The Sunday Papers

By Jim Rossignol on October 30th, 2011 at 5:29 pm.


Sundays are attempting to recover from GameCity 6. I was only there for a day, and I’m almost dead. That said, I did sit through a full eight hours of Thrilling Wonder Stories the day before, which meant by my brain has way too much to process. So Sundays are for digesting massive input. Here, why not try it yourself?

  • PC Gamer play Artemis, the starship bridge simulator thing: “Uhurich McCormick: I’m working the communications rig and am supposed to use the ship’s arrays to chat directly with the things hanging in space around us: to secure docking permissions, check the status of allied ships, things like that. I’d previously been wittering away happily with the station’s manufacturing teams to get some more photon torpedoes, but out in the inky blackness of the void, there’s no one to talk to. Aww. Wait, we’ve just scooted past something! Some red dots on the ship’s scanner. I call over to Graham and ask for his expert analysis on what they are. “Red dot things, over there!” he squeaks. Thanks, Graham. Are they hostile? Let’s find out.”
  • Gamasutra talk to Raph Koster about the sense of “loss” that pervades games going mainstream by moving into social media: “To me, it feels like how opera fans must have felt when people first showed them their first primitive movies,” he suggests. “The world is moving on. I feel that sense of loss, but at the same time, I’m excited by the new canvas.”
  • While at Gamasutra check out this piece, where Hecker talks about whether designers should necessarily be programmers. Raven’s Manveer Heir also comments: “The dirty little secret is I don’t like to program,” he says. “Programming is like the grinding quest I have to do to get that little piece of enjoyment and satisfaction that I like.”
  • Bob’s Gaming Page has an interview with Space Chem designer Zach Barth: “I made the mistake of testing the game with people who all thought that chemistry was a completely legitimate theme for a game. It wasn’t until we shipped the game that we realized people mistook it for educational and refused to have anything to do with it.”
  • Film Crit Hulk on the sexism of Arkham City. On the “realism” argument: “BECAUSE HULK HATE TO BREAK IT TO YOU, BUT THAT’S NOT HOW ACTUAL CRIMINALS ARE IN PRISON POPULATIONS. NOT BY A LONG SHOT. IF YOU’RE SO CONCERNED WITH REALISM THEN YOU’D OBVIOUSLY REALIZE THAT THEY ARE HUMAN BEINGS. DEEPLY FLAWED HUMAN BEINGS. SOMETIMES BROKEN HUMAN BEINGS. SOMETIMES HUMAN BEINGS WHO ARE CAPABLE OF DOING THE WORST THINGS ONE CAN DO ANOTHER. THEIR REASONS FOR DOING SO, THEIR SOCIOPATHY, THEIR SOCIAL CONSTRUCTS. THEY ARE ALL PART OF A HUMAN STORY, OFTEN TRAGEDY. AND THAT STORY EXISTS ON A GRAY SCALE OF HUMAN EXISTENCE. AND THEN THERE’S THE FACT THAT MOST OF THEM ARE THERE BECAUSE THEY WANTED TO GET HIGH.”
  • GiantBomb on When a Mostly Positive Review Becomes “Controversial”: “Thing is, I’d rather read a thousand words about why someone didn’t like Uncharted 3, so long as the author’s building a proper case, rather than trolling fans. In Parkin’s review, he outlines a grand critique against the Uncharted series as a whole, written through the lens of its latest release, and makes a credible argument for why Uncharted’s highest highs naturally create unavoidable lows. It’s a feeling that’s been with me since the beginning of Drake’s journey, but especially so in Uncharted 2, when players may miss the directorial cue from the game, such as a timed jump, and have to repeat it over and over again.” And here’s the controversial review.
  • If buying a book was like buying a game.
  • Wired talk game piracy with a piece entitled “If You Want To Fight Piracy, Make Better Games”.
  • Sinister Design has some interesting thoughts on gamification.
  • Digital Foundry on how Battlefield 3 runs across the three formats.
  • Ambient challenge discusses Metro 2033.
  • The animatronics show reel from Thrilling Wonder Stories. I’ll link the live taxidermy when they put that up…

I don’t think I’ve managed to listen to anything new this week in the ways of music. Anyone got any suggestions?

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127 Comments »

  1. apachebreak says:

    Phhheeeeewwww! :)

    • McDan says:

      Know how you feel, Also that metro article is excellent. But I can’t really get enough of it to be fair.

  2. pakoito says:

    I mistook the first link with Aurora, that Space Dwarf Fortress RPS haven’t covered yet :(

  3. Prime says:

    Despite a disproportionate amount of software piracy in the country, Newell says Valve has transformed Russia into one of its largest markets.

    “The people who are telling you that Russians pirate everything are the people who wait six months to localize their product into Russia,” Newell said. “It doesn’t take much in terms of providing a better service to make pirates a non-issue.”

    I may have my issues with Steam, and the Steam Punks who proclaim it as God’s gift to gaming, but By God if that isn’t the best thing I’ve read in a very long time. Nice one, Valve. Oh, and Ubisoft? I really fucking hope you’re reading those comments.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      Hehe. You said steampunk.

    • Wulf says:

      I have no issue with being a steampunk. None at all. To me, that’s an accolade.

      If you want to see a little bit of history…

    • Aemony says:

      You know what? Ubisoft didn’t. Gabe Newell has said the same for the last two years, ever since around the time he was interviewed by the Good Game TV show. His wisdom was completely ignored for a year when Ubisoft launched their new ridiculous DRM scheme.

    • Prime says:

      @Aemony: Which may be precisely the reason I want Ubisoft to be reading them now?

      I have no issue with being a steampunk. None at all. To me, that’s an accolade.

      Excellent. It was designed that way. The only collective noun for Steam’s proponents I could think of that would also be seen as complimentary. I’m shocked no-one’s thought of it before, frankly. Be aware it’s not one word, however, but two.

