The Sunday Papers

By Kieron Gillen on June 20th, 2010 at 12:58 pm.

Hello ALT Text reader! You are my friend.

Sundays are for prodding listlessly at a pretty-much-completed-script, considering getting dressed and compiling a list of the fine (mostly) games related writing that caught your eyes this week, while trying to resist linking to some glorious Ukulele-abuse.

Failed.

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111 Comments »

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  1. Dood says:

    Concerning the imperfect dice issue, I recommend listening to the interview with Louis Zocchi on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bR2fxoNHIuU

    While it is at least partly a promotion for his own dice, he does make some pretty interesting points.

    • SAeN says:

      Why do I find this Louis Zocchi interview so interesting? I haven’t rolled a dice in years!

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      I’ve spent 20 minutes watching a man talk about dice. *20 awesome minutes*.

      KG

    • Mil says:

      Thanks, Dood. That was a fairly interesting exposition.

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      Chaz says:

      Who would have thought that hearing a guy talk about dice manufacture for 20 minutes could be so interesting. That was better than an episode of How It’s Made.

    • Ian says:

      I rolled a set of 36 dice 6 times on gaming tabletop felt and found no statistically significant abnormality in the numbers that were being rolled. Try it yourself! Zocchi is a giant grognard.

    • Mil says:

      You expected to find a statistically significant effect after only 6 rolls? Those would have to be pretty terrible dice for that to happen.

    • the wiseass says:

      I had the choice between watching this, or the football match. I chose the video and do not regret one minute of it. Colonel Louis Zocchi, I salute you!

    • Zwebbie says:

      Isn’t die the singular of dice, rather than dice?

    • BonusWavePilot says:

      @Zwebbie: other way round innit? One dice, multiple die…

    • alseT says:

      “A die (plural dice, from Old French dé, from Latin datum “something given or played””

      It bugs me all the time when people get it wrong but I wasn’t going to be the first nitpicker.

    • R.Hippy says:

      Such a disconcertinly interesting and pleasurable experience watching a 20 minute sales pitch. Is it bad to say I want his dice? I haven’t played D&D in a long time but it makes me want to roll dice.

    • l1ddl3monkey says:

      @SaEN – Me neither, but I was completely fascinated by the whole thing.

    • Starky says:

      It may be a sales pitch, but the guy isn’t wrong – I used to machine my own dice using scrap steel because the plastic ones suck.

      Just for a laugh one day me and a couple of the other geeks used my colleges 3D scanner to scan our regular gaming dice, the amount of variation and unconformity was a shock to us all, at least half of the dice were so bad they may as well have been loaded. Just loaded on a random bias.

      The ones I machined were accurate to about 10 Microns (1/100th of a millimetre), and vastly superior to anything you could buy – nice and heavy too been made of steel.
      I still have them somewhere, for a brief period I thought of getting into the business of selling them, but decided there would not be enough of a market.

      They would have cost (retail) about £50 for a full set (1D4, 3D6, 1D8, 2D10, 1D12 and a D20) With a fairly massive start up cost (multi axis CNC machines, either milling or water jet are not cheap – upwards of 25 grand not cheap…) so you’d have to sell a LOT of dice to ever see a return on investment…

      Still the guy knows his stuff – a good die should be as near to perfect to the mathematical ideal shape as possible, which means sharp edges, perfectly flat surfaces, utterly uniform in all ways.

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      drewski says:

      That’s freaking awesome.

    • honolululu says:

      ‘I knew you weren’t going to like that effect, but I didn’t know you weren’t going to like it that much.’

      Har! Har! Thanks for the link.

  2. Miles of the Machination says:

    Hey, thanks for the mention guys!

    • l1ddl3monkey says:

      Excuse me Mr Miles, sir? Your username links to your old site.

    • Miles of the Machination says:

      Interesting that, that should be happening. When I tried it linked to the domain I registered instead of the wordpress blog I had up a while ago. Either way. Try themachination.net/blog

  3. MartynEm says:

    Inventor of the Zocchihedron?

  4. MartynEm says:

    Someone on 4chan with an art-style *very* reminiscent of Emma Viecelli’s?

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    James G says:

    The theme vs. meaning article came a little close to overstating itself at times, and wasn’t entirely clear what it meant by ‘theme.’ At times it seemed to boil it down to pretty much whatever was written on the back of the box, but at others looked at something far broader. However, its general thrust seemed to be on the mark, and it worked best when considering that two as factors which interplay, and occasional conflict, than when is seemed to imply that the two could necessarily be isolated and treated separately. (Although to be fair, I think the latter was more in my assumptions of what the article would say, than in what it actually did say.)

