On cinematic games

I forgot to mention some things in my post on Virginia. I’ll express them here, and discuss the wider gaming context.

Games are increasingly borrowing various techniques from the medium of film. What’s going on here? Without delving into the motivations (expanding the audience to achieve financial growth, envy of film’s recognised cultural significance) there’s lots of stuff to examine: Continue reading “On cinematic games”


I played through the game Virginia this afternoon. It was 100 minutes long, and by God, it was a powerful experience.

I picked it up because of a strong recommendation from game critic Jon Denton.

After playing, first reaction was that I should recommend it to everyone alive. But after a moment of thought, I had serious reservations–maybe nobody should play this. I’ll just write my reactions and thoughts here. There’s no real need for me to write a full review. Just watch Jon’s. Then, maybe you want to play the game–I recommend it! Just be warned, it’s heavy stuff. Then read this. Continue reading “Virginia”

On communication and manipulation

3. All communication is `manipulation of signal-receiver by signal-sender.’

This profound communication, though it might easily have come from any used-car salesman reflecting on life, was actually sent by Dawkins, (in The Extended Phenotype, (1982), p. 57), to the readers whom he was at that point engaged in manipulating. Much as the devil, in many medieval plays, advises the audience not to take his advice.

From David Stove, 1994 ‘So You Think You Are a Darwinian?’

Stove cites this proposition as a peculiar Darwinian belief that’s obviously false. But he offers no refutation there. Maybe none is deserved. I don’t know if Dawkins argued for it or asserted it. (I should read The Extended Phenotype.) For now, I just want to examine the proposition.

Continue reading “On communication and manipulation”