The Sunday Papers

By Kieron Gillen on September 12th, 2010 at 11:22 am.

I'm also tempted to paint some Skaven.

Sundays are for finishing off a script, finishing off Amnesia, hopefully squeezing a walk into Daylight hours and compiling a list of the fine (mostly) games related reading from across the week, while trying to avoid linking to the latest single of someone I caught live this week. Go!

Failed.

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215 Comments »

  1. Rich says:

    Dunno if it’s just me, but your “It’s Boiling Point” link takes me somewhere inside RPS and gives me a WordPress error, telling me off for trying to edit the page.

  2. jeremypeel says:

    Found the Brian Wood news earlier this week to be really upsetting. Just. Not. Fair.

    • qrter says:

      It’s absolutely heartbreaking.

    • Huggster says:

      Considering the amount of road fatalities out there, sentencing should be much more harsh. You kill someone and you get banned for a few years and a reduced sentence due to good behaviour – if you kill someone in a car through negligent driving and it should be a lifetime ban and a prison sentence.
      Anyone. Not the place to vent I guess!

  3. Dreamhacker says:

    Speaking of Brian, one of the two masterminds behind Alpha Centauri, Brian Reynolds, works for Zynga…

    Tragic :(

  4. bill says:

    The point about mafia 2′s story and subjectivity/scores is interesting.

    I haven’t played it, so i have no idea if it’s important or not. Maybe we need a WIT 2nd opinion.

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      AndrewC says:

      I’m with that feller what wrote the Mafia 2 piece in the sense of how one should approach the game. I’m not with him on comparing it, in terms of quality, to Hamlet, but I guess over-enthusiasm is better than cynicism or apathy.

      In that first walk to Vito’s mother’s house there’s at at least half a dozen little vignettes of neighbourhood life that you can stop to watch. I think the natural gamer instinct is to rush past them to get to some bloody game already, which is to miss out on the point of Mafia 2. I think the natural response is to think that 2K Czech are loons for putting in so much irrelevant detail, but it’s thinking that it is irrelevant that is the mistake – it *is* the game.

      I admit I think they are loons for doing it this way, but it makes a game (or an *experience*) that is totally luxurious in its detail – like that ad for Imperial Leather soap with everyone having baths on the train. I found it joyful to watch the cat and rat animations. Why did they put fully functional cats in the game – ridiculous! Wonderful!

      While I am thankful that games, on the whole, are not like this, that only makes its qualities more unique.

    • Jimbo says:

      Mafia 2′s storyline is a tricky one. I feel like it was very solid originally, but sadly it feels like somebody took an axe to it during development. One important section that should have had at least a couple hours of game devoted to it is reduced to a montage. The rest of the game then continues as though the montage never even happened.

      Worst of all, there is simply too much story spread over too little game. It tries to cover the amount of ground that The Sopranos would cover in about 3 seasons, and you can imagine the kind of effect that has on the game. The punches in the storyline are still there, and they’re enjoyable, but they feel weaker than they should because they just haven’t been earned.

      Where in Mafia you have ample time to become attached to your friends, your boss, the consigliere, and even the car guy, gun guy and the bartender; here you don’t spend more than a couple of cutscenes with any of the characters apart from Joe. Because of this, Joe is really the only NPC with enough screen time to develop into a real character, and subsequently the only character that I cared about. There is one particularly brilliant and grisly scene late on in the game, but it would have been so much more if they had spent more than 5 minutes developing the character involved.

    • Kadayi says:

      Yeah I’d like to see a second WiT. Personally I think John had issues with the subject material (and the playboys) and that coloured his assessment unfortunately. Certainly not a perfect game, and I agree with Jimbo that it feels like a little rushed in places, but one that is worth experiencing I’d say. I think a big focus for the developers might well have been in getting the game size down to 1 disc for the 360 version (so less than 6.8 GB) to avoid Microsofts god awful multi-disc licensing charge, and unfortunately that’s what’s resulted in the developers having to make concessions regarding the the content. I don’t think it’s so much a case of them necessarily removing content out of choice, more probably as a result of publisher directive.

  5. terry says:

    Blimey, I knew Zynga games were a load of cobblers but I didn’t realise that they were largely stolen cobblers to boot. Kinda scary that Brian Reynolds works there, the prospect of a micropayment Alpha Centauri or Lonely Mindworm gifting is making me weep openly.

    • Starky says:

      I think EA own the rights to Alpha C. So I doubt you will see it, Zenga might steal from small new upstarts with good idea’s, but not even they have the brass balls to steal from EA.

    • bob_d says:

      @ Starky: As long as they change the name, they’re perfectly within their rights to clone whatever they want. You can’t copyright gameplay. EA could sue them, but they’d have no legal basis.

      Making clones of successful games has been going on since the beginning of the game industry; the dynamics are totally different with Zynga, though. In the early days, every successful game had tons of clones: games with the exact same play as Pacman or Space Invaders, for example, continue to be made today. Blizzard became successful by copying other companies’ gameplay; they’ve “added value,” however, by making the games more accessible and polished. Zynga is the only company I can think of that can make an exact clone and make it more successful than the original purely due to their dominance of the Facebook game-space.

    • Starky says:

      Oh I know that EA could not sue them for IP rights on cloned gameplay alone, but I doubt Zenga would risk the ire of EA by stealing one of their games outright.

      I suspect what would be vastly more likely is they would partner with EA.

      EA is just bigger and more powerful than Zenga, and they wouldn’t want to risk it I’d imagine.

      Oh and before anyone says that Zenga is as big as EA, they’re not. Frankly lots of Zenga’s “worth” is smoke and mirrors… people like to bandy around that the company is worth 4 billion and such – but it’s typical silicone valley .com style bull. It will crash in a few years (numbers are already dropping for Zenga, and Facebook is getting pissed at them too), while EA is actually, and properly worth that (and has been for years).

    • FunkyBadger says:

      I stopped reading the article after:

      Unlike innovative and socially useful business enterprises such as Twitter or Google

      Do No Evil, uh-huh?

    • bob_d says:

      @ Starky2: I don’t disagree with you about the relative strength/worth of EA vs. Zynga (I’d be very surprised if Zynga were even around in ten years), but Zynga is solely Facebook games, and within that realm they have many times the players and income that EA does. I can’t see them working together: EA has their own social games studio and Zynga apparently favors cloning over licensing. Not to mention that EA could come out with Facebook versions of their games and still have Zynga get more players with clones of those games because of how they dominate that space.

    • Ignorant Texan says:

      FunkyBadger -

      Along with it being a very badly written hatchet-job*, that also caught my eye.

      *Anyone wishes to flame me, go ahead. A diseased tree needs to have a hatchet used on it, it is just too bad that someone who can actually write wasn’t used.

    • Ignorant Texan says:

      Also this http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/30345/City_of_Wonder_Price_Is_Right_Lead_FastestGrowing_Facebook_Games.php

      Zynga had 1 game at #5. While the celebration may be premature, it does look as if Zynga is facing competition from some people making actual games. There are also two blogs about the SF Weekly article/Zynga on Gamasutra.

    • bob_d says:

      @Ignorant Texan: That chart you linked to was for growth not size; their poker game still had at least four times the players of anything else listed. The biggest Zynga games have a shrinking player base, though, and so don’t show up on the list. Some of the competing games might catch up, but only if they can maintain phenomenal growth, and Zynga might very well undercut them by releasing clones…

    • Ignorant Texan says:

      Yeah, I was aware that it’s a growth chart. Based on percentage of MAU, not an actual increase in MAU. But still interesting for two reasons. Poker is a recognized game, so Zynga’s only listed entry isn’t based on one of their cloned sims, which seems to be their bread’n'butter.. And, as others have pointed out, it is highly likely that Zynga uses some creative accounting and are pitching their value to investors based on continual growth. One other thing to factor in is Zynga’s complete reliance on another company, i.e. Facebook. If Facebook pulls a MySpace or Yahoo, they are fucked. The only prediction I make about the future is there will be one. But, I wouldn’t be suprised if Zynga is suddendly aquired by some sucker, er, outside interest, as the bloom seems to be fading from this particular noxious rose.

  6. Rich says:

    Spoilers (albeit old ones)

    For me, that bit in Mass Effect where Rex doesn’t like the idea of his race being condemned to extinction, that’s where I really notice how emotionally flat the whole game was (love it though I do).

    “You can’t do this Shepherd!”
    “Don’t be so silly”
    “Oh, OK then.”

    Shepherd seems to have two emotional states, deadpan or angry. Even in the sex scenes, he doesn’t seem involved emotionally. He just stumbles into seducing someone, without ever smiling, adopts a cheeky grin and then gets down to it. I’m thinking he* might be a sociopath.

    *Yeah, Shepherd is a man, so there.

    • Starky says:

      Which is why you should play as the female Shepard, the voice acting is about 7 leagues above that of the male actor, if only because as a woman she’s free to display more emotion and caring than macho space guy number 726492.

    • Auspex says:

      I’m Auspex and I’ve played a male Shepard since 2007.

      BUT(!) I’ve just decided (having only started playing Mass Effect 2 a couple of weeks ago) that male Shepard is amazingly amusing if you play him as a humourless sociopathic racist.

      The best bits are when he makes the, absolutely flat and terrible, James bond style kill-putdowns in the Thane recruitment mission. I like seeing my team laugh awkwardly at my shit jokes purely because they know Shepard is a nutter who is just waiting for an opportunity to turn on them.

    • Saiko Kila says:

      I agree, this is one of the best voice acting (female or not) in computer games of recent years.

    • JackShandy says:

      Is there a name for that style of Video game voice acting yet? The one where they act deliberately deadpan in an attempt to let the player get into the role more?

