The Sunday Papers

By Jim Rossignol on March 18th, 2012 at 11:00 am.


Sundays are for looking at far away places on the map and feeling a bit like Truman. I should like to go to Fiji. One day. Now though, it’s time to consider other escapes, and the things people write about them.

  • We’ll have our own feature on this soon, but I wanted to link to Gnome’s Lair’s coverage of Wing Commander Saga, the freeware project intended to bring that franchise back to life in the Freespace 2 engine: “Features don’t make games great. What makes them great is the love poured into them, great game dynamics, and solid storytelling–and we’ve done our best to make sure Wing Commander Saga has all of that. We, as designers, wanted to ensure that the entire experience is exciting: the game makes you feel that you are not just watching the action but actually stepping into the role and experiencing what it is like to be Sandman.”
  • Tom Jubert writes a response to the BAFTA talk by Bioware: “The punch that’s pulled – the willingness to actually pin down what art is beyond what we think it is – renders the art world a much less interesting place to be. It means there is no right and no wrong in taste; that the statement ‘video games are art’ is meaningless, because we can say with equal validity ‘Kenco coffee is art’, provided someone somewhere considers it so.”
  • I’ve been meaning to link this for a while, and finally remembered. Campbell’s “The Dark Side Of Digital Distribution“: “While we can’t think offhand of a more heinous or blatant case, Touch Racing is far from a unique one. (The first well-documented iOS example was probably Paper Toss, originally a free game but which was downgraded with ads just before it started to add content.) WoSland is a pretty wily consumer, and currently has eight apps sitting in its iPhone’s “update” queue which are never going to get those updates, because the “update” in question is in fact a downgrade, removing functionality and/or adding ads. We’ve deleted many others altogether for the same reason.”
  • Why are adults still launching tabletop war?” asks the BBC, somewhat condescendingly. Kieron Gillen replies: “[There's] the satisfaction of looking at ranks of badly-daubed Skaven (man-sized anthropomorphic rats) and knowing they’re yours and you made them in a real way.”
  • Bogost’s review of Journey at The Atlantic: “When they speak about their games, Jenova Chen and Kellee Santiago often express a hope that they might explore or arouse positive emotions in their players, emotions they do not feel from other sorts of games. Isn’t this sense of delight and vitality precisely what they are after? Yes, to be sure. But it is also the thrill of all victories, and the vertigo of all dizzinesses. Chen and Santiago sell themselves short with this this trite incantation about emotions. For their journey has not been one of creating outcomes, but of culturing a style, an aesthetic that defines the experience without need for their aphorisms. Instead: the sand and the ruins. The wind and the fabric. The silence of a cryptographic mythology. The vertigo of breeze, the swish of dunes.”
  • Notch at the BAFTAs.
  • When games were more than a download: “Some experiences are better for a little struggle though, and I maintain that clicking a link in Steam – or, if you swing that way, Origin – simply isn’t the same. It’s more convenient, no question. It’s faster. But just like a paperback book still feels more real than a Kindle download, there’s something to be said for a physical thing to lust over and lay your hands on. A row of games on a shelf may take up space, but it also acts as a personal trophy cabinet, an at-a-glance reminder of battles won, universes saved, calls of duty successfully answered. A set of bland DVD cases lacks the same oomph, and even those are on the way out – especially on PC, where direct-download services are king.”
  • The Mittani talks about giving players a voice in Eve Online: “Yet, on the whole, the CSM project has been on the side of CCP’s bottom line since the beginning. The CSM was vehemently critical of the Tyrannis and Incarna expansions before their releases, both of which were duds — duds which came to threaten the company’s survival. The Crucible expansion, on the other hand, is a laundry list of CSM-sponsored changes to the core gameplay of EVE, and the disaffected customer base has responded by re-subscribing in droves. Democracy can be dangerous if you defy it, but profitable if obeyed.”
  • Some Economics of Pay What You Want Pricing.
  • Warren Ellis asks: Is Magazine Publishing Really Screwed?
  • This guy does not do enough to influence game design.
  • Speaking of buildings, Arno Raps really knows how to photograph them.

No music this week. Just this image, via Mr Sutcliffe. Choose your own theme to that. (Even if it is the obvious answer of Daft Punk’s Tron soundtrack.)

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143 Comments »

  1. KDR_11k says:

    That BLDGBLOG reminds me of when they built the new train station in Oberhausen. Due to the crazy design of the thing the city got several calls from concerned citizens that “the train station has collapsed!”

  2. mckertis says:

    “http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-03-16-an-interview-with-comedian-dara-o-briain”

    I was astonished he didnt say “fuck” or “shite” even once, as he usually does in his shows. Or maybe it was redacted.
    Oh wait, i missed it at the very start. Figures.

  3. YourMessageHere says:

    Got to love the sheer effort of idiocy that went into that response to Bioware. The guy seems absolutely desperate to establish some sort of framework for arguing that taste is objective and one person’s taste can be better than another’s. What an idiot.

    • Reefpirate says:

      I haven’t gotten around to reading the article yet (I plan to now), but your expression of idiocy sounds pretty absolute and objective to me. Personally I don’t think there’s anything wrong with finding some sort of objective standard to judge ‘art’ by, otherwise you somehow end up admiring upside-down urinals and the like.

      • PleasingFungus says:

        If an upside-down urinal can be manipulated in some way that makes it interesting, admire it. Otherwise, don’t. Not that complicated.

        Seeking an ‘objective standard’ for art is a fool’s errand, and will make you look the fool yourself if you try to defend it.

        • Reefpirate says:

          By what standard are you measuring fools?

          • Alphabet says:

            Clearly the posters above you have refuted David Hume’s Of The Standard of Taste in their free time. I feel honored to be on the same comments thread as them.

    • jaypettitt says:

      It’s not nearly as idiotic as BioWare’s torturing of Tolstoy and argument and that games are art. I’ve seen some bad presentations in my time, but in terms of vacuous, intellectually sloppy nonsense, that one is the indisputable champion.

      If Mr Tolstoy says that art is the making of things to communicate feeling and emotion, I think you have to give the guy enough credit to assume that he means communicating feeling and emotion is the primary reason for the making.

      If you wake up in the morning and you think ‘I must tell a story and to satisfy my itch I will write me a business plan and do it all through the media of video games’ then we can talk about making art.

      If you wake up in the morning and think ‘To satisfy my business plan I must make a game, so I better hire a writer’ then you’re not an artist, you’re a businessman making an entertainment for the entertainment industry.

      You gotta pick the words that most closely describe that thing you’re talking about. That’s how words work. Otherwise you end up calling RPS a screenplay because it is made with words.

