The Sunday Papers

By Kieron Gillen on May 2nd, 2010 at 2:40 pm.


Sundays are for only begrudgingly compiling a list of the fine (mostly) games related reading from across the week while trying to avoid linking to any pop music. Because I’d rather curl up on the floor and lament the wrath booze have wrecked upon my noble brow.

Failed.

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156 Comments »

  1. HexagonalBolts says:

    Brilliant:

    ‘Really, a Citizen Kane isn’t going to mean much in the grand scheme of games being accepted as an artistic medium, most people don’t depend on the judgement of an elite critical establishment to discern what they consider art (or more people would sit down for a night staring at Tracy Emin’s bed). What games need is not a Citizen Kane but a Shawshank Redemption; a game which transcends the mainstream, which can be played by anyone, not merely intellectual elites, and move them emotionally, to near universal acclaim (seriously, try and find someone who doesn’t like Shawshank, it’s near impossible). That’s the kind of thing that’ll really take us off, when the man on the street can pick up a game looking for entertainment and come away with a message about the unbreakable nature of the human spirit. Most people don’t look for deep meaning in films or games, when people can find one in a game anyway, even when they weren’t expecting it, and be moved by it, then we will have arrived.’

    • Muzman says:

      Found me! I think Shawshank is ultimately a phony. OK, it’s not bad, well made and even quite enjoyable if you don’t think too hard about it, but pretty cornball all the same. (among my other heresies ; I think Alien 3 is a better film than Aliens. The world ought not suffer me to live, I tell ya.)

      He’s bang on though.

      His bit about women in games is funny too. Although his complaints won’t work since he seems to have missed that it’s not just games that do this sort of thing. Women and girls are generally hopelessly written across the board; Comics, Web Comics, TV, Movies. Females in games are just better/worse dressed, depending on how you look at it.

    • Ozzie says:

      Shawshank is a well made, but I also feel a bit dishonest film. I like it actually, but most of the prisoners are so nice, well-behaved and just good while of course all the guards are so evil, it’s unrealistic. It’s idealized to a laughable degree.

    • qrter says:

      I just commented about hating Shawshank on the site itself:

      I hate The Shawshank Redemption. To me it’s one of the schmaltziest, most obviously and crudely constructed manipulative pieces of work I’ve ever seen (don’t get me wrong – I’m all for manipulation, but not when it’s done as artless as in that film). For me, it’s only a couple of steps removed from that other cinematic masterpiece, Titanic. It’s like ’90s cinema’s McDonalds – every bit of it is constructed to be as effective for as many people as possible, which inevitably means every bit is also utterly bland and obvious. It seems filling, but leaves you feeling empty 30 minutes later.

      The idea of Shawshank being the new example of what gaming should become, is a horrible one to me.

      I’d agree with you on Alien 3 being better than Aliens, Muzman. Well, only if it’s the re-edited version included in the Alien Quadrilogy box set. (None of them can beat the first film though.)

    • Uhm says:

      Alien 3 is definitely better than Aliens.

    • blah says:

      What the hell are you talking about … Alien 3 … Quadrilogy…? There are only two Alien films: Alien and Aliens… next you’ll be saying they made Predator 2… ;)

    • Vinraith says:

      @blah

      Thank you, for a moment I was afraid I’d fallen into a parallel universe where nearly every good movie had a chain of incredibly shitty sequels. I mean, can you imagine such a place? Alien 3? Jurassic Park 2? Matrix sequels? *shudder* Who’d want to live in such a hellish world?

    • AndrewC says:

      @VInraith: That’d be the universe I came from, the one where all those sequels-better-than-the-first-film happened! I LOVE playing ‘contrarian film tastes’, it is quite the best game. Go on test me: I’ll justify anything.

    • Psychopomp says:

      Alien 3 is my favorite Alien movie :(

      Damn good thing they stopped there, though. I’d hate to see what would happen if they ressurected the movies

    • Bret says:

      Oh dear lord, look at them.

      The brain parasites from Codename: Outbreak have became real!

      And they like really shitty sequels to Aliens. Huh.

    • AndrewC says:

      @ Bret: Boom! Bang! Badass! Woo! ETC!

    • Radiant says:

      Hold on fellas.

      Alien 3 is not better then Aliens.
      Not the film, not the game, not the directors cut.

      It’s a good film but it’s not better then Aliens.

      Don’t make me prove this, I will draw some graphs.

    • Nick says:

      Ok, Predator 2 is good. I have no idea where the hate for it comes from.

      Alien 3 better than Aliens however… no, never, not in a million years. Even the redited version. Just no.

    • terry says:

      To summarise: Where is gaming’s Back to the Future?

    • Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

      @Psychopomp

      I would have seen what you did there, had I seen what you did there.

    • Michael says:

      You don’t need to be an intellectual elite to be moved by Citizen Kane. It’s message is something that everyone can appreciate and it’s rung out loudly, clearly and manipulatively and with a very healthy dose of schmaltz. It’s pure Hollywood.

    • Muzman says:

      General reply-ing.
      It’s true that Kane is arguably a populist film as well, but it’s a dated one in technique. It’s also doing a lot of trickery specific to the medium that no one else had really done. Or rather, putting together a lot of trickery that many were dabbling with at the time in a cohesive and narrative…er… boosting way. That’s mainly the source of its respect as something still worth watching, instead of merely studying for history of the medium reasons. Shawshank isn’t nearly so concerned with that sort of thing. It’s real meat n potatoes filmmaking.

      There’s another thing worth noting about all this. While I think he’s right about games needing a game that works whatever magic Shawshank did in crossing over to nearly everyone (in the english speaking world at least), The Shawshank Redemption was a disaster on release (from memory). A total flop. It took seven or eight years to really grow its audience and stature, in reruns and home video. It’s been said that we won’t get a repeat of this situation ever again, since the entertainment media is today a thousand times more obsessed with flooding the market with ‘new’ stuff all the time.

      How games relate to this I’m not sure. I wonder if the industry is no longer equipped to do something that’s not largely disposable and it’ll be down to some weird mod like a Dear Esther that everyone slowly discovers.

  2. EthZee says:

    I agree with your music choice for this week. Furiously.

  3. TooNu says:

    YEY! DOWNTIME TOWN!!! :)

  4. LukeE says:

    Sundays are for refreshing Rock, Paper, Shotgun waiting for The Sunday Papers to show up – to give my alcohol-addled brain something to focus on… anything to lessen the pain of a horrendous hangover. And then having it made ten times worse by whatever music Kieron has decided to link to this week, when I forget how high the volume on my speakers is set.

    • RedFred says:

      See for me the Sunday papers are actually Monday morning. Lifts me from the dread of Monday work.

  5. Sarlix says:

    The code name outbreak article is a good read. Kind of reminds me of Crysis in parts, specifically the weapon system and body suit. I haven’t actually played Crysis so I could be way off – definitely can see the similarities with stalker though.

    Oh and best quote ever? “Looks like he’s dead. That’s serious!” rofl

  6. Veret says:

    You know, the Starcraft article is surprisingly interesting even for someone (e.g. me) who will never be skilled enough to be affected by the gameplay mechanics they’re talking about. Whether or not the author is actually correct in his sweeping proclamations, I’m intrigued by the idea that all the flexibility and balance of the original stems from the length of one animation. He makes a strong case.

    Oh, and he also resisted the urge to title his article “Oh Micro, Wherefore Art Thou,” which would have made Shakespeare very sad indeed.

    • FunkyBadger says:

      Article seemed to be: “SC2 is different to SC1, therefore I think it sux”. If his analysis – i.e. the bits where he wasn’t whining – was correct, then the more interesting question is “why has SC2 been designed to reduce the amout of miro?”.

