The Sunday Papers

By Kieron Gillen on February 22nd, 2009 at 6:08 pm.

Not much time for contemplation on a weekday. Rush-hour traffic, panic, work-a-day-blues, screaming, zombie-wars, knife-fights, crying, etc. But Sunday? Sunday there’s all the time to sit back and chew over the thinky-writey-stuff from the week. To that end, I compile a list of stuff which caught my eye, while trying to resist linking to tracks from the first gig in years from one of my favourite bands. Oh yes.

Failed.

.

52 Comments »

  1. FhnuZoag says:

    “Firstly, there will be absolutely no pretence of a back story or resource management, or empire building. I’ve decided not to care about that. All I want is big space fleets going zap. Quite why the are going zap is irrelevant, just like we never asked why Pac Man was hungry or why the Space Invaders wanted to bomb our cities.”

    Well, there’s most of my interest gone with this game. The dev doesn’t seem to get a big part of why Freespace and Homeworld (which he cites) were considered brilliant games.

    “The main thrust of the gameplay, however, will be in managing your space fleet. Not in the classic RTS sense, but in the pre-battle deciding which ship will be where, and what weapons and other configurable modules it will have on it.”

    And there goes the other part of my interest in this game. So basically he’s going to make Galciv with most of the game ripped out.

  2. Lorc says:

    The world is full of games that are like other games. There’s plenty of room for something a little different.

  3. Pags says:

    Poor Charlie Drummond. What’s worse is that his murder suffered from poor framerate issues and a lack of originality. I give it 6/10 wait what are you people doing in my house oh my goodness aaaaaaaargh DISREGARD THAT LAST SCORE IT WAS TOTALLY WORTH 10/10 I MEAN HAVE YOU EVEN SEEN THE MURDER THIS REVIEWER OBVIOUSLY IS JUST MISUSING HIS POSITION TO MASSAGE HIS OWN EGO THERE’S NO WAY THIS MURDER COULD’VE GOTTEN ANY LESS IT WAS PERFECT

  4. BooleanBob says:

    They’re not unelectable. Everyone in Britain just needs to be brought around to the correct way of thinking. (I want to put a smiley in here to demonstrate my tongue-in-cheek, non-fanboy stance on UK politics but I can’t quite bring myself to do it.)

    Bringing back Charlie Kennedy or putting Vince Cable in charge wouldn’t hurt either. Just get rid of the Third Coming of Blair and we’re good to go.

  5. Senethro says:

    Why should we care about a games journalist killed for reviewing a console game?

  6. pvt Kobzon, 2nd rape squad says:

    And everyone keeps talking about our little rape trips! Japan is where it’s at.

    People getting freaked out about this game need to rethink their views on games. It’s no worse than some fake rape porn that’s freely sold everywhere on the net. Some people still think games are all space marines shooting rainbows.

  7. simonkaye says:

    I think that you must mean the Lib Dems are unlikely to form a government, which is true enough. But they’re in fact eminently electable all over the place, with 63 MPs in the commons and control of many local councils etc. across the country.

    Speaking as a guy who works for the Lib Dems, that is.

  8. Pace says:

    seemingly relevant to the RapePlay issue: the word “rape” is apparently banned in the RPS forums.

  9. Xercies says:

    I laughed at the critic getting killed over the review, that’s exactly how it would not be done by these people because these people are only angry on the internet and if you ever saw them in real life you would say they were very weedy and wouldn’t be able to hurt a fly. Plus I have read the review and from the playing of the demo I completely agree with it. Its a good game, but there are a few things letting it down.

    As for the rape thing, yes this is because it is a game. Nothing more. Also what a weird comparison to make, a rape game compared to the cash injection the US president made. Very weird.

    Oh and I love Indie Developers now, they actually speak the truth when they are interviewed which makes a very refreshing change

  10. Premium User Badge

    James G says:

    @Pace

    It seems that Alec has removed the word from the filters, which makes me happy.

  11. Mil says:

    @James G: I don’t know. I was kind of enjoying the silliness of people talking about this usually grim topic using such words as “pear” and “pearists”.

  12. Popular Energy Drink says:

    Games: Serious Business :/

    Poor bloke.

  13. Pace says:

    Ah yes, thanks for the explanation Alec. Carry on then..

  14. Gap Gen says:

    Aren’t the Liberal Party and the Liberal Democrats separate parties?

