The Sunday Papers

By Graham Smith on March 30th, 2014 at 11:00 am.

Sorry it's a little short this week.

I don’t know yet, but if I had to guess, I’d say that Sundays are for waking up blearily somewhere in Birmingham in a post-Rezzed fugue. Good thing I’ve already prepared a list of the week’s finest (mostly) games writing.

  • Our own Rich Stanton writes in The Guardian in defense of The Castle Doctrine, Jason Rohrer’s multiplayer game about home invasion and trap-laying.
  • “When you enter, there are dead dogs all around – some clubbed, some crippled at the bottom of pits. Electricity can only be conducted through wooden walls, one of The Castle Doctrine’s little foibles, and the power supplies throughout the house have been dug out, turning it into a giant concrete maze of burrows and unpowered traps. Charles Davis Clarke’s vault, ever-empty, sits in the middle of a checkerboard of pits, surrounded by the bodies of deceased canines.”

  • Phil Hartup writes for the New Statesman about DayZ, and the supposed slope of its players and designers towards performing and supporting acts of vile cruelty. I disagree with a lot of the assumptions being made here about the philosophy of design that underpins simulation games, and the motives being ascribed to either developers or players. It’s worth thinking about however:
  • “The risk, of course, is that if you add features like poisoning or maiming into the game, then where is the moral case for not including other acts of brutality? How far of an ethical leap is it from breaking a stranger’s legs and leaving him to be eaten by zombies to eating him yourself? If anything it is something of a surprise that cannibalism wasn’t brought into the game first. You would think horrifying acts in the name of survival would rate higher priority that horrifying acts for fun.”

  • More interesting and, I think, truthful, is the original article that inspired the New Statesman piece above, by player and writer Kim Correa. TW: rape.
  • “People sing. When I’m unarmed and have nothing, I take off my pants and run into the middle of cities making whale noises hoping that nobody will shoot me and might think I’m funny. I’ve been kidnapped, taken to church, and forced to read from a Bible. I wiggle at people. I always, always, always say hello to Steve the Floor Zombie. I wave toward Sniper Hill, run straight to school gun spawn in Cherno when I get there, and shed my pants on top of the silo in Solnichniy when I spawn there and am too lazy to run south.”

  • Ian Bogost spoke at Critical Proximity, the pre-GDC conference for game critics. In his talk, he explained why games criticism isn’t useful or improving games, improving games criticism, or making you feel good. Excellent.
  • “The era of fields and disciplines had ended. The era of critical communities had ended. And the very idea of games criticism risks balkanizing games writing from other writing, severing it from the rivers and fields that would sustain it. Games criticism is subsistence criticism. There’s not enough land to till in games alone. Nor in literature alone, nor in toasters alone. God save us from a future of games critics, gnawing on scraps like the zombies that fester in our objects of study.”

  • Brendan’s excellent 4700-word Rust diary wasn’t enough for you? Why not try the Chris Livingston’s multi-part series over at PC Gamer:
  • “Another half-naked man approached. “Frosh Man,” he said. “Do you have a bandage?” I said my name was “Frohman,” and that I didn’t have a bandage (not realizing that new spawns actually have two by default) and he started walking away. A moment later a gunshot rang out nearby and the half-naked man started screaming. “Frosh Man has a gun! Frosh Man tried to shoot me! Oh my God. Oh my God. Frosh Man tried to shoot me!”"

  • Ric Chivo gave a talk at this year’s Lost Levels unconference called 10 Responsibilities of a Game Developer.
  • Readers suggested I try the blockquote format. What do you think? Is it easier to read, or harder?

Music this week is The Smiths. I don’t know why other than their eternal brilliance, but start here.

, .

170 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    Joshua says:

    A belated “Have fun at Rezzed, folks!” for you all.

  2. Premium User Badge

    soulblur says:

    I like the block quote format. Should you be italicising things within a block quote though? Maybe that doesn’t improve legibility.

  3. Geebs says:

    Is anybody who plays Rust ever not doing so high? Everybody seems to react like they are getting shot at IRL. Judging by the videos I’ve seen on youtube, it really is a gamification of “this is your brain on drugs”.

  4. Alexander says:

    Blockquote format is excellent, but maybe let Jim do the papers from time to time, he was a bit better at quality articles selection. Or maybe wake up Kieron early from time to time, no one reads comics anymore anyway.

    *ready for backlash, come at me.

    • bill says:

      I also found Jim and Keiron’s article selections more interesting, though I honestly couldn’t put my finger on why. Maybe they were just the right balance of related and unrelated random stuff.

      • Josh W says:

        True for me also, graham seems to spend a little more time talking about things that matter to “people who write about games”, but I’m not sure if that’s it.

        Oh yeah and I don’t mind the blockquotes either way, original version seemed slightly nicer, but that might just be convention, I’d just let it grow in.

  5. WrenBoy says:

    Trigger warning? Really?

    • mandrill says:

      Would you rather that he use the more formal “Some of the content of the linked article may disturb or offend.” Amounts to the same thing really but takes up more words.

      What is wrong with showing a little sensitivity to other’s sensitivities?

      • Premium User Badge

        RedViv says:

        Why, that’s just treating other human beings with respect gone mad!

      • Gemsa says:

        for a moment i thought that referred to a new Total War game/ addon

      • Bedeage says:

        It’s pathetic. No amount of trigger warning will prevent a flash for those with PTSD. It’s a self-indulgent trope designed to make the writer feel sophisticated. If these guys were serious about PTSD they would just avoid the topic entirely.

