The Sunday Papers

By Jim Rossignol on June 30th, 2013 at 10:55 am.


Sundays are for taking the time to do something properly. You’ve been rushing about all week, not taking any time to study or think, so just pause for a moment. Perhaps do some reading.

  • US Gamer launched a couple of weeks ago as a companion to our Eurogamer chums, and as such are part of the same network as RPS. It’s been interesting to see them starting this thing up, and in a world where there are so many games sites, they’re going to have make special efforts to stand out. There are signs of that already, with a random article based on Edward R Murrow quotes, and a look at the bad games they actually like. Keep an eye on US Gamer, anyway, I think think it could make some waves.
  • The New Statesman looks at The Arma Problem, aka is it easier to kill a man than a woman in a videogame? “(I)t is the question not of whether people want to play as female characters, but whether they are happy to kill female characters. At first this might sound strange, but on reflection there is some merit to this argument.”
  • Chris Kohler on the ‘used games’ debate: “As I said, there is a hard truth here that some people will have to face. It is this: increasingly, there are not enough people buying triple-A games, and they do not spend enough money, to make the production of triple-A games as it is undertaken today a financially viable endeavor. If you are a maker of such games, it is much, much easier to believe that GameStop is the source of all the industry’s ills than to believe that there is something fundamentally wrong with the business.” This pretty much reflects what I have always said about used games, piracy, and anything else that might affect sales: you can only ever sell what you can sell. Trying to lock things down so that people can’t get at your games by any other means is not making sales, in fact it is the opposite: it is spending money to no certain outcome. Focus on making something that people will want to give you money for, and making sure it is easy for them to give you money for it, is all anyone who makes games should be doing.
  • Psygnosis box art. I am not much of a collector of material things, but I have many of these.
  • How Brad Muir “won” Kickstarter:”It was like a rollercoaster. Leading up to it, I was super stressed out about it. I had a lot of reservations about it. When I pitched Tim [Schafer, Double Fine president] the idea of the game, it was going to be my Amnesia Fortnight game this year. We’d prototype it, hopefully, if people vote for it. We’d been pitching Brazen for a whole year, it looked like it wasn’t going to happen.”
  • Quinns on the win/lose states of videogames, and their negative consequences.
  • Edge on the internationalisation of game development.
  • A little old, but this is a look at the A Bit Of Alright event in London a few weeks back.
  • Saved game horror stories.
  • Game development in Wales. That seems to be a theme of 2013, for some reason.
  • RPS chums Chris Plante and Russ Frushtick review the Ouya. Two hours to set up? I could build a PC and have Windows half-way installed in that sort of time.
  • All the Lego Minifigs. Having a son is going to allow me to buy all these “for him”. Parenting really is a profound and moving experience.
  • The Horror:

I’ve not been able to listen to any much other than the most recent jon Hopkins album this summer, so here’s another track from it, Sun Harmonics.

Got a link for the ‘Papers? Then email me or tweet me on the twitters.

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201 Comments »

  1. godofdefeat says:

    Tis shall be a good read today.

  2. Mr. Mister says:

    Should I congratulate you on your “having a son is going to”, or did I just miss that a while ago?

    Intertemporal congrats anyway.

  3. Orija says:

    The New Statesman article reports that there are women serving in front line infantry in some places, I doubt whether that is true. Women serve as pilots, tank commanders, etc but I don’t think they are taken in for infantry positions anywhere, not even in the IDF.

    Not that I think that women shouldn’t be fulfilling infantry roles, just that it isn’t happening now. And, of course, this shouldn’t stop BIS from adding female models if they have the resources available.

    • SuicideKing says:

      They are, in the IDF.
      Israel is the only nation to conscript women and assign some of them to infantry combatant service which places them directly in the line of enemy fire.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_the_Israel_Defense_Forces

      Also consider that women have been fighting wars for centuries, from ancient India to Vietnam.

      And it’s a barely a valid reason for a video game, which Arma 3 is, finally. Add to the fact that there are a number of female Arma players. It’s not like you need full physical conditioning to play the game.

      • Archonsod says:

        To be honest I think the whole question is answered by ARMA being a simulation. If it’ includes a force in which women are on the front lines then it should include women on the frontline, if not then I wouldn’t expect them to be in there, just like I don’t expect them to stick hovertanks in there.

        The article makes a good point regarding their presence in support roles, the only real problem there is ARMA traditionally skips the areas where you’d usually encounter them and dumps the player out into the field for each mission.

        • SuicideKing says:

          I’ve read simulation thrown around a lot but i really doubt beyond strategy it simulates much at all. it’s not like a flight simulator.

          See, I mean yes, it’s a military sim, but if you saw that intro video, Andrew Gluck calls it a “military sandbox” and says it isn’t a hardcore simulation nor a focused sim, in the end calling it a combined arms game.

          Heck, America’s Army may be more of a sim than Arma 3. Plus that’s America’s Army, so it’s specific to the US Army. Arma 3 is just BLUFOR, OPFOR and Independent. So it could be any army, and a Utopian military would be as demographically mixed as possible.

          • Dances to Podcasts says:

            If there’s a military, it’s not much of a utopia.

          • SuicideKing says:

            Ah. I carefully avoided this by specifying that the military was Utopian, not the society. ;)

            (though obviously it doesn’t make sense to have a Utopian military in a non-Utopian society).

        • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

          Isn’t ARMA3 a 20 minutes into the future kinda deal with not quite existing totally rad supertechnology? Regardless of what other things it may or may not simulate, it doesn’t seem to actually simulate real politics and policies, so why should they feel restricted by such things in this particular instance? In the end, games are fantasies, and there is no reason not to put stuff into games that we just want there. Would we like a more equal representation of men and women in games, in culture, in the world? Yes we do, so let’s make them more equal in this fantasy that we are making.

      • Strabo says:

        Also, the USA removed the restrictions of women serving at the frontlines (not that they didn’t for years, just not officially as grunt, but in supply or air support) earlier this year.
        Germany didn’t have such restrictions for women for quite some time now, same with Norway and Sweden.

        Here’s a overview about women serving as combat troops (including Infantry and Special Forces): http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/13/130125-women-combat-world-australia-israel-canada-norway/

    • Zetetic says:

      One thing that hasn’t come up very often (edit: or perhaps often not very calmly…) around the Arma3-question, is the extent to which unrealistically depicting women in frontline combat roles would be a false representation the extent to which gender inequality also works against men. While women have generally been denied the right to fight, while it’s been expected (and, historically, sometimes demanded) of men that they do so. (The New Statesman article does tiptoe just around this to be fair.)

      Even while formal restrictions have been removed in various forces, the expectations of the roles that men and women should play (somewhat removed from any actual physical differences) haven’t disappeared. (Israel being an interesting modern exception thanks to its limited manpower reserves. Compare Soviet Union in ’41 and Chechnya perhaps.)

      It’s one of the more obvious examples of sexism not being as straightforwardly one-sided in its ‘oppression’ than, say, racism or class.

      • Sheng-ji says:

        There are very few people who view being a member of their nations armed forces as anything other than an honour.

        Is your point that men are conscripted in some countries but women aren’t? I would ask, when was the last time reluctant conscriptees were forced to fight? Vietnam?

        I have a great deal of sympathy for equal rights for all, I constantly say sexism against men and women are two sides of the same coin. I believe the mens rights crowd only damage their cause* in the same way the millitant feminism bunch damage feminism, but I just can’t see your point – in most countries in the world, men are given the choice to fight, women aren’t . In countries with conscription, that anyone is forced into combat is a definite issue, but I can’t think of a civilised country which does this. In the countries I know of with conscription, anyone who does not wish to be on the front lines is given a different role more suited to their tastes and again they are given world class opportunities and training, which is denied to women – it’s almost as if these countries deny women the final two or three years of the state education system.

        *I question the motives behind many mens rights activists who identify themselves as such.

        • Zetetic says:

          I suppose that ‘civilised country’ is a matter of taste, but you can point to almost any country other than Israel that has military service. That (some of) these countries might (to a more or less practical degree) offer alternative national services isn’t irrelevant but it doesn’t dissolve the issue either. Your point about it serving as a form of higher education in these countries is interesting, but I’d be dubious about applying it universally (consider Russia for example).

          Besides which, focussing too hard on people being literally forced into the armed forces misses the wide problem. Consider how voluntary recruitment actually takes place – in the UK at least, there’s a decent focus on deprived areas and, unsurprisingly, within those areas young men. It’s far from the only reason, but part of this is because they’re trying to find people whose prospects are limited, who are strongly encouraged to find employment and who are otherwise amenable to being paid to be shot at, and shoot other people, in the name of their country. (There was a fairly decent outcry in ~2006 about more deprived schools in Wales being particularly targeted for ‘awareness raising’ visits.) (A nice example of intersectionality, if you like that sort of thing.)

          “There are very few people who view being a member of their nations armed forces as anything other than an honour.”
          Yeah. Consider that a bit perhaps.
          (I’m not entirely sure it’s true anyway. I think plenty of people view it as a fairly unpleasant thing to fall into through a lack of better prospects, with some decent benefits and opportunities.)

          The context of Iraq and Afghanistan – where we’ve mostly sent people to do horrible things amongst international condemnation, suffer a decent number of casualties and fatalities, and all with very little show at the end – places a particularly interesting spin on the view of soldiers as ‘heroes’ or being honoured. (I suppose as a reaction to them being put in these situations in our name, by our governments – whether we agreed with it or not.)

          Edit: I fear I’m giving the impression that I’d argue against Arma3 including females, either as frontline soldiers or otherwise. I don’t think I would, but I suppose I’d be surprised if they went for anything close to a full 50-50 split on any force as I think that would deny the existence of a set of inequalities that hold back women and place expectations on men. (Perhaps I’m just being pessimistic about the 2030s though!)

          • Sheng-ji says:

            “I suppose that ‘civilised country’ is a matter of taste”

            I was specifically talking about countries which answer to a court of human rights. Many african countries still deny their citizens their basic human rights and do indeed force men into combat. Russia most certainly does not force men into combat, but it does hit them with some really heavy propaganda combined with an attitude at home that a non combat role is for cowards – in my reasonably extensive experience anyway.

            “In the UK at least, there’s a decent focus on deprived areas”

            Oh I could not agree more with you, this is a problem, but it is a different problem to that which (I) am discussing here.

            “I think plenty of people view it as a fairly unpleasant thing to fall into through a lack of better prospects, with some decent benefits and opportunities.”

            And yet these same people, no matter what their personal opinion of being in the armed forces is, turn out in droves to celebrate and support their troops. As you are familiar with the UK, let me point of help for heroes, whose donations increased by 36% during the recession which has seen even monstrous charity machines like the RSPCA on the ropes. All the evidence points to members of the public honouring the armed forces the world over. Lets not forget the context in which we are discussing this, a computer game where you get to pretend to be a member of the military.

            “The context of Iraq and Afghanistan – where we’ve mostly sent people to do horrible things amongst international condemnation”

            The condemnation is reserved for the politicians who made the decisions and the handful of men who abused prisoners. No-one condemns Private Joey Blogs.