    Actually, I think there is interplay between this, the Mailer interview, and perhaps even the concept of immersion. It strikes me that many of Mailer’s issues with gaming arose from a perceived clash between theme and the game mechanics. He could accept that when the theme was tied intimately to the mechanics, such as in the more simple games, but when the mechanics were made plain in a setting that was trying to deny them, it conflicted with him.

  6. M says:

    Thanks for the link! I’ve actually put up another interview recently, though it’s not prettified yet, with someone who has a different angle on games. Got a couple more to do, but if anyone has any interviewee suggestions (both those who have and have not dated Kieron previously) do let me know.

    My ideal third interviewee would be Roger Ebert, as I’d genuinely like him to talk about his thoughts. But I doubt he’ll bite.

    • Will Tomas says:

      Oh, dearie me…

    • M says:

      I think Ebert needs to be heard. Like the other people I interviewed, it’s not simply that he “hasn’t seen the light”, he has a fundamentally different standpoint. It’s not wrong, it’s fascinating.

    • Will Tomas says:

      My comment wasn’t about the choice, it was about the “I don’t think he’ll bite” line, which given its literal (as well as arguably metaphorical) truth I was mildly suggesting might have been a joke in slightly poor taste.

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      drewski says:

      Ebert lost his lower jaw to cancer, for those who don’t know the reference.

  7. user@example.com says:

    I prefer the primarchs as kids and da looted emprah.

  8. Helm says:

    “Game Journalists are Incompetent Fuckwits” almost negates the merit of the work they’re doing by how they named their effort. Almost.

    • Wilson says:

      @Helm – I found the interview interesting, and I certainly agree with what he’s arguing for, but something about it all rubbed me the wrong way. I don’t know why, but I wouldn’t consider most of the people on the internet writing about games to be ‘games journalists’. Thinking about it, maybe the reason I’ve never really bothered with any games news sites before RPS was because of the things he mentions. I’m not entirely sure what he hopes to achieve, because it sounds like a fairly entrenched problem now.

    • Pod says:

      I don’t know why, but I wouldn’t consider most of the people on the internet writing about games to be ‘games journalists’.

      I completely agree with this. I only like to think of games journos as people who actually get paid to do it. The guy being interviewed, however, comes out with gems like this:

      “I’m also a writer. I write a scifi-comedy webcomic called Jump Leads, and I co-wrote a Left 4 Dead parody miniseries called “Boomer’s Day Off” that went viral last year.”

      So according to him anyone can qualify as a writer if they write some fanfic (that goes viral!!) and a webcomic that no one reads. Hell, why not just say anyone that’s ever written anything is a writer? I think he applies a similiar notion to games journalist — if they’ve written something and it’s about a game then they MUST be a games journalist.

    • Helm says:

      Only to be a writer all you need to do is write. To be a comic artist all you need to do is make comics. But to be a journalist you have to understand and follow a journalistic code of ethics.

    • sinister agent says:

      “But to be a journalist you have to understand and follow a journalistic code of ethics.”

      So what you’re saying is there are only about ninety journalists in the world?

    • Helm says:

      I don’t know where you pull that number from, really. I am saying we should hold journalists (across all news fields) to a journalistic standard.

    • Wilson says:

      @Helm – Completely agree with “Only to be a writer all you need to do is write. To be a comic artist all you need to do is make comics. But to be a journalist you have to understand and follow a journalistic code of ethics.”

      I would also suggest that journalists put more effort into research and checking sources etc, but I expect that comes under journalistic ethics (don’t spread something you don’t have good evidence to suggest is true).

    • ohnoabear says:

      I found the site far too overbearingly cynical to be of any value. There’s a lot of really bad games journalism, certainly, but there’s no need to be a prick about it. If you’re just going to be cruelly dismissive, you’re not adding anything to the debate.

      Can you imagine a similar site, with the same tone and format, for any other kind of journalism? “Business journalists are incompetent fuckwits.” “Science journalists are incompenet fuckwits.” No one in those fields would take it seriously. No one should.

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    Chaz says:

    I bought one of Alec Empire’s solo CD’s once and it was fecking awful, not one listenable track on the whole damn thing.

