The Sunday Papers

By Jim Rossignol on February 6th, 2011 at 11:00 am.


Sundays. Sundays are for obsessively going back through a collection of writing from the past ten years and trying to work out the bits that might just be valuable in the next ten years. It’s also for grabbing an internet-telescope and peering out into the murky reaches of videogame commentary. What is that big tentacled thing in the mist?

  • Bulletstorm is looking fantastic, but the puerile nature of the manshoot has some people concerned – like Richard Clark over at Gamasutra. His take is well worth reading: “By encouraging players to pull off such skillshots as “Facial”, “Gang Bang” and “Bad Touch”, Bulletstorm becomes far more than just another violent videogame. Mortal Kombat’s spine-removal and explosive blown kisses seem perfectly reasonable (and very well may be) in the face of Bulletstorm’s seemingly complete lack of any social responsibility.” Made all the more interesting by the lead designer of Bulletstorm, Adrian Chmielarz, turning up in the comments: “I do believe this industry will only be considered mature only once it stops being ashamed of itself.”
  • Magical Wasteland is an excellent blog that you should all read. The author is not always right. Sometimes he’s wrong. But he’s often interesting. He manages to be interesting when talking about the Games As Art debate (I know!), like this: “Or take crying: people cry all the time at overly sentimental stories because they feel for the characters in them. Maudlin romances and soppy ballads regularly earn a great volume of tears but no particular admiration from the gatekeepers of art. In other words, the inducement of crying does not equal art, it does not lead to art, and the pursuit of crying in pursuit of art is as misguided as measuring a film by its box-office receipts. “Where’s the game that will make me cry”– a phrase bandied around in the game industry as a shorthand for these kinds of problems– is the wrong question, no matter who asks it.” Damn right. I cry at TV commercials and the sad noises my washing machine makes.
  • Quinns wrote about a boardgame: “Space Alert is a game of panicking, of screaming at your friends, and asking them where they are and what they’re doing because you’re standing at the main laser and slapping the fire button and nothing is happening because there’s nobody in the engine room to feed it power, and you’re swearing and swearing as a fucking alien bomber zips closer and closer and GOD DAMNIT PAUL GET IN THE FUCKING ENGINE ROOM BEFORE I TURN YOUR ANUS INTO A EARRING. I CAN DO THAT. I’VE BEEN TAKING NIGHT CLASSES.”
  • Some thoughts on the issues of gathering and building in the RTS genre.
  • Eurogamer ran a big old interview about Daggerdale and the future of D&D games, although really it’s about why people love action RPGs: “We chose to go the action RPG route because it’s something that the team felt very passionately about. It takes the two great loves that the team has and marries them together in a really cool, unique experience. So brawling is something that we all really enjoy, the action side of it brings with it a lot of opportunities to create white-knuckle gameplay. It’s something we think fits really well with the RPG portion of it, which allows us to develop a character and customise that character through a longer period.”
  • Oof. This one is like a bone of contention on fire – Auntie Pixelante vs Jim Sterling. Oh dear. Messy.
  • This amused me: Why Dead Space 2 is a direct attack on Scientology. And then the claim that it isn’t by the devs. It’s inspired by Carl Sagan, apparently. I am inspired by him too!
  • This is probably my article title of the past couple of weeks: My wife shoots people in the head, then presses reset. It’s about a wife who plays Fallout 3, and her peculiar conceptualisation of save games and restarts.
  • Oh, actually this is a good title, too: We’re Very Uncomfortable With The Copenhagen Game Collective, but even better if you take into account the first line: “It began with a sex game in a dark room.”
  • I was certain had posted this link before, but history says not: Paste magazine on “Home” in videogames: “The brilliance of Minecraft is that there is no actual “game,” no end-goal towards which players must strive. There is only one rule: when night falls, monsters come out, and they will probably kill you. By necessity the very first order of business in a given game of Minecraft is to build a safe haven, a home.” John wrote something similar a while back.
  • Bioware talk a bit more about SWTOR’s dungeons flashpoints.
  • FuckYeahVanGoghTiltShifted… An actual use for depth of field effects?
  • Journalist Stephen Fung put a PC together in just over four minutes at the Build Your Own PC Race for Charity in Las Vegas.

Music this week is a track from Ravedeath, 1972, the forthcoming album by electronic noise conjurer Tim Hecker. He’s one of my favourite artists in the fuzzy world of ambient and I am keen to see how the new album turns out, later this month.

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202 Comments »

  1. Dlarit says:

    I now feel better about sneaking a live grenade into someones pocket then reloading, at least its not just me…

    PS thats ingame btw i dont condone live grenade’s in real life…

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      Hidden_7 says:

      What’s wrong with putting a live grenade in someone’s pocket in real life if you reload after?

    • JackShandy says:

      Not the birds and the bees talk again…

    • qrter says:

      It’s a great example of a Bitmob “article” – ask a question (preferably an unoriginal one), and then don’t even try and come up with an answer.

      Be sure to make it the perfect length that makes the reader think “yes, I’ve read the intro, now where’s the rest of the article?”.

    • Thants says:

      I did spend a while after reading that trying to find the Next Page link.

  2. Wallllrod says:

    I question applying the idea of social responsibility to games. I can understand Richard Clark might take exception to vulgar sexual references when they’re connected to violent acts, but when he started comparing Bulletstorm to Mortal Kombat in terms of how depraved they are, i couldn’t help but get the feeling that he missed the point then about the purpose and role of games as he does now.

    • CoyoteTheClever says:

      I think it just has a lot to do where he is coming from. Its a commonly held view on the media in some Christian circles (And you can note other projects he has worked on, such as “Christ and Pop Culture”), just, he has secularized it to try and widen his audience that it becomes a little more difficult to recognize the familiar argument. I think we all know where the whole moral panic about Mortal Kombat came from to begin with back in the day, so it shouldn’t be surprising that he echoes it in his work.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      I dare say Bulletstorm is a little more mature (responsibility wise) than most other man shoots out right now. Why?

      Because the female character’s chest doesn’t have blimps attached.

    • Bhazor says:

      The hand ringing of that article and some of the comments is just outright painful.
      “Bulletstorm is meant to shock and offend, but ultimately, to titillate” seriously? Really?

      But the whole thing is just another godmob calling to “Ban This Sick Filth we haven’t actually seen yet”. It’s an argument we all know by heart now and an argument that isn’t helped when the lead designer points out that theres a parental lock available to turn off swearing and gore.

      Honestly, Adrian Chmielarz has earned a lot of respect from this and also for coming up with the phrase “premiere basasses of motherfucktown.”.

    • CoyoteTheClever says:

      He made pretty sure to say it wasn’t about banning. That being said, the structure of the argument is the same as what you say even if the call to action is different (Seems more in line of “boycott this game” than ban it), so it is understandable to just fill in the blank yourself.

      What’s interesting though is the focus on the negative. This game is bad because of all the bad values it has. But what game is good from a Christian perspective (Even if the writer wasn’t honest and tried to secularize the problem into being one of the generic “values”, lets face it, he is coming from a Christian perspective)? What games actually try to deliver the gospel, or teach Christian values? The real answer is none (Except for a few that we make fun of in gaming circles because of how badly they play). So the real problem for Christian gamers, if we are going to judge games on values, is much different than what the author really seems to think it is, because there are no games that represent their values. Does focusing on the negative, of how violent or bad some games are, solve this problem ever? No, it does not. Even if you take out every “bad” game that offends the moral guardians, you are still left with no Christian games to play. So a values based gamer is no better off then than he is now. Focusing on the negative does no good for them in getting their worldview to be a part of gaming, and just bothers people who enjoy those games and don’t care about their pronouncements on them.

    • Bhazor says:

      Hey don’t go dissin’ Zoo Race.
      That honours the Christian traditions of competition, library etiquette about racing, hurling exploding barrels at rhinos and firing horses to the moon. Those are honest god fearing values.

    • outoffeelinsobad says:

      I didn’t get the “ban this sick filth” vibe from that article; I got the “this is an embarrassment to the industry” vibe, which I totally agree with.

      And did anyone else read Adrian’s comment? Dude throws out two veiled insults and cites Jim Sterling? This is the person we’re giving our money to?

  3. WMain00 says:

    I sort of agree about the bulletstorm article, but the lead designer is absolutely right as well.

    • John P says:

      A bit of a catch 22, isn’t it? We won’t mature until we stop being ashamed, but we can’t stop being ashamed until we’re more mature?

      Alternatively: stop making puerile, juvenile rubbish. Then we won’t be ashamed no more!

    • gwathdring says:

      A larger issue for me is that a lot of publishers seem to think gamers aren’t interested in mature humor and storytelling. That we aren’t interested in anything other than bullets, bawdy humor, sexual imagery, and copious blood. It’s a more extreme version of the mistake hollywood makes; both industries tend to leap between the overly sentimental and the raucously, cartoonishly violent skipping the more human and interesting middle ground. Since the medium is interactive, some of the distancing and so-bad-it’s-good vibe disappears. More so than in movies, this immaturity reflects on us. On our behaviors.

      Immature violence in games doesn’t bother me nearly as much as the poverty of alternatives in the mainstream. The alternative doesn’t always sell poorly, when done properly … it just takes more effort. Schlocky, crappy games can be lazily designed and cookie-cutter formed allowing budget to go into advertising and graphics and such instead of implementing new ideas, complex mechanics, truly interactive stories, or other types of polish often neglected in favor of the visual. They will be accepted anyway, because cartoonish violence doesn’t need to be well done to be enjoyed; that’s what makes it cartoonish and “immature;” it’s violence for violence’s sake. It can be enjoyed simply because people like shooting things or because it’s silly or because it’s self-serious to the point of hilarity.

      But a consumer base that favors games that don’t take as much effort or thought to make, encourages effort and thought to be left out of every aspect of the game, not just the story and the basic principles. It encourages lazy design and encourages the same game to be made fifty times, and bought fifty times. Encouraging this kind of sameness prevents our industry from evolving. It’s not that I want all games to have some sort of super-serious, artistic, narrative. I want artful narrative to be an option though. And more than that, I want the industry to evolve, not into some conception of maturity I already have in my head from other mediums, but into something new. Something creative. Something that feels deeper and more interesting because of the way I interact with the game. I wouldn’t mind seeing mindless violence and gore, go. But that’s not my call. It’s a big audience with varied tastes. Which is exactly why the sameness bothers me. We’re complicated. We’re diverse. We like lots of different things. So grow up, get out of your mom’s basement, and start trying more new things, video game industry.

    • bob_d says:

      I do believe this industry will only be considered mature only once the games we’re not ashamed of greatly outnumber the games we are ashamed of.

    • DrGonzo says:

      The vast, VAST majority of films are terrible yet it is taken seriously. So I don’t buy that theory in the slightest, at all.

    • Consumatopia says:

      There’s a difference between being ashamed of the medium and being ashamed of the industry, or a particular part of the industry. Video games as a medium have nothing to be ashamed of. But the industry of AAA shooting games–an industry in which sexualized violence just seemed like the next logical step–ought to be ashamed. Not that a game as extreme as Bulletstorm could be made, but that a game like Bulletstorm isn’t really all that surprising.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Oh, I had totally forgot. The main character in Bulletstorm is the Doomguy.
      http://www.doomworld.com/10years/doomcomic/

    • Bhazor says:

      Does the existence of Police Academy V impact the existence of Citizen Kane? Does the creation of Epic Movie jeopardize the creation of Pixar’s Up? Does the creation of Bulletstorm in any damage the creation of the new Deus Ex? No. No. No.

