The Sunday Papers

By Jim Rossignol on April 24th, 2011 at 11:00 am.


Eggs! Symbols of God’s divine plan for lunch. But there’s a serious side to Easter, which is the story of how Jesus was basically pretty badass after all. For the first 120-minutes of the movie it looked like he was just being contrary and messing with people, but no, he was actually some kind of immortal dimension-travelling superbeing with a message about how life would be okay if people just stopped being dicks all the time. Right on, Mr Christ. Shame no-one paid attention to that, even after the supernatural rising from the grave stuff. Ah well. Perhaps we can find some other message that will be of use. Let’s try these scriptures from the miraculous desert of the internet!

  • A rant close to my heart has appeared over on Brainy Gamer. It’s Mr Abbott – because he’s Mr to you – talking about abstract visuals in a world of high-poly manshoots: “Today, games like S:S&S EP, Osmos, the Bit.Trip series, and pretty much anything designed by Mark Essen (aka, Messhof) represent designs that embed their “primitive” visual styles into the core experience of playing them. In other words, they look that way because any other art style would diminish them.” Go abstract, I say, and the world will be your vague splodge that might be interpreted as an oyster. I often wonder whether mainstream games can afford to explore being a little more abstract, and I think all signs point to yes. Consequently the future of art styles in games is one the moist exciting frontiers in all of culture. I think. (I’ll leave that typo in, for posterity.)
  • Wow, this is old, but unseen by us. Steve Hill, a cranky veteran of the British videogame journalism, did a bit of journalism journalism. Here’s a taster: “So why are games journalists considered the poor relations of the entertainment industry? The former PC Zone writer, Charlie Brooker – now presenter on Channel 4’s Ten O’Clock Live – has a theory: “I suppose the real reason is that music and film hacks get to meet lots of interesting, beautiful stars; demi-Gods the general public would happily hack off their own forearms to sleep with. Games journalists get to interview a computer programmer with bits of sandwich stuck round his mouth. Also, whilst playing games might be less of a dirty secret than it used to be, talking about playing games is still, I think, perceived as a bit tragic.”” Life is tragic, though, so fuck it.
  • Gamasutra examines the “crowdfunding” revolution. It’s a bit of an eye-opener to be honest. I’m amazed at how much money appears to be being put down for games that, frankly, I would play for about two minutes before moving on to something else. Do these people really have nothing better to spend their money on? Or – viewed in a different way – maybe I should be seriously considering seeing how much money I could raise for the voxel-powered explore ‘em up my games company has been working on for the past few months. It would be an interesting thing to see in principle. Like, just how much money could be raised. (But really, I am happy to raise the money privately, or commercially, or whatever other traditional means people have been using to make games for the past few decades.)
  • VG247 spoke to Relic about Space Marine: ““It is just really about us taking a very rich sci-fi fantasy which we feel has a lot of depth and a lot of interesting characters and a really unique look and feel – and then we bring it to life with a combat and gameplay experience which is something different in the shooter genre and, we think, will resonate with a larger audience,” said McDermott.” Good old McDermott. He knows what to say.
  • Eurogamer had a play with Red Faction Armageddon’s multiplayer: “Moving away from competitive multiplayer sadly meant abandoning much of Guerilla’s RPG-heavy multiplayer mode; however, core mechanics of some game modes have transferred, such as Defend incorporating elements of Guerilla’s Siege mode.” They do spell “guerilla” wrong quite consistently, but it’s worth a read.
  • The world’s knowledgest games journalist, Richard Cobbett, ended up writing about The Witcher 2 for PC Gamer, and here’s what he said. Compare and contrast with my own blather!
  • British games industry press trade thing MCV talks about internet bile. The good thing about that kind of bile: you can delete it if you own the website it appears on. Awesome.
  • Dustin Browder talks “fun” in Starcraft 2. “I kept trying to shove stuff in that was fun but wasn’t a sport,” he said. “And everybody would tell me ‘no,’ and I wouldn’t understand why. And I thought they were all jerks. I didn’t know, right? I couldn’t figure it out.”
  • When technology from games is basically real. (That is now.)
  • As recommended to me by Twitter (has nothing to do with games, or anything else really): “Expert Judgement on Markers to Deter Inadvertent Human Intrusion into the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant“.
  • Machicolation is a good word/concept.
  • Sebastian Junger writes an elegy for Tim Hetherington. Oof.
  • Tom Baker laments the passing of Lis Sladen. Oof.
  • Amis on Hitchens’ life and imminent demise. Oof.
  • And for light relief, a poster from the village where I live. They also sell DVDs of The Prisoner in the post office.

Music. Music.

More.

Soon.

.

195 Comments »

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  1. brog says:

    The future of art styles is indeed a moist exciting frontier!
    (+ I’m glad you enjoyed the “Expert Judgement..”)

  2. McDan says:

    And here I was being genuinely worried that there wouldn’t be the Sunday Papers today, what a fool I was.

  3. inertia says:

    Oh god yes, Mogwai! <3

    Also, 'moist exciting'.

  4. Orija says:

    The Witcher 2…drool…

  5. Koozer says:

    The WIPP markers excerpt is excellent. Those imposing monolithic structures built by an ancient, advanced civilisation marking something remind me of practically every bit of sci-fi ever written. Problem is, they’ll likely encourage curious minds to wander in and get zapped. Oh well, such is life 5,000 years in the future. It’ll be a faster death than humanity’s robot overlords will exact on them for straying outside the containment zones.

    • PleasingFungus says:

      “We have all become very marker-prone, but shouldn’t we nevertheless admit that, in the end, despite all we try to do, the most effective “marker” for any intruders will be a relatively limited amount of sickness and death caused by the radioactive waste? In other words, it is largely a self-correcting process if anyone intrudes without appropriate precautions…”

  6. frenz0rz says:

    All I want for Christmas is one of those jetpacks. Is that so much to ask?

  7. Conor says:

    Here, that bands from where I’m from! Moist exciting stuff!

  8. Anarki says:

    We fear change…

  9. Premium User Badge

    mpk says:

    There are so many things in this world that the public should rightly be up in arms about. Yet things like child poverty, racial prejudice, genocide and political corruption go unnoticed by most. Yet some of these same people will happily sit at their PC posting erroneous review scores for a game because the developer behind has had the bear-faced nerve to include an optional DLC store.

    Quote of the day.

    • terry says:

      I would comment on this article, but evidently someone has been spewing bile over it.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      Well, your mother is bear-faced.

    • Corrupt_Tiki says:

      Yeah, but it’s so much easier to just be angryinternetman

    • choconutjoe says:

      As much as I dislike all the whining about Portal 2, that paragraph really is utter nonsense. A problem isn’t nullified by the fact that there are worse, unrelated problems in the world (I’m not going to put off fixing my kitchen sink until someone cures cancer and solves racism). It’s a cheap rhetorical shot. Whether or not people’s whining about Portal 2 is justified has precisely nothing to do with poverty, prejudice, genocide or political corruption.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lambchops says:

      @ Choconutjoe

      Concurred, the article was doing rather well up until that point.

    • sinister agent says:

      Choconutjoe put it far better than I would have. Less swearily, too.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      What the three above me said.

    • CMaster says:

      Indeed.
      “X is bad”
      “That doesn’t matter because Y is worse”

      Is not rational or helpful. Especially when the solutions are on a different scale of difficulty. Solving poverty is something no one knows for sure how to do, but will all push in different directions for. Not having day 1 DLC for Portal 2 just involves Valve not making any. Although it is quite rational to argue that the time spent attacking Portal 2 and Valve could have been better spent campaigning for something different.

    • subedii says:

      Interesting thing about the Portal 2 metacritic reviews debacle. Despite 4chan trying to launch their nutty anti-Valve campaign, it looks as if there’s been a concerted counter-campaign of other individuals to set things up again.

      http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/portal-2/user-reviews

      It’s currently standing at 8.0, but what’s most surprising is looking at the numbers of reviews since. Something like 200 odd angsty reviews tailored to bring the score down, followed by well over 1000 to bring the score back up again.