      • Grygus says:

        You are conflating artists with their patrons. Is it not reasonable to suppose that the suits at EA and the writers on their games both wake up in the morning and each have different thoughts and reasons to pursue the goal of making a game? I don’t think you’re being fair at all.

      • Chandos says:

        Your analogy discounts the artistic potential of the writer hired for the job. Imagine this: a wealthy man, wanting to impress rivals and increase his social standing, commissions a portrait from a painter. Does that mean the resulting portrait loses all rights to being art for it was never the explicit intent of the patron?.

    • TJ says:

      What I’m actually trying to argue is that a person’s natural taste may simply differ from another’s, and that that’s to be celebrated. I certainly would never place myself in the strong camp and try to say that there is a single ideal taste.

      However, I’m also trying to argue that sometimes the ways people interpret the objects of their taste is logically flawed; that there is more to this discussion than “each to their own” because that just seems intuitively to miss out something crucial.

      I realise another ‘are games art?’ debate isn’t something everyone wants to read on a Sunday, so thanks to those of you that took the time to consider it!

      • Chandos says:

        I could challenge you on the “objective features” part of your argument. I am sure we all have seen examples of abstract art that might as well have been somebody tossing a can of mixed paint at the canvas. If you find yourself staring at something like that in an art gallery, the assumption is that it is art; that it was meant to be art and meant to communicate something by the artist. But what if it was really just me or somebody else randomly tossing a can of paint? What if there was no desire to communicate anything at all? If, as a subjective patron of art, you found my can toss to be artistic and found meaning in it, and I disclosed to you that it was in fact totally random, would my revelation of the can-toss set-up retroactively invalidate your subjective experience of art?

        The argument of subjectivity goes beyond “each to their own”. It goes beyond just “taste”. It is deeply linked to our individuality and the uniqueness of our personal experiences and perception. To someone who has worked in a paint factory all their lives, even a random can-toss can evoke powerful emotions linked to many memories. Not because it was meant to mean anything, but rather because we are driven to seek meaning in everything.

        • TJ says:

          So the basic idea is that the subjective response itself can’t be invalidated, but that the logical judgement around it can.

          If you take the splash to be good art because it conjures certain emotions in you related to your memories of the paint factory then you’ve mistakenly assigned the power-to-produce of your memory to the splash itself. If its presentation in a gallery makes you prefer it that’s fine; but if you make a judgement call and fail to take this fact into consideration you’ll end up mistakenly assigning the power-to-produce that’s held by the gallery and its status to the splash itself. Better judges would rightly disagree with you and would probably be able to make you see your error.

        • thestage says:

          If no one is able to tell what is good and why, the good simply goes away. We end up with Mass Effect as the standard of storytelling.

          Or you could go with something like Wilde’s critic-as-artist ideas, in which it is, you know, possible that the thoughts and actions of a critic can in reality enhance one’s experience with a work, or perhaps serve to teach where that pedagogical function is not proper to the art itself. But then you’d have to read something.

        • thestage says:

          and of course TJ’s post here is entirely correct. The “emotion” conjured by a work must be proper to that work itself, as no one in the world, least of all the artist or the critic, is concerned with the individual experiences of the guy for whom all paint in all cans in all forms elicits a drastic emotional response as a result of some idiosyncratic experience from his past. If the work of art is simply a medium through which one sees one’s self (which may or may not be the case), then that seeing must at least be mediated in some way or the entire experience is simply illusory, transparent, masturbatory. The “art game” movement falls in this hole nearly every time. Pick a subject not common in games; paint it in maudlin terms; make sure the subject is visible in its entirety to the player. Emotion follows, and all of a sudden you’ve a spot in the blogosphere.

          The splash-of-paint-in-the-gallery thing is the standard example not only for those in favor of entirely subjective and groundless interaction with art, but also those in favor of rigid and defined objective standards (to say nothing of everything in between). This is so simply because there is an assumed antagonism lurking behind that entire paradigm, as if there must be something on the part of the art, the artist, the gallery, the audience, or the outsider–if not all of these–that exist simply to refute one or more of the other points of the axis. The assumption leads to the conclusion: judgment here is not proper to the work, but to the situation. And so one opposes these points to each other, and if the relationship comes out as a combination of them which is palatable to the sensibilities (usually expressed in terms of an agenda) of the critic in question, then we can say something about the work. The point of these works, as such, is often to assault the institutions upon which they are founded, or to in some other way call attention to the power system in play. It is a reflection of modern tastes, which are inclined to search for some greater social function of art, to minimize the work in favor of its didactic properties, to have its mimetic capabilities funneled into specific directions with specific outcomes as the goal of the entire artifice of expression. In this sense, the paint-on-the-wall example does not illustrate some (largely imagined, it must be said) veneration of the meaningless as a means of establishing a power structure rooted on interpreting or “appreciating” the unapproachable, but rather it is founded entirely on the assumption of out-and-out defined and singular “meaning” as the goal of all art–the splash is only relevant in that it shows us the meaning of the cultural and personal institutions through which it is viewed; pick a side and fight the other side. Those that use the example often mean to lament the loss of aesthetics, but all they are really doing is devaluing aesthetic principles themselves.

          Chandos assumes that the function of something approaching the canonical artist and of the critic who promotes that artist over another artist is to establish socionormative hierarchical views of reality which he can then oppose–and his mode of opposition is the veneration of idiosyncratic behavior in all forms, so that the subjective identification of Object X as capital A Art, which is ostensibly the result of attachment bred from the production of intense emotional experiences that are then projected back onto the work itself (a model which has already been refuted by TJ to the extent necessary for this conversation), is in actuality 100% socially derived itself, in that it is defined in terms of identification and of opposition. The critic of Chandos’ creation (ie, himself) is concerned only with venerating his own emotional reaction, divorced from the work in question, defined by its position of antagonism to a sphere which he perceives as hostile and its identification with a sphere which he perceives as either friendly toward his intentions or, more likely, with which he has already previously aligned himself. The typical gamer of this type is keen to both elevate video games to the realm of art and to obliterate all standards of taste or of judgement beyond some entirely non-existent “objective” metric of the standard time invested/technical quality/level of polish/ability to conform to previously established modes of play. This paradoxical quality leads us to conclude that the hostility latent in the “games and art” debate is thus entirely rooted in the nature of the imaginary community of gamers; in the tag “gamer” itself. Why this form of gamer is naturally predisposed to the veneration of his own emotional reactions as projected onto a social community A in opposition to a social community B is best saved for another discussion.

        • Chandos says:

          And now WordPress is marking my posts as spam and removing them.

          My previous reply somehow got lost so I’ll write this again.

