The Sunday Papers

By Kieron Gillen on July 4th, 2010 at 11:09 am.

Sundays are for waking up in a friend’s house, trying to decide whether you should feed the cat, and just before rushing off to clear out house find time to compile a shorter-than-usual selection of fine (mostly) games related reading I’ve come across this week, while trying to resist to link to awesome festival sci-fi shenanigans.

Failed.

.

76 Comments »

  1. nine says:

    My god, you even got your trademark final-link-is-a-song onto THE ESCAPIST!

  2. The Dark One says:

    I don’t think you should worry about that picture, Kieron. The facial hair in your Official RPS Photo is even sillier.

    • Razz says:

      From the comments on the Escapist article:

      “He also looks ridiculous with that mustache. It pretty much sums up his descent into ludicrous pretentiousness.”

      Pretty sure that guy was being serious too, judging from his earlier response :D

  3. James G says:

    On the atheism in Dragon Age article, Bioware were fairly explicit in the forums before release that while they didn’t want the world to explicitly state the existence of the maker, they felt allowing the character to be an atheist would be out of keeping with the world. There seemed to be an assumption on the part of Bioware that atheism was a recent invention, and would not fit in with their pseudo medieval world. (Wikipedia seems to support the assertion that atheism was rare in the middle ages, but it is clear that the concept pre-dated that time by some extent)

    As it was, I played by character as someone who was at odd with the chantry, but not explicitly atheist, probably still theistic, but not particularly buying the chantry’s doctrine. (Probably partly because as a mage, a large part of that doctrine seemed to be telling me I was evil. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who came to see the parallels between the chantry’s treatment of mages, and some churches teachings on homosexuality. Of course, it doesn’t work entirely, as I’m pretty sure being gay doesn’t give you the power to blow people up with fireballs, which is a damn shame, because the likes of Fred Phelps would probably be a damn-sight quieter if it did.)

    I’m not sure if internally Bioware have decided that the maker exists or not. I know that a couple of their writers certainly seem to be under that assumption. Of course, even if internal canon implies an existence of a god, that doesn’t to necessarily mean that it supports the chantry’s doctrine, or even that it necessarily makes it ‘true’ for that world. (After all, few would argue that the world of Mass Effect had/didn’t have a god merely on the basis of whether the lead writer was an atheist or not.)

    • Rinox says:

      Nice post James. I think that, in the end, it doesn’t really matter if the Maker is real or not (or whether he is intended to be by Bioware or not), in the same way as it doesn’t matter if God irl is real or not. As a non-interventionist God there is only faith and everything we/the inhabitants of the DA universe choose to distill from that, ranging from doctrines to relics.

      As such, it is more of a mirror of our humanity and the characters you meet, both the raving, hatemongering religious fanatics and the kind, understanding and compassionate followers are all just extrapolations of that and make the world more ‘grey’ as opposed to black and white. I thought the Chantry was a very nice addition to the game world in DA, and while I agree with Martin that your ways of dealing with them were relatively limited (given their influence), I am pretty convinced that it will play a big role in the rest of the DA saga. The end-game text of the consequences of your actions seemed to confirm that.

      Personally, as a Dwarven Commoner Fighter, I treated the Chantry as I would have treated any random guild. Make me do normal stuff for a reward, fine. But I wasn’t going to enforce their hate agenda against mages or anything like that.

      Also: a large part of that doctrine seemed to be telling me I was evil

      Welcome to Catholicism. ;-)

    • Lilliput King says:

      I’m fairly sure I remember conversation options along the line of “I don’t believe in the Maker.”

      Not entirely sure, though, and it seems like a fairly long time since my playthrough. But with those recollections in mind, I did find the article a bit confusing. That, and it’s very strongly suggested in the backstory of the mage section of the game that the maker is some kind of demon/fade entity.

      So, yup, a little perplexed.

    • TenjouUtena says:

      I have to say I really think this guy is trying to mine something out that isn’t there. And as an atheist, my conformational bias has me really want to go along with articles like this, but I think he’s being a bit picky about this one.