      If not, I hearby name it “Denton Syndrome.”

    • Saiko Kila says:

      I don’t know, but I meant only the female voice to be really good (but in all categories). The male… well, it was average, good enough, but I found nothing spectacular about it.

    • Dante says:

      Hmmn, I don’t really know how to take that article, it makes some interesting points in terms of lack of expressive emotion, but on the one hand it’s main example is The Witcher, and on the other it praises JRPGs, which in my experience tend to emote so much they end up going deep into melodrama.

      I actually quite like the way Sheperd expresses emotion, because it’s subtle, and you don’t see that in games enough. Generally most art forms will start out fairly emotionally sterile, then balloon up the emotion melodramatically, then try and find a realistic degree of subtlety. Sheperd is an attempt all the way to step three he* is a solider, a veteran, he’s not about to break down weeping or chew the scenery. Instead all the emotion has to be conveyed in slight inflection in the voice and small facial expressions. It works too, the feeling of camaraderie and friendship between Thane and Shepard for instance (at least male Sheperd, romance options may scupper than one for women) it clearly evident, yet never spoken of.

      *Honestly, both male and female Shepard are equally good, stop saying otherwise just to justify the fact that you like pretending to have girl parts.

    • fuggles says:

      Whilst the article is well intended, I think it lacks credibility by firing in that cutscene involving legomen from FF7. From my (limited) experience, JRPG’s often have someone with spiky hair with either a tear or a # next to their portrait, whilst they are wobbling on their knees covering their face. All emotion comes from the pages of text you button through.

      I think the author is hitting uncanny valley problems more than anything else with mass effect. Whilst I would like more interaction between crew members other than shepherd, I remember ME1 after the sophie’s choice being emotional. That might be poor memory though… I was certainly sad when a portion of my crew did not get through the end of ME2. It’s much easier to draw a ( shape onto a face, which is how they portray emotion in final fantasy 7.

      Ultimately however, Shepherd is a captain and an inspiring leader, the only fitting emotion would be crying in her room, either alone or with her partner. The whole point of a dynamic combat leader is that they DON’T fall apart at times of crisis.

    • jeremypeel says:

      @fuggles: I think you’re absolutely right about the uncanny valley, y’know – it’s something constantly in the background of RPG discussions but rarely actually alluded to.

      Would Planescape Torment or Baldur’s Gate 2 have been so affecting if it had been released 3 years later in full 3D?

      Having unvoiced, mostly unanimated characters in the Infinity Engine games and earlier meant that emotional scenes were 90% text and took place almost entirely in the imagination; as soon we had polygonal models who could form an awkward smile, the action unfolding on-screen was where we looked for all of that same emotional depth, not unreasonably.

      And of course it hasn’t happened that way. It’s all in the difference between reading;

      *The wizard’s hands sweep in a wide, symmetrical arc*

      …or watching an expressionless man in robes flail his poorly animated arms wildly (until you click-summon the next line of dialogue out of pity).

      I feel we’re beginning to reach a point where WRPG devs have the will and the technological/financial way to come out of the other side of this mess. But we’ve suffered at least a decade of mostly terrible and wooden characterisation already.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      I just pretended that my Shepard was the Doomguy. Made running around as a psychopath who would shoot aliens just because they might be Satan’s minions much more fun.

  7. Muzman says:

    That Metroid biz is rather amusing. There was something on Eurogamer about the drop in female game developers indicated in that study. It was a bit of a muddled article, but the ‘is gaming a sexist boys club?’ question seems to be doing the rounds again.
    I’m not so sure. To some extent every big name game produces this kind of defensiveness (weren’t there death threats thrown around when some Zelda game got a mere 9/10 once? Madness). The question is why the particular slings being thrown at a female reviewer. For that I don’t blame gaming culture. It’s much more than that. I’ve come to believe think that Gen Ys males were, by and large, basically taught to despise and lash out at the merest sniff of women’s lib and feminism. If you grew up in that Bush-the-Elder era and after, where the anti “Political Correctness” backlash took hold (a better line in BS is hard to find: The moral fibre of the nation, nay all Occidental culture, corrupted by terrifying memetic poison that can only be purged by witch hunts into the evil that is Humanities departments), Feminism for you is a dirty word. Its signature attitudes are easy to spot and it should always be slapped down. It’s culture wide.

    • ErikM says:

      Read the comments on the review and was appalled. I have not played the game, and I never will. But from what I could tell the reviewer’s criticisms on sexism in the game were well warranted. It almost got absurd the way the commenters said she read sexism into it because she was a woman.

      I’m really getting alienated from the gaming community. Are we really such dicks?

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      drewski says:

      Oh, great. Now it’s all Gen Y’s fault. Because they invented sexism, didn’t you know?

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      stahlwerk says:

      @drewski, I think that’s not the point Muzman was making.
      Yet, you could have been joking, so I will stop here and continue somewhere else.
      @Muzman, interesting perspective, although a different phrasing would be that “during gen-X” anti-feminism was just not as strong as before and after.

    • BigJonno says:

      I’ve been pondering the issues that people have with feminism since the debate flared up here a few months ago and the problem seems to be summed up nicely with this William Gibson quote: “The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.”

      There are many parts of society where women don’t receive equal treatment, despite legislation that has often been in place for years. At the same time, there are areas where women have achieved equality, but men are still pressured by archaic gender stereotypes.

      As people tend to perceive negatives that effect them more easily, this causes a certain amount of friction. Consider the likely viewpoints on feminism of a businesswoman who has to work twice as hard as her male colleagues for recognition and a man who is being physically abused by his partner and feel unable to defend himself.

      I would say that for the majority of people under thirty, gender equality is seen as the default; they believe men and women are equal, should be treated as such and that it shouldn’t be up for debate. If you’re truly for equal rights, you should be a feminist and a masculist, which makes both terms a little redundant, in my opinion. (It’s interesting to note which of them is highlighted as incorrect by my browser.) Shouldn’t it be enough to say that one supports gender equality?

      I was brought up with an absolute belief in gender equality and my personal experiences with people espousing feminism have ranged from attempts to make me feel guilty for someone else’s prejudiced behaviour to outright condemnation of my entire gender. So yes, the word “feminism” does have certain negative connotations for me and I’m sure many others feel the same.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      As a fan of the Metroid series, I can tell you this sexism claim is completely warranted and correct. My first thoughts during my first playthrough was, “Wow, is this sexist or is it just me?” But then I got to the Ridley battle and all thoughts of “is this” became “this is really”. Anyone disagreeing probably either hasn’t this this cutscene here which makes NO SENSE AT ALL (spoilers if you’re gonna play it) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrwN5jS4bt4&feature=related
      See here she’s killed Ridley (the space dragon) FIVE times. She kicks so much ass her allies instinctively cover their butts. And for her to lock up and not just start blasting the crap out of him like in EVERY OTHER GAME? I like that they tried to give it a story, but we’re talking someone who singlehandedly saved the galaxy by killing everything that wanted to damage it. The game itself is terrific, though.
      If you could skip the cutscenes, there would only be one minor gameplay flaw with this game. But you can’t skip the cutscenes, so you have to watch how sexist the game is. NO WAIT forgot about the scanning. Okay, two big flaws with the game.
      Also, what did she expect reviewing for G4? They’re the lowest common denominator. I hate G4 and what it does. Hopefully she gets a better job at a better place after this.

    • choconutjoe says:

      @BigJonno

      I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there.

      In my experience, a lot of feminist schools of thought tend to speak in very polarizing language. The general message is often: “Either you accept all of our tenants wholesale or you’re an evil misogynist.” Certain issues simply aren’t up for debate. Even as a person who believes strongly in gender equality, I find a lot of contemporary feminism to be very alienating.

      Also, I suspect that the staunch attitudes among many/some feminists provokes the kind of hostile responses seen under the Metroid review. If it feels like the debate is already closed, sarcasm is a fairly natural reflex.

    • Amun says:

      Maybe she should work at RPS. ;)

    • Muzman says:

      For Drewski, Stahlwerk etc
      I should clarify a little. A better way to describe it is that at a certain time, into the early nineties, feminism was at its height. I don’t mean this in the way that most people think when they hear that (and the fact that I usually have to dispell images of 1984-esque hells where people are jumped on by Andrea Dworkin for every wrong word is telling in itself). As hard as it is to imagine, crudery was seen to be wrong in public, women’s magazines tried a bit harder to have content. It’s true to say that feminism was still a dirty word to a lot of people even then. But even if the world still was fairly sexist there was a certain quality of it trying not to be a lot more often.

      That had all changed completely by the late nineties (or gone back to usual if you like). Hence my point that Gen X ers often have a slightly different view of this. People growing up later don’t see the way people talk these days as particularly unusual and I think you’ll find the age difference evident in a lot of the writers who point this out when it crops up.

      Exactly what happened for it all to go out the window, I don’t know. I do still blame the bullshit “Political Correctness” backlash for at least kicking it off (and I don’t care how clever and independant a thinker someone takes themselves to be, if you rail automatically at ‘political correctness’ you’re not a warrior for liberty and free speech, just a toadie for a lot of arch-conservative smoke and mirrors).
      The ingriguing bit is how many people come armed to fight ‘feminism’, as they see it, wherever it occurs. I’m sure most have never really been exposed to it or read any of it, but they know women espousing these ideas (even if they’re right) have presented a weak point that can and should be attacked.

    • Sir Derpicus says:

      I’m gen Y (1990 birth is borderline gen Y right?), I hate feminists, this is accurate.