          Let’s say I go out for sushi one night and have a great time. What made it great could be the food itself, or the ambiance of the restaurant, or the service, or the company I had at the time; it is probably a bit of each. Now, as I understand your argument, you are saying that a good judge of hospitality would be able to tell me what it was that made the experience good; say it was food.

          Note that this is much different than saying the food was good. Again if I understand you correctly, your argument states that the judge would somehow know composition of my overall subjective experience more intimately than I do, and would be able to assign a weight score to each component in order to determine what really made it so great for me. To me that rather sounds preposterous for the judge to claim.

    • Lemming says:

      Ok I’ll give it a shot:

      Shouldn’t art be defined as something that is more than the sum of its parts? By that I mean something that evokes an emotion or a consideration that isn’t just a direct cognitive response to the piece.

      ie. If I play a game and ‘it was a fun game, it had good graphics’ and that’s all that can be said about it, then it’s not art. If I play a game and I think ‘that’s an interesting idea of what it means to be human, and what is true free will’ then arguably, it is art and you can probably guess which game I’m talking about.

      I’m trying to think of somewhere that wouldn’t apply. I think it certainly holds true for movies. Movies can be art, but not all movies are art.

      • Premium User Badge

        liquidsoap89 says:

        I would consider a movie like 300 art. Visually it’s beautiful, but that’s about it. It doesn’t make me think about life or something in any special way… But when I watch that movie my eyes feel like they’ve been given the best birthday present ever. Something like Trine 2 is another example. It doesn’t make me think about anything deep, but it just feels awesome to LOOK at it.

        One issue with relating art to emotions comes up with people like me. I don’t really “understand” art when I see it. I look at a painting of a person, or a photograph of a tree, and I just think “looks good” or “whatever”. My brain doesn’t really relate sound or images to emotions (at least that I can notice myself, maybe there’s something subconscious going on…). But I still have lots of things that I consider art myself. If I look at a painting someone did in Photoshop and I think it looks cool than I would never try and argue whether it is or isn’t art.

        I think this whole thing would be so much easier to agree on if there weren’t people trying to convince others that someone taking a dump on a nun is art.

    • thestage says:

      Man, you must be really smart to have been able to dismiss the entire field of aesthetics. Immanuel Kant was clearly a fraud.

      Or I suppose it is possible that you are simply too stupid to have even known that such a thing exists, that such a thing could exist, that it is possible to say Mass Effect is actually trash and that your desperate dorito-hands are simply not enough to wish the world of solipsism in which you are both hero and paragon of the intellect into greater reality.

      • mondomau says:

        I find Pseudo intellectual put-downs come across better when you don’t blend them with clumsy sarcasm and spiteful personal attacks, don’t you?

      • Premium User Badge

        Smashbox says:

        “Or I suppose it is possible that you are simply too stupid to have even known that such a thing exists, that such a thing could exist, that it is possible to say Mass Effect is actually trash and that your desperate dorito-hands are simply not enough to wish the world of solipsism in which you are both hero and paragon of the intellect into greater reality.”

        That quote is objectively ridiculous.

      • Premium User Badge

        FhnuZoag says:

        Do you seriously think a RPS commentator is the first person ever to criticise Kant and aesthetic theory in general? Do you really mean to argue that because at least one famous and important and smart philosopher expressed a certain viewpoint, no one later can argue otherwise?

    • omsaydusa says:

      Apple iPhone 3G (16GB) White Color with free expedited shipping!$210.99 http://rurls.ru/845

  4. Premium User Badge

    AlwaysRight says:

    BBC being condescending indeed.
    Why is it such a British thing to think that Games Workshop is for kids? The complexity of its systems, the patience and skill needed for the hobby and the reading age of its writing are all aimed at adults. Its weird that the average age for a hobbyist in the UK is 14 and is considered a bit childish, yet in America or Spain the average age is closer to the mid twenties and has much less of a negative stigma attached.

    (As Jim hasn’t given a music recommendation; my album of the week is Julia Holter – Ekstasis)

    • BigJonno says:

      It’s because Games Workshop aim their products at kids. They have a very clear “hook ‘em while they’re young” strategy that results in their stores being largely occupied by teenage boys. The reading required for their rules and novels is firmly at a 12-14 year old level (which is being quite generous) but so is the majority of the mass media, which renders it less noticeable.

      Adults who play their games tend to play with friends and buy most of their stuff online, or even in other hobby stores, where they’ll be cheaper. As a result, the adults you get in their stores are the ones who either don’t have anyone else to play with, or are quite happy in the company of teenagers, and generally perpetuate nerd stereotypes.

    • theblazeuk says:

      Because of people like this.

      • BigJonno says:

        Hey, I’m a life-long fan of GW’s output, I just don’t have any illusions about their business practices.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Because the “AWESUM TURNED UP TO ELEVEN IN HELL” styling of the 40K universe is pure teenage-boy-idea-of-cool. They have SWORDS that are also CHAINSAWS and full-auto GUNS that fire BULLETS that are actually ROCKETS and there are DEMONS whose HERESY you PURGE with EXTERMINATUS and and and…*excessive-blood-sugar convulsions*

    • ukpanik says:

      I liked this quote in the comments to that article:

      “Critics who treat adult as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence.” – C. S. Lewis.

      • BigJonno says:

        CS Lewis was an incredibly wise man. I was a at a mate’s house the other night, helping him to spray up a Nerf gun and build a prop rocket pack for a LARP event in a couple of weeks. He made some crack about the fact that he was a 41 year old man spending his evening building a rocket pack. I just pointed out that we were having fun and that the “normal” alternative would have been sat around watching telly.

  5. fiddlesticks says:

    The first song I thought of when I saw that image was this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTD8nWs4QjA

    I don’t know what that says about me, but I’m scared.

    • YourMessageHere says:

      That you have superb taste, obviously.

      Me, I don’t think of music when I see that. I just feel the confusion of the pilot. Great image, stupid cockpit.

      • TJ says:

        I really hope this is intended to be ironic given the bashing you gave me above for proposing superior taste was even possible!

    • arqueturus says:

      Instantly made me think of this:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjli3hj0ZkM

      In fact the whole Interstella 555 saga.

  6. FCA says:

    Oh, the irony of criticizing video games as art by comparing to Schindler’s List, a big bucks Hollywood production, which many art critics would disqualify as being art itself.

    • TJ says:

      LOL, I take the irony. I just preferred to use examples that I could guarentee everyone would be familiar with. No doubt I come across pretentious enough without referencing obscure works of art ;-)

      • FCA says:

        Fair enough. I don’t know enough about Hume or Kant to dispute you, but I’d say big bucks game production can just as much be art as big bucks movie productions.