  7. Metalfish says:

    Good god the sense of fanboy absurdo-entitlement in that starcraft analysis is incredible. If starcraft 1 was perfect then you don’t need the sequel, KTHXBYE.

  8. SirKicksalot says:

    Speaking of GSC – when is someone going to look back at one of the Cossacks games? They support 64000 units in a battle and the tech tree has 300 upgrades IIRC…

  9. ChampionHyena says:

    I AM A VIDEO GAMER.

    THIS IS A LIST OF THINGS I AM ANGRY ABOUT:

    1. WARK
    2. WARK
    3. WARK

    APPLAUD ME IN THE COMMENTS SECTION PLEASE

  10. faelnor says:

    That ‘Things That are Rubbish’ article is terrible. Sure, everyone will find a point or two in his list that they’ll be in agreement with. Doesn’t change the fact that it’s poorly written and poorly defended.

    Oh and Codename Outbreak was awesome, except for the game breaking bug in one of the early missions >:(

    • Lilliput King says:

      My favourite bit:

      “Gears of War is badly written, this is not my subjective opinion, nor my personal tastes, this is merely a judgement that it failed miserably in it’s own aims, to quickly and simply exposise what was going on at any given point.”

      Speaks for itself, to be honest.

  11. Wulf says:

    I see that Shawshank Redemption was brought up, and whilst it was a fantastic movie, I’m not sure whether it was better than anything that came before it. I’m not convinced that you need to be an intellectual to enjoy Citizen Kane, either.

    It’s my belief that when humans are introduced to something new, the vast majority are going to act in a way that can only be defined as anti-culture, this is because that vast majority clings to the past and the familiar and is rarely prepared to embrace the new. What needs to happen then is for the new to become familiar, which happens over a period of time. And with each new film that was released, we came ever closer that magical X, that quotient where the new and alienating has transitioned into the familiar and exciting.

    Shawshank Redemption was a great film, no doubt, but it wasn’t better than anything that came before, nor was it more accessible. At least, I don’t think so, anyway. What I believe is that it was lucky enough to fall on that X, where the vast majority viewed it as something important to them and their culture, where that majority was able to assimilate it and make it their own. Whenever the majority come into contact with something they can’t easily assimilate, the naturally and instinctively react in a way that would portray that new thing as strange, alienating, and something that people shouldn’t bother with. This has been true throughout history, to an obvious degree, and continues being so.

    It’s my belief that gaming all ready has a number of games which could be considered that kind of game, a Shawshank Redemption game, so to speak, but we don’t have enough yet, and we haven’t landed on that quotient. We’re drawing people over slowly, and with each new game like that that comes along there are always new people who wander into our camp with it, quietly intrigued.

    You do have the minority, of course, and the minority are those who tend to jump on something new, embrace it, and try to spread it by telling people about it and creating more of it. It’s this way that something goes from being alienating to becoming familiar. There are those who tend to completely embrace and throw themselves at new experiences, regardless of what might happen. Whether it’s videogames, films, or even drug use. Whether it’s positive or detrimental. The minority usually finds something in those experiences, too.

    This is why I don’t really care what people think of as art or not, because 10 years down the line people will have completely new behavioural patterns, what isn’t art today becomes art tomorrow. It’s an ever changing thing and this is why only a personal opinion can count, the only brain in which the understanding of art occurs is yours, because it’ll take a long time for other people to ever see art–and especially good art–in whatever you do, and that’s just the nature of things.

    Art is a lot like Science, in a way. What we consider an impossible, fringe, crazed and frothing theory today usually becomes a cornerstone in accepted Science tomorrow, despite being initially reviled as an impossible thing. I honestly believe that’s the nature of the human race, and that’s how I think we work.

    Moving on…

    I love comic book art. And that article reminds me of just how different US and UK art styles are, it’s actually quite interesting, because with art styles we’re almost as set in our ways as the Japanese are with anime. The US tend to prefer a very stylised style with their animation, going from almost geometric shapes to more detailed things, and this can allow for some incredibly smooth and professional animation. Whereas the UK is all about details from most of the comics I’ve seen. Our artists are exceedingly doodly, they like filling up space with lots of details. It can be a visual feast to look upon them, but I bet it’d be a nightmare to animate. So both have their strengths and weaknesses, I love both, but yes, this serves to remind me of how different they are.

    That article about VVVVVV’s music was a wonderful read. It also cements how I feel about SoulEye. I read a bit of his thoughts on the VVVVVV forums and he tends to come over as both a really nice and really creative bloke, so I can see why he and Terry meshed so well. It’s also a nice example of the unabashed imagination of the indie community too, and how people can come together and throw together whatever takes their fancy, following their own desires and dreams with little or no restriction. You don’t get that anywhere else really, at least not in the games industry, which is probably why I love indie stuff so much.

  12. MadMatty says:

    mm nice stuff, more Florence, Things that suck in gaming, and that crap hip hop video almost made me smile too :)

    • MadMatty says:

      although i played WoW for 7 hours yesterday, all by myself, and i was having fun…weird isn´t it? I agree that Blizzard are strecthing it a wee bit (PAID character transfers? cmon??) but WoW just comes acrooss as fun with all the neat artwork and a combat system which is basically fun too.

    • MadMatty says:

      and i played the Demo of Codename Outbreak, which was good fun…arent they the same blokes who did Hidden & Dangerous 1 & 2 ??
      I didnt like Stalker coz the weapons were basically like NERF guns.

  13. RiptoR says:

    Codename Outbreak was a great game in its time (game was originally named “Venom”).

    I still have the retail version in my gamecollection and even replayed it a couple of months back.

    • Chaz says:

      Really, I thought it was rather poor. The whole big open spaces thing was good but mostly everything else was quite poor. It didn’t help that there was a major bug on the second or third level that meant I couldn’t get any further. I got another copy of it free when I bought Stalker.

  14. MWoody says:

    Is that Hatfield article a joke I’m missing? I disagree with every single point he makes. ALL of them. There’s not a single valid argument in the entire rambling mess.

  15. Starky says:

    That things that are rubbish article is amusing, mainly wrong, but amusing.

    Trying to to argue objectivity in art, writing or entertainment always falls flat, mainly as it is utter rubbish.
    What he argues for wasn’t objectivity, but consensus subjectivity.

    He says “Gears of War is badly written, this is not my subjective opinion, nor my personal tastes, this is merely a judgement that it failed miserably in it’s own aims, to quickly and simply exposise what was going on at any given point.”
    Judgement of who? Experts? Critics? Every second person that played it and formed an opinion?

    While I happen to agree with him that Gears does have rubbish writing, that doesn’t make it objective – there is no fact, no evidence or proof that can be applied to enforce it as truth.

    Hell, it is a thing I hate more and more about the press, especially the written press – this mass confusion between objective truth and subjective consensus – especially when it comes to opinion polls, and phrases like “most people agree” used as evidence to prove something as objective…

    Objective opinion cannot be based on subjective opinion, it doesn’t matter what high percentage of people share that opinion – that GoW has crappy writing is an objective fact, but a consensus opinion.
    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder – true now as it always has been and applies equally to art, literature or video games.
    What constitutes good/bad shifts both in “elitist critical establishment” (his words), and in mainstream tastes, so how can taste be anything but subjective?

    I’m fine with subjective consensus, I’m fine with people making statements like “gears has rubbish writing”, but I’m not fine with people, especially media, critics and press confusing consensus for objectivity.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Indeed. Not like it’s even a difficult concept to grasp.

    • Starky says:

      God I wish edit worked again (the forum won’ let me even though I’m logged in, guess there is a time limit and it breaks formatting anyway)…

      Just would be nice to correct a few typo’s and errors, though most of them are obvious, “objective opinion cannot be based…” when meaning objective fact, a case of writing “is” when I meant “isn’t” and such…

      Oh well.