            “I’d be surprised if they went for anything close to a full 50-50 split”

            I’d say a 90-10 split would be a reasonable compromise between realism (Which we can’t know without being able to see the future) and adding the variety the consumers want, but I feel player choice of avatar is far more important.

        • The Random One says:

          “There are very few people who view being a member of their nations armed forces as anything other than an honour.”

          Seriously? Because I think there are very few people who see them as anything other than murderers. Now, I’m not saying you’re right, but one of us obviously is, so one of our ‘very few people’ are not in fact very few people, yes?

          • Ergates_Antius says:

            “Seriously? Because I think there are very few people who see them as anything other than murderers. ”
            Except that’s patently false, as demonstrated by the large amount of vocal support members of our armed forces get from the public.

            “Now, I’m not saying you’re right, but one of us obviously is…”
            Actually, that doesn’t follow at all. You could easily both be wrong. Did you, perhaps, write “right” instead of “wrong”?

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Yeah, your logic sucks, moving on from that – I’m very sorry you see members of the armed forces as murderers. May I ask, is that in the religious sense (Thou shalt not take a life) or the legal sense? Because in the legal sense, the law being an entirely human construct, it isn’t murder by definition. If you are talking in the biblical sense, let me ask you, have you been to the vatican recently. I have, last week. I saw a number of gentlemen dressed in colourful matching clothes carrying pointy sharp things. Yes, the pope employs an army who, presumably are trained to (murder) people if they were to try to, say, assassinate the pope.

          • Nim says:

            I would expect any decent human being of sound mind and soul, no matter which religion they may adhere to that they consider themselves murderers if they ever pick up a weapon and use it to cause the death of another human being. While self-defense may be justified in the legal sense, a killer should still feel dreadful for what their actions have caused.

            And I do not consider there to be any honour what so ever in serving in the armed forces. I have served in the armed forces and I consider it merely a practical necessity because the world is not perfect but any blabbering about honour is just a coping mechanism for some of the horrible things a soldier may have to do.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Replace the word murderer with killer and I agree with everything you wrote. But no a member of the armed forces who kills someone in the line of duty is not by definition a murderer and using that term incorrectly because it gives a bigger emotional impact is a little bit scummy. I wouldn’t call a “playa” a rapist.

            And this is why it is and has to be such an honourable profession. There is a need to have an army, sadly. We do need to be prepared to kill those who would kill our families and friends for personal gain. Humanity has proven time and time again that if you try to live a peaceful life, given an opportunity someone will come along and take by force everything of value from you.

            This being said, I am disgusted by the people who have served but did not consider it an honour, what were you there for? Why not go and flip burgers, or become a builder, plumber or whatever, why did you choose to join the services? From the way you’re talking, it is heavily insinuating you believe the UK armed forces shoot at people who aren’t actively trying to kill them. But this is just not true.

          • Nim says:

            Because I was given no other viable choice. If you are disgusted with me after that simple fact then I assure you, the feeling is quite mutual.

          • Ich Will says:

            Ok guys there are two problems here: sheng ji isn’t understanding the subtle difference in the English use of the word honour, she us saying it is an honour and also saying that a soldier has to behave honourably, I suspect in Seychellois what she is saying is more than reasonable. The other problem is that she is clearly and specifically talking about front line combatants, whereas nim is talking about being conscripted in general. Nim, if you had no viable choice but to go on the front lines then I guess your point stands however if you had such little desire to kill people or be trained to kill people, why not shoot high? If you did have a choice in bring front lines then you are deliberately being obtuse

        • destroy.all.monsters says:

          “There are very few people who view being a member of their nations armed forces as anything other than an honour.”

          Apparently you know absolutely zero people that have served. Like the only other person in the thread that has served I can assure you that most of us were going for the education benefits (and in many cases escape a soft to non-existent job market). Some went to escape the inner cities and crushing poverty at home. None of that equates into seeing it as an honor. Not everyone is a marine or thinks like one. The Rangers, Airborne and Special Forces soldiers I’ve known didn’t claim it was an honor either though they were rightly proud for having made it through the grueling training.

          “Is your point that men are conscripted in some countries but women aren’t? I would ask, when was the last time reluctant conscriptees were forced to fight? Vietnam?”

          Women are not conscripted into combat roles even in the IDF. Men can be forced into it, or forced into combat zones as CO’s but women are not. Women can also use health and pregnancy issues that men cannot (and those discharges when they do occur are not used against them in the same manner). Nor do they have to be able to carry the same amount.

          “I have a great deal of sympathy for equal rights for all, I constantly say sexism against men and women are two sides of the same coin.”

          Except you clearly don’t – and show it repeatedly but casting a skeptical eye without doing the same towards women’s rights advocacy and advocates.

          “In the countries I know of with conscription, anyone who does not wish to be on the front lines is given a different role more suited to their tastes and again they are given world class opportunities and training, which is denied to women” – citations? This sounds like an awful lot of projection.

          “it’s almost as if these countries deny women the final two or three years of the state education system.” Unfounded, inflammatory and uncited.

          Also if you can kindly show me where women are forced to sign up for Selective Service I’d appreciate it.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            I know me, I served. I know all my friends, the ones I met while serving. Sounds like you were doing it wrong mate, if you felt like that then you probably would have been better off studying and getting a place in a polytechnic.

            Anyway I was talking about the population as a whole, not the tiny subsection of serving frontline troops, whose opinion makes up less than a single percent of the opinion of the public as a whole.

            “Women can also use health and pregnancy issues that men cannot ”

            Yes, the number of women who avoided active service because of their testicular cancer is astonishing! Oh, wait… it turns out that both genders have health issues particular to them. As for pregnancy, well it turns out that men can have leave from their work because of a new baby too. I agree it’s not fair that men can’t carry the child inside them and breastfeed thus entitling them to the full year women get but sadly Mr Darwin isn’t accepting suggestions as to how he arranges evolution anymore, so I guess we’re stuck with it this way round for the time being.

            “and show it repeatedly but casting a skeptical eye without doing the same towards women’s rights advocacy and advocates.”

            Repeatedly? Is that what you’re calling once now? Fair enough, I repeatedly by which we mean once said that people who identify with the MRA acronym are sexist but I also repeatedly (see above) said that militant feminists are just as bad. You know who I care about, people who want equality, not men who whinge about how unfair being a man is or women who whinge about how unfair men are to them. I also can’t stand women who whinge about how unfair being a woman is and men who whinge about how unfair women are to them. All those people are missing the point by a country mile.

            “citations?”

            Norway, Austria, Brazil, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France pre 2000, Germany pre 2010, Greece, S. Korea, Mexico, Russia, The Seychelles (My country where I obtained my law degree as a conscriptee), Swiss, Taiwan, Turkey. Look up the opportunities available for conscriptees for each of these countries and notice that this is given to the conscriptee at no financial penalty.

            “Unfounded, inflammatory and uncited.”
            See above where I found my statement, unflam it and cite it ;)

            “Also if you can kindly show me where women are forced to sign up for Selective Service I’d appreciate it.”

            Sure, and you will reciprocate by telling me the name of the first female president. The point I am making is that no-one in their right mind thinks the US is a land of equality.

    • Wisq says:

      My thoughts on this, in no particular order:

      Several nations, including the U.S., have already repealed any bans on women being on the front lines. If ArmA 3 takes place in the near future, and features U.S. or at least NATO troops, then it seems that realistically they must include women soldiers.

      The gender makeup of the ArmA multiplayer forces will be interesting to see. If it really is hard for some gamers to shoot women soldiers, there will undoubtedly be gamers who choose to play as them solely to increase their survivability by making the enemy hesitate. On the other hand, this may just help restore gender balance given that there will be a lot of male players who just naturally play male soldiers.

      A lot of combat in ArmA takes place at ranges where gender isn’t even going to be determinable, much less an issue.

      Didn’t the original Operation Flashpoint have women soldiers? Or women voices, at least? Maybe I’m just imagining that.

      There have been plenty of MMOs with female characters and PvP combat already. Most relevant would likely be Planetside 2, where women characters (with custom armour, fairly easily visually distinguishable) have been present since the start. No problems there.

      So ultimately, the notion of including women soldiers has support from the “gender equality”, “realism”, and “has been done before” angles. Those three angles are extremely strong pillars for making the decision to include women as soldiers, and if anyone cries “misogyny!” or calls ArmA a “woman-killing simulator”, it should be extremely easy to fall back on them and hold their ground.

      • Deadly Habit says:

        Being someone who actually served in the US military I can tell you that the vast majority of women already in the forces wanted nothing to do with a combat role let alone being held to the same physical standards as men did for PT tests.
        While women could potentially join front line infantry units, the vast majority are not going to have the physical capabilities of a male troop, plus I believe the desire to actually be a front line grunt isn’t all that high in the real world amongst the female populace at large.

        As far as Arma including women models for characters it’s up to them to decide if they have that as a balance issue as they define it. Is it worth dedicating the money to have the modelers and artists create what is needed to add in female troops along with voice actores or spend time on already implemented features or features that will enhance the simulation aspect.
        Honestly I don’t see what it will greatly add as you body armor and gear is going to obscure most of the female form or it will be pretty comparable to the way a male troop looks and the vast majority of the hardcore ArmA players stick to first person only servers as well.
        There’s always the incredibly active at large modding and addon community (hell there was a guy doing a request of modeling Megan Fox in Arma 3 yesterday on twitch for example).
        Personally I want to see more performance tweaks and content additions before something cosmetic like this, especially when people are asking for it this early into the beta.

        • Serenegoose says:

          I love that we live in a world where 50% of the world are ‘cosmetic additions’.

          As for the rest of the argument, I can’t comment. I don’t want to be in the army, and I don’t know any soldiers – male or female. But the demand to be a front line grunt in the male populace is also pretty low. Soldier isn’t exactly a common job. And perhaps a contributory reason that you didn’t meet any women soldiers in the army is that those who wanted to be on the front line… knowing that they couldn’t be… simply didn’t join? I mean, if I want to be an actor, and someone tells me I can only be a stagehand, perhaps you might find me in a different line of work altogether.

          • Deadly Habit says:

            Well it is a cosmetic addition to a simulator unless female troops are going to be at a disadvantage to gear loadout and bearing (and imagine the blowback that would receive).
            You’d be surprised the amount of good old boys who want to be infantry or Marines. I was in a support role not infantry, but the females I served along side were often there, like a good chunk of their male counterparts for the GI Bill.
            Hell I could even inject some personal anecdotes about having poor female leadership from my time serving (had a female First Sergeant who deployed to Iraq with us knowing she was pregnant just to get the combat patch and get flown immediately back for example), even with the US integrating females they’re looking at artillery roles atm and not expecting full integration for at least 3 more years.
            http://www.military.com/daily-news/2013/04/23/army-studying-artillery-not-infantry-for-women.html

            And a counterpoint article on women actually wanting to be infantry:
            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/05/women-in-military_n_2415748.html

          • Serenegoose says:

            Would including black, asian, hispanic, etc men also be cosmetic additions? Would it be acceptable if war was just brown haired white men, because further representation is only cosmetic anyway?

