Studying Pixels show

Studying Pixels

Summary: Studying Pixels combines game studies and a joyful engagement with video game culture. Every Sunday, game studies scholar Stefan Heinrich Simond and Japanese scholar Dan Hughes cover anything from reviews of contemporary games to news stories and from academic deep-dives to controversial discussions—all wrapped up in a sincere appreciation of everything geeky. See for privacy and opt-out information.

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 Game Worlds to Take a Vacation in | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 49:39

Have you ever played a game and just thought to yourself: “wow, I would really love to take a vacation in that world”? – Well, we certainly have! Here are our top picks, ten game worlds that would make for a splendid getaway.Website | Twitter | Instagram See for privacy and opt-out information.

 The Ethics of Pirating Video Games (with Shlomo Sher and Andy Ashcraft) | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 56:02

Most of us have done it at some point, possibly without any awareness of the harm it might cause. After all, piracy has for a long time been an integral part of video game culture. To discuss whether there is any moral angel from which piracy can be justified, we collaborate with Shlomo Sher, Philosophy professor at California State University Fullerton, and Andy Ashcraft, veteran game designer and lecturer in Game Design and Screenwriting at the New York Film Academy, from the Ethics and Video Games podcast.ShownotesPC piracy survey results: 35 percent of PC gamers pirate (Wes Fenlon)How Serious is Piracy in the Videogame Industry? (Nobuya Fukugawa)Twitter | Instagram | Reddit See for privacy and opt-out information.

 Subverting Hypermasculinity | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 58:40

Men must be strong, show little emotion, and speak with violence—that is an exceedingly common trope in video games, referred to as hypermasculinity. We explore the concept of hypermasculinity to then focus on games that subvert or deconstruct it.ShownotesMeasuring a macho personality constellation (Donald L. Mosher and Mark Sirkin)Walking, Talking and Playing with Masculinities in Firewatch (Melissa Kagen)Studying Pixels Plus 2. How Yakuza worksWebsite | Twitter | Instagram See for privacy and opt-out information.

 The Quarry | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1:09:14

After it’s surprise hit Until Dawn, Supermassive Games has rather consistently underwhelmed fans of cinematic, decision-based horror games. The Quarry is its attempt to return to form. With a couple of teenagers on the last night at summer camp, does this spiritual sequel stick the landing? Here’s our spoiler-free review!Get Studying Pixels PlusWebsite | Twitter | Instagram See for privacy and opt-out information.

 Summer Game Fest 2022: Mediocre at best | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 55:34

Since E3 is taking an extended vacation, Geoff Keighley has taken it upon himself to fill the summer lull with a major showcase. But does it live up to expectations? We go over the high- and lowlights of Summer Game Fest 2022.ShownotesSummer Game Fest 2022 Full Presentation (GameSpot)Summer Game Fest Showcase 2022: Everything Announced Including The Last of Us Remake for PS5 (Adam Bankhurst)Website | Twitter | Instagram See for privacy and opt-out information.

 Reading Schulzke’s Defending the Morality of Violent Video Games | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1:18:24

Do we have a moral obligation towards virtual characters? Or do games threaten to corrupt our understanding of virtue? Time to continue our conversation about violence in video games; this time with Markus Schulzke’s Defending the Morality of Violent Video Games.In our side quests, we then talk about France trying to maintain the purity of its language, Elon Musk trying to get away not crediting people, and the endless journey that is Elden Ring.Shownotes00:07:52 Reading Schulzke’s Defending the Morality of Violent Video Games (2010)Studying Pixels 33. Reading Waddington’s Locating the Wrongness in Ultra-Violent Video Games01:00:04 France bans English gaming tech jargon in push to preserve language purity (The Guardian)01:06:09 Elon Musk Gets into Embarrassing Fight with Video Game Site, Loses (Ashley Bardhan)01:11:42 Elden RingTwitter | Instagram | Reddit See for privacy and opt-out information.

