The Sunday Papers

By Kieron Gillen on September 26th, 2010 at 1:07 pm.

Sundays are for writing fight scenes, making more tea than a human can possibly imbibe and compiling a list of the fine (mostly) games related writing from across the week while trying to not link to some piece of bloody pop music.

Failed.

.

72 Comments »

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  1. Tom OBedlam says:

    Bloody hell, Jim’s brilliant, isn’t he?

  2. BooleanBob says:

    Currently at 7 and a half cups and no slowing down in sight. What’s all this about Jim being a genius?

  3. Scatterbrainpaul says:

    I wish isobel would take some of her magic back to b&s, they could really do with her. Especially after hearing their new album.

  4. Lars Westergren says:

    Hmm, the China Mieville paper sounded interesting, but the urbanomic server seems down.

    • Giant, fussy whingebag says:

      I got it just fine a moment ago. Must be back up.

      Also, KG, what do you imbue your tea with? I prefer to imbibe mine…

    • Premium User Badge

      AndrewC says:

      It is one of the last milestones of adulthood to leave behind the overly controlling instincts and obsessive need for order, often associated with the colloquially known ‘anal’ phase of human psychological development, often manifested by repetitive behaviour or the need to correct mistakes and innacuracies, however minor.

      As such we should be grateful to Kieron for inbuing his articles with so many, glaring errorrs so that we may better practice resisting the urge to constantly point them out.

      Thank you, Kieron. Thank you.

  5. Cinnamon says:

    PC Gamer are taking another opportunity to heap even more praise on that boring tram ride no doubt.

    My favourite read of the week was also something China Mieville related and was linked from Warren Ellis’ blog.

    http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/content/view/full/95488

    “Storytelling is clearly an extremely important function of societies, but it’s nonetheless unproven that to be human is to be a storytelling being. Even if it is the case that human beings are completely intrinsically storytelling animals, it doesn’t follow that that’s something to celebrate, any more than we should celebrate the fact that human beings are defecating animals.”

    I love the guy.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Yeah, great stuff. Not sure why I didn’t put that in the papers too.

      KG

    • Rich says:

      “PC Gamer are taking another opportunity to heap even more praise on that boring tram ride no doubt.”
      Silly boy.
      That ride made Half-life. The whole point of that game was that you were the protagonist and the whole intro made it real.

    • BooleanBob says:

      Rather than attack him, I’d like to applaud Cinnamon for taking a stab at one our sacred cows. (Whence else shall come the delicious beef?).

      Don’t get me wrong, I love Half Life, and it is an aching and enduring love. And Rich, you are right that a big part of what fostered that love is how convincingly and snugly we are ushered into the immortal Hazmat suit of the protagonist. But! What made it ‘real’ for me wasn’t sitting around on a tram for five minutes – which if anything made more conscious that I was playing a game in its radical divergence from gaming norms – but playing Uplink, that wonderful, singular, surgically-detached-from-and-yet-unquestionably-of-itself demo, in which you’re just thrown straight into the Half Life universe without any need for an extended, peaceful (read: OMINOUS and PORTENTOUS) traipse around the perfectly-safe, definitely-nothing-about-to-go-wrong-here highly-experimental science institution.

    • Tetragrammaton says:

      Wow, I didn’t know they still published. Im assuming it only finds readership in Sheffield and the occasional public school.

    • alantwelve says:

      It’s not just the train ride though. It’s just a list of all the same fucking games that get praised, talked about, lionised and generally listed all the god-damned time. Any top 10 games list is almost certain to have Mass Effect/2, Deus Ex, Half Life/2, Bioshock, Fallout 3, Braid and bloody Dragon Age in it. It is, frankly, dull and just betrays a lack of imagination that’s all too prevalent in all aspects of gaming today.

      All those games have been written about so much that there simply isn’t anything of any worth left to say. And, for some of them, they don’t belong on the list anyway. The beginning of Fallout 3 is just plain dull, for example. Morrowind, which uses a very similar device, only without dragging on interminably, would have been a far better choice. Morrowind isn’t really a top-10-list kind game , of course.

