The Sunday Papers

By Jim Rossignol on June 2nd, 2013 at 12:07 pm.


Sundays are for urrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrghh.

  • Chris Plante on Klei: “The beta and two-for-one sale had a multiplicative effect, one Cheng recognizes probably can’t be repeated for every game. He credits the sense of discovery in Don’t Starve. When the beta went on sale on Steam, the most popular downloadable game platform on PC, the sales flew faster and faster. There was never a sales spike so much as a continual movement upwards.”
  • Leigh Alexander’s Man Cave Fan Fiction: “The CONSOLE was the centerpiece of the altar that dominated an entire great cavernous wall of the room. It sat like an omnipresent little sage beneath the broad black, chrome-accented Television. Mounted in the wall, the pores of speakers bookended the display. Little luminescent eyes of piercing blue and lime green winked on and off softly, a comforting rhythm, even though he could no longer remember the specific purpose of each.”
  • Richard Cobbett on Blood: “What made Blood special though was… well, actually two things. Firstly, while Duke Nukem had already established himself as the FPS hero with attitude, Caleb’s gravel-voice gave him a real run for his money. He’s a pure villain protagonist who happens to be fighting a bigger evil than himself at the moment, and spends most of the time quipping. Where Duke largely pinched lines from The Evil Dead and similar films though, Caleb’s world is made of horror references. His initial “I live… again!” gives way to constant quips or quotes. He’s a fun character, not least because he thoroughly enjoys his role as an avenging angel with jet black wings and arsenal of increasingly cruel weapons.”
  • QWOP Cosplay.
  • Paola Antonelli on acquiring video games for MoMA.
  • Abbott on genre: “We read and hear a lot of talk lately about “broken” or “worn-out” genres. At this year’s GDC, speaker after speaker bemoaned the state of an industry mired in me-too shooters devoid of new ideas. I don’t disagree with that assessment, but the solution often proposed (stop making so many shooters) strikes me as similar to asking an impressionist to stop painting so many blurry trees. The problem isn’t the form, but a lack of vision infusing the form with energy and life.”
  • David Sirlin announces Chess 2: “Chess 1 was a big hit, no question there, but a few issues have cropped up over the years. First, the original game ends in a draw uncomfortably often. Second, memorization (rather than on-the-spot intuition) ended up being much more important than the original developers intended. Even top players such as Fischer and Capablanca complained about this. Third, because it has no hidden information, the ability to capitalize on reading your opponent is more limited than it could be. And finally, the first version offered only a single army and one matchup.”
  • A Proteus time-lapse.
  • Rich Stanton on Final Fantasy VII: “Here’s an interesting thing: look at the gamefaqs page for Final Fantasy 7, and notice how many ‘In-depth guides’ there are – in other words, FAQs dealing with a singular aspect. Chocobo breeding (in-depth or simple?) and glitches, goodies alongside missable items, a mental guide to an early dating minigame, all rubbing shoulders with exhaustive GameShark-based exhumations. Whatever else you want to say about Final Fantasy 7, it did not lack substance.”
  • Jack Vance is dead.
  • Splendid article about space tech: “The original plan was for the two Voyager probes to fly past Jupiter and Saturn, returning both photographs and information from an array of instruments. Launching two nearly identical probes just days apart made it more likely at least one would succeed; happily, both did. Each one has three separate computers, each of which has its own backup. The tiny on-board memory in each system necessitated sending complete changes of program code from Earth to get the probes to perform different tasks: this was done 18 times during the Jupiter fly-by alone. Such reprogramming also made it easier to cope with unexpected problems and meant the probes could be taught new tricks.”
  • This.

Music today is this mix of random Boards Of Canada b-sides and such.

And back to bed.

.

103 Comments »

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  1. Michael Fogg says:

    Thirst!

  2. Premium User Badge

    Lambchops says:

    And if the “urrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrghh” wasn’t enough to show that Jim is hungover the uncomfortably close positioning of the bullet points to the edge of the article is confirmation!

    • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

      My money is on a late night watching a Betamax of his K-tel favourites!

    • BooleanBob says:

      He has my sympathies. As I get older I find I can land myself a hangover just thinking alcohol.