    • willberg says:

      BigJonno and choconutjoe are spot on with what they’re saying. I, and everyone I know, would blink in confusion if we were confronted with the idea of a female earning less than a male counterpart – but I’m damn well expected to hold open doors, and a certain few so-called feminists would burn effigies of me if I didn’t. Reversing the balance is not the same as equalising it, and having this whole topic be completely untouchable because as soon as one says anything aside from blind pro-female epithets they are immediately labelled as a misogynist.

      Saying that, it’s a very small minority of those who call themselves feminists who have the aggressive viewpoint I describe, and they unfortunately shut down all debate. Compare this with that Zelda game that got a 9/10 – small minority of idiots messing up genuine, friendly discourse for everyone. This is a problem universal to differences of opinion.

    • Nallen says:

      I don’t even know what feminism is these days.

      My last girlfriend was doing a demanding job in a male dominated environment and excelling at it. She took gender parity as an absolute no brainer in that respect, despite it institutionally being an old boys club, but she still expected me to 100% fulfil the male stereotypical role in the relationship. She’s 23.

      Another woman I know who works as a part time ‘parenting consultant’/nanny simply writes off the whole male gender as hopelessly emasculated and essentially without a role in society. She’s 40.

      So did the feminist movement achieve what it set out to achieve? Is there even a clear message that’s come from it, or a vision women have of how men fit in to this rebalanced society? I used to think it stood for equality – but it doesn’t.

      I think it boils down to the fact that it’s still okay for women to want men to be men, but feminism seems to have made it incorrect for men to want women to be women (23 year old was some what surprised when I retorted that if she expected me to shower her with gifts and put my hand in my pocket for every drink and meal we had she’d better quit her job and brush up on her housekeeping skills.)

  8. DiamondDog says:

    That Blade Runner video was amazing, love finding out how it all gets put together. Probably enjoyed the extra’s on the Lord of the Rings DVD’s more than the film for that reason!

    Time to break out Vangelis.

    • Crispy says:

      It’s on the extras for the Blade Runner DVD. It’s new on the internet. For once the internet is lagging years behind.

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      AndrewC says:

      It’s awesome, and the de Lauzirika company make the best making-ofs ever, and it is not tragically nerdy to have watched all five versions on that DVD set, no it isn’t.

      But you try not seeing the Millennium Falcon everytime you see the Bladerunner cityscape now.

    • DiamondDog says:

      Hadn’t heard of Charles de Lauzirika before but I notice he did the whole Alien boxset which I bought purely for the extras. I don’t really buy many DVD’s though, even for films I love, so the Blade Runner stuff has passed me by.

      Looks like the Ultimate Collectors Edition is going on the Christmas list.

  9. Muddy Water says:

    Fuck, I was listening to Cold War five minutes before I read this post. Creeeeepy.

  10. Scatterbrainpaul says:

    I’ve been banging on about Janelle Monae for months, nobody listened

    I’m not bitter………. well maybe a bit

    • DiamondDog says:

      Can’t say I get the ridiculous levels of hype for her. Not to say I don’t like some of the album but why exactly are people going so insane about her? I mean, surely Sinead O’Connor and John Maybury could sue over that video.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      About the only pop artist currently that doesn’t entirely autotune and whore themeselves to hell. Shocking Kieron, shockingly good choice for a change.

    • Taillefer says:

      Pretty much what Casimir said.
      Watch some of her other videos, it’s hard not to be charmed by her and stare with a stupid grin. But, then, I do that at most things.

    • OptionalJoystick says:

      I listened to her albums on Spotify a while back.
      I enjoyed it, but the only thing that really stood out was her curious ideas about schizophrenics.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Second time I’ve linked to Janelle, for the record. First time was back in February when the first stuff was shown from the album.

      KG

    • Thants says:

      Watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwnefUaKCbc
      If you don’t see why she’s great after that then I can’t help you.

  11. Moth Bones says:

    You saw Janelle Monae live? J E A L O U S

  12. Curvespace says:

    Great Blade Runner video. I’d definitely recommend watching the making-of documentary on the Final Cut DVD, if you haven’t already.

    I also found this on Doug Trumbull’s site: http://douglastrumbull.com/bp-spill-fix-prototype-solution

    A prototype solution for capping broken underwater oil pipes. The man is a bona fide legend. :)

  13. mandrill says:

    I think the whole sexism in game thing is to do with the language, on a variety of levels.

    Kieron’s quip that he gets called a ‘Fucking idiot’ while Leigh gets called a ‘Stupid Whore’ indicates the separation in the language between male and female insults. The sentiment is the same in both cases but the language is different due to the gender of the intended recipient. The sexism is not in the sentiment of the insulter but its built into the language used to convey the insult.

    On another level, it is inherent in the medium of games that the language they speak is intriniscally male. Games were a preserve of the stereotypical ‘geeky male’ for so long and the language of the medium has evolved to reflect that. Games have always catered to the adolescent fantasies of teenage boys, and I’m sure that any student of Freud can provide all sorts of spurious reasons for this (male characters being homo-erotic, female characters being ovreendowed and intimidating, the weaponry being overtly phallic.)

    You have to remember that game programming has its roots in software and hardware engineering, which at the birth of the digital age, were predominantly male professions. No wonder gaming started out being very male oriented.

    In a period of history where men have been on the defensive (justifiably or not) against a wave of female empowerment and male emasculation. Fantasies about men who are powerful and in control were going to be inevitable. Even the apparently empowered and successful female characters are there to give men a feeling of power, after all Its the player (still predominantly male) who controls Lara Croft or Samus.

    There is also the fact that when given the option to choose between a male and female character during the character creation process, even though the selection has no beariing on the abilities of the character in the game, many men will choose to roll a female character (I know I do).

    This issue isn’t just about gaming, its something that has its roots in the depth of our language and society. Its going to take a while to shift it and it will happen on its own. Though articles which make us think about it are welcome as they make us question what we think and say more and this is where change comes from.

    • Metalfish says:

      RE: the female character choice thing, I think most will still choose to create a character reflecting their own gender, but the mass effect data seems to indicate this effect is more pronounced among console gamers.

      For what it’s worth, I tend to create female characters in Bethesda style RPGs, but everyone ends up clad in full helms and thick armour anyway so I practically forget what gender my char is.

      (Captcha: R8PE)

    • Saiko Kila says:

      In Mass Effect, the voice acting of female Shepard (english version) is so much more in character, that there’s no real choice. Shepard is female. Sociophatic, yes. Manly, probably. But female.

    • Dinger says:

      “History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake” – James Joyce.

      “It’s going to take time” is the voice of the oppressor, justifying the unjustifiable. You don’t win anything by letting it be given to you.

      Besides, language is what you make it to be. There’s nothing justifiable about calling a female a stupid whore because “that’s how we insult chicks in our language.” No, that’s not how I insult females in my language.
      The same goes for the historical myths of videogame geekdom. Half of gamers are female. The male hegemony of videogame creators and the prized 18-25 male demographic does not make women’s bodies and selves forfeit. Yes, we all have sexism burned into our male and female cortices, but that doesn’t give us leave to swirl our collective cognac one more time and declaim “well, it all goes back to linguistics, Freud and a garage in Palo Alto, so it won’t change soon, I daresay.” It should, I respectfully submit, move us to point and to yell “Fuck that shit!”

      Destroy your safe and happy lives.

    • mandrill says:

      By all means fight it in every way available to you, but in doing so it pays to remember where the thing (sexism) is coming from and why. Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it after all.

      I’m as anti-sexist as the next person, but its worth remembering that this is not going to be an easy thing to get rid of. and its not going to happen overnight, simply because one person stands up and says “fuck this shit!” Rebuilding an entire society’s psyche is not a simple matter.

      And just because you don’t use the language does not mean that it doesn’t exist or that other people don’t use it. The words are there, you can look them up in the dictionary, they’re not going to go away just because you don’t use them. Denying yourself use of them is also shortsighted and restricts your channels of communication. Language is a tool, it is the use that it is put to that you need to think about rather than the actual words used.

      I’ve said this before, and you even said it in your comment: words are only as powerful as we allow them to be.

      As for the historical myth of videogame geekdom. where exactly do you get the idea that its a myth? Women have not always made up 50% of the gaming population and video games evolved from extremely male dominated industries. I’d like to know which history you’re referring to.

    • Dinger says:

      Ask any professional historian: History does not repeat itself, and people cannot repeat history. Moreover, nothing in cultural history “happens on its own”. Elites are never more oppressive than when they feel their privileged status being threatened.

      As for the myth: you assert “Games have always catered to the adolescent fantasies of teenage boys”. Even restricting that statement to video games, it’s just not true. For example, it took Infocom years before they produced Leather Goddesses of Phobos, and that was hardly male fantasy. The stereotype of geekdom itself is arguably a tool used by members of old-media cultural elites to marginalize videogames; now, of course, it’s been adopted.

      So start throwing bricks already.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Fucking idiot and Stupid whore are NOT on the same insult level. You could call a woman an idiot, so it’s not gender specific. Gender specific insults are usually worse. Also adding words (up to a point, then it merely becomes ludicrous) will make the insult more foul. Fucking shit bastard is a good insult. Fucking shit douchebag sheep wrangling monkey spanking bastard is not, because it’s ridiculous.

      In short, Fucking Idiot is worth two insult points, Stupid Whore is worth four.

    • Dr. Derek Doctors, DFA says:

      @mandrill: You have to remember that game programming has its roots in software and hardware engineering, which at the birth of the digital age, were predominantly male professions.

      Hardware engineering was a male-dominated profession. Software was a female-dominated profession, as the manly-man slide-rule brigade thought that female PhDs weren’t smart enough to actually work the hardware side. Thus, many of the fundamental developments in software engineering were the work of women such as RADM Grace Murray Hopper. Even as late as the 1970s, women played major and visible roles in, e.g., Unix development.