    • Starky says:

      Meh… I’m an engineer not a writer, I could not give a stuff what is considered “proper in formal writing”, even less so on a bloody internet comment.

      So I’ll greengrocers all the words I like thank you very much.

    • Mil says:

      Well, you seemed concerned about typos, so I thought you might be interested. False alarm, I guess.

    • Starky says:

      Ah, forgive my abruptness then, you see without any clarification I assumed it was intended as grammar mocking (you know the pleasure some anal people get in correcting peoples mistakes online).

      To such mocking my first reaction is “go F yourself”.

      It is something I am aware of (grocers that is), but like most rules of language my brain doesn’t seem wired to remember and enforce them, along with spelling and punctuation. For example the ability to use comma’s and fullstops properly eludes me unless I speak what I am typing out loud – I just can’t tell in my head where the pauses are supposed to go. It’s odd.

      It’s less the minor rules of language that bug me more the simple errors – for the sake of clarity. Forgetting words mid sentence, or using the wrong word and such (common to me, and a pain in the backside when hand writing).

      So apologies for jumping down your throat, again I assumed scornful intent.

    • Mil says:

      That’s interesting. My brain is a bit the opposite, many language rules (even for English, although it’s not my mother tongue) somehow fit right into the way I read and when they are broken I find it really distracting; it makes me spend much more “consciousness” in the effort of reading. I must admit sometimes this makes me annoyed at the writer, although it wasn’t the reason I posted that link.

      By the way, did you write “comma’s” deliberately?

    • Starky says:

      No I didn’t do it on purpose, I never even noticed or realized it was wrong – as I said my brain just won’t remember or enforce language rules. I’ve struggled for years to improve my writing and it’s still pretty bad in places.
      On the other hand, maths, facts, figures and numbers all slide perfectly into my head, I can imagine objects in my head to millimetre scale. I can remember random stupid snippets of triviality, and remember numbers with ease.

      As a kid I was told it was dyslexia, which I dismissed and still do as it’s far to common and wide ranging a “disorder” utterly pointless. So I ignored the diagnosis and instead just tried hard to learn the things that eluded me so much.
      For years though I struggled with the mysteries of the English language (my primary and only language), and even today I have to look up stupid little things like which should I use being or been. It took me a whole day of writing out sentences with their, there and they’res for it to half stick, same with your and you’re.
      Learning to spell some words took monumental effort, I literally had to study and practice spelling “because” before it stuck in my brain.

      Even today I struggle on spelling my own middle name, Michael. No matter how many times I tell myself it is mich-a-el (Russian way of saying it equals the spelling) my brain always wants to spell it Micheal.

      Just an oddity I live with.

  16. Dain says:

    The angry rant did produce a useful phrase to apply to the SC2 article.

    “Learning to use the SC micro I is like circumcision for Judaism, it’s a rite of passage that shows you worthy of joining the elite community, and folks, that’s just sad.”

    They’re seriously asking “Make it so people who can click more win!”

    This is the sort of thing which puts me off the game massively. People are asking to put back in things which were simple exploits in an ancient engine of a bygone age of strategy game because apparently knowing how to click very fast and utilise these exploits is what makes you a skilled player.

    • Sparvy says:

      I just have to rant against this a bit.

      Why is it that strategy games should never award the more active or precise player? The entire “this is a bad game, only the 12 year olds that click 9 times a second win” argument is so outlandish. I have never seen anyone complain that only the people that shoot first win in an FPS, or that only the people that know combos win in a fighting game. Why is that RTS games must be devoid of “physical skill” (if you will)? I don’t play online RTS games but it just seems so strange that everywhere they are brought up someone makes this argument.

    • Dean says:

      Well it’s a dichotomy between strategy and ‘real time’ action. Who should win, the guy with the best strategy, or the guy that can click fastest? I don’t think either is necessarily worse than the other, but they both appeal to entirely different kinds of people.

      And isn’t something like TF2 set up so that it rewards the team with the better tactics over the ones with the fastest fingers?

    • Dain says:

      Because in a strategy game I’d rather like the winner to be the one who has the best strategy. I’m really not against the idea that the player who can react faster to changing situations will have an advantage, that’s fairly logical, but asking that the winner be the one who can clickclickclickclick the fastest to make his units fire without decelerating seems ridiculous to me. I think Sagan below me puts it best.

      Imagine the horror from the fans if they suddenly made the aircraft in the game behave like real aircraft rather than an abstraction from 10 years ago! Y’see the thing that attracted me to the original SC many years ago wasn’t that it was a “competitive” game, but rather that it was a game where space marines with machine guns mowed down aliens, tanks with big guns blew stuff up and psychics with energy wrist blade things charged about killing stuff. Perhaps in those days, that’s all that blizzard wanted.

      Now today games can do all those things a lot better, but SC2 insists on staying the same as the original game, wearing it’s mechanics on it’s sleeve because it’s “competitive” and possesses a rabid fanbase. It’s been described as ultra-speed chess.. well I can’t say that appeals to me. So I’ll go play a strategy game which has actually moved on to try and bring the experience to fore, rather than the game mechanics..

      Does that make sense? I’m struggling a little to explain my feelings on the matter. I’m interested in SC2′s campaign and story, but the actual game just turns me right off.

    • Ricc says:

      I remember Jeff Green discussing what StarCraft and RTS games in general were perceived as in 1999 when he still worked for Computer Gaming World. Half of the editors sneered at the idea of “real time”, because strategy games used to be mostly turn-based at some point. How could a “real time” game even be called strategy?! So, yeah, there will always be those that prefer one over the other. ;)

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      @Sparvy: “I have never seen anyone complain that only the people that know combos win in a fighting game.”

      Ever heard of David Sirlin, high level SF2 player and lead designer of SSF2T:HDR? He pretty strongly criticizes artificial execution barriers (1-frame links and crazy input motions), as it’s just a single-player activity you have to “grind out”, basically. And fighting games are primarily two-player, so let’s focus on the interaction between players instead.

      That does not mean getting rid of “physical skill”, just getting rid of difficult stuff you mindlessly have to do out of muscle memory to be competitive. Because it’s just a waste of everyone’s time, and the sooner the people are able to get to the real game, the better.

  17. Sagan says:

    The Starcraft article just points out to me again, that I will probably never even attempt to play it in regular multiplayer.
    They just have very different values from me concerning what constitutes a good strategy game. In Warcraft 3 multiplayer, what I hated most was, when it comes to a battle, and I have the perfect army to counter my opponent’s units, and then something happens where I’m stressed out for a minute and desperately try to control my units properly and suddenly I have lost.

    And now they demand that Starcraft 2 goes even further in that direction. They say something like “The problem that arises is: you can never engage with an inferior force against a superior one.” Duh, that’s the way it should be.
    If Blizzard does what those guys ask for, then I am going to be the guy who somehow loses eight units while fighting against three. I don’t want to be stressed out in a strategy game. At least not in that way. I don’t want to be stressed out by controlling my units.

    Also I don’t like their art style any more. Starcraft 2 used to look shiny and cool, if maybe a little too colourful. Then they went too far in listening to the fans, and now it looks muddy and without contrast. The Zerg especially are just a brown mess. Look at something like this. You have to really strain your eyes to see any of the detail that used to be there.

    • pupsikaso says:

      @Sagan
      **”The problem that arises is: you can never engage with an inferior force against a superior one.” Duh, that’s the way it should be.
      If Blizzard does what those guys ask for, then I am going to be the guy who somehow loses eight units while fighting against three. **

      No, not really. The whole beauty of SC as an RTS is that it GAVE you this much control, and that you COULD engage a numerically superior force. Just what do you think is hampering the US military? Ever heard of guerilla warfare?