          • Deadly Habit says:

            Well seeing in the military Caucasians are the minority yes, this is a simulator with a heavy focus on infantry hence why it’s all male. What gameplay benefit is adding female models, voices and skins going to bring that would warrant diverting finances and workers from other aspects of gameplay? That is why it’s cosmetic.
            Like I said this early into the beta they don’t need to be focusing on cosmetic changes.

          • Serenegoose says:

            It’s not about a gameplay benefit. It’s about doing the right thing and not pretending that 50% of the world don’t exist because it’s such a hassle and a chore to include them. The idea that this should be secondary to a profit margin is really… disturbing, frankly.

          • Faxanadu says:

            I applaud Deadly Habit for his patient and attentive replies to something way out of line.

            SereneGoose it’s a game. It doesn’t have to make a point about equality, because it’s just a game. Just because something lacks, doesn’t mean that that lacking is done on purpose or has a point – it’s just something that isn’t there. They don’t have the MONEY to do what you want, and what you want IS NOT what the game is about.

            And frankly, saying that they’re “pretending 50% of the world don’t exist” is REALLY, REALLY disturbing. You need to take a deep breath, calm down, and re-evaluate. That is just hateful and wrong. You may have a good cause, but you’re going too far.

          • quijote3000 says:

            Serenegoose, nearly 1 in 5 People Have a Disability in the U.S, according to the Census Bureau http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/miscellaneous/cb12-134.html. Let’s assume it’s about the same in most countries.

            If you want ARMA3 to make a point for equality, I hope you ask for wheelchairs in the battlefield, because “It’s about doing the right thing and not pretending that 20% of the world don’t exist because it’s such a hassle and a chore to include them”

          • Serenegoose says:

            Are you fucking kidding me? too far? For disagreeing with him in a discussion?

            No, the fact is, if they are not putting women in because they’ve decided it’s too expensive and inconvenient, they ARE pretending that 50% of the world don’t exist. Deal with it. And the fact that saying that in a polite, civil, even handed, and dare I say it, especially for my self, nonconfuckingfrontational tone is ‘really too far’ is bullshit. As ever, no matter how you disagree with the majority, it’s too shrill and hysterical to be worth listening to, so as ever, I see no reason why I ought to bother.

            In short, Get to fuck.

          • Serenegoose says:

            False equivalency and a stupid attempt to derail the discussion. Women actually exist in the army. Physically disabled people do not. But in most games, the absence of disabled people is something of note to consider, and also worrying. Why do you want games to include less people?

          • Faxanadu says:

            I hope your battle against the windmills doesn’t turn you bitter. As for now, you’re clearly too angry to discuss anything with anyone. That should tell you something. In time, I suspect, it will.

          • Serenegoose says:

            It tells me that I was polite until you started posting and telling me how hysterical I was, and if no level of politeness is good enough, why should I be? Now take your concern trolling and smug arsehattery and do kindly piss off.

          • Arathain says:

            Wow, my bingo card is filling up really fast. Thanks, fellows!

          • Faxanadu says:

            Didn’t say you were hysterical. Didn’t imply it. Didn’t care about how polite you were. I presented an opinion, you retorted by saying your opinion is a fact. Haha. Those windmills must be closing in on you.

            Only part you got right, was my concern trolling. I just delight in watching you struggle, because I know it’s pointless and none of it will ever go your way.

            My work here is done. Good day.

          • Fred S. says:

            In the future we must require game designers to make abstract sexless characterless blobs or random sufficiently alien whatzits so that nobody has room to whine about their particular dice roll of grievance group characteristics is being discriminated against.

          • Deadly Habit says:

            Let’s take a look at the forces represented in ArmA 3, OFPOR thus far is Iranian, good luck seeing any women in their military any time soon.
            Green which is based on Greece’s Hellenic Army which is mandatory for males with women being allowed in, but not under conscription.
            Greece: The 717 women in uniform make up about 3.75 percent of the Greek armed forces. So far women officer nurses are the only high-ranked women. Last March, three became brigadier generals. Women originally were only allowed to attend the Military School of Nursing Officers, but in 1990 were first admitted to other military schools and academies.
            Which brings us to BLUFOR which as it stands is the US/NATO, who we’ve already discussed women’s roles in combat arms units.
            Why is this so hard to understand? Women aren’t represented because they’re not involved heavily in combat arms units in the countries that are being represented.
            The only countries that allow women in combat arms roles at the moment are Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel. New Zealand, and Norway.
            I doubt that it’s going to change greatly over the next 17 years either, which is when ArmA 3 is set.

          • j3w3l says:

            I can see many of you don’t see the issue, which is rather upsetting. Must be nice to be sitting in a position of privilege where you can dismiss others claim to having a game better catered to them.. and I’m not even saying a game centered around them. Just one character model would be nice, and in terms of animations it wouldn’t even be that different (unless of course like most developers they want that stereotypical booty sway).

            It’s not just ARMA, regardless of representation in the actual military near every military shooter omits the player from choosing female avatars. It doesn’t matter if it’s all about realism or some futuristic apocalyptic world so it isn’t an immersion factor and claiming it’s a “simulation” is a cop out. Females play these games… I play these games and as such it would be nice to have my character better represent me. It improves gameplay and the experience.

            What this says to many girl gamers is that the game just isn’t for us.. which is probably why so few (compared to other genres) actually play them. Perhaps if they improved the equality of characters and their roles in these games we may see better diversity in the people that begin playing them. Bigger market share in the end.. more profit (hopefully).. it just makes sense from a business perspective not to mention just being the morally right thing to do. And your arguing against this why? Do girls still have cootees?

          • Deadly Habit says:

            Oh god the “privilege” argument. It’s lovely no one has addressed any points I’ve put up, but love leaping to strawman arguments. Next I’ll be CIS scum. ArmA is a simulator, this isn’t a cop out, it’s a reasoning why it’s reflective of what and whom comprise front line forces, and sorry to hurt your feelings, that’s not women.
            Lets bring up another point, how many people crusading for this actually own ArmA 3, or have any interest in playing it?
            This isn’t DayZ we’re talking about, but ArmA. It baffles me that people still don’t understand those of us who play military sims want as close to a degree of real world accuracy and realism that we can get.
            This isn’t about a gamer’s boys only club, but rather this sense of entitlement to change a simulator for a group who feel entitled to representation even though it’s unrealistic in context.
            What next why isn’t there hover tanks or zombies?
            Also as I previously stated, the ArmA modding community can tackle it rather than BI at this point.
            No one has explained why it would be worth them diverting studio resources for a cosmetic change that could be otherwise spent on actual new content, gameplay, and engine tweaks either.
            Just the same tired strawman arguments without ever addressing any valid points being made.

          • Serenegoose says:

            You’ve already acknowledged that you had a female superior officer. If you want realism, you by fucking default, want women in the game. You want a 100% male environment, therefore you don’t want realism, by your own fucking argument.

          • AndrewC says:

            Arma 3 has some future tech in it, right?

          • Deadly Habit says:

            Actually I had a female superior NCO because I wasn’t FUCKING COMBAT ARMS, but was communications something you obviously lack in.
            Let me spell it out for you since you seem to lack basic reading comprehension. Women currently serve in support roles, they recently have started allowing them into combat arms roles, but are currently only discussing artillery, not frontline grunt roles Combat arms is infantry, cavalry, and artillery, AKA THE ROLES THE GAME IS ABOUT.
            They are currently only discussing getting women in the roles, none actually are as they are holding women to the same standards as men, who happen to have around a 25% failure rate, and guess what the few women who have tried haven’t been able to pass the standards needed.
            Also in the real world combat arms is very much a boy’s club and that’s not going to change, especially at the cost of unit and squad cohesion that you are dependent on for watching your life quite literally on the battlefield.
            I’m aware this isn’t politically correct, it’s reality, and in reality everything isn’t about gender equality.

            @Andrew C: yes based on current prototypes and weapon systems currently in development for the most part.
            Check out this thread for a lengthy discussion on the matter http://forums.bistudio.com/showthread.php?132745-Is-Arma-3-authentic/

          • Serenegoose says:

            So if you’re not deployed on the front line, you don’t see combat? That’s certainly an interesting take on the last decade of conflict in afghanistan and iraq.

          • MultiVaC says:

            I think what is important here is the fact that while ARMA is a military simulator, it’s not necessarily made to simulate any specific military or conflict with 100% accuracy. The goal has always seemed to be to simulate the general mechanics, weapons, vehicles, participants, and landscapes that are seen in real combat with the intent of being a framework to make whatever sort of scenario you want (“military sandbox” is a good phrase). When I look at it this way, as long as female soldiers are a thing in real life (which they obviously are, and will be even more frequently in ARMA 3′s near future setting), they are a pretty worthwhile addition to the toolset the game provides to build scenarios. The idea is to have as many aspects of real-life military so the user has more flexibility to act out the scenario they want to act out, be it an authentic recreation of a real conflict, something completely hypothetical, or anything in between. If a significant amount of those users will want to make a scenario where they include a female soldier in some way, then providing for that option is a good idea in my mind.

          • Deadly Habit says:

            @MultiVAC I agree completely, but as stated it’s not really something that should be a priority at this point in development, especially with how lacking in content the early beta is in it’s current state.

        • Deadly Habit says:

          Because someone who’s never actually been deployed, let alone in the armed forces and relies completely on second hand media reports is such an authority on the matter.
          Women on deployment do not partake in combat arms roles currently, plain and simple.
          You’re not playing as a logistics, communications, or support role in ArmA.
          You want a dose of reality, on a deployment most females make things incredibly uncomfortable since it’s often for close to or a year at a time in isolated locations. They become the source of disputes when they start having sex with some troops or can end up getting raped.
          We had limited water rations for bathing and used a group shower, but guess what males and females had to go at different times which resulted in water getting wasted.

          • AndrewC says:

            But the game is set in the future, right?

          • Deadly Habit says:

            Yes 2030

          • destroy.all.monsters says:

            @ Deadly Habit – I have to thank you for your saintly levels of patience in pointing out reality to demagogues. I too was in Commo and to claim that women regularly serve as infantry or even artillery – or are even likely to in great numbers even 20 years from now stretches credulity.

  4. Jason Moyer says:

    Man, I wish Lego would do a limited edition run of the original Space/Town/Castle sets.

    • dontnormally says:

      After all the ARMA3 shoutypouts above, I love your comment.

  5. SuicideKing says:

    Interesting that the Arma 3 ticket got attention in the New Statesman.

    I don’t know, didn’t we shoot female characters in Deus Ex and Mass Effect? And aren’t there female Arma players anyway?

    See the thing is, while i would be extremely uncomfortable and unlikely to harm a woman in real life (or even a video game), if it’s a life or death situation (i.e. she’s extremely comfortable with shooting at me till i’m dead) i’d bloody well shoot back.

    As far as that ticket is concerned on the feedback tracker, /upvoted.

    p.s. That article also assumes that all Arma players are male, i’m not sure female players think too much along those lines, but then i’m not female, so i can’t say.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      Loads of games have had female enemies in them to be gunned down. I reject the notion that just because Arma requires “a degree of intelligence”, and you need to think about your actions a bit more than some other games, this makes any difference.

