The Sunday Papers

By Kieron Gillen on October 18th, 2009 at 12:34 pm.

Sundays are for waiting for a long-awaited Doom-3 mod to download while compiling a list of splendid (mainly) videogame related writing from across the week, while trying to resist linking to an archive of early nineties late-night TV music performances. Go!

Failed!

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73 Comments »

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  1. Lee Bradley says:

    The Word came along at exactly the same time for me. Watching Rage Against the Machine rip through an uncensored ‘Killing in the Name’ made up for untold hours of idiots in bathtubs full of baked beans and the like. I hope they stick that one up too.

    Didn’t Jo Whiley book the acts on that show?

  2. Erlend M says:

    Oh man, oh man, The Dark Mod is out!

  3. matte_k says:

    Ahh, The Word. Among other highlights, Faith No More, L7 dropping their trousers, Sepultura playing in a cage, and Snoop Dogg attacking Rod Hull and Emu. Fun times…and I still can’t quite decide if Katie Puckrick was attractive or not.

    But Terry Christian was a knob, that’s a fact :D

    • Redd says:

      Everything I was going to mention… except Katie Puckrik. Who I would. But then Kennedy would have got it too.

      The better FNM performance was Everything’s Ruined, so let’s hope they get that up, and the Gravediggaz “Bang Your Head” too – hip-hop rocking harder than most of the rock bands they had on.

  4. Premium User Badge

    James G says:

    The bit where Brooker talks about the barriers to non-gamers reminds me of the article on here a good while ago where Alec was trying to get his Dad to play Doom.

    Reducing those barriers is difficult, as many of them are in fact useful to those already familiar with gaming. Not only that, but if you are too thorough in making your game accessible, you risk stripping it of some of its character or depth. (I should note that not all means of increasing accessibility, or even of removing complexity, amount to a lack of depth. Some of Valve’s discussion of game design is a good illustration of ways in which accessibility may be improved.)

    Actually, it strikes me that something like Dwarf Fortress is a good way of illustrating this issue to someone already familiar with gaming tropes and techniques. I’ve seen even long term established gamers baulk at the interface, and feel lost when it comes to playing it. Meanwhile, those who have assailed the heights of the clumsy interface, actually end up with a twisted affection for it. Now obviously, there are ways of improving the DF interface which would not actually affect the depth of the game at all, such as providing a bit more consistency in the way things operate. However, other changes, which might well also increase usability (say, combining all workshops into a single building) would also have an impact on the intricacies of the game-play, which in the case of Dwarf Fortress at least, are part of its appeal. (That and watching everything fall apart in a tantrum spiral because you embarked somewhere with very little water and are experiencing a major summer drought.)

  5. SirKicksalot says:

    So… who’s using last.fm here? I am: http://www.last.fm/user/jizaz_craist

    I didn’t like Arkham Asylum’s cutscenes, except for That One (you all know which one).

  6. BrokenSymmetry says:

    In the “avatar piece” Martyn Zachary argues against Leigh Alexander’s use of “birth” in the context of avatar/character creation in games. I find it highly appropriate, though, as I consider the characters I create in a game not so much as a representaion of myself, but rather as children I have to guide through their world.

  7. Kieron Gillen says:

    Lee: I believe she did, at least in the early years.

    EDIT: And annoyingly, the Dark Mod’s site is now down before I downloaded any of the missions.

    KG

  8. Jazmeister says:

    So there’s a diary entry in The Longest Journey that starts “Sundays are for […]” – Kieron is obviously actually Tvrnqvist.

  9. Subjective Effect says:

    “annoyingly, the Dark Mod’s site is now down before I downloaded any of the missions.”

    Its up now.

  10. Kieron Gillen says:

    Yup. Hurrah!

    KG

  11. Subjective Effect says:

    Training mission comes with the basic pack btw.

  12. matte_k says:

    The shop i work in uses last.fm, does that count? We’re constantly getting asked what music is playing in the shop (a compilation of staff member’s music), so the boss set up a last.fm account for people to check out. Boards of Canada and Pop Will Eat Itself were the last two enquiries, I think.