      The world is big enough for popcorn action flicks and seminal timeless dramas to coexist. It’s pointless trying to argue the creation of one precludes the creation of the other. So basically what I’m saying is you should just yank your skirt up, whack on a strap-on and get on with it.

    • Caiman says:

      I’ve always thought the sign of a mature entertainment industry was choice, and that the sign of an immature audience was criticism of choice. Bulletstorm is an easy target for the latter.

  4. Zogtee says:

    I see Duke Nukem and Bulletstorm as an inability to leave the past behind and move forward. The “Teehee, I sneaked naughty words into a videogame! People will read it!” attitude shown by the devs and their fans belongs to a different era entirely. If you enjoy that sort of thing, it’s fine, but that shit feels so old.

    • choconutjoe says:

      That shit never gets old. Just read some Chaucer if you don’t believe it.

    • something says:

      Hearing the lead designer of Bulletstorm tell people what it will take for video games to be considered mature is like being hushed by Brian Blessed. I’ll stop being ashamed of pulp rubbish like this when it gets treated as pulp rubbish by the critics. Tell you what: you make something that isn’t shameful and then I won’t be ashamed.

      I have nothing against tasteless humour but whether you’re a fan of Peep Show, The Thick of It or that thing on BBC3 that’s made by kids that everyone says is very good but I’ve never… Inbetweeners, that’s it. Yeah, anyway, you’ll struggle to find anything redeeming in the lazy stream of porno references in Bulletstorm, that I suspect will start to grate against your brain like being stuck in a lift with John Culshaw’s impression of Alan Carr.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      Bawdy humour within a piece of literature is in no way similar to the “ironic” hyper-sexism of Duke Nukem or the pathetic scatological humour of bulletstorm. Its like saying fine art sometimes contains nudity so we should air Granny Bangers 4 on BBC 1 before the watershed.

    • Mad Hamish says:

      Oh come on. Is Bulletstorm or Duke Nukem any more immature than the COD games or most other FPSs? At least it seems to know what it is. With Mortal Kombat part of the charm(infact most of it) was it’s schlocky, straight to video style. I think it’s the same with Bulletstorm.
      The industry is way too insecure. People start freaking out when they think the old respected members of the arts/media community are looking down or scoffing at them.
      I’ll probably never play Bulletstorm, but I say good luck to it. Bring on the trash. We need to stop looking for the approval of whoever we’re trying to impress. In reality they don’t give a shit about games.

    • Muzman says:

      The really strange thing about Bulletstorm and why it grates is not that it’s rude or crude or any of that. It’s that it is self consciously referring to the likes of Duke Nukem, who is himself a pastiche of wrestling and bad eighties action films turned up to eleven. It seems to be trying soooo damn hard to be in that club and take it one step further. It’s calculated, in other words, and artless about it. Somehow that makes crossing that line seem worse (where others just refered to those who ineptly or drunkenly stumbled over it).

      I don’t know who it’s aimed at except to snare the same aging guffawing geeks who sniggered at Duke’s recycling of movie lines the first time around (everybody else who would laugh will be too young to play it, technically). At least then you could laugh a little knowingly at all the action hero tropes distilled. I can’t even imagine slightly younger folks who grew up on Something Awful and Fark’s endless application of porn terminology doing more than shrug at this rote edginess.
      I imagine Cliffy B choosing his words very carefully so as not to imply he or the game are about to ‘make you their bitch’.
      I dunno though, really. Aside from all the post-modernism fatigue it looks kinda fun.

    • gwathdring says:

      @choconutjoe: Bawdy humor isn’t new, no. Sexual jokes are some of the older ones in existence. But that doesn’t really change much.

      /@

      I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with Bulletstorm’s humor, but for me at least it has it’s particular place; it’s simple, it’s easy, it’s blunt and it makes a lot of people laugh. But pretending that it’s funnier/smarter because it’s intended ironically (here meaning something other than what irony means) or because you’re making a satire on the violent and sexual nature of games is sort of missing the point. Simply aping something in a ridiculous, cartooned fashion with the exact same goals, only in a more self-aware manner, isn’t parody or satire or new or fresh. Sort of like the CoD demo thing. It’s crass mockery. Which like sexual humor and crappy action films, have a certain place. But very often that place is in hyper-masculine, hypo-emotive, largely sexist, entirely meaningless media that isn’t harmful because of it’s meaninglessness or rough humor in isolation, but harmful because of the context for that abrasive masculinity.

      I guess that would make a good topic for a philosophy or sociology class to talk about, but it’s also pointless in this context. More immediately, Bulletstorm is harmless. As a game, I’m guessing it’s going to have a lot of the same problems other man-shoots do. Fun for a lot of gamers, but largely the same thing we’ve seen before and not particularly sustaining. Doesn’t it get boring after a while? Dragon Age sure does, and it has some decent writing and characterization and lore and such … but it’s a lot of the same fights over and over again. Just like I enjoy depth and variety in story and character, I enjoy depth of level design, depth of mechanics, etc. Sometimes if one of the two sides goes far enough, I can forgive the other for being anywhere from rough to the optimal slick but shallow/repetitive/recycled.

      To me what makes both humor and action mindless in a game isn’t that they aren’t “high brow” or “sophisticated” but that they confuse simple with easy/unsubtle/repetitive, confuse jokes with references, confuse exciting with busy/fast, confuse deep with complex/inconsistent/bloody unclear and confuse puzzle with not-telling-you-exactly-what-to-do/ logical leaps only possible via mad libs, dice, an enormous vocabulary, and several bottles of whiskey.

      I don’t know if Bullestorm will meet my requirements for being a mindless piece of crap, then. But I’m pretty sure that at the least it’s just not my thing and it’s inspired by the same things that churn out most of the industry’s mindless immaturity whether or not the game suffers for it.

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      Lambchops says:

      Silly immature pastiche can sometimes be fun. See House of The Dead Overkill on Wii. It’s very self aware and over the top with its stupidity and I have to say I rather enjoyed it.

      Can’t say I’m particularly blown away by the trailers for Duke or Bulletstorm though. I guess time will tell if they are any good.

    • gwathdring says:

      Ok, after looking at the game in more detail, some of the skillshots and some of the developer’s statements about it, I revise my sentiments about it being a harmless member of it’s class of video games. I’m quite disgusted now. The rest of my post holds but … this is a bit much. This isn’t a “silly pastiche” anymore.

  5. Mithent says:

    There’s a missing 5 in the Copenhagen Game Collective link – I get some old news from 2003 about Rockstar. This link works though. (It should link to news article 32575 rather than 3257.)

  6. Wednesday says:

    The Dead Space dude seems to have forgotten that bit in Fallout 2 with the massive scientology rip-offs getting massacred for fun and profit.

    • Ravenholme says:

      I think the Dead Space writer was somewhat side-skipping all the tithing and monetary based advancement through a “rank” system within in the religion, which is almost certainly jabbing a finger at Scientology and nothing to do with “irrational superstitious beliefs in humans.”

      Not that these don’t deserve to be made fun of, but his article came off as hasty arse covering because Visceral/EA realised the Church of Scientology has good lawyers.

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    James G says:

    The home article made me feel vaguely disappointed that Mass Effect didn’t base the Normandy on Serenity. Of course, it wouldn’t have made much sense for a top-of the line prototype design formed from the best of human and turian tech to be a rust bucket, but it would have made the ship feel cosier.

    It did make me consider though, you already had the ship upgrades and customization features, but for the most part these were aesthetically minor details, and furthermore in most cases fairly inorganic elements of game design. Imagine instead if over the course of your game the Normandy slowly became customized in response to your actions. Perhaps the carpace of a thresher maw would appear over the dining table were you to defeat it. Zaeed already had similar items about him, collected from his past, it would have been nice to see similar items springing up about the Normandy as a result of the player’s actions. It would be more personal than simply allowing the player to use a few credits to buy some alien porn magazines for Shepard’s quarters. (Of course, the same idea applies to other games. To a certain extent Bethesda’s games allow it, but I find a) they often lack motivation to return home b) experiences are usually lacking in unique trophies, or else those trophies are far more useful as inventory items.)

    • Caleb367 says:

      Well, to be honest, you DO get Shepard’s N7 helmet and the Prothean artifact in his quarters, but yeah, that’s somewhat underwhelming given the potential epicness wasted.

      Besides, on the Bethesda stuff, shut up pal! I’ve always had trouble over-cluttering my home in whatever game with whatever crap trophies. Including the heart from the first Daedra I whacked or the Ant Agonizer’s costume.

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      jaheira says:

      X-wing Alliance (awesome game) did just this.

    • Marshall Stele says:

      @jaheira

      Though, I was just thinking the player’s quarters in X-Wing Alliance looked ridiculously cluttered by the end of the game.

  8. kuddles says:

    To be fair, Scientology is an extremely litigious organization, so it would be in the developer’s best interest to deny any association.

    • Xercies says:

      Which is a shame because if they did the game would be hailed for it since its not usually done and further evidences that games can take a subject and satirise it/show it in a bad light.

    • Caleb367 says:

      Well, in the original Dead Space Unitology was already a pretty evident satire of Scientology. And that’s good enough: no need to go around yelling HURR DURR I’M SATIRE I’M SO COOL AND FIGHT THE POWAH BRO.

    • Xercies says:

      Actually i do think they should be doing that, one of the problems of gaming is that we don’t show our artiness a lot of times. I know its not in the same league but we called the fighters in Medal of Honour Afganis and backed down on it which ruined our credibility. Well if we do this and say its not a satire or whatever we are again ruinig our credibility of being arty about things. This kind of shows we can be arty about these things and we should be shouting off the rooftops about it.

    • jalf says:

      There is nothing very arty about the developers standing up and explaining every aspect of the game, what was intended, and who or what it is supposed to mock.

      If you want arty, then let the game stand on its own. It mocks scientology. That’s what matters. It doesn’t get any more “arty”, and it doesn’t ruin anyone’s credibility to let that fact stand alone, without the developers shouting “YES YES IT IS TRUE WE WERE MAKING FUN OF SCIENTOLOGY”.

      You know what would make it easier to take games seriously?

      Subtlety. Being able to make a point *without* shouting it from the rooftops. Being able to have a female character without blimps attached to her front, or being able to tell a story without the main character having a gun in his hand at all times. Or, being able to reference real-world phenomena *and then allowing the audience to interpret it*.

      I wouldn’t particularly *mind* if they’d admitted to mocking scientology, but I don’t see why they’d need to either. Their actions speak loudly enough, and to be honest, that is what makes it interesting. The fact that it’s in the game, regardless of what the developers were thinking when they put it in.

    • Xercies says:

      Do you know how film became recognised as art? Many Many people were shouting from the rooftops about how certain films showed this and that and for that reason it is art. And it worked basically. Now to show we are art basically we have to do the same thing.

  9. bill says:

    I think my main problem with bulletstorm is that I want to play the gameplay, but i don’t want to play the game. It just feels very very childish.