      Ultimately, most of those are still going to be deliberately skewed as opposed to genuine opinions, but it’s interesting to note that the whole “entitled gamer” culture thing seemed to trigger its own backlash. Weird.

    • The Hammer says:

      Huh. I find myself partially agreeing with the notion though, but that’s more to do with the extreme anger that Internet folks have when it comes to feeling like they’ve been duped. They’re liable to expend huge amounts of passionate effort on something which, yeah, is misplaced. Not that you can’t get angry about the Portal 2 ARG result – for me it was a massive, massive letdown – but it’s wise to view it in the context of it being an entertainment product aimed largely at people who live comfortable lives.

      I really couldn’t find myself joining any sort of psuedo-political campaign when there are far, far, far greater injustices going on.

    • Premium User Badge

      mpk says:

      There’s a disparity in the severity of Day 1 DLC and genocide, that’s fairly evident to everyone, but what I think the article is getting at is that the tone of comments your generic AIM has been leaving about the former is perhaps more suited to the latter.

      I do find it interesting, however, that some people here immediately pick up on this part of the article without commenting on the broader theme. The average gamer, these days, seems to have an incredible sense of entitlement that really isn’t merited. Valve in particular give you lots of free stuff to go with the stuff they occasionally charge for (I don’t even think it’s 1 full game a year since HL2, is it?)

      I honestly don’t care if you’re pissed off about day 1 DLC (that doesn’t affect the game in any meaningful manner), is incredibly unobtrusive (“Oh noes! Another menu option! To the comments! I must vent my rage!”) and, above all, is fucking optional (and this is why I generally stay away from comments threads tbqfh). It doesn’t break the game, you don’t have to participate in it and there’s really no need to flap your gums about it in quite so deranged a manner. There’s definitely no need to orchestrate or participate in what amounts to a hate campaign.

    • Laephis says:

      choconutjoe wins the Comment of the Week Award.

    • Loopy says:

      @ subedii I’ll also be adding my own review to that list on metacritc as soon as I’ve finished playing the game, and If my experience so far is anything to go by, it will be an overwhelmingly positive one.

    • gorgol says:

      Its a bit rich to whine about low user review scores, especially when professional reviews are so frequently and obviously biased as to erode user confidence in them, and when game companies routinely make fake accounts to pump up user review scores… Basically, fuck you. Actually no. Basically, the entire concept of a scoring system is practically useless.

      Once again, props to RPS for not employing a scoring system for their reviews.

      EDIT: +1 to choconutjoe but also consider the fact that you can fight against trivial “injustices” alongside fighting for serious and important injustices… In fact you are more likely to be the kind of person that does both rather than just one or the other because fighting against what you see as injustice, no matter how large or small, is probably just part of your character.

    • V. Profane says:

      There’s nothing inherently useless about a scoring system, it’s just that the persistent abuse of it has rendered it worse than useless.

    • gorgol says:

      Profane,

      please note that I wrote “practically useless”, not “inherently useless”.

    • Dervish says:

      Scores are still very useful for browsing the reviews of a particular publication/reviewer, so you can see their recommendations at a glance and decide which ones you want to read more about.

  10. Premium User Badge

    Lambchops says:

    I wish St Mary’s primary school all the best in figuring out how to deal with that pesky “change,” it is indeed a finicky issue.

    Steve Hill comes off as a bit of an arse in his article as his slagging off of journalists in the film, music and sports worlds seems like the same sort of “snobbery” which he accuses them of.

    it’s good to hear more positive views on the Witcher 2, especially from Mr Cobbett, who I usually find myself nodding along to when I read his reviews on RPGs. Hope I’ve still got my save for the original somewhere to hand, it will be interesting to see how that start compares if you pursued romance with Shanii rather than Triss.

    —-

    Finally, hooray for jetpacks!

  11. Jorum says:

    More “unreal” art (whether fantastical or abstract) in games would be fine by me.
    Games allow you to build and explore a world where the rules can be anything you want.
    They don’t have to look normal, or necessarily make immediate (or any) sense.
    They could be worlds where peoples thoughts are physically manifested, or the landscape is constructed of symbolic and metaphorical representations.
    Instead we get endless (albeit increasingly hi-fi) recreations of American cities or cod-medieval Europe.
    Games that have tried to be different have generally been lauded for it – Zenoclash, The Void, Morrowind, Zenoclash (again because I love it) , Sacrifice, (Tron 2.0 not well received but at least looked cool and interesting).
    When will we get our Dali, or Picasso, or Jorges Borges ?

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      TRON 2.0 was lovely. Should play that again sometime. :)

  12. Mattressi says:

    Wait, what’s this about a voxel-powered explore ‘em up? Why have I not heard of this before!? Going solely by that one line description, I’d say that I’d give you guys money to develop it :)

  13. mcwill says:

    Lol @ the games journo story. The reason games journos are considered the redheaded stepchild of entertainment journal is because a sizeable number of you have spent the last 20 years working as the stenographer of whichever publisher’s PR department handed out the most, er, “incentives”. Which is why the public at large has seen the “sumptuous visual extravaganza” as the shit-brown manshooter it is and decided games journos must all be retarded.

    Unfortunately, even those of you who have maintained decent standards and championed the indie and the underdog are tarred with the same brush. I suspect the only solution is a violent purge. It begins… NAOW!

    • CMaster says:

      @McWill
      News journalists are just as bad. The majority of stories in most newspapers are just rewritten press releases, or something cooked up by a PR company.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      McWill: Do you honestly believe the general public has ever read enough of the specialist games press to hold an opinion on it?

      KG

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      @ Kieron Gillen.

      I don’t think the general public need to do that, all they need to is play one mediocre game that was plastered with five star and 90%+ reviews to realise games journos aren’t especially reliable.

      I mean I’m no expert on film but I realise that even the worst films can normally dig up a positive quote from Heat or News of the World or whatever. You don’t need decades of research to know a group or a subsection of a group is untrustworthy.

    • mcwill says:

      Kieron – nah, not really. Those few of you who get to write in any form for the mainstream press, though… has there ever been a writer in games in the mainstream press who wasn’t a worthless PR-guff-spouting corporate mouthpiece? As above, so below, and so forth.

      This is all quite beside the giant kick to the backside the specialist games press has needed for decades, of course. I gave up on the whole lot of you when I finally realised that the writers bemoaning the overwhelming focus on graphics were the exact same writers who would then mark games down for not matching their graphical expectations – which of course grew more onerous every year. It’s only really RPS, Game Set Watch and a couple of other Interweb places that have restored my faith in the ability of writers to handle the subject of games with any kind of clarity or rigour.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      And you think the majority of people who don’t play games and actually love stuff like Call of Duty and the other big sellers that RPS commenters don’t like would hold a positive review on a poster enough to look down on games journalists rather than the simple reason that they’re writing about games as an adult?

      Thinking about it, the only time anyone’s ever mentioned review scores to me was when some guy tried to pick a fight with me over the 10/10 score OXM US gave some boxing game. Of course, that was after he tried to pick a fight over me being English and a few other things.

      KG

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      I think even the general public can hold opinions on the actions of journalists yes. In some cases it my be just jealousy or condescension but in others I think average people can understand and interpret the actions of journalists covering an increasingly popular entertainment medium.

      Just because people don’t specifically confront you over review scores doesn’t mean they don’t factor it in.

    • mcwill says:

      Actually, I had a bit of a think back and the only time I can remember talking to a non-gamer about games magazines, he dismissed them with “they’re all written by gamers so they don’t like what I like” (or words to that effect). Which I found more than a little depressing, to be honest.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      That’s not KG’s point. Most gamers have only the most cursory familiarity with the specialist press. Far more people buy games than read about them.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      But my point is you don’t need to be an ardent reader of specialist press to understand in general reviewers aren’t especially trustworthy. Quotes on the poster or the front of the novel or the back of the box or whatever are generally positive, sometimes absurdly so. I think its fair to say nearly everyone has consumed some kind of entertainment that got good reviews but they didn’t like.