      I suspect that it was the commodification of hardware that turned software into a generally-exclusive boys’ club, with the common wisdom moving from “Silly woman, you’re only fit to program,” to “Silly woman, you’re only fit to use Word!”

      In either case, I don’t think that we can assume a link between “the birth of the digital age” and current game development tropes. The earliest games developers were hippies and phreaks; “Adventure” was based on the experience of spelunking; and female developers and designers (e.g., Janes Jensen and McGonigal) were busy in the 1980s and 1990s building games that didn’t have a single po-faced Space Marine in them. More than anything, gaming has devolved, deflating its ambition into parodies of the worst of 1980s action films and cheap attempts to cash in on sepia-tinged Good War nostalgia.

    • perilisk says:

      I think it’s more that insults are deliberate attempts to get under a person’s skin, and it assumed that sexism will bother women more. Calling Kieron a “worthless dick” would not be particularly more insulting than calling him an idiot, but calling an American female a “worthless cunt” would be more likely to provoke stronger emotion.

      So, while it might be due to sexism on the part of insult-tossers, it’s also at least partially due to sexism being a weak point for female insult-recipients.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Fucking Bastard and Stupid Whore are probably a better comparison.

    • Ignorant Texan says:

      Two thoughts -

      As a male, having been around groups of women who find me ‘safe’, I’ve observed that they are as likely to use whore, bitch, slut, et al, as any teen-age male, especially if they don’t like the female recipient of such words. So, in the American South at least, it is a cultural problem.

      The other is it isn’t just male gamers who are likely to fling such words at a female critic. I went to a Pantera concert in 1995or 96*, with a female music critic friend from the local daily paper. She was the paper’s resident ‘Metal-Head’, i.e. the only music critic who didn’t have an obligatory hated of metal. It was a boring, badly paced and performed show, not helped by Phil Anselmo’s drunken ranting/whining against some journalist or other for some perceived slight. Although she prefaced her review by stating she was a fan, she did her duty and stated the show, well, sucked, for the aforementioned reasons. The letters and voice-mail response defies anything rational. Bitch, whore and slut were some of the nicer comments. She played me one of the voice-mails, in which the caller both threatened violence and said something to the effect that she was too busy fellating African-Americans to know what she was talking about(He actually used language anyone familiar with American White-Trash dialect can supply on their own). This was in the days of snail-mail, and having to go through an operator, so with today’s Greater Internet Fuckwad enjoying a further level of anonymity, hate and venom directed against a female critic is sadly unsurprising.

      *The one where Phil ‘ODed on Smack!!! Backstage!!!! It was like Pulp Fiction, and shit, with the big fucking needle to bring him back!!!!’. In reality he drank too much and took Xanax, leading to a night in the emergency room. NO EMT, doctor or nurse who wished to retain their license and/or avoid criminal charges for gross medical negligence would attempt to counter-act an opiate overdose that way.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Actually no doctor or nurse would ever administer adrenaline that way. It goes into a vein, not right into the heart. I shouldn’t have to list the reasons why, because I assume you’re all smart enough to figure out why. Though I am totally going off topic, so back to the topic!

      Yeah, isn’t this what critics or really what anyone gets for voicing an opinion out of the norm? You can’t please everyone, and the hard to please people are hard to please because they want an excuse to whine bitch and moan until someone gets them a fresh nappy.

    • Ignorant Texan says:

      Since this thread has been derailed anyway, and Quentin Taratino used a questionable method for dramatic effect that a lot of people have accepted as Gospel, this

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naloxone

      Anywhere there is an opiate ‘problem’, which means everywhere, at least in America, Naloxone is part of the standard medical kit. A doctor friend of mine told me that it has a ‘Lazurus’-effect. During his ER rotation during his residency they restrained the patients, as they revive fighting mad, because the best high they’ve ever had has just been fucked,

  14. Bas says:

    I matched a whole three things on the what white men like list. Two of them books. Yay me.

    • The Innocent says:

      I really like Burn Notice, Band of Brothers, World War Z, and the Coen Brothers, so I concur with those list items.

      But I don’t think I’d rate any of these as the things on the top of my list.

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      Shame they didn’t do the religions in groups of reading age (rather than doing reading age grouped by religion). I suspect the default religion in the US is protestant, so if people haven’t thought too carefully about it they’ll be protestant, whereas it’s unusual to be atheist. Hence it’s likely that any smart protestants are swamped by a herd of idiots in the analysis. But still, interesting read overall.

    • Stromko says:

      Strangest thing I found about that Gizmodo article is that they don’t credit the actual author of the story, point out that it was published weeks ago on another site, or point out that they themselves are not responsible for the content of the article. Is there some requirement for plagiarism that I’m missing here?

  15. bleeters says:

    The CNN article pointing to micro-transactions as a viable counter to piracy made me cry inside. Also, outside. Nothing really springs to mind when I try and think of anyone who actually managed to pull that off successfully.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Except all of them, surely?

      KG

    • Dominic White says:

      Now, now, KG. You should know that there’s a lot of people in terrible denial over the whole issue. Suddenly confronting them with reality will only make them retreat further.

    • bleeters says:

      Yes, very helpful, thank you.

      It always seemed like whenever anyone attempted it, they had difficulty balancing out the need to actually turn a profit without resorting to, say, selling off far superior rewards and shooting the game in the foot.

      There are times it’s worked? Super. I’ve never claimed to be omniscient.

    • pupsikaso says:

      That DDO game from Turbine claims to be very successful (that’s why they’ve gone and changed LOTRO to F2P, too) by offering convenience rather than superiority in their item shop. Stuff like potions and the like that I assume are a pain in the arse to farm otherwise. But this is still something I am very rigidly against. If something is so inconvenient to do in a game, rather than change the design of the game to make it more fun, they simply opt to ask you to pay money for it instead. I am much more comfortable with a monthly subscription and have access to *ALL* of a game’s content, server maintenance, and additionals such as patches and updates. Heck, most of these F2P games are of such poor quality that a one-time “retail-price” purchase is not only more favourable to me but will likely score a lot more mullah for the developers than microtransactions ever would.

      But DDO is the only F2P game I’ve heard of that does that. Most offer superior items and other incentives that are advantageous to non-paying gamers. And KG, please don’t claim “all of them”. How many Asian F2P games have tried to get a foothold in NA and failed? Probably hundreds.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Asian FTP games. As in, successful Asian FTP games brought to another market. And they seem to be doing well enough, as people keep on bringing ‘em over.

      KG

    • Dominic White says:

      There are also hundreds more asian MMOs that are doing fairly well in the west. It’s just that nobody seems to want to talk about them. Ever. They’re this bizarre taboo subject that ‘true’ PC gamers tend to weave around and sometimes even deny the very existance of.

    • Premium User Badge

      Wichtel says:

      League of legends is for free and they only thing you can not get without real money is skins for your heroes. And judging by the restricted server access at peak hours (or weekends …) they are doing too good right now.

    • bob_d says:

      @Kieron Gillen: The only problem is that free-to-play + micro-transactions dictates particular types of game designs, and many types of games can’t really be supported that way. The biggest issue is that you need a huge number of players to support even a cheaply made game (e.g. over a half-million players for a Zynga game), so AAA titles really aren’t viable. The games that really do well are all browser-based. The AAA titles that have gone free-to-play started out as sales+subscriptions (where they recovered costs and made a profit) and then turned FTP. I don’t know if D&DO could support itself just with the RMT; ironically they increased their subscriber numbers significantly when they added the FTP option. I’m not sure how long D&DO and LOTRO will be able to support themselves once the bump they got from the publicity of going FTP wears off.
      But yeah, as a strategy it certainly can be economically viable for certain types of games.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      Have any of you played D&D Online? It’s utterly boring & the most generic MMO I’ve ever see. Note I’ve never played WoW as yet but previous MMO’s I have played in no specific order are, EVE Online, Ragnarok Online, Earth & Beyond and Ryzom. Even Ryzom (when I played it after it being posted about here around 18 months ago) has more style, character & actual game than D&D Online & it’s been all but abandoned by the owners.

  16. Taillefer says:

    Janelle is pretty amazing. I find myself more attracted to her whole image and personality than to her music (from the small amount I’ve heard so far). But that’s in no way meant as a criticism. She just exudes charisma and talent.

    • Dr. Derek Doctors, DFA says:

      As far as ArchAndroid goes, if you don’t like one song, just wait for the next. Absolutely amazing breadth of talent and ambition just in her musical choices, even leaving aside the entire Metropolis/Philip K. Dick inspiration in her work.

  17. nine says:

    Holy shit. Gizmodo ripped that OK Cupid post directly off the okcupid blog. Maybe there’s some weird affiliate thing going on, but euch. Please update your link to the canonical one at http://blog.okcupid.com/

  18. Alexander Norris says:

    Have any game mags or “reputable” (used with extreme quote marks to mean “mainstream” in the way metacritic uses it) game sites taken a look at how piracy is used by publishers? It’s more than a little sad that we had to wait for CNN to start examining the issue.

    • qrter says:

      There have been articles on gaming piracy but they’re always pretty general and generally are quite moralistic in tone (which perhaps is linked to not wanting to bite the hand that pays for the advertising).

      Which doesn’t make it any less ridiculous that little real investigative journalism seems to have been spent on the subject. Maybe it’s because a large part of the professional gaming press sees itself as part of the gaming industry, instead of outside of it, which to me seems like a huge misconception.