      I have a transgendered friend who would complain like this. She didn’t want the game to force her to pick male or female. Why can’t a be a female that looks like a male? Or vice-versa. Why do I even need to specify? This seems to be akin to that. ‘The game doesn’t support my unique and exacting, narrow choice’. Yeah, that’s probably true of most games.

      It’s also important to note that atheism has it’s roots in deism, which seems a lot like what your options really are in Dragon Age. ‘Yeah, sure, maybe there was a god and all this stuff happened. But he doesn’t care anymore, and isn’t personal or caring.’ seems to be a very supported view, which would have been an ‘atheist’ statement 200 some years ago.

    • malkav11 says:

      I think Dragon Age may be the first fantasy RPG setting that involves priests but doesn’t make it explicitly evident that their deity (or deities) exist. I myself played a Circle mage, so I felt it was appropriate that he would have been indoctrinated in the Chantry belief system even if he didn’t necessarily agree with their treatment of mages, but as a personal atheist I felt that there was not actually any in-game evidence of the Chantry’s Maker existing or their version of the creation of Darkspawn, etc being accurate, and so the rational approach would be atheism in that situation.

    • Hidden_7 says:

      Yeah, I can’t recall exactly, but I definitely seem to recall moments where you could out and out deny the existence of the Maker. and I gotta say, this is one of the few fantasy RPGs where being an atheist actually makes any sense at all. Usually the gods very explicitly exist, and denying them would just be foolish. I was glad that in Dragon Age the existence of the Maker was left open.

      In any case, both my characters so far have been atheists, and I didn’t feel particularly railroaded away from that. I don’t think I was ever forced in dialogue to explicitly state my belief for the maker. What this article seems to be complaining about is that you couldn’t be a very outspoken atheist, which is a different thing. It’s a shame that option isn’t in there, but there’s lots of options that aren’t in the game, it can’t cater to everything. Given the world, being very outspoken about one’s atheism would probably be rather incongruous and been constantly drawing reactions from other characters. I can see why they left it out.

    • Archonsod says:

      IIRC, during the ashes quest itself you can tell the guardian you don’t believe in the maker or the holy aspect of Andraste. You can do the same thing in some of the conversations with Wynne and Leliana.

      Whether atheism would make sense depends on how strictly you want to define it. You’re told quite unambiguously that the archdemon is an ancient god, so in the strictest sense atheism would be irrational – gods do indeed exist. You could of course refine it to a specific concept of a god, but that’s arguably not atheism; you’re not in fact doing anything say a Christian isn’t doing when they reject Buddha. At best, you could probably say “while there are gods, I refuse to worship them”, which is somewhat closer to deism than atheism.

    • Hidden_7 says:

      You’re told the arch-demon is an ancient god. What you see is a big corrupted dragon. You have met the spirits of the fade, who are something other, but definitely not creators. Some people might call them gods, but few do by the time Dragon Age takes place. Whose to say that the arch-demon isn’t a particularly powerful fade demon that has corrupted a dragon?

      There’s a lot of magic and spirits in the world, but that would, naturally, just appear to be a natural part of the world to people who have grown up in it. It’s a still a bit of a jump from “there is another world we go to when we dream, and also I can shoot fireballs out of my hand” to “there are all powerful beings that created the world.”

    • malkav11 says:

      You’re not told that the archdemon is an ancient god. You are told that the archdemons are formed from dragons that were -worshipped- as gods by another civilization. They clearly exist, but as to whether they are actually divine in nature? That’s murkier.

  4. Tauers says:

    I’m seeing Orbital next saturday in my city (Vigo) !!!! :)

  5. Lewis says:

    Properly almost crying with laughter at Brendan’s games journalism piece, which I’d not spotted before.

  6. negativedge says:

    say happy birthday America, you british dog.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      America. You have defeated us. We salute you.

      KG

    • Hidden_7 says:

      Can we get a belated happy birthday Canada, then?

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Happy Birthday Canada. You are still our serfs.

      KG

    • The Dark One says:

      I wouldn’t be so cocky, Kieron. We have the Queen and we’re not giving her back. Our ransom demands will arrive this afternoon via the Blackberry she’ll be given during her tour of as she visits the RIM factory.