    • neems says:

      Pop Will Eat Itself = best band ever (along with The Pixies).

  13. StalinsGhost says:

    Dark Mod ye say? Excellent!

    Cheers for the linkage, too :)

  14. CaseytheBrash says:

    At the risk of being ran though with a pitchfork the awards events are borderline self-promotion, or so they seem to the lay person. I know this may be the wrong site to even type this, but it seems a lot of people who write feel the need to bang their drum or at the very least have a close circle of friends bang on it in some sort of mutual ego circle jerk. Mind you, I’m just a consumer of the end product, so grain of salt and all…

  15. Dracko says:

    Masters of the trade Jordan Mechner and Eric Chahi sit down and have a chat!

    If you don’t know who these people are, then you have no business talking about PC games whatsoever.

    Oh, it’s in French, you say? Pas de problème. GameSutra s’occupe de la traduction à venir prochainement.

    • Dracko says:

      Though the general news you can garner from it confirm Chahi is still active in the medium and is currently working on a new project, which is great news for everyone, and that Mechner seems to be spending his time these days with comics, with a Prince of Persia anthology forthcoming as well as a trilogy of cape et épée adventures.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      If anyone’s interested, I can translate the piece, but it’s really quite long, so I’d rather not do it if no one gives a damn.

    • Dracko says:

      I’d translate it too, but my understanding is Brandon of GamaSutra is already on the case. Hopefully there will be a bit of a fuss once that happens. It’s great to hear from these two expert craftsmen, especially together.

      Also very interesting that it was Mechner’s editor at First Second books that asked if he had details for Chahi. Could this suggest interest in seeing Chahi create comic works? Some sort of adaptation of his work? I mean, the Prince of Persia comic was extraordinarily good and genuinely mature and clever in a way that did justice to its source material. It’s very interesting to me to hear that you’ve got one publisher taking an interest to auteur game designers.

  16. Tei says:

    VG247 seems a general gamming site, like KOTAKU. While RPS is PC site. More than half the articles of VG247 mean absolutelly nothing to me ( updates on xBL? wtf is that shit?).

  17. bill says:

    It’s down now. :-(

    So i’ll have to ask here. Does it require doom3 to be installed? I guess so.
    Unfortunately my Doom3 dvd is on the other side of the planet. sigh.

  18. Casimir's Blake says:

    Dark Mod Mirror

    Doom 3 was worth buying entirely for this and this only. Unless someone can suggest a mod for the original game that makes the weapons feel less… pathetic.

    There are so many talented people in the Thief fan scene. Looking Glass’ legacy lives on, it seems.

  19. Heliocentric says:

    The Reticule angry at mmo man needs to play love, also eve.

  20. Xercies says:

    Man that Pencil Face video was disturbing…

    A lot of articles about the accessibility of games it seems and the future of narrition. I agree more with Ragnor here and I like games that give me a world to explore and a story in that world. One of the reasons why I love RPGs and adventure games. I definitely would be turned off of games if everything was the Left 4 dead model where you basically make the story up, I don’t particularly like that model myself. I’m alright with messing around in the world but I like a story to go back to every now and again.

    The piece about Virtual Crowd surfing pleases me being a creative myself, hopefully it can continue and artists can be artists getting enough money to live but also enough control to make whatever they want. I am seemingly bored of the studios control of everything artistic and them making your ideas into dust because they are not “profitable” enough.

  21. EyeMessiah says:

    @KG

    The porno article is indeed interesting and ghastly but I think you need to be a bit careful referring to it as being re “the current state of porn”. When it comes to obscenity the media has a long and undistinguished tradition of discussing the scandalous marginal fringe as though it were mainstream, and the article is pretty explicitly about stuff going on the dying edges of the industry.

