Skip Navigation
Falvey Memorial Library
Advanced
You are exploring: Home > Blogs

‘Cat in the Stacks: Four in February, Pt. 4

CAT-STAX4

 I’m Michelle Callaghan, a second-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is our new column, “‘Cat in the Stacks.” I’m the ‘cat. Falvey Memorial Library is the stacks. I’ll be posting about living that scholarly life, from research to study habits to embracing your inner-geek, and how the library community might aid you in all of it.


Did you know Falvey Memorial Library houses the Villanova Electronic Enthusiasts Club? You can join Fridays from 2:30-4:30 p.m. in the first-floor lounge of Falvey Memorial Library for some fun. The VEEC is a social club, focused on recreation and relaxation. Participants gather to play video games in a safe and fun environment. The VEEC is always accepting new members and is open to all!

PS3-controller-300x220
For the final installment of Four in February, I’m taking a cue (heh) from part 3 (where I geeked out about the literary lyrics to Journey’s credit song “I Was Born for This”) and talking about video game music. Why is video game music worthy of a library blog post? Good question. First of all, every topic under the sun is worthy of a library blog post because library resources cover just about every topic under the sun (FTW!). Second of all, those unfamiliar with popular video games and video game fandom probably aren’t aware of the vast and inspiring cultural influences of video game music.

Take, for example, the very recent performance of “Score,” a video game concert with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra that aired on Swedish national public TV. Or our very own Philadelphia Orchestra annually performing the evergreen scores of the Legend of Zelda games in collaboration with the national tour of The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses. Perhaps you’ve even heard of Video Games Live, the international concert series that has been credited with bridging a generational gap of sorts:

“I don’t think the older generation knows that kids are really interested in serious music, and the music from ‘Halo’ is orchestrated and has a chorus — it’s not just bleeps and bloops. Gamers know the quality of the music and they go crazy when they hear it done live, but it’s the non-gamers who are really blown away by the whole presentation.” [source]

If you haven’t heard of any of the above, here’s your exposition to some fantastic music. The bonus to video game music is that it is composed to be energizing but not overly distracting, so it’s the perfect work and study music!

Composer: Jeremy Soule
Game: Skyrim

 

Composer: Sam Hulick
Performed by: London Philharmonic Orchestra
Game: Mass Effect 3

 

Composer: Koji Kondo
Performed by: London Philharmonic Orchestra
Game: selections from The Legend of Zelda series

 

Composer: Jason Graves
Game: Tomb Raider (2013)

 

Composer: Gustavo Santaolalla
Covered by: Taylor Davis
Game: The Last of Us

 

Below, check out some Falvey resources regarding video game music. Yeah! We have those! (Are you even surprised?)

“Playing the Tune: Video Game Music, Gamers, and Genre” by Tim Summers

Playing with Sound: A Theory of Interacting with Sound and Music in Video Games by Karen Collins

A Composer’s Guide to Game Music by Winifred Phillips

Music and Game: Perspectives on a Popular Alliance by Peter Moormaan

 

And that concludes 2016’s Four in February. To check out the last 3 installments and 2015’s post, go here!


Article by Michelle Callaghan, graduate assistant on the Communication and Service Promotion team. She is currently pursuing her MA in English at Villanova University.


Like
1 People Like This Post

‘Cat in the Stacks: Four in February, Pt. 3

CAT-STAX4

 I’m Michelle Callaghan, a second-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is our new column, “‘Cat in the Stacks.” I’m the ‘cat. Falvey Memorial Library is the stacks. I’ll be posting about living that scholarly life, from research to study habits to embracing your inner-geek, and how the library community might aid you in all of it.


Did you know Falvey Memorial Library houses the Villanova Electronic Enthusiasts Club? You can join Fridays from 2:30-4:30 p.m. in the first-floor lounge of Falvey Memorial Library for some fun. The VEEC is a social club, focused on recreation and relaxation. Participants gather to play video games in a safe and fun environment. The VEEC is always accepting new members and is open to all!

PS3-controller-300x220
Part three of Four in February is going to live up to this blog series’ name, because we’re going to chat about just what exactly our stacks have to offer in terms of video game scholarship.

Spoiler alert: it’s good.

This shelf is undoubtedly my favorite shelf.

video game shelfie

Excuse the face. This is what it looks like when you try to take a selfie in public and don’t want to get caught!

For full experience, you can find it (and probably me) in person here:

Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 1.57.24 PM

In lieu of that, a lot of our titles regarding video game scholarship are indeed accessible in full text online. For a list of our titles concerning video games, check out these search results.

Some random samplings:

 

tom bissellExtra Lives: Why Video Games Matter by Tom Bissell

This nifty book discusses how games work, why we like ‘em, and what they are achieving artistically. The author discusses titles such as Braid, Grand Theft Auto IV, Mass Effect and Fallout 3 at length.