  7. terry says:

    No mention of the staring vocal chords of Ken Levine? For shame

  8. Lewis says:

    The BeefJack Kieron was aiming for, incidentally, was this: Emily writing astutely about the UK tax breaks situation.

    • Man Raised By Puffins says:

      Also, I suspect the IGN on booth babes article is this ‘un.

    • stahlwerk says:

      Re: Booth Babes, thanks for the link, MRBP!

      I really liked the tone of the article, with the author struggling between being honest about his sexuality and his (I assume) north-american prudeness. Also, he kind of suprised me in that he didn’t take the commonly treaded path of whiteknighting for the models themselves, but questioned his own response towards the girls and thus critizising the objectification of the consumer / journalist in sex-sells-PR.

      Really, a refreshing point of view, adding to the discussion that was held last year (“Commit acts of lust with our booth babes” — wtf is wrong with you, EA?).

    • Fumarole says:

      Plus he used the word masturbatorium, which is always good.

  9. Sam says:

    Re: Magic and “atheism with respect to traditional religions”.
    Actually, there’s a certain amount of this kind of conflict even in our own history. The Old Testament has that “magical” battle between Pharoah’s priests and Moses’s divinely-originated turning-rods-into-snakes power, for example. At the very least, the implication is that there’s more than one deity – which does seem to have been a common understanding amongst cultures who interacted with others with different religions – rather than the Monotheism that I suspect Kieron implies in his term “Traditional Religions”. Some modern believers-in-magic do spin entities like Jesus as “people with magic” rather than “people with divine power”, too… (Ironically, it’s slightly easier to do this than to argue for pure atheism, since you don’t even have to discount most of the source material to argue for the magic-powers interpretation.)

    Agnosticism, at least, is actually a pretty old idea as well – there were definitely several of the Greek Philosophers who came to agnostic conclusions about the world, and it does keep cropping up amongst thinkers throughout the rest of history. What would be more common and in keeping with DA:O’s particular setting, however, would be people with heretical interpretations of prophets and the nature of the Deity itself – which is *sort of* but *inconsistently* supported by some dialogue options, etc.

    • BigJonno says:

      If I recall correctly, early Judaism didn’t deny the existence of other gods, it was just that they were only supposed to worship the one.

    • aoanla says:

      Indeed. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” is a nonsensical commandment unless your civilisation admits the existence of other gods. The monotheism came much later.

    • Josh W says:

      @aoanla
      I agree with the first part, but all that implies is that other gods exist at least as targets of worship. The main monotheistic elements mentioned were the idea that their god created the universe. In later years the Jewish prophets started to talk about how other gods don’t do anything wheras their God did, eventually scaling up to saying that all gods were irrelevent distractions, and basically like having an affair.

      But even before this point they went through a period of destroying symbols of other religions, not as some rude way of saying they didn’t exist, but because they saw them as threats to their parent’s/nation’s deal with God to follow him first. In other words they were like secondary objectives that were in danger of making them unable to complete the main mission.

      Now that is a very pragmatic form of monotheism; “there will be only one god”, but the very fact that it is attempted means that they did consider other gods to exist enough to be a problem, illusory or not.

  10. [21CW] 2000AD says:

    While Matt Smith / Orbital was a decent Glastonbury crossover, it was beaten in my opinion by The Edge and Muse doing WHere the Streets Have No Name.

  11. Helm says:

    From the Artful Gamer article:

    “This New Games Journalism – that was originally supposed to be something like travel writing – was profoundly corrupted in a consumeristic way of thinking about gaming.”

    This rings true to an extent. The way I understand it, New Games Journalism (or to be broader, any impressionistic, defiantly subjective writing about culture) needs brave and talented writers. Almost any seasoned videogame player can write us 5 paragraphs outlining the mechanics and fun-or-not of a game and score it so we can have our ‘consumer guide review’. But it takes a real writer, with real things to say and a burning desire to say them, to go from the game to the human experience around it. And also not all games inspire this desire, which is fine. Most of the people that endorsed the NGJ type of writing are not talented or brave enough, or more fairly, they were talented and brave enough to write two or three such articles and the rest is just lukewarm ‘yaknow?’ opinion pieces so they can make a living. This isn’t special to games writing, even published authors, they often have only one or two good books in them in the end. It’s especially tough when someone needs to write some new school stuff for a game that really doesn’t inspire much of anything.