  15. Gap Gen says:

    I entirely support the idea of making games that do naughty things, or are even emotionally draining to play.

    Are there any games, for example, that emotionally abuse the player? Pathologic strikes me as one that is unduly harsh (from what I’ve read) but it is, in part, fair. But what of a game that is entirely rigged against the player, luring you in with the promise of success and then crushing you? Aside from the fact that almost no-one would recommend you play it except for a few academic/arty types.

  16. KwizatzHaderack says:

    Wow, if you thought the comment thread on G4 after the Valve speech was bad, you should read comments after the the Kevin McCulloch/Rapelay article – they make the PS3 fanbois look relatively normal..

    …ish. Check out the insane comedy ravings of ‘Retired Geek’ ifor a good chuckle at how truly f*cked up some people really are.

    And the game? The world just gets lovelier every day, doesn’t it?

  17. Dolphan says:

    The RapePlay thing isn’t really ‘just because it’s a game’. Rape porn (well, porn in general, but especially stuff like that) has been a big political issue in the States since the 80s.

  18. Gap Gen says:

    Oh, and I’m still not entirely sure why the FEAR article uses what seems like a starfield, an early dark matter simulation and a map of the Solar System’s asteroids as figures, and it would be nice to have had more explanation of why those figures were used.

    Still, any game that’s designed around the Large Scale Structure of the universe sounds pretty rad.

  19. Cunningbeef says:

    The gamepolitics post actually made me cringe more than the ultra-conservative piece. I do so hate American politics, both sides just come off as unreasonable wankers (more so than Aussie or UK politics. Guess that’s the price they pay for their PERFECT DEMOCRACY).

    All that aside though, it kinda makes me wanna try out Rapelay, but don’t know if I could stand giving money to the people that made it.

  20. KwizatzHaderack says:

    Well here’s the thing, CunningBeef – does trying the game make us bad people? What about actually paying hard cash for it? Gives me a queasy feeling just thinking about it…I’m not against Rape in art/literature/whatever per se – the film Irreversible works precisely because there’s a whacking great rape scene in the middle of it, and I’ll defend its right to show it until the world ends – but I do think that a game that has you perpetrate one (then two, then three…) step by step, including girls of school age, is pretty sick. God, try get hold of it in the UK and you’re liable to wind up on some nasty register somewhere, MI5 listening to every word you make…

  21. Larington says:

    What I don’t get, is the number of people who seem extremely eager to defend ‘Rapeplay’… Like its defending games for the sake of defending games, regardless of content.

  22. Dolphan says:

    Defending expression for the sake of defending expression, regardless of content, is hardly unusual.

  23. qrter says:

    This is the worrying outcome out of the whole Dangerous High-School Girls/Big Fish debacle, as Keith Nemitz says:

    Unless I find new portals to sell the game, I will not recoup its cost. Big Fish alone might not have sold enough, but it was climbing steadily in their top 100 and other portals would have been more interested. Now, with them dropping it, I worry other portals won’t pick it up.

    And it’s no fault on Nemitz’ side, is the sad thing.

    I like how Nemitz doesn’t mince words in that interview, he’s unapologetic about the game he has made (as he should be).

  24. Thants says:

    Gap Gen says:

    Are there any games, for example, that emotionally abuse the player? Pathologic strikes me as one that is unduly harsh (from what I’ve read) but it is, in part, fair. But what of a game that is entirely rigged against the player, luring you in with the promise of success and then crushing you? Aside from the fact that almost no-one would recommend you play it except for a few academic/arty types.

    Nethack.

  25. Larington says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that games are potentially capable of portraying such an emotionally disturbing act but its a matter of the approach that concerns me, as I find it difficult to believe that a game which requires that you perform the act as part of gameplay could be genuinely thought provoking except in the most perverse and least enlightening sense.

    I dunno, I suppose I’m just biased in a directly opposing way to how the people who are jumping to its defence are themselves somehow probably biased and its all based off of an inate reaction to sub-concious pseudo psychological stuff that only a very experienced psychologist could properly approach.

    For example, I found the way an intentional blinding of someone in a zombie film (Can’t remember its name 48 days later or something) didn’t actually contribute anything to the film at all and seemed pretty abhorent because of it.

