It’s time for my monthly linkspam, just a collection of articles I found interesting from the past month.
In the Shadow of the Holodeck – A couple of months ago, my linkspam featured an article by Ian Bogost called “Video games are better without stories“. This article here reinterprets Bogost as saying “most of even the successful cases of storytelling in video games are, formally speaking, extremely unambitious.” That is, successful video game stories are still very traditional in structure, rather than offering infinite branching possibilities. It turns out that people like traditional story structures. IMHO the problem with branching story structures is that it’s difficult to traverse them in a Hamiltonian path, so you either miss some content or you replay some content. This reminds me of Scott McCloud’s predictions about infinite canvas webcomics. Such webcomics exist but it turns out that they’re kind of clunky to actually navigate.
I did end up playing What Remains of Edith Finch, the game that inspired Bogost’s article. Contrary to what people were saying, this game was extremely literary. It was a story about stories about death. But yeah, the structure was almost entirely linear, and it could very well have been told in book form.
Games telling stories? – Here’s another article about whether games tell stories. It seems to be targeted at people taking games studies 101. I recommend it to anyone who wants to think about the question more systematically.
An intersex perspective on the trans, intersex, and TERF communities – This is an excellent article that gets into some of the differences in how trans and intersex communities talk about things, and how that can create friction. Found via Shiv.
Can Science “Prove” Bisexuality? Studies Suggest Yes – Trav wrote an article about studies on bisexuality. Well, there’s that famous 2005 study by Rieger, Chivers, & Bailey which supposedly disproved bisexuality in men. But the study had numerous flaws, and its conclusions weren’t quite as strong as the media made it out to be. Another study by Bailey revised those conclusions in 2011, and Trav refers to an even more recent paper this year, also coauthored by Bailey. Basically, it’s been obvious from the beginning that bisexual men exist, and even Michael Bailey could figure it out, eventually.
The economics of queer representation in video games – This is Larry’s response to my article. Larry does not dispute my main thesis (that queer video games will be scarce in any utilitarian system), but points out several ways that capitalism could make the problem worse. I agree with Larry, and thank him for his clear and concise explanation.
Neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett explains how emotions are made – This is what the title says. My main problem with this article is that it only offers a tantalizing hint of her research, and I wish I could learn more, but you know, without having to read a book about it. 😛