      Its like saying people don’t realise politicians are generally corrupt and deceitful because most people don’t read Hansard every day. Sure it can be prejudicial and uninformed criticism because they aren’t avid readers of specialist press on a particular subject but to have a gut reaction level of dislike or distrust you don’t need expert knowledge to assert something.

    • mcwill says:

      I’ve heard it said before that much of Yahtzee’s somewhat ludicrously enormous viewership is composed of “non-gamers”, although The Escapist’s forums would seem to counter that assertion (that might be selection bias at work, though). Given his entire modus operandi is the evisceration of the unworthy, that would seem to indicate an unmet desire.

      Either way, it certainly makes interesting reading. I’ll try to restrain my schadenfreude somewhat.

    • cliffski says:

      Which is why the public at large has seen the “sumptuous visual extravaganza” as the shit-brown manshooter it is and decided games journos must all be retarded.

      so that’s why the public at large buy those games in their tens of millions then is it?

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      I would argue that the non-gamer following of Yahtzee speaks more of the desire of well performed mockery rather than specific mockery of games. He’s a comedian riffing. Brooker’s Screen Burn was the first thing I read in the Guardian, and I watch far less TV than most people and had no idea about half the shows he was talking about. Comedy doesn’t necessarily require an interest in the subject.

      Kinda neither here nor there. We’re scrabbling around for evidence that the public has an opinion on games journalists per se when there’s all the evidence in the world of a general derision for gaming full stop. There are still regularly editorials about how nothing is worse than a man still playing games and all that. If that opinion is common enough means that we don’t need anything else, surely? The idea that it’s a hole the games press dug is simply ludicrous.

      (As opposed to the reputation of the games press with actual gamers, which is entirely our fault.)

      Me? I never cared. I always liked being the cultural underdog. And it trained me for writing the X-men in a FIGHTING TO DEFEND A WORLD THAT HATES AND FEARS THEM way.

      KG

    • bill says:

      I find it interesting that everyone on the internet “knows” that all games journalists are simply paid puppets of the games publishers. Yet their evidence for this tends to come down to not agreeing with a review.

      While i’m sure there have been a handful of cases of games reviews being unduly influenced, I find it very hard to believe it’s a widespread practice. It’s much more likely that game reviews are written by a wide range of (mostly underpaid freelance) writers who have different tastes and expectations like any human. And that the it’s actually the commenters constantly accusing them of bias or corruption that are in the wrong.

    • mcwill says:

      I would like to clarify that I did not at any point suggest that the public were not also retarded. They keep buying FIFA/PES every year, after all.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      Bill, evidence doesn’t exist for sure. And you are right this issue usually surfaces when not agreeing with a review. But games journalists hold a relationship with the gaming industry that tend to always raise more than a few eyebrows.

      I’m reminded of situations where unfavorable reviews resulted in the publisher deciding to not sending anymore games for review for that particular news site, I’m reminded of gifts (not even always in the form of free copies to the full game), I’m reminded of unfavorable reviews being pulled down by editors-in-chief…

      The relationship with “consumers” of gaming review sites has also been deteriorating with the latter having demonstrated more than once the power they exert on websites and the people that run it which only source of income is usually in the form of page hits and publicity. I’m reminded of a somewhat recent debacle at Eurogammer regarding the Age of Conan add-on, Rise of the Godslayer.

      If it was possible some 10 or 20 years ago to do game journalism in a mostly independent way, I think those days are gone as the pressure put into this class has been forcing them to get into a eyebrow raising relationship with both the industry upstream and the consumers downstream. In fact, it’s not much the class I distrust. I have been distrusting the business model of gaming journalism that have put these journalists between a rock and a hard place.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      There’s another problem in my opinion; an issue of culture. Gaming culture that is not like the music or film culture that the author on that article used as a form to compare journalists. And this is not only gamers fault. It’s journalists fault too, who often exempt themselves of their (also) educational responsibilities.

      If you accuse a music critic that idolaters Madonna of being partial, the probable answer you’ll get is “Hell, yes!”. You don’t see much of that in gaming journalism. Journalists immediately turn into defensive mode. On the other hand, you don’t see many film or music critics being accused of partiality. It’s more or less accepted they are. It’s expected they are. It’s in fact quite desirable they are. Why shouldn’t this “free culture” be also adopted in the other entertainment industry we know as video games?

      The gaming culture has been marred by this cancer that is the idea gamers should somehow turn their preferences into matters of competition. The gaming culture has also been marred by an over-sensitivity to the gaming industry business models and practices that often gets into irrational despise, anger and even hate, or a desire to see some of these companies go down. It’s become nuts because this is in my opinion mostly a viral culture that leads many people to just assume this stance through herd behavior, without actually making an objective introspection of the validity/invalidity of their angst, or even if theyr aren’t taking it just too far. As an example look at the dimensions the DRM issue took over the years. And how it is perceived as a sort of satan on earth, when in fact companies employing DRM keep making record sales.

      This “unfree culture” where games and game makers are perceived as something that needs to be defended or accused, has been having an impact on gaming journalism in my opinion. May it be because journalists adhere to it, may it be because journalists (which are critics also, let’s not forget that as being their primary function on matters of reviewing games) are being unsuccessful in stopping it.

      While this culture lasts, it won’t be possible for gaming journalists to be understood and respected as critics of this entertainment industry.

    • Archonsod says:

      “I think even the general public can hold opinions on the actions of journalists ”

      Problem there being “the general public” tends to be a euphemism for “those portions of society who quite frankly would be better off removed so we can give the oxygen to more important things like vegetables”.

  14. CMaster says:

    Got to say the forbidding blocks model for WIPP looks the most scary. I also think they don’t really talk about using multiple languages and generic wording enough.

    The end point, about whether it is really worth going to all this effort was interesting. The chances of this stuff being disturbed are pretty unlikely. In the event it is, I guess the worst case scenarios are that the waste A) gets put on display somewhere or B) gets drilled and extracted (accidentally) and incorporated into some widely distributed product.

    • McDan says:

      I thought they all looked quite intriguing (probably spelt that wrong but whatever). Seeing as this would be to warn people off if there was some type of large catastrophe which would lead to people/animals/whatever is left after this big disaster happens I don’t think it’d work with the most intelligent beings. Sure animals might be scared off by it, and possibly humans if the disaster/apocalypse is so bad that we lapse into some sort of society (if that) where we have forgotten to read.

      But even then, even if we couldn’t read or work out the written messages left behind, humans would be too interested by what these things are there for, possibly even attributing it to a greater civilisatiopn which fell (us now) or even alien intelligence. I could even see people venturing into the areas, becoming mutated then coming back with psychic powers and forming tribes which wage war across continents!

      Or maybe not that last bit…

    • CMaster says:

      The thing is though, it’s all right if people come and have a look around – if you build something above ground, you’d be hard pressed to stop them. Odds are that various animals will make a home from it as well. The important thing is that people don’t start digging it out or building on it, hence the large, obtrusive structures on the surface. If we just wanted people to ignore it, we could put nothing up top. But then there’s always the risk of future miners, future construction workers, future well-diggers or oil drillers or even future weapon testing disturbing the deep-buried chamber with dangerous material.

    • McDan says:

      Yeah, because it’ll be buried faaaarrrr arrr pirates, ahem, below ground. It is just the mining that’s the problem. Eventually though, even with whatever is placed to stop people mining there, humans will probably inevitably do so. Because it’s just our nature. Which is a shame, but we can only hope nothing much too bad happens because of it. Although we’ll be long dead so pshhawww.

    • Premium User Badge

      Hidden_7 says:

      Well they do mention that the main goal isn’t necessarily to deter people, but to warn them properly. They don’t want anyone digging without full awareness that what they are doing could be dangerous. If future people decide to ignore those warnings, that’s fine, as long as they’ve been adequately warned.