      I don’t criticize your ability to play, but I do think that you are more suited to a different kind of RTS, where units are abstracted to a point where they can be represented by cards that stack on top of each other and engagements are decided by simply whipping out a calculator.

      SC, on the other hand, was so much more than simply having more units than your enemy, or having the right units to counter your enemy. It was about control. And having this control removed from a game that claims to be a sequel, i.e an improvement on top of what has already been done, is a very good reason for fans to fuss about.

      BTW, the “muddy graphics” as you call them is hated by BW fans just as much as you. SC had very sharp contrast and easily identifiable silhouettes. For some reason, the move to 3d has obscured this contrast that taking a quick glance at a battlefield will leave with nothing but a blurry afterimage of last night’s dinner.
      On a similar note, the sound of SC2 compared to SC has the same problem. Sounds are indistinct and unidentifable between units. You could close your eyes in SC and still know what is shooting what, what’s dieing more often, and what has just popped out of your hatchery. Compared to SC2 where every sound is dull and indistinct from others, and you’ve got zerg that sound like a cacophony of burps and farts.

    • Dain says:

      “Just what do you think is hampering the US military? Ever heard of guerilla warfare?”

      Yeah, I distinctly remember hearing news reports about how the insurgents in Iraq are running round in little circles to avoid gunfire :P

    • DarkNoghri says:

      “Yeah, I distinctly remember hearing news reports about how the insurgents in Iraq are running round in little circles to avoid gunfire :P”

      Not necessarily that, but I have heard about them firing mortars and then moving before the retaliation can arrive.

    • pupsikaso says:

      @Dain
      Apparently, you have not heard of Guerilla Warfare =/

    • Dain says:

      “@Dain
      Apparently, you have not heard of Guerilla Warfare =/”

      Nah, never heard of it in my life…. what’s that? *listens* Oh well yes, I suppose I have and actually learnt a fair old bit about it from the Spanish War of independance (being the place where the word originated) *listens some more* well yes, quite a lot actually on account of building a mod based on it.. but no, YOU listen, this chap clearly missed the bit where I was joking in the last post because I find the idea that jittering your units about in SC to avoid taking damage doesn’t equate to guerilla warfare in the slightest.

      What’s that sooty? Well yes I DID place a smiley on the end of it to indicate I was being daft, what more could I do? Ho hum.

  18. pupsikaso says:

    I think your brief, apologetic intro paragraph for The Sunday Papers is a bit outdated and needs tweaking. Particularly that for the past few months on top of failing to not include some sort of pop music link, you’ve also been secretly and consistently failing to not include some sort of comics link.

    But thanks so much for another wonderful Sunday afternoon read. Greatly appreciated, as always :D

  19. Psychopomp says:

    “The problem that arises is: you can never engage with an inferior force against a superior one.”

    This is flat out wrong. If they’d stop trying to play SC2 like it was SC1, maybe they’d learn how to do this in SC2. The large majority of micro in SC1 was exploiting bugs.

    I’m not good at Starcraft. I’m merely in Silver in SC2. That being said, once you reach a basic level of competence in it, it is no longer the bug exploiting clickfest that high level Starcraft was. Bar the grossly (at the moment) overpowered Marauders, good strategy trumps good micro in SC2.

    • Dain says:

      I think you said what I was trying to say far better than I could! Thankee

    • Pantsman says:

      I think the guy’s whole point was that good strategy trumped good micro in SC2. He didn’t like that.

      Bizarrely, he also didn’t seem to consider strategy to be a skill.

    • Psychopomp says:

      You think that’s bizzarre? There’s people out there who think that workers mining without you telling them to start, and the fact that you no longer have to select a single unit to use it’s ability are travesties, only put in to appeal to “casuals” and “scrubs.”

      The internet makes you stupid.

    • NoahApples says:

      This is something I’ve always found really interesting about Starcraft. The idea that the engine was “perfect” is of course laughably absurd; however, what makes it a great competitive game is that it is obviously flawed in really interesting ways.

      I have some experience with competitive RTS gaming, but I arrived on the scene a little late for Starcraft to initially seem appealing. I cut my RTS teeth on newer games, and thus found (and I must admit, continue to find) Starcraft horribly aggravating to play. In Starcraft, the pathfinding is terrible, the AI governing un-commanded engagements is stupid, the units’ animations are choppy and oversimplified, etc. Newer games handle these issues “better”, but at the cost of marginalizing, to at least some degree, the importance of the player in every action taken. Obviously it is more realistic and much better cosmetically for units to be able to navigate themselves around and between buildings, and for air units to have turning animations that don’t allow them to instantly flip 180 degrees, but exactly because the game is so flawed in these ways, it makes human involvement more important — an inferior force is able to beat a superior force because the computer is stupid, or because you are able to better capitalize on these quirks and limitations than your opponent is.

      To say that this is somehow “less strategic” than newer games where micro is less important is stupid. Ultimately, if your opponent is at a given moment actively controlling the movement of his/her troops, he/she can’t be selecting more units to build or issuing commands to workers. This is where I think the real brilliance of Starcraft lies: the balance between micro- and macro-management. In a lot of newer RTS games, the computer is smart enough to largely handle the minutiae of troop engagements for you without putting you at a significant disadvantage. Thus, these games are imbalanced towards a player focus on macro, because it is ultimately a more important factor in whether you win or lose. I think a lot of people like this because it makes you feel like the grand general, commanding operations on the large scale and then sitting back and watching as your strategy plays out against your opponents to decide victory. In Starcraft, one must not only be concerned with these overarching macro decisions, but also pay attention to the nitty gritty details of every fight, which is also a valid form of strategy, even if it is biased towards clickclickclick-y-ness. Both areas are equally important, and so being really good at the game means being really good at both skillsets, AND being able to balance them during play.

      I say all of this as somebody who is terrible at Starcraft, despite a modestly respectable win/loss record at high levels of play in other strategy games. Of late, I have pretty much altogether stopped playing RTS games, because I feel like the experience has turned into an unexciting morass of pumping out the same repetitive build orders and watching the same three or four matches play out over and over again on my screen. The fact is, though I suck at playing it, I love watching competitive Starcraft matches, because the greater importance placed on the human element means the games are far less predictable and, ultimately, it really seems like there is more strategy going on. (Or at least that there are more levels on which strategies are playing out.) I am regularly amazed at an ingenious tactic or an incredible demonstration of skill while watching competitive Starcraft games, things that make me say “wow!” I think I can count the number of times other strategy games have made me say “wow” on one hand.

  20. CloakRaider says:

    Am I the only one who has a massive disagreement with the overall message of that Starcraft II micro article?

    He states an example where a superior airforce beats an inferior airforce, and then complains about it.
    If the superior airforce lost, then this seems ridiculously unfair, and broken for a strategy game.

    I think the RUSE mentality sums it up perfectly for me. In that it’s not about the micro or moving so that shots miss etc. It’s about actually beating the force in the preparation.

    • Dain says:

      I think it’s great in wargames when you can beat a superior force using proper tactics. Anyone remember the tutorial in the original medieval total war? It had you defeating a larger, higher quality force by ambushing and flanking. Or in Company of Heroes, if you can just sneak around the back of that tank and attack the weaker armour you can defeat this big scary expensive unit with a far weaker force. Even more of this sort of thing in hardcore wargames..

      But beating a superior force by microing units out of the way? Bleh.

    • FunkyBadger says:

      The thing is, in actual warfare the inferior force almost never wins – the art of tactics is bringing superior firepower to bear.

      Also ammusing, Guderian formalised the TankRush in the 1930s…

  21. Magic H8 Ball says:

    Anonymous Coward said:
    He states an example where a superior airforce beats an inferior airforce, and then complains about it.
    If the superior airforce lost, then this seems ridiculously unfair, and broken for a strategy game.

