A thousand times the mysteries unfold like galaxies in my head.

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To associate myths with computer games may at first appear as nonsense, as a random connection between two concepts that loosely stand together. Firstly, because myths are most of the times treated as “cultural realities” that belong to a “traditional and archaic society” (Eliade, 1963:120). Secondly, because computer games are products that emanate exclusively from contemporary society, they represent the ultimate form of digital entertainment and cyber-reality expression. The two concepts seem separated not only by time or space, but by the very nature of the human societies that create them. In my project I will try to build a coherent link between the two apparently incompatible terms and, at the same time, I will try to obeserve this link on some of the most thorough games of all time, Bioshock and the “indie genre darling” Braid.

Why did Tomb Raider had to be reinvented? What was wrong with the generously breasted, fully lipped flawless female pistol wielder that used to territorial piss on ancient tombs with lame British jokes? If you look back in the press, it seems as if the Indiana Jones femme fatale concept has suddenly become exhausted, at least from the game publisher’s point of view. Does this mean that games are growing up, or is this the direct result of the fact that the demographics of players are changing, that women are slowly taking their rightful place at the keyboard and gamepad?

"Do you ever wonder if--well, if there are people living on the third planet?' 'The third planet is incapable of supporting life,' stated the husband patiently. 'Our scientists have said there's far too much oxygen in their atmosphere." - Chapter 'Ylla' from "The Martian Chronicles"
What better way is there to start a book than by denying the existence of its readers? Especially when this literary trick accurately marks the ironic absurd that consecrates Bradbury's "The Martian Chronicles" not as an encounter between the human and alien races, but as a cheeky and silly human monologue whose puniness contrasts deeply with the magnificence of the universe.

I'm not a big poker fan. In fact, I don't know my Flush from my Straight most of the times. But this doesn't mean I don't recognize a robust game mechanic when I see one. And after all, before there were video games, there were board games and before there were board games there was the almighty poker. I think all game designers have something to learn from the good ol' Texas Hold'em. Moreover, poker can make a video game experience feel round, or completely different. Let us see some ways in which poker mechanics are used throughout games.

In the universe of Wells, there is no such thing as the rationally elevated human being. Whatever traces of humane feelings and reasoning arise throughout the narrative, they are sure to be destroyed through the sudden arrival of exceptionally and stressing situations.

While reading Hawthorne's short stories, I noticed a deep tension between knowledge and beauty, as if they are two antithetical principles that automatically cancel eachother and cannot coexist. In my opinion, Hawthorne identifies beauty with a heightened kind of knowledge that opposes the earthly one: it is the latent and chaotical knowledge of the unmanifest, a sacred knowledge that reflects the fragile balance of the universe and one which cannot be grasped by the "scientific" mind.

Long story short, I've been missing my literary self. That's why I've taken up a course in "Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World" this summer. It's being offered through Coursera, under the University of Michigan. Since I'll be going through a lot of nifty literary pieces anyway, I though I should  post them on my blog as well, to have them here for the whole eternity. Or at least until the Internet breaks down. Nevertheless, my first assignment - a little bit of good ol' food for the childish soul inside me - Grimm's "Children's and Household Tales" or simply fairytales. I have chosen to focus on the symbolism of eating in some scarce 300 words. Enjoy below. 

It took a while but I finally got it done. I've read through and corrected/edited  my first academic paper, made sure everything is hunky dory and finally published it online. I could swear this was in my New Year's resolution like at least two years ago. Nevertheless, I am finally proud to announce my first tackle with the academic world - Computer games as Myth Reconstructions. A juicy 80-page essay filled with action, adventure and game drama. And some really exotic stuff you'll never read anywhere else because it's all from my head. Also featuring a fragment from Rodel Tapaya's The Creation Myths on the cover (thanks Google art project).

When thinking about the evolution of video games, we cannot, in any situation, separate it from technological advancement. “The history of the video game is, in parts, a history of technology” (Juul, 2001:online) because games rely on the processing power of technology to function, and even more extensively, to be visually represented. Some academic literature claims that the appearance of video games as such owes a lot to a cultural shift of perspective. But it is debatable whether this cultural shift was produced by an initial technological boom or that cultural development actually inspired new technology. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle, so that games appeared as a result of the mutual influence between culture and technology. To make myself clear, I’m going to quote Juul’s example: “the computer game was originally developed on equipment designed for military and academic purposes. But today the computer game is the driving force in the development of much hardware such as 3d graphics accelerators.”

If you're not in the least interested in the improving of the self, you might not know what a lucid dream is. A lucid dream is a  dream in which the dreamer is aware of the fact that he or she is dreaming and can alter the flow of the whole dream scenario. If you have at least once, during a nightmare, become conscious of the fact that you are indeed just dreaming and could wake up from the torment, you might very well be on the path of becoming a very effective lucid dreamer.