  15. benjamin says:

    Am I the only one who finds the opening paragraph deeply offensive?

    Easter is a religious festival that specifically celebrates the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I expected better of Rock, Paper Shotgun than to mock it. I may be reading too much into it but it comes across as a middle finger to Christianity. I guess its the lack of respect that saddens me. I come to RPS for quality games journalism not for cheap pot shots at my religion.

    • sinister agent says:

      I had this problem once. I found that switching to a less entertaining religion did the trick.

    • choconutjoe says:

      You might think that your religious opinions are above comment or criticism, but others disagree.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      Welcome to the Internet. You must be new here.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      God said Thou Shalt Not Kill but RPS promotes games in which you pretend to murder people every day.

      Perhaps RPS isn’t the site for you.

    • brog says:

      I didn’t notice anything offensive against Christians there. It’s non-standardly phrased, but so is this, yo: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Street-Bible-Rob-Lacey/dp/0007107900.
      Any specific content you objected to, or just way it was phrased?

    • WhenInRome says:

      @ReV_VAdAUL

      THESE MURDER SIMULATORS ARE TRAINING OUR KIDS TO KILL!

    • John Walker says:

      Hey benjamin.

      As a passionate follower of Jesus, I found nothing offensive in Jim’s intro. In fact, it made me smile, and I found it rather respectful of the big JC.

      I cannot see anything that Jim’s written there that isn’t true, either! The counter-cultural, shit-stirring, peaceful-radical Jesus bemused everyone who thought he was there to overthrow the Roman Empire, when instead he revealed his purpose to be so much bigger: to overthrow our entire understanding of everything.

      The Resurrection absolutely was the revealing of Jesus’s true Godness, that he IS an immortal dimension-travelling superbeing. And his ultimate message was, “Love God, and love others” (with all that entails) in which “stop being dicks all the time” is fairly comprehensively included.

      I absolutely do not feel like Jim was mocking my faith. I read it and was so delighted by his summary that I tweeted it (to a Twitter feed that’s followed by the pastors of my church).

      Be proud of your ass-kicking, dimension-travelling superbeing. He got a really positive mention. Celebrate that.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      @ WhenInRome

      I highly recommend you get in contact with Benjamin and organise a pray in against this devil software post haste!

    • Premium User Badge

      Fiyenyaa says:

      Unfortunately for you, Christianity (and religion in general) is a very easy subject to talk about comedically because it is based on the most abominably absurd presumptions and assumptions.
      It is also the case that non-religious people are a large and growing segment of the population, and thus irreverent attitudes towards faith will be increasingly common.

      There are however a great many religious people who can and will take a joke (or even more, should they be feeling coquettishly silly), so I don’t know what it is about your personal flavour of Jesus which makes him command you to be quite so sanctimonious.
      Please take a leaf out of John Walker’s book – possibly one of the most reasonable men that I am aware of (as far as I can tell), and a committed Christian to boot. The two don’t have to be mutually exclusive, despite your protestations.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      John is correct.

      Please save your indignation for when I am actually offensive.

    • dogsolitude_uk says:

      I read the paragraph this-a-way:

      “For the first 120-minutes of the movie it looked like he was just being contrary and messing with people, but no, he was actually some kind of immortal dimension-travelling superbeing with a message about how life would be okay if people just stopped being dicks all the time.”

      That sounded like a pretty fair assessment of Jesus’ message. I’m no theologian, but my understanding is that he taught peace, compassion and looking out for one’s neighbour.

      “Right on, Mr Christ.”

      My thoughts exactly. I also agree wholeheartedly with this principle, and I think you’ll find that many others do too. ‘Right On’ indicates agreement.

      “Shame no-one paid attention to that, even after the supernatural rising from the grave stuff.”

      Indeed, it is a bit of a shame.

      I think you mistook the language (e.g. use of the word ‘stuff’, informal lighthearted style) as being a dig. I saw it as a friendly sequence of comments.

      Personlly, if someone offends me I’ll generally let it pass. Had you been waiting in the background there to be offended and just siezed the chance or something?

    • McDan says:

      Nice to see that people here are capable of rational discussion as well as all the silliness. I’d add my opinion but it probably wouldn’t help, coming from the other side of the fence, as it were.

    • Stevostin says:

      Everyone has his take on this… here is mine : if it’s humor (and clearly here it is) then by nature it’s not offensive. The point of humour is to help us maintain a healthy distance on thing. Any – any ! – joke works on the crude exposition of a distance between one expectation and something that happen. This goes from someone we expect to be walking actually falling while slipping on a banana to a muscular man actually being interested in poetry to portraying a sacral dogma into a pulp culture slogan. In any of those cases, the core of the joke is to play with our expectation – not about mocking the subject. Now it’s a social thing, so if we see the distance between expectation and the event in anyone else, it’s funnier. So if the man who falls on the banana is surprised, it’s funnier – but seing his son’s face taken by surprise by his father falling (assuming it’s not freightening) is also funnier – as his a religious person being outraged by the opening article. It shows that you can’t stand the distance between how you live your relation with religion (“expectation”) and how other may take liberty with it (the crude intro above). IMHO it’s not disrespect to Jesus. It *may* be seen as disrepect to Jesus believers, but it isn’t either – it’s just an healthy reminder that no matter what is your take on Jesus, the world is full of different take on the same topic. Acknowledging that shouldn’t hurt your way to deal with your religion – just improve you way to deal with the rest of humanity. In that sense, I feel the joke above is totally legitimate and positive for the community, while your reaction is not. I am not saying that in a harsh way – I certainly agree there’s a limit to making fun of community, as some people are using the mask of humor to actually mock and despise others but clearly to me it’s not the case here.

    • pepper says:

      He is super time travelling zombie that fights evil where needed. How offended can you be, have you read the bible? you now, the bits where he transforms into a zombie, and the burning bush bit.

      Oh, and may the pasta in the sky be with you, remember the invisible pink unicorn is always watching.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      “Stop being dicks all the time” should be the Motto Of The Internet

    • Premium User Badge

      mpk says:

      To paraphrase the late, great Bill Hicks, “So forgive him”

    • rivalin says:

      Honestly the tone did feel a bit mocking, but the content was, as said, just non-standardly phrased. As for some of the superior comments by atheists, have you heard of something known as common courtesy? There’s no need to be actively rude to people, to call their dearly beliefs “ridiculous”, the kind of antagonism seems to be of particular pleasure to a certain subsection of internet atheists, they seem to enjoy the fact that they can feel both morally and intellectually superior at the same time as being nasty and hurtful to decent people (much like certain types of moralising Christians). You have the right to say what you want, good manners however, normally preclude some of us from saying many things that we think, in consideration.
      Irreverent humour is fine, but it should be evenly applied, how about next Ramadan you engage in some light humour about “Mo’ the warlord camel jockey and his nine year old girlfriend” or something along those lines?

    • frenz0rz says:

      @McDan

      I concur. This is why I spend so much of my day checking up on RPS and contributing to comment threads; for the most part, rational discussion is the norm, and the wild, deluded arguments of the haters and nutjobs that typically pervade the internet are promptly shot down in an appropriate manner.

      Thats not at all to say that I consider benjamin to be either of those sorts. I just love how the RPS chaps deal with this sort of comment – giving rational, polite thoughts, to a post that would in most other places spark some sort of epic ‘athiesm vs theism’ debate.

      My thoughts on the opening paragraph itself? I loved it, classic RPS humour that gave me a nice little chuckle to start the day. Even though I’m ‘more or less’ an athiest (lets not get into that here), I think anyone who finds this offensive needs to remember the golden rule – before you cry “I am offended!”, stop to consider whether that offense was truly intended. If it was meant as a harmless joke, just let it go.

    • McDan says:

      Hear Hear!

    • Premium User Badge

      Arathain says:

      “For the first 120-minutes of the movie it looked like he was just being contrary and messing with people…”

      This is the only bit that could be construed offensive, I reckon. And you know what? Jesus was an amazing guy who said some wonderful, beautiful things, but Lord, he could be cryptic and ornery sometimes.