  3. Ayam says:

    “This” – The Commando gearing up is how I picture the NC outfit in Planetside 2 before making it 2 feet out of the warpgate to be shot down :)

    • Soldancer says:

      I hadn’t realized before seeing that clip from Commando that the “gearing up” scene had ever been played straight. I guess it had to have been at some point, seeing how many things like Blood Dragon or Scott Pilgrim poke fun at it.

  4. nebnebben says:

    Yes! Chess 2! I’ve waited so so long for a sequel but finally! Here it is, I cannot wait to get my hands on it! DRM free as well, my one disappointment is that the graphics style is still quite old fashioned… BUT CHESS 2! Those 2 words solve all problems, including my currently dwindling life and reserves of money. I cannot wait to play.

    • Calabi says:

      I think I’ll wait for the prequel.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      …Chess Rising: REVENGEANCE?

    • PsychoWedge says:

      Chessurgance: The Return!

    • BooleanBob says:

      CHE22™.

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      Vandelay says:

      I was also glad to see that they have decided to make the move to a first person shooter. Turn based gameplay is just so outdated now and the addition of some chest high walls will make the battleground a bit more interesting than the flat field that the original had.

      The news of them cutting back the number of unit types to just four was a little bit worrying, but I think it was the right move. Who needs a pawn anyway? I imagine it will be Bishop=healer, Knight=scout, Queen=all rounder and King=heavy. No doubt people on here will complain about the Queen’s redesign in tight leather bondage outfit, but I thought her “The Bitch is back trailer” was a good laugh.

      • Lanfranc says:

        Right, but they still need to nerf the Queen. Way OP, IMO.

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        Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

        The Rook always took the Heavy role and the King has always specialised in close-up combat like the Pyro in TF2. I know they’re “reinventing”, but that sort of elementary mistake leads one to suspect that the design team knows nothing at all about the chess they’re supposedly improving! How can one decide to improve, without learning the lessons of your predecessor?

        I was in the original Chess beta, and I even remember a time when they were talking about dropping the Rook altogether, before they found it the niche it inhabits today. I saw the evolution of the modern pieces happen over a long period, like the infamous 0.43c patch which accidentally turned all of the Pawns into Queens. That was one of those fortunate accidents that turned out to be so popular the Pawns were upgraded with a special ability to turn into Queens at the far end of the board. And “castling” was originally an exploit that circumvented the one-piece-per-turn rule, which was eventually embraced by the developers (But not before a rather rash series of bans which the community is still sore over). Yet the Chess 2 developers are willing to just throw all that hard-won wisdom away.

        Bah.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I get that it’s just a joke, but Chess took thousands of attempts to get right, we’re on Chess 1203 by now at least.

      • Trithne says:

        Assuming it’s a joke is a dangerous thing to do with David Sirlin, who, it might be noted, was charging 3$ for the rules at one point. He quite possibly genuinely believes he is improving on Chess.

        • Steven Hutton says:

          You say that as if it is a strange or ridiculous thing to believe.

        • Kristoph says:

          lots of people have already improved upon chess. it’s really not that difficult, massive playerbase backlash notwithstanding!

      • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

        Oh, it’s no joke.

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        jrodman says:

        I have to say I found the process of being asked for a credit card for a 0.00 currency pdf of the rules somewhat entertaining.

      • gwathdring says:

        I’m not at all convinced Chess 2 works, but I don’t like the idea that Chess 1203 was at some point “gotten right.”

        The game has been designed by committee over a long period of time, with social and political factors altering which versions (and which similar games) became popular. It went through a standardization process that forced the game to completion, again without an explicit design process, and while the rules are simple, it’s such a complicated game that even if it is broken, we might not find out for another 100 years.

        Chess is a game that requires study. To play against an opponent of equal study is to play an excellent game of tactics and strategy, two things not often merged together outside of complicated RTSs and tabletop wargames. The rules (not the game) are quite easy to master.

        But chess is a game that requires study. Play against someone with moderately more study or experience under their belt, and you will lose almost every game. This in itself is not a problem with the right attitude. I enjoy losing a game of chess if I can see where I’m going wrong, and feel my progress and improvement between games. Of course, a regular opponent will be improving in exactly the same ways, so unless one of you is significantly better at learning, the same player will continue to win about as often for a very long time. Chess is a complicated enough game that one can foreseeable improve over a lifetime. This is both kind of cool and kind of awful.