    • bob_d says:

      I have to say, i didn’t find the CNN article to be very good; the biggest flaw was that they conflated $100million AAA titles with games that cost $10K (or less) to develop. There are radically different revenue requirements for that range of games. The industry is trying to deal with the fact that its traditional funding models are (increasingly) broken, but free-to-play games kept going by RMT is only one model that works in limited circumstances (it wouldn’t work for “Call of Duty 2,” for example). The article essentially posits that everyone should make cheap games funded by RMT or DLC as a solution to piracy. Uh, yeah, sure.
      I’d like to see a wider discussion of what the *true* costs of piracy are, and what new funding models might *realistically* support games without alienating players.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I think Call of Duty is actually one game you could probably price in any way and still make zillions.

  19. poop says:

    I loved that chick’s review of metriod because she was obviously really passionate about the games, you could tell that she loved the metroid serious tons, actual enthusiasm like that about a game, especially one the reviewer doesn’t like, is pretty rad games journalism.

    the fact that the game she loathed was flavor of the month for nintendo fanboys and that she revealed how most gamers are tossers is even better, the comments for that review are seriously my favorite thing since the comments for Soulja Boy’s review of braid.

    • Oddtwang says:

      MY goodness, that’s an ironic first sentence in your comment.

  20. Xercies says:

    I’m dissapointed in the piracy article, i thought it was going to say what I always thinking that piracy is just another advertisment and probably a better one at that its in the guys hands and so if he likes it put a link to your games and maybe he will buy it. If not theres no loss really and if he does and even recommends it to his friends thats even more gain. It just went for the do microtransaction route, which to be honest will destroy the art level of gaming to be honest since it will be basically about Zynga and how to just get more money from the Whales.

    Good video on the Blade Runner i really should start watching this sort of stuff if i’m seriously going to go into film.

    I’m seriously not liking what i’m reading about Other M how the guys who made the jiggle physics controllable using the six axis remote is still showing there a male club and absolutly butchering one of the most badass female characters in video games. And there isn’t that many to begin with to be honest. And the comments are just absolutely horrible and definitely misogynistic and it really makes me despair at some gamers sometimes.

    Totally agree with the mafia 2 statement, it totally puts into words what exactly i’m thinking in an eloquent way that I could never do.

    Also its official looking at that OkCupid hing that i’m definitly a white female despite being male. Lol

    • sinister agent says:

      Agreed on the piracy thing (and the okcupid thing actually. Go baking!). I was thinking the obvious suggestion was to write off the pirates and lower prices, because lower prices affect more than any other factor – it’s precisely why I no longer pirate games, for one. “micro-transactions”, on the other hand, can lick a socket. If that model becomes the norm, I suspect I’d just stop buying games altogether.

    • bob_d says:

      I, too, was disappointed by the article. It’s hard to say the solution to piracy = RMT/DLC, when some games need sales + DLC to make money. Piracy is so complex and yet so poorly studied that it’s sad. There are different sorts of “piracy.” Downloading music, for example, is associated with more sales and can function as a good marketing tool, but games work slightly differently; one can download a song or two and buy the album, but that dynamic is closer to the free game demo as an introduction to a game. Games don’t lend themselves to being chopped up in the same way.
      It’s hard to say that no sales are lost by downloading/copying, either. Some downloaders weren’t going to buy the games anyways and nothing is lost, but some have discretionary income that they’ll spend based on what’s easiest to do (i.e. if it’s easy to copy games, they’ll spend their entertainment money elsewhere). Then there are those that will buy some games and “pirate” others. That might mean no lost sales for the industry as a whole, but the company that has a game that’s easy to copy will be suffering losses. The whole issue is complicated by used games sales, which as far as the industry is concerned, is the same as piracy.
      There are different solutions to this, obviously, depending on what sort of “pirates” are playing the game. Blizzard used to have the strategy of allowing their games to be easily copied, but to get the full multiplayer experience you needed a legitimate copy. It worked pretty well for them, but obviously would be problematic for a different type of game.

  21. Jimbo says:

    “Kieron’s quip that he gets called a ‘Fucking idiot’ while Leigh gets called a ‘Stupid Whore’ indicates the separation in the language between male and female insults.”

    The seperation is more likely a result of one of them being perceived to use their sex and the other not. Do all females working in the industry get insulted in such a specific way? I can’t say I’ve noticed that as being the case.

    • poop says:

      all of the prominent ones I can think of like the IGN lady and jade raymond get pretty misogynistic shit said about them but that might have something to do with how they are prominent because they were brought in as token hot chicks ._.

    • mandrill says:

      My point was not about the industry specifically, but about the English language in general. Some insults are gender specific ( Whore, bitch etc.) but the sentiment behind the insult is the same no matter the person it’s directed at. The gender division in our language goes beyond the narrow confines of the video games industry and this is to be expected from a society that, for a large part of its history, marginalised and oppressed those of a female persuasion.

      We’ve only had a few decades to get over the thousands of years of being an almost totally patriarchal society. We’re not going to fix this overnight, but thinking about it and openly admitting that these flaws in our collective consciousness exist indicates that we’re moving in the right direction.

    • The Hammer says:

      Not exactly the same no, otherwise it wouldn’t be accompanied by the connotations of what a “whore”, “bitch” or “slut” is perceived to be.

    • Nick says:

      And men are called ‘faggots’ about as much, surely?

  22. The Hammer says:

    The WoW micro-transactions are pretty acceptable, and extremely profitable, fare.

  23. Shazbut says:

    I don’t think Russ Pitts (Mafia 2) has played many games. At least not the right ones.

    • benjamin says:

      Yeah, he’s only Editor in Chief of the Escapist….hardly a gamer at all.

    • kwyjibo says:

      The only thing the editor in chief of The Escapist does is to greenlight “funny” videos.

      God that place is shit.

    • fallingmagpie says:

      Well, they do pay Yahtzee, so I can’t hate them that much. Agree most of their content is pants, though.

  24. Dominic White says:

    As a guy who has played every Metroid game to date, and even read the official manga… Yeah, Metroid: Other M has this worrying vein of misogyny running through it. A strong, largely quiet female lead is reduced to a mopey monologue machine, who actually has remarkably little effect on the story – the big, strong men of the game seem to do most of the important things over the course of the plot.

    Some folks have said that it’s just because she’d never had an established personality before.. which is garbage. She talks quite a bit in Metroid: Fusion, and doesn’t come off nearly as whiny there. Even the Metroid manga, which is set during her early years, she seems very capable and proactive, even if she is a little unsure of herself at the time. None of her flaws stem from being female – merely being young, inexperienced and having seen her parents brutally murdered as a child.

    Now? She’s an angsty girl with daddy/authority issues, constantly lamenting the death of ‘The Baby’ (a hatchling metroid that saved her life in Super Metroid, never referred to as that until now).

    I’d say that the game is better than Abbey suggests in her review – it’s solid, but not great – but yeah, she’s completely on the money about them doing horrible, horrible things to an already well-established character. Attacking her on account of her gender is a act of grand paranoid sexism, and anyone who does so should be ashamed.

    • Premium User Badge

      stahlwerk says:

      Playing devil’s advocate here, but isn’t ragging on Team Ninja’s “vision of Samus” the same as ragging on Blizzard for making Diablo 3 too “not dark”? Looking at DOA it’s quite clear that TN have a very… uh… single-minded corporate policy toward their character’s of the fairer sex, and the best explanation I can come up with that they got assigned handling the Metroid franchise is Nintendo trolling the shit out of its user base.
      The very same user base developers are encouraged (and rightly so) not to listen to.

      Of course if I was a fan of Metroid (never owned a nintendo system, but I can appreciate what “Metroidvanias” did for explorative game design), being the pro-gender-equality guy that I am, I would be appaled by Team Ninja’s narrative decisions. But could I really fault them for boldly sticking to their vision of the game’s protagonist? At least they kept Samus’ physical appearance in line with previous games and didn’t add jiggle physics and zero-zero-suit unlockables (or did they? Couldn’t tell from the trailers).
      Reviews like Abbie’s are important for calling out bullshit game mechanics dressed up in questionable story fluff, yet other reviews accomplish similar things without provoking MALE RAGE. Are there M:OM reviews by male reviewers that opely address Samus’ demotion from “awesome Pirate battling Bounty Hunter Samus “Grrrl” Aran*” to “private first class Samus “Angsty” Aran”? How did the readers react on those?

      *) an image that may or may not have been explicitly evoked by the previous games.

    • Premium User Badge

      Sagan says:

      I so agree with you and that reviewer. I have not played the game, but I have watched my roommate playing the game, and it’s almost disgusting what they have done to Samus. I would have stopped playing the game at several points.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Playing devil’s advocate here, but isn’t ragging on Team Ninja’s “vision of Samus” the same as ragging on Blizzard for making Diablo 3 too “not dark”?

      I’m fairly certain that Blizzard putting some colour in Diablo 3 has nowhere near the same amount of moral and sociological weight as Team Ninja reducing what is one of gaming’s small handful of female protagonists who aren’t defined by their sex to a walking bag of simpering hormones. We’re not talking about an aesthetic choice, here; nor are we talking about a deliberate artistic choice.