 Terrible Marketing Choices | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1:13:47

How about we advertise a new game by paying off people’s speeding tickets for one day? Or, even better, how about we showcase a dead goat for some extra PR? Or maybe we plaster the inner city with racist billboards? – Sometimes it is truly impressive what publishers come up with to draw attention to their games. We go through 10 of the arguably most terrible marketing choices ever made.In our side quests, we refresh our minds on the beauty of Xenoblade Chronicles and ponder some special quirks in the way we play Elden Ring.Shownotes00:02:36 Terrible Marketing Choices00:57:31 Xenoblade Chronicles01:03:41 Elden RingTwitter | Instagram | Reddit See for privacy and opt-out information.

 Reading Waddington’s Locating the Wrongness in Ultra-Violent Video Games | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1:26:53

The list of controversies revolving around violence in video games is long. But is there anything morally wrong with explicit violence in games? And moreover, where does our the apprehension towards violence in games come from? Join us for a reading of David I. Waddington’s Locating the Wrongness in Ultra-Violent Video Games.In our side quests, we discuss Microsoft’s DRM policy, the rumours circulating around a new Silent Hill game, and the indirect return of Fortnite to the App Store.Shownotes00:09:04 Reading David I. Waddington’s Locating the Wrongness in Ultra-Violent Video GamesStudying Pixels Plus 2. How the ESRB works01:06:52 Microsoft's dodgy DRM comes into the limelight, and no-one's smiling (Martin Robinson)01:13:13 Konami just "confirmed" the rumors of a new Silent Hill game (Ray Ampoloquio)01:19:30 After a 2-year absence, 'Fortnite' is back on iPhones — but not the App Store (Ben Gilbert)Twitter | Instagram | Reddit See for privacy and opt-out information.

 Star Wars Video Games: A Fraught History | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1:08:20

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Star Wars games thrived under the LucasArts label. Spanning genre and platform alike, there was no shortage of interesting and compelling video game stories told in the broader Star Wars universe. But what happened after Disney bought out Lucasfilm? This week, we explore two very different eras of Star Wars games and look ahead to what’s in store for their future!In our side quests, we discuss Square Enix selling IPs like Tomb Raider and Deus Ex to Embracer Group, the addition of Ocarina of Time into the Video Game Hall of Fame, playing Elden Ring without a helmet, and N64 as well as Sega Genesis games on the Nintendo Switch.Shownotes00:05:08 Star Wars Video Games: A Fraught History00:41:34 Embracer Group purchases several Square Enix studios and IPsEmbracer Group enters into an agreement to acquire Eidos, Crystal Dynamics, and Square Enix Montréal amongst other assets (Embracer PR Release)Execution of Share Transfer Agreement with Change to Subsidiaries (Square Enix Press Release)Here’s why Deus Ex and Tomb Raider could thrive under Embracer (Christopher Dring)00:55:26 Ocarina of Time headlines Video Game Hall of Fame class of 2022 (Ryan Gilliam)00:57:40 Elden Ring01:01:00 Playing N64 and Sega Genesis Games on the SwitchTwitter | Instagram | Reddit See for privacy and opt-out information.

 Which Gamer Type Are You? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1:35:27

Six categories, nine vastly different types. This time, we do a bit of introspection, look at what motivates us to play and what we are yearning for by participating in Quantic Foundry’s Gamer Motivation Profile.In our side quests, we then discuss a ten steps guide on how to interpret video games, share our impressions of Kirby and the Forgotten Land as well as the recent PAX East.Shownotes00:02:28 Which Gamer Type Are You?00:59:55 How to Interpret Digital Games? A Hermeneutic Guide in Ten Points, With References and Bibliography(Michał Kłosiński)01:21:10 Kirby and the Forgotten Land01:29:43 PAX East ImpressionsTwitter | Instagram | Reddit See for privacy and opt-out information.

 The Best Mashups That Don’t Exist | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 58:50

Say you could cobble together any video game franchises and pair any developer studio with any series. What would you desire to play? Maybe a Silent Hill game by Ninja Theory? Or a Kingdom Hearts authored by Yoko Taro? Or should Level-5 Games finally make the Pokémon game we all desire? Come along and let your imagination run wild for a moment.Twitter | Reddit | Instagram See for privacy and opt-out information.