  10. Sulkdodds says:

    “what if the game became real, maaan”

    Is the outdated banal criticism that Jim talks of really THIS outdated and banal? I dun get it

  11. The Codicier says:

    I think that dice article probably made every tabletop gamer who read it think ‘gawd dammn it, I knew it!”
    and can see a frightening new dice arms race developing amongst my gaming group, as people frantically try and get hold of some of those casino dice :D

    Also I wonder if this is literally where the phrase ‘cutting corners’ comes from.

  12. Sinnerman says:

    Re: What have indie games become?

    I think that a problem with some indie games is that they are not so much about games as blog posts. To get the blog posts and forum chatter they need to be noticed they need therefore to have some message or agenda that is interesting to chat about. Maybe for some people to make them they need to have some sort of “high concept” and everything else can go to hell. The problem with that is that games are good because they of how they play in hard to describe sensations about how they stimulate your mind with their game like features or leave space for your imagination to build on what is happening. Some sort of talking point might be a good selling feature but when you actually play it, it is probably going to leave you cold if you were prepared for it. An exception to this might be something like Redder which on the face of it I was just primed to play because it was just a straight up fun, old school, platforming adventure. When the chattering classes type discussion point came in it was a great twist on the genre that stimulated my imagination. On the other hand the much advertised choice in Bioshock where you could save or harvest a little sister was already really boring and fake to me by the time I tried it. Yes, I know all about this, I thought, let’s get this over with and I can see if the actual game is going to get better as a result.

  13. Kester says:

    In those other Sunday Papers news, there’s a columnist writing about Hey Baby in the Sunday Times today. She doesn’t have anything worthwhile to say, but for me it was an interesting peek into how news is made having seen the genesis here and at SVGL a couple of weeks ago.

    It is somewhat depressing that she is probably paid far more for her uninformed nonsense than anything Kieron or Leigh will be getting for their much better word-thinks on the subject. Can print journalism hurry up and die already?

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Kester: Which columnist? I’d like to go nose.

      Print journalism shouldn’t die. It should just pay Leigh big money!

      KG

    • Lacero says:

      Re: HeyBaby

      It was on newsnight as well.

      It was amusing to see some of the arguments against “Hey Baby” from here presented much more coherently by a woman from Civitas.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Heh. Missed that. It’s here if anyone wants to watch. 38:40 minutes in.

      KG

    • Kester says:

      @Kieron: It’s Eleanor Mills, in the News Review section.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Thanks, man.

      KG

    • MajorManiac says:

      I do find it a little scary when straight-faced media talks about a game in such a serous tone.

      The way the show grouped together acts of evil, suffering caused by disasters and…. a game. I think this sort of affiliation must cause the lines between fiction and reality to blur.

      I found the video clip of ‘Hey Baby’ being shown on NewsNight disturbing, but the one I saw a couple of weeks ago on this site was funny. I guess this is down to context.

      When grouped with real-world suffering violent games seem very distasteful. I wonder if this is the only context most non-gamers have when being exposed to computer games? This would explain the fear allot of people my age have against games.

  14. kobzon and proud of it says:

    Games Journalists Are Incompetent Fuckwits is a good idea, potentially, the problem is it’s run by one of them. Still, was fun to watch how bullshit news stories spread around games sites, kinda like blast waves.

    BTW new Human Revolution shots floatin around, featuring never seen before depths of JPEG compression, one showing security cam interface.

    “In the wake of the Russians supporting nationalistic development”
    Patriotism doesn’t equal nationalism. I’m a patriot, not a nationalist. But obviously everything coming out of Russia needs to be spun in a negative way. On the other hand, every second cocking FPS vilifying Russia is completely normal, because we’re clearly asking for it, right?

    /fucking bitter!

    • Metalfish says:

      The only difference between patriotism and nationalism is that patriotism has better PR.

      As everyone knows, America produces a lot of globally sold entertainment. Said entertainment usually has a story. No one wants to hear a story about how the white chess pieces beat the black ones ‘cos the black pieces had lost all their knights and a rook down the back of the sofa. Elevate your ‘rivals’ into ‘enemies’ who are on equal terms with you and you’ve suddenly got something people will pay to go and eat popcorn in front of.

      No one wants to hear how we’re all pretty much the same, none of us have a government that cares about us and really shouldn’t care about which bit of rock poking out of the sea we live on.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      I think I’d call nationalism the politicisation of patriotism.

