ARCADE FIRE #13: December 22 – December 27th

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By Harry Rabinowitz

Here, we spotlight the movements, mods, and works of art within gaming culture for your ultimate enjoyment. The weekly post is your central point to see just how video games influence the world around us.

With 2015 rapidly approaching, many outlets have been putting together their “reviews” of the year. However, Medium, Matter, and Chris Suellentrop of the New York Times have done something a little different and a bit amazing: The New York Review of Video GamesThe collaboration is a collection of multiform works from figures not only in videogames but in books, television, and sports. Best of all, each piece feels refreshingly personal and unabashedly intelligent. From Ken Levine talking narrative and Shadow of Mordor to eight artists illustrating their childhood video-game obsessions, every piece in The New York Review of Video Games is a treat.

Killscreen has not only been compiling their top 25 games of 2014, but also been writing on the “Big Ideas” of 2014. Their “Year in Ideas” collection is now complete, ranging the gambit from this year in maps, in crowdplaying, in humor, in architecture, in blank space, in anti-game, in consumption, and in ass. If that last one threw you off a bit, I’ll let David Rudin remind you that, for the vast majority of playtime in many of our games, we are looking at character’s butts. Each piece in the collection serves as a reflection of and insight into the themes of 2014.

Gamasutra is also listing their top picks of 2014. But they are also bringing their best articles of 2014 back to the front page. Two articles in particular that caught my fancy were Joseph Mirabello’sHow Long Does It Take to Make an Indie Game?” and Michael Gnade’sInternet Entrepreneurship: How to Avoid Becoming a Stressed Out Loner“. Thanks to Mirabello’s “addiction to time tracking”, his article provides an astonishingly detailed account of the three years behind his indie game Tower of Guns. He breaks down work hours, efficiency of said work hours, time spent in each phase of development, time spent on scripting, level design, marketing, business, bug fixing… what I’m trying to say is that it’s absurdly thorough. Gnade, founder of IndieGameStand, takes a different approach, focusing more on the emotions that come with being your own boss rather than the numbers. In the end, Gnade believes being independent is certainly worth it, but it comes with its own set of problems, including “The Struggle”.

If you see anything that you feel is culturally relevant, artistic in merit, or just all-around cool for gamers — please don’t hesitate to let us know @HaroldGoldberg, @KevitoClark, and @HarryRabinowitz.

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