      Bah, humbug, etc.

    • mpk says:

      Surely these games appear on lists “all the time” as a mark of their overall quality and/or impact? Anyway, it’s a list and everyone likes to argue about lists. World War II was started because no one agreed with Hitler’s top ten favourite holiday destinations.

      Also: in Morrowind, iirc, you wake up in a boat and are led through the procession of character creation which is really nothing more than a slightly ambulatory menu. I think playing through the childhood of your character in Fallout 3 would top that as a scene setter easily.

    • alantwelve says:

      mpk:

      My point is though, that these same games appear in top-10 lists, regardless of what it’s a top-10 of – top-10 PC game intros, endings, graphics, weapons, characters, whatever. You will see the usual suspects regardless. It’s less a measure of their overall quality/impact than the dearth of imagination that pervades the mainstream end of the industry.

      As to the specific example of Fallout 3, I’d argue that it’s just a more sophisticated version of what is done in Morrowind. Morrowind wins hands-down for me because, less sophisticated ot not, it’s not boring. The start of Fallout 3 is a nice idea on paper, but it’s just rubbish to actually play. Mind you, as a scene-setter for the game, I suppose that’s quite fitting.

      Nice badger there, though.

  6. anonymous17 says:

    **applause**

    (Jim bows)

  7. vanarbulax says:

    Wow, “The Wail of the 1%” had my eyebrows firmly lodged at the top of my forehead throughout.
    I am legitimately amazed at the ability of the human mind to rationalize anything. By god every single quote was probably enough to make my blood curdle. Doctors have it easy? Even the flat out honest ones convey such cynical complacency…

    • bob_d says:

      The article was just too painful to read completely, my blood pressure was rising too much. The gall of these people is amazing. Socialist when dealing with losses but capitalist when successful: they’re perfectly happy to take tax money when they fail, but feel oppressed when it comes time to feed a few percent of their riches back into the system. The wealthy in the US are paying the lowest tax-rate of the last 50 years (by quite a bit), and they’re complaining about the loss of a *temporary* tax cut and that bonuses (which are entirely tax-payer enabled!) are going to be cut into. Never mind that their tax rate is still going to be a fraction of what it would be in most first world nations. How the f*ck is this “punishing” them for success? We’re not even punishing them for failure! We’re rewarding them for it! With public money! We’re returning to levels of past regulation and former tax rates, because of a recognition that easing them was not only NOT beneficial to society as a whole, but actively harmful.

      It makes sense to pay people well who have been productive and added real value to what they were doing. Wall street compensation doesn’t work like that; part of what was revealed by the financial meltdown was that the bonuses and salaries were tied into mechanisms that resulted in short-term profit for their employers while causing long-term damage to their institutions and the economy as a whole. These guys just feel entitled, even when they acknowledge that nothing they did had any value, or even *negative* value. Given that the current financial crisis was caused by “Wall Street Wizardry” that involved coming up with parasitic methods of making money off of the economy while adding NO value, not to mention whole financial institutions that were betting against the economy and *actively undermining it* to make sure their bets paid off, there’s no excusing this attitude. And it wasn’t just a few people involved in those schemes – most banks were involved, one way or another. ALL of these guys were making money at the expense of other people; none of them were creating wealth. In many countries, some of these people would have been shot for their financial manipulations. Seriously. In the US for the last twenty-odd years, people from the industry have been allowed to regulate it, something which has allowed abuses that should never have been legal. Even so, if most Americans really understood what happened, a good number of bankers would be doing actual jail time now… deservedly.

    • Deadend says:

      The best part of the 1% article was the view that the bankers will just leave and quit if they can’t make 7 figures. Like there is something else they can do to rake in the dough. Like what they do is really THAT hard, like there isn’t someone else willing to do it for $300,000 a year.”
      Or how they talk about how it takes blood, sweat and tears to get a business going. No shit dude, every business takes effort.
      Or the woman who talks about having to wake up at 2am to answer her blackberry. Parents with kids wake up at 2 and 3 am to deal with kids, IT people get woekn up at 3am to fix things. Many jobs are on call at all times of the night.
      A large bunch of assholes who don’t want do admit the truth.. that they would still do their fucking jobs for less money because even with a giant paycut, they still make more money than damn near anyone else.

