elana: (squishy)
[personal profile] elana
Brendan Keogh linked to a friend named Zolani Stewart who has been doing critical let's plays of Perfect Dark. He's even more formalistic in his approach, and from his language and observations, my brain immediately thought, "art critic!" Turns out that is what he calls himself in his bio.

It just makes me so happy to hear someone discuss stuff like use of space and the deliberate feeling of 'closeness' or 'openness' in level design, the way games can imply a living world outside the boundaries of the playable areas with locked doors, or settings whose layouts adhere to functions that are incongruous to the act of shooting and killing (office buildings, beach houses). I love that he took time to discuss the fence that was built into the Chicago level design to integrate the cutscene of the character's arrival, and that you can peer around the corner to see that the alleyway continues, implying the entirety of a complex urban landscape. He coined the term, "the Nintendo 64 aesthetic", to describe a look and feel that "prioritizes shapes over lighting effects" without making a value judgment based on technical shortcomings, so that he can talk about how the designers of Perfect Dark worked within that aesthetic to great effect.

This whole world of analytical discussion of video games is terribly exciting to me, if you couldn't tell. As an archaeologist, it sometimes seems like we get more permission to study something the older it is—which of course means the greatest loss of precious context and information. I'm excited to see this temporal collapse where other departments and fields have no compunctions about studying very contemporary things.

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