  4. Ultra Superior says:

    Music: Danger Mouse, Rome. Probably everyone already knows that, except for me.

    One more thing…erm…I like my papers at the forenoon side of the day.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      I’ve been listening to that as well.

      It’s not like music (or games!) have a best before-date. You don’t have to get stuff right when it’s released. It’ll stay good for a while longer. :)

    • hastapura says:

      I recommend Florence + the Machine’s new album. Lovely, dense, and atmospheric; much less likely to crop up in a trillion ads as well.

    • ArthurBarnhouse says:

      I recently discovered that Prodigy released an EP about six months ago:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGfxunIxPSM

      Probably best to skip the Bumpy Johnson intro.

    • Wang Tang says:

      I have to concur with hastapura, fantastic album :)
      Though I’m not yet sure if its better than Lungs.

    • Finster says:

      Penfold: “Crumbs!”

  5. NR says:

    Man, that was late… Thought you might be interested in TotalBiscuit’s 12 hour WTF-a-thon for charity which is currently ongoing right here LIVE (more info on reddit if you’re curious).

  6. Veret says:

    I don’t know how everyone’s musical tastes line up with my own, but I’ve been listening to a lot of Calling All Dawns (by Christopher Tin, he of the excellent Civ IV menu music). Here’s Mado Kara Mieru:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKPi_SE6Vfg (not sure what the video is; I just linked it for the song)

    Oh, and the Artemis piece is fantastic. Everyone must go read now.

    • Vinraith says:

      Emphatically seconded, Calling All Dawns is singularly brilliant. Tin, for people that don’t know, is the composer responsible for “Baba Yetu,” the original man menu theme for Civilization 4. If that caught your attention, it’s a good bet you’d enjoy the album he built around it. You can listen to the first 2 minutes of every track on the album via his website:

      http://www.christophertin.com/

      For my own suggestion on the music front, I’ve been positively obsessed with Zoe Keating lately. She uses a foot controlled laptop set up to play cello pieces with herself, layering up to 16 different loops on top of each other. It’s beautiful, and you can listen to a lot of her stuff via her website:

      http://music.zoekeating.com/album/one-cello-x-16-natoma

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      If you’re asking: Bland, formulaic, pseudo-ethnic, pap. It wouldn’t seem out of place on sale in a garden centre next to CDs of pan-pipe music and whale song.

      The Zoe Keating stuff, on the other hand, was both lovely and musically interesting.

    • Kaira- says:

      I guess I can use this thread for rcommending something little. Ancient VVisdom’s “A Godlike Inferno” has been quite magnificent experience, blues-rockish and oozing atmosphere. Reminds me a bit of Hexvessel, which is also warmly recommended.

    • hastapura says:

      Zoe Keating is awesome – check out Rasputina if you like her playing. She did some time with them a while ago.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      You make it sound like they met whilst in jail!

      EDIT: I’d also like to revise my earlier assessment. The Zoe Keating stuff is not “lovely” it is “wonderful”. The Christopher Tin stuff is still shit however.

    • Veret says:

      Usually when I bring up Christopher Tin on the internet, there are a couple of idiots who trash him with statements that begin with “I’m not racist, but…”. Mercifully, Ergates, you appear to be neither stupid nor hostile, so maybe we can have an actual discussion about this.

      So what’s up with the dislike? I hear “pseudo-ethnic” a lot, but I’m not entirely sure what real ethnic is even supposed to sound like. To me, Tin’s music is fairly western stuff with a strong influence from whichever culture the song is about. It’s different enough that I like it, but not so different that I can’t immediately understand what I’m hearing; in my book, that’s a good thing. Sometimes I wonder how many people have written off this album just because they misread its purpose.

      Oh, and I’m listening to that Zoe Keating link as I type this. Good stuff.

    • Ex Lion Tamer says:

      Vinraith, thanks for posting the Zoe Keating link – I’m really liking this.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      I dislike it because I sounds like music created by comittee, using a spreadsheet. It’s bland and inoffensive. It ticks the relevant boxes but has no soul. It’s music created by an engineer* rather than an artist. Someone who likes listening to music, but doesn’t really understand what it is, or how you make it, like the contestants on X-factor who think that passion is screwing your eyes up as you sing an insipid ballad.

      If it were a house, it would be a mock-tudor box on an “executive” estate. It’d have magnolia walls, laminate flooring and decking in the garden.

      If it were a town, it’d be Milton-Keynes. It’d have ample parking and a well lit shopping centre filled with the kind of high-street shops you can find in any town.

      If it were a car, it’d be a Vauxhall Insignia.

      If it were a book it’d be a Twilight novella.

      If it were a film it’d be made by Disney and would feature a wise-cracking meercat with a lop-sided grin. In fact his music sounds *incredibly* Disney to me – which is probably another reason I don’t like it.

      There is no such thing as real ethnic music, all “ethnic” music is pseudo-ethnic. There is African music, which is created by Africans and sounds African. There is Chinese music, which is created by Chinese people and sounds chinese. There is even Outer Mongolian music which is created by people from Norwich and sounds like 2 whales making love in a bath filled with steel marbles. (OK, I made that last one up…)

      Pseudo-ethnic music is created when someone who isn’t part of, and doesn’t really understand, a particular culture, tries to make music that sounds like it was from, or influenced by, that culture. It generally takes the most obvious (and thus generally the most superficial) elements of the music of that culture and pastes it over the top of the composers own cultures music. What you usually end up with is a bland mish-mash – music that doesn’t sound African, but sounds African-ish. A classic example, is the music from Titanic – lets take some generic film music and make it Irish sounding by adding in some tin whistle, job done.

      It’s like MacDonalds doing Indian food by making a McChicken Tikka burger – a chicken burger with a bit of cumin and corriander. It’s not Indian food, it just tastes a bit Indian-ish. Or an Irish theme pub – where everything is green, and the walls are covered with Guinness adverts and pictures of 4 leafed clovers and leprecauns.