      They’re not the same, but they are very closely linked.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Let’s not get this too heated.I’m going to change what I wrote to “Pro-Russian”.

      KG

    • Metalfish says:

      I wouldn’t call this particularly heated, but it may not have come across that I’m being plenty silly in my above comment.

      Pitfalls involving lexical choices: acknowledged. Commencing subject change.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Metalfish: It wasn’t too heated. I suspect given 6 hours it would have been.

      KG

    • Levictus says:

      While I sometime resent Russian nationalism after being being harassed in Moscow for having dark skin (I am a Ukrainian and I live in Moscow for 11 years) and I largely despise Putin’s methods, I would really enjoy a game that didn’t glorify America and the American dream.

      Why can’t there be a single game about the negative aspects of American culture. Not “a few bad apples” kind of thing, but straight on criticism of the American dream.

      And there many things that can be raised, ignorance, shallowness, greed, mindless consumerism and not say million of lives that have been lost due various American intervention.

      Wouldn’t it be awesome to play an FPS where you can kill some American soldiers who are trying to murder everyone in your village? Or maybe a Palestinian citizen targeting American politicians for subsidizing what amount to 1.5 million person prison.

      The American dream is just as stupid as Russian nationalism. So the agitprop involved is more sophisticated and there is more $$$ involved to buy people off, but that doesn’t change the fact it’s agitprop.

    • Metalfish says:

      Oh my, it’s starting. Increased debate temperature detected!

      Send in the marines! Ooooo-rah!

    • Psychopomp says:

      @Leviticus

      Dead Rising is the only one that comes to mind. For all the goofing off, the game was deadly serious when it came to cutscene time.

  15. Lucas says:

    John Walker’s Eurogamer retrospective on Armed & Dangerous: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/armed-and-dangerous-retrospective

    I loved Planet Moon’s “Giants: Citizen Kabuto” in spite of some weak play design elements, but never got around to trying A&D.

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      mrpier says:

      Damnit, I always read that as Hidden & Dangerous, what a brilliant game that was.

  16. Bowlby says:

    On GJAIF:

    A lot of the points he makes are fair, I feel, but by no means are limited to games journalism. The posting of press releases as news, for instance, happens all over the place, as a friend of mine in PR will happily tell you. I think it does happen a lot more with the games media, though. There does seem to be quite a substantial power imbalance between the journalists and the industry.

  17. Alexander Norris says:

    The end of this reads like Kieron’s only just discovered /tg/ and 1d4chan. :P

    The GW dice thing has been known for quite some time, now, mostly because Lou Zocchi invariably gets filmed ranting about hobby dice every GenCon. Because they’re moulded, the distribution of plastic inside usually isn’t perfect (due to the way the molten plastic is injected into the moulds), and they end up having a bit of scarring where they’re clipped off the sprues which dice-makers will remove by tumbling the dice until all the edges are smooth and uneven; which is why casino dice are required to be machined in most places.

    Anyway, the rest of the Papers is excellent. Seems like this week was particularly good.

  18. Diziet says:

    Ah I love Amanda Palmer a lot yet I do not know why. The Dresden Dolls are great live and her solo stuff is so good yet I couldn’t describe to someone else why I like her, she doesn’t have a great singing voice or anything. Also this, for fun, amanda palmer and ‘Leeds United':

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      As directed by my good friend Alex De Campi.

      KG

    • Will Tomas says:

      Amanda Palmer is awesome. I started listening to her stuff when I found out she was marrying Neil Gaiman (in my ignorance I hadn’t heard of the Dresden Dolls before that) and she’s brilliant. For anyone wondering why watch the live version of Gaga, Palmer, Madonna on Youtube.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      For the last few months I haven’t been able to listen to Amanda Palmer without feeling nauseous. I spent a weekend being violently ill and listening to Who Killed… on repeat, and the two seemed to be linked inextricably in my subconscious.

      Anyway, I just listened to that Radiohead cover and I was fine, I am therefore cured and will proceed to binge on Dresden Dolls albums directly.

      Thanks Radiohead for that; it’s a shame Thom Yorke has such an annoying voice.

    • sebmojo says:

      That Idioteque cover is incredible. I am moved to seek out more Palmeriana.