    • trjp says:

      So you want to play a game where killing people in imaginative and stylish ways is the objective/gameplay mechanism – but you object to them saying things like “poop” and “dick”!?

      That’s astonishing…

    • trjp says:

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      skalpadda says:

      I agree, the mechanics look fun, a way to create varied ways to play a shooter, but the game as a whole looks a lot less appealing. I don’t think offensiveness would be the problem as such and I doubt many in our generation of gamers will be offended by the actual language, it’s just that it seems so dumb.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      That’s…

      That’s the point. It is supposed to be dumb. As dumb and shooty as the original Doom and Quake. No thinking, just shoot. It never claimed to be gaming’s Citizen Kane. It wants to be a meat headed manshooter that’s fun because it’s a meat headed manshooter. If you don’t like those, it’s not for you. As for me, I am excited for the game because of it.

      In a game that is a satire of all the shooters around itself, you think you’re going to get a deep plot? No, you are going to get a quadruple barreled shotgun. It remains to see how well that worked out.

    • Enikuo says:

      I get what he’s saying. Instead of killing people, you could be destroying objects in the same imaginative, skill-point kinda way. The game mechanic doesn’t have to be tied to killing.

    • jalf says:

      Is it satire? Really? Or is it just more of what we already had, but trying to be just a bit more immature?

      Putting bad words in a product doesn’t necessarily make it satire.

      If it was simply a “meat headed manshooter”, then that’d be something completely different.

      But this is something that is ashamed to be a “meat headed manshooter”, and so they try to dress it up in a pretense of, of all things, sophistication. They try to pretend that “we may *look* like a meat-headed manshooter, but we’re actually a very subtle satire of the industry. Please don’t think we’re just “dumb and shooty. We’re only doing it as a parody of a dumb and shooty industry. Hur hur”.

      And that’s immature and hard to have much respect for.

    • Consumatopia says:

      I’d say it’s not so much killing zombies or whatever in “stylish and imaginative ways”, but killing zombies in sexualized ways.

    • bill says:

      I don’t object to it. I’m not interested in it.

      A game that puts the fun back in shooters = sounds good.
      A game designed by puerile 10 year olds for puerile 10 year olds = sounds like not my kind of thing.

      Doom and Quake might have been mindless shooters – but they didn’t set out to be dumb and immature. They set out to be fun shooters. This seems to have set out for the former.

  10. Moni says:

    It seems like a good week for people who enjoy something offensive being said and the whole thing spiralling out into a big, horrible shit-tornado where everyone comes out covered in poop.

    Jim Sterling, those guys off the foot-to-ball, the unfunny driving men who don’t like Mexicans, and the dickwolves thing still going, despite Penny Arcade's efforts to end it.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      Same thing every week.

    • bagga says:

      Wow, that whole Jiminazi business is crazy. I admire RPS’s willingness to report criticisms, but really they’re getting undeserved eyetraffic for baiting Jim and casting themselves as the victims. It’s a non-story. Everyone involved should go to their room and think about wot they dun.

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      Lambchops says:

      As somebody said in the comments of the link:

      “A simple case of two people needing to grow up, nothing more.”

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      Man Raised by Puffins says:

      Yeah, no one comes out of that looking good. Well, apart from whoever doodled the awesomely craptastic slash fan art which kicked the whole thing off.

    • Dracko says:

      Right, because a silly doodle (Which David Jaffe laughed off because he’s not entirely an infant, but Jim took as a terrible affront to his masculinity like the insecure manchild he is) entirely justifies misogynist hate speech.

      This isn’t the first time Sterling has revealed himself to be a disgusting bigot either. But this is the Boys Club, a.k.a. the gaming industry, so as long as he gets hit for a terrible website, he’s not going anywhere.

      Honestly don’t know which is sicker; this or Penny Arcade trying to make bank off mocking rape victims. Certainly not the best week in gaming’s history.

    • Caleb367 says:

      I’ve read about the whole thing and I’ve got this feeling: that the whole thing would have been over before starting if Gabe and Tycho did the sensible thing. That is, ignoring completely the dumbass looking for Indignation Of The Week.

      Attention whores.

    • Jhoosier says:

      I had no idea the Penny Arcade thing was still going on. Wow.

    • Dracko says:

      Caleb367: Right, rape victims are attention whores. Good job.

    • trjp says:

      It would all level out if people stopped getting upset on behalf of other people – getting upset about things they didn’t even watch/hear – getting upset about other people getting upset.

      Mexicans have a right to be upset about TG – no-one else does.

      The Dickwolves thing was someone climbing on a many-tiered high-horse and everyone else reacting badly to that…

      I’m not commenting on the foot-the-ball thing because it was something no-one was meant to hear and if we start on that, we’re all guilty…

    • Premium User Badge

      Chaz says:

      Frankly I think Destructoid is a bloody awful website anyway, rubbish reviews and rubbish articles that have all the merit of a blunt pencil, i.e. pointless. That one of their “journalists” acts like this is of no surprise to me.

    • Oak says:

      @trjp:

      Only the targeted group is allowed to be offended by a racist joke?

    • trjp says:

    • trjp says:

      Are you really upset or are you just getting upset on behalf of other people??

      I personally found the entire piece hugely unfunny (it could have been done funny IMO) and I can imagine Mexicans would have been a bit pissed-off but I couldn’t describe myself as ‘upset’ by it. I’m offended by obvious racism/sexism but I’m not about to write “Down with this sort of thing” on a placard over stereotyping because we do that all the time (Console owners, WoW players, Scousers, Mancs, Cockneys and so on).

      Coogan had an axe to grind – a lot of people who don’t like or watch TG are also grinding axes – it’s all a bit childish really – all of it.

    • Muzman says:

      Luckily I couldn’t take it at all seriously as it’s a bunch of tasteless old pommie blowhards having a go at Mexican food fer gawd sakes (I suppose they prefer spam roast, chip butty or something boil in the bag). Now I know they’re either taking the piss or can be completely ignored. If it weren’t for being paid enormous sums to drive around for no real reason they’d be ranting at some unfortunate soul on a bus somewhere.

    • trjp says:

      Hammond is well known for eating nothing you can’t get from a burger van… ;)

      The thing is, TG is BRILLIANT at it’s core product – which is men cocking-about and going on trips Their African, Polar, Vietnamese, South American roadtrips are legendary television – unsurpassed IMO.

      They’ve also liberated a crap genre (car telly) and made it massively, massively popular – even with people who don’t like cars!

      I suspect they’re just running-short of material – or feel they need to be more hostile or risque. The whole Mexican piece was so filled with vitriol it was a bit mind-boggling really. They could have said

      “Mexican supercar eh – goes faster as you’re approaching a border? – needs a long rest around lunchtime each day??” and people would have tittered and moved on – but instead they launched into a round of hostile stereotyping which wasn’t actually funny – I’m a bit confused tbh…

      But not offended or upset…

    • Robin says:

      The most depressing thing about all this is that Sterling still hasn’t been fired from Destructoid. They’re truly plumbing the depths previously reserved for tabloid newspapers.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      You know Dick Wolf has a wikipedia page: Dick Wolf.

      Kinda wonder what he thinks of all this.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      All this makes me glad that I read Cyanide and Happiness. Also, hasn’t this gone on long enough? Rape is a terrible thing, but people seem to have been reading far too much into Penny Arcade’s comic. People seem to get far too easily offended nowadays.

    • Snuffy the Evil says:

      I think the whole thing would’ve blown over a lot sooner if Penny Arcade hadn’t made a shirt out of it.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Why on earth would people read into that comic and think they were endorsing rape?

      WHY?

      Of course they started responding to everything with dripping sarcasm. If you read the werdz that went with the comic you’d know their stance on rape (hint: They are not for it). Rape is terrible, yes, but this had nothing to do with it. This had everything to do with people who wanted to be offended getting offended.

      As someone who has worked with victims of that crime, I can tell you right now: I’ve never seen a victim come back and start shouting they were a victim and getting indignant unless they have only started seeking help. In most cases, this was because they still hadn’t come to terms with it. People will let that moment define their entire lives, and it will make them feel powerless. That’s why it’s so important to get help. So anyone shouting “this happened to me” is almost certainly still letting it define them. *

      With that said, I’m gonna go on a limb and say the people who got indignant about this were looking for something to get mad about, or don’t like Penny Arcade as is. But by not actually reading what they said and just getting mad, you’re not accomplishing anything besides pissing into the yellow whirlpool that is the internet.

      *This has only been my experience, YMMV.

    • Soon says:

      The argument, as I understand it, is not that the comic is endorsing rape per se, but that’s it’s perpetuating a rape culture. That is, jokes involving rape in some way make it more socially acceptable. Which leads to people accusing PA of thinking rape is acceptable. They respond in sarcasm because it seems like an absurd thing to be accused of. That makes things worse. Here we are.

    • jalf says:

      @Dracko:

      Right, rape victims are attention whores. Good job.

      No, but the people who got angry on behalf of others are. And the people who weren’t offended by the strip, but who thought “here’s a case I can support” and then just started shouting are.

      If it had stayed an issue between PA and the people who were personally affected by the strip, then they would have been able to talk it out months ago.

      But with tens of thousands of idiots screaming their lungs out on either side? Not a chance. It’s hard for *anyone* on *either* side to make a rational argument then. And it’s even harder for anyone on the other side to *listen* to anything whatsoever. Or to make any kind of concessions whatsoever.

      The thing about the strip is that it wasn’t about rape. The joke didn’t *depend* on the rape in any way. If anything, the strip is emphasizing that “hey, turning your back to a rape victim is a pretty bad thing to do”. 99% of the people raging about it forget this: “Penny Arcade did not say “hey, let’s make fun of rape victims”. But it’s out of their hands, and it’s out of the hands of the sane people who originally complained.

      Now it’s a huge clusterfuck between the idiot fanboys of PA, allied with the idiots who think “freedom of expression” implies a *duty* to offend, against all the idiots who weren’t actually offended or afected by the strip, but who think that by joining the choir shouting against it, they’ll be able to make a difference for good.

      People are reading too much into the strip. Even inventing some kind of conspiracy that because Gabe/Mike was listening to Tori Amos while drawing, he’s mocking rape victims.

      Any wrongs that PA have done are simply no longer relevant. This whole fuckfest would keep rolling with or without them. There are too many angry morons shouting at each others now, which really sucks for the rape victims who *were* affected by the strip.

      What I’ve read of comments from the *actual* rape victims has been very sensible and sympathetic.
      the problem is that every word they utter is drowned in a flood of shit from people who are indignant for the sake of being angry.

      The argument, as I understand it, is not that the comic is endorsing rape per se, but that’s it’s perpetuating a rape culture. That is, jokes involving rape in some way make it more socially acceptable

      That’s an interesting argument though.
      I think people who make it are missing one important thing though: a sense of proportion.

      If making jokes about something makes it more socially acceptable, then there are a lot of people who should be shouted down the way PA has been. First, I could probably find the first 100 other PA strips which also portray something socially unacceptable, thus making it more socially acceptable. Second, they’re hardly alone in that. People make jokes about the holocaust, about racism, about every offensive or unacceptable thing you can think of. Why do they get away with it, while PA is being shouted at by half the internet, for half a year?