      I hope this makes some sense – I find it hard to fully explain my dislike for it as it’s largely around things which are fairly nebulous and hard to define (like “soul”).

      *I say that as someone who falls very much into the engineer side of things – I don’t have an artistic bone in my body. If I tried to write music it’d probably end up sounding like this.

    • Veret says:

      Actually I get it completely; I just don’t…get it. Your argument about “soul” and design by committee–once you take away the “ethnic” part–is pretty much verbatim the rant I’ve given about any pop, top 40, or “lite” radio station.* I also have a major problem with Celine Dion for the same reason. But when I listen to Calling All Dawns, all I hear is good music. To use your food example: There’s an Indian restaurant down the street whose menu includes various kinds of meat with rice and some indecipherable combination of sauce and spices. I know perfectly well it’s not “real” Indian food–the beef was a big hint–but it tastes good. We’re probably going to agree to disagree on this anyway, but I just want to know you’re approaching this music from the right mindset before you decide to hate it.

      *Note to non-American readers: Our radio stations suck.

  7. NR says:

    And, also, apropos of nothing, congratulations on winning best games blog at the GMAs this week! (http://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/gma-2011-rock-paper-shotgun-wins-best-blog-prize/087033) Although I may have not heard of them previously, it’s nice to know that other people consider you guys to be as awesome as I do.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      Why the hell didn’t RPS post this? Awesome news, by the way!

      Rock Paper Shotgun: Bringing you news from VG247 first. ;)

    • theleif says:

      Grats!

    • grobitbox says:

      I assume they didn’t mention it because of the controversy over the event: http://jamsponge.tumblr.com/

    • theleif says:

      @grobitbox
      Oh. That makes the Blizzard debacle look like a Christian civil rights meeting.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      You know what? I’m proud of RPS not giving those nincompoops any press, even if it means not advertising that they’ve won an award.

      Stay classy, guys. *tips hat*

    • YourMessageHere says:

      Wow. That’s…actually amazing. I always hated Grainger Games, now I know the reason why. What a bunch of arseholes. Why on earth hasn’t it been talked about here?

      Apropos of nothing, I went into the central Newcastle branch last week. They had exactly sixteen PC games (total quantity, not different titles). One was WoW and four more were variations on The Sims. Go independent retailers!

  8. faircall says:

    The programming/design article was great, but that is not Hecker’s quote as your link seems to suggest- it’s Heir’s.

  9. Acosta says:

    The Artemis one is absolutely fantastic and I can’t recommend it enough. In a pretty stupid and pointless week in terms of videogame discussion, reading that was like refreshing my face with cold water in a hot day.

  10. mechabuddha says:

    I found the Murakami piece quite amusing, especially since I actually had considered pre-ordering 1Q84. Ended up catching it in an online book sale, which I guess is almost like hunting for cheaper games on Shocked Fish.

    • pakoito says:

      What are his books about, anyway?

    • shinygerbil says:

      Mostly about all sorts of things, generally weirdness and slightly supernatural metaphysical stuff, but usually involving a guy who likes jazz and whisky, because Murakami likes jazz and whisky

    • westyfield says:

      My favourite independent bookshop was all a-twitter* about Murakami, and I was tempted to get a copy, but I have eleven thousand books to read and no time in which to read them. So I didn’t. Is it any good, though?

      *Because they were excited about the new book, and were expressing that excitement via Twitter. It’s a joke, see?

    • InternetBatman says:

      I like him a lot. I wouldn’t say there’s an overriding theme, but I’m not very good at reading literature. The one thing that seems to be a constant in his books I’ve read is the push and pull between Western culture and traditional Japanese culture, told through magical realism. He also loves cats.

    • hello_mr.Trout says:

      ‘hard-boiled wonderland and the end of the world’ was like this super neat kinda mathmatical film noir book spliced with fantasylike sections – it had a great ending & the other one which is neat is ‘the wild sheep chase’ – which had a few sections that are still stuck in my head! i like his writing lots – it’s kinda serious and sombre, but with humour around the edges of everything

  11. Burning Man says:

    Film critic Hulk’s opinions annoy me not because they’re strong, which is understandable, but because he feels the need to constantly assume how I’m going to respond and to come up with counter-statements and counter-counter-statements. Which makes me feel like he’s shoving an opinion down my throat as if it were fact. That guy is insecure.

    • LazyGit says:

      No, this is how an essay is done properly.

      Darwin for instance spent a lot of time in On the Origin of Species coming up with points of argument that critics may have had with his evidence and dismissing them pre-emptively.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      I thought he was mostly assuming how people responded the day before?

    • TenjouUtena says:

      It is perfectly valid to include rebuttals to likely arguments when framing an argument.

      I hated reading it, and indeed couldn’t finish doing so, because we use mixed case in English for a reason.

    • Acorino says:

      Yeah, the Hulk stick gets old very fast. And it’s not funny. And when it’s there, it’s weak anyway. But what’s always there is the uppercase. And it’s annoying.

    • theleif says:

      @Burning Man

      Well, it’s a follow up piece to the response he got to his initial article, rebutting the counter arguments to that.
      So…

    • Jenks says:

      You’re saying a guy who needs to write using a shtick character is insecure?

    • Urthman says:

      FILM CRIT HULK NOT TALK LIKE HULK! STUPID FAKE HULK JUST WANT EXCUSE TO USE ALL CAPS! HULK SMASH CAPS LOCK KEY!!

    • Burning Man says:

      Fine, he’s just VERY defensive. And to those of you who say it is valid, yes, I agree, it is valid when done (i.e. substantiated) well. But he’s just countering opinion with opinion which irritates me because I’d like to form my own counter-counter-opinion, thank-you-very-much.

  12. Brumisator says:

    I think you meant to say “arkham city” instead of “arkham asylum” for the 5th article.

    I’ll be glad to have you correct the mistake and my comment deleted as always. It really shows you value the readers’ help.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      “As always”? I don’t believe I’ve ever done that.