  8. the wiseass says:

    Holy shit, the “Prosthetic Imagination” thing is probably the best thing I’ve read these past weeks.

    Videogames are the reason I could be considered a cyborg. Not in the sense that I have had parts of my physical body taken over by electronic or mechanical systems, but in the sense that I often have had my imagination taken over by electronic and mechanical systems.

    Brilliant!
    Maybe Rossignol should become the next Stanislaw Lem!

    Also I wonder why that particular piece did not feature as stand-alone article on RPS? I mean stuff like that exactly the reason why I love this website.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Seemed a bit offbeat for RPS. Plus I have to occasionally post something on my own blog. It’s been months.

    • Gap Gen says:

      On a related note, there are very few games that look at head-space itself. Most innovation seems to come from different ways of manipulating physical space. I suppose it’s easier to represent physical things visually, rather than mental abstractions. Plus, Newton completely nailed physics, whereas philosophers are still arguing about the mind.

    • Xercies says:

      Its when we do focus on the mind and society as a whole that we will get our great games. The best films are pretty much that.

  9. SonoSullaStrada says:

    Don’t forget about GAMES?!

    http://gamesquestionmark.com/

    The first issue was featured on the Sunday papers a few weeks back. Good stuff. Second issue just popped up too, but I don’t think anyone remembers it exists. :(

  10. Leo272 says:

    Oh! I got confused. I thought it meant intros to PC Gamer reviews for some reason, so I was expecting some surreal J Nash goodness. Oh well. My mistake.

  11. dustin diamond's sex-tape says:

    i hope your friends at ready-up buy you a beer or seven to help you forget what you’ve just done.

  12. Ted says:

    “New York’s Wail Of The 1% article was genuinely compelling.”

    No, it really wasn’t compelling at all. It’s also a year and a half old.

    • RadioactiveMan says:

      @ Ted
      I disagree, the article has compelling ideas, although it rambles on a bit much.

      I love the sentence that Wall Street brokers are the fighter pilots of capitalism. This is a great analogy. These people are some of the best and brightest, working in a highly specialized discipline using a skillset that is arcane to the rest of the public, to the point that what they do seems like magic, or superhuman. When times are good, they are lauded as champions- they push the limits of what humanity can do with the assistance of technology. When times are bad, they become vilified.

      Now, there is certainly another side to the coin: Wall Street is the home of greed, cronyism, Old Boy’s Clubs, as well as outright deceit and illegal and immoral activity.

      But, these days, we are painting the whole financial industry with a very large brush- there are at least some financiers who are apparently good people, and who did nothing immoral or illegal- The article interviews at least one of them (and he drives a Prius- how cute!). These are regular people who have excelled and reached the pinnacle of their chosen discipline. America right now is an extremely harsh political environment, and these people are being thrown under the bus by politicians and the media (mostly TV).

      The largest backlash from 2008, which the article touches on, is that America is developing a culture where people are punished for success and for innovation. Clearly some punishment is warranted here- for some, the success comes at the expense of others, and the innovations were of the shady, deceitful nature. But the entire issue has become so inflamed that the punishment is not being directed appropriately.

    • Tetragrammaton says:

      The tall poppy syndrome has at last spread to the US. Its a tragedy on many different levels.

    • Starky says:

      Please the whole Banker thing has sod all to do with tall poppy syndrome – and everything to do with greed, and deregulation.
      Those bankers are no smarter (or “taller”) than neurosurgeons, engineers, physicists, etc. Their sickening wages and bonuses have nothing to do with their brilliance, and everything to do with a utterly fucking broken system that rewards banks flat out gambling with regular peoples money.