    Starcraft 2 is not a strategy game, it’s an RTS. Even if you took the acronym literally and you shouldn’t, the “Real Time” raises a red flag. It’s not chess.

    Well, Starcraft 2 sucks – not exactly news to me, the game is such a mess I wonder if it will be even worth “borrowing” when it comes out.
    By the way, I’m still waiting for someone to do the whole Diablo-3-is-too-cartoony – SC2 edition. I mean shit. The fact that Diablo 3 got all jumped on for its graphics and SC2 didn’t is one of industry’s greatest ironies.

    So what next? Art games are shit. Well I can one up that: indie games are shit. Both “genres” if you can call them that, and I bet there are people out there who in all seriousness do, are very similar in the way they rely on a single trick and single trick only to make a game. The only difference is that art games do the trick with A/V, while indie games do the trick with mechanics.

    Blizzard? Hooo boy, how about Valve? Their bad-to-mediocre FPSes which sell millions aside, they created one of the most intrusive DRMs on the market and people love them for it. Now that’s someone I’d let handle my money…

    • Chiburger says:

      Why do you think Valve’s FPS’s are “bad-to-mediocre”? TF2 with updates has become soggy, I’ll grant you that, but Counter Strike, Source, HL2, etc, are fantastic games. What’s your beef?

      On the DRM issue, Steam isn’t as intrusive as you think. Whereas, say, Ubisoft’s DRM is only there for purpose of preventing piracy, Steam’s application does way more. Let’s see: a community section, news connections, and a store (self-advertising aside). The way I see it, even if Steam’s background purpose is just to prevent piracy, it more than makes up for it in additional features.

  22. Chiburger says:

    Loved the Things that are Rubbish, some very true points.

    However, Codename Eagle was the forerunner to Battlefield 1942, not BF2. It was built on the prequel to the RF2 engine, which 1942 used.

  23. Gwyn says:

    That SC2 article is pretty awful – effectively the writer states that it’s a bad game because it doesn’t have a ton of decades-old UI bugs that allow a load of unintended non-strategic twitch-gamer mechanics (such as ‘moving shots’, a doublespeak term for animation cancelling).

    By all means people should analyse competitive games from a balance perspective, but by and large expert Starcraft players are the worst to do it because they only exist as a compromise. They lack the mental integrity needed to play Chess, the synaptic rawness to play Quake, the fluidity and empathy to play Street Fighter.

    The reason Starcraft is so well loved is because it doesn’t demand anything extreme of the player in the same way the others do. The aspects relied upon by the ‘experts’ are little more than a series of contrived minigames that don’t really add up to more than busy-work. The author expects Blizzard to import them all wholesale, for the sole purpose of making them feel like they’re really good at something (an arbitrary privilege that itself originates 100% with Blizzard).

    Fuck that noise. If he’s such a bloody gaming expert, he can prove it by learning more than one game in ten years.

  24. Magic H8 Ball says:

    Oh, and to all the people who rabble on about how Starcraft is full of “bugs” and “twitch mechanics” – whoa dude, better let all these koreans know they’re playing buggy twitch RTS since they have two TV channels dedicated to nothing but Starcraft matches!

  25. the wiseass says:

    That Starcraft article was written under the assumption that microing, or in this case, shooting, moving, shooting, moving, was a desirable thing. As for me, I’m glad this is gone putting the emphasis rather on what units you build and what overall strategy you employ rather than clicking your units around as fast as possible.

    Also who said this game was developed with the Korean competitive players in mind? I’m rather inclined to think that SC2 is directed at a wider public, making the game more accessible to everybody. Watching these videos, the competitive gameplay doesn’t look like much fun also that “dancing” with units looks rather tiresome.

  26. Magic H8 Ball says:

    Anonymous Coward said:
    You think that’s bizzarre? There’s people out there who think that workers mining without you telling them to start, and the fact that you no longer have to select a single unit to use it’s ability are travesties, only put in to appeal to “casuals” and “scrubs.”

    That’s an aggressive way to put it, but yeah, that’s pretty much it. For someone who claims to be so good at Starcraft you sure as hell know little about it – and RTSes in general, actually.
    Splitting workers is a skill, so is cloning and general micro. Take these away and you’re taking that much learning curve from the game. How is that not making it easier? How does that not appeal to casual players?
    All your “Strategy” arguments are bullshit, for a simple reason: There is little strategy in RTS games, it pretty much comes down to builds and map knowledge. In your hypothetical ultimate RTS, where strategy is everything and micro/macro don’t matter at all, the game would be decided the moment the players choose their builds. It would literally be rock/paper/scissors, don’t even need to run the game: both players just pick builds nad the natural counter wins.
    Oh hey, funny trivia: High ground could be considered an element of strategy in SC. Guess what, they axed it in SC2.
    Complaining about micro itself is equally retarded. In every real time game the player who has better control over his units will have an advantage, the genre doesn’t even matter. If you believe there are RTSes out there where a player with better micro will not be doing better, you’re deluded.

    • Vinraith says:

      And this is why many (though by no means all) RTS games are really just action games with a grotesquely inaccurate genre label.

    • Psychopomp says:

      ” For someone who claims to be so good at Starcraft ”

      This is the point where I knew you just read things that aren’t there. Not even going to bother with you.

    • Pantsman says:

      As long as the game has enough high-level strategic depth, you could make it turn-based or otherwise entirely remove the micro and it would not be any “easier”. It would just change the skills involved.

  27. Magic H8 Ball says:

    Anonymous Coward said:
    Why do you think Valve’s FPS’s are “bad-to-mediocre”? TF2 with updates has become soggy, I’ll grant you that, but Counter Strike, Source, HL2, etc, are fantastic games. What’s your beef?

    Counter Strike isn’t even by Valve. And Half Life 2? Fantastic? Well let’s just say we don’t see eye to eye on this one.

    On the DRM issue, Steam isn’t as intrusive as you think.

    Sorry, but if I have to run it just to play the game then it’s pretty damn intrusive to me. And hey, remember the whole outrage about how you needed to activate Bioshock via the Internet before you could play it? Yeeep. Then there’s patching.
    And yeah, Steam has a whole lot of optional features, that’s exactly why people think it’s a “community platform” or whatnot and not what it really is. Brilliant, isn’t it.

    • Pantsman says:

      Steam has all the features of a community platform. Therefore it is, by definition, a community platform. It’s also DRM, but not the bad kind – ie. it’s not going to harm your computer or prevent you from playing your games just because your internet connection is temporarily down. If having to sign in (or click “Start in Offline Mode”) is too intrusive to you, I can’t imagine how frustrating you must find booting up your computer or buying something online.

    • Jaz says:

      If you have steam set to log you in automatically, and then one day wake up to NO INTERNET, it’ll actually start up in offline mode. Pretty cool. Steam is DRM, and if you don’t like it then I’m sorry there isn’t an alternative for you, but it really does deliver a great service that’s enhanced my gaming to no end.

  28. pupsikaso says:

    Many people misinterpret the SC2 article, and I think that’s largely because to understand it requires good knowledge of both BW and SC2 mechanics. Allow me to use this very poor sports analogy, because I am very bad at sports and know very little about it.

    Imagine that SC:BW is Hockey. And that SC2 is Hockey2. Yeah, someone went and made a sequel to hockey, but what they’ve also done is change the base mechanics on which the game plays. In hockey terms, they’ve removed player’s ice skates and made them walk and run on ice in normal shoes. So now players have lost basic control, and they are stumbling and gliding around the place without being able to change direction which they could back in the original hockey when using skates.
    I am sure that under these circumstances nobody would be accusing the hockey players of “fanboyism”.

    But some people come in as a spectator, see this hilarity, and they say “Hey man, this is FUN! I don’t care what you say, stop whining. This isn’t Hockey, it is Hockey2. Those ice skates were just ancient technology that nobody should be using anymore.”