    Yes, NGJ gives more writers the social ‘right’ to just tell us their opinion on this and that with the excuse of a videogame, an idea I found immediately appealing from the start, personally. Even back in the 90′s there were such reviews although not characterized as ‘New Games Journalism.’ I still have fond memories of an Alien Breed review written from the point of view of the protagonists in the game. It was not informative about the mechanics, but I still remember it because it was well-written and captured a mood. But with a ‘manifesto’ comes an onus for a certain degree of self-awareness: if reviewers are not critical on why they’re engaging with the videogame and why they even bother to have an opinion, then they’re going to eventually become subjects of derision for being shallow perpetuators of a marketing machine. ‘Manifesto’ is a red word, there is baggage. This is why, I think, some are decrying the lack of research on the part of journalists, it’s a convinient secondary target. The real target is reviewer complacency. Do we really need to read what Mrs. Alexander thinks (or isn’t sure what to think) about the wii music game? Why is she even writing the piece? Did any effort go into that piece of writing? At least research is a quantifiable metric of effort on the part of the writer. The credo If it’s easy to write, it’s probably not worth reading is cruel and probably not correct most of the time, but in a field oversaturated with opinion writing, it tends to be a sentiment that floats to the top.

    Personally I do not depend heavily on game reviews to make my (few) games purchases. I tend to read all over the place, watch videos on youtube and play demos/torrent and try and I make up my own mind. I don’t need scoring. I read games journalism because I’m interested in people more than I am interested in games. I think that’s the spirit towards which the NGJ group moves towards and that’s a double-edged sword. It takes bravery and some degree of brilliance to write convincingly about people-through-videogames. If you don’t the result will be lame. Lots of people will call the whole ‘talking about human beings’ thing pretentious (they are the same people that would call any worthwhile human endeavor pretentious if given the podium). Others will say ‘the writer is not the most important person’, missing the point. The real point is that ‘persons are more important than the product, gaming is more important than the game’, the writer is just one of them. I never felt excluded because the reviewer had lots of “I” in their reviews. But if the people are more important than the game, if the salient experience more important than the ‘habit of gaming’, then I don’t trust game writers that assume gaming is an a priori good thing. Sounds like an apologia for consumerism. I don’t expect writers to stop writing consumer reviews, they have to make a living. But if they’re going to try new school writing, it shouldn’t be just more consumerist coverage masquerading as ‘travel journalism’.

  12. Chalee says:

    Oh my god what are they doing to poor Kieron in the comments thread over at the escapist!!!

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Yeah! I was almost impressed. Usernames I kind of half remember from the early 00s, bitterer than ever. Lighten up, guys.

      KG

  13. N says:

    There is no need to argue on the subject of “NGJ”, Kierkegaard cleared up the subject with incredible efficiency.

  14. Starky says:

    My big problem with NGJ, and this is more a sad reflection of how lazy writers jumped on the band wagon than the idea itself – is that more often than not games were grades more on their ability to fuel a piece of journalism than the quality of the games.

    So for a good chunk of time (it still happens now, but not as often as it did 2-3 years ago), you had really quite crappy games given these really over the top reviews, because the author found some hook in them that he could write about in that travel style.
    At the same time quality, but workman like or mechanic driven games were ignored – the focus shifted to games with a story to tell, even if that story was inside an otherwise crappy game.

    Like the travel journalism that NGJ was advocating for games, the problem was too many writers took that as permission to make the writer more important than the destination. Exactly the same problem that travel journalism itself had for a while – which has now largely shifted to being about the people the writer met, rather than the writer itself – which is how things should be in my opinion.

    It often makes for a nice, interesting read – but serves no real value as a review, or consumer guide, and far too often descends into faux-intellectualism and pretentious masturbatory exercise.

    Thankfully this seems to be splitting off now, even here on RPS – we get good articles on games in the NGJ style, but they are not pretending to be reviews any more.
    And like the mirror of travel writing are becoming more about the characters in the games, the locations and the stories inside the game – rather than about the writer themselves. Which is good.