  19. mister k says:

    Oh main steam journalism can be quite funny. This reminds me of some corpses are amusing tearing Mark Lawson to pieces over this sit trag show http://www.sotcaa.net/comment/sittrag01.html. i.e., host attempts to pretend that one example is part of some kind of trend. He also calls it a shoot em up. Comedy gold.

    The discussion itself isn’t that bad, of course.

  20. mister k says:

    and, of course, that was meant to be a response to the newsnight thing.

  21. Xercies says:

    i like the idea of Games Journalists are complete fuckwits because to many times people dance around the issue with Games Journalist criticism because they don’t want to offend any one journalist, or when they do they get so much vitoral from the games journalist that the matter is never really brought forward. Someone should be criticising this, i really hate the First mentality and how much hold Games publishers do have on the games journalism it really makes me look at anything really in a cynical view. Especially people who have first reviews or first previews. And embargoes.

    I liked the theme is not meaning game mechanics are, because it really rought to me why i found myself disconnected with some games because the games emchanics were opposite from what the author was trying to covey and that broke my immersion straight out. A good point is about Spore because that is why i didn’t like it…it wasn’t about evolution at all and so was compltly bored with it.

    Always like hearing from Nick Mailer, got addicted to Rum Doings because of his always interesting subjects he talks about and he is always right about usually all of them and he gives a great insight on so many things. Like i can see why he doesn’t like games, because like him i’m becoming like that where games are holding less and less interest in me because I’m going into the more creative side. Smart man he is.

  22. Mo says:

    I’m *soo* excited about Amanda Palmer’s new album! I mean, how could you not be excited about an album called “Amanda Palmer Performs The Popular Hits of Radiohead on Her Magical Ukulele”? :)

    Also, I don’t *love* a lot of Radiohead (I do like quite a bit of it though) but it looks like Palmer picked out all the songs I really like. Woman after my heart, she is. ;)

  23. Peter Radiator Full Pig says:

    The gamesutra uses way too much jargon to read.
    “We can see the archetypal manifestations of this psychological certainty in cultural constructs such as the unbreakable correlation between hubris and nemesis, the ouroboros which both destroys and renews, etc.”

    Fuck that. Either this isnt written for a layman, or its written terrible for one.

  24. Eight Rooks says:

    God, the Soren Johnson thing reminds me how much I despise ludologists. Some good points, but far too much self-serving, disingenuous nonsense – what a game involves doing doesn’t necessarily dovetail with the story, world or entire universe its developers have dreamt up? Goodness, who’d have thought? It isn’t worth writing very long academic articles over, and runs with the same joyless verbiage I see far too many people in the industry championing like holy writ without the slightest thought for what it actually implies.

    Was Spore sold as a game about evolution? Not in the sense that it promised to teach people precisely how evolution works it bleedin’ wasn’t. Fair enough, I hate everything Will Wright has ever produced, so let’s try something else – is Left 4 Dead ‘about’ zombies? The basic mechanics are completely independent of the setting, sure, but it’d be a very, very different game with any other, and the mere fact anyone can adopt the mindset that allows them to write things like The zombie theme simply gave the designers a plausible backdrop in which they could experiment with game mechanics that encouraged teamwork over solo play literally, and I do mean literally, fills me with terror.

    ‘To touch people, the play itself needs to deliver on the theme’s promise.’ Absolute nonsense. I really, really can’t articulate how much I hate this kind of all-or-nothing blue sky thinking. If it could be empirically proven I was wrong to adore Bioshock 2, to be moved by its story, to vastly prefer it over the original, to feel the mechanics – despite their limitations – more than complimented the backdrop… I’d give up gaming. Seriously. I wouldn’t want any part of something so reductive. Over-reacting, melodramatic whinging, I can hear people saying. Possibly; I’m prepared to change my stance a little. No-one actually thinks in such black and white terms, right? Maybe – but articles like this one make me think perhaps they do.

    • Peter Radiator Full Pig says:

      You dont litereally mean literally. You figuretivly mean it.

      To be literally full of terror , terror would need to be a tangible object which occupied the maximum allowed volume avalible in your body.
      :)

    • Starky says:

      No he means literally used as a intensity modifier, meant in a hyperbolic manner to emphasize – and has been used as such for literally hundreds of years, and is proper usage by weight of history. No matter what any snooty style guides may say.

      The English language has always been a living, evolving language, full of inconsistencies, incorrect yet accepted usages, redundancy, and ever shifting definitions.

      Which is why it is by far the most creative, and poetic language in the history of language (an arguable point I’ll grant, but no other language has nearly the variety and versatility imo).