 

 

 

First Person: New Media as Story, Performance, and Game by Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Pat Harrigan, eds.

first person wardrip-fruinThe first of a series of three books, First Person is a collection of essays on the topic of new media as–which the title suggests–story, performance, and game. The second and third, which are currently not in our collection but hopefully will be soon, focus on roleplaying and story in games and playable media, and authoring and exploring vast narratives, respectively.

 

 

final fantasy and philosophyFinal Fantasy and Philosophy: The Ultimate Walkthrough by Jason P. Blahuta and Michel S. Beaulieu

Shhh. Look at this cover! I feel like an explanation would only ruin the experience. As the title suggests, this book investigates philosophy in the Final Fantasy series.

 

 

 

thinking about video gamesThinking about Video Games: Interviews with the Experts by David S. Heineman, ed.

This book features interviews with well-known game designers Nolan Bushnell (Pong) and Eugene Jarvis (Defender), contemporary designers Kellee Santiago (Journey) and Casey Hudson (Mass Effect), and game scholars Ian Bogost (How to Do Things With Videogames) and Edward Castronova (Exodus to the Virtual World). Yaaas.

 

As far as scholarly journals go, Games and Culture is my personal tops (for the literary/cultural studies lens, of course). The journal is “…peer-reviewed and published quarterly, is an international journal that promotes innovative theoretical and empirical research about games and culture within interactive media. The journal serves as a premiere outlet for ground-breaking work in the field of game studies and its scope includes the socio-cultural, political, and economic dimensions of gaming from a wide variety of perspectives.” You can access it through Falvey Memorial Library.

And now, after that glorious treasure trove, I leave you with an awesome performance of the end song from the game Journey as performed by the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. (This song features an amalgam of quotes from The Aeneid, The Illiad, Beowulf, Joan of Arc, and the poet Bashō. Y’know, because what screams cultural merit louder than gratuitous allusions to some of the most influential pieces of literature? That said, play Journey if you get a chance. For only two and a half hours of your life, you won’t regret it.)


Article by Michelle Callaghan, graduate assistant on the Communication and Service Promotion team. She is currently pursuing her MA in English at Villanova University.


Like
1 People Like This Post

‘Cat in the Stacks: Four in February, Pt. 2 (Co-op Games for <3 Day!)

CAT-STAX4

 I’m Michelle Callaghan, a second-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is our new column, “‘Cat in the Stacks.” I’m the ‘cat. Falvey Memorial Library is the stacks. I’ll be posting about living that scholarly life, from research to study habits to embracing your inner-geek, and how the library community might aid you in all of it.


Did you know Falvey Memorial Library houses the Villanova Electronic Enthusiasts Club? You can join Fridays from 2:30-4:30 p.m. in the first-floor lounge of Falvey Memorial Library for some fun. The VEEC is a social club, focused on recreation and relaxation. Participants gather to play video games in a safe and fun environment. The VEEC is always accepting new members and is open to all!

PS3-controller-300x220

It’s the second week of Four in February and, with Valentine’s Day coming right up, it’s also Love Week! In honor of the holiday, and to continue February’s ‘Cat in the Stacks video game trend, let’s talk co-op games. For the lay folk, a co-op game is a game played cooperatively between two or more players. Players use teamwork and camaraderie to work toward a common goal. What better Valentine’s Day activity could you ask for? A nice dinner and some quality gaming time? Sounds good to me.

Here are some of my favorite cooperative games to play with your sweetie or squeeze. After each recommendation, you will be linked to a scholarly article regarding the suggested game (all accessed through Falvey Memorial Library, of course!). The chosen articles cover topics from the use of games in sociological studies, the ludological study of games, an analysis of game creation, cultural ownership of brands, and even studies in cognitive science! Who knew, eh?

For the record, playing co-op with your bae might test your relationship as much as strengthen it! That being said, let’s take a look at what’s out there…

vectorstock_5227258

Portal 2

game art for portal 2Portal 2 has a single-player main story, but also has a cooperative mode featuring two adorable robot characters. This game is all about logic, puzzles, and physics, so bring your brain and your patience.

Read The Power of Play: The Effects of Portal 2 and Lumosity on Cognitive and Noncognitive skills

 

Star Wars: Battlefront

battlefrontStar Wars: Battlefront (EA 2015) is a multiplayer game but you have to option to partner up online with your favorite gamer pal. When you partner with someone, you have access to all of your partner’s unlocked powerups–and you get to play strategically with each other!