    • Starky says:

      I miss the ability to edit

      /sad panda

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      The “This isn’t anything to do with reviews” part of my original piece still seems to have been written in invisible ink, even after all these years.

      KG

    • Starky says:

      Indeed, and I should be clear I have no issue with the idea of NGJ itself (except for maybe that moniker – literary games journalism might have been a better name for it). I’ve read some fantastic pieces over the years in that style – most of which here on RPS, or via links found on RPS such as the sunday papers, or ye olde PC format UK; but it is one of those things that if it isn’t done properly, with passion and talent – hell or even just on a bad premise – it is just awful.
      Too often it wasn’t funny, or interesting, or insightful it was just plain self indulgent, reading more like a bad live journal entry than something worthy of ink. I could go trawling through some old magazines for examples, but I don’t think there is a need really.

      Like so many things in gaming (design, or journalism) it was a good idea badly implemented by the majority of writers, which turned quite a lot of readers against it (and against the publications themselves). Kind of to be expected for such a new media.

      There is a balance to be struck and in quite a few magazines, and online publications that balance was skewed.

      Personally I think that NGJ is something that should be applied sparingly, and only of when it is of good quality – otherwise publications should stick to more traditional reviews and features.

      RPS I might add, has a pretty good balance when it comes to traditional games journalism and the more narrative style that has evolved from NGJ. The hive mind does get a bit indulgent at times, but that is fine in a blog. Having what would be a 10-20 page feature in a magazine on a blog isn’t an issue really.

      Though I still shudder at some of those 6 page features that some magazines (usually trying to mimic PC gamer UK) spewed out. It was more gonzo than journalism.

  15. vanarbulax says:

    Does exclusion of service to fools count as a violation of discrimination legislation?

    • Starky says:

      I hope not, otherwise I might get in trouble one day for my policy not to work with, for or hire chavs if I can at all possibly help it.

  16. Cooper says:

    The problem with the aethism and Dragon Age piece is that the atheism the writer wanted to follow is a certain form of non-belief based upon certain enlightenment principles that were not really found until the 18th Century, and so are largely out-of-place in Dragon Age’s setting.

    • Eamo says:

      Exactly. I wanted to play Dragon Age as a person who didn’t believe in dragon’s but the dialog tree didn’t support that either.

    • qrter says:

      Surely that’s just a choice, on part of the devs? It’s their setting, they could have done anything they wanted with it.

      I mean, magic also wasn’t around in the 18th century, but there it is in DA:O anyway.

    • Hidden_7 says:

      The difference between dragons and the Maker is that one of those explicitly exists in the setting.

      It would be foolish to profess a disbelief in dragons because the character’s responses would be like “but what about earlier when we fought that dragon?” and you’d be all “oh, yes, well… That.”

      A disbelief in the Maker would never be directly contradicted in the game. As a Dalish Elf or a Dwarf it’s outright assumed that your character wouldn’t believe in the maker, though that belief would be replaced with different gods for the former and ancestor worship for the latter. If the Maker explicitly existed in the world then you wouldn’t have people like the Dwarves or the Dalish or the Quanari who believe in something else.

      Basically, the argument is that this is a world where some believe in the Maker and some do not. Some believe in the paragons, and some do not, some believe in the Dalish gods and some do not. Given that it’s assumed that your character will not believe in particular gods, with every god in the world a candidate for that disbelief, it’s not really a stretch to have a character that believes in no gods. That is an option in the game, but it’s rather underdeveloped, which was the author’s issue, I believe.

    • Archonsod says:

      The problem seems to be his understanding of the chantry’s doctrine. If you didn’t believe in it, or the maker, then the ashes of Andraste are indeed little more than the final remains of Andraste. Bearing in mind the contention is not whether Andraste existed (there’s no suggestion in the plot she didn’t. Even the Dalish recognise she did, and since Tevinter is still around you’d assume they might have something to say if she didn’t), but whether she was in fact inspired by the Maker.
      Finding the remains of Andraste is therefore no more a validation of the Chantry’s doctrine than finding the remains of Jean of Arc (who seems to have lived a remarkably similar life) prove Christianity. Andraste is an actual historical figure, so even if one disputed whether she was divinely inspired or just plain lucky you wouldn’t automatically refuse to accept you had visited her tomb and retrieved her remains. You might express doubt as to the powers they’re reputed to have, which is the other conversation option you are given and does indeed make sense in context; it’s only after the ashes had been used that there’d be any evidence that Andraste was divinely inspired, and of course at that point you would use the magical ashes explanation; pointing to the high lyrium content of the mountain you found it on as the likely source. Which is presumably what Bioware were shooting for with that observation, given neither the Dalish or the Dwarves believe in the Maker yet still need to undertake that quest.