    • benjamin says:

      Ach, there’s me and my persectution complex reading too much into things again. I read it to myself in the wrong type of voice if that makes any sense. I accept and delight in the fact that no offense was intended. Sorry Jim for implying otherwise.
      If I could be bothered to print them I’d eat my own words.

      Thanks for the correction John! It was graciously done.

    • Kaira- says:

      The opening paragraph. For a while I thought I was reading Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy.

    • 7rigger says:

      @Kaira

      I got that Douglas Adams vibe too.

      “nearly 2000 years after one man got nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change”

    • MrThingy says:

      Whilst I’m reasonably unconvinced that humans (or any other animal) magically goes on living after death…

      It occurs to me that something, if true, does not need to fear honest criticism. (or even satire, the next best thing)

      Which is why most confident atheists, Christians, etc. take offense to their ideas like water off a duck’s back.

      Those who respond with offense should perhaps look into firmer foundations for the things they believe.

    • dogsolitude_uk says:

      Hi again,

      I found this charming article by David Mitchell in the Grauniad (you know, he’s that chap out of Mitchell and Webb, and Peep Show).

      It covers the furore over anoffensive artwork that’s been smashed up by a Christian activist group. It seemed sort of elliptically relevant, so here’s a link:

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/apr/24/david-mitchell-piss-christ-religion

      For my part, I’m not really a Christian, but I do love art, and found myself sympathising with the Christians. If there’s one sort of art I cannot stand, it’s the desperate, attention-seeking ones made out of poo and wee. Or made to look like poo and wee.

      I perfected the art of making fake poo back when I was 12, so I know whereof I speak.

    • Soon says:

      Could the point be that if you’re going to use religious iconography in such a way, you may as well just piss all over the cross?

      Easter is also the part which seems to undermine the entire system, but anyway.

    • Bilbo says:

      It wasn’t offensive, it certainly wasn’t a “middle finger” or a “cheap pot shot”. They explicitly referred to Jesus as a badass who just wanted everyone to stop being dicks to eachother – definitely one of the most well-meaning and fond references to it being a holy day at all that i’ve seen. You’re making christians look bad with such misguided righteous indignation.

    • Vinraith says:

      One of the most dangerous things on Earth is a person of deeply held faith with no sense of humor.

    • Owain_Glyndwr says:

      Actually I didn’t mind the opening paragraph too much. To someone unfamiliar with this guy’s way of writing, it may have seemed flippant, but that’s just the style; covered with sarcasm and written from an ironic viewpoint. I agree with John on this one- and I got baptised just last night (WOOOOO!!!!!!) , so I think I have a little qualification here…

    • Archonsod says:

      “Easter is a religious festival that specifically celebrates the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God”

      Which explains why it’s named after a Gemanic fertility goddess …..

    • JFS says:

      SuperNashwanPower says:
      04/24/2011 at 13:42

      “Stop being dicks all the time” should be the Motto Of The Internet
      ————————————————————————————————————
      That boy got it right. Just leave the OP alone. I bet most of you aren’t in need of jumping on him and making fun of religion just to show off how smart a critical thinker you are. We all know you are. It’s a thing between him and the author, so leave him be. Or at least try not to act reflexively everytime someone mentions some sort of religion somewhere.

    • MrThingy says:

      JFS: Err… that’s what private messaging is for?

    • MD says:

      Guys, benjamin already came back and quite graciously accepted John and Jim’s replies, and was even nice enough to apologise. He didn’t even hit back at the openly mocking responses. So perhaps it’s time to stop piling on.

  16. Paul says:

    That opening paragraph is hilarious!

    • Unaco says:

      Yeah… I just wish it would go further though. Why is Christianity the only one to benefit from Mr Rossignol’s wit? It’s Passover just now as well… Why not get something in there about the Jewish? Like, errrrm… I dunno… Maybe in Israel they’re hoping all those Katyusha rockets ‘Passover’ head, right?

      And the Muslims, can’t leave them out… What with the weather we’ve been having this last week, some of them probably wish the UK follow the French and bring in that ‘Burqa ban’, cos they must be sweltering.

      I’m not the best at these… sure Jim could come up with some better ones. Also note, I’m only touching the Abrahmic Religions… the others don’t really need anyone to make jokes about them, they manage to do that fine themselves… Hinduism sounds like the plot to bad Manga/Anime, and I dunno what the Buddhists were smoking.

    • McDan says:

      @Unaco.

      This is exactly the kind of thing that should be done more, not getting fun out of religions, although maybe, but everything being treated the same. Well done, good ideas for it too.

    • Mil says:

      @Unaco: Given RPS’s politics, I wouldn’t expect them to make any jokes of the sort in a million years.

    • Hunam says:

      Plus Judaism has almost no presence in the UK to be honest. Sometimes I forget it’s even there, and I’m from Jewish blood too.

    • Unaco says:

      @Hunam,

      Oy Vey! Actually, the UK has the 5th largest Jewish population in the world, with around 300,000 Jews in the UK. Anyway, why should they miss out on all of the fun because of numbers? Why should they be passed over in the comedy? Isn’t the UK all about inclusion? Acceptance and Multi-Culturalism and all that jazz?

    • Hunam says:

      Pfft, make some noise and we might remember you guys hang around and we’ll make fun of you :) To be honest though, I’ve never personally met anyone outside of my family who is Jewish or of Jewish ancestry though. Basically, the reason why you’d probably not seen any light hearted jokes on a UK-based site is because it’s something that most of us never see or read about, just like faded into the background of our collective conciousness.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      The Jews tend to make fun of themselves quite a bit, so that’s a bit less work for anyone taking up Unaco’s project

    • Unaco says:

      Or… My project is a job for a Jew.

  17. pakoito says:

    “For the first 120-minutes of the movie it looked like he was just being contrary and messing with people, but no, he was actually some kind of immortal dimension-travelling superbeing with a message about how life would be okay if people just stopped being dicks all the time.”

    Gold.

  18. Futurecast says:

    He may have once had principles, but since 9/11 Hitchens has become everything he always claimed to loathe. He has become an ideological thug for American foreign policy. He is the 21st century equivalent of the Cold War hawks and Reaganites that he once used to lambast (Which you can see in the video below if you watch the whole thing).

    Then: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0BHarmpWlI

    Now: http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2005/seymour261105.html

    The Hitchens that had any value at all died some time ago.

    • Stevostin says:

      To be fair Rome always condemned in very clear words the abuse made on its copyrighted brand to promote war. So don’t blame Jesus – if he comes back, he will kick some neo conservative’s ass, that’s for sure !

    • Futurecast says:

      Stevostin are you sure you meant to reply to me there?

    • Lhowon says:

      As much as I find Hitchens’ support for the Iraq war etc. to be abhorrent, I think writing him off as having no principle is a little strong. I think he does have principle, it’s just seriously misplaced – hatred of all things totalitarian and assertion that the horrific consequences of the war are justified on those grounds. Also I googled the guy who wrote that article you linked and saw him being chummy with George Galloway on TV, which is an interesting definition of ‘principle’.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      Principles are highly subjective, wouldn’t you say?

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Hitchens’ greatest failing is that he’s simply not very interesting or insightful. He’s no more or less deserving of attention than any of the idiot pundits on American politics, from Bill Kristol to Joe Klein, all boringly mouthing predictable platitudes.

      OK, he’s somewhat less wrong than most pundits. He just doesn’t belong in the ranks of forceful thinkers like Dawkins or Chomsky or Glenn Greenwald.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      Chomsky!? That old fraud? He does far more damage to the cause he might purport to support than any conservative.

      Hitchens has always been principled, despite occasional silliness. His reasons for supporting the invasion of Iraq were sound and good, and while he might be loath to admit that it was utterly fucked up in the end, he does admit it.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      Chomsky? Hilarious.