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      Chaz says:

      Or perhaps it was his pants he literally filled, the tangable object of his terror being brown and soft.

    • Starky says:

      I’m literally turned on right now…

      Yuk.

    • Zwebbie says:

      @Eight Rock: Left 4 Dead is a zombie game because it focuses on masses of enemies, on terror, on keeping on the move and sometimes utilising the environment. That allows it to be a zombie game even though the enemies aren’t technically dead, aren’t slow, don’t seem to eat brains and have crazy variants. And if Left 4 Dead had, say, bunnies as enemies and Mario Kart didn’t have Nintendo characters but zombies, L4D would still be the zombie game, because it has that particular kind of tension.

    • Zwebbie says:

      Apologies for misspelling your name! I don’t know what came I over me, I never do that.

    • Sulkdodds says:

      Rooks – Johnson’s article isn’t properly “academic” nor actually very long. His language isn’t very convoluted. And you haven’t quite indicated how it’s “disingenuous” or “self-serving”. But more importantly I just don’t understand the vehemence of your response. Some of his examples don’t work – as Zwebbie says, Left 4 Dead is most definitely a ‘zombie game’. Fair enough, think he’s wrong, asking too much. But you’re talking about pant-shitting, ball-clenching TERROR. Where does that come from? What’s so awful? The concern for artistic integrity? The demand that the form fulfil its possibilities? It’s not black or white. He’s not saying “these are shit games.” They just didn’t fulfil their artistic potential. And that’s what we ask from every other medium.

      “Great art never has theme and meaning in open conflict”. I don’t know about that, but I would venture that great art never has what Johnson calls ‘theme and meaning’ in MEANINGLESS conflict. Critics demand complexity, but they demand that complexity be marshalled into coherence, correspondence, into meaning. Or let’s forget ‘critics’ and ‘art’ – haven’t you ever played a game and thought “this is stupid, I don’t feel like a badass space marine at all?” Representational elements are very important, but If I wanted to tell someone about Just Cause, 2, I probably wouldn’t go into details about the player’s quest to take down a corrupt dictator. I’d tell them that it has infinite parachutes.

    • Sulkdodds says:

      I should amend myself – yes, I do think Johnson might be too reductive with his argument. I’m just trying to work out why your response would be BATS IN YOUR HAIR CENTIPIEDES DOWN YOUR BACK HORROR rather than, I dunno, “he’s got good points but it’s too black and white”.

  25. EyeMessiah says:

    The gamasutra article was excellent, thanks!

  26. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    Good to see the ‘Gamer boys have finally gotten the website they deserve, it was sad to see lovely articles like Tom’s GalCiv blog get swallowed by the dreadful old CVG website.

  27. Aufero says:

    Taekwan Kim’s piece on validation theory makes some very thought-provoking points, but the first few paragraphs read like a conscious attempt to use unnecessary jargon as an audience filter. Still, it’s well worth wading through.

  28. Chris says:

    GJAIF guy says “Rock, Paper, Shotgun is pretty good.” Phew, you guys really dodged a bullet there.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Yeah – he’s pretty okay with us, which makes me almost feel bad for having a go at what he does in a few places. Almost.

      KG

    • Gap Gen says:

      Better post some more non-game-related news in Sunday Papers, then.

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      AndrewC says:

      Possibly try and include some autobiographical or anecdotal material from outside your gaming life to inform your game reviews.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      As if I ever would do something like that.

      (It’s funny: For an AP reader, he doesn’t seem to really remember what AP was like in that area. I lifted about half of my autobio techniques direct from AP.)

      KG

  29. Steven Hutton says:

    Ay chance someone can give me the Cliff notes version of Taekwan Kim’s article on validation theory? Because it went so far over my head that I can’t think of a good hyperbole for how far over my head it went.

    • Zwebbie says:

      If players consistently receive good results with a strategy, they’ll grow attached to it and use it even when it doesn’t work anymore. Furthermore, you should always show the player exactly what something does, in numbers, or they might not notice or misinterpret any changes, and people don’t like to be surprised.

      I think, anyway. I fail to see the point of the article myself, and yes, it would help a lot if it didn’t use difficult words just for the sake of looking smart.

    • Metalfish says:

      His point is pretty simple, but his insistence on using academic language where is isn’t really required obfuscates it rather.