  17. buzko says:

    Spamatron didn’t like my first effort, but my username link should go to the (ick) IGN article.

    Did that work?

  18. nullspace says:

    Also on-topic from McSweeney’s: No Son of Mine Plays Oregon Trail Like That

  19. Ronnie76er says:

    Single biggest problem with NGJ:

    Americans take themselves too seriously

  20. Ran dumb Dude says:

    Kieron: Have you considered growing a moustache like Capt. Price’s in Modern Warfare?

    (because that we badass)

  21. James Gournalism says:

    Are there spoilers in that RDR piece, it looks spoilery. I’ve set the game aside for better times, don’t wanna have spoilers all over my face.

    New games journalism was like New Coke in some ways, while in others it wasn’t like New Coke at all. I can’t think of many Anglophonic games journalists with enough personality to make this kind of writing interesting for meeee. But my window into the exciting world of games journalism is so small, I’m probably missing on stuff and things.

    • drewski says:

      No, the author only really refers extensively to the multiplayer. I guess there are a few very minor hunting related spoilers but nothing that I would consider remotely game-ruining or really even related to the story.

      Mostly it’s just rather droll.

  22. Grandstone says:

    @N

    Soren Kierkegaard, philosopher, or Alex Kierkegaard, Internet whackjob with one or two interesting ideas?

  23. TeeJay says:

    I just had a quick read of of “The New Games Journalism – by Kieron Gillen” 23rd March 2004
    http://alwaysblack.com/blackbox/ngj.html

    I was interested to see that the proposal was offered in the context of addressing the declining sales of print magasines.

    Story-telling, essays, wide-ranging features or “pub anecdotes with delusions of grandeur, essentially” are contrasted with “recruiting armies of kids who don’t know better straight from college, burning them out in a year, and then getting another set … a culture where editorial is basically disposable … mediocre hacks filling positions that could be taken by people wanting to write brilliantly are what will kill the British games magazine”

    They are proposed as an additional complement to “previews, first-plays, interviews … review[s] … where after the game may never, ever be mentioned again.” and to allow continued discussion of a game after release.

    It is clear that magasines have included a lot of this, yet sales figures have continued to decline. There has be continued growth in blogs, forums and websites. Developers and publishers have also developed a more nuanced relationship with gamers going beyond a simple press-release product cycle.

    So alongside the seemingly neverending “descriptive / analytical / Old” -v- “subjective / literary / New” discussion (answer = both) there is the question: where “next for games journalism” / “where next for print mags” which was apparently the motivation for the NGJ piece.

    • Starky says:

      Isn’t that obvious? Print is dead, with the exception of expensive niche publications, or cheap mass trash.
      I think it is probably clear to everyone now there is no turning the constant decline print has seen in the last decade.

      Clearly it is going to move to online subscription models, viewed on devices like smart phones and tablet computers (here’s hoping for a good Android based tablet computer – because the Ipad while fun, is so limited in it’s potential).

      Magazines and print will still exist, but it will never see the numbers it once did.

      Personally I’ve not bought a PC/Gaming mag in about 2 years, and I used to subscribe to like 5 or 6.
      There is just no need for them when online offers me just as much text wise, and so much more – video’s, media, podcasts so on.

    • drewski says:

      Yeah, it’s kinda weird – I used to be an avid PC gaming magazine reader but I didn’t renew the last subscription I had over two years ago.

      I think I just got really disappointed with the manufactured hype of print magazines. They didn’t feel real, they weren’t reflecting my experiences of gaming. Once I found RPS, which was so much more like what I wanted, there seemed no point to print mags and their slavish devotion to drooling over the latest CoD or whatever games. PC gaming is a broad church and I just don’t think mags really cover the breadth.