  7. godwin says:

    Having a defined (dominant) set of rules to read/critique works that appear in the form of video games is rather silly. Art criticism no longer even works like that anymore. Here you have a medium with the advantage of not lugging with it massive historical and theoretical baggage, and you want to attach that to it? Well, by all means go ahead; the point is that people will choose to read things the way they want, based on what they know — and no Theory will change that (and I mean, by the fact of it existing; of course people can and will also draw upon theory as part of “what they know”).

    Being able to talk about something with big words does not automatically make it more important or better. Stop thinking about art like it’s some grand thing; an object of inspiration; the apex of aesthetic achievement; and things become a lot simpler (not simplistic — it’ll be less aggravating or grating).

    • TJ says:

      I don’t know if you take it to be, but my purpose here wasn’t to establish a practical critical framework of the type you dislike. People will, as you say, like whatever they like – however, I’m interested in understanding *why* they do.

      “Stop thinking about art like it’s some grand thing; an object of inspiration; the apex of aesthetic achievement; and things become a lot simpler (not simplistic — it’ll be less aggravating or grating).”

      This I do rather like :-)

  8. Gasmask Hero says:

    I find it difficult to be moved by the plight of iphone wielding tosspots. Quoting the Sale of Goods Act is neither big nor clever, presumably Apple are well aware of this legislation and if it was such a heinous crime they would have fixed the issue by now.

    And anyway, their policy is clearly stated in their t&c, as quoted in the article. I see no issue here.

    • Premium User Badge

      Llewyn says:

      I see no issue here.

      You have my sympathies, because this isn’t a terribly complex one to understand. People have paid for access to an application which has later been removed, with a requirement for them to pay for it again in order to access it again. They are not happy about it.

      The iPhone bit, which seems to have blinded you somewhat, is really a red herring.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I really, really hate Apple and their products. But that doesn’t change the fact that what those companies are doing is wrong. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should or make it right.

      Also, by your logic corporations never break the law if they know what they’re doing is against the law.

    • eks says:

      I know right, idiot consumers expecting a product they paid for. The fucking nerve of them.

      Please….. I wonder what would happen if any of the PC digital download services did this. What if a game on Steam you have already purchased updates and starts putting existing features behind a paywall or adds in game advertising where there previously were none?

      I personally don’t care about Apple’s walled garden, I will never own an Apple product, but these sorts of things have the dangerous ability to set precedents in the industry. The fact that you think it’s acceptable behavior to take away a product that a consumer has already paid for proves that point.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Steam is a pretty good one to point at for this, since I don’t believe you can actually ever stop it updating a game. You can tell it not to pre-emptively update it whenever one is available, but whenever you go to play, it will enforce that the game is up-to-date first.

        This is already a minor bummer for if a game had simple gameplay balances applied. Want throwing knives to be powerful in Deus Ex? Don’t play the Steam version; it’ll have the nerf applied. You’ll have to find a proper CD version where you’re in full control of what you run.

        (As always, the likes of OnLive and browser-based games are the ultimate in control here. You will “run” what the server has installed.)

        • Lemming says:

          I don’t think that’s true is it? If you select the option for the game to ‘not apply or check updates’ it just leaves it alone. I’ve modded several of my Steam games and that’s the advice I”d been given for every one of them to avoid Steam detecting the mods as an error. It’s only a problem if you need to then apply an official patch after the fact.

          I think you are correct when it come to some multiplayer games, but then that’s a good thing surely? Otherwise we’d be up to our eyes in god-mode mods for maximum frags.

          • LionsPhil says:

            Well, for multiplayer games not keeping up to date would mostly probably just lead to failure.

            I’m reasonably sure that is the case, but even so, it’s a “you can never go back” approach, since installation is always to the newest version. Maintaining an old version is fundamentally more fragile than when you have that old version installable from CD. (Something something Steam’s backup system, I guess.)

          • eks says:

            Is that really important? The majority of people have all their games set to auto-update as that is the default and is supposedly one of the main features of Steam (“Not having to worry about patching your games”). But just the act of a developer offering an update that cripples their existing product by removing features or adding ads is outrageous. Although in saying that, Sony did it with their “Other OS” option on the PS3 and that was dismissed in court…..

            Perhaps we are doomed to remain bottoms up waiting for the inevitable pain handed to us by the industry we hold so dear.

  9. ReV_VAdAUL says:

    With the Giant Bomb guys returning to the Gamespot website umbrella, something I feel quite uneasy about, we finally get the inside scoop on one of the most controversial moments in games journalism pretty much ever;

    Was Jeff Gerstmann fired because of that Kane and Lynch review?: http://www.giantbomb.com/news/and-now-the-rest-of-the-story/4037/

    • Shooop says:

      Good thing I don’t think Giant Bomb is a credible review source either.

  10. Retro says:

    How I love the following sentence from http://wosland.podgamer.com/the-dark-side-of-digital/

    “Just a few months after the first Guardian app came out, Spanish developer Bravo launched an acclaimed racing game at the same high-end price point.”

    The “high-end price point” in question? £2.39

    Isn’t this race to the bottom just as dark a side of digital distribution?

    • RevStu says:

      If only the piece hadn’t previously qualified such comments with “£2.39 (which is fairly premium-priced in iOS terms), then you might sound less of a tool. But I’m sure you’ll be along to fix that in a moment by pointing out that such a sum is “less than a cup of coffee!”, thereby removing any remaining shreds of doubt.

      • Retro says:

        Whatever. Not interested to discuss with someone hurling insults around.

        • RevStu says:

          Don’t be a tool, then. It rather invites people to make the observation.

      • Shuck says:

        That qualifier changes nothing – why is such a low price considered “premium”? @Retro’s question remains valid. No need to be rude about it. These personal attacks are complete unwarranted. You’re the only one acting like a “tool” here, I’m afraid.

        Edit: And let me make clear, the issue bought up by @Retro is completely separate from the underhanded/idiotic tactics by developers brought up in the article, which are inexcusable regardless of what people paid for the apps.

        • RevStu says:

          why is such a low price considered “premium”?

          Because it’s four times what most stuff in that market costs. Next?

    • InternetBatman says:

      Why? Some developers will make less money, but it allows people to experiment and buy games from unknown studios. I have a whole list of indie games I’ve gotten that I just don’t like, but it hasn’t put me off buying them because I haven’t lost a ton of money.

      • Shuck says:

        It’s not as simple as “indie/low budget games cost less.” A given game will be sold on iPhone/iPad for a tiny fraction of what it sells for on any other platform. In fact, right now on iOS devices, expecting people to pay anything has almost become “premium” pricing. (Which in turn means that game developers must rely on free-to-play revenue mechanics, which in turn restricts game designs to those that support f2p schemes.) On Android it is, if anything, worse. This sort of pricing expectation seems to be spreading to other mobile game platforms if nothing else (where having to support f2p schemes is quickly becoming mandatory), but things like Steam’s frequent, rock-bottom sales are surely having an impact as well.

