The Sunday Papers

By Kieron Gillen on August 16th, 2009 at 1:26 pm.

Sundays are for downloading Indie Strategy Games, sipping tea and compiling an enormous list of the fun and fascinating reading from across the week, while trying my jolly hardest to not link to some fine 80s indie miserablism which I found myself listening to this morning…

Failed.

.

72 Comments »

  1. Legionary says:

    Interesting reads, thanks.

  2. qrter says:

    Personally, I see no reason why stories that you think deserve more attention should not get their own posts during the week.

    I’m sure most people who read the Sunday Papers also read RPS during the week.

  3. Psychopomp says:

    @Qrter

    Because we like The Sunday Papers?

  4. Premium User Badge Vandelay says:

    Wow, some HL2:EP3 info finally. And one of the most intriguing info I’ve seen for any game. A deaf character that requires sign language to talk to? Will Gordon finally be able to talk? Will Alyx abandon Gordon for her old crush? Will Valve be able to squeeze more love and admiration out of us all by welcoming the hearing impaired more than they already do with their excellent subtitling?

    I really hope there is more info coming out once L4D2 is out, hopefully news like HL2:EP3 is being bundled with Portal 2.

  5. Tei says:

    Games in interplanteria scale, like EVE, Elite and a million other games?

  6. MrBejeebus says:

    Alot of good stuff here

  7. EGTF says:

    What is always_black up to these days anyway?

  8. Dracko says:

    You forgot something super important and awesome!

    http://jordanmechner.com/blog/2009/08/unfinished-last-express-prequel/

  9. Kieron Gillen says:

    Dracko: It is awesome, but the sort of thing I was referring to in my little editor’s note.

    KG

  10. Helm says:

    “Actually, before I go onto the less-game-related stories, just something I’ve been thinking about. The Sunday Papers seems to have been ballooning in recent times. Which is great, but I can’t but help feel by having so much stuff here, a lot of it’s going to be overlooked. I’m thinking of actually spinning more stuff into actual RPS posts, leaving a body of work for here, but moving stuff which perhaps needs more concentrated debate to their own story.”

    Yes please.

  11. sfury says:

    The Abandonware Interview was good stuff. Just saying.

  12. Schaulustiger says:

    What Indie strategy game should I be downloading today?

  13. reaper47 says:

    Lou Castle:

    “Part of the reason for that is the opinion leaders that drive console sales or even high-end PC sales are oftentimes very core opinion drivers that want a 60, 80 or even 90-hour experience of incredibly rich content. And frankly, if you make a game that doesn’t deliver that you’re relegated to the ‘not as important’ [category]. Nevermind the fact that 80% of your people are not going to get past 10% of your game. What that means is you’re spending 80% of your money, or maybe more when you consider all the costs of assets, on an ever decreasingly small part of your market that happens to be the opinion leaders.

    “And frankly, it’s not just about all the things we just discussed; it’s also about the rental [and used] markets. When retailers are taking the lion’s share of the cash because the game gets sold 5 or 6 times, that might seem like an advantage to the consumer, but what they’re really doing is driving up the price of the games or driving away the opportunity to have those kinds of experiences. Because once it becomes economically unfeasible, the well will dry, there’s no doubt.”

    Uhm, BS?

    I can’t think of a single “opinion leader” that judges games by the quantity of content anymore. In fact, I’ve been searching for such an information source quite desperately. The closest I could find are probably hardcore-gamer amateur reviews on mobygames.com, hardly “leading” anything.

    At the same time, one of the best-selling games of recent times was 80 hour gameplay/$100 million production GTA4, which probably made half a billion dollars by now.

    Secondly, there is a striving borrowing and used-sales market for books. Plus FUCKING LIBRARIES! And I don’t see any drop in sales there. In fact, Joanne K. Rowling would agree it’s absurdly profitable. Why do games companies whine, asking for special treatment there?

  14. Alex Hayter says:

    I agree that some stuff tends to be overlooked in the Sunday Papers, and I like the idea of worthy articles being given their own posts.

    However, I like the low turnover rate that RPS has, with more attention-to-detail given to each post than your typical gaming blog (like good spelling and grammar, which Kotaku often lacks).

