/ Zoya Street / 7 am Mon, Feb 1 2016
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  • This week in games: inactivity, brutalism, The Witness and more

    This week in games: inactivity, brutalism, The Witness and more

    Zoya Street, curator of Critical Distance, offers slow reflections on the fast-paced world of digital play…

    What is a game if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare?

    Chris Priestman gave a beautifully-written account of one of my favourite topics: inactivity.

    "There’s a satisfaction to be derived in comparing our own motionlessness to the busyness of the world around us—to be the silence among the noise. This dichotomy can help us meditate on the glory of that singular moment."

    For those who enjoy awe and wonder at the majesty of concrete, Hamish Grace offered a detailed, games-oriented overview of Brutalism, an architectural style that has been increasingly significant in games of late.

    It's often said that games allow us to walk in somebody else's shoes, but what if the shoes don't quite fit? It's enlightening to hear from somebody who has directly experienced the situation a title purports to simulate. Reflecting on his past work as a journalist in a communist regime, Zach Hines argued that newspaper simulator the Westport Independent portrays a naive view of self-censorship.


    Avant-garde art blog "We make money not art" covered a French festival featuring games as well as some remarkable digital art installations (part one | part two)


    Finally, Darius Kazemi's interactive review of The Witness is affectionate and illuminating; a lovely thing to observe and ponder.


    If you're not quite done quietly contemplating videogames, you'll find lots more material in the full roundup post on our website. For regular updates, follow Critical Distance on Twitter and consider pledging your support on Patreon.


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    Notable Replies

    1. I've been playing through The Witness, and for a game oriented around variations on a single puzzle it's a great game.

      Except for one group of puzzles... (possible minor spoiler warning)
      There's a group that relies on sounds, and this group of puzzles can just go f*kc itself right off as far as I'm concerned. It starts off fine, until you get to one with overlapping sounds including a "wolf howl" that just makes me want to stab my eardrums out with a knitting needle. And then any failure on the following puzzle forces you to go back and re-solve the previous one, with that f*cking wolf howl playing all over again. And then finishing off that area requires permanently (as far as I can tell) blocking off a really nice shortcut path across the island. Arrrrgggh!

      Other than that one group, I've been mostly enjoying it. Some of the rules are really not very clearly revealed, and there have been a couple of times that I've come across where a slightly different ordering of puzzles would have made much more sense, but that doesn't happen too often.

    2. The Witness is a study of calm, peaceful mind expansion, right up until your controller smashes its way through your tv.

    3. girard says:

      Nice! It's been over a month since Offworld posted - I was worried it had gone defunct. Though a single aggregated post itself appropriated from another site doesn't exactly bode well...

    4. I thought offworld was always a snippet of stuff from critical distance? Anyway, i'm glad it's back because i'm liable to forget to check there.

      Some really thought-provoking articles in there, took up most of my afternoon. Thanks.

    Continue the discussion bbs.boingboing.net

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