      Has PA done anything that’s *worse*? I don’t think so. They made a joke, not *about* rape, but in which it was implied that a rape had taken place, and with a punchline pretty clearly saying “you’re an ass for not putting a stop to this”. That could be interpreted as perpetuating a rape culture, but it seems like its effect is going to be pretty weak. You practically can’t put two males together in a room without them discussing who they’d like to have sex with. That seems infinitely worse. And yet people get away with that all the time. (This isn’t an attack on the small group of rape victims who originally objected to the strip, and who, I have no doubt, would also object to anything else they see as “perpetuating a rape culture”. I think they have a right to make that complaint. But it *is* an attack on the tens of thousands of hangers-on who single out PA because they’re the ones it’s cool to be upset at)

    • Shadram says:

      @Teddy Leach “People seem to get far too easily offended nowadays.”
      You obviously don’t know anyone who’s been sexually assaulted, and have no idea what a trigger is.

      I’d forgotten about the whole Dickwolves thing, but having been reminded by the comment that started this thread, I’ve spent most of the morning reading links from the timeline. My opinion seems in line with a lot of the more reasonable commenters: that the comment in the comic was meant to be throwaway and a joke about MMO games’ morality, but PA’s response to the whole thing has been utterly reprehensible. A simple “Yeah, it’s tasteless, sorry if we offended or inadvertantly upset anyone, it’s not what was intended” from Gabe would have ended the whole thing there. To mock survivors and taunt those who were offended is pretty disgusting.

      Then, all of a sudden, after months of female bloggers being threatened with rape because they spoke out about it, when Gabe gets a silly internet threat, it’s gone too far and must stop now. They’ve shown themselves to be very narrow minded in this whole thing.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Shadram: As much as I like the Penny Arcade guys…

      “My opinion seems in line with a lot of the more reasonable commenters: that the comment in the comic was meant to be throwaway and a joke about MMO games’ morality, but PA’s response to the whole thing has been utterly reprehensible. ”

      This. Though I wouldn’t go as far as “reprehensible”. I’d go for “ill-advised” and “overly-defensive”.

      I wouldn’t even say they would have to respond to that blogger, if they don’t think they had a point. Hell, I wouldn’t even say that you would have to respond to them if you do think they have a point. Just carry on and tweak your behaviour if you think they were right. By turning it into an issue, they’ve precipitated a whole mess of pain for a whole load of people, including themselves.

      KG

    • Consumatopia says:

      Wow, this new “don’t get angry on behalf of others” meme has to be the worst thing ever. Old lady just got mugged? Why should the police get angry on her behalf?

      Civilization is about sticking up for people other than yourself.

    • JackShandy says:

      Ohgod. It returns. Please, let’s not get into an argument over this. I’ve been in a horrible argument over this very topic that destroyed the comments section of a sunday papers not too long ago. It’s not pretty, it’s not entertaining, and no-one comes out of it with a different point of view. Don’t start it.

      KG is a wise man. Let his be the last words.

    • Shadram says:

      @KG: “This. Though I wouldn’t go as far as “reprehensible”. I’d go for “ill-advised” and “overly-defensive”.”

      Yeah, it was too strong a word, and “overly defensive” is more accurate to what I was thinking. But having spent the best part of a couple of hours reading various strongly-worded arguments on the whole thing, the over-exposure to said strong words caused me to forget other more appropriate words.

    • Reapy says:

      Yeah I think that having command of such a large volume of traffic as PA they would know by now what turning their attention on any kind of site would do. I remember seeing this way back and did not know it was still ongoing until viewing the timeline.

      In some sense though I think they have done the bloggers a slight favor in having their issues brought to a larger, although possibly hostile, crowd. From reading it I also agree with the assesment that the argument on the other side is having to do with the rape culture idea and triggers arguments. I had never heard of rape culture and did some reading into it and so learned something from this, although I disagree with their jump to conclusions that making a joke about a topic somehow means we all condone it.

      I mean, I laugh when in a movie someone is shot and their head explodes into juiced bits, and I’ve probably racked up a mountain of bodies via online and offline gaming, but that still doesn’t change the fact that I can remember some distinct moments of geninly being upset when encountering media involving real violence. Seeing a cadaver on PBS disturbed me on some fundamental level when I was younger, and even somewhat recently watching guncam footage of people getting blasted to hell and back left me genuinely upset for quite a while. Hell, I even feel quietly disturbed sometimes when watching the military channel, thinking about what it would be like to have those weapons turned on people rather than inanimate objects down range.

      Eh anyway, its covered everywhere, I’m pretty much in the camp of the first amendment when it comes to art, so long as the intention isn’t antagonistic (fire in crowded movie theater), it’s all good. Of coarse antagonizing people who have been fundamentally damaged by trauma and have been unable to recover from such is a pretty terrible thing to do.

      Good stuff though, lots of fun reading from this whole thing, unabated wildfire debates on hotbed issues, totally uncensored, that’s the beauty of the internet.

    • afarrell says:

      I think part of the problem is that Tycho is good at being reasonable and humble when he puts his mind to it (though someone who thinks “The only people who are pro-rape are rapists” must be in the enviable position of having never heard anyone suggest that “she was asking for it”), whereas Gabe is a screaming Id who should basically never communicate via printed words.

    • ezekiel2517 says:

      As a Mexican, am I allowed to take offense?

      I was not too offended by it (I’ve heard much worse) and I even laughed a little at the falling asleep joke, though I was not happy about the food one. Hammond has such a child face when he is joking that it is difficult for me to get pissed off, the same way I can’t hate my little brother for being such a pain sometimes.

      The main problem with this is not just that it was unnecessary and too long, but that now they are seen as bigots and I will have to explain why I still watch this show after they have so awfully dissed my fellow countrymen and me.

  11. Malawi Frontier Guard says:

    “Let’s take a few paintings and make them worse” is pretty funny. I could imagine the first one as a game, though.

  12. Sunjammer says:

    You won’t fin d a bigger Tim Hecker fan than me. That’s right, all of you other guys that like his music have been promptly INVALIDATED. But seriously. Every Hecker album is an event. I can’t wait.

  13. 7rigger says:

    Sundays are for sitting reading every link on RPS’s Sunday Papers article, looking for any inspiration that can help me with my essay.

    The Scientology/DS2 article was particularly interesting. Game attempting to reference real-world religious problems, or just making fun because everyone else does?

  14. Chopper says:

    Looking forward to this new batch this morning, but for god’s sake, can we have the links open in a separate tab? Not a biggie, but immensely irritating. Sort it out guys!

    • SoyBob says:

      Couldn’t you just middle-click the links instead?

    • Premium User Badge

      Napalm Sushi says:

      I had no idea you could do that. Huh.

    • unique_identifier says:

      …. lol?

    • Premium User Badge

      stahlwerk says:

      While it would certainly be easier for me as well if these links spawned a new window (and thus in modern browsers a new tab in the same window), I’m a bit more comfortable with retaining control over the html target behaviour. You can force a _self, _parent or _top link into a new window (by middle click/ Cmd+click on a mac), but AFAIK you can not force a _blank link to utilize the current window.

    • Unaco says:

      Or, hold Control as you click the link.

      Also, you do know that Ctrl + C/X/V is a shortcut for Copy/Cut/Paste, right? And how Alt-Tab works? Windows Key + E?

    • Xercies says:

      A few things…right click…open new window. Now how hard is that.

    • Koozer says:

      Relax people! He only asked a perfectly reasonable question. I’d like a new tab opened by default too, and I only learned about alt+tab in my late teens. What do you say to that, eh? Eh?

    • Auspex says:

      Well I would like to request that clicking the link continues to /not/ open up a new tab. I became bally annoyed when websites and blogs dare to be so presumptuous!

    • Premium User Badge

      DarkNoghri says:

      I’m with Auspex on this one. If I want a new tab open, I’ll open my own darn tab. Websites that arbitrarily open new tabs annoy me.

    • MD says:

      Another vote for leaving it as-is. I’ve got like three different easy ways to open links in a new tab when I want to — please leave the choice with me.

    • bill says:

      Automatically opening links in new tabs/windows is a big no-no in web design and usability terms. IT takes control from the user, it’s usually unexpected and inconsistent, and it’s annoying as hell.

  15. The Dark One says:

    Why was I not surprised to see Charlie Demerjian in the footage of that PC building event?

  16. ReV_VAdAUL says:

    Yay, Jim Sterling once again shows himself to be utterly worthless and will likely garner lots of pageviews for his efforts.

    I guess tabloid methods work in every medium :(.

    • Dracko says:

      The depressing part is that tabloid tactics still work because, well, I guess that’s what we want? It’s not like we’re holding these outlets to any genuine standards.

  17. Premium User Badge

    Devenger says:

    Space Funeral, and now Space Alert? Well, I know what my game’s title should start with in order to attract attention from Quinns…

  18. Xocrates says:

    Is it just me or is the RTS resource collection article essentially meaningless (and often bizarre and/or uninformed) wandering?

    Seriously, even aside the fact that he doesn’t seem to be fully aware of the point of resource collection in RTS, he goes on to make suggestions that only make sense in single-player while apparently still talking about multiplayer, makes some suggestions that already exist to some degree in high profile games he seems oblivious of, and ends up saying that maybe we could use achievements to get resource collection bonus and whut?

    • Premium User Badge

      Wisq says:

      Yeah, I was rather disappointed in the RTS article. It looked like it was going to talk about doing away with resource gathering and base building in favour of something more interesting. Instead … achievements? Seriously?

      Also, there was a fair bit of inaccurate stuff about other games, too. Like the Mass Effect sniper stuff. Maybe they were thinking of Mass Effect 2, but I played ME1 just recently, and it didn’t work _anything_ like the article says.

  19. subedii says:

    They key problem I have with the article on RTS’s is simply the innate presumption that base-building and management are in themselves tasks to be sidelined.

    Anyone else get that feeling when playing any of the recent mainstream RTS games? It was novel at first. But now, it is work. When you are playing anything but “no rush 5 minutes, n00b game”s, be it single player missions or multi player matches, you are building the base because you have to. Because it is your only way to build up an army. And, for the most part, you do it in a time constraint, fearing the coming onslaught of Red Helmeted Fanatic Zerglings under strict orders from Saruman to wipe you off the face of Middle Tib Sara.
    It’s a chore on your way to the fight. Some might even go as far as calling it a hindrance.

    The problem I have is simply the innate presumption that base-building and management in itself is a chore. Well yes it is, when it’s done wrong. When it’s done correctly, your economy and war machine and the decisions you take with them are just as important as the decisions you take in actual combat. And that in itself is engrossing. This is illustrated quite clearly in a game like Starcraft 2 (and frankly, even I believe that game has too much busywork), your decision making with your base and resource management is crucial to winning the game, and that’s involving.

    Ultimately he says you’re building your base “Because you have to”. That’s not really true. Base building is the process in itself, you’re constantly making decisions whilst doing so. If I build a base in SupCom 2, I’m immediately faced with choices: Land, Sea, or Air? Do I focus on power now or later? Should I go with a Research Station or concentrate on building up forces? All these vary depending on what strategy you want to adopt, what the map is, what you think your opponent’s going to do. And from the very beginning they shape the flow of the rest of the game.