      And I absolutely rely on comments to edit The Sunday Papers, what with me compiling it in my sleep every Sunday morning -_-

    • Durkonkell says:

      This “RPS is an oppressive military dictatorship where you have to toe the party line and never say anything that could potentially be criticism or you are SENT TO SIBERIA” bollocks is getting on my nerves of late.

    • Koozer says:

      In Jim’s completely obsolete defence, I’m sure it says somewhere around here that we should just email errors instead of posting them as comments.

    • Brumisator says:

      No personal attack meant, Jim. Love your work.

      It’s just that, on RPS, every time I point out a mistake or oversight in an attempt to be helpful, all I get is a deleted comment and no acknowledgement.

      I’m sorry I had to revert to acting like a spoiled brat to get a response, but in a Machiavellian way, it worked.

    • CMaster says:

      Alec definitely deletes comments pointing out errors. I think John does sometimes as well. And yes, the official line here is to email. However I’d be inclined to suggest that the email only/deleted comments thing does, as the FAQ page there suggests, apply more to grammatical/formatting errors than it does to content errors, where you often just see an “oops” from the writer in the comments and a correction above.

    • westyfield says:

      Would it be possible to have a separate ‘site feedback’ comments area, for things like that? That way, the comments wouldn’t be clogged up with spelling corrections, and the writers wouldn’t have to trawl through said comments to find said corrections.

    • MD says:

      If they care enough to check a separate forum though, they might as well just proof-read their piece once more. I don’t think they’re trawling through the comments for corrections, just acting on them when they happen to see them.

    • apocraphyn says:

      On that note, first sentence: “Sundays are attempting to recover from GameCity 6.” I believe “for” should be strategically placed betwixt “are” and “attempting”.

      I’m in accordance with CMaster, though – sometimes certain people can be a little heavy-handed with the moderation. Eugh, that Project Zomboid article… quite the opposite with the recent Blizzcon article however, which was refreshing. Lots of interesting points of view (and stupidity) were posited by members on both sides of the fence.

    • FataMorganaPseudonym says:

      “It’s just that, on RPS, every time I point out a mistake or oversight in an attempt to be helpful, all I get is a deleted comment and no acknowledgement.”

      So, you don’t post corrections in the comments because you want to actually improve the article, you post corrections in the comments because you want mad props and virtual high-fives and for everyone to recognize how big your pedantic e-peen is? And it makes you angrily sardonic when they just quietly correct the mistake without paying tribute to your awesomeness? Good to know.

  13. Eddy9000 says:

    Never heard of Hulk before this link, but now I’ll be a regular reader. Anyone that can talk about moral relativism in an all-caps Hulk impression gets my vote. My worry is that as having left school a long time ago, got a job, married, met all kinds of different people and generally broadened my horizons a little, the hobby I’ve enjoyed for so long will become less and less accessible as the games keep getting treated as ‘just’ games, rather than accepting their place as a culturally important media, and continue to pander to the adolescent sexism and nieve predjudice that many of it’s consumers have grown out of (and to be fair to the many thoughtful adolescents I’ve met, probably never had in the first place).

    • choconutjoe says:

      Is it me or has he completely misunderstood what moral relativism is?

      It’s not a definition of the term I’ve come across before anyway. Maybe it’s perfectly common but I’ve just missed it somehow?

    • Eddy9000 says:

      Yeah you’re right, it’s kind of a misuse; relativism refers to the idea that morality is socially and culturally defined rather than there being a true ‘realist’ morality that can be discovered and attained. I suppose saying that one thing is less immoral because there are worse immoralities happening could be a sort of relativistic argument though.

      Just as an aside, what on earth is it with the eurogamer forums? I’m fascinated by what draws a bunch of people together who are obsessed with scoring, and so sensetive about the minute ways a review might differ from their own ideas? Is it something to do with the website, the reviewers or what? There’ve been so many occasions when I’ve read the comments sections of their generally excellent reviews and though ‘If I was a games reviewer I’d refuse to write reviews for eurogamer’!

    • Eddy9000 says:

      My last reply got eaten so in short I’d say that saying one thing is less immoral becasue there are greater immoralities in the world could be considered a relativistic argument, but isn’t the way ‘moral relativism’ is most often used.

    • iucounu says:

      I can’t think what that particular fallacy of argument is called. It’s a bit like a reverse Nirvana fallacy – “This solution isn’t perfect, so to hell with it.” Or maybe a fallacy of balance? Moral Relativism I’ve always understood to mean the belief that morality is essentially about what a particular society approves of, not about universal truths. So if you live in a society that doesn’t feel keeping slaves is morally wrong, then it’s not morally wrong. This doesn’t seem entirely satisfactory.

    • Eddy9000 says:

      It isn’t so much a fallacy because it doesn’t really contravene a logical rule; but as choconutjoe points out it isn’t the traditional way that the term ‘moral reletavism’ is used, it could even be said to be a realist argument becasue it is suggesting that there is a fixed hierachy of things that are more or less moral than each other, although the point that other worse things are going on and these make other bad things less amoral could also be seen as arguing that things are good or bad in relation to context, which would be a reletavist argument.

  14. TillEulenspiegel says:

    Koster seems to be drawing unfounded conclusions from what is nothing more or less than the expansion of the market. People who want “long, intricate, complex” games haven’t disappeared. They’re just a smaller relative fraction of what is now an enormously huge market for stuff that can be shoved under the broad category of “games”.

    It’s also not at all clear that social media is the way forward. Again, he seems to be confusing expansion with progress. Integrating tightly with such things severely limits the kinds of games you’re able to create, which is surely a step backwards.

    And sure, you can do stuff with Facebook and Twitter and YouTube like the past two editions of Football Manager have done. But it’s a trivially small change that doesn’t fundamentally affect the game, and it’s been received with indifference by users (check out “Video Director” and “Spread The News”).