  26. Noc says:

    @Gap Gen: The first image of the starfield is meant to contrast with the second image of globbly dots, to illustrate the difference between uniformly distributed and clustered cover. The image of the asteroid belts illustrates his point about putting cover in the middle of the arena, instead of about the edges.

  27. Dolphan says:

    Larington – From everything I’ve seen and read, it doesn’t seem like there’s one redeeming feature in RapeLay, and I have no desire to defend it as a piece of work (with the caveat that I haven’t played it, only read through the plot and a few descriptions of the gameplay). But I wouldn’t give any kind of support to anyone wanting to ban it or try to stop it being sold through other means (protesting/lobbying). The fact that I find it sickening is neither here nor there.

  28. David says:

    “The idea is to be like Eisenhower on D-Day. You assemble the troops, tell them what to do, then on the day you pace up and down and see how well things turned out.”

    That tells me more about the game than anything else I’ve read (which, admittedly, is not much).

  29. A-Scale says:

    Oh dear Mr. McCullough, how dare we apply free speech to EVERYONE!? What is this, the Soviet Union?!

    I’m also amused by the incessant complaints aimed at the Dems for trying to break the recession with a stimulus bill. Obama is cutting taxes for most of the country and implementing the stimulus, something which they apparently abhor. They were fine with it when Bush was giving everyone 2000 bucks back and putting all of his spending on the national credit card, though. I’m not sure exactly which moral boundary is being overstepped in his mind. Is it wrong to tax people? Certainly not, as he doesn’t seem to support anarchy. Is it wrong for the government to spend? Certainly not, he isn’t harping on Bush for spending in Iraq. Is it wrong for the government to attempt to break a recession with spending? Perhaps, but I’d love to see his alternative. He equates taxes with rape, and Democrats with rapists. Yet he does not equate Republicans with rapists, despite their tax policies. In the last analysis it seems that it’s wrong to be a Democrat (aka rapist) and it is right to be a Republican. More claptrap from the dying Grand Old Party. To hell with them.

  30. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    Rapelay: Well. It’s not often that the Very Seedy Side of Eroge gets a mention. It relies a lot on the rape fetish, which from the male perspective is one of those dark power fantasies that you usually don’t cater to outside of audiences who already admit themselves to be depraved. (The rape fetish from the female perspective is something else entirely. And Harlequin romances are probably considered more quirky than harmful for a reason: It’s not the kind of fantasy that puts you in the perspective of the perpetrator.)

    Though I’ve often wondered about people who loudly enjoy sadistic bloodbath games who then turn around to wag fingers at other monstrous pursuits. I recall actually getting a bit sick in the stomach just reading one of RPS’ old Prototype previews. Same with the realization that the bayonet on the Lancer was a chainsaw, too. Though I’ve since grown inured to the ultra-violence of both. (That should probably worry me.)

    The existence of rape fantasy games in Japan has as much to do with a culture that’s still having trouble coming to grips with women having social power and influence as it does with a subculture who’ve simply grown numb to the idea in entertainment.

    It’s entirely possible that if devs continue to push games exploiting violence and sex then gamer culture will continue to grow inured to the guilt that comes with consuming these exploitative works. And if you think the Japanese pervert culture is vastly different from Western gamer culture, you underestimate the boys’ club ability to descend into racism, misogyny, and sadism at the push of a button. Especially when talking on the internet, where they can be reasonably assured some semblance of anonymity and, thus, feel they can let their guard down.

    Compared to the depths to which the internet can sink, Rapelay barely makes me bat an eye. And the fact that both endings involve the victims getting their revenge on the rapist is rather appropriate. It’s hard to feel bad about a dead rapist.

    There’s a lot of fuss about moral choice in games these days. It’s a lot easier for gamers to kill Little Sisters when the choice to do so is presented in a blatantly binary “videogamey” kind of way. You’d think that child-killing would be as monstrous as rape, if not more so. Usually you’re given a choice to be either a saint or a puppy-killer in games. It’s a cartoonish evil, and one that doesn’t touch on real evil for fear of striking a nerve. Or, worse, causing people to become used to said evil. You could say the real moral choice is whether or not to give in to the temptation to grow even more numb to depictions of monstrous acts than we already are.

    Or maybe I’m just rambling illogically again. After all, we’re all capable of discerning reality from fantasy, no matter how dark, right?

    A final thought on Rapelay: The girls’ mother is awfully cute.