      They (banks) were basically paying them to play poker, and they lost. Lost so hard that they broke the system and government worldwide had to bail them out.
      So should bank have regulations on how they should spend their customers money? Hell hey they should. Banks should not be allowed to place massive risks on long odd gambles like that.

      They cut themselves down by sheer idiocy on a grand and systematic scale – and they have the nerve to still expect to be paid massive figures?

      Pay bankers well if they succeed yes, if they earn money through shrewd investments reward them – but these guys were getting paid massive sums for long odd gambles with results that would not be seen for years after they were paid.
      They were snake oil sales men, and bullshit merchants, and when their lies crashed the entire system they held their hands up and cried innocence.

    • Dr. Derek Doctors, DFA says:

      @Tetragrammaton: Er, tall poppy syndrome? Not. Even. Close.

      The simple fact is that these “best and brightest,” these “fighter pilots of capitalism,” these people who seem to believe that, by dint of birth or education or place of employment, that they deserve that $40m year-end bonus, TARP bailout be damned! — these men and women had no clue that they were ringing down the curtain on the third act of American capitalism, that they had taken Chekov’s gun off the wall and were busy pumping bullets into the heart of the modern financial system.

      Let me repeat: No. Fucking. Clue. They were the financial equivalent of babies with bazookas, merrily creating synthetic CDOs out of piles of subprime shit without understanding the first damned lemma that went into Black-Scholes or VaR or any of the models that the rocket-scientists down in the basement cooked up out of statistical theory and a naive belief in homoskedastic Gaussian distribution, that great abstract God Who Failed of the quants. Even the idiot masters of the universe who took the counterparty short on the same bundles of shit they originated — thinking they were brilliant gamblers who were taking a cut on the issuance while making a fortune on the inevitable collapse — managed to screw up the short because they didn’t understand what they were doing.

      Again, I repeat: They went long thinking they were going short. And they still picked up hundreds of millions of dollars on the way out the door.

      No, I have no sympathy for them. If the American people knew what Wall Street really did — and they have no excuse for not knowing — half of Goldman Sachs would be homeless, and the other half would be in jail. If the rest of the world really understood, Germany and Japan would place a financial embargo on buying US assets. If the US politicians really understood — and if Wall Street weren’t such an important contributor to both parties — then the regulatory system would be so looped around Wall Street so tightly that traders wouldn’t be able to take a piss without SEC approval.

      For these people, the rules are simple: they get the massive bonus, and if they fuck up, they get the government bailout. Remember Rick Santelli? Ex-Drexel trader, got angry on CNBC because Obama was going to use FNMA to stabilize mortgages through re-fis? There’s your Wall Street attitude in a nutshell: save the traders, and fuck everyone else. TARP, that’s great; HASP, well, that’s just rewarding “bad behavior.” See, the homeowners — the ones who got NINJA loans because the vast gaping maw of Goldman Sachs et al. needed increasingly massive tons of shit to magically turn into AAA-rated gold-plated feces to sell to pension funds and idiot Germans — they’re the problem. You know, the blacks, the Hispanics, the white trash who live in ghettos or towns no one’s ever heard of, who unload Sysco trucks for a living and who never tried the tasting menu at WD~50 because they didn’t go to Poly Prep or Sidwell Friends — they deserve to get kicked out of their homes and drag their rugrats to the nearest homeless shelter. Because, you know, that’s capitalism at work.

      Fuck. Them. All. Banking needs to get back to “borrow short, lend long,” a boring profession where you’re in by eight, take your two-point spread by ten, and on the golf course by noon. Small town, risk-averse Republicans who attend local Kiwanis meetings and hang above their office door an American flag that was flown for five minutes over the Capitol and then sent to them by their local Congressmen. Rubes, yeah, sure, but good, honest rubes.