    • Premium User Badge

      stahlwerk says:

      @Alexander Norris, I’m not trying to downplay the issue, the blizzard/d3 thing was just the first thing that came to my mind. My point was asking why we as fans of a game series think we should have any more saying in how a protagonist is evolved than the people actually making the game.
      I mean listening to fans (who might hail from a bazillion different cultural backgrounds) on how to treat a character is problematic because it totally goes both ways. They had to fill in a lot of blanks in her character, also trying to reconcile some inter-game continuity/coherency issues. On the fixing the whole story level one might even say they succeeded. On the character level, they could have done worse and just make her a Tits & (bad-)Ass delivery vehicle. And who’s to say that “strong/silent samus” is more canonical than “insecure/vulnerable/verbose samus”? What was that other article saying about the difference between W/JRPG again? ;-)

      In my own opinion they wasted a perfect chance to develop the traits of her character one might describe as “modern”. They could have really gone to town with the whole “bounty hunter in a military rank” thing, Samus grudgingly taking orders in the beginning and in the end just saying “screw procedure and to hell with limitations” and unlocking the rest of the weapons herself / overriding the GF-DRM on her suit. (Spoilers, maybe:) They could have played with the hybris of that empowerment, her accidently killing/hurting Adam (does that happen in the game?) which would nicely lead to the guilt trip that is Metroid Fusion.

      But oh well, I’m european and not japanese, maybe they just focused on other traits out of cultural motivations.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Maybe because this has never been an issue before even when they toyed with the idea of having a story other than “Samus finds all the powerups and kills EVERYTHING the end.”

    • Alexander Norris says:

      @stahlwerk — I’m glad you linked the Faith “reimagining,” because nothing is more apt at proving that some people’s personal views of a fictional character are moronic and don’t deserve to be considered. :P

    • Premium User Badge

      Arathain says:

      @ stahlwerk: “On the character level, they could have done worse and just make her a Tits & (bad-)Ass delivery vehicle.”

      You know what? I think that would have been better. Not good, at all. But better. At least a sexualised Samus could have retained the core concept of independence and confidence that is the core of the lone bounty hunter, even if we lost the previous gender-irrelevance.

      Instead we’ve undermined her core strengths and made her into a caricature of what chauvinists believe are female vulnerabilities, and then removed her agency and given it to a dominant male. It’s really upsetting.

    • Xercies says:

      @Stahlwark

      http://spoonyexperiment.com/2010/09/05/pre-pax-ramblings/

      Here is a male reviewer pretty much saying the same things as the female writer(the second video) and looking at the comments a lot of them don’t seem that terrible looking at the other one. Theres some “You fucking don’t know what your talking about” but not really any insults to be honest.

      Take that what you will, but from me i actually think it is to do with that a women reviewed this game.

    • Urthman says:

      Playing devil’s advocate here, but isn’t ragging on Team Ninja’s “vision of Samus” the same as ragging on Blizzard for making Diablo 3 too “not dark”?

      Team Ninja has the “right” to tell whatever story they want about Samus, and I have the right to tell everyone that I think it’s sexist crap, and other people have a right to call me a feminazi for saying so, and I have a right to call those people immature sexist idiots.

  25. dalziel86 says:

    The problem with the OKCupid data is that OKC’s userbase is overwhelmingly white and middle-class, and where other ethnicities appear on it they’re from very specific demographics. The majority of African-Americans, for example, use other dating sites entirely.

    So it’s all very well to say “this is not our opinion, it’s data based on real people”, but the reality is this data only relates to specific self-selected people, with class and ethnicity dominances that are easily observable by comparing OKC’s data to that gathered from the general population.

    So it’s not ‘the real stuff white people like’, it’s ‘the real stuff a very specific demographic of white people like, maybe’.

    • Sobric says:

      And also mainly American I’d guess? Speaking as a white, city dwelling, middle class male I can safely say that I do not like Tom Clancy, Van Halen, Harley’s or Golf. The Big Lebowski is a great film though.

    • Rii says:

      “So it’s not ‘the real stuff white people like’, it’s ‘the real stuff a very specific demographic of white people like, maybe’.”

      Stuff White People Like *is* Stuff a Specific Subset of White People Like. That specific subset being the educated upper-middle class. Although maybe OKCupid was stretching it a bit.

      See: http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/

    • Urthman says:

      An even better way to put is that the lists are not “stuff white people like” or “stuff black people like” but rather “stuff nobody likes except for a subset of white people” and “stuff nobody likes except for a subset of black people.”

      If 2% of white males liked Van Halen and .002% of everybody else liked Van Halen, Van Halen shows up as “something white dudes like,” even though an overwhelming majority of white dudes (in that example) don’t like Van Halen.

    • fallingmagpie says:

      Surely the real question is why don’t white or Indian women like Alicia Keys?

  26. JackShandy says:

    The best way to play is with a friend, taking a drink and shouting Saul Myer’s catchphrase out loud at each other every time you see a bug.

    “Saul Myers is about to reach BOILING POINT!”
    “This car is about to reach BOILING POINT!”
    “These textures are about to reach BOILING POINT!”

  27. Premium User Badge

    drewski says:

    I think what bugs me about the emotional vacancy of games is that it’s so damn easy to write emotion. OK, it’s easy to write bad emotion, but most games writers don’t even try.

    Starcraft II’s story makes me laugh more than anything at how over dramatic it is, but at least Jim Raynor gets angry about when Tychus questions him and shows his vulnerability over his memories and guilt about what happened to Kerrigan. It’s ham-fisted, but I think Blizzard deserve credit for trying.

  28. Cinnamon says:

    I think that the link between the emotional detachment piece and the real stuff that white people like piece is fairly obvious. Western RPGs are for white boys who don’t want anything even slightly feminine in their games. Just look at all the hand wringing on message boards about having to play a female character or a male character who isn’t a grizzly soldier man in a Japanese RPG. And then you have the angst about games that RPGs that are not heavy on fast paced violent action because surely anything else is boring and not very manly. The same is true for other types of games.

    • Dominic White says:

      People have honestly, unironically told me that they can’t play Bayonetta because it’s ‘too gay’. In the literal, homsexual sense.

      Well, if wanting to watch a sassy, sexy lady kick all kinds of ass on-screen makes me gay, then slap me in a pair of pink assless chaps and call me Nancy.

    • DiamondDog says:

      Wow, people seem to be laying on the generalisations this weekend. I never realised my enjoyment of Bioware games whilst not being overly fond of JRPG’s means I’m an un-developed homophobe. Does playing FFIV when I was a kid get me off the hook?

    • DiamondDog says:

      Ah sorry I meant FFVII.

    • Calabi says:

      You can see it happening quite alot, it seems like there is a real reason for less variety, people are becoming more strict more conformist in there tastes.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lambchops says:

      @ Cinnamon

      Or it could just be that a combination of overly tortured convoluted plots and an art style which is not aestheticly pleasing could be a bit of a turn off. I’m willing to put up with disliking the art style if a game appeals enough for me (it’s out of both the PC and JRPG realm but I really enjoyed Zack and Wiki) but in most cases either the mechanics or plotlines just don’t appeal.

      I’d love to see some more emotion in Western RPGs and I’d happily play a Japaneses RPG if I thought I was going to remotely enjoy it. However in my book Western RPGs are just much more enjoyable.

    • Cinnamon says:

      @DiamondDog; I’m not saying that anyone in particular is a homophobe but surely some people are. How did I get dragged into this anyway. There are plenty of gay people and people who are not homophobic who don’t want anything to do with anything that isn’t hyper masculine.

      @Lambchops; I’m pointing to androgynous lead characters and lack of fast, brutal combat as reasons that I have heard many times for people *loathing* games from Japan. If that isn’t you then I wouldn’t worry about it. I’m not going to force you to play Persona 3 or anything.

      Think I’ll go listen to some Dave Bowie now.

    • Dominic White says:

      Although, to be honest, Persona 3 or 4 (ideally 4) would actually be pretty good starting points for someone wanting a genuinely good Japanese RPG with quite a lot of freedom. Very high on the emotional variance scales, decently tactical combat, snazzy aesthetics and good writing.

  29. bakaohki says:

    In “Western RPGs are about emotional alienation” the Aerith video is a blow below the belt – I’m not sure if Laura did her homework on that one – though I totally agree with her points throughout the article: that’s why I don’t really like mimetic (or ultra-realistic) games. I find some old JRPGs much more moving, with their weeping pixels (Final Fantasy “train of the dead” scene anyone?) than commander Shephard’s face carved out of stone.

    When I tried to play with Dragon Age in fact I found it emotionally lacking (story- and mimesis-wise) – people are facing death, madness and everything terror (tm blight) and they’re standing there like bags; it totally ruined the expreience for me and I never finished the game in the end.

  30. deneb says:

    It makes me curious when somebody comes out and claims something is *fundamentally* about something else. Where does that self confidence come from, to just broadly map one concept’s fundamentals to some other entity? It can’t be that easy, unless you still believe in cultural studies or something. I really wonder about how people’s minds work, how that thought process is formed, it’s really mysterious. Worth making a game about. Anyway…

    That particular article I found really interesting but its thesis and examples I didn’t care much for. She’s completely right about Geralt, of course, but on the other hand you probably won’t find a single person who played or advertised the Witcher for its Bildungsromanlike properties. That’s just not what the game is about. You can see from the game systems that the game is a simple-minded creature at heart that really likes combat. Compare the combat system to something like how the game handles conversations (you just pick options, that’s it). Of course I’ve said nothing new, but seriously, does this necessarily mean “Western RPGs are about emotional alienation”? Maybe I’m too simple minded to get the nuance, but couldn’t one have just said “Western RPG protagonists tend to be flat”?

    And it’s kind of bothersome that the article (unless I missed it) doesn’t appear to mention something like Planescape: Torment at all. She probably chose to go that route so as to focus on more contemporary trends (can’t fault her there) but seriously, one only needs the Longing stone in the Sensorium to — gah, getting misty-eyed again. Anyhow. I also found it rather unjustified that someone like friggin Alistair got a mention while the author candidly dropped the bit about not having played ME2, a game that’s really (here I go!) about the guys you travel with, with some saving-the-world sauce added for good measure.