  31. A-Scale says:

    PS I deeply apologize for smearing politics on a British games site. But you brought it up.

  32. Premium User Badge

    Vandelay says:

    “For example, I found the way an intentional blinding of someone in a zombie film (Can’t remember its name 48 days later or something) didn’t actually contribute anything to the film at all and seemed pretty abhorent because of it.”

    Kind of off topic, but the use of people being blinded in fiction is pretty recurrent metaphorical trope (another thing that Oedipus probably has a lot to answer for.) The sequence you are referring to is from ’28 days later’ where the lead character gouges his fingers into someone’s eyes. If I remember correctly, it is meant to be showing him becoming like one of the animalistic zombies. I can’t remember who the character he does it to is, but I think it is one of the soldiers and there was probably a reason behind why blinding was an appropriate punishment for him. Whatever the exact reason was, it served a metaphorical purpose rather than a story reason. In fact, like many good horror films (particular zombie films oddly,) ’28 days later’ does have a fair amount of depth to it and there is a reason behind most of the violence. Both it and its sequel are pretty anarchic though, so may not be too everyone’s taste. Great films.

    Back on topic, I would be intrigued to read someone’s thoughts having played RapePlay, but I would not particular like to be the person who would have to endure it. From the brief little descriptions linked here, I can’t imagine in being anything but abhorrent.

  33. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    It’s plenty abhorrent. And it’s still possible to become inured to it. Or rape fantasy games worse than it. The internet is not a nice place.

    On the subject of growing inured to things: I’m no longer sickened by the idea of running around New York City as a biomonstrosity given free reign to go around brutally murdering soldiers who’re only doing their jobs, infected humans who’d probably turn into monsters if you didn’t kill them, or innocent civilians who’re just terrified and running for their lives. Haven’t played the game since it’s not out yet, and maybe the promotional materials are downplaying the potential for mass slaughter of innocents.

    Kieron once remarked that it was sort of an adolescent power fantasy thing not more than a few weeks ago, I think.

    Edit: Moved this link here for tl;dr sanity.

  34. Gap Gen says:

    @Noc: Ah, I see the reasoning behind the starfield now (I got the clustering of points). It’s still interesting that the author apparently chose a series of astronomical images as figures rather than making his own, though. Or maybe I just spend too much time staring at astronomical images (apod.nasa.gov/apod/ is very pretty, though).

  35. Okami says:

    @A-Scale: Oh, don’t apologize. After all it was RPS who linked to the article in the first place, thereby destroying what would otherwise have been a perfectly lazy sunday for me by reminding me of the fact that I share my planet with people (I use the term in the loosest sense of the world) like that McCullough guy. It’s really amazing how (at least to a socialist european) republicans always manage to come across like retarded comic book villains..

  36. dhex says:

    townhall is a hoedown of fringy stupidity.

    besides, everyone knows taxation is armed robbery.

  37. Down Rodeo says:

    A-Scale: absolutely, bloody wanker. And them there in the comments :(

    As regards the rest: it’s interesting that no-one in these comments is interested about GTA IV tweaks, considering the furore on its release, particularly about the porting issues. The “7/10″ score piece was quite funny, rather enjoyed that. Rapelay… I’m not going there. I’m not sure that gaming is really mature enough at the moment to attempt to deal with such things… but then you get the violent ones like Manhunt. Personally I’ve never seen the attraction. I am also not sure that I like rape depicted in any other medium but still, who am I to intrude on others’ freedom to discuss and depict it for the purpose of illumination on the subject. I mean, freedom of speech is well and good, so long as everyone says the same thing (I kid, I kid).

    I quite like the idea of gratuitous space battles. That’s pretty much all I can say about it. Apart from this has an opportunity to have great, high-level tactics :)

    And finally, the piece about the level design is interesting. I watched my flatmate play large parts of F.E.A.R the first and found it to be pretty decent: nice graphics, solid gunplay, some genuine scary bits. And the levels were quite interesting if somehow… bare. Maybe it was the identikit offices, which could be something of a commentary in itself, but mebbes not. I wonder if it could be possible to have great level design that forces the player into bad situations – whether this would require lampshading (eg an NPC saying he doesn’t like the layout) to prevent the player getting frustrated for the wrong reasons or not I am not sure. I think that’s what I wanted to say.