      We’re headed back to that. Market returns are going to be small, safe and predictable for a long time to come — a return to the mid-century market if we’re lucky, something more like Japan’s lost decade if we’re not. But I hope the twentysomething Ivy League literature grads who smashed the world economy like a band of sugar-high council house children playing blocks enjoy their bonuses. Sooner rather than later, they’re going to need to find real jobs. And if one of their resumes should happen to cross my desk, I’ll gladly tell them that there’s no room in flyover country for the likes of them. We have standards, you know.

    • alantwelve says:

      (Applauds the good Doctor)

    • perilisk says:

      “If the American people knew what Wall Street really did — and they have no excuse for not knowing — half of Goldman Sachs would be homeless, and the other half would be in jail.”

      As opposed to running the Treasury Dept., yes?

      Still, Wall Street is not a synonym for Goldman Sachs, and at any rate, both sides are right. We were wrong to bail out bankers, and we are punishing success. That is, by not letting the institutions that screwed up fail, and thus preventing the less stupid banks from taking over that share of the industry, we both rewarded idiots and punished the wise. By refusing to take action against the people that specifically made mistakes, and instead punishing the entire banking class, we’re doing it again.

    • Tetragrammaton says:

      Oh my. That was in fact a tongue-in-cheek comment. Even so Major major majors comment was a little worrying. This is not such a black and white issue, and the problem is not rooted entirely in the shenanigans of wall-street. And while hoisting-the-pitchfork rhetoric probably makes you feel good about yourself, its a dangerous path to tread.

    • Dr. Derek Doctors, DFA says:

      @Perilisk — Oh, yes, the watchmen are on the take, no question. Paulson, his little buddies that he brought in to spread the cash around, Tim Geithner and his brilliant plan to give the casino a roulette wheel that pays the 1% a fortune on green and fucks the other 99% on red or black.

      But I take issue with the idea that there was some sort of line between “Good Wall Street” and “Bad Wall Street,” because by the end of the ride, Goofus and Gekko were paying Gallant’s salary. Every dollar taken away by technological scouring of all the little trading frictions was increased tenfold by the new, exciting and totally unregulated trade in exotic options and the mania to securitize everything from subprime sandcastles in Mosquitoland, Florida to the Italian deficit. That Prius was paid for by OTC side-bets on some Central Valley fieldhand’s $450,000 split-level ranch, full stop. The only question was which banks were eyeball-deep in the shit, and which were merely chin-deep and still had a mouth to shovel crap into.

      And, here’s the worst thing — I supported TARP. Still do. Those smug little boiler room homunculi in Michael Andrews bespoke had us by the balls with one hand while sipping Profidio and rangpur margaritas with the other. Leverage, my friend, they had leverage to the tune of thirty-to-one, which meant that, like Conrad’s equally-nihilistic Professor X, if they went down, they were going to take the city block with them.

      And then they made us beg for their lives. Because, you know, raiding state child insurance programs and selling larger chunks of our debt off to the PRC to help pay off some son of a bitch’s Global Express fractional was high on our list of things to do. It ain’t noblesse oblige anymore, it’s obligée de la noblesse, and if you don’t like the wallpaper at Versailles, then maybe you’ll prefer the view from the Bastille Saint-Antoine.

      So, yeah, I supported bailing them out. But they have forgotten their place: we own them. The greatest miracle they ever performed? Making us forget that.

    • Dr. Derek Doctors, DFA says:

      @Tetragrammaton — Actually, you’re right: it’s not black and white. See, for the past thirty years, US economic activity has primarily been generated through virtual economic transactions — M&A, dot-coms, unsustainable home prices and outright fraud. And we have all, we Westerners, acquiesced in this because the alternative is too frightening to face: that the future will consist of the slow and inevitable wearing down of our godlike standards of living while a bunch of funny-colored people in nations we can’t pronounce start eating meat every day and stop having their kids dying of schistosomiasis.

      That’s the invisible hand doing its good work, you see: comparative advantage inevitably trends to zero, so long as the oil holds out. And we hate it, because, in the end, we like our iPods more than their kids. So, like the old Soviet joke, we pretended to work while they pretended to pay us. Wall Street was at the top, and the NINJA loanees were at the bottom, and when the system finally collapsed, those two got hit the hardest.

