The Sunday Papers

By Kieron Gillen on July 19th, 2009 at 7:35 pm.

Sundays are for jet-lag, 110 degrees Vegas heat, and crouching on an old friend’s apartment whilst being harried by her dog. Also compiling a list of the notable games writing from across the week while trying not to lob in a link to one of the most glorious noble follies of Eighties pop music.

Failed.

.

81 Comments »

  1. Paul Barnett says:

    Good sunday papers as ever, makes me feel better following the links.

    Currently reading Rockpapershotgun from an airplane at 36,000 feet. Is this a first for RPS? it is for me. In flight wifi is ace and should be the law. Neil Kulkarni’s page is awesome. Just noticed that Doom is working on the in flight game system, is it still the game of choice to prove a new platform…

  2. Duckmeister says:

    Folks on the other side of the pond really seem to enjoy songs from what Americans consider one hit wonders. I don’t want to say we have better taste in music, but oops I just did.

    Oh wait, you guys have Radiohead. You guys win.

  3. RagingLion says:

    Hmm … not so much that interests me this week.

  4. Dominic White says:

    The article on Warhawk is so very true – all of it. It’s also notable for being one of the few downloadable console games to maintain a large playerbase at all times, mainly due to its PC-like dedicated servers and browser.

    If any of you RPS blokeys own a PS3, it’s a must-have.

  5. Quinns says:

    BATTLE KLAXON! is a bi-weekly thing where I take a game not enough people are talking about and try to shout about it as loudly as possible while remaining credible.

    (I like to think the Battle Klaxon itself sounds like every track on Cross by Justice playing at the same time.)

  6. Fat Zombie says:

    I tried the Warhawk demo. The concept is really quite entertaining but there’s something about the game ‘feel’ that puts me off. Otherwise, awesome.

  7. GreatUncleBaal says:

    @ Quinns: I need features like this, there’s so many bloody games about now that I always feel like I’m missing out on stuff – a good, fun read. However, having now listened to “Cross”, I don’t think the universe would tolerate the whole bloody thing being played simultaneously. I’m still not sure if I like the album or not, but it certainly seems URGENT.

  8. GreatUncleBaal says:

    Just to add: Lords of Midnight is a game I have tremendous affection for, even though I have a sound strategy for beating it every time now. Doomdark’s never quite captivated me in the same way, for some reason the underground tunnels didn’t resonate with me. Really interesting to read behind the scenes stuff on a classic.

  9. jalf says:

    Ow, I think I lost a good handful brain cells from reading that DRM thing… DSmart, graphics drivers most certainly run code in Ring 0. Lots of it.

    Impulse does not do online activation checks before launching your game, so if that is the criteria, I fail to see how it can be considered DRM.

    And of course, “theft”, according ever dictionary I was able to find, is taking someone’s property without their consent Pirating a game does not do that. The developer’s property is still intact and untouched. It is copyright infringement, yes, illegal yes, but no more “theft” than jaywalking or murder is.

    Sigh…

  10. tapanister says:

    By the Gawds, Derek Smart can write a long-ass blog post. Damn.

  11. Heliocentric says:

    Warhawk is along side mgs4 one of the few titles which makes me sad sony are still harvesting exclusives, no 360 exclusive title effects me similarly, except chrome hounds. God i want to play that.

  12. Heliocentric says:

    Digital rights management is, the managements of the digital rights to your property, or lack thereof. Impulse is drm, the games lack drm (mostly), but the drm app is required for at least the initial install. A disc needed in the drive to install gets a free pass, but that too is drm if for whatever reason you can’t yank the installer (and related files) off the disc and run it from the hard drive. Thats drm too, disc checks? Drm, cd key? Drm, map or manual with symbols the game will prompt you for? Drm. Need to phone up taiwan for a 2gb cipher code? Dr-fucking-M.

  13. alseT says:

    Yeah I read that DRM thing up until seeing “THIEVES” in bold. We know and he knows that legally, morally and practically piracy is much different from stealing, and yet he makes fallacious statements that remove any shred of credibility that he might have had before.

  14. Novotny says:

    Didn’t Douglas Adams invent Derek Smart?