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      I think you missed the point of the article, which is that the fringe “extreme” sex part of the porno industry is that only part that’s profitable now, as the so called mainstream porno market has been utterly dominated by the free, or at least relatively cheap, internet gonzo porn companies. And that is so called obscene porn is what’s being made now, it’s only being made because it’s what the American market wants…

  22. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    Dragon Heir: It’s a shame she’s hid her prettier line art among screentones. It’s always difficult to resist the urge to use tones as for general shading, especially when compared to the alternative of hatching–always a frightening prospect.

    Though I find black and white comics, manga-influenced or not, do benefit from playing up their black-and-whiteness and saving the grays for special occasions. Or for scene-setting.

    (Come to think of it, a certain Mr. the McKelvie was pretty good at scenetones and stark blackywhiteness, both at the same time. Saw it in a comic, I did.)

    • Helm says:

      I do agree over-eliance to comic tone isn’t the greatest idea for a comic not made by a studio. The initial reason comic tone was so widely adopted by the Japanese industry is for fast production reasons. The head honcho would do some vague pencils, hand the page over to the inkers, then over to the comic tone dudes. This is how big Japanese manga studios do 20 pages of comics a week. The reason it’s handy is because the head honcho artist can just write “use screen tone here” inside a hastily covered shape and he knows how, more or less, the end result will look.

      Of course 20% inks and 80% comic tone is the aesthetic manga readers have grown used to nowadays, so when it’s used by lone artists, it’s for this reason, that they simply find it aesthetically pleasing on its own. I sometimes do also, sadly not in the case of this – otherwise beautiful and interesting – webcomic.

      I strongly agree with you black and white comics should play up their black and white-ness. Ideally (this is what I try to do for my own comics) a good black and white page would NOT benefit from color work. As in, if someone went in and colored it, he’d have problems with the ambiguity of texture and space that the black and white comic used to its own advantage.

      Let’s look at a master of the art, Munoz, with his work on Alack Sinner below:

      http://pwbeat.publishersweekly.com/blog/wp-content/2007/01/planche_alack_sinner4_1106777102_a1b40.jpg

      http://www.actuabd.com/IMG/jpg/Alack-Sinner.jpg

      http://valentinroma.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/alack-sinner-4.jpg

      http://www.actuabd.com/IMG/jpg/Alack-Sinner-Page.jpg

    • Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

      The topic of Comics, always a good read. Also as reading material themselves.

      I find stark and ambiguous black and white comics fascinating to look at, though it helps if there’s a contrast between detailed areas and vague, impressionist areas. The delightfully insane Daniel Kim does b&w, color, and grayscale equally well. Sometimes he’ll even put them together in the same image.

      http://manga.clone-army.org/

      There’s even some manga that downplay or even eschew tones in favor of a bolder aesthetic–whether for purposes of realism or to show off the virtues of expressive line in the manga style. xXxHolic and Vagabond come to mind. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is a classic and thoroughly overwhelming in its detailed hatching, but at the same time Miyazaki knows when to step back to create an impressionist image using only pure light and shadow.

      (And with some embarrassment I find my examples are decidedly Japan-centric.)

    • Helm says:

      I really like Vagabond, haven’t read any xXxHolic. The comics by Daniel Kim you linked sadly I find near impossible to follow. If there’s any storytelling going on in there, it’s not apparent to me at first read. Looks like a series of speed-paintings. Very gifted technically, though.

      I appreciate the dialogue.

    • Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

      Same here.

      Dan Kim seems to switch between two states of mind: Depressingly Hilarious and Painfully Oblique.

  23. Casimir's Blake says:

    Dark Mod: Argh the filefront mirror broke JUST as I was finishing it, bugger!

    Here’s a torrent:
    http://www.strangebedfellows.de/torrents/torrents/darkmod.torrent

    The main site is working for me now though!

    • Subjective Effect says:

      Seems to be having heavy traffic and going off intermittently. Try a refresh a few times and you should be fine.

  24. Premium User Badge

    Lambchops says:

    In response to the Twitter/Gately thing. I still dislike Twitter. Well I delight in seeing the Daily Mail rightly being taken down a peg or two I don’t reckon it should take one of the most banal internet phenomenons to so. While I’ll grudgingly admit that this sort of thing is a good use of the social networking Twitter offers that doesn’t change the fact that the vast majority of Tweets are utter bullshit.