    • choconutjoe says:

      @Daniel Rivas
      Whatever you think of his politics, in linguistics there’s no thinker more influential than Noam Chomsky.

      EDIT: This rather proves the point http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/1992/citation-0415.html

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      Chomsky’s work on linguistics has been shown to be mostly wrong; that he is often cited proves nothing more than that he is famous, and a shameless self-publicist. (Not, in itself, a bad thing.)

      http://www.economist.com/node/18557572?story_id=18557572&CFID=162461939&CFTOKEN=56514907

      As for his politics: he’s a fraud. He does far more harm to the causes he supports than any conservative ever could.

      http://www.paulbogdanor.com/chomsky/200chomskylies.pdf

    • choconutjoe says:

      Chomsky’s work has not ‘been shown to be mostly wrong’ despite what you and a single journalist at the Economist have managed to misconstrue. His influence is much further reaching than proposing a Universal Grammar; he more or less invented modern linguistics and helped kick-start the cognitive revolution along the way. Right or wrong, he has done as much for linguistics as Darwin did for biology or Newton did for physics. This is true, irrespective of what you think about his politics.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      Pinker on Chomsky: http://www.myoops.org/cocw/mitworld/video/160/index.htm
      Schank on Chomsky: http://www.edge.org/documents/ThirdCulture/q-Ch.9.html
      Critical realism and scientific method in Chomsky’s linguistics: http://shu.academia.edu/PeterJones/Papers/391931/Critical_realism_and_scientific_method_in_Chomskys_linguistics

      Nevertheless, I’m no linguist, so I’ll bow down to your no doubt superior knowledge. (I’m not being sarcastic.*)

      When comparing Chomsky to Hitchens, however, we are discussing his political views and writing. And in that sphere Chomsky is usually quite demonstrably wrong: he has a tendency to provide his own ‘facts’ when the standard set won’t suffice. Which, by the way, makes me rather wary of taking him at his word when it comes to more academic matters.

      *Maybe a little, but I’m just being a dickhead. It only reflects poorly on me. :-)

    • Gassalasca says:

      While being the most important single person for the 20th century linguistics (a sort of a second Saussure), many of his claims have indeed been disproven, and comparing him to Newton or Darwin is way over the top. I’d probably go for someone like… say Max Planck, in terms of comparison.

    • choconutjoe says:

      There’s no doubt that lots of people disagree with Chomsky, that’s how science works. But they’re still doing so within the linguistic framework that Chomsky established.

      I happen to agree that most of Chomsky’s political writing is utter nonsense, but asTillEulenspiegel also mentioned Dawkins in the same sentence I assumed he was referring to more than just political writing. Whichever way you spin it, I don’t think you can deny Chomsky’s status as a ‘forceful thinker’.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      I think Dawkins is more well known at this point for his writing on religion than biology (which is why I thought he was compared to Hitchens).

      But fine, fine, I won’t push the issue.

      And, I’ll drop in a little inter-disciplinary snobbery: you might as well have said I’ve done as much for the field of licking yoghurt pot lids as Newton did for Physics. ;-)

    • Muzman says:

      Freud is a pretty good comparison in terms of influence, I find. He’s mostly wrong and methods of discerning knowledge in those areas has changed a lot since his time. But you can’t deny he kicked off whole new ways of approaching things that do underpin contemporary work in important ways.
      I dunno how right or wrong Chomsky is exactly but I find that applies to him as well.

      (edit: I should add, I don’t mean that Chomsky, or his field for that matter, enjoyed the vast cultural influence that Freud did. It’s just about where they are in relation to the field now)

    • choconutjoe says:

      @ Muzman: That’s a fairly apt analogy. Although Chomsky has never really been ‘proved wrong’ (he’s revised his own theories plenty of times however), there’s just a tendency in linguistics to polarize absolutely everything into pro- vs anti-Chomsky. So there’s a no shortage of articles claiming to ‘blow Chomsky out of the water’ or some such, adding a degree of unnecessary gravitas to what is essentially just the standard back-and-forth found in any field.

  19. sinister agent says:

    Good lord, that Amis article is a chore to read. You’d think such a seasoned writer wouldn’t feel the need to throw so many prattishly over the top adverbs and adjectives all over the place. And he should really know that retelling “you had to be there” moments never works in print. ‘fraid I couldn’t even finish it.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      Yes, Amis is a bore. Hitchens is always a good read, though.

    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      “!Literary novelist doesn’t write down to the lowest common denominator” shocker.

    • Premium User Badge

      jaheira says:

      I’ve always found Martin Amis to be almost hypnotically compelling. It’s true that he seems to generate as much vitriol as adulation though.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      I’ve never been able to get through anything he’s written, but there are people with opinions I respect who seem to love him.

      You’re right. He’s just a marmite-author, I guess.

    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      Only read one novel, but his essays and autobiography I found excellent, really liked this too:

      http://mydigest.espacioblog.com/post/2006/09/17/martin-amis-

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      It’s just stodgy. (Like a boarding school pudding, Amis might say—or perhaps he might not.)

      Whatever floats your boat.

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      Amis is frequently interesting, but never less than full of himself and as a writer, he makes me not want to be a reader.

    • sinister agent says:

      @Badger

      FYI, “This isn’t very well written” /= “this is too high-brow for my common peasant brain”.

      If Jean de la Bruyere and Samuel Johnson can write less stodgily and tediously than you 200 years before your birth, your article has problems.

  20. Hunam says:

    I don’t like Easter eggs! But I do like mini eggs :)

    That jurno article was actually quite good, angry vitriol too.

  21. coldvvvave says:

    >“Pretty early on, a lot of the material was directed towards the game being a lot more RPG-orientated, in terms of its progression and how the combat worked and, also, it was going to be a little bit more squad-based, in that you were going to have a little bit more control over squads,” McDermott explained.

    “That was something that, as we moved through the development cycle, we felt wasn’t really the right setting for this game and wasn’t really where we wanted to be in terms of genre and category. We felt like we would be better positioned going into the shooter categories and to compete with titles such as Gears of War, Black Ops, Halo and so on. We wanted to build more of a single-player experience which was more combat-based, more encounter-based, more about your personal journey of being a Space Marine, because that is what really resonates with fans of the franchise. That is what they have always wanted. And also from a gamer standpoint, that just seemed like the right fit for us.” <

    Oh my god.

  22. Alistair says:

    Holy Jesus. I just clicked through some more of the photos after that one of the poster from Jim’s hometown. Is that England’s most depressing town? Where is it?

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      That’s Keynsham, near Bristol. (Not where I live, but photo reference for something.)

    • Dozer says:

      Dear goodness Keynsham. Where I drive buses. This is how depressing it is: there’s an Iceland supermarket right next to the bus stop where the routes tend to terminate and the bus sometimes has to wait upwards of five minutes. Plenty of time for the driver to nip in and buy a can of coke, right? Wrong, because there’s no self-checkouts and only two checkout staff and a hundred old ladies in a queue. There’s something wrong with a town where it takes ten minutes to get a canned soft drink from a shop…

  23. Basilicus says:

    That Tom Baker piece is so beautifully and succinctly personal. May we all have the grace to age like Baker or Sladen.

  24. RagingLion says:

    Dude. Let it be known that ‘Hunted by a freak’ is literally my favourite track of all time.

    Can’t think of a more emotionally powerful and beautiful song that connects with my core.

  25. arghstupid says:

    That waste isolation thing is bonkers. Presumably one of two things would happen:
    1) Civilisation continues unbroken for the next 10,000 years and we perdiodically update the signs as language moves on.
    2) There’s some sort of mega-disaster/war that sends us back to the dark ages.
    In the case of 1 we’re fine, in the case of 2 the handful of deaths that might happen due to accidental exposure to radiation after not heeding signposts aren’t going to be very significant in comparison to global annihilation. Presumably after the first work crew drilled down there and got zapped everyone else would keep clear, or at least make some new ‘keep out’ stickers.
    You’d have thought with the number of CAT scans / X Rays / Long haul flights people are exposed to these days some of the cold war radiation hysteria might have started to subside.