    • TeeJay says:

      @ Starky

      …what about the content, editorial approach and type of articles?

      Is “video game journalism” (even if online, subscription and advertising based) actually viable as a ‘professional’ activity when there is so much stuff free and not-for-profit on blogs and forums? Does it matter if there are only a tiny number of “professionals” whose sites act as focal points for a far larger number of unpaid enthusiasts (what is lost)? Does a more community-based and discussion-based media model lead to a different kind of “journalism” (what is gained)?

      Personally I’m waiting for the first “crowd sourced” game review written by a computer and presented as a 3d-graphic, using some clever software analysing forum, blog and chatroom text chatter.

  24. JKjoker says:

    im a bit tired of the Booth babes articles, yes, chaining things to boobs makes them sell better to certain demographic, i know it, they know it, everyone knows it, give it a rest already

    i dont really fault Nintendo and the rest for their “appeal to the boobage” strategy, i fault the customers, if they stopped falling for it game corps wouldnt spend less money on the babes and more on actually making good games (jeez who am i kidding, they would probably find something else to put thighs on)

    • Lacero says:

      Surely the customers for E3 are games journalists now? No consumers allowed.

      Sure there’s some pictures, and gamespot or whoever do videos about them, but essentially the people they’re trying to attract are games journalists.

    • JKjoker says:

      true, me bad, cross out customers put sexually starved pseudo journalists/bloggers

    • Tim Ward says:

      So, their idea is to get journalists to give more coverage by having half-dressed women hanging near where footage of their games are playing? Do people do this? Who, and where, are they? Don’t the rival half-dressed women cancel each other out, and could major publishers save money by signing a half-dressed women non-aggression treaty? Would this lead to women who are half-dressed on professional basis being out of work, thus raising the joblessness rate and harming the economy recovery and indirectly resulting in fewer game sales?

      Or is it just a practice that continues simply because it’s a tradition, and the video game industry is never one to stop doing something just because it’s pointless, embarrassing, damaging to the reputation of video games, sexist and vaguely sleazy?

    • TeeJay says:

      @ JKjoker

      I get your point. It isn’t unusual for pubs, cafes or fashionable clothes shops to hire at least some attractive and/or young staff (alongside the older / more boring / dependable / non-nonsense types) to help draw in customers, so if it actually “works”…

      …however how do you actually measure whether people are “falling for it”? How far should you simply follow the logic of giving some people anything they want, unless forced to stop? A business is not obliged to provide every service to everyone, they have a choice.

      I’m not sure ‘stop looking if you don’t like it’ is a very good defence for over-the-top attention whoring or “turn your music up louder than the next guy” is a better logic than ‘everyone must keep within noise limits’. Maybe companies can be excused for “me-too” behaviour or a cynical calculating that the increased photos and name-checks online over-rides looking tacky and cheap. IMO it’s something for the event organisers to set out and for the wider ‘community’ to give feed back about:

      eg. Penny Arcade’s Booth Babe Ban Results
      http://setonstun.com/2010/06/penny-arcades-booth-babe-ban-results/

    • JKjoker says:

      sadly, the “everyone must keep within noise limits” goes against marketing’s “be as loud as you can and then louder” idea

      if you ask me i dont know why Nintendo needed the booth babes, the 3DS, along with the Move and Kinect were the most “important” new things in E3, i cant imagine going to E3 and not checking those out whatever you thought about them, they would have gotten the same hype with mechanized Elephants, little asian girls air fondling feline genitals or dudes having seizures (then now that i think about it, the Kinect reveal was much more embarrassing than the booth babes, maybe they are better than the alternative)

    • Archonsod says:

      It’s just marketing showing how disconnected it is from the market as usual. The original intent of the babes was to garner attention to your product. Which worked so well everyone did it.

      Now they all do it, because doing the same thing is far easier / cheaper than having to come up with something else.

  25. Nick says:

    But will Booth Babes be happy if they are down one source of income?