      In fact, due to the nature of combat in in ARMA, engagements are far more likely to take place at distance, which means the gender of your enemies is probably not even noticeable, let alone likely to be an issue.

      The whole article is pretty weak.
      e.g. Re: Saints Row 3: “Women remain in two of the gangs you fight against, but make up part of the rank and file of only one of them, appearing as bosses for the second. When even a game as ostensibly tasteless and disrespectful as that is willing to recognise some degree of chivalry in its enemy selection…”
      Er, what? It contains female gang members for you to gun down. Lots of them. There may be slightly more male gang members to shoot, but you can’t really say it’s a “chivalrous” decision, or that this was some line the developers were unwilling to cross. Utter nonsense.

      Basically, the whole thing is based on bad analysis of non-existant data.

      • Archonsod says:

        I remember there were a lot of complaints on the Mount & Blade forums regarding having to kill female characters, so clearly it is an issue for some people.

        Also I don’t think the author is trying to claim it’s more of an issue for ARMA because it requires more ‘intelligence’ than CoD et al. More that because it’s a much slower, tactical game and confrontation requires pre-meditation rather than instinct and twitch there’s more emotional weight behind the killings. In short, what you are doing in ARMA is a lot closer to cold blooded murder than regular videogame shooters.

        • Ergates_Antius says:

          I’d agree that Arma is a slower more tactical game, and confrontations require forethought and planning, but strongly disagree that his adds emotional weight to any killings. If anything, they’d have less – partly because, as I said, engagements tend to take place at a distance, and partly because they’re cold calculating games. The people you’re shooting at don’t really have *any* personality.

      • SuicideKing says:

        EXACTLY.

      • destroy.all.monsters says:

        It’s the worst sort of clickbait.

    • Marinetastic says:

      Only women I remember killing in DX:HR are the two bosses and the plugin brains.
      I’d be interested to see how often female characters are cut because of budget restraints, IIRC that was the reason there wasn’t any in Brink.

    • DXN says:

      Yeah, it’s a bit of a weird article. It explicitly says it’s patronizing to treat women as “delicate flowers” but then handwaves about how it’s “considered worse” for a man to do violence against a woman and so we have to keep them out of games for their/our own good.

      As he points out, even Saints Row lets you do all of the crazy things you can do in SR, to women. Indeed he understates how many women there are. But if anything Arma can accomodate women much more easily, because your enemies in Arma are soldiers who have chosen to put their lives on the line. What’s more, engagements feature no gore and usually happen at a distance. If any game could have women combatants, it’s Arma. So not only is his attitude patronising, but his weak-sauce arguments in support of them are equally patronising. I mean, if anything is “white-knighting”, this is it.

      How about we listen to the women who say they want to be represented in these games, do the small amount of work it requires, and those who find themselves consternated just adjust their attitudes?

      • SuicideKing says:

        Exactly, wish someone like Cara would chip in, i’m really curious. I do have a few female friends who play/have played games like CoD and Counter Strike, they don’t give a flying fuck about being shot at or shooting.

      • Wisq says:

        Pretty much any time anyone comes out with an argument that says “keep [group] out of [activity] for their own good”, you can automatically declare their argument to be discriminatory, and perhaps even just a façade (intentional or otherwise) for more deep-seated discriminatory attitudes.

        (I imagine the exceptions would be where [group] has temporarily impaired judgement. Children, drunks, suicidal patients, etc.)

        Bottom line: If it’s okay for one person to choose an activity of their own free will, it’s okay for another as well.

    • Mo6eB says:

      We had playable, shootable female characters as far back as Quake3. I don’t remember anyone ever having trouble murdering others just because of their model’s secondary sexual characteristics. Now, the skeleton and the eye-with-legs, those were unfairly thin and short respectively.

    • maninahat says:

      I can say I have felt a twinge of discomfort, killing women in some games – the cute ninja women from No One Lives Forever 2 comes to mind – but that seems like something I should get over, having not often been given the opportunity to encounter female enemies in games, rather than an issue game designers have to work around.

  6. AndrewC says:

    Gawd bless yer Quinns. There are always other ways of playing.

    • unangbangkay says:

      And yet while I appreciate the sentiment and the push for diversity in play methods, I can’t help but think his angle of attack and the thrust of the article are unfair to games, and bordering on disingenuous.

      See, all those games he played and cited as wondrous examples of what’s right about boardgames and wrong about videogames? Those are games he likely played in the physical resence of trusted friends, colleagues, and relatives, on a day he chose with them to play together. He’s (perhaps unintentionally) downplaying the the fun he has hanging out with his friends in favor of insisting that nooo it’s because these enlightened boardgames have the right attitude, not those icky videogames.

      And let’s not even mention his glossing over all the OTHER games out there that make losing fun (or at least make the frustration of losing part of the fun), the ones that RPS.

      At the risk of sounding like a melodramatic internet person, I frankly expected more out of Quinns, given his history with RPS. I expected that he wouldn’t stoop to these kinds of blunt generalizations and declaratives. He’s practically acting like a Kotaku writer.

      • Lawful Evil says:

        The irony, is it not. (He wrote the article for Kotaku)

      • AndrewC says:

        I think there is a touch of melodramatic internet person about your post.:)

        There are counter-examples to everything – I’m sure there are board games that are ruthlessly competitive too – but would you say the general point stands? That video gaming is hugely governed by challenge and the win/lose condition – to the point where many do not even realise there is an alternative?

        As an example: the furore whenever an arty game, story game or game where you just sort of piss about for a bit is written about – all the ‘it’s not a game’ and ‘you shouldn’t be writing about this’ comments. it’s an attitude that only sees games as these mechanical, challenge-based, win/lose condition creations, and refuses to see that games can have a diversity of approach.

        To attack *that* attitude, and to give very specific examples, explained clearly, as to why that attitude is limited and limiting, seems a very good reason to write an article.

        • unangbangkay says:

          But not to acknowledge the games that get it right, or acknowledge that a big part of the fun in analogue games is inherent to their analogue nature, which digital games can’t replicate? Reducing all of video games to the multiplayer shooter?

          It’s those tabloid shortcuts that deflate his point and make him look like a jerk, and I expected better of a former RPS writer.

          • unangbangkay says:

            Cant edit my comment for some reason. Anyway, it’s the games writing equivalent of a political attack ad and its unbecoming of an RPS writer.

          • AndrewC says:

            He mentions Shen Mue and Mass Effect, just as examples.

            He certainly didn’t mention every counter example of good video games, or bad board games, or having a particularly great online clan or having to play Monopoly against your gran. The article would lose focus and be tens of thousands of words long if it did and the argument would become indistinct through a thousand tiny caveats.

            I’m afraid it reads a little like you are finding reasons to discount his argument.

          • unangbangkay says:

            I’m not trying to discount his argument. I’m calling out his approach, which I find reductive and condescending. If you want to make a difference, alienating the people who most need to listen isn’t the way to do it.

          • AndrewC says:

            Well considering you criticise his approach of not mentioning good videogames when he actually mentions several and ends the article with a recommendation of a good videogame, I would suggest the main problem is getting the people that need to listen most to read the article in the first place.

      • Archonsod says:

        I think the gist of Quinn’s point is that videogames are still rooted in an either/or mindset when it comes to competition, it’s either head to head or co-op. There’s no middle ground.

        Boardgames on the other hand have a much broader range. Agricola and similar euro-games tend to be indirectly competitive – all players are competing, but there’s no direct interaction between the players. Each player is essentially playing their own game versus the system, and their actions or choices can screw over other players simply because it removes those options from them. I can’t think of any example from videogames, the closest is probably a high score board which doesn’t quite capture the full experience. Then you have games such as Rex of Game of Thrones where you’re forced to both compete and co-operate with other players.

        “And let’s not even mention his glossing over all the OTHER games out there that make losing fun ”

        That’s because they have nothing to do with his argument. In fact it’s precisely the problem he’s aiming at.. If you take Galaxy Truckers for example, you cheer every ship that makes it home, even if you screwed the player over during the building phase and even if they’re ahead of you in points. It’s not the losing that’s fun as such, more that the core game is rewarding and entertaining enough that winning or losing becomes secondary to actually playing.
        The problem really is Battlefield and similar games which put all the onus on winning – you need to win or at least do well to get your unlocks, advance your character and the like. In effect, they’ve moved the focus away from the actual game purely to the results of the game. You either win (and become better at winning) or lose and get nothing.

        It is an unfair comparison in some respects however. By their nature you can’t model a boardgame along those lines – if you’re asking people to sit around a table and play something for four hours then you need to keep them entertained for four hours, whether they ultimately win or lose. You could argue (depending on where you draw the line at ‘boardgame’ definition) that he’s ignoring games such as poker, which are similarly focused on the end result rather than the actual play.

        • InternetBatman says:

          The problem is that his points are simplistic and inaccurate. There’s no cooperation in multiplayer games and they’re based on simple win/lose mechanics that encourage fighting? Tell that to Minecraft, Solium Infernum (with the ability to become a subordinate), Civilization, or even Second Life. He’s narrowly picking examples to make an argument, which isn’t a great way to argue.

          • AndrewC says:

            Would you say the examples of games that do fit his argument are ‘narrow’ – that they are just a niche, or a minority?

          • Archonsod says:

            . Minecraft is closer to the mark, but that assumes we’d accept it as a game in the first place rather than a sandbox. Second Life is on even shakier ground in that respect.

            Solium Infernum is a good example, but then I’d say it’s closer to a digitised boardgame than an actual videogame (as with most of Cryptic Comet’s stuff).

            Nor are any of those three good examples of videogames in general. Minecraft is about the only one most people are likely to have heard of, let alone played. I’m pretty sure we could pull out niche examples to demonstrate just about any argument at this point.

          • InternetBatman says:

            That’s a really poor argument. Just reclassify anything that’s counter-example. How about X-com, where the game doesn’t end when you fail a mission. Or Spore. Or the Sims, where you have to try to kill your character. Or Sim City (or any sim), which is only marked by better and worse rather than fail conditions. Tycoon games similarly let you build a park and experiment.

          • JackShandy says:

            Here’s some more multiplayer games that do not have traditional Win states: Tetris (compete indirectly through high scores, you must always lose in the end). WoW (Co-operate with other players to slowly gain power; you can never win). Garry’s Mod and Little Big Planet (Make things for other players to enjoy). Monaco (Dying is deliberately hilarious, and doesn’t set you back at all). Facebook games (Asynchronous trading).

            I’m ignoring a core feature of videogames: Many of them don’t have obvious goals at all. I’ll leave off Proteus Et Al. for fear that I’ll get the rejoinder “Not a real game.” Still: Videogames where players do not directly compete, or where Losing is as entertaining as winning, are common and popular.

          • AndrewC says:

            Those are all good, non-reach-y examples. Now list the games that do fit his argument. It will be an exceptionally long list, and include most of the most popular games around.

            The argument is not ‘*all* videogames are rubbish because they are win/lose machines, therefore boardgames are inherently better’, it is that ‘wouldn’t it be great if more videogames weren’t obsessed with ‘winning’ – look here are examples of why not-winning is cool – *including* some videogames’.

            You pointing out some more examples of videogames doing things differently doesn’t disprove his point.