    I think in general of the last few years homophobia has become a lot less acceptable; whether it’s a malicious piece of journalism like Moir’s or an ill judged attempt at a joke (a la Danni Minogue on X Factor last week). It seems to be proof that attitudes have changed quite a lot.

  25. The Hammer says:

    Absolutely fantastic piece by Walker on the Twitter stuff. Frothing-at-the-mouth outrage can be ugly and hurtful on all fronts of the political spectrum. The worst bits are when sites are targeted by hackers, or the names/addresses/telephone numbers of the writers are posted for all to see. It can potentially ruin lives.

    Which isn’t to say the Mail article wasn’t filth. It was. The DM have an absolutely brilliant way of making their regular readers (their target audience) feel part of the newspaper, and part of “real” Britain, and making everyone else feel alienated, dirty, and immoral. This was it in a nutshell.

    • Deuteronomy says:

      I’m so glad I’m not a liberal.

    • John Walker says:

      A couple of thoughts: I deliberately didn’t use terms like “left” and “right” in that piece, since I know people entrenched in right-wards politics who were outraged by that Moir piece. I think it’s a liberal/illiberal divide. I’m also not sure I condemn the tactics of the typical illiberal Mail reader – I’m more asking the question whether the Twitter liberalites are conscious that they’re so completely adopting the tactics of their declared enemy. It might be the right thing to do, but I’m asking.

  26. AndrewC says:

    Oooo no, I don’t like that Radiobutt’s analysis of Last.fm. The exhortations not to take it too seriously don’t hide an underlying enthusiasm to see the world in this way. And this way is just a statistic-nerd’s version of, say, Mojo-man’s list making – demanding order out of chaos, putting everything in it’s right place, altering messy reality to fit generalised and arbitrary categories, cutting off feet to make the man fit the bed.

    I don’t like it. I think it is bad. Boo.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lambchops says:

      Concurred. pPus of course the whole interpretation is relying on arbitrary classifications as well. But mainly it’s just a bit sad!

      Plus being a bit sad myself I instinctively think that there’s something lacking in a statistical analysis which dismisses about half of its datapoints as a “mosh pit of doom” with little further discussion of them!

  27. Jason Moyer says:

    That Stereolab video is hilarious. Was The Word like a British version of Club MTV or something?

  28. Shadrach says:

    I’d seen Pencil Face before but spent the last hour watching their (SCADshorts) other stuff, really brilliant. The host of that music show seems like an ass, was he that annoying all the time?

  29. MadMatty says:

    Damn the markets! If BioWare would only use their pile of cash to remake Dwarf Fortress in glorious 3d, and with the Red Faction: Guerilla Engine for destruction, i´d actually might have some fun. Dragon Age looks like more of the pubescent Tolkien rip-off plots, and Baldurs Gate style gameplay (BG, which wasnt bad at all though, but) cmon… 15 years of the same cheesy voice acting americans blabbering about elfs and orcs….
    Will gaming ever move forward? The computers nowdays can certainly handle some more intricate and complex code, without this neccesarily making games more complicated ( See the new Red Faction: Guerrilla for instance).
    But they´d rather hire another army of graphic artists, instead of a couple of programmers that actually have a clue about what computers are really capable of.

    Ofcourse, games coneverted from console to PC, are generally a bit dumb(er), as the consoles cant handle that much in terms of sheer computing power and memory and such, but thats another issue entirely.

    I´ve turned to Indie games recently, to actually see people making interesting stuff on the computer, instead of graphically beefed versions of what everyone was doing 15 years ago.
    I play games a lot, and i find that with me, i can only play the same type of game for “so long” before the entire genre, becomes tedious.
    Well, ok, i´ve been playing games for 20 years now, and im probably a fairly hardcore gamer, so im sure the newcomers would want to check out, say, some of the rpg experience going on at the moment, but with fresh graphix. It would still be new to them, as they havent played the old stuff. And so the market goes….