    The more RPS stays away from the micro-blogging trend of current times, the better.

  15. TCM says:

    I tend to not bother looking at 60% of the stuff in The Sunday Papers, choosing instead to cherry pick the most interesting links as tabs, so I wouldn’t mind articles being spread out over the week.

  16. Jim Rossignol says:

    “like good spelling and grammar”

    Are you sure?

    Re: Microblogging. Yes, our intention is to be a “read” rather than a feed. We want to cover the news, but to provide stuff to spend time reading too.

  17. Dante says:

    Valve are studying sign-language for a deaf-Half-life character. Interesting. As a twist ending the camera zooms out to third person at the end of episode three to reveal Gordon has been signing his way through the entire series.

  18. Xercies says:

    Umm…what can I say about that Lady Gaga thing, involved in some conspiracies as i am I can’t really call it crazy since i would be a hypocrite. But tis interesting to be honest what someone gets out if they think about symbolism a lot and see things that other people would think that are not there.

    Anyway I do believe that the games industry cannot survive that long with this increasing budget of games. Which is a bit of a shame since the more simpler games don’t really have a great story and don’t have that much of a world to explore.

    Heres my thoughts in a bit more detail

    http://wiseassthinkers.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/random-musings-why-im-afraid-of-the-casual-gaming-revolution/

    I really think that simpler games does not always equal good. And it would be a shame that we lose all these big RPGs and big games because a lot of people care about graphics being really really good. I’m one for less graphics and more gameplay since I still can play really old games with rubbish graphics and still enjoy them. It disheartens me when I see things in games journalists say “you wouldn’t want to play this because the graphics haven’t aged at all and everything looks shite” I say stop being so superficial.

  19. Matt W says:

    FWIW, the Sunday Papers is part of my Monday morning ritual, and I read pretty much all of it (sometimes takes until mid-week to cover it all, but I get there). I suspect people who are actually going to read things are going to read them regardless of how and when you present them; the one thing that is sometimes a shame is that the most interesting bits don’t get the discussion they deserve (usually because of lolDRM or similar), but at the same time in the bigger picture I suspect that the discussion’s not what it’s for.

    Also, if you’re reform-minded, please don’t ditch the non-gaming stuff – it’s often the most interesting thing I read all week (and I’m not just talking about RPS content here).

  20. Kieron Gillen says:

    Oh, we won’t be ditching anything. This is addition, not replacement.

    KG

  21. Tei says:

    Oh.. now that I have more readingenergy, it seems the interplanetary gamming is talking about playing games on space and other planets, with pings of >2000ms or >8min
    Strategy games would do. Or singleplayer games. etc.

    No that cosmonauts have enough time for that… the last time the cosmonauts was able to use his time to watch a movie, the movie was region locked with DRM and the cosmonatus was unable to watch such movie. Ha.

  22. bill says:

    Did anyone read this story on the BBC?
    Apparently game sales are bigger, but profits aren’t
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8201332.stm

    PS/ this is the only thing i’ve heard about this Edinburgh Interactive thingy…

  23. nine says:

    I would like to see the sunday papers split up. Not every day, but how about every wednesday too? A small header to dilineate between different sorts of stories too would be nice. “Games”, “Meta”, and “Cool Music” or something?

  24. Kester says:

    @Dante: That would be excellent. It also has the amusing effect of making all the people in the HL universe who have made a comment about Gordon’s silent tendencies into utter bastards.

  25. mist says:

    @reaper: producing a book takes the writer ~ 1 year, and maybe another year in manhours by the editor/publisher/etc. Total costs: ~100k.

    Producing those games which get sold 5 times takes hundreds of people multiple years. Total costs: tens of millions.

    As a natural result, making a profit with a computer game is going to require different sales numbers than making a profit with a book.

    Just because you can make a profit selling X with business model Z, really doesn’t mean that you can also make a profit selling Y with business model Z.