    Good article matey, I know you peruse this site :)

  15. jalf says:

    Huh? Impulse isn’t required for the initial install.

    Last I checked, I could download an Impulse game from a torrent site, install it and run it. No cracks needed or anything. (for the record, I’ve only done this with GalCiv2, which I own)

    Anyway, even if Impulse was needed for the initial install, that wouldn’t make it DRM. Impulse is free to download, after all. It would be DRM if it somehow attempt to prevent you from installing/running a game if you don’t have a valid license for it. The only time Impulse does that, to the best of my knowledge, is when patching. So you could say their patches are DRM protected, but the games are not.

  16. Heliocentric says:

    Eh, i consider it a crime, and when the pirates claim a profit, that money is stolen from the rightful sellers, but who carboot sales pirated pc games really?

  17. Heliocentric says:

    So you admit impulse uses some drm? How it uses it is beside the point. Thing is, the impulse title you downloaded was unlocked, but you download a locked version you need a license to unlock.

    Its quite friendly drm, but its drm.

  18. bigredrock says:

    Great, great Dexys track. Thanks for the link.

  19. bhlaab says:

    Oh wait, you guys have Radiohead. You guys win.

    Hold up. They also have Oasis, which negates Radiohead.

  20. Magnus says:

    Derek Smart mentions theft, and then proceeds to make a comparison with car theft.

    Later, he mentions that when you buy a game, you’re actually just paying for a license.

    Copyright infringement of a software license is not equivalent in any way to car theft.

    This doesn’t mean it isn’t a problem, and it is still against the law.

    I’m not against certain types of DRM, but they have to keep in mind that it should be as unobtrusive as possible.

  21. manveruppd says:

    Umm, he’s not from the Seattle Examiner, he’s an examiner.com blogger based in Seattle.
    Just clarifying.

  22. Kieron Gillen says:

    Yeah – sorry. Misphrased.

    KG

  23. Novotny says:

    I’ll forgive any Americans slagging our music scene, as they gave us the blues.

    Oh wait – you also gave us Rap. Negated!

  24. Matt W says:

    WRT to the Crispygamer article, I’m slightly grumpy (and on holiday so feeling like being vocally grumpy.).

    In the first instance, the argument actually being made is less “used games are good for the industry”, and more “cheaper games are nice for gamers”, and I’m not sure that’s something that needed four pages to explain.

    Even with that said though, the remaining interest of the argument is pretty much destroyed for me by the complete failure to even acknowledge price cuts and budget releases. The industry has demonstrated a fine understanding of the fact that different people will buy the same product at different price points for many years, as demonstrated by the aforementioned cuts and rereleases. The only benefit that used games bring in this regard is that they let you get the game you want at the price you want sooner (which the article doesn’t have an argument in favor of that I can see), and make certain retailers wads of money*.

    Also, the idea that all games are either AAA blockbusters or Deerhunter remakes is silly (and it wouldn’t surprise me if the games in the middle, the 7/10 perfectly-good-but-not-quite-stellar mid-budget stuff were the ones that were hurting the most from resales as they’re right in the “I want it but not quite for that much” sweet spot).

    * “PC gaming is dying” because it has reduced presence at retail because retailers are giving PC games less shelf space because most of their profit comes from resales and you can’t really resell PC games. Discuss. For bonus marks, predict what would happen to games retailers if console titles could not be resold.

  25. dsmart says:

    Yeah I read that DRM thing up until seeing “THIEVES” in bold. We know and he knows that legally, morally and practically piracy is much different from stealing, and yet he makes fallacious statements that remove any shred of credibility that he might have had before.

    I started typing up a cleverly written synopsis of your silly commentary. Then decided that it wasn’t worth the hassle or the argument. So instead, I’ll just pop these up for you.

    Wiki – definition of theft

    Webster – definition of theft

    Wiki – definition of Copyright Infringement of Software

    No matter how you try to justify it, appropriating something that does not belong to you or infringing copyright, is theft.

    PYAITK.

  26. robrob says:

    Park Your Ass In The Kage! You just got smarted.

  27. Anaonymous says:

    Wiki: “In criminal law, theft is the illegal taking of another person’s property without that person’s freely-given consent.”