    There’s a few minutes at the start of every game where you haven’t encountered the enemy, but those are always tense minutes because your mind’s constantly whirring away at trying to implement a plan of action. When you first scout your enemy, even moreso because now you’re trying to anticipate what he’s doing and act to countermand it. He went with heavy army building when you decided to build an early research station. OK, so now you have to adapt, build up yourself, or try to play defensively, or go with raids in order to buy yourself time for a tech advantage, things like that. The base and the actual combat are both part of the overall strategy of the game, and if you aren’t thinking during that segment, then it’s no wonder you would consider the “5 minute no-rush” game to be the logical way to play.

    Some RTS’s forego the concept of base building, and that’s good too (I’m currently loving the Retribution beta, go IG etc.), but they’re a different style of strategy game. Such RTS’s focus less on larger scale strategy and more on individual unit control and micro. DoW2 is all about using individual unit capabilities, positioning, cover, and so forth. You don’t scout the enemy’s base because doing so is useless, it doesn’t affect your overall strategy, the strategy takes place in the field. Advanced intel doesn’t mean much because, being tactical by nature, the gameplay is far more reactionary and on-the-spot, with less long term strategic planning.

    That article wasn’t sitting very well with me to begin with, although I could appreciate where he was trying to come from. But when he got to this bit:

    Some games have attempted to change that, by getting rid of that whole part of the game. A move met with hostility, anger and outcry.

    I pretty much call tripe and he’s being very deliberately disingenuous in talking about the reception such games have received, in order to try and portray RTS’s as following some fairly homogeneous rules. Games like World in Conflict, Men of War and Dawn of War have been very readily praised in the gaming press, and the fact that they’ve garnered communities around them alone illustrates that there isn’t some innate hostility towards to the concept of an RTS minus the base-building. Like I said, they’re different styles of RTS. They don’t get the acclaim of Starcraft 2, but then seriously, what RTS does? If they tried to remove base building from Starcraft 2, then yes, there’d probably be outcry, but thankfully Blizzard know their game too well to do something so stupid.

    I want to talk about some of the problems of the way he brings up persistence in RTS’s and bring up Homeworld 2 and Starcraft 2 in there, but this is already long enough as it is. Suffice it to say I’m having a hard time agreeing with a lot of his conclusions.

    • Tei says:

      Basebuildings is creative, maybe is not a push for adrenaline, but not everything need to exist to feed the adrenalina addicted people.

    • Joseph-Sulphur says:

      I completely agree with you. Managing your economy in Starcraft 2 is just as important as being able to effectively control your units, “macro” vs “micro”. You aren’t physically controlling your workers as they collect minerals, but you do have to make choices, such as whether to spend resources on making more worker or more offensive units, when to expand, things like that. That article missed the point IMO.

    • omicron1 says:

      And this is why I am a fan of the concept of combining RTS and city-builders.

      Take the base-building of, say, the Anno series or Children of the Nile and merge it with SoaSE’s slower, bigger RTS gameplay, and you have yourself a miracle.

    • Maykael says:

      You, my good friend, are very right! That is all!

    • Cypher_CS says:

      Well, first of all, I did not mean to write any conclusions.
      Nor have I been disingenuous in any way.

      I’ve deliberately ignored such games as CoH and WiC, because they were sans base building from the get go. And it’s cool. I’ve enjoyed CoH greatly, much more than C&C4 and StarCraft2.

      I am, however, trying to take a look at the more… mainstream RTS.
      The ones that had the same gameplay since Dune 2, more or less.
      Yes, I do contend that the hype of SC2 will ware off, and soon even.
      Yes, I do contend that there’s a case to be made about Cognitive Dissonance here – about how players are being fed the same gameplay over and over again, with different packaging, and blaming various management and developers for brining sub par games, when in reality it’s the same quality as previous. They’re just used to it, and hence the Dissonance.

      Sure, you might think I want to get rid of resources and base building.
      Then again, that can only be the case if all you’ve read are the Title and the first paragraph.
      I’ve clearly stated that I want them both there. Just want another way to make them a more integral part of the gameplay.

      I disagree with many of the examples brought here.
      Sure, it’s very important what you build, how fast and in what order. But it’s not endogenously important. It’s important to the next stage. To a stage that – as WiC and CoH showed us – can act as a completely separate or standalone stage. The actual action.

      At any rate, I do respect the comments (well, maybe not the ones calling me disingenuous), and I’m writing a follow up Blog entry, with comments from the blog itself, other sites and the ones you’ve written here.

      And again – it’s meant as a discussion, not a conclusion.
      I’m arrogant enough to think that StarCraft 2 is mostly hype and that if the Zerg expansion doesn’t do something very interesting, the Emperor’s New Clothes will be on display for all… But! I’m not nearly arrogant enough to conclude the fate or wrong doings of an entire genre.
      It’s an opinion meant to start a discussion. Not a conclusion.

    • Premium User Badge

      FriendlyFire says:

      One game that doesn’t entirely deal away with base-building (quite the opposite actually) and manages to make it fun is Supreme Commander. The base-building is an integral part of the game, it’s vast and complex and bases can actually be used as an offensive weapon. While I don’t think the strategy is all that viable in a competitive multiplayer environment, the simple fact you can do an “artillery creep” that eventually ends with you bombarding the enemy with dozens of static artillery from outside of retaliation range is pretty darn cool. With a different balance, maybe, such a game could be made into something where base building is the focus, either as great as or greater than the attack part with actual units.

    • Reapy says:

      Hello the author!

      I somewhat agree with the parent poster here, but really I think your article could mostly be summed up by “starcraft 2 is old and boring!” Well, that was my feeling when I played it. I really enjoyed the single player campaign, but put down multiplayer because it is just another blizzard RTS and I personally have played the bliz rts formula to death when I was younger (thanks kali and warcraft 2! ).

      My main issue with SC2 wasn’t so much the building portion, but that in terms of pushing the genera to new places it takes some huge leaps backwards, which honestly is a problem the current gaming industry has as a whole.

      I think I’ve always been more of a fan of tactical RTS games, the first one to really hook me being Myth, the fallen lords (which was taken from us when ms haloized bungie, bastards). But you really have trade offs with each flavor. In a tactical, the only macro you have is army preselection, and the game becomes about wiggling troops around better than the other person, while in SC2 the macro level strategy takes place throughout the course of the game at specific points.

      But yes I would like to see more approaches to RTS, I would like to see more detailed worlds, fondly remembering close combat for example, though maybe the faces of war series touches on that (have yet to try out the newer games).

      Still my I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have a sort of daggerfall sized game where you have kingdom style warfare happening around you, having the scope extend from solo small party combat, to being able to take a sort of RTS style control of ~100 man engagements with the degree of ‘simulation’ lining somewhere between a total war game and a starcraft style game (more detailed lord of the realms style? ), to finally a lite strategy style game at the ‘kingdom’ level.

      Anyway, back in reality, persistent buildings would be cool, I’ve always wanted in RTS games when I click to take the next territory on the global map, that I could somehow tap into what i’ve done on previous maps. Did battle for middle earth 2 remember what buildings you had created on each map when it was eventually revisited on the global map? I can’t remember at all. Eh.

    • subedii says:

      @ Cypher CS: The comment system is acting strange so I’m having to post this in a separate thread.

      I am sorry, but I’m going to have to disagree. You pretty much dismissed out of hand entire sub-genres of RTS that evolved precisely because of a demand for more varied styles of gameplay, and they evolved beyond your complaints in interesting and varied ways. You did that with no provisos or explanation (like you’re adding in now). If it’s not disingenuous, then you simply haven’t provided enough context or explanation.

      And the explanation you provide now is… well… bizarre in itself. Referencing C&C 4 as the “mainstream” RTS and ignoring the Dawn of War franchise for example. DoW2 happily launched to critical acclaim and was a success for Relic. C&C 4 on the other hand, launched to a poor reception and effectively resulted in the closure of the C&C team at EA. Unlike other entries in the franchise, C&C 4 didn’t even receive an expansion pack. Choosing to limit discussion of what is by now a common evolution of the RTS doesn’t really make sense from the perspective of the arguments you make with regards to needing a change. Those changes have happened and continue to happen, but you don’t try to go into them. You just say “people hate them” and move on.

      More importantly you can easily draw parallels (which you also ignored) between the transition from C&C3 to C&C4, and Dawn of War 1 to Dawn of War 2, in that both abandoned base building to transition to a different style of RTS gameplay. The rejection that C&C4 faced wasn’t purely due to the fact that it did so, it was because it implemented its new mechanics extremely poorly, something that would have been useful to analyse in context considering that DoW2 didn’t suffer the same problem.

      It’s not my place to tell you how much or what to write about, but you simply threw in a blanket statement about how the removal of base building from RTS’s is reviled without any context or explanation, and treated it as self evident. Even on the assumption we’re now taking one of the only two RTS franchises you now say you actually wanted to talk about, there’s far more to the reasons why C&C 4 was rejected.

      I disagree with many of the examples brought here.
      Sure, it’s very important what you build, how fast and in what order. But it’s not endogenously important. It’s important to the next stage. To a stage that – as WiC and CoH showed us – can act as a completely separate or standalone stage. The actual action.

      No it very much is important to in the here and now, not a later stage. All those decisions are interconnected, changes in combat circumstances affect and influence the base management Macro, and vice-versa. World in Conflict (and I would say, not Company of Heroes since that had base building and a significant tech tree. The tensions between when and how to tech up are always relevant) showed that this can act as a completely standalone section, but that is, as I stated, a very different style of RTS. The reason that base building is important in a game like Starcraft is that it works by wholly different mechanics. The Macro is very inherently tied to the Micro. Saying that they’re two different segments doesn’t really make any difference, they are far more interconnected in a game like Starcraft. Base and resource management are what provides the meta-game, without it Starcraft 2 doesn’t lose busywork, it loses most of its actual strategy.

      I mean you say you disagree with (presumably) my Supreme Commander example. I can accept that, but I’d be interested to hear why. In a game like WiC, there genuinely isn’t much Macro to the gameplay, you’ll note instead that there’s a greater number of Micro mechanics to deal with instead. Similar with Dawn of War 2.

    • Cypher_CS says:

      Guys guys,

      Are you reading the right entry?
      I mentioned StarCraft 2 only once in the entire entry (more in the comments, mostly by others). So how can you sum it up by “StarCraft is old and boring”?
      The previous entry (Top 100 on PC Gamer) you can, but not this one.

      As for C&C4, I did NOT mention it as mainstream.
      Rater as an attempt to swerve from the mainstream. Past C&C are mainstream. C&C4 is by no means such.

    • Xocrates says:

      @Cypher_CS: In my understanding, after reading both your article and your comments here, your argument has two fundamental flaws:

      1) You have an overly narrow (if not altogether erroneous) definition of mainstream. You seem to consider “mainstream” only the classic style of RTS which the genre has been shifting away in recent years. Saying that Starcraft 2 is mainstream but DoW2/CoH/WiC are not because of reduced base building makes no sense because that’s not what mainstream means, and all of those games are considered mainstream by today’s standards.
      This leads to one of the major issues to your article: You purposely ignore whatever these games may have brought to the genre because they don’t fit your narrow definitions. Even the ones that still include base building and resource collection (including the original DoW).