    Again, “Facebook games are popular” doesn’t imply “all games must go on Facebook”. Not in the slightest. The suggestion that all developers must move that way makes no more sense than suggesting Pixar should get into big-budget R-rated action films (or better, the other way ’round) because gee, those sure are popular now. They’re making what they want to make, doing it really well, and finding a considerable audience for it. What’s the problem?

    • Raph Koster says:

      TillEulenspiegel,

      Keep in mind that the interview was done in the context of the talk I gave at GDCOnline, which I summarized here:

      http://www.raphkoster.com/2011/10/13/gdco2011-its-all-games-now/

      I really wasn’t referencing just social games, but rather the fact that all games are getting wrapped by social media, and yes, I do think it is changing the games. (I also think we’re on a definite trajectory where fewer AAA games are getting made, which is where the opera remarks come from).

  15. noom says:

    Nice to see somebody deconstructing the commentsplosion on Eurogamer’s Uncharted 3 review. I made the mistake of scrolling down into the comments after reading the review and was left utterly dumbfounded. I thought it was an entirely reasonable – arguably quite positive – review, and all the rage honestly took me by surprise. If it was just a minority of comments I’d probably not have been so shocked, but the derision seemed to be almost unanimous. Well articulated too for the most part, and well articulated ignorance is the scariest kind.

    • Eddy9000 says:

      Yeah what is it with eurogamer posters? I’m suprised they can find anyone to write reviews with the kind of crap they get thrown at them in the comments. Only a matter of time before they have to introduce a spinal-tap style rating out of eleven becasue people think 8-9 are terrible scores!

    • MisterT says:

      Some people get upset when someone scores something they like lower than they think it deserves.

      I think that the EG review is the best review for any uncharted series, because it’s true, while the story and visuals are solid, as a game for having fun doing stuff, it is lacking.

    • Johnny Lizard says:

      @Eddy9000 Why not just make ten better?

    • Eddy9000 says:

      …These go up to eleven.

    • Roarster says:

      I didn’t care enough to actually comment on the review but I did find it a pretty weird review overall. I don’t recall Eurogamer ever really mentioning linearity or forced-control in games before and suddenly they seemed to base a whole review of an otherwise seemingly excellent game on that fact. It really looked like they’d decided they wanted to find something to criticise so they could stand out from the crowd and that was all they could find.

      Hopefully they can be consistent about it anyway, I’m sure the next CoD rollercoaster ride will give them plenty to write about.

    • Acorino says:

      You know, I’m pretty sure that some other guys reviewed the previous Uncharted games, so it’s no wonder that the point of view is kind of different now.

      Heck, Roger Ebert tells of troubles of keeping the scoring and rating consistent with his top 10 of the year lists. So how can a whole website with many contributors remain consistent? But then, would we have this discussion without the damn score at the end anyway? Probably not.

    • Eddy9000 says:

      perhaps scoring does suggest a consistency that cannot be provided, perhaps the reviewers should just do away with scores and be open that they are just saying wot they think; not sure where I’ve seen that before? :-)

    • Roarster says:

      I don’t really care about the score, I just found the choice to fairly heavily criticise a linear, strictly directed game for being just that as weird and I ended up with the impression that the reviewer was going out of his way to find something to beat the game up over.

      As for consistency across the site’s reviews – I’d hope that the editor and review editor would be at least considering this before publishing a review. They might see it as the work of an individual writer but I’d imagine most people reading a review see it as some sort of opinion of the site (ridiculous as that sounds).

    • InternetBatman says:

      The funny thing is that I completely agreed with the reviewer’s feelings about the Uncharted and setpiece games in general. It might be a bit petty to complain about games that are that clearly cinematic, but I don’t think games that rely heavily on set pieces should be rewarded for doing so. It invariably harms the gameplay in a way that linearity by itself does not.

    • Mman says:

      “Hopefully they can be consistent about it anyway, I’m sure the next CoD rollercoaster ride will give them plenty to write about.”

      This is the main problem I have with these kind of reviews; we get something like this, and then it’s right back to “A+++” “11/10 ” “Oscar worthy” “A new landmark in entertainment” “Will keep you on the edge of your seat” *Insert more cliches here* from the same sites when the next “interactive movie” game comes along. So it essentially feels like a dice-roll (of who gets to review) how the games are going to be treated and takes away from credibility when there’s no sense of a consistent site policy.

      Of course, I’ll happily eat my words if sites with recent “controversial” reviews do remain consistent.

    • jrodman says:

      Like most general reportage outlets, they should probably not have comments at all. Mainstream internet participants do not contribute anything with their froth. In fact they just create an atmosphere of hostility that makes the whole thing less valuable for everyone.

      Forums off to the side where you don’t even see them unless you want to participate in discussion? Maybe. Inline comments immediately after the article? Usually a bad idea.

      The only way to make that sort of commenting work is to have a very clear community norm for what’s allowed and not allowed, and to remove those that don’t meet the standard. And that’s hard to do well. Invective can be dressed in very polite clothing. The Guardian, for one, tries, but most of the politically comments are so hostile to discussion that the purpose is not really served.

    • John Brindle says:

      My ghast was thoroughly flabbered. People calling 8/10 “a low score” and ranting about how it would ruin the metacritic measure? Threats and wails and lamentations? 8 out of 10? That’s 80% of the possible marks! That’s a very high first class degree pretty much anywhere! How mad and entitled do you have to feel to take it personally when a critic likes a game you liked slightly less than you? I honestly thought that kind of incendiary zealotism had fallen by the wayside along with proper thoroughgoing console wars.

      What it does show is that people do or are starting to genuinely expect almost scientific accuracy from this number. I’m inclined to think of a review score as a summary of the individual writer’s opinion, but Eurogamer commenters seem to say otherwise. The big issues are that 1) the score differs from the one given to a previous games, despite it being basically the same, and 2) the score is the same as other games which are perceived as being far better or far worse. Basically, they understand the number not as a summary of a review but as an objective criterion which should by its nature be consistent across all reviews in the way it’s applied. I suspect that partially owes to the rise of Metacritic and RottenTomatoes and their use as the ‘final word’ by publishers and fans alike. But it is strange.