    What makes this even worse is that Blizzard wants their hands in the eSports pie that Korea enjoys with BW. They are in fact so desperate for it that they even try to force a competitive mindset on every player using their new b.net. They’ve went and broke their negotiations with the Korean eSports organizer (http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/28264/Blizzard_Breaks_Off_KeSPA_Talks_Will_Seek_New_StarCraft_Partner.php), too, and the eSports players, the very ones whom they want to get their hands on, are telling Blizzard that their new game is not worth their effort and sweat. LaLush sums it up very well in his article: “How the hell do you expect Jaedong to switch over to this game if he, even with the most perfect control and anticipation, can’t prevent a 100 apm noob from delaying his expansion? Do you really expect the Koreans to switch over from a perfect game to one that lacks even the most basic control?”
    After the initial eSports boom of BW in Korea, there were many very similar games that tried to ride the wave, but ultimately only BW was left remaining, and remains to this very day. And the reason for that is because it is so well suited to competitive gameplay. It is very much an eSport.

    • Psychopomp says:

      Your hockey analogy is flawed. It’s more like they started off giving no one ice skates, and after awhile high level players realized they could just put some ice skates on. Hockey 2 rolled around, and instead of making ice skates a bog standard part of the game, they removed the ice, and gave everyone cleets.

    • pupsikaso says:

      No, that’s just a matter of perspective. Hockey developed (if such a word can be applied to sport) in a way that allowed such “high level play” to happen. Back when people first started playing hockey in whatever century, players did not use the kind of high level play tactics that players use today in NHL.

      Now Hockey2 hypothetically rolls around, and purposely decreases the scope of high level play tactics that can happen in the game. And all in the name of gameplay usability, as Steve Gaynor nicely puts it in his article.

      What the SC2 article argues, and what many people seem to miss out, is that BW is an eSport, and SC2 can not become one as long as it puts usability in front of giving players the freedom, the ability, to exercise personal skill. SC2 is a fine game, nobody is arguing about that, quit frothing at your mouths. But it is not a sport, which is what Blizzard wants it to be.

      Another analogy. Consider that somebody decided that, say, American Football (and again I’m horrible at sports so forgive yet another poor analogy) could use a bit more usability because as it is right now, it requires athletes to be incredibly fit if they want to stand a chance in winning. So American Football 2.0 rolls out, and gives out players robotic exoskeletons that allow any (excuse me) wimp to strap the thing on, and off the go competing with athletes that have dedicated their lives to training their bodies to perform in the sport. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that these athletes would decide to stick to traditional American Football instead.

    • Psychopomp says:

      “So American Football 2.0 rolls out, and gives out players robotic exoskeletons”

      SPORT OF THE YEAR
      ALL YEARS

    • Zwebbie says:

      Hockey isn’t actually played with ice skates. Now Ice Hockey…

    • FunkyBadger says:

      FIFA refine the laws of football (proper, football) each year. It is the most populous sport in the world. Cricket and rugby also constantly tweak their rules in an attempt to appeal to a greater audience.

      In cricket and rugby these changes have been fairly cack-handed in the recent past, but in general the sports are doing better now (dificut to draw causation from that, mind).

  29. Magic H8 Ball says:

    Vinraith said:
    And this is why many (though by no means all) RTS games are really just action games with a grotesquely inaccurate genre label.

    Exactly, and complaining about it is like complaining that getting hit in the face by a rocket in Quake 3 doesn’t kill you outright. I mean omgeez, no human could survive being hit by a rocket, the pressure wave alone… ridiculous!

  30. Kieron Gillen says:

    A lot of this debate links back to stuff I said way back when SC2 was announced. That there’s a split between how expectations of the genre has changed and how the genre was when SC debuted, and so much of the skill in SC was about stuff which we’ve written out of the genre. Introduce them, you lose the professional-sort-of-aspirational part. Lose them, and you lose anyone from outside the hardcore.

    In short, it takes more skill to use a shit UI.

    KG

    • Bruce Rambo says:

      @KG

      To me, it seems that a lot of people are missing are the fact that his comments are targetted to competetive play in the Korean Pro Leagues (where he does english commentary on occasion I think?).

      An inferior force defeating a superior force through micro is both a) exciting for the audience and b) taxing on the player, forcing them to focus their attention and potentially missing something more important.

      How this ties into marketting, development, etc. is completely irrelevant to him. The fact that this is causing so much discussion is, as you say, down to differing expectations. I think they’ll still have record sales, but we won’t see a massive adoption by the Korean market.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Bruce: I agree with you, basically. We’ll see.

      KG

  31. Sparvy says:

    I have to say, a lot of people here is sounding more whiny than the author of that SC article. And I’m glad you people are not designing games. I don’t play RTS games but some people here seem to be arguing for a game where numbers are everything, like a counter strike where nobody with a pistol ever won against someone with an AK. Or a quake where the red armor meant you instantly won the match.

    Winning an unfavorable fight is the very essence of multiplayer gaming to me. A game where such a thing is impossible would… well I’m not sure it would be worth to be called a game.

    That people don’t like coming out on the losing end of a fight they were favored to win is perfectly understandable, but when they then start to call the victor an exploiter or a whiner… well you start look more like an angry child than strategic mastermind.

    • Metalfish says:

      Has anyone really said that? Or are you arguing with people who don’t exist? Don’t let me stop you from crafting chaff homunculi though.

    • Oddtwang says:

      Was just about to give up on this thread, but the phrase “chaff homunculi” made me glad I got this far :)

    • Thants says:

      Metalfish: Yes, take a look around this thread. There’s several people who argued against the possibility of better force winning over a worse one.

  32. Vinraith says:

    This kind of thing is why I tend to steer clear of most RT”S” games, I’m not really much of an action game fan. The thing is, though, I love a good real time game that’s actually strategic. Rise of Nations springs to mind as an example of the latter, anyone have any others?

    • Psychopomp says:

      I don’t think anyone here is complaining about smart use of units, their attributes, and their abilities.

      The disconnect is when a so-called strategy game stops being about strategy, and turns into this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcjQhig88wE&feature=related

      You can argue that this adds twitch to the game, makes it more fun to watch, and raises the skill ceiling. I’ll concede that those are valid points. At the end of the day, however, I simply don’t give a fuck. I want to be beaten because my opponent had a deeper knowledge of the game, because my opponent was more clever than me, because I fucked up. I do not want to lose because my opponent has better twitch skills than me.

    • Psychopomp says:

      What?

      This was supposed to be a reply to Noah Apples, way up there.

  33. Sam C. says:

    @Magic H8 Ball: I’m curious, what games do you play and like? Apparently you hate indie games, “art” games, SC2, games with DRM, Valve and Blizzard? I guess that should be obvious from your name…

    • DMJ says:

      @Sam C.: He’s part of the Pippa Funnell hardcore crowd.

      I tease.

    • Sam C. says:

      With titles like Pippa Funnell: The Stud Farm Inheritance, who isn’t a fan?
      Disclaimer: Since I’m not a Britisher, I had to wiki that.

    • Sarlix says:

      I am a Britisher, and had to wiki that…

  34. Wounder says:

    I did enjoy Aliens 3… it was just a terrible addition to (or substitution from?) the Aliens universe. I’d take a reboot starting there, even if it did require a new Ripley.

    • Wounder says:

      Huh. Okay, that was a response to the Aliens sequels are better insanity thread. Sorry.

  35. Dante says:

    Alien 3 is a very underrated movie though saying it’s the best Alien film is a bit far. Aliens in the other hand is rather overrated, certainly no match for the original film.

    People who don’t like the Shawshank Redemption on the other hand clearly have no fucking soul.