        The way to truly master chess is, either consciously or unconsciously, memorize openings and board patterns and proper responses to each. The way to lose chess is to make more mistakes (not seeing patterns, moving the wrong piece, spacing out for ten seconds, playing with awful people who make you move the piece you touch first even if you never moved it or took your hand off). This is both kind of cool and kind of awful.

        A lot of people praise chess for being the ultimate strategy game. There’s no luck involved, you see. It’s a complete information game. This is a load of bullshit, no matter how much I or anyone loves chess to play chess. I should clarify before I go further: I love playing chess, I love it’s rich history, and I don’t think it’s a particularly brilliant game; if I were to give chess a review as though it were by a single modern designer I would suggest that the game works in spite of itself and that it is immensely flawed–I love it to death, but wouldn’t recommend it to others without a heap of caveats including try before you buy.

        Where was I? Right. Lucklessness and complete information. Do you know how many openings your opponent has memorized? Can you fully control whether or not you see all the possible checkmates (it’s really easy to just space out for a second and miss that one word your sister said over the phone … it’s just as easy to just space out for a second and lose your queen)? Assuming you study in an attempt to become better at chess, can you control the memorization and perceptive limits of your brain? Can you control the precise differences of ability and study between you and your opponent? Can you control how tired each of you is?

        The answer to most of these questions is “Yes, sort of, but not as part of the game.” The answer to some of them is “nope, never.” There is no such thing as a game without luck or a game with complete information. In a very practical sense, chess is a game with so much hidden information, it can take decades to unravel even part of the way. Chess certainly has no explicit mechanical luck, but what this means is commonly misunderstood. In many board games, explicit mechanical luck puts everyone on an even playing field, or in other cases will over the course of a handful of games. As an example, a game of Liar’s Dice will not proceed the same way every time. I cannot know that the player to my left has a specific optimal move open to her, because her dice are not in exactly the same position every game. I have to respond to the situation and the player, not to my years of study. Luck can allow inexperienced players to do a little bit better sometimes and make sure that even experienced players can’t guarantee victory by having played more often–when overdone this is frustrating, but a lot of the time it means everyone feels much more comfortable playing and everything is a little more about the game and a little less about your stack of chess books.

        For some people, the idea of playing a game that rewards care and study and precise knowledge of optimal moves is tantalizing. For me it sounds like a good way for people with a wealth of time to beat people with slightly less time. It’s a tradition. An institution. And it has it’s value as such. But as a game? It’s great fun against a perfect equal and really rather shitty for both players against anyone else. And the learning curve is so stupidly high … you’re so often just playing yourself and your own history with the game rather than playing the game. And sometimes you’re play that history even more than you’re playing your opponent. That’s really bad game design. Good thing chess wasn’t exactly designed!

        Chess is a lot like the Bible. How it got to be the way it is had a lot to do with where politically powerful people lived and what they thought was for the best. The result doesn’t always make sense (the en passant), and doesn’t always work, and it really complicated, and requires years of study to really understand, and really should a centuries-long committee made up of the whims of various powerful people decide how we spend our spare time? Even if we really believe some of it showed the promise of a really fun game at some point?

        Chess variants are the best part of chess. Different weird pieces, different setups (Fisher Chess is awesome) and this one called Alice chess where you have two boards and every time you move, your piece ends up on the target space but on the corresponding board (Alice chess is one of the best, most mind bending games I’ve ever played).

    • SuicideKing says:

      Call of Chessy 2: Medieval Warfare

    • vanosofmanos says:

      Slightly off-topic, but that Chess 2 post made me really want someone to do a Chess-boxing video game. Preferably with an engine that actually makes for a fun boxing game, unlike 80% of all the boxing games out there. That would be awesome. I’ve no clue how to do it, but I would Kickstart the heck out of it.

      • tormos says:

        the problem here is mimicking the boxing-trauma induced skill loss. Have the player on the honor system to smash themselves with the controller enough times to induce the injuries seen on the character?

    • jamesgecko says:

      I played a number of Chess 2 games last summer using a beta version of the rules. Some observations:

      – It’s much faster than normal chess. Rushing the center line is a viable strategy, and it’s generally a good idea to assume your opponent is going to try it.
      – It was a lot of fun, but wasn’t necessarily very balanced. Some army pairings felt like there was a clear advantage for one side.
      – Fighting Reaper is terrifying. Any piece could die next turn. Your only hope is to block and stall and charge headlong for the center line. Unless you can lure the queen into a trap? I don’t remember the specifics here.
      – Two kings was INVINCIBLE! Not really, but the extra move and the whirlwind attack was very powerful.