      What people don’t see is that the old way is dead and gone. America can’t pretend to make money on virtual shit bundled up in synthetic packages: the biggest single economic driver of our system went down when Case-Shiller hit the floor, and there’s no way back.

      So, yeah, I do see this as black and white, at least to a degree. The days of publicly-traded traders are done, and the floating jewelry shops in December with them. The guys who benefited from that want to pretend that they’re the victims, that we’re holding out on them, but they’re still in better shape than the poor bastards whose jobs got shipped to rural China or Indian call centers. And it’s their failure to accept that, or respect that there are people worse off than them, that I find morally and ethically repugnant.

    • Deuteronomy says:

      Doctor,

      “See, for the past thirty years, US economic activity has primarily been generated through virtual economic transactions — M&A, dot-coms, unsustainable home prices and outright fraud.”

      I highly doubt this is true, unless you consider anything that doesn’t require swinging a hammer “virtual”.

      Your textwall comes off sounding a little breathless, and I amuse myself by imagining you are writing about the Panic of 1857, or perhaps the world economic crisis of 1873.

    • Tetragrammaton says:

      Well, full circle then.This situation we find ourselves in was inevitable, but the blame rests with the wider workings of society – as well as specific individuals. Its interesting reading your posts Dr, as they are incredibly Americo-centric. (I dont mean this as an insult, just an observation on perspective and bias) The fact is the cracks have been showing for a good while, and the denial in the US financial systems and in the hearts of middle americans of the coming shift in geo-politics is going to cause problems in the long run. It is a fascinating time we are living through, as it would seem to mark the decline of America as the worlds principle superpower and the rise of China.

  13. Jimbo says:

    Intro list needs Syndicate, Full Throttle and Quake 3.

  14. Dao Jones says:

    I didn’t even know Isobel and Mark had a new album out. To Zune I go!

    Funny how I keep downloading more albums from these Sunday articles… on a PC website.

    Cheers!

  15. Matthew says:

    What’s the etiquette on crossposting comments to linked articles? I belatedly realized my comment on Jim’s blog might be more useful here:

    Related to Jim’s describing imagination as a modeling, predicting thing, a very pertinent link: here’s Jeff Hawkins’ TED speech where he postulates that the brain itself, down to the neurons, is not actually a processor but a predictive memory system, and that even our most basic behaviors are shaped by predictive modeling. He already has software simulations running, and presents a very good case. In this light one might argue that imagination is the very definition of intelligence.

    Also that bit where he mentions a prosthetic paradigm for gaming; what we’re talking about is augmented reality gaming, and with things like Layar and Foursquare already out there I predict (heh) that AR games are going to explode within three years. (And if someone doesn’t do it by then, by God I’m going to do it myself.)

  16. Barman1942 says:

    Thanks for posting that Derek Yu article, Kieron. As someone whose about to go into CompSci so I can actually learn how to program so I can develop games, I’m sure it’ll be a lot of help.

  17. GreatUncleBaal says:

    Two things:
    “That boring tram ride” – games now are too much about getting to the end of themselves, rather than letting the player absorb the world they’ve been put into. Denby is spot-on about how it resonates – you just feel more responsible for the world you’re in – “I was just following orders, yeah?” and then you change everything forever. And with me, the memory of that opening and its consequences even carried on into the sequel episodes.
    But it was also a well-deserved spot of preening for Valve. Half-Life was an amazing event of PC gaming in itself – it was doing things other games hadn’t tried before, and looked beautiful – that ride at the beginning was the set-up for an incredible journey. Attention spans have definitely shortened – and design has changed (we don’t tolerate the “uncuttable skip-scenes”, to quote a podcast Gillenism), but I really wouldn’t mind a few more games letting me wander around them before they actually start, if you see what I mean.

    Second thing: “You Won’t Let Me Down Again” and the subsequent Spotify meandering it led to has justified an otherwise entirely pointless and hungover day. Thank you.