    Still, nice article. Thank you Sunday peppers, bookmark folder getting fatter by the day!

    • Dominic White says:

      Torment is the exception that makes the rule. The fact that you brought it up as a stand-out example is because it DOES stand out, as being one of the few western RPGS that not only lets you, but encourages you to emotionally connect and react to the situations and characters around you.

    • deneb says:

      Dominic White: Some other examples that spring to mind are VtM: Bloodlines and Betrayal at Krondor (for me at least), but you’re correct of course. I wonder if part of the reason why that emotional flatness exists is the focus of Western RPGs on non-linearity. When the players are given the ability to shape the so-called morality of their characters, do the amount possible paths and choices reduce the depth of the effects of those choices on the characters? The morality systems of games like KoTOR and ME/2 rely on “building” morality over a bunch of short-term, immediate, instant-gratification choices made over dialogue, which probably reduces their depth. Yet consider the Paragon romance with Jack. That’s actually one of the points in ME2 where the player observes a tangible change in Shepard’s character. Er, just thinking here.

      Anyhow, the other games I’ve cited are decidedly more linear in their flow. VtM: B is about being thrust into vampire politics and coming to terms with the new world and being a pawn regardless of how you play it. PS: T is about, well, that main thing (don’t want to spoil!) Betrayal at Krondor is similarly linear. That linearity is probably something that makes it easier for the developers and the game to make an impression on the players in terms of character development. Still wouldn’t mean WRPGs are about emotional alienation though, as there are also plenty of jap RPGs that gets the whole automaton thing right.

    • Jamesworkshop says:

      She’s right about Alistair in DA:O I thought he was the best character there and expertly played off by morrigan

    • Dominic White says:

      The funny thing about Morrigan in Dragon Age was that she was actually a very good character when she was able to play off against Alistair, and the rest of the party for that matter. In any scene involving the main character, it was like an unstoppable force of character Vs an immovable personality-vacuum, and everything just became horribly awkward.

  31. pupsikaso says:

    So, according to that “Real stuff White people like” article I am not actually White. I’m a mix of Asian and Black =/
    KG, you’re not the only one feeling very divorced from culture right now. Could this have anything to do with the fact that I find most of my “culture” online?

  32. Freud says:

    One thing of Amnesia, post playthrough, is that I didn’t find a single bug apart from some (very Swedish) spelling errors). It is amazingly polished and that a five man team without a big budget manage to ship it in that condition is something to envy.

    I do realize that if you want to break it I am sure you can stack barrels in some obscure corner and probably end up outside the map, but what would be the point. To prove levels in PC games have borders? If it doesn’t come up during normal play, it’s not really an issue.

    • Dominic White says:

      I found one very minor bug. In the second hub-area of the game, there’s an underside of one stone staircase that you can just walk through as if it wasn’t there. It doesn’t let you go anywhere, and doesn’t help anything, and could only logically be found by running blindly into walls (I was looking over my shoulder at the time and just blundered into it), but yeah – that’s all I found.

      Very polished game. It’s amazing what a small studio with a comparatively tiny budget can do these days.

  33. Kid A says:

    I played through Amnesia three times for the three endings that I’m aware of in roughly 20 hours with food breaks. Oh god, never again.

    • Dominic White says:

      Erm.. You ARE aware that it autosaves right before the endings diverge, right? You could have seen all three in 15 minutes just by loading your last save.

    • Kid A says:

      …GOD FUCKING DAMNIT
      In my defence, it was for a review, so thoroughness and all. I was totally aware of that auto-save. I did not see *small spoiler* the alternate/real version of Alexander’s portrait everywhere in my dreams that night. No sir.

    • qrter says:

      Reviewers aren’t allowed to use saves, these days..?

      Seems a bit harsh.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Good lord. Does the Hivemind know this?

  34. The Dark One says:

    The Zynga guy’s first company was called Freeloader? That’s almost too good to be true.

  35. The Innocent says:

    RIP Brian Wood.

    Here’s to hoping the trust gets enough donations to help out his family in this dark time.

  36. Mike Russo says:

    It’s kind of interesting juxtaposing the Metroid and Western RPG articles linked above; there’s a sense in which Michet is arguing game protagonists should be more emotionally vulnerable, and Hebbe is arguing that Other M is terrible because the protagonist is too emotionally vulnerable. Obviously there’s a lot more going on than just that baldly-stated tension, since of course Metroid is on the eastern side of the western/eastern divide Michet posits (which, frankly, I’m not that convinced by), and saying “mostly-male RPG protagonists should be more emotionally vulnerable” is a very different animal from saying “female action-game protagonists should be more emotionally vulnerable.”

    But still, while I’d suspect most of us would say, abstractly, that a bit more weakness and self-doubt and vulnerability would be good in our main characters, almost regardless of genre — it makes the games more serious, the characters more interesting — the execution can be very tricky, especially when those characters are female, because disempowering portrayals of women are not a good thing either, and likely to raise (at least some) people’s hackles.

    Which maybe points towards a way forward for devs trying to be more progressive: focus the emotional vulnerability on the male characters, rather than the female ones, since you’ll likely get more impact from playing against type and you won’t have to worry so much about walking the fine line of creating a vulnerable but not stereotypically weak female character. This actually seems to be somewhat the approach BioWare took in Dragon Age, where Alistair (the most prominent male NPC) is far more vulnerable than Morrigan (the central female NPC). There’s a bit of similar dynamic in Mass Effect as well, both with Ashley/Kaiden and Miranda/Jacob.

    In a maybe-interesting-but-probably-not sidenote, I play a fair amount of pen-and-paper roleplaying games, and the very strong trend is that when I play male characters, they’re fairly emotionally vulnerable, and my female characters tend to be a bit more badass, albeit flawed. I have played some more vulnerable female characters, but frankly it’s been a bit stressful, trying to make sure I’m giving them weaknesses but not dip into terrible stereotypes — stress a bit exacerbated by having women at the gaming table. I wonder whether portions of the (mostly-male, of course, per the recent Eurogamer article) dev community has something of the same reaction?

    • Dominic White says:

      Samus has been portrayed as emotionally vulnerable and flawed in previous Metroid stories. It was never a problem then. With Other M, it’s not her vulnerability thats the issue, more that her every flaw seems to be based on the fact that she’s female.

      The Metroid manga even features her going into a full-blown PTSD freakout at one point, but it was never at any point suggested that this is because of her gender.

    • Jamesworkshop says:

      Makes me wonder sometimes if the only human emotion is sadness, we never say an extremly estatic person is being too emotional.

      The JRPG fails mainly because all the characters are 100% upset 100% of the time is equally poor writting as the brick walls of WRPG’s

      Hope was soo upset in FF13 you couldn’t even tell what his feelings about events were and had to be told in the ingame datalogs.

      I think being emotive the expression of emotion is more valuable than just emotion = tears

      Music has a similar problem to me any song is automaticaly emotional if it is quiet and slow, can anyone remember any love song that sounded like the singer was actually happy, giddy even

    • BigJonno says:

      Mike, that’s a really good point about the Bioware NPC parings. You can even go back to Carth/Bastilla and Khalid/Jaheira. There is a definite Bioware tradition of strong female NPCs and vulnerable male ones. It just highlights that many Western RPGs haven’t quite made their mind up about whether your character is a blank slate that you’re supposed to be playing, or a more defined character that you’re supposed to be watching.

      I wonder what it’d be like if Bioware made a RPG that was entirely first person with fully-voiced NPCs but a silent PC (like in Dragon Age.) Would removing the filter of a third-person viewpoint of your character make the game more emotionally engaging?

    • Dean says:

      The interesting secondary connection of course, being that Jennifer Hale voiced both female Sheperd and Samus in all the games prior to Other M. They got someone else in to the voice work for Other M.

  37. bill says:

    The more interesting thing for me in the OKCupid article was the religion bit at the end.

    Christians more dumb* than other religions – aethiests the smartest. All religion believers get more dumb the more they believe, except aethiests get smarter the stronger their belief.

    *based on writing score.

    Not that i really want rps to devolve into the usual pro/anti religion flamewar.

    The metroid article is very intersesting. Not so much for the sexism thing (which is true, but hardly surprising when most japanese girls support the gender stereotypes to the max), but for the point that nothing makes gamers more angry than game critics actually writing like real critics.

    It seems like there is a connection between that thought and the Mafia 2 one, but i can’t put my finger on it.

    Does Keiron have a music feed / last.fm account that we can follow? Though for the first time, i actually know the artist this time.

    • BigJonno says:

      Decided to play Kieron’s library on a whim, expecting some kind of obscure pop that wasn’t to my taste. Got Sisters of Mercy instead. Yay!

    • Arathain says:

      I got the Buzzcocks, then the Sex Pistols. Yay, punk!

    • Tetragrammaton says:

      Holy shit the Residents? Arctic Hysteria no less! The only way I would be more impressed would be is Duck stab/Buster& Glenn where on there. Apparently your not the musical troglodyte I had previously assumed….

    • Tetragrammaton says:

      Cant resist a chance to spread the joy:

  38. Premium User Badge

    stahlwerk says:

    I’d so very much like to give Frictional some of my hard(ly) earned cash, but I’m 100% sure that I would not be able to play Amnesia for more than 3 minutes without having to stop to curl up in a fetal position.

    When I made it through VTM:B’s Hallowbrook Hotel I had muscle pain in my neck for 2 days because of how I had tensed up while playing. Of course it was rewarding and all-in-all one of the greatest experiences I ever had in this medium of ours. But even watching let’s plays of Penumbra I must recognize that Frictionals expertly executed immersiveness would literally kill me playing it myself.