  38. Captain Bland says:

    That B-side is excellent. What with Haines’ memoir, an upcoming solo album and hints of a new BBR album I might even get to see him live. Unless the bouncers are instucted to weed out nervous, suitless students and beat them with an iron bar. Which seems highly probable.

  39. Arathain says:

    You know, just calling your game Gratuitous Space Battles shows a core design philosophy firmly in the exactly correct place. I can’t believe people being such big grumps about a game with that name. I think it’ll be heaps of fun.

  40. sinister agent says:

    Gratuitous Space Battles sounds even more interesting. If he does it well it could be excellent – if anything it sounds more to me like Mount and Blade before they added the largely dissatisfying world campaign aspects. It used to be little more than constant fights with whoever you ran into, and though the final release was great, I think there would be more mileage in simply making it about combat and nothing else. A similar thing but with spaceships could work just as well – I’ve lost count of the number of games where I’ve ended up saving before a big fight and simply replaying that fight again and again to see what possibilities there are, and got bored of the bits between fights.

  41. BargainBinLaden says:

    Shame on you, FhnuZoag – did you never draw little space ships battling each other on your jotters and pads when you were bored in school? I think that’s where ‘Gratuitous Space Battles’ sprang from – the pure undiluted joy of pitching space fleets against one another and watching the results. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. I, for one, welcome our Gratuitous overlords! :)

  42. N says:

    The level design article… pretty much one of the best chunks of gaming related stuff I’ve read in the last six months or so…

    As far as Rapelay goes, played it about a year ago, it’s hilarious, every insecurity and every shortcoming of the japanese average office spread sheet monkey is illustrated by that game, play it and have yourself a hearty lol…

  43. danielcardigan says:

    sinister agent says: “Gratuitous Space Battles sounds even more interesting. If he does it well it could be excellent – if anything it sounds more to me like Mount and Blade before they added the largely dissatisfying world campaign aspects”

    Sounds to me like it’s going to be like every other Positech game. Click ten check boxes, adjust a slider and hit the end turn button. The comparison with Mount and Blade would be accurate, up until you finish character creation and M&B goes on to have an actual game.

  44. Sisyfos says:

    For one split second i actually believed a video game critic had been murdered.

    I still believe the scenario to be plausible. It’s a sick world.

  45. Tei says:

    Gratuitous Space Battles is a cloud of probability, as is not created yet….. I …suppose.

  46. Markoff Chaney says:

    That article almost had me going too. The saddest part is, I fully expect it to happen some day. Stay well, good RPS reviewers!

  47. Sonic Goo says:

    Is there some way we can set those Killzone fanboys loose on those Townhall types and solve two problems in one go? Pleeeeeeaase?

  48. El_MUERkO says:

    Not the newspapers and not on Sunday but Eve is on the BBC website again :)

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7905924.stm

  49. malkav11 says:

    The RapeLay kerfuffle has struck me as rather bizarre. Greg Costikyan over on Play This Thing got all up in arms about Amazon’s “censorship” of the game when all they’ve done is removed an item from sale that they never would have sold had they built that arm of their business from scratch. They aren’t treating games specially – they don’t sell hardcore pornography in video or magazine form either. In fact, I don’t think they sell softcore porn like Playboy or Penthouse. The only example provided of Amazon selling anything that could be reasonably considered to be porn are some romance novels and the Gor series, and while I’m sure those are sexually explicit, they probably wouldn’t be sold in an adult media store any more than Amazon would sell Barely Legal #90.

    It’s not about the game being about virtually raping people (although that -is- disgusting). It’s just not the sort of thing Amazon sells.

  50. bansama says:

    It’s worth noting that DHSGiT! Are no longer in as much trouble with their recent (ie, today’s) debut on Steam. It should have been sold on there from the start. Best DD for it in terms of audience. Far better than BigFish at least.

    Will almost certainly be picking it up myself either at the current discount or after payday…

    As for what Amazon sell, while the UK/US versions may not sell porn, the Japanese one does. Both via it’s own distribution and via third parties. But then, guess that’s just a different cultural look on things.

    As for that game, if it keeps even one wannabe rapist off the streets and safely in the confines of their room virtually raping virtual women instead of actually raping real women, I think it’s doing the world a service. Of course if it incites someone to actually try raping for real, he needs to be castrated for trying to blame his desire to rape on a video game.