Read Star Wars Fans, DVD, and Cultural Ownership: an interview with Will Brooker

 

Borderlands

borderlands logoBorderlands (obligatory warning that this game is rated M) features a co-op campaign, so you can play through the whole game–story and all–with another person. This is a pretty rare and fun mechanic! Typically, games with stories feature separate co-op modes; in Borderlands, co-op is a main feature, not an extra.

Read Breaking the Game: The traversal of the emergent narrative in video games

 

Guild Wars 2

guild wars 2Guild Wars 2 is a massive multiplayer online roleplaying game (MMORPG, or MMO for short) and the reasons I suggest it over, say, the ever-popular MMO World of Warcraft for a night with your boo thang are many. For one thing, the game doesn’t have a monthly subscription, so if you wanna make it a relationship hobby you don’t have to make it an addiction. You can pick it up and put it down whenever you want! Secondly, the game focuses a lot more on story than most MMOs and presents you with a lot of interesting narrative choices, so the experience gives you something more to think and chat about with your partner of choice.

Read Building a Virtual World: The Pipeline and Process

 

Mario Kart 8

mario kart 8Okay, okay, remember when I said playing games together might test your partnership? I was mostly talking about this game. Mario Kart veterans will absolutely know why. This game technically isn’t simply co-op if you’re racing each other, but there are alternate game modes. Frankly, there are few games that make people angrier than this cartoony and colorful title. Why? Well, it’s mighty competitive and can bring out the worst in people. On the other hand, it’s extremely fun, extremely family-friendly, and no matter how angry you get, you can’t stay too flustered when everything is so adorable.

For the record, Will D. Cat and his giant paws creamed the competition in Mario Kart at our most recent finals stress buster in Holy Grounds! Can you say talent?

Read Confronting Student Prejudice with “Mario Kart” Nintendo Wii

So there you have it, five recs for gaming with your beau, and five great scholarly articles featuring the aforementioned game titles–a little love for your heart and brain!

All game art covers used for nonprofit educational purposes:
Portal 2 cover art (c) Valve Corporation
Battlefront cover art (c) EA Digital Illusions CE, Electronic Arts and Disney
Borderlands logo (c) Gearbox Software and 2K Games
Guild Wars 2 cover art (c)ArenaNet and NCSOFT
Mario Kart 8 cover art (c) Nintendo  


Article by Michelle Callaghan, graduate assistant on the Communication and Service Promotion team. She is currently pursuing her MA in English at Villanova University.


Like

‘Cat in the Stacks: Four in February, Pt. 1

CAT-STAX-300x1802

 I’m Michelle Callaghan, a first-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is our new column, “‘Cat in the Stacks.” I’m the ‘cat. Falvey Memorial Library is the stacks. I’ll be posting about living that scholarly life, from research to study habits to embracing your inner-geek, and how the library community might aid you in all of it.


Did you know Falvey Memorial Library houses the Villanova Electronic Enthusiasts Club? You can join Fridays from 2:30-4:30 p.m. in the first-floor lounge of Falvey Memorial Library for some fun. The VEEC is a social club, focused on recreation and relaxation. Participants gather to play video games in a safe and fun environment. The VEEC is always accepting new members and is open to all!

PS3-controller-300x220
What is Four in February? An initiative established by
Mike Suszek of the late video game blog Joystiq, FiF encourages gamers to play four games gathering dust on their digital and/or actual video game shelves. There are no hard and fast rules – the games do not have to be completed, for example, especially if they are huge open world games or MMOs. And mobile games can count, too! For the purposes of this blog, Four in February will consist of four posts on the four Thursdays of the month in the interest of promoting the Villanova Electronic Enthusiasts Club and, more generally, to promote video games as cultural items important to our understanding of interdisciplinary studies.

Last year I wrote about some of the games I was going to attempt to play during FiF, and I’ll say this for myself – I started Never Alone and did manage to complete Dear Esther!  Unfortunately (but also very fortunately) this semester I’m knee-deep in an English thesis using a couple of roleplaying video games as primary texts and those games have priority right now. (Okay, admittedly I’m itching to finish Rise of the Tomb Raider, too.)

But if I had the time to play, I’d want to go with some really literature-esque options this time around – something really library-friendly. Something with a little cultural punch! Here’s my list of candidates (that are gathering dust on my digital Steam shelves)!

young woman and young man cartoon video game characters

Promotional art via Double Fine Productions

Broken Age
Broken Age is a point and click adventure about two youngins finding their paths in a crazy world. The game plays as an interactive novel. Reviews consider it a “gorgeous, impeccably written adventure.” 