  36. Magic H8 Ball says:

    Anonymous Coward said:
    @Magic H8 Ball: I’m curious, what games do you play and like? Apparently you hate indie games, “art” games, SC2, games with DRM, Valve and Blizzard? I guess that should be obvious from your name…

    Well last three games I bought were Crysis, Cryostasis and Call of Pripyat. Try to figure that out!

    I want to be beaten because my opponent had a deeper knowledge of the game, because my opponent was more clever than me, because I fucked up. I do not want to lose because my opponent has better twitch skills than me.

    That’s cool – just stay away from the RTS genre and let us twitch. Try War in the Pacific for example. Now that’s a strategy game with capital S.

    • Psychopomp says:

      I’ll stay away from Starcraft and let you twitch. I will hold onto SC2, because I actually like that game.

    • Vinraith says:

      Personally I’d settle for journalists/vendors/publishers warning me when a game is RT”S” (that is, mostly an action game) and when one is RTS (that is, mostly a strategy game). Widely available information and clear genre labeling would go a long way towards settling this issue.

    • Tacroy says:

      I think your RT”S” category is more accurately described as RTT – real-time tactics. Strategy is saying “this army of 100 units attacks that army of 50 units and wins due to superior numbers”; tactics is saying “this squad of 5 units attacks that squad of 10 units and wins due to superior commander skill”. They are totally not the same thing, and yet for some reason we classify both Sins of a Solar Empire and Starcraft: Brood Wars as the same type of game.

      The people who talk about these things on the Starcraft forums and other places recognize this difference; it’s what they mean when they mention macro vs micro. Every real-time strategy game will have varying aspects of both, it’s just that professional competitive Starcraft play is all about the tactics since the best strategies have been worked out for ages.

      I think that last part is what Team Liquid is so upset about – a game of pure strategy simply doesn’t have the staying power in terms of entertainment, because it lacks that aspect of easily-appreciated personal skill. You don’t need to understand how football works to know that that guy runs really really fast, or that he passed the ball really smoothly.

      One thing that would be kind of neat would be to make it a choice – depowered units that can be micro’d, or the current more powerful units that can’t. You could even make them separate sub-species; Terran/Black Ops, Zerg/Queen’s Guard, Protoss/Heretics. This would make balancing exponentially harder, but it would make the hardcore players happy while giving newbies a chance.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Tacroy

      Except that real tactical games aren’t particularly twitch either. RTT would be a term properly reserved for the Close Combat games, Men of War, that sort of thing. Starcraft and its ilk aren’t particularly tactical, they really are more action than tactics or strategy.

  37. Tengil says:

    That Hatfeld column comes off as slightly anti-intellectual, doesn’t it? I realize the piece is written as an attempt at humour, but dismissing Brecht as “pointless abstraction that is only considered art because the creators present it as such.” seems sort of, well, philistine.

    • Helm says:

      Absolutely. I facepalmed hard on the Brecht statement. He who doesn’t know the truth is just a stupid man. He who knows it and yet doesn’t tell it it’s a criminal.

    • Jaz says:

      Re: the article being an attempt at humour: that’s what people keep telling me. I’m not sure why I’m not picking up on that.

    • Dante says:

      You know, when I was writing it I though “I’d better make sure I mention a few cultural touchstones, or people will think I’m anti-intellectual”. Hence balancing the bashing of Brecht, Dogme 95 and Dadism with praise for Othello, Of Mice and Men and The Third Man.
      I don’t think it’s anti-intellectual to disagree with his philosophy, it just shows a preference for another approach. At one point I had the line “I’m more of a Stanislavski man” in there, but I didn’t want to make it too much about me.
      As for Brecht, I’ve just never agreed with his fundamental assertion, that the audience needs to be emotionally distant to get the intellectual point (hence the parallel to art games, some of which revel in their obscurity and un-approachability) I’ve always felt emotional engagement helps one consider and articulate the themes (for instance, engagement with a character can mean one approaches a concept one might previously have dismissed when they voice it).
      Incidentally I caught a snatch of that documentary on modern art on the BBC last night, where they were articulating exactly the same concept of art becoming so because the artist says it is, only in a positive light.

    • FunkyBadger says:

      Then its form and function were in perfect harmony.

      Irony?

  38. Magic H8 Ball says:

    Vinraith said:
    Personally I’d settle for journalists/vendors/publishers warning me when a game is RT”S” (that is, mostly an action game) and when one is RTS (that is, mostly a strategy game).

    Well, I wouldn’t trust gaming journalists to give me money but more power to you.

    Out of curiosity, can you give me examples of the latter? RTS with S that is.

    • Vinraith says:

      It depends on how liberally you want to define RTS, of course. Technically, everything Paradox (Europa Universalis, Hearts of Iron and so on) has ever made is real time, and it’s most certainly S.

      In the sense of “games like Warcraft” which is what RTS has come to mean, the closest I can think of (as mentioned up the page) is Rise of Nations. It is, to my thinking, an RTS made for TBS players and is about as good at incorporating strategy over twitch gameplay into a traditional RTS format as anything I’ve seen.

      Oh, and if you distrust games journalists so much, why are you here?

    • Thants says:

      I’d throw Supreme Commander in there.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Thants

      I’ve not played enough Supreme Commander to have been able to add it to my list, but I have no problem believing that. It certainly doesn’t lack for depth, to be honest I’ve yet to figure out how the hell to play it.

  39. edosan says:

    If the best video games can aspire to is The Shawshank Redemption, I need a new hobby. I didn’t like that movie at all. Too hokey, too trite.

  40. Magic H8 Ball says:

    Vinraith said:
    Oh, and if you distrust games journalists so much, why are you here?

    Huh? I was under the impression RPS is a news site, and it’s hard to report news wrong, especially if you always provide links to the source. Plus I feel like I should, with this being last PC-only site on the Internet and all.

    Even though 90% of posters here plays mainly on a console.

    • Sarlix says:

      lol that’s quite a claim, you’re physic? I haven’t owned a console since the Sega master system so you can’t put me in your 90%

    • Arathain says:

      Alec, Keiron, Jim and John built their extremely impressive reputation as PC games journalists, working for PC Gamer UK before going freelance and eventually starting this site. They’re some of the most well known and admired journalists in the field. That’s why we wonder why you’re heer if you don’t like those of that profession.

      I would be very comfortable betting that most of the regular posters on this site spend most of their gaming time on the PC.

    • Sulkdodds says:

      RPS is a news site…which regularly posts long in-depth reviews, features, retrospectives, essays, accounts of interesting stunts, and interviews. ‘Games journalism’ seems like a reasonable description.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Magic 8 Ball: “it’s hard to report news wrong”

      It is tricky, but we try really hard and believe we can achieve this.

      KG

    • Rinox says:

      I’d be extremely surprised if 90% of the RPS crowd mainly plays their games on consoles. Judging by the posts of the vast majority of followers here and their gaming history (dating back to the PC gaming stone age) that seems a very gratitious assumption. Personally, I haven’t owned a console since the Atari 2600. An Xbox controller for the “multiplatform” games that come out on PC (ie are ported) is about as far I ever went.

  41. Magic H8 Ball says:

    Anonymous Coward said:
    lol that’s quite a claim, you’re physic? I haven’t owned a console since the Sega master system so you can’t put me in your 90%

    Curses! Fine, you can be in the remaining 10%.

  42. Mistabashi says:

    That Spose video is the same geezer who did the famous Everyday Normal Guy (which is much better IMO):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PsnxDQvQpw

    Also, just for shits n giggles: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15S0g8pG6HU&feature=channel

    Spam filter’s gonna get me, I know it….

  43. JuJuCam says:

    I almost feel sorry for Blizzard. They spend thousands of man-hours and squillions of dollars producing StarCraft 2 when they could’ve made a mint releasing StarCraft HD, a purely graphical overhaul for the hardcore competitive players. Only the animations would need to glitch in the same way.