        • InternetBatman says:

          I don’t see that as a bad thing, just that the markets have not evened out.

          Take TV vs. Cable, there’s an example of a free ad supported one to cable, which has ads and is a premium service, to HBO which is an extra premium and not ad supported.

          Similarly there are free newspapers, ad-supported cheap newspapers, and subscription magazines.

          • Shuck says:

            It’s true, it’s all in flux right now, but unfortunately the markets right now are evening out in the wrong direction – towards less sustainability and reduced variety in game designs.

          • RevStu says:

            reduced variety in game designs

            Compared to what? The £40 boxed-game market, that bastion of originality and innovation?

            Whatever their problems, the iOS charts still showcase a far wider range of game styles than any other format, and blaming low prices for a lack of variety is plainly mad anyway, because the higher up the videogames price ladder you go the less variety you tend to get.

  11. The Godzilla Hunter says:

    The difference between Kindle v. paperbacks and retail v. DD is not the same at all. When you read a paperback, you spend the entire time holding the product. Most of the time, the experience with a retail copy and a DD copy is exactly the same.

    • Premium User Badge

      Mungrul says:

      I’d even go so far as to say in most circumstances, I actually prefer my Kindle to a “real” book. I read the whole of “A Song of Ice & Fire” on it and it was easy and convenient. Have you seen the sheer size and unwieldliness of the actual paperbacks?
      Let alone which, it has saved me sooooo much shelf space.

      • deke913 says:

        I just added that to my Kindle (on my phone no less) yesterday and started reading last night!

        I like being able to read at night without having to have a light so I don’t disturb my wife sleeping next to me.

  12. phenom_x8 says:

    And another nice interview with schafer about Psychonauts Post Mortem.

    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-03-16-the-cult-of-psychonauts

    I’m gladly join the cult if it was called ‘The Cult Of Schafer’

  13. BooleanBob says:

    Anyone out there able to explain that Economics of PWYW chart in words that an idiot could follow? I’m really interested in the subject, but to me it resembles a Day Today parody.

    • cliffski says:

      I wouldn’t bother, the assumptions are laughable. Firstly he describes the price vs quantity graph as a linear equation, which is frankly unbelievable (they are always curves of one sort or another, depending on the product), and secondly, hand-waves away marginal cost as zero, whereas digital distribution ahs both marginal costs in terms of payment processing, and also more subtle ones such as server-support, tech-support costs etc,

      There is also a low price point at which effective marketing becomes pointless. You never see adverts from developers with $0.99 games, because a product that cheap, as a one-off purchase cannot be profitably advertised.

      The economics of pay what you want are nowhere near as simple as is made out. Anyone can make some silly assumptions and draw a graph, it doesn’t make it vaguely true.

      • FCA says:

        “Dividing the world into linear and nonlinear equations makes just as much sense as dividing the universe into bananas and nonbananas” is what I think anytime somebody proposes a linear relation between two things.

        • InternetBatman says:

          Oddly enough, one time I was doing a bio 101 experiment and the results were exactly linear. It’s never happened before or since but it was pretty cool.

          • LionsPhil says:

            Biology, eh?

            Were you experimenting on bananas?

          • Baines says:

            I still remember my Physics lab instructor’s directions:

            1) Decide what curve you want
            2) Plot your data
            3) Draw your desired curve, trying to match it as well as possible to the data points present
            4) Mark any/all points that are too far from the curve as invalid data

          • Premium User Badge

            Gap Gen says:

            Baines’ physics teacher has clearly never seen an astronomy figure. “There’s probably a trend in this huge blob of points on this graph.”

      • endaround says:

        No marginal costs pretty much are zero. Tech support is pretty much a fixed cost and payment transaction comes from the the revenue side not the cost side.

        • lightstriker says:

          That’s… basically the same thing. It raises the price by X for the developer to make Y. It doesn’t matter where it comes from. There is essentially no difference between Paypal taking .10c per game and the developer paying 10c per game sold, because no matter which way it’s handled, the developer needs to charge 10cs more to make the same profit.

        • cliffski says:

          Tech support is a fixed cost?
          Really?
          You run a tech supprot department?
          It definitely is not.

          • InternetBatman says:

            It’s a fixed percentage if you only use download services and never update.

      • Tony M says:

        I’m too dumb to fully understand that graph. But I got the impression he made a number of assumptions in order to to present a thought provoking theory. Like when physicists assume zero friction or no wind resistance. I don’t think he was presenting it as empirical proof that Cliffskis profits would increase 12.5% if he went PWYW.

        • TheWhippetLord says:

          The problem is that the assumption is so dominant to the ‘proof’. It’s not a ‘neglect friction’ assumption, it’s an ‘assume spherical cow’ assumption, as the old physics joke goes. Look at the price/quantity graphs in the two game examples – nowhere near linearity. As a back of envelope thought experiment it might be fun if you’re into that kind of thing (I don’t judge), but I don’t think it’s worth much consideration if you’re thinking about that kind of thing in real life.

        • Premium User Badge

          Gap Gen says:

          It depends if the assumptions are reasonable – I guess if it’s useless he could have said it was just an illustration. But to use your physics example, a sphere in a vacuum is a fine model for some things, but parachute designers might want to steer clear.

    • InternetBatman says:

      So that shows a demand curve, which basically says the higher priced your stuff is, the less people will be able to or want to buy it. If you have a fixed price, the point, the income you receive is the area inside the square it forms. He’s saying that by making a pay what you want system you make a lower demand curve, but you get the area under the whole line, the grey area. Which may or may not be better.

      It does as Cliffski says have a bunch of errors, but I think he was trying to make it as simple as possible.

      • cliffski says:

        well he is just putting in a graph what most people think in there heads. And factually it’s just wrong. Ask 10 people the most they would pay for product X and you get some number Y. Actually price it at Y+5 and those people still buy it. This is even more true if they know the answer to the ‘what is it worth? question actually *becomes* the price.

        So comparing peoples actual price behavior against their claimed price behavior in response to picking a price, is crazy, the relationship does not vaguely hold.

        • InternetBatman says:

          I wouldn’t be comfortable saying it’s wrong or right until I had the data sets from at least one of these pay what you want events. Obviously it’s not linear, but the idea that you get a larger portion of the demand curve and that it could outweigh the pricepoint model very well could be.

          • lightstriker says:

            That’s… incredibly hard to do, because there’s so many outside factors (HiB is probably absolutely meaningless for evaluating the model, for example)

            However, let’s notice that the HiB has turned from being not so much “Pay What You Want” as it is “Pay What You Want with massive pressure and incentives to pay above value X.” That probably indicates something.