    And game companies are not whining.. the guy here is noting a problem. “If making a game costs 30 million dollars, we need to sell 1 million copies to make a profit” (probable even more considering the share of the retailer etc). “if the audience for our product is only 3 million people, we’re going to have a real problem if 2.5 million of them are going to buy a used copy”.

    you might say “well then don’t make a game that only has a maximum audience of 3 million people!”. Well yeah. That’s what the guy in the article was talking about. Eventually game developers will have to say “making game X is not going to be profitable considering the number of people who are likely to buy it… let’s instead make Wii Partygamez 2423″

  26. Arathain says:

    I’d love to see a few individual posts on some of these articles. I love the Sunday Papers (and hope it continues) but I’d love to know more of RPS’s opinions on some of this stuff, and I’d be interested to see a more focused discussion. The comments on the Papers is understandably a bit diffuse, or focuses on one hot button issue.

    The piece on Final Fantasy 8 was interesting. It’s the only FF game I almost finished, which must say something, given my attention span. I remember enjoying an interesting set of characters, and Squall’s progression to a functioning human being encouraged by Rinoa’s joi de vivre was emotionally engaging.

    I found the ‘we all grew up together but just forgot’ twist very unsatisfying, though. I felt it came in the place of interesting backstories for decent characters, since in effect they all had the same one. I’m glad the author got something more out of it.

    I still don’t know how I managed to sit through all those summon cut-scenes.

  27. Vinraith says:

    Spool off anything you like, I tend to cherry pick pretty heavily anyway.

  28. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    Huh, didn’t realise Deluxe Paint was used as a professional arts package. Good article that.

    Lady Gaga: Puppet Of The Illuminati. One for the Deus Ex 3 writers to consider integrating, methinks.

    I dunno, the real illuminati might have just been cribbing ideas from Invisible War’s NG Resonance.

  29. Chris Evans says:

    I too would like to see some more discussion of bigger topics spread out across the week, would provide a chance for discussions on specific topics. The reason I don’t comment much in the Sunday Papers is because everyone seems to end up talking about just one article and getting carried away with the debates.

  30. Cooper says:

    Shorter Sunday Papers would be appreciated. Interesting stuff deserving its own link, if only as a short post on the main page is A. Good. Idea. (TM)

    I don’t necessarily have hours on a Sunday to peruse these links, but can find the odd 20 minutes during the week here and there to tuck into specific pieces flagged up.

  31. The Fanciest of Pants says:

    Cheers for another sunday papers.

    I’m all for more RPS-endorsed linkage by the way, any time of the week.

  32. JonFitt says:

    I think holding over the meaty discussion topics in The Sunday Papers for weekday posts is a great idea.
    I often don’t have time to read them all and many stories get missed.

  33. Casimir's Blake says:

    Lady Gaga: Puppet Of The Illuminati

    Keep in mind, this is the woman that gave us the execrable and relentlessly irritating “Just Dance”…

  34. Casimir's Blake says:

    Argh, where is the edit function!?

    The shareware article starts with a debateable fact already, which isn’t good news.

    The history of PC gaming can be neatly split into two eras. Everything from 1993 onwards we can class as the Modern Age, in which the PC is established as a games platform in its own right.

    1993 onwards, no. DOS was still a mess of configuration issues, and DirectX was barely a twinkle in Bill Gates’ eye. I’d argue that sometime towards the end of the 90s, perhaps around the era of the Geforce 2, things became what they are now: PC + 3D hardware + Windows = Wintel gaming platform.

    Not that I like it, just saying.

  35. Fraser says:

    Oh dear, I really badly messed up the HTML there.

    Here are the links:

    http://thunderboltgames.com/

    http://resolution-magazine.co.uk/content/preview-apb/

  36. Mr Lizard says:

    Based on that Billion Dollar Gram, the Illuminati are considerably better at managing pop singers (Lady Gaga, NG Resonance) than they are at secretly manipulating world events.

  37. reaper47 says:

    @mist:

    The hatred of the games industry towards used game sales is striking. I’m not talking about this article in particular, but for example, I recently saw the creators of Assassin’s Creed list the used games market next to piracy. As if they were even remotely comparable (I think they are, actually, but probably not in the way the companies think of either).

    I find it disappointing, especially, how quality is absolutely ignored in the equation, like it isn’t even a factor! Why did “Lady in the Water” flop? A $75 mil production? You’re not seriously telling me it was piracy? Or the “used video” market?