      2) You keep insisting that base building and combat are inherently distinct. Again this is a flawed assumption not only because, as subedii points out, base building needs to adapt to your defensive/offensive needs, but because in a classic style RTS like Sc2 it’s entirely possible to win a game without direct army on army confrontation. Base harassment will often decide the result of a match, and it’s usually a good indicator of who’s ahead by counting the number of mining expansions.

    • subedii says:

      @ Cypher:

      Look, here’s the quote I was finding contentious again:

      Some games have attempted to change that, by getting rid of that whole part of the game. A move met with hostility, anger and outcry.

      When I called you out on it and addressed that, you said that it had nothing to do with other RTS’s, merely what you refer to as “Mainstream” franchises in the form of C&C and Starcraft. So I addressed C&C 4 and that its issues were to do with implementation, and it would have been advisable to compare and contrast with Dawn of War 2. You’re now saying it has nothing to do with that either.

      So if it’s not to do with other variants of the RTS, and it’s nothing to do with C&C4, then what exactly are these RTS’s that have been so vehemently proscribed that you’re talking about?

      I agree with Xocrates here, if you have a definition of “mainstream” that you’re applying to your piece, it’s one you haven’t elucidated on enough, and arguably it’s one that’s not really congruent with trying to discuss evolutions of the RTS. It seems like an arbitrary limitation on what “counts” and what “doesn’t count”.

      You also take umbrage at people highlighting Starcraft 2 when you mentioned it in passing, but that’s only because you used it as an example of where base building was a chore, again, without going into real depth on it, you just said that was the case. Myself and others have argued it’s part of the core gameplay and strategy. I can even agree that Starcraft 2 has what I would argue are some poor design decisions with regards to its base management and resource collection, but unless you go into depth on that there’s no real discussion to be had. The concept alone isn’t antiquated and certainly isn’t a chore that gets in the way of the gameplay, it’s part of the core of the gameplay.

      Still, if you want we can talk about the rest of the post and the concept of persistence in RTS’s, but to be honest I think you were vague here as well and it’s likely just going to lead to more contention. In general you didn’t really look at other RTS’s that have tried to implement persistence across missions, how these affected the gameplay, and what worked and what didn’t. Supreme Commander 1 (small number of large, multi-part missions) and Homeworld 2 (persistent fleet) are good examples there.

    • Cypher_CS says:

      @Xocrates,

      Actually, I’d call SC2 mainstream over DoW/CoH/WiC because of sales and not base building.
      But yeah, I agree, certainly the better term here is Classic than mainstream.
      Point taken.

      Just a note though, by it’s very definition there’s a direct correlation between what would be considered mainstream and sales.
      That said, there’s no question that those games you slashed together have gone to great lengths to bring new ideas to the genre and do it well enough to become, ultimately, mainstream.

      And I have purposefully ignored those games (not what they brought to the genre) because, as I’ve admitted before, I’ve decided to deal with the Classic games. As in, again, I don’t want to be rid of base building, expansion etc’.

      I do insist that those are inherently distinct (moved to point #2) – not because they somehow don’t effect each other – of course they do. But more because more often than not, it’s an Either Or situation. In most Faster Paced games, you rarely get the opportunity to redo building mistakes.
      In Slower Paced games, you can take your time and do whatever you want, really.
      Again, referring to the Classic formula (I’ll refrain from using mainstream again).
      Yes, I agree there’s a direct correlation between how and in what order you build your base (Strategy) and the actions you take later – be it harassment or onslaught – in the game (Tactics). But correlation is more sequential (in this case, at least) and not necessarily taking place in tandem with each other.
      Sure, no argument on being able to do that in tandem. Certainly, the more skilled the player, the more strategy and tactics he can combine at the same time.
      But the point is that most current game design doesn’t encourage this enough, doesn’t emphasize it enough at all. I’ll go as far as to state that I’d like to see it forced within the map/mission design. Make the experience more… visceral, maybe.
      Again, this is just an opinion, not a conclusion.

      @subedii,

      C&C is what I referred to as mainstream, C&C4 is anything but. Yes, for many reasons, not just base building.
      C&C4 is not a franchise, it’s a single entry in one. Hence why this is NOT about it.
      Yes, that jab was indeed an intentional jab at C&C4 – as being an entry in a franchise. An entry radically different than it’s predecessors. The intentional jab didn’t fall on deaf ears. Those who it’s there for know it.

      You can argue all you want that it’s part of the core gameplay.
      That’s fine. That’s true even.
      But…
      First, I don’t argue that’s the case and that’s that. I don’t take umbrage at the discussion. I’d take umbrage at you claiming that I state it as fact, when I opened the whole blog entry by saying what I feel and asking if others feel the same way. SC2 was an example of that.
      Second, just as a general rule of thumb, just cause it is part of the core gameplay and strategy (which it unarguably is), does NOT mean it’s not a chore. Or, rather, it doesn’t contradict my argument. Not in the slightest.
      I never meant that chores aren’t essential.
      Ricco is doing his job. It’s essential. If he doesn’t do it, and do it well, he doesn’t get paid. Same exact thing here. That’s not the argument.

      Again, I never said or wrote that I want that part gone. It seems that some of your arguments are still somehow hung up on the issue of removing base building and resources.
      I don’t want that. I want them in. I loved them, and I want to keep playing that classic formula. Just want it to be more fun, less of a chore.

      Sure, it boils down to design decisions and maybe, just maybe, the conclusion will be that it’s all down to actual mission and map design, keeping current mechanics as they are (though I doubt it’s that simple).
      Maybe the right term to use here is that while it’s part of the core gameplay (no argument there) it’s not part of the core action?

      Again, it’s meant to open a discussion, flamboyant as it may be, not a conclusion.
      And as such, I’m taking all your comments with appreciation. Certainly not umbrage. :)
      Let’s hope next entry will be more to your liking.

      P.S.
      If you want something to really flame me about, try the entry before this one – my rant about PC Gamer’s pick of SC2 as #9 of All Time, while the original was at #86, and their really dumb reasons for it.

    • subedii says:

      To begin with, saying “it’s just an opinion!” every time doesn’t really change anything. Of course it’s an opinion. And it’s one that we’re arguing with. Neither I nor anyone else used the word “fact” in reference to your opinions, and that’s just another strawman. You posted your opinion, it’s up for discussion, that’s what we’re talking about. If you posted it and didn’t want it discussed then well…

      Anyway.

      C&C is what I referred to as mainstream, C&C4 is anything but. Yes, for many reasons, not just base building.
      C&C4 is not a franchise, it’s a single entry in one. Hence why this is NOT about it.
      Yes, that jab was indeed an intentional jab at C&C4 – as being an entry in a franchise. An entry radically different than it’s predecessors. The intentional jab didn’t fall on deaf ears. Those who it’s there for know it.

      Forgive my sarcasm but:

      Oh good. “It’s not for you”. That answers my question so much better.

      /sarcasm

      Either C&C4 was what you were talking about, in which case, as I said, the reason it was castigated was most certainly NOT because of abandoning base building, but doing it extremely badly. You lumped it in as the former with no discussion, and that was your token attempt at referencing other styles of RTS gameplay.

      If it’s not the game that you were talking about, well what games were?

      I’ll leave aside the discussion of mainstream since to be honest, I feel what I said still applies. The definition you’re trying to apply doesn’t really seem to make to much sense, or at the very least doesn’t seem all that relevant, it seems instead like an arbitrarily chosen restriction.

      Second, just as a general rule of thumb, just cause it is part of the core gameplay and strategy (which it unarguably is), does NOT mean it’s not a chore. Or, rather, it doesn’t contradict my argument. Not in the slightest.
      I never meant that chores aren’t essential.

      And herein lies the problem, you fail to successfully elucidate on precisely why you feel it’s a chore or what aspects of it you feel are getting in the way of the “action”, you just blanket label it as such. It’s a question of mechanics and implementation, not the entire aspect in itself.

      You also don’t really make any real delineation between the problems faced by multiplayer mechanics and how they compare to singleplayer mechanics. And that’s crucially important, because the two present a very different set of problems, and even what makes something “a chore”. You make mention of persistence, but leaving aside the discussion of “what how and why” to apply it, that’s only really relevant to singleplayer RTS gameplay.

      As I said, there’s no real discussion to be HAD there unless you’re more specific. Labelling the entire thing as a chore simply doesn’t make any sense. I already talked about how that’s not the case with the SupCom 2 example I gave. I asked what you disagreed with on that one but you didn’t answer that either. So realistically there’s not much more I can really add.

      There IS A DISCUSSION to be had with relation to what mechanics work and which ones are obtuse and simply become busywork “on your way to the fight”, but only if you’re willing to go into specifics. On the flip-side, if you genuinely do believe that most or all aspects of this are a chore, then discussion of RTS’s that have consciously foregone those mechanics becomes all the more relevant.

  20. Xercies says:

    Hmm I kind of agree with the Bulletstorm article and kind of not, i do believe that there are to many puerile nonsense games out there but i do believe that if people like them they should be made because some of them can be enjoyable. But as long as were still making puerile nonsense games and not the more grown up games our medium will never be able to grow up.

    I think the Jim Sterling thing was a bit of a non issue seeing those screenshots, they were both as bad as each other in the horribleness marks.

    Space Alert, hmmm must put it down on the ever increasing list of boardgames to buy(thanks Robert Florence!)

    • Dracko says:

      In what universe is it considered a non-issue for the representative of a major media outlet to harass (and tacitly encourage the harassment) of a member of the public using blatantly sexist language and then back-pedal like a Tea Partier?

    • Xercies says:

      When the other person is using similarly crass language to defend herself instead of actually knowing to stop.

    • Creeping Death says:

      “But as long as were still making puerile nonsense games and not the more grown up games our medium will never be able to grow up.”

      By this logic no medium has grown up.

      Taking a popular medium that video games often get compared to, film. You get the big name oscar winners, the summer blockbusters, and then the puerile nonsense of the American Pie films… They all sell. Because one is aimed at a different audience than another, does that make the medium as a whole any less important?

    • Xercies says:

      No because tis a little different with video games, the only things that sell really well in gaming is the puerile nonsense games or the games that have no maturity or art in them. Unfortunately we don’t have our “oscar” games yet and as long as these games get made and keep selling in the millions i don’t think we ever will have.

  21. Towercap says:

    For shame, Mr. Sterling.

    • Centy says:

      If you read their actual back and forth on the twitter link you would be saying shame on them both.

    • Dracko says:

      I only see one bigot losing his shit over a picture and spewing hate speech in that debacle.

      I mean, what? The picture was disgusting? Well, if you say so. No denying it was juvenile. In which case, why did Sterling ever get a free pass for using homosexual rough sex as a punchline?

      Apparently, it’s okay when someone other than him is the butt of his own jokes. And that justifies going Rush Limbaugh on someone without any kind of repercussion from his employers.

    • Towercap says:

      I read said back-and-forth before posting. Both Sterling and daphaknee behaved utterly rubbish.

      So: For shame, Mr Sterling. You’re a public figure and as such should have tried harder to keep a level head.

    • bob_d says:

      Having read the back-and-forth, neither comes off as very mature, but he also really comes across as a hateful misogynistic creep. (Then again, I only had to read a couple of his articles for him to come across as a misogynistic creep… ) There’s this miasma of juvenile misogyny that clings to the game industry, and it takes something vile to stand out; he stands out.