      If you like board games in general, it’s well worth a try. It’s not really like anything else; the best I can describe it is as Arcade Chess. Fast, furious, and social. Not really a game for the ages, but quite playable. Chess 2 is to Chess what Munchkin is to Dungeons & Dragons.

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    Lambchops says:

    Also personally from my brief foray into it that the design section is by far the most interesting section of MoMA. I find prototypes of things and architectural drawings and, yes, video games to be far more interesting than a lot of the other stuff that museum had to offer.

  6. newc0253 says:

    Props for the link to the Jack Vance obit.

    Think of how many games & how much SF and fantasy were influenced by his work without ever realising it.

    • iucounu says:

      The very best.

    • Kadayi says:

      Yeah Vance was a fantastic writer, and hugely influential on D&D and the like.

      • nimzy says:

        To this day wizards look to the sky, shake their fists and shout “VAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANCE!”

  7. Hulk Handsome says:

    “Where Duke largely pinched lines from The Evil Dead and similar films though, Caleb’s world is made of horror references. His initial “I live… again!” gives way to constant quips or quotes.”

    Hate to be THAT guy (just kidding, I love being that guy), but that initial quote is a direct reference to Evil Dead 3/Army of Darkness.

  8. Raiyan 1.0 says:

    On the spectrum of sad news, Andrew Scott Reisse, co-founder of Oculus VR, was killed by perpetrators in a police chase incident. He was just 33.

    • CrispinFister says:

      Man, that’s awful. What a horrible and undignified way to go. :(

    • Grygus says:

      That’s a damned shame. Bad headline; it makes it sound like he was running from the police, rather than being an unrelated bystander.

    • AngoraFish says:

      fuck

    • Noburu says:

      Considering how big of news this is in other places, strange to not see it listed here.

    • Jupiah says:

      Oh man that’s terrible. I hear that these kinds of incidents are why police in the U.S. are increasingly adopting rules to ban chasing criminals who run from them. Catching the bad guy just isn’t worth it when innocent bystanders keep getting killed in the chases.

  9. kwyjibo says:

    We already have Chess 2, it’s called Advance Wars.

    • GameCat says:

      Advance Wars is more like Rock Paper Tank 3.5, not Chess 2.

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    Gap Gen says:

    The Man Cave Fanfiction is an excellent example of how bad pull quotes are. Yes! Let us insert large text from later in this work of fiction. This is a fine idea that does not disrupt flow at all. A round of high-fives, on me.

    • Grygus says:

      I also hate the idea that your readers are so bereft of attention span that they can’t wait the entire article to see what’s in it. One thing I hate more than that is that it might be correct.

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    Gap Gen says:

    The space repair article is interesting. It’s a problem for people who build space telescopes – often the helium meant to cool down the instruments to avoid them being swamped by thermal photons from the instrument itself runs out, giving them a limited shelf life. Either that, or like Hubble they’re broken and in orbit, and difficult to get to (especially as Hubble was in a much easier-to-access orbit than JWST will be).

  12. Prime says:

    What the hell is an Ouya console? THIS ISN’T FIRST OF APRIL!

  13. cptgone says:

    “According to Mr Maxwell, who shifted to driving Curiosity last year, it could drive over a coffee table without even noticing, and has “more eyes than a potato”, with 17 cameras in all. (He has since left NASA to work at Google.)”
    lol!

    also, i hope Google won’t be data snooping them little green men while gathering data for Mars Street View ;)

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      Gap Gen says:

      Someone at Google is gonna be all “what the fuck happened to this coffee table?”

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    dangermouse76 says:

    Soooooo bought Alan Wake on sale in steam, any good ?

    • lordcooper says:

      Step 1. Buy game
      Step 2. Ask if game is any good.

      wat

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        dangermouse76 says:

        On sale, took a punt on it, downloading now, thought I’d see what people thought for some chat. No need to be a snarky fuck.

        • lordcooper says:

          I disagree, there was a great need to be a snarky fuck.

          • BooleanBob says:

            ‘You call it unnecessary snark; I call it vital training for the Great Irony Wars of 2018.’