        • Baines says:

          Indeed. That was an issue that really came to light for people when Internet auctions caught on. People would decide what the most they’d spend on an item was, but when someone else bid past that point, they’d raise their own bid in response.

          And the flip-side is true as well. If you ask me what the max is that I’ll pay for a particular game, I might tell you a number. But when the game is released at that price, I might or might not buy it. Stuff like Steam sales really hammer this home. There are so many games where I say “I’d buy that immediately if I saw it 75% off”, but then you hit a Steam sales and my mental security kicks in to keep me from spending more money than I can afford to spend, and I start rationalizing away buying it when it actually is 75% off. (And then two months later, I might buy it somewhere when it is 50% off…)

      • formivore says:

        He is actually claiming that you would make exactly the same profit using pay what you want as you would using monopoly pricing. (Monopoly pricing is the way people usually sell games). You’re right that the idea behind the graph is that you will get more customers with pay what you want than you will with with a fixed price. Tabarrok made a bunch of cute, highly unrealistic assumptions so profits from the two pricing schemes turned out to be exactly the same. It’s just an intellectual exercise but it doesn’t claim to be anything more than that.

    • formivore says:

      He is assuming that people give half of the consumer surplus, i.e. “what this game is worth to you”, to the seller. This is based on on lab experiments where people choose to split profits 50/50 even when they have the power to give the other guy nothing, because apparently in lab situations people tend not to be total dicks. IMO this is basically falsified by the real world reports people have done for pay what you want schemes. Most people pay like 1$, and its hard to imagine the consumer surplus is really only $2 even for a small game. More likely people are used to buying entertainment where the consumer surplus is much greater than the ticket price, and then when it’s pay what you want they will pay an even smaller proportion of their surplus. Buying a product isn’t ruled by the same social norms as the 50/50 split in the dictator game Tabarrok is basing this on.

      The graph is a neat little exercise but no more than that and I would hardly take it as the last world on pay what you want.

  14. Chris D says:

    I think Tom Jubert misses the point somewhat. I think he’s right in that narrower boundaries make for more interesting conversations but the problem is that however you slice it “Art” is still too big a category to be useful for that purpose anyway.

    To use the example he gives: Schindler’s List vs Men in Black. Schindler’s list is a more affecting portrayal of the holocaust but Men in Black is funnier. To take another example: Monty Python Comedies. Well Holy Grail made me laugh more but Life of Brian deals with issues of faith better while also still being pretty funny. Even narrowed down to that level “better” is still a meaningless term unless we have some system for valuing social comment against laughter. Even then, maybe Holy Grail didn’t make you laugh at all.

    Basically you only get interesting conversations when you narrow things down to a level way lower than “Is it art?” so stop worrying about it and fi we want more interesting conversations let’s actually ask some more interesting questions.

    • Bobka says:

      fi we want more interesting conversations let’s actually ask some more interesting questions.

      My thoughts exactly. “Is it art?” is a mostly uninteresting question anyway, unless you take it to mean something really specific like “How socially valuable is this?” or “Can we apply art theory to this?”, which is usually not what the people debating the question want to talk about.

      • InternetBatman says:

        I’m going to go even further and say that I don’t like the concept of Art at all. It seems like an unnecessary and exclusionary way to categorize works of creative expression rather than judging them by their component aspects. I write this knowing that it’s an extreme position.

        • LionsPhil says:

          I am in favour of this position, especially if it makes people stop fretting over whether games can join the cool polo-neck sweater and rimless glasses club.

          • LennyLeonardo says:

            Totally agree. “Art” has become loaded with the same intellectualist nonsense as “Literature”. Let’s get rid of them.

        • Bobka says:

          I wouldn’t say it’s an extreme position – “art” is a really, really vague term, and I think a lot of people would agree it’s not especially helpful when discussing creative works. We could get rid of the word, replace it with something specific to the situation we’re discussing, and probably not lose much at all, if anything.

          • TJ says:

            I actually agree about the categorisation thing and the uninteresting nature of ‘Is X art?’

            Truth is the academic essay on which the posts are based isn’t concerned at all with what is art, only with what might make for a standard through which to judge how aesthetically valuable a work is. I rephrased the question to reflect the way it’s usually posed around these parts.

            I’m not so interested in ‘are games art?’ as I am in ‘are games good art?’

        • Shuck says:

          I’d argue that to call something “art” describes its function on some level, so it’s a useful distinction. The label should not be and is not, a value judgement. To say that it’s “art” is not to say that it’s good (or bad), but can give you a framework for semiotic evaluation.

          And I’d argue it isn’t vaguely defined. It’s self-referentially defined, but defined by a great deal of precedent. It’s just that it take a long time to learn where the boundaries of that definition lie, and most people haven’t done so.

  15. Premium User Badge

    Napalm Sushi says:

    That image has been added to my wallpaper cycle. Unfortunately I was listening to Cyanotic’s Medication Generation at the time, which wasn’t the most apt of themes to it.

  16. Sarlix says:

    Uh-oh, Gillen is talking about Skaven again.

  17. Rii says:

    Umm, how about a spoiler warning on that Journey piece?

    Now to read up on this Csikszentmihaly fellow…

    • Runs With Foxes says:

      You walk around a desert. What’s to spoil?

      • Rii says:

        The name of the desert for a start…

        No, really: there are spoilers and the article spoils them.

  18. Premium User Badge

    Lambchops says:

    Wing Commander Saga looks interesting. Never played any of the Wing Commander games (though my earliest gaming memory is watching my Dad playing Privateer) so I don’t get nostalgia for the setting but any chance to dust off the old joystick is surely a chance worth grasping.

    • Zenicetus says:

      You didn’t miss much with the setting. It was a generic, militaristic space opera that ripped off Larry Niven’s Kzin (big bad space cats) as the alien enemies. The Man-Kzin war stuff written by Niven and others in that universe was much more creative writing, as space opera goes.

      But as a computer game, it was a landmark for its time, combining some quasi-RPG elements with cockpit-level fighting to advance the story. I think that was the first time a game offered branching story lines for a game like this. The ending didn’t change much, but there were different ways to get there. You could actually fail a mission and still move forward in the storyline, which is a design that’s still rare in games.

      The space combat was very simplistic in the original series, and I’m hoping the Freespace engine brings at least a little more use of tactics into the new version. The devs say speeds will be a bit faster, the fighters a little less maneuverable, and they’re using finite fuel for afterburners. That sounds like an improvement over the original.

      I hope this new project turns out well. If it does, then maybe it will encourage one of the major developers to take another shot at this neglected genre.