    Edit – actually section 5.3 makes a similar point, so not entirely bonkers after all, just mostly bonkers.

    • noclip says:

      I think you’re overthinking it. Everything about that is simply awesome, full stop.

  26. Mirqy says:

    Jim, about that public meeting at your village…pleeeeeeeeease attend and write about it for us. Please. Seriously.

    • McDan says:

      I hope there is at least one old man dressed in full formal suit, top hat and monocle who exclaims: “We don’t like change” at some point.

    • Bullwinkle says:

      I don’t know what they have to say. It makes no difference anyway. Whatever it is, I’m against it. No matter what it is or who commenced it, I’m against it.

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      - How many Oxford dons does it take to change a lightbulb?
      – CHANGE?!

  27. noclip says:

    A few points.

    Regarding games journalism/games-as-art: “I give Hamlet a 10/10″

    Regarding bile: maybe Facebook logins everywhere with people’s real names attached to comments will solve this

    • Vinraith says:

      1. Have you ever actually read a conversation on Facebook? If real names don’t stop bile there, why would they stop it anywhere else?

      2. There’s no reason you have to use a real name for a Facebook account anyway.

      That’s to say nothing of the fact that a lot of reasonable people wouldn’t touch any site that required a real name login, let alone specifically a Facebook login.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      Reading a Facebook conversation is like watching a slow-motion train crash.

    • noclip says:

      Real names may not curb stupidity, but they can certainly restrain vitriol.

    • V. Profane says:

      There are several reasonably objective ways to measure the relative merits of a play, so invoking Shakespeare does nothing for me.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      I tend to use my real name on the internet, but that more and more sites make it more-or-less mandatory saddens me.

  28. 7rigger says:

    @Arghstupid
    “Presumably after the first work crew drilled down there and got zapped everyone else would keep clear, or at least make some new ‘keep out’ stickers.”

    they do make that point, actually – ” in the end, despite all we try to do, the most effective “marker” for any intruders will be a relatively limited amount of sickness and death caused by the radioactive waste?”

    As they say, the idea that we as a society are willing to make markers for people 400 generations distant speaks more about the changes in our attitude than the actual danger that may be mitigated.

    (Plus if the apocalypse does happen it will make a cool ‘forbidden zone’!)

    *edit* reply fail :(

    • arghstupid says:

      Yeah I noticed that bit after posting, my mistake.
      It also occured to me that mine shafts probably present a similar future risk. Giant holes in the ground are unlikely to go anyware over the millennia but could remain hidden until someone decides to drive a giant future-vehicle through the wrong bit of post-apocalyptic wasteland. Maybe someone will commission me to write a report on how to design a ‘Big Hole! Careful Now!’ sign.

  29. Navagon says:

    Interesting article on crowd funding. But it could have used something of an introduction for those of us unfamiliar with it. Still, it just goes to show that big publishers claiming they can’t make a profit on PC are simply being as unimaginative with their promotion of their games as they are with the games themselves.

    • robster says:

      Crowdfunding is mostly useful to indie developers. The big publishers don’t need to get on their hands and knees to ask for donations. Still, there don’t seem to be many resources for independent developers. Even with Kickstarter and 8-bit Funding, reaching funding goals is a significant challenge. Crowdfunding just presents another alternative to developers that don’t already have a publisher bankrolling them.

    • Navagon says:

      @ robster

      No, they don’t need to beg. If anything they can get people to do the begging. If they can get people to beg them to market their game for them (facebook likes for screenshots for instance) then I’m sure there’s plenty of money to be made in that.

  30. Max says:

    Today it feels like a good day to relax and watch Life of Brian.

  31. Premium User Badge

    stahlwerk says:

    The jetpack video makes me want to play (and finish at last) Half-Life 2. Must be the music combined with awesome tech.

    • Zenicetus says:

      That jetpack thing (“When technology from games is basically real”) has one huge drawback. It’s noisy as hell, which is why the promotional videos mask it with a music track so it looks like a cool anti-gravity device. It’s not even noisy in a sexy way, like a “whoosh” sound; it’s more like a leaf blower on steroids. Here’s what it actually sounds like:

      If I was relaxing on my deck on a quiet Sunday afternoon and one of those things flew over my house, I’d be reaching for a rifle. Well, no… but I’d be calling the FAA and filing a complaint. As cool as it would be to fly one as the pilot, I don’t see where you could fly something like this around people or wildlife on the ground. Also, from a pilot safety perspective, I think I’d be a wee bit nervous about those two turbofans spinning at the height of my head.

    • Premium User Badge

      stahlwerk says:

      “leaf blower on steroids” is a very appropriate description.
      It is a sound fit to instill fear in the very hearts of our enemies. Let our Jetpack armies block out the sun!

    • Zenicetus says:

      So it’s the modern Highland Bagpipes? Okay, now it makes sense!

    • Thants says:

      Then we’ll fight in the shade, with earplugs!

  32. V. Profane says:

    “You are your own worst enemy. Well, probably not YOU. Obviously the vast majority of MCVuk.com readers are of sane mind and valiant heart. ”

    “0 comments
    Sorry, posting of comments to this article has now been locked.”

    • thegooseking says:

      That’s rather selective quoting. To whit:-

      Last month we had to shut down comments on MCVuk.com because of this very phenomenon. A tragic and feeble few were ruining the fun for the decent and noble many. [Emphasis added]

      It’s not quite as inconsistent as all that.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      He’s getting ready to work at Fox News, obviously.

  33. 7rigger says:

    particularly odd when you consider Dwarf Fortress’ definition of ‘fun’

    The article didn’t illuminate much, but one of the comments gets the point across that ‘fun’ is a rather difficult thing to pin down. I find DF fun, none of my friends do.

  34. Xocrates says:

    I’m actually surprised it took someone this long to make a reply along this lines, maybe this means most people actually got the point of the article.

    I.e.: “The StarCraft II team’s goal wasn’t necessarily to make the game less fun, but to find gameplay that was both fun and compatible with a sport — the two elements had to coexist.”

    Their point was just they couldn’t add “fun” stuff just for the sake of it. It had to fit the game.

  35. Premium User Badge

    tomeoftom says:

    Fantasic Papers today, Jim! And very fun to read through the introductions, too.

  36. Premium User Badge

    fupjack says:

    “how much money I could raise for the voxel-powered explore ‘em up my games company has been working on for the past few months”

    Wait. I like the games you (publicly) like. I want to see this, to see if the trend continues.

  37. Iska says:

    Christopher Hitchens? On Easter Sunday? You crude shrew you…

  38. Mark says:

    I’ve always hated the attitude that just because a couple of morons decided to mess around in class, we all have to stay after school. That’s what the MCV article feels like, to me.

  39. qrter says:

    Regarding guerilla/guerrilla, I believe both spellings are actually accepted.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      Guerrilla is the correct Spanish spelling, but my English spellchecker gives it the red wigglies. That said, it also does the same to “spellchecker” and “wigglies”, so make of that what you will.

      I love the tongue rolling “rr” sound in Spanish. Really excellent.

  40. Jahkaivah says:

    Really the distinction of “Fun” in this context is inappropriate. “Gimmicky” works better as it describes something that can be enjoyable but after awhile stops being so and ultimately becomes a nuisance for those who play the game over long periods of time whether it is played competitively or not.

  41. Metonymy says:

    On internet bile: The games that have gotten dumped on by “metacritic anonymous” may or may not have deserved it, but the reality is that every game score is treacherously inflated. It’s a rare year when I play a ‘8,’ and it’s a rare decade when I play a ‘9.’ ’10’ is perfect. I have never played a ’10.’ The scores are all lies, and these big budget games are rarely higher than a 6.

    Furthermore, those scores are completely subjective! I can’t believe that people like Dragon Age or Mass Effect, much less rank them higher than a 4. However, I would have given Fallout 3 an 8, (very high for me!) so these are all just opinions, and quite worthless if you don’t share the developer-purchased tween tastes of the reviewer.