    Btw, i tried to play the Witcher, but the main characters were so cheesy i quit after about 2 hours, really trying to get into it.
    Gaming dialogue and plots are generally laughable to those who have actually read a decent book.
    And it doesnt seem to be improving, even though the studios bring in some old hacks, so they can brag about the story being written by “writer proffessionals”….
    So, I´d say: Dump the hack storylines, improve on interaction with the game enviroment, open up the game worlds for exploration, and let gamers make their own stories.

    • MadMatty says:

      Oh yeah- talking about voice actors in games, ive seen actors talking about how little time they have to prepare for the in-game acting, due to the inexperience of the game directors probably, but possibly due to funding restraints, as there is a *lot* of dialogue in games.
      Socio-realism Film director Mike Leigh take his actors straight from the street, sometimes with no acting experiences, along with a few pro´s like Brenda Blethlyn (or whateva), but then takes several months preparing for the filming beforehand, discussing the personas of the film with the actors, trying different things and so on…
      You might not enjoy movies, that are without major explosions, but the end result is that the actors on the finished film sound very real-life like, and would probably get showered in Oscars if they were better looking ;)

    • Deuteronomy says:

      Sounds to me like you might want to read a book.

  30. pierec says:

    Does anyone knows wheter The Dark Mod depends on any Doom 3 pk4’s, eg. uses id software textures and whatnot?

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      Supposedly yes, check the forums at http://www.ttlg.com/forums/showthread.php?t=129171 for more discussion about it.

      I would expect the TDM team to focus their efforts on making the mod standalone once the Doom 3 source has been released.

    • pierec says:

      The linux build of the engine can be downloaded for free apparently, but it doesn’t contain any of the game’s assets. Since I don’t own D3 it would be awesome to play Dark Mod that way.

  31. Jae Armstrong says:

    From the porno piece:

    Jim isn’t the bad guy. He’s the good guy. “I sleep at night,” he informs me, his voice rising, “because I know, in my heart of hearts, I’m giving people money, that could not hold a job at fucking McDonald’s, for the most part. I’m paying people’s rent.” He waves his hands spastically. “It’s a lot more than I can say for a lot of the companies in America, pieces of shit, like Madoff, and Enron, all of these son of a bitches the Bush administration funded that do nothing but take, take, take! Here, I just give, give, give! And this is a fact!” he shouts, wild-eyed. “We are helping these girls! Anybody that comes into this business, for the most part, is a broken toy.” He leans towards me, earnestly attempting to make himself understood. “We’re giving them a place where they can make money, and get by, so they’re not standing on line in a welfare department. Thank God for people like me!” He bangs the desk.

    I really cannot thing of a better argument for a strong welfare state.

    Grisly.

  32. Lilliput King says:

    Enjoyed Denby’s take on ‘Snark.’ The internet is a weird and wonderful place in terms of social interaction, and it was nice to see an attempt to put down on internet paper what I’d had on the edge of my mind for a long while. When people remove themselves from their real life communities on the internet, they still seek to associate themselves with a community – the internet is demonstrably not a utopian society where everyone loves eachother. Rather, we attempt to join with a particular community and assume it’s prejudices in respect to other communities. His connection (although not explicit) with online identity and ‘memes’ insofar as memes are a way to associate yourself with others is, I think, accurate, and perhaps partially takes the place of those things we do to to associate ourselves with groups that we can’t do on the internet – i.e., wear certain clothes, talk certain ways.

    Enjoyed it, anyhow.

    • Helm says:

      Same. Ordered a lot of thoughts I had and I can’t see any glaring holes in his argument.

  33. lumpi says:

    Nice to see there is still some serious modding going on for Doom 3.

  34. The_B says:

    Wait a sec, Brooker namechecked Gillen in his MCV article? COLLUSION!

  35. mattwombat says:

    I was a tad too young to remember The Word but I recently stumbled across one of my faves playing on it, really badly and out of tune. .