    • bill says:

      The setting was generic, and the story wasn’t great. The flight dynamics had no feeling (which might possibly be close to reality in space, but wasn’t fun). But the integration of characters and at least an attempt at story into the shooting was revolutionary at the time. These day’s it’s probably nothing special.

  19. Premium User Badge

    RedViv says:

    More and more articles about this very wobbly, yet deadlocked situation the games industry has driven itself into.
    Products aimed at teens, marketed as adult, made by adult teens.
    Artsy things that barely fit the definition of “games”, yet want to be that. Games with artful work in them, which are sadly completely neglected.
    Publishers speaking of games as services, developers creating them as experiences, consumers demanding very different varieties of toys, the products themselves getting stuck somewhere between those, where nobody is happy, but at least something is sold.
    And then there’s the whole meta level where all this comes together, where publishers want critical and commercial success, modelling their ideal view of the industry after the big film business, a place where it’s perfectly acceptable to achieve only one of those, which for the game industry twists and distorts and abstracts everything mentioned up to this point.
    It’s a turf-covered mess.

    • Reefpirate says:

      It’s funny, even after reading your comment I actually am very excited about the state of PC gaming these days and particularly this year.

      • Premium User Badge

        RedViv says:

        Oh, I see PC gaming as that shining beacon of hope myself. It’s just this somewhat higher number of articles lately that was bothering me.
        Anyway, PC: More independent developers, more caring long-time fans, and I can just avoid most of the bothering aspects the big suits try to scourge me with. Someone complaining about a lack of interesting RPGs with new mechanics? Eh, I played Geneforge and the likes.

        I hope this Kickstarter business can finally give some power back to bigger teams of developers. Risky route, but worth exploring.
        Hear that, Obsidian? I’m still here and patiently putting more money aside for you! Delicious coin, and I don’t give a fling about Metacritic!

    • DXN says:

      A hot, turf-covered mess.

    • bill says:

      Heh… I like your comment. It seems we have to choose between adult-teens or suits though…

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  21. Persus-9 says:

    On that “The Dark Side Of Digital Distribution” thing, I’m almost glad they’re doing this because this has been a problem for a long time which people have been ignoring because it hasn’t been used in such and evil fashion before.

    If that is the dark side then I think there is a grey side as well which is that patches and updates to games may not take the game in a direction that the player agrees with. Couple of examples from my own experience: ‘Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble’ changed their character art for one I disliked, Terraria changed the spawn rates to make the whole thing far more action centric and damn near ruined the game for me and most famously PopCap changed the dancing zombie on all Steam copies of PvZ (even the ones with automatic updates turned off) by replacing it with PvZ: GOTY edition.

    These are aesthetic choices but the result was still that single player games that I bought and were enjoying were made less enjoyable to me and there was nothing I could do to get the old game back. I think there should be a campaign to get developers to make all patches of single player games optional and all older versions of the game should be available. If a developer or two did that I swear I’d boycott everyone who didn’t. It isn’t too much to ask not to have our single player games changed against our will. We gamers have essentially sleep walked into a situation where the creator has the right to wreck our games.

    Funny to call it ‘the dark side’ since we’ve essentially walked into George Lucas’ dream world where he could delete every copy of ‘Return of the Jedi’ that didn’t include his latest butchering of the end sequence. We’ve surrendered all protection against rogue creators making retroactive changes and nobody seems to care. It is awful.

  22. DXN says:

    Jubert’s attempt to tie aesthetic value to a specific set of criteria is only partial, so it’s only partially wrong and meaningless.

    Simply calling an artwork beautiful is no longer sufficient justification; we can now explain clearly the real features of the work which promote this response.

    Jubert certainly can’t. The distinctions he draws between Men in Black and Schindler’s list are purely arbitrary. The statement “Schindler’s List has greater power-to-produce feelings of beauty in its viewers” is still completely dependent on the viewer.

    • Reefpirate says:

      So ultimately it’s wrong and meaningless to discuss art in any sort of critical way? A lump of turd is artistically of equal value to Schindler’s List or Men in Black? I think this whole ‘it’s all about what YOU feel’ is the most boring type of cop-out comment you can make about art.

      • Bobka says:

        So ultimately it’s wrong and meaningless to discuss art in any sort of critical way?
        That seems like a strawman. Just because there might not be objectively true standards for the aesthetic quality of art doesn’t mean we can’t discuss the social implications of an artwork, the message that artwork communicates, the way that artwork reflects on the society that created it, the effectiveness with which an artwork uses certain techniques, etc. There is plenty of room for critical discussion without trying to invalidate other people’s aesthetic reactions to a work.

        • thestage says:

          Those very discussions to which you refer devalue the work, or even render it entirely irrelevant

    • TJ says:

      What I think Hume’s ‘power-to-produce’ achieves is a greater awareness of the fact that aesthetic value, as much as it is subjective, isn’t just something random that floats around in the ether. It’s very real, and it’s causally related to very objective features of the world. It reminds us, in the end, that “I like this just because” is often not sufficient justification for an aesthetic judgement, and that we oughtn’t assign the same respect to everyone’s judgements. These, for me, are positive and highly explanatory elements of the theory.

      Funnily enough, the same ideas presented to the King’s College Philosophy Department usually promote disagreement for the opposite reasons: aestheticians tend to admonish relativism. Seems like I’m too relativist for the academics and too realist for everyone else. Or, perhaps, just not very good at selling these concepts ;-)

  23. Jahandar says:

    The sentimentality over games on disc went away for me when I lost several games to flooding from hurricane Katrina a few years ago. I’m not exactly sure where my Grim Fandango and other discs ended up on their grand surfing adventure, but I hope they had a grand time.

    And really, once the install finishes and the game starts, none of that really matters anymore. I’ve also grown to love the virtual trophy case of my steam library as much as the ever-increasing shelf-space that was taken up by dvd boxes. It also has the added benefit of actually being seen by others, and more often by me.

  24. WLF62 says:

    Why do people think that games have to have a story. Game were mean’t to be games. If I want a story than I watch a movie.

    • gwathdring says:

      Why do people think movies should have a story? Movies are meant to be moving pictures. If I want a story I’ll read a book. Why do people think books should have a story? Books were meant to be pleasing words on a page. If I want a story, I’ll sit around the campfire with grandpa.

      People want stories in games because stories are one of the most universal forms of entertainment. They show up everywhere and we are culturally conditioned to appreciate, seek, and tell stories. There’s nothing mystical about it, really. Saying “games are meant to be games” really doesn’t MEAN anything and certainly doesn’t mean that games aren’t meant to have stories. Plenty of fun and awesome games don’t have a narrative to speak of, you’re right, but that doesn’t mean a lot of games aren’t better off, more fun, and more interesting when attached to a narrative. Just like “game” transcends the idea of a story-driven, linear challenge, the idea of “narrative” transcends the idea of a tacked-one, inessential, garbled excuse to shoot things.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Games don’t have to have a story but it’s nice when they have a good one.