      Parkin is not, by the way, JUST criticising linearity. He makes it clear that his problems with the game go slightly further than that. Dying instantly when you jump into the wrong place and being lifted and controlled if you don’t quite jump into the right one are what especially got his goat and made him feel like the game didn’t really want him there. Which is a fair point, methinks. After all, 8/10 is a pretty fantastic mark: a very good game, with some flaws that just keep it from greatness.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Just more evidence that rating games by scoring them is basically catering to stupidity. The numbers are meaningless, arbitrary.

    • ThinkAndGrowWitcher says:

      If you’re going to use numbers for scores, then the better approach would surely be to not limit it to a survey of one. According to statistics, it’s never going to be statistically useful (plus or minus 2).

      I remember Crash and Zzap magazines (during the 1950s) having extra opinions alongside the main review. (I also remember thinking about the mind-blowing wonders of 128-colour games appearing in the year 2077.)

      On sites like Eurogamer it would help if they at least gave an easy link to what the reviewer thinks of similar games in the genre and which types of games they particularly enjoy…and also whether they believe gaming in 128+ colours will ever become a reality.

  16. AlwaysRight says:

    Album of the week (well technically last week) was:

    kuedo – severant

    Vangelis meets post-dubstep and juke… But in a good way.

    • DiamondDog says:

      It’s a great album. You say “in a good way” but I’m not sure that combination could ever produce music I didn’t like.

    • Ex Lion Tamer says:

      AR and DiamondDog, you’ve both reminded me that I still need to listen to Severant. Appreciated.

      And while I agree that “Vangelis meets post-dubstep and juke” sounds like an automatic winner, I probably would have qualified it for general consumption too.

  17. Hodge says:

    Hot damn! It’s a good group this week.

    If anyone’s still hesitant about handing over the cash to give Artemis a shot, then take that PC Gamer article as your cue. It really is as much fun as it sounds (provided you can find a couple of like-minded participants).

    For music, I saw these guys last night and I’m seeing this guy in a couple of days, so they’ll do for mine. Unless you want to follow up on the trekkie theme?

  18. Ergates_Antius says:

    I’ve never really got the fuss over the Uncharted games.

    When I got my PS3 I bought 1 & 2 with it as they were meant to be, more or less, *The* definative games for the platform. I played the first for a bit, and found it distinctly lacking in… well, anything interesting at all. It was just really dull, linear, full of cut scenes, etc. I’ve never bothered with the second one at all.

    • Starky says:

      The second one really is a fairly big improvement over the first – but it is more a interactive movie than a game – you’re along for the ride and you sometimes press a few buttons to keep things going. Still it looks amazing and has some really outstanding set pieces.

    • StingingVelvet says:

      The second is better in that it is a better movie. It is not a better game.

    • Mman says:

      “The second is better in that it is a better movie. It is not a better game.”

      There’s very few things I can think of in Uncharted 2 that are aren’t an improvement; there are more choices in combat, the general gunplay and performance is more solid, it’s longer, and looks better on top of that. That doesn’t preclude preferring Uncharted 1, but that statement makes no sense in itself.

      I don’t know about Uncharted 3 or the related review as I haven’t played it yet, but, in the first two games, while the platforming areas are as linear as it gets, when it comes to the combat-especially in the second game-you frequently get quite a few choices in you approach it (and can even bypass it altogether at some points). The series is obviously pretty set-piece focused, but most other high-profile/semi-high profile shooters in recent years are much worse about removing any agency and railroading you in combat, so I’m not sure where it suddenly being treated like some nadir of that has come from.

  19. Amun says:

    And here I thought Kotaku would put up a post about something that matters to the industry, like how books don’t have any DRM, or how libraries can get cheap copies to lend out for free.

    • Eddy9000 says:

      Books do have rights management though, digital in the case of kindle, and physical/intellectual in paper cases. I have to say though pirating ebooks is the easiest thing to do ever, always wondered why book publishers don’t seem as up in arms about it as the film/game/music industry; although now that ebook readers are more ubiqutous they might start to be

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      That’s what I was expecting too.

      The actual article was rather pointless. OMG, software and books are different.

    • iucounu says:

      @Eddy9000: It’s a sad tale.

      As you know, Bob, ebook piracy is really, really easy. In fact it’s much easier than music or movies, because a) the file sizes are tiny, and b) you are talking about an output format that is readable only with your eyes and brain. There’s an analog gap a mile wide, and before ebooks were even around in an authorised way, people were scanning and OCRing print copies and passing the raw buggy text files around on PDAs and PSPs and things. Now publishers are releasing clean, official ebooks, they get instantly cracked and downloaded in bulk.

      Publishers have tried to police this by hiring antipiracy services that watch the web and BitTorrent. But there are other channels, like IRC, that they don’t currently even look at, and they’re completely incapable of policing – ebook sharing via email, or the cloud, or just the sneakernet. I can stick our whole frontlist for ten years onto a £10 USB stick. You could share via Bluetooth, and every tube car would be a darknet. It’s a good thing that the biggest section of the book-buying public either hasn’t really caught on to ebook piracy, or has no appetite for it.

      Our antipiracy measures are toothless, and so we, in the person of the Publisher’s Association, hire people who wrote the Digital Economy Act for the music industry to lobby for us. We think we can legislate a way to actually make ebook DRM logically possible. It’s ridiculous, futile, maddening.

    • InternetBatman says:

      The article was entirely toothless. It’s a way to complain about the game’s industry without complaining about a specific game. Most of the things he complains about are encouraged by simpering game journalism, like Kotaku. They rarely, or at least used to rarely, criticize publishers for always on DRM or efforts against used games. One thing I appreciate about RPS is that they are uniformly against such measures and frequently bring up their opposition. Jim Sterling is surprisingly good about that too, even though he was completely on the mark when he called himself a “fat twat.”