  26. DMcCool says:

    Really, that whole NGJ buisness was way, way off the mark. The distinction really isn’t between good NGJ writing and bad NGJ writing, infact I’m rather bemused by how little the NGJ debated in these articles resembles what I’ve always understood the term to mean. NGJ pieces have been the most memorable and enjoyable writings on games I’ve read, without a doubt. Okay, I have skipped many, many articles that have indulged their writers egos too heavily on or swamped me with details that seem trivial but to codemn the NGJ movement as a whole or hold it up by claiming people have just sucked at appealing to the ideals in Kieron’s manifesto is missing the point somewhat because, well…

    Because I’m not sure Kieron understood what New Games Journalism was, and is. Or more, he phrased it wrong. Or we understood him wrong. The NGJ I recognised in the greater part of the manifesto and have enjoyed since cannot be distilled simply with the phase “the worth of a videogame lies not in the game, but in the gamer.”, and as long as the debate is pivoted around the pure objective/subjective writer-based/game-based paradigms no-one is going to say anything informative on the real articles that made the manifesto worth writing in 2004.

    When I think of NGJ I think of Bow, Nigger, of dat Deus Ex review, of Tom Francis’ Galactic Civilization diaries, of /v/’s Nuzlocke comics (yeah, really). To me the key element linking all these and the one thing that makes this kind of writing the right way of going about Games Journalism is its centering on the player’s role withen the game. That thing, after all, call it gameplay or gaming narrative or whatever, is what the whole gig is about, right? Tom Francis’ diaries weren’t about his own subjective experiences, they were centered around how his dickish tactics and approach to the game intermingled with the rules of the game, and the AI’s own machinations. What did we learn? This is the kind of game where you have this sort of role. Again, Bow Nigger, with the weird social set-up in that multiplayer culture and where that leaves a player, the concepts of honour thrown up being, well, gameplay mechanics, or player-roles (same thing). Kieron’s Deus Ex review wasn’t about Kieron Gillen, it centered around a pagent of disparate JC Dentons. The trancendentally silly Nuzlocke series of comics showed us what happened when you introduced a new player-role into a children’s game and took it very, very seriously. NJG isn’t even strickly in the first-person. Off the top of my head, think of Tom Francis’ role in the Neptune’s Pride diaries. Brief but hilarious (sounds like my first marrage) he wrote of the ridiculous reality of his empire’s command structure in narrative prose. Cool.

    NGJ was never really about the gamer, and his objective experiance. It wasn’t about the game, either. If you allow me to get Hegelian on your ass for a moment, I’d like to claim that NGJ has always been about the synthesis of the two. Its about the player character, be it from the player’s point of view (travel writing to imaginary spaces) or even the game’s own view (Francis’ in character diaries). Really its the only type of Games Journalism that makes sense. And it needn’t be subjective. Kieron described precisely, exactly what actions different incarnations of JC Denton would do his Deus Ex review. Would it still be NGJ Kieron had written it all from the first-person point of view of one patroling guard? If eachtime it was about how JC Denton fucked up his shit/got his shit fucked up in a different way, the hell yeah, it would be (a brand of NGJ less well suited to reviews, mind). This, interestingly is a version of Games Journalism that would totally utterly exclude the meaning of what, say, Solid Snake does in a cutscene but celebrate his achivements in-game, but, hey isn’t that a good thing? The first person, gamer-subjective branch of the player character and game mechanic obsessed storytelling tradition I’d call New Games Journalism is cool, but its just that, a branch of New Games Journalism. Its not about reviews, but it is the most interesting and imformative way we can write about this strange hobby the human race is fast developing:

    1) The worth of gaming lies in the gamer’s role within the game; not the game, not the gamer.
    2) Write travel journalism to Imaginary Places.
    3) Write journalism from Imaginary Places.

  27. SofS says:

    I believe the term for picking one god out of several for your own is “henotheism”. I wish that it had been explained in class as the religious belief of most D&D clerics, but I suppose that nobody had the presence of mind.

  28. TeeJay says:

    Who is gaming journalism’s Hunter S Thompson gonzo equivalent?

  29. MadMatty says:

    sweet :)

  30. always_black says:

    Kieron Gillen: He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy.

  31. Cunzy1 1 says:

    I still struggle to find good games writing except from a handful of writers.

    HINT: Nobody called Brian.