Thursday, December 29, 2011


"Something so trifling in single instances that no mathematical instrument, though capable of transmitting shocks in China, could register the vibration; yet in its fulness rather formidable and in its common appeal emotional; for in all the hat shops and tailors' shops strangers looked at each other and thought of the dead; of the flag; of Empire. In a public house in a back street a Colonial insulted the House of Windsor which led to words, broken beer glasses, and a general shindy, which echoed strangely across the way in the ears of girls buying white underlinen threaded with pure white ribbon for their weddings. For the surface agitation of the passing car as it sunk grazed something very profound." (Mrs. Dalloway)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Narcissistic Hermeneutic

Lists, right. Stacking things up and ordering them, slotting them into hierarchies of... what, exactly? It's certainly not a list of objectively great games. There are, objectively, better games in 2011 than Catherine. Skyrim obviously. But I still like Catherine better than Skyrim, if for no other reason than that it is out-of-its-mind bonkers and, at least in the North American market, absolutely unique. And Shadows of the Damned. Oh, gosh... Shadows of the Damned. I love that game the same way I love Bayonetta--guiltily. So I could have easily placed it on this list. But it's not a great game--not like Gears of War 3, with its polish and razor-fine production, each system operating in perfect harmony with the others, is a great game. But Gears of War 3 isn't on this list because I don't like it as much as I like these games. There are probably several rubrics out there for measuring a game's achievement, importance, or greatness, rubrics against which games can be evaluated and then fitted into a scheme, but the only one I've learned to care about (and the same goes for movies and television and books) is whether I like it. It's a narcissistic hermeneutic, I admit. But I don't care what the Metacritic score for Modern Warfare 3 is. I'd rather frantically push blocks around to form a path so I can escape from the gigantic demon-version of the girlfriend I cheated on (long story), or die over and over again banging my head against a boss until I figure out how to take him down, or neurotically scour every corner of a crime scene for that last little clue that will let me nail the son of a bitch to a wall. So, lists. Here's mine. Click images for trailers.

Occupy Skimpole!

"Why," he slowly replied, roughening his head more and more, "he is all sentiment, and--and susceptibility, and--and sensibility--and--and imagination. And those qualities are not regulated in him somehow. I suppose the people who admired him for them in his youth, attached too much importance to them, and too little to any training that would have balanced and adjusted them; and so he became what he is."

"Live, and let live, we say to them. Live upon your practical wisdom, and let us live upon you!" (Bleak House)