  20. awickedone says:

    Really enjoyed reading some of the articles this week.

  21. lightswitch37 says:

    Music: Rival Consoles http://thefutureaesthetic.tumblr.com/post/11790321317/rival-consoles-1985

    Artemis is a great time, but it practically requires 5 people minimum to man the ship adequately now, which can make getting a team together slightly difficult. I wish there was a way to set it up so you could play with only 3-4 people.

    Also check out Gotye: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UVNT4wvIGY&feature=share

  22. Skabooga says:

    I sped-read the Hulk Critic article, not because of its length, but to aid in skipping over articles and prepositions so that I might better imagine The Hulk saying these things. But then he started making some interesting points, and I felt like it might be better to slow down.

  23. Veracity says:

    I find it confusing people apparently think SpaceChem has anything much to do with chemistry, even given the name. It’s obviously programming, of a sort made entertaining enough to pass for a video game, but programming nonetheless. I have only the crudest level of mostly forgotten high school chemistry, but even I can see the chemistry in the game is quite daft – but I do know what the periodic table looks like, and it seems a sensible widely-recognized thing off which to have dangled game bits. As Zach Barth has repeatedly noted by now, it was that or some arbitrarily made-up set of rules that you’d think would be even less accessible.

    Also hadn’t noticed before this that the interstitial text bits had a dedicated credit, though it isn’t all that surprising. I’m not looking to rush out and buy the novelization, or anything, but it’s a more engaging story than you’d usually expect from video games in general, never mind a puzzle game.

    • DiamondDog says:

      Playing it a bit fast and loose with the word “new”, there.

  24. rayne117 says:

    Since I believe my last comment was caught by the spam filter because it had 4 links to Spotify, here is just one of the links: http://open.spotify.com/track/0qf0JdvrV5iDRSaPHgt1nC

  25. Raziel_Alex says:

    Yes, I’ve got a suggestion: listen to Warpaint already
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOFxb0F2F2A&feature=player_detailpage

    Cheers.

  26. LockjawNightvision says:

    Has anyone dug up anything else on Parkin’s Uncharted review? Specifically, it seems amazing to me that EG editorial would follow up the ridiculous “controversy” with a deliberately fan-baity piece like the one where the designer is allowed to comment on the 8/10. Really seems like they aren’t standing behind the review (and by association, the reviewer), or worse, that they’re deliberately burning him for pageviews.

    Maybe it’s old-fashioned thinking, but I feel like the review should be the publication’s “official” stance on the thing, and any addendum by another writer should be done as an op/ed. Running the interview as a so-called “feature” so soon after the idiotic furor broke out really seems like editorial trying to distance themselves from the review under the auspices of “having a dialogue.”

    On the surface it feels unethical, passive-aggressive and – for me – erodes EG’s credibility. But it really seems like I’m alone in being annoyed. Anyone else have an opinion?

    • Veracity says:

      Your linked article looks to me more like EG shit-stirring and Mr Naughty Dog – to his credit – choosing not to rise to it, at least much. It’s just click-bait, whether the review was or not. Whatever “credibility” the site has or hasn’t in your eyes, it’s been doing plenty of that for ages. Yin-Poole seems to get a disproportionate amount of abuse over it, but I think he’s just its public face, being the news editor, and all. It’s not as if he doesn’t have bosses who’d be telling him to stop it if it’s not what they wanted from him.

      More generally, I’d agree a site not standing behind a review, by a freelancer or otherwise, is bad form. Some geezer did re-review Darkfall for EG after a somewhat similar controversy, but there were more serious allegations flying around there than “this guy’s entitled to his opinion, but got the score out of ten for a game I haven’t played wrong”. I’d even say this is usually so self-evident it might partly account for it passing without comment – I mean, if you publish a review and later retract it, your commissioning editors look at least as incompetent as whatever hack wrote the thing.

    • Urthman says:

      On the other hand, when PC Gamer allowed one of the Bulletstorm team to reply to an article Tom Francis wrote about their game, it was one of the best gaming articles I’d read in a long time, vastly improved my opinions of the game and of the developers, and made me wish game magazines would do this kind of thing all the time:

      http://www.pcgamer.com/2011/03/06/bulletstorms-creative-director-responds-to-our-mainstream-games-editorial/

    • Burning Man says:

      @Urthman

      Wanna know what my reaction to your link was?

      “A reasonable non-angry non-defensive reply, good, good…. Bulletstorm was pretty low on my list of scripted games, dunno why he brought that up…. Okay, a response to the response, some nice arguments…. Ooh, a response to the response responding to the response, awesome!…Hmm… option to enable non-profan…. WHAT.”

      Dev: In Bulletstorm, you can turn off the profane language. From within the Options menu. You get whole new lines of alternate dialogue.

      WHAT!?!!??

      *much gnashing of teeth and screams of rage*

      YES IT AFFECTED YOUR SCORE YOU IDIOTS!

      I’m going to pull out my copy and try this RIGHT NOW.

  27. Cinnamon says:

    So gamification is something that works, to some degree, and can be used for “good or evil.” Sounds like something that should be heavily regulated to me if it’s capable of having such great social and moral consequences. But I guess a lot of people in the field are starry eyed Ayn Rand acolytes of some degree or other so this wouldn’t occur to them.

    It’s not brand new but I heard this Ministry remix this week and have been listening to it.

    Ministry – Worm (Locate Consume Repeat Mix) :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vSAPId4IiM

    • ArthurBarnhouse says:

      What do you envision as an acceptable law based solution to controlling the negative aspects do gamification?

    • Cinnamon says:

      I imagine the law and enforcement would be based on the rules around gambling since they have so much in common. Those rules may end up being very complicated since it’s hard to balance the benefits and demand for gambling with the different sorts of harm they can do.

