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Phil Horlacher - Annotated Bibliography

Page history last edited by philhorlacher@yahoo.com 7 years, 5 months ago

Annotated Bibliography Assignment


By Phil HorlacherInto the Zone: A Study of Adaptations


  1. perochialjoe. “Let's Play: STALKER Shadow of Chernobyl part 1” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 16 March 2012. Web. 1 November 2013


Perochialjoe’s “Let’s Play” series is primarily a video recording series of the player moving through the game world (I reviewed 1-5). As he moves through S.T.A.L.K.E.R., perochialjoe provides commentary as to why he makes certain decisions, informs the viewer as to the significance of given features in regards to game lore or design, and critiques various aspects of gameplay.


“Let’s Play”s as a gaming subgenre on YouTube provide gamers, enthusiasts, and critics an avenue by which they may observe gameplay without themselves being involved. The scholarly benefits of such an experience include gaining the perspective of an expert (such is the case in this particular “Let’s Play”), understanding how aspects of the game inform a player’s experience, learning aspects of a game that would otherwise take hours of interaction to uncover, and determining the extent of agency that individual players have in a given game world.


This source is significant to our research project for a few reasons. First, it allows for in depth context and analysis that would otherwise take many days (or possibly weeks) of gameplay to uncover. Second, viewing the “Let’s Play” makes it possible to determine variations between player experiences by comparing my experience with the game as a complete novice and perochialjoe’s experience as an expert. This is most important in examining to what extent the game elicits psychological reactions from the player, but also to what extent these reactions remain impactful and consistent.


  1. “S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl PC” Metacritic. Metacritic. 20 March 2007. Online. 5 November 2013.


Metacritic provides insightful media critiques regarding specific products from a list of relevant and notable critics, while also providing reviews by ordinary users of the product. The page includes a Metascore of 8.4/10 for the game from 44 critics, and an 8.3/10 from 780 users. It also includes specific comments by users and critics that can be read to provide further insight regarding the game.


This source is extremely useful in determining what aspects of the game people really connected with or found problematic. By examining the critics section, many note the game’s psychological elements. Critic PC Format comments “Adrenalin is still coursing through my veins as I type, and what's more, I absolutely love it. STALKER is a thoroughly affecting game, and it's got me by the short hairs”. Other critics choose to focus on mechanics. Game Over Online writes “The combat mechanics – weapon feel, body point damage system, enemy AI, running and sneaking, encumbrance and fatigue – have all been simulated excellently and with real care paid to balance and playability”. This tool is also important in examining gamer opinions versus critical opinions, seeing as gamers are allowed to post comments that may coincide or differ from those of the critics. All of these comments enrich our understanding of what elements of the game are substantial.


  1. Eric Smith. “From Book To Video Game To Movie: EA’s Dante’s Inferno In Adaptation Talks, Plus Other Terrible Ideas” Geekosystem. Geekosystem, 18 September 2013. Online. 5 November 2013.


Eric Smith’s critique expresses disapproval at EA Games’ plans to adapt their hit game Dante’s Inferno, and adaptation of The Divine Comedy, into a film. Smith first discusses the fact that the game bears little to no resemblance to the work which it is based on. Smith takes issue with this idea and humorously discusses how the content of the original work may be largely dissolved in the minds of new generations who have only experienced the game or film versions of classic works of literature. He then goes on to cite numerous games that were based on books but were disastrous in terms of maintaining the integrity of the original manuscript.


Where Smith’s arguments become of use for our purposes is in evaluating to what extent one ought to adapt works, whether works that borrow minimally form their originals ought to be considered authentic adaptations, and what factors ultimately make a game adaptation successful. This is extremely relevant in evaluating and critiquing S.T.A.L.K.E.R., which varies significantly from the manuscript and film which it is based off of, yet borrows some elements. It is also worthwhile to note that the game has released two sequels in recent years, and may very well release a fourth member of the series. This article begs the question to what extent Roadside Picnic loses its place in dominant culture, or is rediscovered thanks to the popularity of the games.


  1. Clevver Games. “What Makes a Good Survival Horror Game” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 26 April 2012. Web. 5 November 2013


In this Clevver Games review, Joshua Ovenshire discusses what qualities he believes make for a great survival horror game. Ovenshire alludes to many hit games, such as Dead Space and Resident Evil 2, whilst pointing out specific features that create a sense of horror for the gamer. Ovenshire’s conclusion is that providing the player with limited resources, including horror elements (ie, dark spaces, intimidating creatures, eerie soundtrack ect), and limiting opportunities for players to save will illicit the psychological effects that gamers desire in a quality horror game. He also points to examples of games that failed to garner critical acclaim due to their lack of the horror elements alluded to above.


This review is useful in considering to what extent S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is able to achieve the goals of a survival horror game depending on aspects mentioned in the review. While the initial ambiance of the game certainly elicited emotions of fear and stress, I found that being able to save, always at least having a pistol or a shotgun, and a lack of consistent horror elements detracted from the overall impact of the game as a member of the horror genre, despite its success as a first person shooter. This review is also a jumping off point in considering why certain creative decisions were made in the game, or what alternatives may have been available to designers. 


     5.  IGN. “S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl PC Games Review” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 23 January 2011. Web. 5 November 2013.


In this review, IGN evaluates S.T.A.L.K.E.R. as a whole for the purpose of informing potential gamers on whether or not they should play the game. IGN points out many positive aspects of the game, such as the uniqueness of the atmosphere, the fun confrontations, and the story length, while criticizing other aspects such as its tendency to glitch and limited incentives to explore the world.


This review is helpful in determining what features reputable game critics believe are important to consumers. Books, films, and games are all meant to be consumed to their fullest potential by their target audiences. In this sense, the IGN review can help in distinguishing what elements of the game were meant to appeal specifically to the gaming community and why elements included in the book might have been excluded from the game. This review is more concise than Metacritic and presents its findings a video format, making the review more attractive to many consumers and focusing on specific aspects of the game, rather than individualized opinions of many gamers and critics.


Another possible function of this review for academic purposes can be found in the information surrounding the actual video. User comments, number of views, likes and dislikes, additional videos, and links to outside sources can all inform us as to how the review was received, how prevalent the game is in the community of survival horror (or gaming in general), and if there are any glaring oppositions to IGN’s evaluation. 


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