            He is arguing that conventional game wisdom can be too hidebound by certain design decisions – like competitive win/lose dynamics – and he wants more diversity in approach. Are you arguing that large chunks of gaming, especially the big, successful, ‘core’ and AAA side of gaming *isn’t* stuck in a very narrow design rut?

          • JackShandy says:

            I think he’s talking about Video Games and Board Games in general. And in general – if we focus only on well-designed games- I think losing a video games is as fun as losing a board game. Some board games are boring when you lose, as are some video games. I don’t see any evidence that either medium has mastered fun losing over the other.

            I also think most AAA game designers are spending a lot of effort trying to make losing fun. For instance: Almost every shooter nowadays has a metagame, designed to give you something good even when you lose a match: A hat, a gun, some exp, whatever. If you lose enough times, you’ll level up. That’s far from an overwhelmingly binary view of success and failure, and it’s something I’ve never seen in a board game.

        • Deadly Sinner says:

          But how does losing in a game like Battlefield 3 or whatever make our lives worsened? I am not the only one who enjoys playing a game like that even if I lose. Especially since there are many miniature victories and losses over the course of a game. In fact, the outcome of a match seems to rarely matter to most people.

          For a more analogous experience to a boardgame, I have had great fun in Planetside 2 with a bunch of other people in a platoon over the course of a couple of hours, even if we lost more territory than we took. It’s weird to me that he is comparing a game that is played in quick spurts with (usually) random people to one that you play over several hours with good friends. They’re going after two separate audiences.

          Only in MOBAs has losing caused me to have less fun. In those games, losing is drawn out and you’re usually helpless to do anything. That is not the case in the majority of games, where losing is a minor speed bump and you’re quickly thrust back into action.

        • Wisq says:

          it’s either head to head or co-op. There’s no middle ground.

          Aside from the aforementioned examples (e.g. Minecraft), there’s also games like Warframe, where you co-op to do the mission but you get stats at the end that highlight who did/took the most/least damage, who died the most, etc. It’s underplayed and could be much more, but it’s still an interesting touch of competition in a co-op game.

          Even games like Borderlands 2, with no official competitive aspects at all (aside from duelling), tend to have some inherent competition. There’s always that player who runs out in front, tries to get the most kills, tries to be the badass-est. And then the rest of the team probably has to revive him/her, but ah well. ;)

          The problem really is Battlefield and similar games which put all the onus on winning – you need to win or at least do well to get your unlocks, advance your character and the like. In effect, they’ve moved the focus away from the actual game purely to the results of the game. You either win (and become better at winning) or lose and get nothing.

          I’d love to see a game where winning means more prestige but losing means more resources with which to build yourself up and win later. You’d have to really carefully balance it to avoid people intentionally throwing games, but it could be quite interesting if done right.

  7. curiouspenguin says:

    Anyone else offended by the repeated use of the word “woman” in the New Statesman article, and even a passing reference to chromosomes?! Should we sharpen the pitchforks?

    • Lawful Evil says:

      Not me.

    • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

      Yes, they should be referred to as ‘unlawful combatants’ when you are going to be shooting them in the face! As long as they wear lippy in Arma 3 are nigh on anorexic, have massive artificial jugs showing plenty of cleavage and little skimpy cut off denim shorts on their infeasible long legs I think in the main even the most ardent feminists will be happy, dare I say Mr Walker will too approve.

  8. GameCat says:

    I think the only Psygnosis games I’ve played were some demos on PSX, but man, their logo and name is all that PSX games was for me when I was a kid.
    It was always such a strange experience. “Real” worlds wrapped in a few polygons and low res textures was very strange like owl head mixed with moon. I’ve always wondering if I can break boundaries set by devs, go behind the scene to find some hidden goodies. I’ve had magic already in my TV but I wanted even more. I wanted magic^2.
    Damn you, you nostalgic fool. ;_;

  9. Hidden_7 says:

    I found Quinns’ article an odd one because the exact opposite effect is what usually turns me off boardgames. That is, boardgames to my mind are an exercise in losing slowly. I’m not very adept at the sort of tactical/strategic thinking usually required by boardgames, so whenever I play one it’s sort of a foregone conclusion that I’ll lose. At which point it’s just running through not particularly fun or interesting motions until inevitable happens.

    Contrast with video games like Team Fortress 2 where even playing a match you eventually lose is a fun time, or games with tough boss fights where I usually enjoy the challenge of trying to beat it even if it takes 20 tries. Board games the actual motions of the mechanics are (to me) never fun or interesting in and of themselves, only made interesting in what they represent (a path to victory). And since I basically never win any boardgames there’s no real value in them.

    You could say that of course they won’t be much fun with that sort of defeatist “lost from the first dice roll” mentality, and I’d agree with you, but the article’s point seems to be that boardgames are uniquely fun while you’re losing. I’d suggest that so long as there’s a chance that you can win then you aren’t losing, you’re competing. As soon as that chance disappears, and you are well and truly losing, then no, I’ve not found boardgames to be particularly fun in that regard, especially not in comparison to video games. Your mileage may vary on this one one however, I’m sure most people aren’t as spectacularly bad at those kind of games as I am, but I thought I’d chime in with the viewpoint of the Perennial Loser on an article ABOUT losing.

    • Andy_Panthro says:

      I thought his point was that a small loss shouldn’t mean game over, there should be ways to lose that are merely setbacks. With many board games, a small loss (going to jail in Monopoly, or losing a territory in Risk) is a setback that can be recovered from.

      There are many games that take the opposite view, that any loss is total and game over.

      There are plenty of popular games that make losing just a part of the game, such as GTA where getting arrested or hurt isn’t necessarily game over, or games like Crusader Kings 2 where losing a war doesn’t mean losing the game.

      • AndrewC says:

        Also the article isn’t a black/white, board games=good, videogames=bad article.

        it’s a videogame article that is using examples from outside the world of videogames to point out some potential problems with conventional videogame design wisdom.

        Also, lordy, I find board games dull, over-complex and seemingly designed for enthusiast collectors thus making them big and ungainly and stuffed with ‘stuff’.

        • Wisq says:

          If I might be so bold as to recommend a single board game to undo the notion that all board games are “dull, over-complex” and “big and ungainly”, I would suggest King of Tokyo.

          The rules are such that we can (and have) explained them in about one minute:

          * You play as a monster that is battling over Tokyo. You start with 10 health and 0 victory points.
          * You’ve got six dice, each with claw, heart, lightning bolt, and the numbers 1, 2, and 3.
          * You can reroll as many of those dice as you want, up to twice per turn, to try to achieve a final set of six that’s to your liking (similar to Yahtzee).
          * Claw = do 1 damage. Heart = heal 1 damage. Bolt = energy; collect an energy token.
          * Three of a single number = get that many numbers as victory points. Each additional die of that number = one more victory point. (333 = 3 points, 2222 = 3 points, etc.)
          * There are 3 cards on the table. They say what they do on the cards. Buy them with energy, or spend two energy to wipe them and get three fresh cards.
          * First person to roll claw gets in to Tokyo. If anyone outside Tokyo rolls claw, it hurts whoever’s in Tokyo (after which they can choose to leave and the attacker takes their place). If anyone inside Tokyo rolls claw, it hurts everyone outside Tokyo.
          * Getting in to Tokyo gets you 1 victory point. Still being in Tokyo at the start of your turn gets you 2 victory points. But, you can’t heal while in Tokyo.
          * Being reduced to 0 health eliminates you from the game.
          * Game ends when one player gets 20 victory points, or all other players are eliminated.

          Extremely simple, but extremely fun. The mechanics are easy to follow, but they lead to careful tactical thinking: “This attack takes me down to five health, but I’m in Tokyo, and there’s only one more player to go before my turn. Do I stick it out, get my two victory points, damage everyone else at the table, and hope that the combined attacks of [player before me] and [player after me] don’t kill me before I can escape Tokyo? Or do I escape now and heal my wounds?” Etc.

          The cards are the main source of complexity, but even those are well-documented on the cards, and they introduce a single new mechanic at a time, so it’s all very manageable. For example: “Gain one extra reroll per turn”, “gain one victory point if you don’t attack anyone this turn”, “you can force a player to re-roll one of their dice”, etc.

          Worth a go. There’s a hell of a lot of “let’s recreate D&D / Civilization / etc.” games out there, with tons of map tiles and miniatures and crazy mechanics and a long enough setup time that you need to devote half a day to them, but there are also games that are just like “here’s the board, here’s some cards and/or dice, here’s a few simple rules, now go!”.

          • AndrewC says:

            Thank you for the recommendation.

            I should have probably made it clearer in the post that I know the opinion is not based on complete knowledge and is entirely a personal prejudice. It was meant to be a ‘full disclosure’ statement to make it clear I was neither a kneejerk apologist for board games, nor in any way an authority on board games.

          • Wisq says:

            Yeah, I’m not an authority either, by any stretch. I only mention it because the main group of people I’m able to regularly boardgame with are my family, and my parents are kinda old (sorry guys!) and aren’t too keen on anything with any major degree of complexity. It’s hard to find a game that appeals to everyone, but King of Tokyo has been a massive hit.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      The problem is that you’re considering the only point of playing a boardgame to be playing a boardgame, ignoring the social aspect.

      Regardless of how you do, or what the mechanics of any particular game is, boardgaming is still sitting round a table with your friends/family chatting and having a laugh.

      • unangbangkay says:

        That’s a problem with the article itself. It doesn’t acknowledge the social effect. You know how games are more fun when you play with your friends? That’s all board games, all the time, generally speaking. To not acknowledge the weight that carries (Unless Quinns was playing with random strangers), is frankly unfair.

        • Archonsod says:

          There’s plenty of boardgames which support solitaire play too and still hold up his arguments. In fact, there’s also games which are solitaire focused and having other players simply means you have a group of people playing solitaire at the same table (Race for the Galaxy springs to mind).

          Also I think you’re overlooking the fact that most multiplayer video games are equally social experiences. What precisely is the difference between me playing multiplayer Civ V with my friends on Steam versus sitting around a table playing Sid Meieir’s Civilization the boardgame beyond the use of headsets to talk to each other (in fact there’s something to be said for the ability to mute certain players … )

          • unangbangkay says:

            Civ is a lot like a board game, which already undercuts Quinns’ argument and use of Battlefield as the prime example of why games have the wrong idea, so the experiences are very similar.

            But let’s look at a genre of games where playing it “like a board game” (i.e. with people in physical proximity) that is INTENSELY competitive and focused on binary “win-loss”: Fighting games. Getting creamed a lot in fighting games is part of the fun, because the playing of the game – the mind-game, the skill, and that stuff – outweighs the actual victory or loss.

            You can also look at grand strategies and games like Crusader Kings 2.

          • Archonsod says:

            Fighting games you’re still primarily playing to beat the other player, so it’s still direct head to head competition. . Crusader Kings is closer to a good example, but give me a shout when it’s popularity gets anywhere close to Battlefield (in fact, wouldn’t you say CK was as much like a boardgame as Civ?)

          • Isair says:

            If we’re talking popularity, then isn’t Battlefield closer to chess or poker than Twilight Imperium?
            I have a feeling that making losing fun is a bit of a niche regardless of medium.