        • SuicideKing says:

          Your lack of snarky fucks is disturbing…

        • mondomau says:

          No need to go calling anyone a ‘snarky fuck’ either. ‘Snarky jackanape’ would have been entirely sufficient.

    • woodsey says:

      It’s enjoyable enough.

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        dangermouse76 says:

        The problem I have had recently is treating games like trailers for movies, and just playing them for the first hour or so just for a new experience then stopping entirely. This might be one of those purchases – dam it !

        • Jason Moyer says:

          Alan Wake’s episodic structure ended up making it easier for me to play all the way through, because it encourages you to only play an hour or two of the story in a sitting. The gameplay itself is your standard Resident Evil 4/Dead Space over-the-shoulder monster killer, so it would probably be tough to grind through the whole main campaign in one sitting, but I thought the atmosphere/environments/characters/story made it worth experiencing at least once.

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            dangermouse76 says:

            So weird you say that I have just been playing it for about 1-2 hours and I had that feeling. I am enjoying it, but in bursts it seems. Now I need a break. Like Left for dead multi-player – I have had my hit now I need a break.

            On a side note games ( this one also ) seem to struggle with transitioning from the cut scene to the game play without feeling like the immersion is being broken slightly. Maybe it’s inherent in games in general. Can we think of any games that do this well ?

            Actually Metro works for me, it’s narrative is effective enough that I don’t dare challenge the environment around me as I don’t want the immersion broken.

            I guess I have to let the game take the lead and allow it to pull me along on it’s predefined roller-coaster in order to get the effect it is trying to sell me.

    • Xocrates says:

      Flawed but enjoyable. Worth at least one playthrough.

    • m0ntag says:

      Yes, Alan Wake is very good. The combat can be a tad repetitive but, if you’re in Nightmare Mode (add the phrase -developermenu to the launchline of the game and activate in main menu), the game is difficult enough for the combat to be engaging and it makes it a lot more tense but not cheap. The story is quite nice and the graphics are pretty good. I was happily surprised by Alan Wake.

      EDIT: Meant to reply to someone, whoops.

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        dangermouse76 says:

        Nice tip cheers will give it a go.
        Edit: The graphics are nice I wonder if it is possible to make it darker, the flash light is a great feature.

  15. kwyjibo says:

    It’s a shame that MoMA’s collection ignores violence, but the talk Antonelli gives is good – the use of games as a demonstration of interaction design sure beats a Windows 8 Metro exhibition.

  16. LionsPhil says:

    That QWOP cosplayer is brilliant.

    Also, more things should be like ’80s Schwarzenegger flicks.

  17. B1A4 says:

    Oh, BLOOD my favourite pre-HL (oldschool) FPS. Original, yet fitting weapons, great atmosphere, lovely foes and superb soundtrack.

    How could they screw it that much in the sequel?

  18. Strangerator says:

    “When will we see the next Final Fantasy game that is, first and foremost, a game? A parallel universe perhaps. One where Final Fantasy 7’s influence came from the depths rather than the surface. One where Final Fantasy 7 was celebrated for its overworld design and interlocking systems rather than the flower girl.”

    The original Final Fantasy proves the point even further. Its narrative was fairly sparse, and was quite sparingly distributed across an open-world map full of turn based combat. The bread and butter of Final Fantasy games, and likely JRPGs as a whole, was presenting players with a huge open world and game mechanics. While at first daunting, players gain a sense of accomplishment as they develop their characters to be able to conquer said world. It strikes me as a bit bizarre that the latest Final Fantasy has tossed out the idea of the open world in favor of corridor after corridor.

    Memory is a funny thing though. We all know how much we love certain games, but when our memories are looking for a way to express the joyous memories of playing games we inevitably latch onto key narrative moments. But I agree with Stanton that it is far less important than conventional wisdom would have us believe.

    Hell, the thing I remember most about the first final fantasy was the moment you first cross the bridge into the greater world… THAT MUSIC. It beckons you toward adventure. I have this theory about game music secretly being much more important than we give it credit for in our establishment of games as “classics”. Final Fantasy has some of the best music, and that might just be its reason for becoming a series.

    • Noburu says:

      I would be inclined to agree with you. FF7 is one of my favorite games of all time. I can still listen to the midi tracks from the game and it makes me feel 13 years old all over again.