    Merriam-Webster: “1 a: the act of stealing ; specifically : the felonious taking and removing of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it b: an unlawful taking (as by embezzlement or burglary) of property.”

    Wiki Copyright Infringement: “The copyright infringement of software (often referred to as software piracy) refers to several practices which involve the unauthorized copying of computer software.”

    So…. Where precisely did it say that theft was the unlawful copying of information? No matter how you try to justify it, copyright infringement involves neither taking nor removing of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it.

    Theft is theft, copyright infringement is copyright infringement, and Derek Smart should read his own damn links.

  28. Yay! says:

    Exactly. Replication does not deprive the owner. You do not own the copies, as such. That’s the whole point of having copyright and theft separate. If I copy software I just bought, that’s not theft, but would be copyright infringement. They’re not synonymous.

    It’s not a justification of anything.

  29. SirKicksalot says:

    before I disappear into Comicon

    I envy everyone that’s going to see the Avatar footage.

  30. Kowalski says:

    Let’s say pirating computer games *is* theft, for a second.

    Where does anyone’s argument differ?

  31. Markoff Chaney says:

    You gave us Muse. I call it even.

  32. frymaster says:

    “We know and he knows that legally, morally and practically piracy is much different from stealing”

    legally, piracy is not theft, at least is some places. But morally? As kids, swapping disks in the playground, it would never have occurred to us to say “this is OK because it’s not really stealing, it’s copyright infringement” or “it’s ok because we don’t have an income so would never have bought this anyway”. We knew damn well what we were doing, we did it anyway because, well, we were kids.

    I admit right now I still pirate the odd game (especially when I can’t physically get a hold of it) but I don’t try to justify myself… I’m ripping off the developers and yes, the publishers too. Just because the chances are the developers never would have seen a penny from me does not in any way justify the slap in the face that is me consuming the products of their creativity without reimbursing them

  33. Chriller says:

    Haha, from the moment I noticed that little drm linky in the list, despite it being given practically no space or commantary at all, it was sooo obvious that it was going to be the main subject of the comments.

    @Kowalski, well, as it is now, at least 2dboy aint paying the internet 160 bucks for every one of their honest customers. Man would they have been in some deep shit!

  34. LewieP says:

    Oh hey, I went to Videogame nation today, caught up with Matthew Smith (Manic Miner, Jet Set Willy) and gonna upload the video tomorrow. He’s a really nice bloke.

  35. Gap Gen says:

    Yeah, legally copyright violation isn’t classed as theft. I don’t think it’s legally useful to define it as such either, although it is a crime. I don’t know if there’s a better system out there than copyright, but I’m not a lawyer or economist. Not my job.

    Anyway, good article on DRM. I think it’s main point is the most useful one – that it’s up to game developers to ensure that DRM works smoothly, as well as the DRM software developers. Much of the bad press surrounding DRM is partly down to bad implementation (as well as ideas like limited installs, even though I only played Spore through once and then never went back…)

    Steam is very interesting, too (as is Impulse). Not only is it workable DRM, but gamers like it. (Which ties into Crispygamer’s interesting article).

  36. LewieP says:

    Piracy really is not the same as theft, and if you can’t see any moral difference between the two I suspect you are being intentionally obtuse.

  37. dsmart says:

    Park Your Ass In The Kage! You just got smarted.

    Close, but no cigar :D

  38. Starky says:

    Here’s a thought exercise for you people…

    A) If I make a copy of a game I own and then give it to a friend who was going to buy it I’ve committed piracy, this is a crime.
    B) If I buy a game and then advice a friend NOT to buy it (for whatever reason), this is fine.

    Both cases result in a lost sale to the content creators/distributors, what is the moral difference between them?

    The only difference (the consequence) is that in situation A the “friend” gets enjoy that game anyway.
    So, lets add situation C
    C: I own a game, and loan it to a friend for a week for him to play instead of buying it.

    Again, the result is exactly the same, only the method to achieve this result differs.

    Morally what is the difference? With either one I’m “stealing” money from the Dev’s pocket (or from his childrens starving mouths).
    Legally the only difference is the method.