          • PikaBot says:

            Fighting games are only fun if the players are at relatively the same skill level. When I go online in Super Street Fighter IV, I get utterly destroyed and it isn’t fun, because I am so underskilled that I’m barely even able to touch them. By contrast, the other day I was playing the same game with my brother. He beat me seventeen times in a row, same character matchup and everything. But I actually did have fun there because even though I was consistently losing, I was putting in a good show. The match wasn’t a foregone conclusion the way it is if I play against people who actually know how to play fighting games.

      • Hidden_7 says:

        Boardgames are social, they have that going for them, but so are lots of things. You can socialize, share a laugh etc sitting around a table eating a meal. Or indeed, playing a video game. The thing about boardgames are they’re necessarily social, but that then creates a sorta weird bias effect where every time you’re playing a boardgame you’re socializing, because otherwise you couldn’t be playing a boardgame. In my experience, my friends and I rarely get together TO play boardgames, it’s an option for a thing to do when we are already together. Thus it doesn’t create social experiences, it requires them.

        In any case, the article was about how mechanics of boardgames lead to fun losing experiences. It ignored the social aspect, so I did too? If the particular game doesn’t really matter, then it seems odd to try to teach videogames some lessons via certain mechanics when the real lesson is “play games with your friends.”

        • Reapy says:

          Very odd too considering his talk on the golden age of boardgames mentions the social aspect and mechanics unexplored by video games that boardgames have. Ah well, not every piece is going to be a winner.

    • Wisq says:

      That is, boardgames to my mind are an exercise in losing slowly. […] At which point it’s just running through not particularly fun or interesting motions until inevitable happens. […] Contrast with video games like Team Fortress 2 where even playing a match you eventually lose is a fun time,

      I would say the exact same thing, but substitute “Call of Duty” or “Counter-Strike” or “DOTA 2″ for boardgames. I hate games where winning gets you more stuff with which to win harder, because it turns a small initial skill / luck difference into a massive victory or defeat, and it makes comebacks and turnarounds much less likely. If I’m losing, it sucks, and if I’m winning, I know how much it sucks for the other team.

      I have a similar distaste for singleplayer games that carry your assets (e.g. troops) from one mission to the next, without adaptive reinforcements, or at least some sort of feedback as to how you’re doing. Victories with minimal losses = more firepower = more victories with minimal losses, while hard-earned victories with heavy losses = less firepower = harder-earned victories with heavier losses. Even if I’m doing better than average, unless I know that, I’m going to worry about going down the latter road until I just can’t go any further. So I’ll meticulously replay a mission until I do it perfectly, and do that over and over until the game erodes into a cakewalk.

      The above can also be applied to any game where resources are scarce and you’re expected to hold on to your best items until the big fights. But since I don’t know that there isn’t an even bigger fight coming up, I just end up hoarding everything forever.

      Games like Team Fortress 2, on the other hand, are completely reset between maps; nobody starts with the upper hand. Team stacking is a persistent problem, because players learn who does well and try to join that person’s team, but that’s counter-balanced somewhat by the fact that the people who teamstack generally aren’t all that great. It also plays particularly well when you have some good players who want a challenge and will intentionally play against the other good players instead of with them.

      As a not-great player myself, generally the first thing I’ll do when I see a teamstacked situation is join the good team and then intentionally cripple myself, such as going punching heavy. Of course, that’s also what I do if our team is so hopelessly outclassed that we have no hope — because if I’m going to waste time, I may as well have some fun with it, right?

      Ultimately, though, I’m happy about the rise of co-op gameplay. I still play some competitive multiplayer titles, but in general, it’s a lot nicer to be working with people than against them. (The communities also tend to suck a lot less, and there’s fewer cheaters.)

      • PikaBot says:

        It’s funny you should mention TF2, because one of the design tenets of TF2 is the first thing you said you hated: the winning team accrues advantages (better spawn position, more defensible position, shorter spawn timer) in order to win faster. And honestly, you want it that way. A game in which one team can come back at any time sounds good in theory, but in practice it means a game where stalemate is common. And in stalemate, nobody is having fun.

        • Wisq says:

          You say that, and in some cases it’s true, but not always.

          Control point maps: Depends on the map.

          As I recall, “fastlane” tends to result in quick victories, often because they’ve got scouts behind you capping points faster than you can run back to defend them.

          “Granary” has a wide open middle point, close-quarters second points, and wide-open final points. I’ve seen a lot of pushes stall at that second point and be driven back to the opponent’s second point, but once that second point falls, generally the last one will fall shortly after.

          Payload maps: Sorta. Pushing the defender’s spawn back and the attacker’s spawn forward tends to be more about not having either side have to run too far, because spending all your time running to get to the fight is boring. The whole payload aspect seems designed to intentionally slow things down, allowing time for some decent gameplay even if the teams are very unbalanced.

          Attack/defend maps: Well, “dustbowl” seems to contradict that, since each section of the map is generally easier to defend and harder to attack than the last. You can generally judge the relative abilities of the teams by how far the attackers get before they stall out.

          “Steel” is all about that last point. A good team can win faster by just taking it directly; a more balanced pair of teams generally requires that the attackers take most of the other points before going straight for E.

          All in all, it seems to be a mixed bag, with some maps being pretty much instantly winnable by a massively unbalanced team, and others stretching it out a lot. But you’re right that the recurring theme is “nobody likes stalemates”. Control point maps specifically time out if there’s a stalemate (although I think ten minutes is perhaps a bit high). Payload and attack/defend maps are “get the next point or lose” with a timer, and that timer starts out pretty low — usually three minutes or so, which means that’s the most time you have to spend stuck in spawn if you’re being ridiculously outgunned.

          And in the end, no matter what, the next round starts from scratch, with no carry-over from the previous. So aside from morale, your victory/defeat now does absolutely nothing to affect your victory/defeat later, and everyone gets a fair chance to turn the score around.

  10. ukpanik says:

    Nice to see Julian Rignall writing for USgamer.

  11. tobecooper says:

    Talking about “saved games horror stories.” I’ve been playing a bit of Walking Dead lately…

    How can you break a save system so much that it doesn’t remember your choices and then not care to patch it up, Telltale? Huh?

    • RedViv says:

      The internet needs sarcastices. More than ever if that whole PRISM (and alike) nonsense is not shut down before it leads us into W. Gibson territory.

    • Strangerator says:

      Wow, that one hits a bit too literally close to home. Yet another reason I ditched the facespy account years ago.

      It’s really disturbing how things like this aren’t bigger news. And most of the enabling sheeple here in the states will simply bray, “Weee-eee-eeeell he shouu-uuu-uuuldn’t have saaaa-aaa-aaid those things.” We’re tacitly allowing the erosion of our 1st amendment at a high rate of speed.

  12. golem09 says:

    Windows half installed in 2 hours?
    I reinstalled windows tin januar on my new ssd, and it took – nine – minutes

    But on the save game horror stories:
    Just last night I continued playing Cursed Moutain. Until I accidently chose “New Game” in the main menu instead of “Load” and quickly chose my old save file. The I sat baffled as the intro rolled. Thank god that save was only one day old, and I was able to catch up in about an hour.

    • Chorltonwheelie says:

      My SSD went tits up on Monday taking with it a painstaking play through of Metro LL without killing a single man, not one…the Chase and Red Square included. I was poised to complete the final battle.

      Steam has kept the achievements but no save. I am more than just a little miffed.

    • strangeloup says:

      I read that as “Windows Tin Jaguar” for a minute there, and wondered if Microsoft had suddenly decided to adopt an OS X-style naming convention, perhaps as codenames.

      In my defence I have only just got up.

  13. TheParthenon says:

    It warms the cockles of my cold, cold heart to see you refer to Plante and Frushstick as “chums” of RPS.

    Mainly because it allows me to futilely hope that there will one day be a MBMBaM/Besties/RockPaperShotcast crossover episode in the vein of the mid-90s DC vs Marvel miniseries.

    Seriously, dear Horace, what will it take to make this happen?

  14. Ergates_Antius says:

    ■All the Lego Minifigs. Having a son is going to allow me to buy all these “for him”.
    Good luck with that – Minifigs are a big thing with adult lego collectors, some of them are highly sought after and pretty expensive.

    • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

      I’m not a big fan of figs. They just drive the price of sets up, money that could have gone into more real pieces as far as I’m concerned. I mean some of them are kind of neat and I will admit to eying the collector’s series figs hungrily, but in the end they are not central to my lego experience. I prefer houses and spacecraft.

      Also, why don’t you ask the folks over at eurobricks.com if you need kids to buy lego…

  15. Andy_Panthro says:

    Was certain that this might get linked here today, but I guess not:

    http://www.somethingawful.com/d/news/movie-game-review.php

    • unangbangkay says:

      Good thing it isn’t, because it’s awful (something awful, hurrrr). Nothing but contempt from a guy who pretends the only people writing about games besides his enlightened self are IGN and the gamefaqs forums.

      Crummy satire, too.

      • AndrewC says:

        Metacritic affects game development. Metacritic is stuffed with reviews that ignore emotional and thematic content, ethical questions and meaning in general and only focus on mechanics, complexity, size and money.

        It is the mainstream, and largest, way of dealing with games. Games will only be what we treat them as, so things like this that point out how ridiculously the gaming press treats games remain important.

        It is my opinion that the satire was pointed.

    • kwyjibo says:

      It’s not clever or original, but it’s true.

      “a big enough budget to ensure that it doesn’t have any glaring mistakes, we’re happy to say that it will at least score a 7/10″

      Says every mainstream games publication. As long as its technically proficient, 7/10.

      “World War Z has a great story. A lot of people talk in it and things keep happening, which makes it cinematic.”

      Says every smug David Cage and Hideo Kojima fan. More writing obviously means more quality right? Tell! Don’t show.

    • Nova says:

      Maybe I’m reading the “wrong” sites, but that seems way over the top – even for satire.

      • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

        SA is certaninly one of the wrong sites, and the article is definitely over the top, but the point is made. If the author had wanted to make a calm and reasoned argument they wouldn’t have used satire to begin with. Of course it isn’t perfectly accurate, but it draws the attention to some recurring stupid stuff in games journalism, fulfilling its purpose. 7/10

  16. dE says:

    You know, the early Lego Minifigs were either total badasses or high on drugs. Be it spacesuit or armor, fighting dragons or pirates, they always had that weird smile on their face. Kinda creeps you out.

    • RedViv says:

      Nowadays, their offspring suffer the consequences. Unless they have enough money for plastic surgery, like the minifigs in the movie/comic/etc. sets, they are struck with some of the worst cases of Morbus Dreamworkspromotional.

      • dE says:

        I hadn’t checked that far down… oh my god, the Horror. Now I understand why little kids nowadays throw their Lego Minifigs against walls and decapitate them on sight. Although truth be told, heads rolled on my Legos too. Mostly to places where one could walk into unsuspectingly. I still feel the pain.

  17. Thurgret says:

    US Gamer’s site has too much stuff packed into too small a space, to the point that it’s difficult to look at, much less pick out articles from it to read. They should probably do something about that, unless that’s a style that people somewhere actually like.