    I don’t like how much thinking game execs seem to spend on fighting windmills, while staying ignorant towards anything even remotely related to quality or consumer goodwill. I really don’t need “used games” as yet another excuse why games have to be made more shitty to sell. Or need even more ridiculous DRM…

  38. dartt says:

    I’m all for more posts but my work output wanes as yours waxes; I fear for my job…

  39. Hermit says:

    “Lady Gaga: Puppet Of The Illuminati. One for the Deus Ex 3 writers to consider integrating, methinks.”

    It’s been done. Lady GaGa and NG Resonance are the same artificial construct.

  40. invisiblejesus says:

    Another ignorant Yank question regarding used game sales: do retailers actually stock used PC games in any significant quantity on the other side of the pond? Console games obviously have a thriving used market, but I’m not aware of any store in my region where I can expect to find used PC games in a noticable quanitity. Is this a US thing? Maybe a New England thing and if I go out west or south it’ll be different? I’ve heard comments about the damage used game sales does to PC gaming (again, not talking about console games), but when I actually walk into a store and look at what is actually on the shelves I see a couple small shelves of new PC games, no used PC games at all, and then tons of new and used console games.

  41. Vinraith says:

    @invisiblejesus

    It’s no different down here in Kentucky. A few new PC games on the shelf, no used PC games anywhere in a retail store, and tons of console games (new and used) all over the place.

    My understanding (from having this discussion on other boards) is that used PC retail is more common across the pond. Here in the US it’s an internet-only thing as far as I know, though I’ll freely admit to buying a LOT of used PC games via eBay and the like in years past. These days, between restrictive DRM and digital download sales, there’s increasing pressure to just buy new and cheap.

  42. Freudian Trip says:

    From living in the UK for the last few years I’d say that it’s almost impossible to find NEW PC games at retail let alone used.

    Wheres that picture of HMV’s ‘PC Game of the Week’ being Norton Anti-Virus when you need it?

  43. Andrew says:

    Used pc games is a sadly almost non existent in uk retail stores these days. The only shop that really has any at all is Playtime and CEX. Heck all the other stores wont even take pc games back due to silly fears of piracy and people buying games that wont work on their pcs.

  44. arqueturus says:

    @reaper47

    While I agree with the general gist of your arguement, I’m not sure books and software can be compared to each other as the piece references the production costs. I’m sure the production cost of a book doesn’t really compare to a game, in fact I wonder if it’s easier to make a profit from a book than a game.

  45. Xercies says:

    Yeah I don’t see how used PC Games can kill the industry when there are basically none out there, and I don’t think the people selling some on ebay are taking out that much money from the industry. Its just another piss poor excuse from the companies who are bloody greedy.

    I wouldn’t even be surprised if they were owned by the Illuminati.

  46. Robin says:

    @Casimir’s Blake: It’s meant to be a theory, not a fact. :)

    Interestingly a lot of the people who have disputed my arbitrary 1993 cut-off point have argued that it’s too late, citing earlier Sierra, Origin, Lucasarts, etc. PC titles – most of which had a very limited reach in the UK, unless they were ported to other platforms (e.g. the Amiga) as well.

    @reaper47: Where are the chain retailers giving over a substantial part of their floorspace to selling used DVDs and hustling their customers into trading them in? Used game sales are OK in moderation, but when I hear about companies like GameStop making them the core focus of their business, obviously that’s not in the best interests of publishers (who can’t negotiate fair wholesale prices) or consumers (who have to contend with artificially high retail prices, increasingly ridiculous ‘limited editions’ and ever-dwindling choice), and ultimately it’s not sustainable. Sure, some publishers are going to use it as an excuse for poor performance, but the fact is the only games that aren’t getting clobbered by preowned are mega-franchises like Call of Duty. As good as they are, they’re not ten times better than everything else on the market.

  47. KindredPhantom says:

    I do wish Square-Enix would release Final Fantasy on the pc again.
    Final Fantasy 8 seemed more grounded fantasy compared to the massive word eloping final fantasy’s 7 & 9. It has a certain charm to it and was the first to introduce a card game mini-game which i lost patience with.