    • JackShandy says:

      Sterling’s a crude and offensive writer. I get the feeling – from articles like the one on Arcade Gammon’s sexuality, or his tirade against indie games – that he spends so long in offensive mode that he can’t quite switch it off even when he’s trying to be reasonable. Spending all day writing trollish blog posts could do strange things to a man.

      What bothers me more than Sterling’s behavior is the uncomfortable feeling that it would have resulted in a high-five around the Destructoid offices.

    • JackShandy says:

      —There really should be a way to delete comments—

  22. Premium User Badge

    stahlwerk says:

    Reading the Bulletstorm article and it’s comments (I got 10 in before I decided I had better things to do) made me realize something. Somehow this whole Video Games =?= Art debate frustrates me deeply, but not because I feel that it’s so unfair that the man is keeping us down, man.
    Worrying about the reception of games in our culture may be a sign of their dynamic and liveliness (when did you last see two grown-ups get in a flamewar about the relevance of modern “non-pop” music?), but ultimately I feel there’s no point in it, since there will never be an institution fit to say: “Now, that new game surely does make a difference, I hereby declare Video Games are now art. Welcome to the fold!”. All in all, the whole gist of the discussion reminds me of the big-endian / little-endian debate (the one from Gulliver’s Travels, not the CompSci one).
    Eat that damn egg already, it has a lot of proteins that are good for you. But please make sure to buy free-range (at the very least).

  23. Jimbo says:

    “Journalist Stephen Fung put a PC together in just over four minutes at the Build Your Own PC Race for Charity in Las Vegas.“

    May I recommend this gem http://www.tested.com/tested-takes-on-the-ces-2011-build-your-own-pc-race/47-271/ . Brought to you by the wonderful Ana Hurka-Robles and the fine folks at Tested.

  24. Navagon says:

    Personally I want a game actually based directly on the teachings of Scientology. Kind of like Hubbard’s own Left Behind.

    Naturally it would be starring Tom Cruise using his Couch of Xenu to score some thetans. Or something like that.

    • Tei says:

      I think southpark already covered that with enough detail.

    • Navagon says:

      But not with full on interactivity they haven’t. It’s not a game until you have mouse support and can change the graphics settings.

    • Xercies says:

      That South Park episode knocked it out of the park on satirising the Scientologists, especially the part where they go we don’t actually believe in that space shite we just tell the public that to get more money. Which I have always thought that the Scientology are doing, the space shit is a mask to be honest and no one in the church really believes that stuff.

    • Navagon says:

      Given how they practice brainwashing as a part of their indoctrination it’s hard to tell what they really believe (and I’m not talking about the usual religious ‘brainwashing’ either). But to me, it sounds like the South Park episode in question aimed to make them sound more sane than they really are.

    • Xercies says:

      Nah it said how they were all nuts in different ways, it was just satirising how the leaders of Scientology probably doesn’t believe in that crap because they just really want the money. I think the Scientologist people are more misguided then Nuts to be honest…its a horrible cult anyway and you can’t get out of it without them basically ruining your life.

  25. Theory says:

    Can’t believe this didn’t make it in. It namechecks RPS and everything!

    To say that Rock Paper Shotgun went absolutely bananas for Minecraft is an understatement. They could not stop talking about the game for weeks. The resulting excitement in the community spilled over into other sites, and that contributed significantly to the game becoming the breakout hit that it was.

    Minecraft worked because it resonated with the PC gamer tribe, and they spread its story in turn. It is the marketing story that they want to engage with because the game is good, the art style is one that resonates with their cultural values (old school, low-fi and quirky), the technical barriers to playing the game are a badge of honor, and they have the ability to share their creations. A guy like Notch with his HTML site and his 16×16 texture sensibilities appeals very directly to this tribe, especially those who are indie game developers themselves.

    • Auspex says:

      I’ve seen similar things a couple of times before and I find it really rather odd that RPS is being associated with Minecraft’s enormous success. My recollection is that RPS were really rather late to meaningful Minecraft coverage (as far as I can tell the fourth post (only one of which having to extend beyond ‘the jump) was about Notch starting his own studio)

      I’m sure RPS (particularly Quinn’s diary series) convinced people to buy Minecraft who otherwise wouldn’t be but I (and I’m no ‘gaming hipster (for want of a /much/ better phrase)) had already gorged on, and subsequently grown bored of, Minecraft before it was covered in any great detail here at all.

      Saying RPS “contributed significantly to the game becoming the breakout hit that it was” appears to me to be an utterly fatuous statement.

    • skurmedel says:

      I’m part of a tribe?!

    • gwathdring says:

      Yay, tribe buddies!

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Obviously, now that we are a tribe, we must make sacrifices to the sun-god, KG.

    • Thants says:

      Are there technical barriers to playing Minecraft?

    • Urthman says:

      The guy doesn’t believe his own story.

      First he says Notch is a success because he’s an authentic member of the culture who love his game. He’s making games the way he wants them made, which turns out to be the way a lot of people want games to be made.

      Second the writer says Mojang should focus on being a one-franchise publisher, making Minecraft, Minecraft 2, Minecraft ports to all possible platforms, and nothing else.

      But anyone who’s paid any attention to Notch knows that he’s unlikely to do nothing but Minecraft the rest of his life. He enjoys being creative and working on lots of different things. Look at all his inventive little 4k games — Left4kDead is a darn good little flash game. For Notch to chain himself to churning out Minecraft sequels forever would be to violate exactly what the author claims made him successful in the first place.

    • skurmedel says:

      Thants: Of course, you need to download the game. Run it and login. A technical Berlin wall.

  26. Cinnamon says:

    That quote about Daggerdale reminds me of the proud profession language in the designer notes of Vampire: Redemption explaining why it was absolutely a great idea to adapt the story teller system into a bog standard level grinding action RPG.

  27. Premium User Badge

    daphne says:

    Regarding the well-written Magical Wasteland article, I am one of those in the “why define video games as art?” camp. Not because they cannot be art or any such inhibition, but because — it seems to me — the debate is rapidly progressing to a point where, if there’s a search for an universal answer, the universal answer is appearing to be nonexistent, but more importantly the discussions have started to devalue the question at hand (I’m also of the opinion is that the questions are more important than any possible answers in these kinds of debates).

    I was unaware of the n+1 article up to this point and I too found it rather appalling in terms of some of its arguments and examples. If people are so willing to draw such definite conclusions as “videogames are not art, but they are something else” (and yes, that would qualify as definite in my understanding), or even subscribe with such ease to a binary categorization like “art/not-art” (frankly, I was thinking that people had moved on from this, something the author of the MW article alludes to with his reference to high/low-brow thinking), then maybe it’s better to take a deep breath and close the book on the question for awhile. Regressing towards more basic thinking such as these, I think, is not respectful to the question at hand and I think it would also limit the scope of insights to be drawn from such a rich space.

    And regarding the Gamasutra article, I am left with one main question: Why should games be socially responsible at all? I realize this is a lazy way of looking at things, but expecting a game to be socially responsible implies, to me at least, a different kind of shame: as if games and developers are ashamed of its audience. I do not want Bulletstorm to censor its expression on the off chance that some young gun could be adversely affected by it, in the same way that I did not agree with Medal of Honor censoring its references to Taliban in multiplayer. That’s just me, though.

  28. Mad Hamish says:

    Since when has Carl Sagan been a “futurologist”?
    If that’s even a thing.

    • Cinnamon says:

      It is a real thing, at least I’m pretty sure it is, since I have read Wired a few times and they love that sort of thing. They are people who predict the future scientifically. But you are right, Carl Sagan was known for being a space scientist and someone who communicated science to the general public. Not sure what he has to do with chopping space monsters to bits with buzz saws either. I don’t remember that part from the film based on Contact.

    • Mad Hamish says:

      I’ve heard the likes of Ray Kurzweil be described as a futurist. Someone who likes to make predictions on future technologies. But a “futurologist” sounds like someone who studies the future, somehow.

    • Muzman says:

      A Futurist tries to work out what will happen in the Future based on an understanding of today.
      A Futurologist researches the Future in a more empirical fashion by examining it first hand.

      Thus Ray Kurzweil sits around today imagining ways in which individual human life might changed and extended tomorrow.
      While Carl Sagan, on the other hand, has taken to practical experience of the individual human future by being dead.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      Do they consult cards and crystal balls?

    • Premium User Badge

      stahlwerk says:

      Futurism was an early 20th century movement (mostly in the italian visual arts scene, but it pervaded very much the european youth’s Zeitgeist) that wanted to bring change to the world by any means necessary, i.e. destroy everything that is “old”. Most of them welcomed World War I as a cataclysmic event and joined the military with great expectations and hopes.
      Needless to say that many Futurists ended in death or disillusionment, or became supporters of Italian Fascism, but Futurisms influences went on to be reflected in other expressionistic movements like Dadaism.

      What I mean to say is that Futurology is the right word for someone who forms predictions based on past and current events.

    • Premium User Badge

      skalpadda says:

      Wasn’t Carl Sagan an astronomer? That he liked to talk and theorize about space exploration and wrote a sci-fi book hardly means he’s a “futurist”.

  29. Premium User Badge

    heretic says:

    How do you find so much good ambient Jim?

    I’ve loved ambient since I discovered it in games like Homeworld (first played when I was 10). Really relaxing to listen to, perfect for falling asleep over revision!

    I like the way more games are using this style of music, fits the mood perfectly for games like Eufloria.

    Kane & Lynch Dog Days might have had crappy gameplay and crappy story, but their dark ambient mixed with the city rumble made me like the game enough to play it through to the end :D

    • DiamondDog says:

      Have you tried boomkat? They have a very big selection of ambient artists. Even if you don’t want to buy from there you’re bound to find stuff you hadn’t heard of.

      http://boomkat.com/

    • Premium User Badge

      heretic says:

      Cool, hadn’t heard of this before – thanks very much!

    • choconutjoe says:

      Boomkat is great! Their newsletter is well worth signing up for.

    • Ex Lion Tamer says:

      @heretic: ResidentAdvisor isn’t particularly focused on ambient, but they review some good stuff.

      Kompakt’s Pop Ambient compilation series is a nice (though far from all-inclusive) starting point for recent ambient. Conveniently, there’s a new installment out, though I would start with 2009′s if you’re not familiar with that end of the ambient spectrum.

      Worth looking into Kranky’s output too (especially if you liked the Hecker track Jim linked above).

  30. Vandalbarg says:

    Space Alert sounds an awful lot like Space Station 13, both the Something Awful and /tg/ versions of it!

    http://ss13.donglabs.com/index.php?title=Main_Page

  31. Robin says:

    This was hands down the best games-related article that I read this week, a review of Jane McGonigal’s Reality is Broken:

    http://www.edrants.com/jane-mcgonigals-mind-is-broken/

    That McGonigal’s ideas are taken any more seriously than Pepsi’s Gravitational Field brand book will never cease to amaze me.

    • Premium User Badge

      stahlwerk says:

      That Pepsi book… wow. Just wow.

    • Ex Lion Tamer says:

      A lot of interesting stuff in the Champion piece on McGonigal. Thanks for linking that, Robin.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      “I’m not sure what kind of drug experience McGonigal has had, but swap “games” for “mescaline” and you start to see the problem.”