    • mattwombat says:

      That’s better, I hope…

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Ah, the Therapy? Word performance. Terrible. I saw it days before I went to see it for the first time, and me and my friends were worried they’d be shit. Except they were splendid. Turns out they were pissed enormously on air, apparently

      KG

    • mattwombat says:

      Yup.

      Still going strong after all this time. They’re touring the UK as we speak (incase yer interested), I’m off to see em on Wednesday.

  36. Velvet Fist, Iron Glove says:

    Ah, the thrill of stealing through semi-darkened passages, whisking precious treasues out from under the noses of oblivious guards.

    I love Thief, and The Dark Mod seems to be a worthy platform for further fan missions.

  37. Andrew F says:

    The snark article’s by Nitsuh Abebe, who occasionally writes for Pitchfork (he later wrote a second part

  38. Larington says:

    I couldn’t read that Death of Authorship interview session in full, ended up abandoning it. As the article went on and I realised that the ‘debate’ had two against authored game narrative versus one defending it, the article descended into a wierd one sided set of anecdotes, I just found myself getting annoyed with the way the debate was progressing on screen. Next time, I read an article on that topic I hope it won’t be a two versus one discussion.

    • invisiblejesus says:

      I think if you go back and slog through it you may enjoy it more; Hocking does tend to kind of dominate the conversation, but it comes off a bit less like him and Faliszek ganging up on Tournquist later on. Probably the most interesting part of it to me was Hocking and Tournquist talking about permanence in games; there in particular but also in other areas, you can really tell that Tourquist is familiar with pen and paper RPGs, whereas if I had to guess I’d say that Hocking isn’t. Hocking doesn’t seem to see a way to advance in how games tell stories without effectively stripping the story away completely, leaving it with about as much “narrative” as a backyard football game. Tournquist seems more comfortable with the idea of storytelling being a collaborative experience between the player(s) and the game’s developers, which calls back nicely to the experience of a group of players and a DM sitting around a table together creating a story.

    • Larington says:

      Having done a bit of gamemastering myself for stuff like Hackmaster & Star Wars (Plus I’ve got more or less unused books for the Babylon 5 RPG around here somewhere), I know its real hard, especially when you’ve got to build all this content to give things the grounding that makes everything at least believable. Theres lots of challenges, both business and design related which still need to be overcome (The business challenges more than the design chalenges these days imho) but the results would very much be worth it.
      I’ll try giving the article another shot tomorrow, but yeah, I do wish they’d had a second pro authored story person there just so that there was a voice to agree with authored stories as there was with the emergent player stories.

    • Larington says:

      I should probably also add I didn’t feel it was ganging up as such, just that the numbers put the conversation out of balance, so it was 33/66 instead of 50/50.

    • invisiblejesus says:

      I get what you mean, ganging up might not have been the best choice of words. It seemed to me that Faliszek just became less important to f the conversation later on, so while mathematically he’s another voice for whatever “emergent storytelling” is supposed to be, he doesn’t really contribute or detract much to this particular article past the beginning. For all useful purposes it’s basically Tournquist and Hocking after the first page.

  39. Premium User Badge

    Lambchops says:

    @ John
    I think the majority (and certainly the ones who started the call for complaints) are fully aware that they are using the same tactics that Daily Mail readers often use. Having seen mass calls to complain about things often based on sweet bugger all from the likes of the Mail I'd imagine most of the liberal Twitter folks would describe complaining to the IPCC as a "subversion" of the usual tactics of the morally outraged for a "right and just" end.
    Good on them for doing so – it's about time someone complained about something worthwhile like vile discrimination rather than a harmless bit of nudity or swearing.

  40. sinister agent says:

    That Batman piece is right – generally, I mean, as I’ve not played it yet. I’ve played many games that do that, though (the worst offender by far being MGS4 – just thinking about that one makes my eyes twitch), and it’s bloody infuriating.

  41. Jayt says:

    How did VG247 win? I swear every time I visit their homepage the news is at least a few days old.