here we go…and a little history, too.


well, i’ve given a few of my friends the heads up about this, but i’m starting up a blog. a few years ago i tried this because i had to…that didn’t work out so well. i was in grad school and it was a requirement. as i’m sure all of us can attest to, anything that we are required to do never lasts all that long. plus, what we were supposed to blog about wasn’t exactly all that interesting. that blog has subsequently been deleted, either by myself or the gods of the blogosphere i’m not entirely sure. this blog, however, was much more of my own idea. let me tell you how it came about.

a couple of years ago, the summer of ’06 to be exact, i, after having railed against them for so long, got hooked into video games. honestly it wasn’t a gradual progression. because of some personal issues in my life at that time, i was having trouble focusing on the things i really enjoyed — namely reading books and writing papers and articles for literary journals. one afternoon, while wiling away the time at my parents home, waiting to move to either orlando or charlotte, i found an old copy of myst III in one of my storage boxes. i had played the original myst on my old gateway desktop — a monsterous beast of a computer that is, i believe, still resting quietly in my parent’s attic — but had been unable to run myst III on that computer’s cpu. it went ito a drawer and vanished for five years. until i found it again, of course. i put the disks (all five of them) into the brand new laptop and presto! i had myst III loaded and running. the next thing i knew, i was looking up from the screen, staring blankly at my watch, and realizing that eight hours had passed by without my knowledge.

from there on out it was like fate had taken a hand. from myst III to some adventure game i can’t even remember the name of, to dreamfall (which had a really crappy framerate on my dinky piece), to fable, and finally to halo (i know, i came to it a little bit late), f.e.a.r., and on to half-life one and two (by the way, try beating the last couple of drop ships with framerate problems — that tests one’s patience), i was hooked. i realized at that point that my little laptop just didn’t have the juice. so i picked up a ps2, worked my way through resident evil 5, final fantasy XII, and more; finally jacked into an old xbox to play halo 2 (and then on to doom 3, chronicles of riddick, etc.); up to the 360 when halo 3 came out; and then, the penultimate buy — my 40 gig ps3 (on which i am presently enjoying brother’s in arms: hell’s highway). haven’t really touched a wii yet, and don’t honestly plan to.

so, that’s great. your a gamer now. played most of the biggies and enough jrpg’s to make you sound cool. listen to the podcasts and hang around gamestop every once in while. why should anyone read another blog about video games and other forms of multi-media? well, i’ll tell you why; and then i’ll tell you whether or not this blog will actually do what i’m setting out to do.

shawn elliot, the former editor of 1up and games for windows magazine, recently participated in a final set of podcasts on 1up yours, with garnett lee. his second to last podcast saw him speak out vehemently of the need for serious, intelligent, and well-versed game journalists. he began by discussing a book he had recently read (which, having read parts of it now, myself, i highly recommend — especially for those who have an interest on the intersections of art and science) called proust was a neuroscientist. without going into a lengthy analysis of his thesis, let me simply say that he was arguing for a different kind of video game journalist. not just the ones who are decently well read in narrative or story or in the technological side of games; but rather one who is a real critic, one who has studied the art of criticism (i.e. examining a text for its philosophical, cultural, and aesthetic ramifications, to put it bluntly, briefly, and unjustly) and can apply that to the text of video games. honestly, it was somewhat stirring. on my part, sad? maybe; interesting? definitely.

after having pursued a few of the different possibilities and paths that life has to offer, i have finally settled down and decided to stay in education for the rest of my professional career. i am going on to work on my phd next summer. i am a university professor, advanced high school teacher, and published author on literary criticism. and i play video games. i love video games. i sat up last night playing brothers in arms until almost 1.30 in the morning even though i knew i had to go to the gym with my sister at 5.15. and i thought to myself — this is something, with a little practice and work, that i bet i could do, that i would really like doing. critical theory has not made me stop loving literature, so why would it make me stop loving games? so here we go.

three last notes — i’m new to this whole thing: gaming, and reviewing this type of media. so i will take a while to get into it. i plan on reviewing and discussing games for the most part at the beginning. the critical take will come later and probably in increments. but i’m not going to go out and buy a game to play just because. i’ll play the games i want and review what i want. i’m playing by my own drummer. and no, i won’t review “rock hero.” (that names a joke, folks). nor will i play them — i like stories too much. and it will simply be me talking about games i’ve played and liked, played and disliked, and games i want to play. this isn’t an industry insider blog. don’t really care to write about the news; there’s plenty of those blogs out there (maybe too many).

secondly, i’ll also review and discuss some tv shows and movies. there’s some tv shows i love and movies i really want to see (or have seen); i’d like to write about them. mostly i’ll just be giving my opinions on the writing, production, acting, etc., but sometimes i might try to delve a little deeper. who knows? video games are expensive, and even though i got a lot of credit at gamestop, its a lot cheaper to watch reruns of burn notice on hulu.

thirdly, and finally, i will be occasionally posting some more personal or literary info on this page. i am in graduate/post-graduate school and there’s lots of interesting things to tackle, especially when i’m getting ready to present a paper at a conference or submitting something to a journal. your thoughts, comments, and criticisms are most welcome. i’m also on twitter and facebook (any more, though and i might bust a brain node), so feel free to follow those links below. love to have ya on board.

well, right now i’m in alaska (anchorage) and no i can’t see russia, but i can see a lot of russians. so its butt cold out there and i’m in a warm library with stacks of stuff around me i’ve got to do, so its time to sign off. so to borrow a line from garnett lee (1up), until next time, we’re ghosts.

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4 thoughts on “here we go…and a little history, too.

  1. Samuel Schneider says:

    Wow. Just wow. This blog’s potential defies imagination! I love the frankness and genuine passion.

    I don’t know if you remember much about me other than that I was in your 10th grade English Lit class at VCS, but I have been a gamer for about 15 years, and basically everything you said resonates. I can’t wait to see where you take this blog, and I sincerely hope that you don’t abandon it.

    A hearty hello from North Carolina,

    Sam

    P.S. I think Burn Notice on Hulu/Fancast may be the best thing to ever hit the web.

  2. ikereeder says:

    ha, ha! sam! of course i remember you! jeez. you can’t forget the schneiders! i know we’re friends on facebook, so we don’t have to do this over a comment feed, shoot me a message and give me the update. last i heard you were at notre dame. what are you doing now?

  3. c eliott j says:

    Love the blog concept Ike. With the new focus of gaming on producing more cinematic gameplay, critical analysis of story lines and the overall experience are going to be a metric worth measuring. Personally, I think that after you finish your PhD you should go try to work with Peter Molyneux on some huge unattainable project.

    *c

    btw, did I ever tell you that I almost went to work with Cyan Studios back in 99? Myst was like digital TB, lulling you in it’s time killing embrace. Loved that game like sugar.

  4. ikereeder says:

    no! you didn’t tell me that about cyan. that is crazy though. back in the riven days (and novelizations, but we’ll leave that out of the equation for a while…) and who wouldn’t want to work with peter molyneux on something? seriously. from what i’ve heard he’s pretty much the mad genius in the closet in terms of what he wants to do with meta-narrative, interaction, and basic gameplay. crazy. you at cyan. that would have been a blast. thanks for the comments, bro, and the encouragment.

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