      That is brilliant.

    • Muzman says:

      That was good. She does remind me of the robot from Metropolis, except here to bring about Huxley’s Brave New World instead of revolution. Or, if that’s a bit much, gaming’s corporatised version of ‘Turn on. Tune in and Drop Out’ hippy joinerism. And there’s some creepy evangelism techniques in there as well, as mentioned.
      The basic point, that the ways games compel people is interesting and might have educational applications, is perfectly fine and probably being looked at in serious dry academic studies somewhere. The part that makes you blink is where it tips over into making gaming achievement an actuator for self fulfilment in and of itself. Then you hook actual real world results on so they’ll trail in the wake of these carefully delivered happy feelings of confidence and success. Ho-ly crap.

      “Land on your own moon” was a PS2 advertising slogan back in the day and it meant exactly the same thing as McGonigal is talking about. Although at the time I don’t think the humerous irony of that idea was lost on anyone. She’s serious.

    • rcolin says:

      Wow. I guess the Champion piece is technically a rant, but that’s a lot of vitriol for suggesting that ludic techniques can be applied to things even more worthwhile than entertainment. It’s even got a deleted tweet hunting trophy at the end, with an creationist-esque invitation to a “public debate.” All that’s missing is a link to explicit pictures of airstrike or famine victims to show how serious the author is compared to his hapless target. I mean, I like a takedown of Gladwellian corporate-tool blather as the next Angry Internet Man, but geez. Alternatively, it could be that this Sunday Papers seems to be heavy on the fractally “cats on meth” nature of the Internet so the cumulative annoyance is over my threshold.

  32. Bhazor says:

    “FuckYeahVanGoghTiltShifted… An actual use for depth of field effects?”

    That gallery reminded me about the tilt shift effect in Anno 1404 which made your town look like a real life miniature model. A really cute effect that I think every strategy game should have an option for.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bamJ__fDqFI&feature=related
    I especially like the way water looks as if its zoomed in though whether that was intentional or not I don’t know.

  33. BobsLawnService says:

    The question to ask about the whole Bulletstorm article is this : Is it better to have an industry in which juvenile games like Bulletstorm can share shelfspace with a mature game like Civilization (Just an example) or one where developers are too scared to create one?

    The existence of Police Academy one through eight does not detract from the value of a film like The Piano or The Hurt Locker.

  34. DaFishes says:

    Ha, wait, that little Jim Sterling kerfuffle gets a mention, but this dickwolves thing doesn’t? Regardless of what side you’re on in that matter, it was a bigger deal than Sterling losing his shit this week.

  35. StingingVelvet says:

    Okay, I very much dislike Jim Sterling. His writing is terrible, he is a shock-jock basically, and his reviews often disrespect good games and hard working developers.

    That said, the woman he insulted on Twitter openly antagonized and insulted him first. Did he use misogynist language? Yes. Did she start the discussion on that level though? Yes, certainly. When you open up your attack with vile sexual drawings and by telling a man he is too ugly to get laid, well, don’t be surprised and sensitive when he comes back at you words like cunt. Sorry, but that’s my stance.

    She even openly participates in further insults and discussion after he calls her names, she didn’t stop and say “hey that was too far.”

    Bullshit.

    • Robin says:

      “When you open up your attack with vile sexual drawings and by telling a man he is too ugly to get laid, well, don’t be surprised and sensitive when he comes back at you words like cunt.”

      Yeah, I can easily imagine any of the RPS team responding in the same way. Oh wait, no I can’t, because they’re not emotionally retarded fuckheads.

      Or at least they’re very good at hiding it.

    • StingingVelvet says:

      In the real world people respond with angry words when provoked with angry words. We’d all like to pretend we can keep a cool head 100% of the time, but we can’t. Some are better at it than others of course, but my point is do I consider Sterling to be a horrible misogynist bigot because he threw nasty words at a woman who was throwing him nasty words first? No, I don’t.

      The fundamental difference between you and me might be that I don’t buy into the whole “we can say anything we want because we are traditionally oppressed groups but you can’t say anything hurtful because you are a traditionally powerful group” thing. I think that is fucking hypocrisy.

    • Premium User Badge

      RobF says:

      “do I consider Sterling to be a horrible misogynist bigot because he threw nasty words at a woman who was throwing him nasty words first? No, I don’t”

      Would you consider him a horrible misogynist bigot if he wrote this?

      http://www.destructoid.com/how-aliens-are-blatantly-better-than-predators-162754.phtml

      Oh, he did write that.

      Take Daph out of the equation for a second. It’s not like Sterling needs provocation here is it? Did she make him write that piece? He’s perfectly happy to pull this stuff with or without her help.

      A pencil sketch of someone covered in dildos doesn’t even compare.

      And Daph started it/is as bad as isn’t an excuse. Two wrongs might not make a right but it doesn’t cancel out someone’s wrong either.

      I honestly don’t get why this is so hard to grasp. We should ignore him being hateful because someone else said some rude words too? It doesn’t work like that. Or at least, it bloody shouldn’t.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lambchops says:

      “A pencil sketch of someone covered in dildos doesn’t even compare.”

      That sentence if begging to be taken completely out of context!

      As it is I agree but can’t help but think that it’s still a rather bloody odd thing to do.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      The lengths people are going to find equivalence between a childish lesbian trying to provoke a reaction from a homophobe, and the spiteful chauvinist nonsense she got in return is staggering.

      “vile sexual drawings”

      Uh. Got a little something internalised there, do you?

    • Soon says:

      Daniel,

      It’s a naked Jim Sterling.

    • StingingVelvet says:

      @ RobF

      Weird article, I couldn’t even read most of it. I am not defending Sterling as a gaming “journalist” and I thought I made that clear. I actually despise that whole site, Destructoid… it’s extremely poorly written and relies mostly on shock value. I watched a brief portion of their DC Universe Online beta video and the personalities of those involved made me want to shoot all of them.

      My entire point is just that when you provoke someone with hateful language you shouldn’t run off crying foul when they come back at you.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Look, what she did was wrong, but he is still more wrong. Just because someone provokes you don’t mean you get to say those things. The fact he RESPONDED in that way should be enough for his termination, regardless of what did it.

      Eh, but the website he works for is terrible. Isn’t that one that’s related to Gizmodo?

      And Soon, it’s far less repulsive than him. Don’t be silly.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      Phantoon:

      Agree with you here. Clearly you can do no wrong. Disagree regarding Penny Arcade. Clearly you are evil.

      I’m so confused.

    • Premium User Badge

      RobF says:

      “My entire point is just that when you provoke someone with hateful language you shouldn’t run off crying foul when they come back at you.”

      From Anna’s piece:

      “Jim will argue, if he hasn’t already, that Daphny provoked him. She certainly did.”

      No-one is doing that, man. No-one is surprised, no-one is playing the victim card. No-one is claiming innocence. No-one is crying foul just because Sterling came back at them.

    • Soon says:

      Argument between two people who should know better. Daphny says Jim is a typical games journalist. Anna implies Jim’s attitude is typical of the gaming industry and community. Everybody loses. Except Jim Sterling (unless he loses his job) as nobody’s opinion of him changed.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lambchops says:

      i’d be inclined to argue that being provocative isn’t always a bad thing. If you feel inclined to disagree then go watch Brass Eye and readjust your opinion.

      Does Jim Sterling deserve to have people wind him up and make a fool of him. Judging by his past work, almost certainly yes.

      Was this the best way to do it? Probably not, if only because the lassie managed ot make a bit of a tit of herself in the process.

    • StingingVelvet says:

      @ RobF

      Yes, she said that, but at the same time she is saying his words were worse than her girlfriend’s words (in her opinion) and thus Sterling is instantly a bigot who should be fired. That’s what I disagree with, they both said stupid shit and came at each other, cooler heads did not prevail on either side, she is not above him just because women have traditionally held less social power than men. I don’t buy into that hypocrisy.

      He should have kept his cool, yes. And maybe he should be fired, just for being such a douche in public. I don’t think he did anything worse than her though, and I don’t think the word cunt is on the same level as disgusting racial epithets like nigger or kike. That’s just silly.

  36. McDan says:

    Now I must buy Space alert.

  37. JohnnyMaverik says:

    “I cry at TV commercials and the sad noises my washing machine makes.”

    Then they are art… and don’t argue with me because there is no right or wrong. It’s a pointless discussion anyway, “are games art?”, bah, we like games, we like crying, combine the two, mental, spiritual and possibly even physical stimulation all round.

    • bob_d says:

      Emotional Trigger != Art. (Genocide makes me cry. That doesn’t make genocide into art.)
      Art is not “whatever you want it to be.” There are, in fact, multiple definitions (or perhaps more accurately, there are multiple arguments that define art in particular ways; processes rather than static criteria). The fact that most people aren’t aware of those argument/definitions doesn’t mean they don’t exist. The discussion is only pointless if you come into it not knowing what’s already been said.

  38. aerozol says:

    Opened the music in one tab, and was looking at the Van Gogh paintings in another…
    Awesomeness.

    Although let’s not pretend you can ‘improve’ the originals in this way.

  39. zergrush says:

    So Bulletstorm is written by Rick Remender? One more reason to get it.

  40. Thants says:

    Speaking of being inspired by Carl Sagan, there’s a great fan-made NASA video featuring Carl Sagan:

  41. Urthman says:

    Yeah, it’s silly to say Minecraft is great because the graphics are crude. The crude graphics are in the service of allowing the game to create gargantuan procedural environments. The lo-fi graphics break the environment into manageable chunks so you can mine quickly and build quickly.

    It’s not fun because it lacks a story. It’s fun because the building and exploring and surviving and digging are all well designed and fun to do. It’s a bonus that there’s no story or objectives getting in the way of your fun (Hi there, Just Cause 2!), but that wouldn’t matter if the gameplay wasn’t fun to begin with.

  42. phenom_x8 says:

    Why there is no single news about sandy bridge chipset bug here, jim?
    Is this because its just hardware problem that is not RPS concern? Meanwhile RPS write about game developed with sandy bridge in mind as Valve gabe newell have said .
    check this link http://www.anandtech.com/show/4142/intel-discovers-bug-in-6series-chipset-begins-recall and http://www.anandtech.com/show/4143/the-source-of-intels-cougar-point-sata-bug

    • bill says:

      cos hardware news is boring and people can go to anandtech if they are really interested in that kind of thing? It’s all about the games man!

  43. Premium User Badge

    oceanclub says:

    I’m glad that some people in the Bulletstorm article comments made the simple point that exaggeration isn’t satire. This really is one of my bugbears, especially with the current round of political “satire” which seems to suggest that any lame imitation of a politician is satirical. No it’s not, satire must have a point and one you believe in.

    For Epic Games to publish frat-boy games (“GOW3″), and then publish another frat-boy game deliberately exaggerated, claiming its satire, is simply wanting to have their cake and eat it.

    P.

  44. RegisteredUser says:

    Dear Adrian Chmielarz, I find it the opposite of mature to deny PC gamers the full weapon arsenal only because consoles had to be crippled due to control limitations.

    Please allow us to grow up and entrust us with full control over all the weapons we can pick up again instead of limiting us to only two like an infant.