  18. DMcCool says:

    Jim’s piece was rather brilliant, proving yet again that philosophy and games make a delicious mix. And a link to Chalmers where he doesn’t sound like a dick -equally impressed. Its such an interesting idea to fully develop in games design. The Void comes to mind, spreading your body (your resources for producing colour – mines, trees) throughout the game world and threatening them. Its one game that really understands how much gamers inhabit, are a part of, a game.

  19. Huggster says:

    I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I’ve watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain. Time to die.

  20. Sweefyt says:

    Don’t forget the finger pointing! Every page has at least one guy going “What about them? THEY make a lot of money? Why shouldn’t we?”

    Absolutely disgusting.

  21. Mister Yuck says:

    What the heck? The music you linked to isn’t terrible!

    Kieron, you’re losing your edge!

  22. Nick says:

    Thanks for the heads up on that tune Kieron, album is on my must buy list now.

  23. EthZee says:

    That Minecraft journal is fascinating. I don’t think I’d be willing to try such a radical gamestyle: my aging laptop would probably burst into flames after a few continents. And the mobs have hardened my stance against the outside world; I have dungeons, well-lit corridors and caves, metal airlocks and arrow-slits. if I need to get anywhere outside, I will extend my hillfort in that direction.

    • The Tupper says:

      Yeah, I read that Minecraft article tonight and it made me finally set up a paypal account to buy the game instead of continuing to ponce off the ‘free’ period from last week.

      It’s weird: the game’s graphics are purely, unashamedly, Commodore 64-esque (which, in itself, is laudable) but it manages the exceptional trick of using that aesthetic to fulfil the dreams of folk like myself who owned 8-bit machines in the long-distant past. It’s like the blurb from the side of a C64 cassette game (with the hyperbole they invoked) made real.

      Or is that just my own baggage I’m bringing to it? Not sure.

    • Urthman says:

      Before I played it, I thought the graphics were too retro and thought how great it would be if he’d gone for maybe a 16-bit SNES look.

      But now I realize that the coarseness of the graphics is brilliantly tweaked to fit the gameplay. If he’d made the basic world cube half the size they are (so you’d need 4 to fill the space currently filled by one), the mining and building would get tedious. You couldn’t dig, mine, or build nearly as quickly. And you’d still end up with a very blocky world compared to any modern game.

      I think the graphics are perfect, although I recommend trying some of the alternate texture packs. I really love the Painterly one (Google it — he has an amazing website that gives you lots of options for customizing the look of your game then generates a custom zip file to your specifications ready to plug into the game). It’s possible a higher-resolution texture pack might be good if Notch decides to support such things (they currently break things like the compass and the lava/water animation), but it would probably just choke my computer.

    • Jhoosier says:

      Painterly pack is great, except the brick blocks all look really strange. Might try the customizable version, see if I can’t get moving water/lava back too.

  24. TNO says:

    So this may be the unpopular view, but your disdain for the excess of bankers, is most of the rest of the world’s disdain for you. Like it or not, YOU are 1% to the rest of the world.

    Take a hard look at your life. You probably own a flat screen TV. You probably own expensive electronics whose primary purpose for existence is to amuse you. You probably waste gallons of water every day, and throw out more food in a day than many Asians and Africans see in a week. And you probably don’t see yourself as very privileged despite all of that.

    So be careful about dismounting from your high horse. It’s a long way down. Or perhaps you feel that you’ve really earned that cushy living, unlike those slackers in Malaysia?

    • Starky says:

      Most people don’t disdain Bankers because they are richer – no more than they disdain movie stars or successful company CEO’s (Bill gates, Richard Branson so on). No the dislike come from the fact that they basically gambled with other people’s money – while cutting themselves a nice chunk off, and then lost it all.
      The anger is that the banks allowed this, that they were allowed to do it, and no regulation or government oversight prevented it.

