About Robert Rath

I’m Robert Rath, novelist, freelance journalist, and all around pen-for-hire.  Mostly, I’m known for writing the weekly column Critical Intel which has run at Escapist, Zam.com and Waypoint and as a regular writer for the YouTube show Extra History.

Fifteen years of writing and research experience has put me in a lot of places.  At various times, I’ve been the following things:

  • Novelist
  • Videogame journalist
  • Due diligence investigator
  • Youth theatre playwright
  • Research and Writing Manager for a law firm
  • Update editor for a major legal treatise, and
  • A researcher on archaeological digs

From drafting legal memos, to scouring the archives of London, to hiking the Amazon, to searching for buried Confederate cannons in New Mexico, I’ll go anywhere and do anything to get the story.

If you need someone who can add some fire to your lackluster copy, or chase down facts and present them in a way that doesn’t bore your audience, I’m your man.

3 responses to “About Robert Rath

  • Anonymous

    Was reflecting on your article http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/video-games/columns/criticalintel/10607-GTA-s-Morality-Is-More-Complex-Than-You-Realize.2
    Albeit some time ago, the analysis of the portrayal of a morally bankrupt system is all the more relevant today given the elected figure of modern America.
    Respectfully, I think your analysis is/was wrong in your conclusion that Rockstar is portraying something of the real world in a directly critical way. They are not portraying their actual perception of the world to critique it. The portrayal is a satire more like a dystopic future or, more specifically, an alternate reality that knows it is part of a game genre and therefore accentuates its subject. It is not saying ‘on one view this is society’; rather it says ‘if taken to its extremes this is what society could look like’. It is different because, like a dystopia, it cautions us from a self-consciously extreme stance rather than one we are supposed to see as a realistic one.

    Yet, I take your points about GTAIV; the killing of Brevic; the disillusionment of Niko. That was a different subject to GTAV. GTAIV was to play an intentionally blank immigrant with ambiguous past whose design was (originally geared, perhaps) towards absorbing a player’s viewpoint without establishing a preset stance or politic and the collateral effect was to create a neutrality that cast a questioning eye on modern western society – albeit hyper-realized. A kind of socialized Gordon Freeman. Every act so ambiguous and ambiguously motivated, one can impute at will

    GTAV was about already established figures with personality dynamics, yes that were hyper-realized, but were never wholly empathetic. They were people and stories we discovered that pre-existed and were pre-formed, so we are always able to judge even though we play along. In GTA IV we more become; in GTA V we more meet the characters and – Iif we cease to engage – we can literally switch viewpoint.

    There is a diametric position in those worlds: GTAIV invites the player to participate in and, nigh on, become one with the identity of its protagonist and poses questions through that interaction as to how the player feels; GTAV forces one to sample three different cinematically hyperbolized characters with the critical difference of being able to compare them. Where GTAIV allows us to look at and analyze ourselves, GTAV forces us to look at the world, to look at the effect one can have on it, and consider the extent to which individualized circumstances formulate our way of viewing the world.

    IV says look at the world not ‘this way’, but understand it is ‘your way of looking’; V says ‘look at the world not as composed of “them” or “others” but as the product of “how others choose and/or are constrained to perceive it”.

    An analysis of peculiar origin; but a better one. Respond if you care to, but I dare say: play both again and feel them all the more rich for thinking of them intentionally different than cut from the same cloth…

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