    • Starky says:

      Honestly I’m shocked they’ve not done so – I’d pay £20 (£30) each for a HD diablo 2, and Starcraft, a few bug fixes and widescreen support.

      It would take what? A small team of artists (out of the legion Blizzard employs) maybe 4-6 months to trace all the sprites/assets in more detail…

      Then a slight recode of the same engine…

      I’d buy it, hell I’d buy D2 twice.

      So many old classic games are just screaming for a HD remake, it would be the same thing as printing money…
      I mean GoG is great for getting old stuff working, but some games just look too pixelated and rubbish on modern, large LCD screens.

    • Starky says:

      £20 ($30) even.

  44. Psychopomp says:

    Frankly, considering most of the original Starcraft units are in Starcraft 2 in some form or another, I’ll be shocked if Blizzard never remakes the whole shebang in the SC2 engine.

  45. drygear says:

    Comic scripts are interesting. If you read the Sandman TPBs one or two of the volumes has a script in the back and Neil Gaiman has an interesting way of writing comic scripts. I like seeing the different approach different authors take. I really want to see what an Alan Moore script looks like.

  46. Gpig says:

    @starky

    I think you’re presenting an argument like the people who had aneurysms over the use of “literally” to describe things that they didn’t mean literally. Can you agree that the more you move to the extremes in the quality spectrum the closer the consensus comes to 100% (or at least for the worst of the worst this is true)? At this point it may as well be considered objectively true. Let me give an example and then explain what I mean.

    In Avatar, which takes place in the Fucking Future A.D., the army uses walking tanks complete with arms and hands that mimics the pilots movements. Kind of silly, but hey, whatever. Fine. The walking tanks are equipped with a knife for backup. That would be fine, but the tanks hold the knives with their hands and it’s possible to drop it etc. It’s literally not attached to anything. http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20100104103843/jamescameronsavatar/images/1/12/Quaritch_with_knife.jpg This is objectively stupid.

    I’m not denying you your right to think it’s cool as fuck, but if someone raised in America watches Avatar and says that some futuristic tank holding a knife with its hands isn’t stupid then they are literally retarded. I mean that sincerely. In America it is objectively stupid. In another culture it may not be, but for that to happen here would require some problem with the head, probably somewhere along the autism spectrum, where a person is unable to pick up on the obvious things that others are noticing.

    Yeah it’s a subjective consensus, but at a certain point it starts to look pretty objective, and using objective is much more forceful.

    • Starky says:

      @ Gpig
      Not really, one is a minor quibble of language (I often use literally in sarcastic intent) – the other is a plague affecting the press and culture at large. The idea that all opinions are valid and one opinion is equal to another combines with the confusion over subjective consensus equalling objective fact to produce some utterly horrid things in this world (such as, say creationism).

      I’m not arguing against people using the word “objectively” as a way to stress the exact opposite – that is totally fine, I’m objectively sexy, it’s a fact.
      No the problem is people who actually BELIEVE that subjective opinion can equal objective truth/fact, or the press who mislead people by representing opinion as fact (because if many people agree it has to be correct, right?). Just look at how the press uses and abuses scientific studies, and statistics to see this in action. How often do you hear the phrases “many scientists agree” or “leading experts agree”? Exactly.

      Now your Avatar example is an odd one, and one I disagree with, before I say why I’ll clarify my view on the film itself (do head off accusations of fanyboyism that seem to tain all such discussions about the film)…
      Avatar is movie in which I agree the story is a walking cliché, but it looks amazing visually – seriously I have it on bluray and and almost any screen grab is just stunning. Then again I’m someone who’s dabbled in Digital art and find the artistry behind that movie just breathtaking. It’s an adventure ride, it’s hokey and the acting is wooden, but it looks amazing and has some great set pieces. It’s a great movie, maybe not great film – but a great movie.

      On the knife issue, I don’t see why it is stupid at all. I can think of any dozen reasons why a knife would be better in a hand as attached to a wrist – first of all you’re assuming the primary use fr the knife s a weapon. It may serve dual function as a tool.
      All the reasons are the same as why holding a knife in the hand is better than a wrist mounted blade (or punching blade) for a human, ability to wield in either hand, ability to switch grip direction, ability to use as a tool in a number of situations.
      More so though, higher than any other reason – fighting with a knife.weapon in the hand would be familiar and second nature to any human pilot. Given the arms are controlled by sensing the pilots hand movements, fighting with a knife in the palm grip would simply be more effective. For all the same reasons that a hand held weapon is more effective in combat than a wrist mounted one.
      In this I speak from personal experience, I did quite a bit of weapons sparring when I was younger (usually with blunt training blades, or wooden practice weapons granted), and I’ll take a dagger over a katar (or the like) any day. Your range of movements is limited, as are your angles of attack, you cannot thrust for the sides (the ribs) without moving your whole arm, where a knife allows a sideways jab. A thrust with a short weapon leaves you very vulnerable – and takes a long time to recover from. Where knife fighting allows fast and effective changes of attack angle simply by doing things rotating the blade, or tilting the wrist.
      Fighting with a Lanyard on your weapon is fine, if you only ever intend to use the one arm for that weapon (as with sword and shield fighting), but not if you intend to switch hands.

      Still, there is no reason why a mech could not have both.

      So I guess having an alternate opinion than you on a subjective matter makes me “literally retarded” and autistic.

    • MD says:

      Don’t get me started on ‘literally’. I’m well aware that language evolves, plenty of words shift dramatically in meaning, and there are always a few crochety old folk complaining about the illogicality of the changes. But with ‘literally’, people are not only destroying a perfectly good word which fills a very specific and useful niche in the English lexicon, they’re doing it in a ridiculous way — the new colloquial version is being used in similar and sometimes identical contexts to the original, but with pretty much the opposite meaning. This is freaking confusing, and leaves no room for graceful evolution and possible coexistence. Only one form will survive, and if it’s the almost-meaningless new version (as far as I can tell it means ‘figuratively — but I mean this in a totally intense way!’) then not only will I be cross, but we’ll also be missing a very useful word. I guess I shouldn’t worry too much, as this gap will eventually be filled. (Perhaps by an equally ridiculous meaning-shift.) I just wish we could leave well enough alone. :-[

  47. GetOutOfHereStalker says:

    lou albano was the real mario

  48. mpk says:

    There’s only one thing in this world that truly hits my fanboy button and that’s discussion of the Alien movies, to the level where I will self-harm if people don’t agree with me. Yes, I’m that guy, so you all better hope your address details aren’t available on the internet because I will find you and post flaming-bags-of-jobbie through your letterbox.

    You fuckers.

    Anyway,

    Alien 3 is underrated, but it’s nowhere near as good as Aliens. The script is all over the place to begin with and the theatrical version glibly leaves plot holes the size of the Nostromo. The Quadrilogy version fills these holes for the better but it can’t hide the fact that, of all of Fincher’s oeuvre, it’s the one that most betrays his music video background, and that is not a good thing for this movie, never mind that it’s the bastard son of a dozen scriptwriters. Aliens had, at least, the benefit of Camerons singular vision and ability to make that a reality: Fincher had to fight a studio who cared more about profit than franchise integrity.

    Besides all this, this is a movie that defied all narrative rules and took the franchise backwards, devolving the threat from planet sized to, er, one (and a half, given Ripley’s “baby”). This maybe something that could work in an episodic universe such as Star Trek but fell flat on its face here.

    Also, Woodruff and Gillis know nothing about how to make a monster scary.

    I’m rambling now. Expect flaming bags of jobbie in the post.

  49. DMJ says:

    My favorite part of the SC2 article is “lol nice one Blizzard, genious”.