    • strangeloup says:

      Seems to be following in the steps of Polygon, in terms of being a new games site with amazingly terrible design.

      • Reapy says:

        Not to mention, like euro gamer ( I’m sure using the same site software) you can not zoom in on mobile, well ipad at least, real pita when blind people like me want to actually read the articles, but hey, as long as that ad bar is visible!

    • realitysconcierge says:

      Where’s my blog view!

  18. benjamin says:

    Personally, I see not allowing women on the frontlines as a mark of civilsation. The same attitude that prompts us to shout: “women and children first.” for lifeboats on a sinking ship. But I did appreciate the New Statesman article in the sense that it was a genuine attempt to wrestle with the issue rather than decrying it straight out. The author recognised the nuances involved.

    • Chris D says:

      “Women and children first” is a bit problematic in it’s own right, though. It casts women in the role of passive victims rather than agents able to take responsibilty for themselves and others.That kind of chivalry may be well intentioned but it’s papering over the cracks instead of addressing the fundamental imbalance at the heart of the situation.

      • benjamin says:

        I take it more to be an expression of value: save the lives of the women and children above that of the men. I see no contradiction between society viewing women as independent beings and also feeling protective of them. Equality of worth does not mean that men and women are identical.

        • Chris D says:

          Why would the life of a woman be inherently more valuable than the life of a man?

          If women are equally capable should they not also be allowed to protect those they love?

          • nekkerbee says:

            Women can incubate the next generation of life, something a man cannot do.

            I look forward to the day humanity develops and perfects external wombs. It will a great step towards equality between the sexes. Or maybe it will be terrible for women; they’ll still be (on average) physically smaller and weaker, without the bargaining chip of being necessary for the future generation (you can always enslave a woman and harvest her eggs.) Curious to see how it’ll turn out.

        • The Random One says:

          And if women are independent beings why do strangers have to be cared for just because they are women?

    • Deadly Sinner says:

      How is not allowing women on the frontlines the absolute “right” thing to do? You’re essentially telling women that you know what’s better for them than they do.

      • benjamin says:

        Yes, it’s no different from any other restriction that society places on us. As a society we enforce moral standards on people who disagree with them all the time. Sure, it’s good to have discussions over said moral standards but the fact that we restrict certain practices is not in itself the problem.

        Taking the other view would likewise enforce a moral opinion: it’s ok for women to be frontline soldiers and enforce it on the rest of society and women joining the armed forces in particular.

        • Mr Monotone says:

          The difference here I feel is that only one of these is placing a restriction on a person. If women are allowed to fight on the front lines then this has no effect on you at all. If they are not however then women are essentially being told that they cannot do something that other people can do simply because of their sex.

        • iucounu says:

          I don’t understand what the *moral* issue is around letting women fight on the front lines if they want to? Just as I don’t understand what ethical proscription there could be around letting any two consenting adults marry, for example. Societal taboos need to be challenged when they aren’t serving any moral or practical purpose.

    • Serenegoose says:

      please do a little research into the concept of benevolent sexism http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/psysociety/2013/04/02/benevolent-sexism/ It might help you re-evaluate your viewpoint.

      • benjamin says:

        If having old fashioned views about women not fighting on frontlines, prioritising women and children first in saving lives and not letting a woman pay for things on dates makes me benevolently sexist then I embrace the term though I’d much prefer if you just called it chivalry or being a gentlemen.

        While the Western world goes equality mad I will make my stand on equality of worth but difference in role. After all, what could be more sexist than asking a man to be a woman or a woman to be a man?

        • Mr Monotone says:

          Asking is one thing, although I disagree you are right to do so. Forcing someone to conform to type however is the problem. Essentially you are saying that your belief about what a person should be is more important than their own.

        • LennyLeonardo says:

          Interesting you should choose “not letting a woman pay for things on dates” rather than “offering to pay for dates”. Says it all, really.

          For the record, I usually go halves.

        • wearedevo says:

          Did this make anyone else’s skin crawl just a bit?

  19. hemmingjay says:

    Clearly US Gamer has been misnamed. It has an obvious affinity for Japanese games and that’s fine, but it’s not representative of the majority of US gamers.

  20. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    Finally there is a site that deals with gaming from a USian perspective. For too long our American cousins have languished in obscurity. I, for one, welcome their initiation into the great electronic brotherhood and sisterhood of gaming.

    I wonder what outlandish insights their savage but noble culture can bring to the wider world?

    • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

      They can potentially deliver unto us intelligence on new game releases several days in advance, ferried across the Great Internet Sea.

      • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

        We should send them a prepaid phone or something so they don’t have to row across the Atlantic.

        • Ragnar says:

          Do not worry, gaming brother, for we here in the New World have the latest in messaging epigeon technology. We simply attach the digital message to a pigeon, send it flying over the Atlantic, and it arrives in 2-3 days tops. That’s how we ship all or digital games over to the UK, too.

  21. dE says:

    That bad games article mentioned Nier.
    Nier is a great story with great characters in need of a better game. It’s carried almost entirely through it’s story. The gameplay is very weird though, like a bag of ingredients that simply does not blend. The game switches from Devil May Cry to Visual Novel and thenTextadventure in the blink of an eye, then tosses in Shoot’em Up Mechanics and drawn out JRPG Stuff. And when you think it’s done messing with you, it switches perspectives, let’s you see things from different eyes.
    Nier is a game I would love to recommend to everyone saying that games have never had a decent and complex storyline. But then again, folks would not get past Kayne, wouldn’t get past its Anime roots and would just clobber it to death based on the bad gameplay.

    • malkav11 says:

      I’ve argued this before, but I wouldn’t characterize Nier’s gameplay as bad at all. It’s functional. I didn’t find myself frustrated by awkward controls or struggling with the camera or turned off by relentless and unavoidable grinding (there’s plenty of grinding to do but it’s almost all optional). I enjoyed boar drifting and firing off weird lasers and giant hands and most of the boss fights. It’s not terribly exceptional in any gameplay regard either – the odd mix of hack-n-slash and shmup and text adventure is pretty original but only in the fact that they are mixed rather than any individual element. But it hardly needs to be.

      It’s really about the (fantastic) story, and the gorgeous death-of-civilization environments, and the phenomenal soundtrack. Idle Thumbs used to be very amused by the idea of videogames making you cry (there was some absurd PR statement or something). Nier is a game that actually did make me cry.

  22. Jimbo says:

    “Trying to lock things down so that people can’t get at your games by any other means is not making sales, in fact it is the opposite: it is spending money to no certain outcome.”

    Questionable use of ‘opposite’.

  23. DXN says:

    The link between toxoplasmosis and either behavioural change or mental disorder in humans is tentative at most. We have no evidence as to whether Louis Wain had it or was affected by it.

    Grain of salt.

  24. TechnicalBen says:

    Yeah. That video gets the causality in the wrong direction (possibly, I’d await tests for the proofs). It could be people who like cats and post cat videos are more likely to hang around cats, thus more likely to catch diseases off of cats. As suppose to the disease causing them to like cats… :/

    Far too many “intellectuals” make that arrow of causation/mechanism error sadly.

  25. james.hancox says:

    It seems a little odd to me that a site that regularly complains about artificial segmentation of gamers based on geography (“No Oceans”) would cheer the arrival of a US spinoff of Eurogamer. Why can’t US gamers just read Eurogamer, instead of reading reposts of Eurogamer articles days/weeks later? And why not have excellent US Gamer content on Eurogamer? Just have one big GlobalGamer site and be done with it, I say.

    • SuicideKing says:

      Yeah but then i guess there are some baseball and American Football games that a smaller number outside the US care too much about. So a dedicated US site could cover games like those.

      • strangeloup says:

        I’ve had something of the inverse problem myself lately — I’ve recently become a fan of American football, and it’s only by luck or, more often, importing that you can get anything other than Madden, on the videogame side of things. There doesn’t seem to be much for the PC, bar some Football Manager-style things, so I’m certainly glad of the PS3 being region-free.

        • Jason Moyer says:

          You can’t get any American football games besides Madden because EA have an exclusive NFL license.

          If you’re a big fan of the sport and have an original Xbox, do yourself a favor and track down NFL 2K5 though. Best American football game ever made.

          • strangeloup says:

            Well, more accurately, you can’t get any NFL games apart from Madden. I managed to pick up Backbreaker and Blitz II: The League for very cheap — I didn’t even know they got European releases — and while they don’t have the official teams, Backbreaker is a very polished game, and Blitz is just funny because it’s silly levels of grimdark, more like Blood Bowl than the NFL.

    • The Random One says:

      Odd indeed. It’d only make sense if there was a language bareer. Maybe Eurogamer will be going francophone in the near future.

  26. Reapy says:

    Ouya article/ vid seems weird. A friend of mine set the thing up no problem. Also seems invalid to say a game has issues when you are using a ps3 control. I mean, I think ouya isn’t going to have a long life, but if it gets more android games designed for controllers rather than touch, it’ll be a good thing. The rest of the world can hook their phones up to a TV and connect with wii/ps3/any Bluetooth controllers and have an essentially retro gaming console on the go.

    Still 99 is a nice price point for a device that can run emulators and xbmc with 2 controllers to boot. I don’t want to see it die, but I’m not sure what kind of legs it will have. Still the article picks on it for all the wrong reasons.

  27. Serenegoose says:

    I don’t think there’s any merit in the argument the new statesman presents, since it is this:

    ‘Shooting fictional women might make some men uncomfortable, therefore we should value that discomfort as highly as the discrimination that removes women as participants in conflict yet again. There’s several problems with the argument, not least its hypocrisy. ‘Women are delicate and sensitive therefore I would feel bad if I shot them…. because I’m delicate and sensitive.’

    Or: ‘The presence of women hurts mens feelings, therefore no girls allowed.’ To simplify it to its core.

    (Note: not saying the new statesman agrees with this argument, but the author did say it wasn’t ‘without merit’. Perhaps he just didn’t consider the full implications.

    So really the argument is that men (as too frail, emotional, and sensitive to shoot an armed combatant if she has breasts, and therefore incredibly unreliable in a fight) AND women are both too precious babies to put in a war game and both should be removed.

    • timethor says:

      The article is a bit bleh, but the argument is that many guys (the main demographic) find it less entertaining (the main purpose of a game) to kill imaginary women than to kill imaginary men.

      It’s an emotion I happen to share, though it depends on the particular nature of the violence and the world it takes place in. In Quake 3 the gender of my opponents doesn’t register, but in Street Fighter IV I started out playing as a girl because the imagery of me as a large bulky guy beating up a schoolgirl who is crying out in pain was just way too uncomfortable. (no worries, I’ve been properly desensitized by now, but I still find it much more entertaining to beat up the bulky guys than the girls)

      Developers taking the tastes of their audience into account is a perfectly natural, and admirable thing. If 50% of your players find the inclusion of women-killing something that makes the game uncomfortable, 40% don’t really care, and 10% like being able to play as a women, it’s perfectly understandable if the devs go “eh.. let’s not include it”

      edit: or, just allow for modding, or even have official alternative skins/models/sounds. The players should just be free to make their own game look/sound as they see fit.