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      RedViv says:

      On the notion of story/exploration reward ratio:
      I have come to realise that JRPGs and Western RPGs could likely serve as terms to describe two very different genres, not just sub-genres. While both of them focus on building characters via stats-tied-to-decisions-tied-to-stats (probably the minimum requirement for RPG), they offer rewards in quite different ways. The most beloved JRPGs have a relatively wide world (scratching that exploration/journey itch even when it’s just a single town/city [Persona], or more obviously doing so when I get a trope-ified Golden Saucer), but at the same time focus on a relatively straight narrative for the player character/s.
      Meanwhile the WRPGs that I treasure the most, their world might be open or relatively limited, but the decisions I, not the strict line of the narrative, make for my characters, those are what matters far more. Be that combat or dialogue stat checks, it’s somewhat of an emulation of really good pen and paper that I seek.
      I think it is a great injustice to their roots and what JRPGs can represent, when the director of FFX and XIII, Motomu Toriyama, says that JRPG players WANT that straight hallway of stories and cutscenes in this genre, because Western RPGs confuse you by giving you such an open world.

    • rockman29 says:

      Yes. Yes to all of this post.

  19. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    Final Fantasy VII (PC version) and Warcraft II were the two games that got me into the hobby, but that retrospective kind of infuriates me. The implication that subsequent FFs were not “first and foremost” games is hugely insulting and giving FF7 a bit too much credit.

    First of all, FF7 hardly drops you into the world and says “Go!” You’ll be spending an awful lot of the game sitting through a plot that has aged extremely poorly. You don’t get characters as well-developed as in FF9 or villains as complex as in FF12, not to mention that the plot barely makes sense. It gives you no more or less freedom than the typical JRPG.

    Second, all of the extra content is of dubious quality. Snowboarding? Chocobo racing? The Golden Saucer content wowed me at the time, but the more games I’ve played, the more I’ve come to see those additions as distracting gimmicks. If I wanted to race, or ride motorcycles, or command soldiers from an overhead perspective (remember that sequence?), I’d buy a game dedicated to it and not settle for pale imitations. FF7 is hardly the only offender in this regard, but it’s pretty much the only game that is actually praised for its volumes of ancillary bullshit years after the fact.

    Finally, saying that subsequent FFs lacked gameplay is just breathtaking. FF7’s isn’t my favorite system by a longshot, but all of the points he brings up are true and it works just fine. FF8’s system is, to me, terrible, but it was certainly every bit as complicated as FF7’s and there are people out there who will defend it. FF9 is my favorite game in the main series, and while it is much simpler it encourages you to figure out the best combinations of characters, and there are quite a few little variations to discover. FFX and FFX-2 had similarly open systems with tons of room for min-maxing and exploiting the system, and FFXII made the feedback loops discussed in the article the heart of the battle system. I can’t speak to 13, since any game whose defenders argue that it takes 20 hours to get good is something I’m very leery about, but I’m sure there’s something to say there as well.

    I’m the last person who will argue against FF7 as an influential title. I will not say it is bad, though my personal enjoyment of it pales next to other JRPGs. But I hate to see it praised endlessly as if it had no flaws or as if every little thing it did was so wonderful that other games lack in comparison.

    • rockman29 says:

      I think the key point in the article from EG is that FF VII was a watershed moment for Square, and the path which Square ending up taking led them into disaster once and into a spell of mediocrity years later on the 7th generation consoles.

      And also it wasn’t indicating that other SNES or NES or PS1 Final Fantasy games or Square games were poor. On the contrary, the article cites games such as Vagrant Story which released in 2000, years after FF VII, as examples of incredible games that are high quality titles in the same vein as FF games on PS1 or Chrono Cross.

      (for some reason it also mentions the hilarious game Ehrgeiz to support the point there, but that doesn’t help much…)

      The point of the article is to simply say how different Final Fantasy is today, than it was from years ago. Without saying it outright.

      FF7’s notability in particular according to the article is not because it is alone the definitive Final Fantasy game. Granted, the author argues for FF7 in particular and advocates the substance in it’s gameplay and in the story you can read outside the high-octane, shallower cutscenes, but this isn’t the the story in the article. FF7 is just used as an ambassador to represent the good in all the Square games that were developed pre-FF XIII when cutscenes and “graphics gravitas” became the entire game and narrative.

      EG is saying it is the most notable Final Fantasy game, because it was the pivoting point around that watershed moment that led Square astray and into eventually making the piss pot of a game series that is Final Fantasy XIII.