    Which I’m fine with, many laws are based on the method over the consequence, but morally it is a fine line.
    That and I think it important for people to know that the difference really is one of method vs. consequence.

    I honestly think the entire concept of IP when it comes to digital goods is going to have to die, copyright is something that was only feasible when the act of copying was difficult and physical.
    That is no longer the case – except possibly in physical products with added value, a good DVD with extras, behind the scenes, commentaries and such has added value over a 700mb xvid rip – unfortunately in many cases not enough to justify the large retail price tag.

    The whole world (users and producers) is going to have to go through a paradigm shift when it comes to IP based digital products (anything that can be converted to 1s and 0s and distributed over bittorrent).
    In the short term I think there is going to be lots of pain, struggling producers, lots of sueing of downloads equal lots of anger and lots of bullshit.

    Still in the end people will realise that if they want to enjoy content they need to reward the producers they like, I can honestly see music and game production (at least on the indi level) becoming one of a almost medieval patronage, except instead of having one wealthy patron, you have thousands of smaller ones.

    Like it or not the release for free, and then earn your money on donations – donations on the promise of future work, as in release a game for free, and promise an expansion/sequel if you get X money – is the model of the future.
    Artists in the music world are starting to wise up to this. Well this and that concerts are where they earn money, not the digital recordings themselves – live is something you can’t copy.

    Oh I expect it will take a decade or more for this paradigm shift, but it is coming.

    The public will learn that the value isn’t in the product, that song on Itunes isn’t worth $1, that’s just ones and zeros. What is worth $1 is the promise of a new song by that artist i the future.
    Artists will have to realize that once that first copy is made, then the product itself is worthless – they can’t apply a “cost” to a copy, they can’t “charge” for it, they must just hope that enough people enjoy their work enough to donate for future material.

    Basically the digital IP based world will have to take a leaf from the drug dealers world (after all, a game, and a recreational drug are similar products in many ways), you get the first for free, but if you want more you’re going to have to pay.

    [b]Then once enough people have paid enough, EVERYONE gets the next “hit” for free.[/b]

  39. Novotny says:

    That’s a very interesting argument. I’m too mashed to add more

  40. Radiant says:

    I remember a time when Piracy was about ships and games that took ages to load.

  41. Pundabaya says:

    One thing about second hand games that people seem to overlook, is that their price tend to fall far lower than discounted new titles do. If a store has a ton of ‘Obscure Game’ new, that aren’t selling, at some point its easier to send them back. If they’ve got a ton of ‘Obscure Game’ secondhand, then they’re stuck with them…

    This puts them into the ‘take a gamble’ price range. Of course, if I’ve picked up a game I initially didn’t fancy for 7 quid, and really enjoyed it, then I’m much more likely to splash out full whack for a new copy of ‘Obscure Game II: The Obscurening’.

    I’ve done exactle that. I picked up a used copy of Madden NFL ’98 for a pittance, then paid full whack for the latest version. Then the version after that… and a version after… you get the picture. (It also got me into the strange, yet satisfying sport of American Football)

    Rage Racer cost me a few quid, Ridge Racer Type 4 cost me a whole lot more, as did Ridge Racer 6.

    Final Fantasy 7 cost me 7 pounds, 8,9,10 cost me a combined amount of £135.

    The second-hand market broadens consumers tastes, and that can only be a good thing for the industry.

  42. dsmart says:

    I personally have no problems with used games.

  43. dsmart says:

    @ jalf

    Ow, I think I lost a good handful brain cells from reading that DRM thing… DSmart, graphics drivers most certainly run code in Ring 0. Lots of it.

    Was my blog written in Swahili or did you just not get it?

  44. Bhazor says:

    Reply to Pundabaya

    Yep I’m sure thats a big comfort to the companies who make daring games and then go out of business because everyone bought their games second hand. The only excuse for the second hand industry I agree with is to keep out of print games in circulation. Which sadly means those companies already collapsed.

    I also think your examples of obscure games really takes the biscuit.

    But I do agree that lower prices encourage people to take the risk but it’s up to the publishers and retailers (bastards to a man though they are) to set the prices lower.