 10 Awesome Easter Eggs | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1:09:35

Easter eggs can be so much: from an earthly form of crediting developers to self-reflective humor, up to entire transformations of how a game can be read. We go through some of the most memorable easter eggs in video games.In out side quests we relish in anticipation of Kingdom Hearts 4, discuss Microsoft’s potential push of advertisements in console games, and complain about the PS5’s lackluster Bluetooth capabilities.Shownotes00:03:26 10 Awesome Easter Eggs00:46:14 Kingdom Hearts 400:53:14 Microsoft Is Building an Advertising Program for Xbox (Sean Czarnecki and Patrick Coffee)01:04:56 PS5’s Lacking Bluetooth CapabilitiesTwitter | Instagram | Reddit See for privacy and opt-out information.

 Reading Miguel Sicart’s Against Procedurality | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1:20:59

“Players don’t need the designer”, says Miguel Sicart, “they need a game, an excuse and a frame for play.” How much power do rule systems have over the performative process of play? And how is meaning actualized in between the two? We discuss Sicart’s argument Against Procedurality.In our side quests, we then go into the issue of anti-semitism in Hogwarts Legacy, share our review on KungFu Kickball, and ponder the trembling online infrastructure of the Dark Souls series.Shownotes00:05:48 Reading Miguel Sicart’s Against ProceduralitySicart, Miguel (2011) Against ProceduralityStudying Pixels #22 Reading Ian Bogost: The Rhetoric of Video Games00:51:26 Listener Mail: Antisemitism in Hogwarts LegacyStudying Pixels #27 Should We Shun Hogwarts Legacy?01:05:37 KungFu Kickball01:11:34 Dark Souls multiplayer tags disappear from Steam, and fans are getting nervous (Andy Chalk)Twitter | Instagram | Reddit See for privacy and opt-out information.

 Should We Shun Hogwarts Legacy? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1:26:18

On more than one occasion, J.K. Rowling has proven to be profoundly ignorant to the concerns of trans people. So should we shun Hogwarts Legacy, a promising title with a troubled background? And can we ever hope for the ‘death of the author’ (in the sense of Roland Barthes’ literary theory), if said author is actively fearmongering on Twitter? These and more questions we discuss to explore whether we should shun Hogwarts Legacy.In our side quests, we then talk about the cancellation of E3, the rework of PlayStation Plus, and our impressions of Ghostwire Tokyo.Shownotes00:06:44 Should We Shun Hogwarts Legacy?J.K. Rowling Writes about Her Reasons for Speaking out on Sex and Gender Issues (Joanne Kathleen Rowling)A Complete Breakdown of the J.K. Rowling Transgender-Comments Controversy (Abby Gardner)Judith Butler: ‘We need to rethink the category of woman’ (Jules Gleeson)Butler, Judith (1990) Gender TroubleButler, Judith (1996) Bodies That MatterHarry Potter Video Game Will Allow Transgender Characters (Jason Schreier)Why I’m not buying the Harry Potter game (Stacey Henley)00:59:56 E3 2022 - Digital and Physical - Has Officially Been Canceled (Rebekah Valentine)01:06:45 All-new PlayStation Plus launches in June with 700+ games and more value than ever (Jim Ryan)01:18:51 Ghostwire TokyoTwitter | Instagram | Reddit See for privacy and opt-out information.

 Elden Ring | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1:14:34

Rise, Tarnished! Elden Ring has been getting nothing but perfect reviews, but does it really live up to the hype? The short answer is yes, but you should still listen to why Elden Ring is the most fun open-world game since Breath of the Wild. Beautiful vistas, well-written characters, and satisfying gameplay abound in this discussion of FromSoftware’s latest triumph!In our side quests, we then debate Rockstar Games’ announcement of GTA+ and give our final review of Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin.Shownotes00:02:23 Elden Ring00:55:13 Introducing GTA+ for GTA Online (Rockstar Games)01:05:39 Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy OriginTwitter | Instagram | Reddit See for privacy and opt-out information.


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