Game Time: The best stories about games, culture, and community (Feb 6-11)

With the help of my graduate assistant Sammi Kirby, each week I’ll pull together stories about games, culture, and the art and design of communities. Where Dungeons & Dreamers: A story of how computer games created a global community ends, this blog begins. If we’ve missed a story, let us know. Or share you’re story with us in the comments.


We’ll start our round up with one of the most important stories:

  • Game industry pauses to say thanks to the father of gaming: Ralph Baer, father of video games, died last year. In his place, his son accepted the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences’ Pioneer Awards at the 2015 DICE awards. This article details the speech, and how at the end those in attendance said thanks to Baer.

The Gaming Phenomenon

  • League Of Legends “Open Letter To Parents” Is Sensible Reading: The “Open Letter To Parents” that is a practical way to guide parents and “help them stop making their kids look like assholes.” This is just a short article talking about how it’s a good thing for parents to have.
  • Should computer games be considered sports? The story is a 56 minutes video where people talk about the idea of gaming as a sport. They claim that video gaming has the same elements of sports: stamina, teamwork, mental and physical agility, “the excitement, the adrenaline.” If you win a tournament, you can win a six-figure-salary, and the revenues and marketing are steadily increasing for gaming.
  • Studying RPGs as a cultural phenomenon: GroovyGoblin posted asking about university-level books and essays about analyzing RPG as a cultural phenomenon. The comments section is full of people trying to help with links to articles, or talking about how there are few articles on tabletop RPG’s.

The Art + Culture of Games

  • Worth Reading: When Games Make Us Feel Sad, Disgusted, and Empty:The author talks about how videogames are expanding into something that’s for more than fun, that people have disagreements of what videogames are. And with virtual reality, we’re just now starting to understand the long term impacts.The article also includes two videos, a list of crowdfunding projects, interesting tweets, and links to other interesting content.
  • The Surprising Benefits of Role-Playing Games (and How to Get Started): The author once thought role-playing games were for geeks, but found through experience that they can give you real world skills. The games are social gatherings that requires creativity and mental quickness. The article talks about the benefits of playing and gives information about how to get started.
  • A Pixelated Platform Game That Never Plays the Same Way Twice: Moonman is a game that has an old-school feel, can be finished in an hour, but every new session everything from tools, villages, forests, weapons and more are newly generated. The article includes a video of the game, and the rest is about the development of the game and its creator.

Tabletop Gaming

  • Why one of D&D’s biggest video game devs thinks that tabletop game has lost its way: Urquhart is quoted as saying that they don’t know how to go forward with D&D. This feeling of D&D losing something led to Obsidian Entertainment actually decided to create games based on its competitor Pathfinder instead. He thinks one of the problems is that D&D is actually under a company that’s under Hasbro, which led to it losing its identity and a certain necessary focus.
  • Engineering to Dungeoneering (And Everything In-Between): The author and his team created software that allows the user to have a free, limitless, interactive map for tabletop gamers. The software lets the users design the area of play, and allows for turn-based combat. The article includes two teaser trailers for the software, which will be released in March.

Virtual Reality

  • Game|Life Podcast: What Microsoft’s HoloLens Means for Oculus Rift: This is an hour long podcast, episode 137: Holograms! Peter Rubin talks about Microsoft’s augmented reality initiative, Bob Moore talks about his feature on #IDARB, and the author talks about Nintendo news.
  • Virtual letdown: Dying Light shows the difficulties of first-person VR: This article is about how Techland added Oculus Rift support to their game Dying Light, which Belle said was awesome but the author of this article disagrees. They found visual glitches, it wasn’t super simple to turn on the virtual reality option, the VR format is low resolution, the menu system and interface were unusable while in VR, and nausea when sidestepping. The rest of the article is about fixing the problems and emphasizing the point that you can’t just turn any regular game into a VR game without work.

Our Man Richard