  45. Robin says:

    Dyack’s wrong. Games have always been too broad for a single platform to make sense. Whenever a de facto standard has emerged (the NES, PS1, PS2, Game Boy) it’s always narrowed the field of what is technically and commercially viable and outstayed its welcome.

    Saying you want a single platform means saying you want the lowest common denominator of hardware cost, input device and enforcement of the business model that best suits the ruling platform holder or consortium. Which are all utterly idiotic things to want if you like creativity.

    Even if an impartial body was given the task of speccing out such a platform, they’d fail. It’s not like asking for a single recording format. It’s more like trying to announce that the Honda Accord is now the standard form of transport for the next ten years and all railways and airports will be closed forthwith.

    The current situation of multiple viable platforms means virtually everyone is catered for. What he’s really saying is that it’s hard for his epically mismanaged b-games to get signed any more. Mr. Dyack, if you’d be so kind as to look into this electron microscope we have prepared the appropriately sized violin.

  46. Nafe says:

    @Starky: A very interesting post indeed.

    @Derek Smart: I’m sorry but you’re just wrong and the most amusing thing is that the links you used to back up your point actually disproved it. Perhaps you should put your arse in the know. That car theft analogy is also total crap, you’re clearly not an idiot so I expect you see that.

    I get the impression that this is simply a very emotional subject for you because you create games and the idea of people enjoying your hard work without reimbursing you is horrible. I totally get that, however I think approaching any practical problems such as DRM and piracy from an emotional standpoint is just silly. Don’t fuddle arguments with crap like “piracy is theft” – be straight forward about it and I expect people will give more of a shit about what you have to say.

    Incidentally I’m very much in agreement with the consequence based morality Starky mentioned. The tricky thing is actually being aware of what the consequences of ones actions are. If I were to torrent a game that I wouldn’t have bought I could say “hell, the developer/publisher has lost nothing so who cares” but there are other things to keep in mind. If I’m torrenting chances are I’m aiding someone else get a freebie which they may well have purchased. When using the game, it may well have online components that use resources I’ve not paid for (howdy Demigod!).

    There’s a lot too this piracy debate, but something that always grinds my gears is people trying to make their argument seem more valid when they chuck in bullshit comments like piracy IS theft. It just isn’t. It has similarities but the details are entirely relevant.

  47. Novotny says:

    Quite a convincing piece of writing, Robin – but I’d put it to you that creativity often springs most keenly from within shackles.

    Give an artist unlimited resources, and you get a bag of shite.

    There’s some sort of connection between creativity and limited means. Any student of this daft species could acknowledge that.

  48. solipsistnation says:

    “The self-abasing degrading shame of being a critic doesn’t paralyse, it frees you up to write what the fuck you want[...]”

    Fuck yeah.

  49. Thants says:

    Bhazor: I don’t understand where this idea came from that the second hand market is some unique problem that the game industry has. Most other industries have second hand markets. No one is arguing that me buying a used book is hurting the poor small book publishers. The Americans even protect it by law, the First-sale doctrine. It works just fine with everything else, why are games so special?

  50. invisiblejesus says:

    @Bhazor

    Yep I’m sure thats a big comfort to the companies who make daring games and then go out of business because everyone bought their games second hand. The only excuse for the second hand industry I agree with is to keep out of print games in circulation. Which sadly means those companies already collapsed.

    I also think your examples of obscure games really takes the biscuit.

    But I do agree that lower prices encourage people to take the risk but it’s up to the publishers and retailers (bastards to a man though they are) to set the prices lower.

    I’d buy that argument if I could more easily find used copies of “daring games”. When I go to the store though, I see the shelves lined with the same old, same old. The used market isn’t hurting publishers of more envelope-pushing titles because for it to do so there’d have to be more people actually buying those titles new, in a format that allows for reselling. But there aren’t. If you wanted to argue that somehow GTA4 made a few thousand less than it might have because of used sales then sure, I’ll buy that. But it’s going to take a little more to convince me that the used market endangers games like Psychonauts, Eternal Darkness, Beyond Good and Evil, etc, when I can’t find used copies of the games at reasonably affordable prices even when I’m trying. The only stuff I see readily and easily available at reasonable prices is the straight-ahead mainstream stuff.