    By the way, you should consider getting a new image for this weekly piece, it didn’t even grab my attention the first time I saw it, much less now.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      Your first and second paragraphs seem to contradict each other. ;-)

    • gorgol says:

      Daniel,

      orly? How so?

      I agree with Metonymy’s first two paragraphs, but not with the last one. I think the regular picture for the Sunday papers is just fine.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      “the reality is that every game score is treacherously inflated”

      “Furthermore, those scores are completely subjective!”

      Maybe the reviewers just really love the games! Though I agree with the gist of both paragraphs.

      And I like the current picture too. It’s been going so long, it’d be a shame to change it…

    • Lilliput King says:

      Gorgol: You genuinely need this explained?

      “The scores are all lies”

      “Furthermore, those scores are completely subjective!”

      edit: Ugh, beaten to the punch.

    • Metonymy says:

      Ok. Sincere opinions and lies are logically exclusive.

      I can admit when I’m wrong.

    • gorgol says:

      I see no contradiction.

      1. Are most professional review scores treacherously inflated? In his opinion yes, due to market interests. I tend to agree with him.

      2. Are most professional review scores lies? In his opinion yes, due to market interests. I tend to agree with him.

      3. Are most professional review scores subjective? Yes, due to market interests and the inherent subjective nature of all reviews be they honest or dishonest. I agree with him.

      If you think there is a contradiction between 3 and 1 and 2 you are wrong. A lie is subjective, as is an evaluation that is made largely independently of the value of an object.

      EDIT: the above remains true despite his subsequent retraction. He is obviously, to put it gently, confused.

  42. passingstranger says:

    For those who enjoy Mogwai, I suggest you try out (In order of most suggestion, from MUST to YOU BETTER):
    1. Explosions in the Sky
    2. Sigur Ros
    3. Godspeed You! Black Emperor
    Start with “Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls” “Moya” for GY!BE. They very much seek to establish more of a soundscape and emotional tone for their music than the others, despite how technically great the others are.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      I like Sigur Ros, can’t stand Godspeed. I’ll give Explosions a listen.

    • dead left says:

      Never been able to get into Sigur Ros. Love GY!BE though. Must give the new Explosions album a listen

  43. bartleby says:

    DCS A-10C (which Tim Stone lightly rubbished) is now on steam. Buy it anyway, it’s aces. http://store.steampowered.com/app/61010/

  44. Jimbo says:

    “Love or hate The Witcher, not many who played it could have expected its sequel to become one of the most anticipated games of 2011. A little known world, based on books that hadn’t even been translated into English. A script so hacked up, it needed a complete do-over to be comprehensible. Opening chapters that should have been burned out of the game with an arc welder. A game that went out of its way to offer interesting moral choices, complex storytelling, a wonderfully dark new fantasy flavour, and one of the best RPG experiences around… only to have it all completely overshadowed by silly collectable playing cards of assorted peasant girl boobies. Sigh. Great game. Not always easy to like.”

    Pretty much everything about this paragraph is nonsense. The people that loved the first game are -fairly obviously- anticipating the sequel, and I don’t get the impression there are hordes of other people out there anticipating this game. The level of anticipation is exactly as expected, from the people you would expect it from. The original script was perfectly comprehensible. I only played the original version and had no trouble comprehending what was going on. The greatness of the game was only “completely overshadowed” by the cards for a small, hand-wringing minority. It always received far more praise overall than it ever received condemnation for the cards – so pretty much the opposite of being overshadowed.

    The second paragraph isn’t much better either. 1.5 million copies sold is a “cult RPG success”? And the sequel is their chance for a “huge mainstream hit”? If 1.5m sales is considered cult success, I’d love to know what kind of mainstream hit is considered possible this time around. A couple million paying customers is all this market has in it.

    • Dominic White says:

      Agreed. All of it.

      1.5 million sales is fairly big for a mainstream console release. 1.5 million sales for a first game by a small Polish studio, which is a hardcore classic-style RPG and only for the PC? That’s an enormous, shocking hit. Not just a ‘cult’ thing.

      Also, the article in general feels like it devotes half its word-count to the sexual aspects, because it’s not a PC Gamer/RPS article on The Witcher without a massively disproportionate of umming and ahhing and hand-wrnging over what is a tiny fraction of the experience. Also, perhaps I’m misreading intent here, but it seems to awkwardly conflate being misogynistic with it having a fairly realistic medieval European setting, which Women DO get the short end of the stick, because that’s how things were and it was pretty shitty because of it.

      The mainstream gaming press really don’t seem to know how to handle The Witcher.

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      I think you can acknowledge the misogyny of medieval culture without reveling in it, and point to George RR Martin’s work as a good example of this.

      @ Jimbo – I can see the writer’s point. The hype around The Witcher II is at a far, far more fevered level than the original got and whilst it may eventually have sold a lot of titles, it is “cult” in that it got there through countless re-issues and the passionate word of mouth of it’s fans; not through huge week one sales and a large marketing budget. I would also draw your attention to the difference between selling a lot of copies, and being a “big” game for the purposes of the Western gaming media. I’m sure there are quite a few games around which have passionate followings in Asia and Central/Eastern Europe which are not considered mainstream Western titles.

      It’s only anecdotal evidence, obviously, but my straw poll of if a game is “big” or not is whether my Black Ops/CoD playing friends are aware of it and if they plan to play it. By this measure Portal II is “big”; Fable III was “big”, Homefront was “big”. The Witcher 2 still isn’t on that level but they know about it. And that, for a PC only hardcore RPG from Eastern European developers, is a Pretty Big Thing.

    • Dominic White says:

      “I think you can acknowledge the misogyny of medieval culture without reveling in it”

      Does The Witcher revel in it? Other than Geralt liking to do the horizontal mambo, which isn’t so much sexist as it is a defining character trait?

    • MrEvilGuy says:

      You guys are bringing up some interesting points here… too bad I gotta go watch the good ol’ hockey game, otherwise I’d join in this tempting discussion!

  45. Mario Figueiredo says:

    I hope “Crowd Funding” doesn’t become a term to define the type of support indie developers have been having for the past years. Not while these companies don’t create escrow accounts for those cases when the objectives were not met.

    Until then I prefer to understand the whole thing as simply Donations.

  46. Premium User Badge

    drewski says:

    I think that’s a oversimplification, Jahkaivah. He’s not talking about cutting gimmicks – at least not exclusively – and he doesn’t help his cause by memorably citing gimmick examples in other sports.

    But some of the “fun” stuff he talks about cutting from SC2 is not gimmicky – merely duplicated, or unnecessarily complex.

    One thing that did amuse me about the “Basketball 2″ reference he likes to make is that basketball essentially did become a second, very different game, with the introduction of the three point line.

  47. Kdansky says:

    Happy Zombie Jesus Day!

    I hope he doesn’t turn up as a special infected this week. That would be so unfair.

  48. Thants says:

    It should be mentioned that he’s specially talking about the competitive multiplayer part of the game. The gimmicky, fun-but-unbalanced ideas had their place in the single-player and custom-multiplayer parts of the game.

    And, JKjoker, you should really read the whole article next time before making comments like that. It wasn’t very long, and it specifically addresses your issues.

  49. ScalyWg says:

    is it the disinfranchised edition of the prisoner?

  50. Jahkaivah says:

    @JKjoker
    “someone ranked 2309478234820394th with a clever idea might just kick the crap out of everyone”

    Starcraft has those, the term “cheese build” is used to describe alot of them. The problem is that when a game is played extensively like Starcratf 2 is one of two things will happen:

    A) It proves to be such an effective tactic that it dominates the playing field and even breaks the game enough to be patched out. It’s not such a clever idea once everyone does it.

    B) It works, but only when it isn’t discovered in advanced and promptly countered. Making sure the enemy doesn’t scout your possibly clever strategy and vice versa is pretty much how Starcraft 2 works.