At the end of November, my wonderful wife and I spent a week visiting my family in America for Thanksgiving. As with all family time, it was loads of fun but all too short. On our last day there, an idle conversation with my dad brought us to one of our favorite subjects: how game design is like architecture.

My parents are both architects – they met while earning their degrees at the Cooper Union in New York City. While my mom has since moved on to graphic design and environmental education, my dad still works as a self-employed architect.

My dad often refers to his architectural approach as a kind of problem-solving. His client’s preferences, the geography of the building site, the fragility of the surrounding environment, and the constraints of engineering are the parameters within which he must work. Designing within these parameters becomes, for him, a balancing act. No consideration may outweigh the others, lest the resulting home be unsafe, or uneconomical, or ugly.

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Before I dive into further pedantic filibustering, I just want to thank everyone who was so supportive of my Nintendo 3DS story, which was republished to Kotaku┬áback in April. I had no idea so many people would enjoy it, and I’m especially happy to find that others with stereoblindness have had similar revelations thanks to devices like the 3DS. Stereoblindness may be a minor handicap, but being able to see depth for the first time is still a pretty mind-blowing experience. So thank you again, everyone! Now on to the filibustering…

Photorealism in videogames – particularly the assertion that such realism is the only route to convincing emotion – is a subject I’ve wanted to visit for some time. Now that Epic founder Tim Sweeney has joined the growing congregation of AAA studio heads leaping boldly from the jagged cliffs of hubris overlooking the uncanny valley, perhaps my thoughts on the subject are timely once again. Or maybe this post will be a week late and everyone will have forgotten.

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I cried the first time I held a Nintendo 3DS. The experience was a revelation that I’ll not soon forget, and even if everyone stops making games for it tomorrow, my blue 3DS XL is not going anywhere. That little machine is a window into a part of human experience that most people take for granted, but which is otherwise inaccessible to me.

Backing up:

I am mostly stereoblind. Stereoblindness is a blanket term for any condition that prevents a person from perceiving depth using binocular vision. Depending on whom you ask, it affects somewhere between 3 and 15 percent of the world’s population, which creates an interesting demographic hurdle for the 3D television industry. Some people are stereoblind because their vision in one eye is severely impaired, others because their brains are unable to coalesce images from both eyes into a three-dimensional result.

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