      This is the main point basically:

      “And under the cover of those cutscenes Final Fantasy 7 had smuggled one of the deepest RPGs ever made into so many hands – so many, indeed, that a popular rumour tagged it as the most-returned game in history.”

      “Final Fantasy 7 has lots of great stories; it’s just that none are in the cutscenes.”

      “Much of the critical reaction too, then and now, focuses on the parts of the narrative delivered through FMV. And when you think about it, what an extra-scarlet red herring that must have been for Squaresoft.”

      (note how critical he is of the focus on the FMV as a major reason that FF7 is meaningful as a game)

      “Square Enix still believes Final Fantasy’s defining qualities are narrative and non-interactive cutscenes. So does much of the series’ fanbase to be fair, yet they’re an albatross.”

      The retrospective is not about FF7. It’s about Final Fantasy and it is really a criticism of Square-Enix and it’s game design and how everything they do is so far removed from the games Squaresoft will be remembered for.

  20. realitysconcierge says:

    Sleep my Jim. You’ll need your strength for many great articles to come.

    Also, that was an excellent podcast.

  21. Grape Flavor says:

    That Leigh Alexander piece was idiotic and a waste of my time, though I can see how it’s exactly the kind of holier-than-thou piece RPS would like. So, we’re demonizing people’s hobbies now? What happened to live and let live?

    I personally may not have much in common game-taste-wise with the Halo/Call of Duty set either, but they’re not crusading upon places like RPS, sneering and mocking and saying “Shut it all down, you uncultured heathens! Your days of enjoying these (quirky indie) games which WE do not enjoy are at an end! Superior people with superior tastes to yours have decided you are a dinosaur that must be slain in the name of progress!”

    It’s perfectly emblematic of the narrow, intolerant view some some around here have of what gaming is supposed to be, reflected in all those Wot I Thinks which make clear the opinion that linear shooter #7 is not just a mere, commonplace Something Which I Do Not Personally Enjoy, but a full blown Worst Thing Since Hitler, and A Real Menace to Civilized Society.

    Different people like different things. So what? Who cares? Why does it have to be turned into a holy war between “true” culture and “unworthy” culture? Pull the stick out of your ass and relax. Live Free, Play Hard and Halo can coexist. It’s not a battle of elimination between one or the other unless you try to make it into one.

    I’m sure Leigh thought she was being really clever when she wrote that, roasting all those stupid console shooter neanderthals with her vastly superior wit, but all it did was expose her as one of those many people who couch their preferences in the rhetoric of diversity and expanding horizons, but at the end of the day are just crusading for their “superior” view of what they think is worthy to become the new doctrine that replaces that which they do not prefer.

    Fuck those people, not just in gaming, but in life. Live and let live.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      “all those Wot I Thinks which make clear the opinion that linear shooter #7 is not just a mere, commonplace Something Which I Do Not Personally Enjoy, but a full blown Worst Thing Since Hitler, and A Real Menace to Civilized Society.”

      Yes, all of those.

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      AndrewC says:

      ‘they’re not crusading upon places like RPS, sneering and mocking and saying “Shut it all down, you uncultured heathens! Your days of enjoying these (quirky indie) games which WE do not enjoy are at an end!’

      See the comments of an average ‘Live Free Play Hard’, or the comments of any game about Feminism.

      • Grape Flavor says:

        Ok, I’m going to admit that this was hyperbolic and not my best post. Should have put more care into it, or better yet, not post on RPS when irritated. I always regret it.

        Nonetheless, my core point was that people should not act like the existence of games which they personally don’t like is a problem, and I’ll stick to that. Leigh’s piece struck that tone, seeming to be just condescending snark for its own sake. Cleverly written, yes. I am envious of her talents.

        @AndrewC: Yes, this cuts both ways. That’s a valid observation. Also, the line between legitimate criticism and just hating on something in an non-constructive way can be quite blurry and I didn’t account for that adequately. I would hate to shut down analysis in the name of the “let it be” principle. As I said, though, I couldn’t find any analysis in Ms. Alexander’s man-cave-man snark-fest.

        edit: was supposed to be a reply to my root post. not with it today I guess.

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    Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    You may wish to reflect on the possibility that it is intentionally overwrought for parodic reasons. Having read several of her words before, I suspect it is an intentional stylistic choice for that piece.