The Iron Enclave
Independent Game Developers
The Witcher 2 Presents its narrative beautifully.
"Every statement carries with it a certain pissed-off-ness."

As an impartial observer, I often find myself perusing online forums in search of titillating new discussions, mostly pertaining to video games and all the rage surrounding them. However, on one fine evening while enjoying a fine beverage and listening to some wonderful jazz musics, I uncovered a rather interesting string of posts on Rock, Paper, Shotgun. I quickly became a very partial observer.

The issue at hand was whether or not video games, as an artistic medium, could be vehicles for narratives and storytelling, particularly ones that portray and promote a specific ideology. When I ask myself the question, "can video games be narrative vehicles as powerful as literature," I think, 'why, yes, they certainly can be!' and a few great games start to come to mind. Games like The Witcher 2, BioShock, Mass Effect, even the great Deus Ex - but where does fiction stop existing for the sake of expanding upon itself and instead exist only to perpetuate the gameplay and move the player from setpiece to setpiece? Read onwards to find out.

Dear Esther is amazingly beautiful...
Thoughtful pensive thoughts about thinking. And thoughts.

Now, I've been planning on doing this for quite some time – I'll be writing a series of articles on narratives in video games, as well as giving short reviews on the games themselves. It'll be a study on how we understand stories in games, and how they can be presented in a way that's both immersive and engaging. First, I'll give you my honest opinion, and then I'll bring up some discussion-worthy reflections that I've made. There are bound to be spoilers in those parts, but I'll make sure to make them apparent for any will-be players (spoiler tags, maybe?). The number of articles I have to write is yet to be seen, but I'm predicting something between 15-20 in the whole series. This might even become a regular thing, provided the circumstance (and Jesus) wills it. So, now that we've gotten the obligatory introduction paragraph out of the way, we can get onto the real content, eh? And what better game to start with than the recently-released Dear Esther? It's a vastly-improved edition of the cult-classic Half-Life 2 mod from 2008, and I'll tell you exactly why I'm enraptured here, so read onwards!

I delve into my archives to pull up this gem of a review about 2009's most overrated movie...

I first noticed the production value of Christopher Nolan's Inception during the dream scene in the Paris cafe, right after Leonardo DiCaprio asks, “Try to remember how you got here.” Immediately after, the fruit stand behind him explodes into a slow-motion example of perfect CGI tessellation, and the whole street is suddenly full of splinters of wood and bits of assorted fruits. I probably stopped the tape and re-watched this scene about twelve times, each time trying to spot a part where the fruit duplicated, or clipped through each other, noting that there was simply no way to do an effect like this without advanced CGI; but there were no flaws. Not a single fruit clipped, and not a single splinter collided improperly. Now, I know that there's plenty of software to do these calculations for you, but even with all the advanced rendering techniques, doing an effect like this takes some serious attention to detail, and Inception is full of minute details that make understanding the depth of the story after watching it only once incredibly difficult. Continue Reading

A Team Has Been Assembled! By Joseph Gorsline
Six All-Star Developers Now Unite under the Banner of The Enclave

It has taken many weeks of scouring our phone address books and spreading the word amongst our fellow neackbearded basement-dwellers to assemble a team as glorious as this, but indeed it has occurred. The Iron Enclave, now consisting of 6 individuals devoted to our mission of making excellent games, can now begin the development process! So far we have many ideas on the table, and very soon we should have some working prototypes for the pre-beta testing bin. We hope that in the next few months we'll be releasing our first full game, which is currently un-named as of this time (more info on that as it evolves) for the Android Marketplace and Apple App Store, as well as for the PC. Continue Reading

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