Apotheon
Apotheon is a love song for Greek mythology! An action roleplaying platformer (yeesh, the game world has to work on its genre classifications, TBH), while playing this game you can “Learn a little about Greek Mythology” because “Apotheon tries to stay true to its source material. Read an excerpt from the Iliad about Diomedes before you stick a Xiphos through his Aspis.” [source

The Stanley Parable
An interactive fiction video game, The Stanley Parable is a satirical take on the illusion of choice-making in modern roleplaying video games. It’s very hard to describe this game. I’ve played through it once, so in essence I barely played it, and it’s one I need to get back to for full appreciation. In lieu of a bumbling description from me, I offer you the official one:

The Stanley Parable is a first person exploration game. You will play as Stanley, and you will not play as Stanley. You will follow a story, you will not follow a story. You will have a choice, you will have no choice. The game will end, the game will never end.

Elegy for a Dead World
Elegy for a Dead World is an exploration game in which players fill out a diary while traversing three worlds based on the writing of poets Keats, Shelley, and and Byron. Yep. You read that right. We’re getting quite literary these days.

Are you a gamer? Comment below with the games you’re burning to play with the free time you lack! Check the blog on Thursdays this month for more gamerly offerings.


Article by Michelle Callaghan, graduate assistant on the Communication and Service Promotion team. She is currently pursuing her MA in English at Villanova University.


Like

'Cat in the Stacks: Four [Games] in February

CAT-STAX

 I’m Michelle Callaghan, a first-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is our new column, “‘Cat in the Stacks.” I’m the ‘cat. Falvey Memorial Library is the stacks. I’ll be posting about living that scholarly life, from research to study habits to embracing your inner-geek, and how the library community might aid you in all of it.


PS3 controller

via Wikimedia Commons

Four in February is a challenge for video gamers established by Mike Suszek of Joystiq. The goal is to complete four games that have been gathering dust on our virtual shelves (particularly those of us stockerpilers whose wallets are weak to Steam sales. Eeep!). While I’ll admit February is a bit of a busy month for me (and for all students, I’m sure), I am going to valiantly attempt the Four in February challenge—even if it means using Spring Break, which is technically March. Gotta hit them books first.

So why am I talking about video games on a library blog? One, because I love them. Two, because I think video games are under-recognized at the scholarly level and offer excellent, new perspectives not only on storytelling techniques, but also data and information dissemination—which is becoming so important in this digital humanities library culture. Trust me, once you master the UIs of a couple of video games, no application will ever stump you again, and you’ll probably begin to broaden your ideas of how information can be interactively organized.

A whole host of misunderstandings and underexposure cloak the artistic and scholarly potential of video games. For one thing, video game technology moves so quickly that for the uninitiated, the word “video game” might be associated with, say, Pac-Man or Pong—which are fantastic achievements, don’t get me wrong, but don’t quite scream “narrative” or “roleplaying” (which, by all means, are not required qualities for all video games any more than romance is required for all novels – but as an English major, narrative and roleplaying tend to be my favored genres). Today, games can look a little more like this:

Many have modular stories which branch seemingly endlessly and produce tens of thousands of lines of dialogue.

They prompt scholarship like this.

Needless to say, games can be quite serious business with intense depth and incredible cultural import.

Never Alone

via Steam

For example, number one on my Four in February list is Never Alone, or Kisima Ingitchuna, released in November of 2014. The game was created in collaboration with the Alaska Native community. It explores “the traditional lore of the Iñupiat people of the Arctic.”  It is what its developers call a “world game” and is “a game that is a thousand years in the telling.” I’ve played through a fair bit of the game so far and it gives me chills— interactivity is such an effective way of keeping the spirit of traditional lore alive, and the kinetic input is far more effective for me (and probably countless others) than textbooks and documentaries. I can’t wait to finish the game and think more about the implications of the world game genre.

LIMBO is another game on my list. A panelist at an Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference I attended a few years ago described this title as poetry in video game form. I haven’t played it yet, but given it is frequently referenced in the argument for games-as-art, I’m sure I’ll find much to chew on. Likewise, Dear Esther, which for whatever reason was lost in my library and tragically uninstalled, is also on my list. Like LIMBO, this game has garnered buzz for being highly poetic and experiential.

While debates are ever ongoing regarding the scholastic value of gaming, Falvey Memorial Library needs no convincing – as I love taking every opportunity to remind you, there is indeed a shelf of video game scholarship in our library. Head to the third floor! Click the map below!

BOOKSScreen Shot 2015-02-04 at 12.27.17 PM

Also, check out the Villanova Electronic Enthusiasts Club (VEEC) most Fridays during the semester from 2:30-4:30 p.m. in the first-floor lounge for some gaming! The VEEC is a social club, focused on recreation and relaxation. Participants gather once a week to play video games in a safe and fun environment.


Article by Michelle Callaghan, graduate assistant on the Communication and Service Promotion team. She is currently pursuing her MA in English at Villanova University.


Like

 


Last Modified: February 5, 2015