  25. gwathdring says:

    I understand the main thrust of “What’s In A Box”, but am a tad confused. How is a “Bland DVD” case different from a came cartridge or a floppy disk? Especially if it requires a disk check: it still has to be kept clean and popped into a sometimes-finicky mechanism for the game to work. And even if it doesn’t, it occupies the same shelf space in the same way with the same cover art and as any jewel case or SNES cartridge, and the DVD rattles pleasantly one the way home. There’s no unexpected swag, but there wasn’t in a lot of old-school games either. Sure it happened, but it wasn’t exactly universal.

  26. Eddy9000 says:

    I’m loath to play another game for a while after being repeatedly kicked in the balls by shitty game endings. ME3 finally broke me after Fallout 3 & New vegas, DX:HR and Call of Pripryat.

    I’m not a big gaming authority though, perhaps someone can recommend me some relatively recent narrative driven games that don’t fall to pieces in the last 20 minutes?

    • DrGonzo says:

      What? New Vegas had a fantastic ending, probably my favourite of recent times. It actually allowed player choice that had different consequences.

      Mass Effect 3 I agree though, just got to the end. Fucking points?! This whole thing boils down to fucking points?

      • MattM says:

        What was wrong with STALKER:Cop’s ending? The story in the game wasn’t as large in scale as the one in SoC, and the escape ending fit nicely.

        • Eddy9000 says:

          I was pretty underwhelmed by the explanation for the crash, but yeah I concede that a game about staying alive doesn’t need much more of an ending. Probably would have been better without the whole ‘moving anomaly’ thing and just gone for a heli crash – enemies that want to kill the crew – rescue and escape end. I think the ME3 one probably suffered in a similar (but much more extreme!) way, all people really wanted was to defeat the reapers, why fill it full of incongruent and unnessacary rubbish!

    • Eddy9000 says:

      Funnily I liked the actual ending of the NV main game, but thought the Lonesome road DLC ending was just confusing!

      I’ve decided that ME3 ends when Shepard gets blown up, and after that I’ve invented my own ending that he dies, but records of his actions get sent to all the prothean beacons around the galaxy by the memory shard that the Prothean guy gives him. There is a lengthy cutscene which shows the alliance getting torn apart by the reapers, including moving deaths of his crew. Fast forward 50’000 years when an entirely new set of galactic races use what they learned about Shepard combating the reapers through the records in the beacons to defeat them. From watching his struggle to get people to accept the reapers they are taken seriously and prepared for much earlier. If renegade one race takes it upon themselves to become the strongest possible by dominating the other races, if paragon all the races work together. If Geth are befriended AI’s work with organics, if destroyed AI’s are strictly controlled so no AI/ organic wars weaken them. The reapers are then defeated through Shepards legacy. THE END

      I have never before had to make up my own ending for something in order to validate the rest of the narrative, but here we are, thanks bioware.

      • Hematite says:

        Huh, actually your ending kinda makes me feel like I should play ME3. That’s the ending I’d like for the story of ME1.

      • Acorino says:

        Well, I made up my own ending for Pathologic, one I was very sure the game was heading towards to. The real ending left me so underwhelmed I just had to fabricate something in my mind so I didn’t feel like I just wasted a week of my time playing this whole goddamn broken mess.

    • Skabooga says:

      The RPS hivemind have expressed their general disappointment with game endings, so you are not alone there. Hell, Jim even did a post asking for examples of games with good endings, so you may find something here:

      http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/08/02/rps-asks-what-is-the-best-game-ending/

  27. DrGonzo says:

    No, a box is no better. It’s a construct of your brain. The game is the only important bit, the data. The rest is imaginary and shallow, and contributing to lower standards in our society. It allows brands to get away with horrific treatment, and over pricing things. It’s absolute bullshit that should be easy to see through. It scares me a lot to be honest that other people value this stuff.

  28. Fiatil says:

    I don’t really know where to put this, but I have to put it somewhere because it makes me happy. On the subject of Neo X-com:

    “The separate PC UI will be part of that. The XCOM: Enemy Unknown screenshots that have been released so far have shown lots of Xbox controller command prompts, we asked if the PC build would use a similar system.

    “No, no, no. Nooo. Oh man, no. I wouldn’t do that to you, are you kidding me? No,” he said. That’s six noes there, folks. “

  29. Dreforian says:

    The presentation of the photos on Arno Raps’ website made me immediately think of in-game screen shots. Once the full sized photo loaded in I couldn’t help but feel like I was looking at screens from a Myst-like game. Are there any (successful) first person adventure games in this day and age that don’t employ this sort of fixed artistic presentational style?

  30. mendel says:

    “Oil on canvas” isn’t art, it’s an art form. Nowadays pretty much everything can be an art form, so computer games certainly are: there’s enough in them for artists to express themselves with. It makes no sense to debate “are computer games art”, but we need to decide whether a specific computer game is art, and if so, whether it is good art or bad.

    My touchstone for this is that artists must see (some aspect of) the world in a new way, and communicate this vision through their work. Hence, we value originality in art, and do not value art that is merely affirmative, i.e. confirms the view of the world that we already have. (To do: distinguish the fine arts from science.)

    So, a vanilla formula one racing simulator? Not much of a work of art.
    The umpteenth “click on stuff to blow it up” title? Probably no masterpiece.
    A game that makes me exercise my mind in novel ways? Yeah, I’d call that art.

  31. Lokik says:

    For some reason the One Must Fall 2097 theme music felt like the best choice for that picture. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdVnKYcYi3g

  32. Premium User Badge

    jrodman says:

    The only meaningful improvement I can see to ‘digital distribution’ is to require that users have full control over they do and do not wish to update the shit they paid for. A quality channel would allow users to comment and discuss what has changed on update, and provide a clean method to retain older versions they’d already used and return to them as desired.

    Why steam doesn’t ALREADY work like t his is a real black mark on Valve.

  33. Thiefsie says:

    As an Architect, Lebbeus Woods is a great philosopher and inspiration to myself and my work personally. He is one of the great thinkers, deconstructivist in my mind, spewing intellect relevant not only to architecture but many other fields, not the least which gaming (or gaming environments?) could at least steal some ideas from.

    More here: http://lebbeuswoods.wordpress.com/

  34. bill says:

    All that effort on Wing Commander? I really wish they’d made a decent Tie-Fighter sequel instead. I wonder if it’ll keep the horrible flight physics.