  28. Arathain says:

    I read the Crit Hulk article. and the original that spawned it. Brilliant. They’re long because they’re comprehensive and nuanced. Anyone who doesn’t understand what the fuss is about in regards to the portrayal of women in games like Arkham City, and would like to, should give it the time.

    It’s refreshing to hear someone explicitly talking about artistic choice and context, which are the most important thing in these discussions and never seem to come up.

  29. alundra says:

    Wired’s article was spot on, but the title should have read:

    If You Want To Fight Piracy, Make Better, Working, Games

    • InternetBatman says:

      I didn’t think that was really the main thrust of the article. They don’t have to make better games. Many good games are coming out right now, they just need to be readily available for purchase, easy to use, and relatively cheap.

    • Thants says:

      It seems like the lessons is: Worry more about treating your paying customers well rather than stopping a few pirates. Companies are so busy trying to get pirates to buy the game, they end up treating their actual customers like crap.

    • alundra says:

      Just from the title itself it can be inferred that the point was that they should focus on making the game better instead of spending time and money on devising new ways to threat their paying customers like dirt.

      Still, with the recent trend of games being release on almost beta status, just to be patched later on, if at all, my point was they need to redirect that DRM’ing effort not only into making a higher quality game, but a functional one.

  30. InternetBatman says:

    I found the sense of loss article oddly comforting. He compared gamer’s reactions to social games as the reactions of opera aficianados seeing the movies. I think he may well be right, but its not a bad thing. Movies overtook opera in a big way, but if you really want to you can still see an opera. It became a small but hardy niche. Comic books do the same thing in each crash, but I’d argue they actually get better during the crash. The niche survives. I have hope that indies and AA’s will move in and fill the niches that I like but aren’t widely made.

    I find that Chris Hecker raises an interesting question. From a purely ignorant point of view, I think that games benefit from having a programmer in charge, but it’s not necessary. One of the things that attracts me to videogames is that they can tell a story entirely different from any other type of media. I think that technical people like programmers don’t necessarily get the choice or think about how to tell their stories that are shaped by how they think. Video games (and science fiction) provide many of them that opportunity and it’s completely different from what you would find elsewhere.

  31. Carra says:

    I was very excited about Spacechem and tried to promote it to a few friends. And yes, it’s hard to get them excited. “It’s a bit like programing with chemistry blocks. It’s one of the most challenging puzzles I’ve ever played.”.

    Promoting Orcs Must Die went a lot easier. “So yes, this is a game where you kill Orcs.” Enough said.

  32. Quirk says:

    @InternetBatman:

    The flip side of that is that pushing the boundaries of what’s possible is much harder if you don’t know them well. If you’re a non-programmer, and you come out with some idea totally out of left field, brand new, that no-one’s done before, the chances are that there are solid technical reasons as to why it’s not been done before. Do that a few times, and you get burned, start making small evolutionary changes to designs that you’ve seen elsewhere.

    I’ll leave you with a few programmer-designed games to think about: Dwarf Fortress. Hecker’s own Spy Party. Minecraft. Eskil Steenberg’s Love. Ambition and novelty are seldom the problem when the coder is also the designer. Interface, on the other hand? That’s a bit more so.

  33. Olivaw says:

    I still don’t really understand the sexism allegations towards Arkham City.

    They’re bad guys, Batman beats them up, you’re not supposed to like them. It’s not “realistic” in the same way that Batman is not realistic. It is a comic book, and they are comic book characters, and the cheapest way to make sure you don’t like them is to have them call ladies “bitches.”

    I mean I haven’t gotten to play the whole thing yet, so if there’s some kind of OTHER sexist weirdness in there, I don’t know. I’d be interested in knowing that, but all anyone has ever brought up is “YO THOSE INMATES OF A PRISON FOR THE CRIMINALLY INSANE USE BAD WORDS”

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      but all anyone has ever brought up is “YO THOSE INMATES OF A PRISON FOR THE CRIMINALLY INSANE USE BAD WORDS”

      Er, no. That’s not “all anyone has ever brought up”. I suggest you read the Hulk’s article (both the original piece and the follow up.

  34. TsunamiWombat says:

    Why the shit are people still talking about this sexism in Arkham City bullocks?

    The dialogue is randomized. I didn’t even hear the word Bitch that often.

    The characters speaking the dialogue are meant to be villified. Their language use is a demonstration of that villification. Do we accuse Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn of being racist because N****r is used repeatedly, almost excessivly?

    The word bitch is not owned exsclusivly by the feminine gender.

    So stop bitching about bitch, bitches.

    • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

      I would advise you to read the Film Critic Hulk article. It is quite enlightening. And you, good sir, seems to be in need of some enlightening.

    • mondomau says:

      I don’t necessarily agree that the Hulk piece is ‘enlightening’ – it certainly raises some valid points and adds a bit of depth to the issue, but I feel the critique may be a little pedantic at times. Still, that’s maybe his style – definitely worth a read.

      Oh, and ‘good sir’? Really? :-P

    • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

      Well, pedantic may be true in a sense, but I thought the excellent part of it was just that it really covered all possible angles (since he had been attacked from all possible angles to begin with), making the big picture quite clear. And the good sir was perhaps uncalled for. I just felt a need to react to the juvenile post above me. Nobody’s perfect on the internet!

  35. MultiVaC says:

    Anyone else feeling a sense of schadenfreude at this passage?

    “Marketing was clearly PC-led, access to console versions during preview events was limited to snippets of the campaign and co-op levels, and right up until last few weeks leading up to the launch, the Xbox 360 version in particular was conspicuous by its absence. What little we did see looked really promising, but at the same time it was difficult to avoid the impression that for whatever reason, Battlefield 3 on console was being kept out of the limelight.”

    I’m so used to feeling this way during the release of every single PC game in the past 5 years and I wouldn’t wish it on console gamers, but I can’t help getting some cruel enjoyment out of seeing things the other way around for once.