds like a question or problem of schema. How do links in a fiction work naturally or as naturally as possible given the work, characters, conflict, and tendencies of stylistics. It’s not just a question on link, but maybe even several in their sequence as relationships.
or is it
fire water earth and mist
The other day it struck me that Blummer loved death. That’s right, death. He lives in a fantasy world, of course, where he’s caught just clips of black in windows, halls, and bathrooms. It doesn’t have to be a fantasy world. Death, of course, doesn’t mean death at all. This is a question of POV.
Finally I can give big congratulations to Jordan, now assistant editorial staff at Marvel Comics. Jordan’s an all around creative human, energetic, swiftly smart, and about the nicest guy I know, and, of course, I’m married to his mother. Jordan’s wife’s a gem too. If you want to be related to someone, you want to be related to these people.
Here’s to you, kid.
Soon, I’ll provide mention to the lists he’ll be working on.
I have a question about Heroes. Much of Isaac’s work appears to be fairly literal rendering of sequence. Why?