  28. PikaBot says:

    The New Statesman article brings up that some players are uncomfortable killing female characters, and then utterly fails to respond in a remotely critical way to that. Terrible.

  29. InternetBatman says:

    I missed the kickstarter katchup last week. Hope you’re doing it this week.

  30. malkav11 says:

    While I like the linked USGamer articles above, I think this one:
    http://www.usgamer.net/articles/for-the-futures-sake-im-a-collector

    is more widely relevant. While I’m not sure I agree with the premise that physical media are something we need around for preservation’s sake, I think it’s incredibly important that people think of games as something worth preserving and fight things like DRM and games-as-a-service that eliminate that possibility. (For the record, I think digital media is much better for preservation efforts as long as we can fix copyright and intellectual property law so that corporations don’t have complete, permanent, and unassailable control of all digital media whose IP they own.)

  31. Xanadu says:

    Those saved game horror stories are mild compared with the Spectrum era. Saving on an old C60 cassette tape with a life expectancy measured in hours. Saves taking 5 or more minutes (sometimes saving the ENTIRE programme, not just a small file containing save info). Often unable to verify that the save had worked. Having the tape eaten by a dodgy tape player. Your sister recording over it with Duran Duran at number one on a sunday evening top 40 chart countdown with Noel Edmonds. The save of the perfect game of Doomdark’s revenge where you were 8 hours into the game, Luxor the moonprince had been hiding in a hole since lunchtime, Morkin, Tarithel and Rothrorn were still alive, Shareth dead and you were plotting out your route to epic victory using the tattered green and brown map from Crash magazine and you had to save because it was bedtime and school tomorrow, but the save was corrupted and wouldn’t load, ever, even if you fiddled with the tone and volume settings on the tape player all day…

  32. Wedge says:

    US Gamer eh? I looked over there and they had an article about the history of the MSX! I like that place already.

  33. Shuck says:

    “It is this: increasingly, there are not enough people buying triple-A games, and they do not spend enough money, to make the production of triple-A games as it is undertaken today a financially viable endeavor.”
    That gets right to the heart of the matter. The whole attempt to stop used game sales is the desperate flailing of a dying industry. That industry knows very well that there’s something fundamentally wrong with it, and that AAA development long since stopped being sustainable – certainly everyone I know in the industry is aware of that. Once upon a time the cost/sales ratio for AAA games was good enough that it didn’t matter if only 25% (or less) of games made a profit – the profit they did make was enough to pay for all the failures. That hasn’t been true for a while. All the means of reducing development costs have been enacted. It’s not going to get better. AAA development, baring magical development tools that reduce costs by orders of magnitude, is only possible for sequels of the most popular game franchises (and not always then, either).
    What this means for consoles (versus tablets and PCs) as game machines is interesting. Consoles, relying on AAA games as they have traditionally, are in almost a precarious position as AAA development, it seems to me. Microsoft said they expect their latest console to sell three times as many units as the 360, something that only seems likely if the console generation lasts 25 years. Which makes the statement seem like an admission that this is the last console generation.

    • realitysconcierge says:

      Your comment makes me wonder if all this is because AAA titles have stagnated in their ideas, or if they just have their budgets set so unrealistically high that recouping their costs just won’t happen. So their budgets have ballooned in a way that the industry hasn’t and really they just need to scale back their efforts?

      • Shuck says:

        It’s all development cost (and an audience for AAA games that hasn’t even begun to grow along with the cost). As the technology improved, what a AAA game consisted of also changed. More detailed art assets and animations (e.g. facial animations), physics systems (rag-dolls, cloth, hair, procedural animations), bigger and more elaborate environments, voice acting, etc. all became expected, standard parts of AAA games. They all cost. Removing those elements removes the game from the AAA class, so it becomes impossible to “scale down” a AAA game without making it a much shorter game. (And right now, it’s impossible to sell people on the idea of shorter games.) The AAA game of fifteen years ago is the small indie game of today (and with a fraction of the sales they would have achieved 15 years ago, usually).

        The reason why AAA games appear to have “stagnated in their ideas” is itself an effect of rising development costs. The risks are so huge that game developers have to play it safe and not make any design or genre decisions that might alienate players and reduce the potential market. So you end up with games that are incredibly familiar because anything new is too uncertain to risk $50+ million on, not because the ideas aren’t there. The ideas are there, they just can’t afford to use them.

        • Jimbo says:

          ‘AAA’ by itself is a kinda meaningless term though isn’t it? If there were more money up for grabs, that ‘AAA’ standard would naturally be higher due to increased competition for it. Less money around and it’d be lower.

          Even if sales magically doubled tomorrow, you still wouldn’t see people making risky AAA games. Competition would just drive the technical standard and necessary budgets higher until they were spending $100m (or whatever) developing Manshoot18, instead of $50m. You could potentially then make a riskier game at $50m, but it would no longer be to a high enough standard to be considered AAA, because that’d be set by those safe $100m games. The ‘AAA’ budgets will only ever be spent on ‘safe’ games nowadays – it’s irrelevant what used to happen back when nobody knew what they were doing and the rules were still being made up as they went along.

          As long as there’s a market, there will still be ‘AAA’ games, it’s just a question of the actual standard which is implied by that. Will the market fail rapidly enough for that standard to actually decrease from one year to the next? Well, arguably that happened on PC post-Crysis, but I don’t see it happening to gaming in general anytime soon. The technical quality of the ‘best’ games coming out each year will continue to trend upwards for the forseeable future.

          There’s nothing wrong with the model at all. Some very expensive games will succeed and others will fail, that’s just how it goes. The general standard they’re doing it at (and the budget required to achieve that standard) is flexible and will fluctuate with the market. Competition will ensure that the typical ‘AAA’ game budget naturally finds where it should be. It won’t just go from $30-$50m (or whatever) directly to throwing their hands up in the air and not making games anymore.

  34. RagingLion says:

    Heck yes, Jon Hopkins! Although I’m all about the the 2nd-half-of-this-album Jon Hopkins style than his 1st half style. It is naturally very good, but I still take more from Opalescent and Contact Note.

  35. DrScuttles says:

    Did the comments section tumesce or did I push a wrong button when I was drunk?

    • The Random One says:

      I did just spend an inordinate amount of time blinking and using Ctrl+mousewheel.

    • realitysconcierge says:

      What a vocabulary word! I shall have to try to use it today.

      • DrScuttles says:

        It tends to go down better if delivered with a half smile and the kind of slight eye motion that makes someone question whether you were… winking? at them. Of course you weren’t. Were you? Keeps your friends on their toes.

  36. Napalm Sushi says:

    That article of Quinns’ (and some of the above responses) called to mind a co-op game of Shogun 2 that I played about a year ago.

    I played as the aggressive, banzai-yelling Date clan, while my co-op partner flew the mon of the bow-loving Chosakabe, and together we swiftly got underway with conquering the squabbling mess of 16th century Japan in a mighty pincer.

    Sweeping across the isles from the north and crushing all who displayed the audacity to already live there, I soon found myself defending the fortress of Fukushima against an assault by the Satake, who I’d recently nabbed it from.

    Long story short: I overextended both strategically and tactically and, despite giving the far larger Satake force a gruesomely bloody nose, lost the fortress, my army, the Daimyo and all his mature sons.

    The situation was dire. The Date field army was gone and the clan was ruled by regents, the late Daimyo’s only remaining son still only a boy. The Satake, however, had also suffered crippling loss in that grim battle, and so my heartland remained relatively secure… for now.

    What followed was a desperate arms race between the Date and Satake; two clans fueling their growth with the grief of their losses and their mutual hatred. There were rebellions. There were incursions. Land was redeveloped and armies rebuilt. The Date smiths learned to forge the great no-dachi swords, and the bearers of those terrible blades eagerly anticipated the chance to bless them with Satake blood.

    Finally, the new Daimyo came of age. Over the years that had passed since their reclamation of their homeland, fortune had turned against the Satake: other clans, smelling blood, had taken advantage of their weakness and seized much from them. Only one stronghold remained in their possession: Fukushima.

    The new Daimyo of the Date wasted no time. He marched south from the capital almost straight from his coming-of-age ceremony, gathering the rejuvenated Date forces as he went. With vengeance burning in his heart, he crossed the border into Satake territory and led a fierce and devastating charge against the walls of Fukushima.

    The Satake defences broke like sand, their army cut to bloody ribbons by the fury of the Date. Their Daimyo and his sons fell almost unnoticed, their bodies buried under those of their samurai and ashigaru. In the courtyard of Fukushima’s citadel, the Satake clan was obliterated.

    After so many years, the Date had found their revenge… on the walls of the very fortress where their plight had begun.

    So why do I bring this up in this context? Because, in the immediate aftermath of the First Siege Of Fukushima, before I’d even finished reading the gloomy tale told by the “defeat” screen, my co-op partner asked: “Do you wanna re-load?”

    And when I said no, he sounded genuinely surprised and a little bit puzzled.

    While I’d started the game hoping to see the unfolding of just the kind of saga of epic loss and familial vengeance that I described above, his desire was simply to win – whatever that term was worth, since it wasn’t in any sense a competition: it was a medium difficulty co-op game and he was fully willing to re-load an earlier save if things went rotten for either of us. All he wanted was to see that map of feudal Japan fill with our respective clan colours. The story he wanted to tell was: “the Chosokabe and Date clans decided to conquer Japan together, so they did, without obstruction. The end.”

    What was particularly interesting, though, was that after my comeback and my crushing of the Satake clan, he agreed that my choice to continue had made for a far more interesting game and a more enjoyable time for both of us.

    I guess that if too many games are becoming too focused on victory or defeat, it’s only a reflection of the base desires of their players, even if those desires are acting against said players’ better judgement.

  37. Fenix says:

    I was reading the piece about the internalization of game development, and as someone that has spent 6 years in the Iranian gaming industry (16 months at the very heart of it) I can say that the situation is way more dire than what the column is saying.

  38. 11temporal says:

    I find my board game sessions much more competitive and losses much more frustrating.

  39. Ragnar says:

    The “used games debate” above is missing a crucial piece, there is a huge difference between pirates and used game buyers – pirates don’t/won’t pay for games, while used buyers are consumers that do pay for games but none of that money goes to the developers.

    GameStop doesn’t care about supporting developers – their ideal is to sell only one new copy of each game then resell that copy millions of times. I think more consumers would choose to pay the extra $5 and support developers rather than save $5 and not (or buy it on Amazon and save $10 while supporting developers) if only they were educated about what buying used vs new really means.

  40. Contrafibularity says:

    Hmmm, I can’t seem to read stuff from Polygon; all I get is two paragraphs (one of which reads: Update) and a whole lot of white space where the ads are (presumably).

    Yes, I use NoScript and AB+, and I’ve allowed Polygon.com – I’m not going to allow a dozen ad sites, so if it’s not possible to read Polygon in this form, too bad.

    edit: Oh I’m not missing anything, that’s the entire “review”. Eh why did RPS even link this it’s barely a few words.

    PS. Polygon has possibly the most idiotic website template ever. I can only assume everyone now reads this stuff on their iSlab/craplet or keyboardless throwaway screen.