    • Zyrxil says:

      A bigger point from the validation article is that if the player initially resists recognizing that the strategy he’s using is a failing strategy, or that the game doesn’t make it clear enough, he will be less likely to accept it as a failing strategy as time goes on, instead blaming the game. This is because the more time passes, the larger the burden of failure grows and the more blame the player has to accept if he recognizes he’s playing wrong.

  30. The Dark One says:

    I usually like the Amanda Palmer stuff that gets linked in the Sunday Papers, but something about this cover made me forget how to breathe while I listened to it. Not a pleasant experience.

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    drewski says:

    Delightful Girlfriend has been promoted? Congratulations.

    I really enjoyed Soren Johnson’s article, that was great.

    • Nick says:

      I think after Ludo it was probably the gentlemanly thing to do.

  32. Paul B says:

    I always had a secret crush on Louise Wener during her Sleeper days, and it’s only gone and been rekindled by that piece in the Times. An under-appreciated Brit-pop band – all together now: “It feels just like we’ve just got started.” Great.

  33. MadMatty says:

    Nice one…. so we should all just keep using the same shitty ol Games Workshope dice to play GW games as intended?

    Interesting article on affirmation, even tho there were bad words inbetween. bad words i didnt look up- but get the gist of it (approximately)

    ATR rocks!

  34. MadMatty says:

    Also, in desperation, i heard Jim´s and other bloke´s Rum Doings which was fun enough- i use to listen to the RPS podcast so i was curious what Jim looked like and went browsing for photographs- i was sorely dissapointed not to find any- was this to avoid crazy people stalking you on the street?
    I see you offering up photos of your cat, and then your baby – which is a sound tactic as the crazies might go for them instead ;)

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Your success is possibly limited as Jim doesn’t do Rum Doings.

      Also, regarding pictures, you may not be trying that hard: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/about/

      KG

    • MadMatty says:

      could well be… could be lol

      /epic fail

    • MadMatty says:

      y´know- Jim /John… whatever- rps dude
      I always think of you as Scottish bloke.
      Helpes save memory in the long run, as i´ve been needing that to memorize attack patterns and level layouts :P

    • MadMatty says:

      Jim looks like he´s been woken up at 3 AM the day after his girlfriend left him, and tried to fix things by downing about a litre of cheap vodka :P

  35. malkav11 says:

    Yeah yeah, games news, music, all that, but why aren’t we discussing what’s really important here? Namely, just how adorable are those sloths? Very adorable, that’s how.

  36. Alexander Norris says:

    After reading the Player interview piece, I feel both a little better and a little worse with myself for my inability to derive enjoyment from most video games. On the one hand, being in love with gaming but being unable to get over all its naggles and limitations in its current form feels a little like having a severe emotional handicap that makes me decidedly ill-suited for the task of liking video games. On the other, at least I know there’s a life after my exasperation finally gets the better of me and I choose to stop playing games altogether rather than expend the energy required to learn how to make my own.

  37. Soren Johnson says:

    @EightRooks Sorry you didn’t like my writing – didn’t mean to scare you. :)

    I’d say that you are right that I undervalue theme – it’s definitely one of my biggest blind spots as a designer. However, let’s take Left4Dead, which is a great game with a good union between theme and mechanics. Do you think the designers started by wanting to make a game about zombies, or do you think they started by wanting to make a game about teamwork? I’m not 100% sure of the answer, but it’s an interesting question. Some designers will begin a project to address a specific theme (zombies) and some will to tackle a specific mechanic (teamwork). I’m curious which designers tend to be more successful, to the extent that can be measured.

    • Matt W says:

      I wouldn’t be surprised if you found that the most successful projects are ones which contain designers of both stripes. I suspect that, roughly speaking, if you have primarily mechanically-minded designers you get Gas-Powered Games, and if you have primarily theme-minded designers you get Obsidian.

    • Zwebbie says:

      I believe Left 4 Dead’s commentary mentions that it began as a mod for Counter-Strike, with four fully armed players fighting knife-wielding bots.

  38. Mister Hands says:

    Probably worth mentioning that J Nash has started reviewing mobile games over at http://orsomething.co.uk. Not PC related, admittedly, but J Nash related, and therefore important.

  39. Matt W says:

    The guy behind GJAIF seems to be assuming that he’s completely representative of the target audience, and therefore that all content should conform with his tastes.

  40. bill says:

    Re: Games workshop dice;

    I KNEW it!!