      There is no way to answer the rest without looking like a white snob, but meh, I don’t care my luck-of-the-draw birth in a developed and wealthy nation it isn’t making those in 3rd world countries worse off. So I don’t see why I should waste even a second feeling guilty for that. Nor would I expect someone born to a millionaire to feel guilty about the money they inherit. I’m not supposed to be providing a service for them, or responsible for something which has an impact on their lives.
      Banks are, and they failed.

    • Xercies says:

      What I have a problem with is that still complaining, not taking it on the chin and taking there bonus/[ay cuts for what they did. No there saying “Oh fucking No, my 2 million will go to 1 million how will i ever live” while other people are struggling on not even half that.

      To be honest i hate people who say “what about the africans” thats a cheap argument and everyone should know that by now.

    • vanarbulax says:

      Very true TNO. Doesn’t mean we can’t still be abhorred by the complaints of a group of people who created wealth by selling on deals they knew would fail and then got bailed out when everything fell over.

  25. frymaster says:

    was I the only one who clicked on the PC Gamer article expecting to find a list of the best 10 first paragraphs of PC Gamer articles about games? :P

    • alantwelve says:

      Had it been the best 10 first paragraphs about games, you can bet the games would have been Mass Effect 2, Half Life, Fallout 3, Bioshock etc, ad nauseam…

  26. eclipse mattaru says:

    Just played that Dream Machine beta thingie -never heard of it before reading this post-, and I have to agree: Why the hell haven’t you done more about it?

    I mean, Darksiders? The Witcher 2? Motherfucking Gamespot is doing more than enough for that kind of crap. I expect better from you, gentlemen. Chop, chop >=(

  27. stmg says:

    I fear the intro is missing Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter. The first, if that’s not clear enough. I think it was a game that really showed off, early on, what next-gen games were going to look like and be able to do. For those who missed it:
    You’re in the back of a plane flying over an urban landscape. You and your squad are talking, mission details, the usual pre-first-level blather. Then the cargo door opens up and you stand up and get in line to jump. One by one your squadmates leap out in front of you and then it’s your turn and you walk off the edge into the open air…and wait for a loading screen. But you’re falling, and the city is in all directions, buildings and billboards. And you wait for the loading screen. Details become more and more apparent, windows, weather vanes. And you wait for the loading screen. You keep waiting as you fall and land on the ground. Then you are still waiting as the mission starts without a single pause. It’s fantastically cinematic and at the time the sprawl and size of it was shocking.

  28. Gunsmith AKA NanosuitNinja says:

    shit, looks like the spambots are having a field day

  29. Premium User Badge

    Lambchops says:

    Yup Campbell and Lanegan are a wonderful combination. I only expected it to be a one off so a third album is just spoiling us.

    —-

    On the gaming front Jim’s article is great. Also it is good to see Dejobaan realised there mistake with the demo. I was definitely in the camp of people who didn’t buy the game first time round, proclaiming it “not worth the money” then bought it in a sale and loved it. If the demo had got across how great the game was I would have bought it first time. Have to say I’m greatly looking forward towards their next project, brings to mind Aaah(snip) crossed with Audiosurf which would be horrendously addictive.

    Oh and “You go to work. Shit gets real” should have been used on the promotional material for Half life.

  30. Oozo says:

    Here’s another one of interest:
    Jonathan Blow, Jenova Chen and Saku Lehtinen about the movies that inspired them:
    http://focusfeatures.com/fifsplash/video_game_designers_on_movies_that_inspired_them

    It’s, well, telling…
    (And a bit disappointingly straight-forward in the case of Chen, IMHO.)

  31. C says:

    RPS has previously made mention of the archiving of the Origin materials, but it would be really really really nice if someone followed up to find out more about the non-Wing Commander stuff recovered.

  32. Kadayi says:

    China Mieville: The man who would be Will Self …..

  33. Alex Spencer says:

    And, too late, I realise that my above-mentioned piece accidentally links to a Shrek review, rather than Mario Galaxy as I intended.
    Blew it.
    Standard.

    (Oh, but in case you were one of the many people who clicked that and ended up, no doubt confused: http://bit.ly/aj1d1Y)