N'Gai Croal (of Newsweek) and Stephen Totilo (of MTV) once again match wits in a textual format, this time over the Manhunt 2 controversy. In Round One, the two reporters discuss the process of playing the game for the first time, and wonder what the experience must have been like for the ESRB raters. Round Two sees them take things up a notch, discussing what exactly it is about the game that's so violent. Round Three ... has them questioning the nature of gaming itself. As always, these are two smart guys with some interesting insights into the medium. Well worth your time. From N'Gai's final letter: "It's difficult to 'read' or derive much meaning from a game. That's why in our three Vs. Modes, we ultimately don't spend very much time talking about or analyzing the experience of playing a game, because it's hard to do so without turning our emails into "I went here. I did this. I picked that up." Which is, after all, what games are. So if the essence of a game is located in what we do, is a walkthrough--go here, do this, pick up that--the most truthful way to write about the experience of playing a game? I hope not. But it's something we should consider. Once again, if the essence of any game is located in its action, reaction, interaction, and the rules which circumscribe those three elements, what does the narrative do?"
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