    How about an immersive first-person, physic driven happy fun time next? ;-)

    • eclipse mattaru says:

      Well, you can always buy it and gift it to a friend. You’d be supporting the Frictional guys and you wouldn’t be subject to all the horror and whatnot.

  39. fuggles says:

    Ironically, it would seem to my uninformed view that the new metroid is a lot less misogynist than all of the others:

    http://www.gamesradar.com/f/a-brief-history-of-samus-in-her-underwear/a-20100830164246751073

    • Sigma Draconis says:

      To be fair, GamesRadar is garbage as far as gaming sites go. I wouldn’t count their views on the Metroid: Other M issue.

    • fuggles says:

      They’re not – I guess you haven’t seen the article. Basically in all of the other Metroid games, when you win you are treated to a picture of Samus. The quicker you win the game, the less Samus is wearing….apart from in Other M.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      The end sexy suit thing stems from the original Metroid in which players that beat the game in under an hour found out that Samus was not a dude. Was a big deal at the time!

    • Dominic White says:

      A five-second shot of Samus out of her suit (which you only see if you beat it faster than any human being really should) is really not at all comparable to an entire game which bases the plot around Samus being a weak-willed woman who is constantly being bailed out by stern, heroic men.

    • DrGonzo says:

      It does kinda mean the goal of all the Metroid’s was actually to see her naked. Bit weird.

  40. Don says:

    Cheers for the Douglas Trumbull link. I often find the stuff about how the nuts and bolts of a film were done more interesting than some directory wittering on about his vision of the film.

  41. Kid A says:

    The problem with a lot of console gamers – although a certain amount of it is evident with the PC reviews of Mafia 2 and with pretty much any MMO – is that they are used to seeing console exclusives, like Metroid, Gears of War, Halo etc, get big scores from their respective “Official ??? Magazine”, because, well, that’s what those magazines exist for, largely – to preach to an already converted crowd. Reading those is fine, since the journalism isn’t exactly Kotaku-level terribad, and if an exclusive is a true stinker, or “one for fans of the series only”, they can (usually) be relied on to call it as such.
    The problem is that a lot of those franchise/console fans then take this mentality to non-format specific/more objective sites/magazines, and cause a massive crapfest when their beloved games get anything less than 10 out of 10 / 96%. I’ve played Other M, and the problems with it aren’t that Samus suddenly acquires a massive dose of PTSD up the proverbial from nowhere – it’s that the gameplay is decidedly average, a mish-mash of decent ideas poorly executed. However, since the fanboys can’t accept that this might possibly be the case, they instead look for any other possible reason that a reviewer could be wrong, no matter how sexist, insulting or downright stupid that reason might be. And I think this ties into the whole “games as art” debate, because as long as our critics aren’t allowed to look at games as objectively as an art critic might look at a painting or a piece of music, it’s going to be a struggle for games to be taken more seriously. I mean, if you saw a review of the latest Pollock piece, where it was given a 2/5, and then saw 400+ comments from Pollock lovers insinuating various slights against the reviewer’s sexuality, heritage, and intelligence, would you take that piece seriously?

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Samus is a twenty three year old character. Metroid has had eight games in the canonical series. The issue IS that they made Samus a emotionally broken PTSD sufferer. This would be like if Mario suddenly decided he was orthodox catholic and started wearing a pope hat. Offensive, and totally out of left field.

      Sure, Metroid deserved a low score. But for the story and the fact you couldn’t skip it, and for the “find the thing” bullshit. Not the controls.

      The controls themselves are fine. When you switch to first person, it slows stuff down for a few seconds. Just use your left hand to steady your hand so you don’t take as long to lock on. And start charging first. Well, besides locking onto grapple beam anchors. That was dumb.

  42. Starky says:

    Random question, but do any of you actually roleplay a character in a gme such as mass effect, or the Witcher (where there is no choice)?

    Now, I’m a roleplayer have been since I was a kid (pen and paper, D&D style), but I’ve never considered most RPGs to “roleplaying” in the sense of acting or pretending to be them, especially in story driven ones.

    The whole male female debate on this issue has always seemed odd to me for this reason – when I play Mass effect, as male or female, I’m not pretending to be that person, I’m not investing myself in them – I’m controlling them, but it is always them.
    I’m a viewer with control but still a viewer, it’s never me it is -always- commander Shepard, just the Shepard I choose him/her to be.

    It’s no different to watching a TV series with a male or female lead – I don’t invest myself in that any more than mass effect.

    The only time I’ve got that “i’m playing a character” vibe from games has been with MMO’s (due to the freedom of communication with other real people) – and to a smaller degree, open world games like Fallout 3, or Oblivion, where you might not get the plot choice/freedom, but you can play a role mechanically, in much more than a branching but railroaded way of most plot RPGs. Hell even something like X3, has more choosing and playing a role than mass effect.
    As in RPGs that are more mechanics/world driven and less character driven actually have more true roleplaying than games such as Mass Effect. In fallout you can be anything you choose (especially if you mod out the main plot and have custom starting rules), slaver, raider, trader, so on. While mass effect is mass effect, just with a few choices along the way.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lambchops says:

      @ Starky

      It depends really; i felt kind of different playing the Witcher and Mass Effect.

      Whether it was simply due to having control over what Shepard looks like, her/his gender and history on first playthrough I felt more like this was “my” Shepard. As is generally the case with these type of games I tried to make decisions based on what I would think I would ideally do if I was a charismatic space marine commander and not a lanky lad who would probably run and hide in the corner! On subsequent playthroughs of RPGs I tend to play more like you’ve described in your post. Decide on some character traits and then just stick with them and think; what would that person do in this scenario.

      With the Witcher I was straightaway into “what would Geralt do?” as opposed to what I would do. I’d been presented with theis guy with his own code and way of doing things and I tried to play it as true to him rather than what I think would be “right.” Not that there’s that many meaningful choices to make in that game as far as I’m concerned. In that respect I agree with the article about the character being mostly emotionless. When the character is clearly presented as Geralt is, with very little deviance then the lack of emotional response from him is a bit of a disconnect. It’s one of my main quibble’s with the game along with the lack of real drive within the narrative. Too often in the game I felt like I;ve been ambling along just working for people. It makes sense but it just left me a bit cold. For me it’s a game that succeeds mechanically but not emotionally and despite having some interesting characters kicking about in its world just doesn’t utilise them to its full potential. However if the sequel makes a leap like that of Mass Effect 1 to Mass Effect 2 then I have high hopes for it.

      Anyway i’m now digressing from the digression so I’ll quit rambling now!

    • Dominic White says:

      @Lambchops

      “When the character is clearly presented as Geralt is, with very little deviance then the lack of emotional response from him is a bit of a disconnect. ”

      Try playing with the Polish audio-track with english subtitles. Geralt emotes a helluva lot more in the original version, wheras he became much more monotone in the english release.

    • Zwebbie says:

      Starky: I found myself talking about ‘my Shepard’, while I normally talk in first person when describing what I did in a game. That’s telling in itself. Thing is, Shepard isn’t you; he or she takes only vague hints from you in conversation, and you have no choice but to be an alien-loving Spectre. On the other hand, Shepard also isn’t a real character, and as such doesn’t have any emotions. A failure on both sides. To be fair, I thought Mass Effect was just badly written overall, so I wouldn’t immediately want to blame the system for it all, even if I do think it’s best to go one way and take it all the way.

  43. Premium User Badge

    stahlwerk says:

    Maybe I’m just old, but the thought of “FTP-games” makes me laugh in puzzlement. Surely you could secure that genre by using SSH as a tunneling protocol?

  44. Radiant says:

    I’m stuck in Amnesia.
    What am I supposed to do in the refinery?
    Just after I made the acid to get there.

    I’m just strolling about in a circle.

    • stahlwerk says:

      And in the game! :-D

    • Freud says:

      There are some boxes against the wall in the middle room in the back. Move them and you can move into another room.

    • Dominic White says:

      That particular puzzle really taught me to listen carefully. You can hear a strong breeze coming from behind those crates, and pinpoint it just by turning around a couple of times.

    • Radiant says:

      A very apt “and in the game” stahlwerk!

      Ironically I heard about the listen to the game and thought fuck that and used my eyes.

  45. Fumarole says:

    I hit 24/50 on that what white people like list. Don’t hate me Kieron.

  46. Espy says:

    As I’m lying on the bank of the river Spree in what will probably be the last warm night of the year in Berlin, with sentimental techno wafting across from the other end of the park, I feel compelled to thank you lot for being so pleasantly intelligent and so intelligently pleasant. RPS has become the only place on the webs where I can actually read the comments. Everywhere else they just make me cringe.

  47. Nick says:

    Everyone should like The Big Lebowski and Ghostbusters =(

  48. OldGrumpy says:

    That female Global Agenda armor is pretty sexy but the boobs look like they’re taped down.

    Oh, and to be topical (sorry was distracted), RIP Brian Wood, PS:T made me cry while FFVII’s Cloud Strife personifies emotional alienation, and Future Noir is also a great book for Braderunner fans.

  49. Matt W says:

    There’s a world of difference between “what white people like” (claimed result) and “what only white people like” (actual result).

    • Matt W says:

      Oh, and then I guess there’s a further distinction between “what only white people like” and “what only white people think will get them laid”, the source being a dating site and all. At which point – Tom Clancy? Really?

    • Premium User Badge

      Lambchops says:

      @ Matt W

      When romantic efforts fail a hefty tome of military porn makes for a handy substitute for rohipnol?

  50. Anthony says:

    Ooh, Janelle Monae is fantastic. I saw her open up for Arcade Fire not too long ago and was blown away.