        • AngoraFish says:

          Yes. “TW: Rape” actually already has the trigger word, and is therefore more or less already as much of a trigger as going to the article itself and then seeing the topic there. A simple description of the article would be enough for anyone with issues to nut-out whether the article is something that they might want to avoid. Seriously, however, if someone doesn’t read the word on RPS they only have to read down to the third paragraph of the linked article to read the same thing.

          • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

            I don’t think that just the word alone is generally considered “triggering,” but whether I’m right or wrong, maybe it’s not up to those of us who haven’t been sexually assaulted to decide what’s helpful to survivors.

          • WrenBoy says:

            @GunnerMcCaffrey

            Actual triggers are fairly random though and so are difficult to avoid. The trigger warning convention is just etiquette amoung certain online types and has nothing to do with actual victims of rape.

            This should be intuitively obvious however as ptsd is not restricted to rape victims and RPS features violent subject matter on a daily basis without having to put trigger warnings for victims of violence.

          • jorygriffis says:

            No. This is like suggesting people are horrified by the word “racism”. It doesn’t work that way and you know it.

          • pepperfez says:

            Lots of people are horrified by the word “racist”, it’s just that they’re all the racists furious at being called on it.

        • Sam says:

          Avoiding writing about potentially “triggering” things if you care about other people would lead to the only writing about such things coming from people who don’t care. I’m not sure if that’s a positive direction to be headed.

          Also surely the warning in this case will work correctly? The selected quote doesn’t mention rape, and people who know that reading about such things isn’t going to do them any good can avoid clicking through to the article. Trigger averted!

          • Philotic Symmetrist says:

            Unless the word itself is a trigger? Not sure quite how to get around that aside from simply having a blanket trigger warning though.

          • SuicideKing says:

            I highly doubt the word itself is a trigger. It might be unpleasent and uncomfortable to read, but I’m inclined to believe that a rape victim would rather read “TW: rape”, and then decide whether they want to read the subject matter than read the subject matter after looking at a generic NSFW or similar warnings.

            Also, I think it’s worth pointing out that people who’ve been exposed to such events still want to lead normal lives, so artificially shielding them from every instance of related words stops being a solution (and in fact may lead to further problems) after a point of time.

            And as Sam points out, not writing about a problematic topic doesn’t help in the real world implications of said topic.

          • YogSo says:

            Nevermind.

        • Kitsunin says:

          Umm, I dunno. Reading that article, it made me feel a little angry, which is pretty rare. I imagine someone who typically reacts badly to such things would probably have a much stronger reaction.

          And I don’t feel anything just from reading the word “rape” so I think a trigger warning would probably make a difference if it’s a similar feeling? Not that I have any triggers.

        • Premium User Badge

          RobF says:

          Offering people the choice as to whether they proceed whilst warning them of content doesn’t really seem like a self indulgent trope to me or not caring about people with PTSD, rather accepting that different things effect people in different ways and being a little nice and giving folks a heads up just seems polite.

          I’m not sure why spending 10 seconds out of your life in order to offer some consideration to how something may effect others is worth having a piss in the comments section over, really.

          • WrenBoy says:

            I can only speak for myself of course but I’d like a heads up when someone is about to indulge in online social norms based on deliberate ignorance of human behaviour.

            I think that it’s a dreadful shame that “Trigger Warning: Nonsense” isn’t more popular.

        • Premium User Badge

          Philopoemen says:

          The rape victims (which thankfully for all involved is only in the high teens) I’ve dealt with tend to have a singular trigger, be it a sight, sound, smell, etc rather than react to a fairly sterile description of the happenings in fiction, art, media.

          Rape victims read newspapers and watch the news everyday, Just like victims of any crimes. Treating them as “different” by wanting to swaddle them in cotton wool is doing them a disservice.

          And despite being in the field, dealing with victims of crimes daily, I had no idea what TW meant.

          • Premium User Badge

            SuddenSight says:

            Good to hear your perspective.

            I, too, had no idea what TW stood for until reading the comments. The simple word “rape,” however, was enough to clue me in to the fact that I did not want to read the article (though I am not a rape victim – I just don’t feel like reading about stuff that would make me not happy).

            Even if there is little or no risk of hurting actual victims, rape is a difficult subject and I tend to appreciate content warnings in general. It’s not really censorship, just giving you enough to know if you want to read something, which is the point of the preview anyway.

          • Premium User Badge

            aleander says:

            Rape victims read newspapers and watch the news everyday, Just like victims of any crimes. Treating them as “different” by wanting to swaddle them in cotton wool is doing them a disservice.

            Good thing then that they actually wrote it, and included a helpful guideline that lets said people (and also people currently eating a breakfast) set their own boundaries, instead of just never writing it or censoring their internet connection, which is what you seem to be implying Graham just did.

          • Premium User Badge

            Philopoemen says:

            That was more in response to the notion that victims of crime need to be sheltered, and treated differently to the rest of the population. Generally espoused by those who are lucky enough to never worry about it. At the end of the day, everyone should be sheltered from some things, not just those that have had the misfortune to experience them, if that makes sense.

        • Kaeoschassis says:

          Frankly I feel what’s pathetic is belittling another person’s attempt at being decent and respectful.
          Still, different strokes, I guess.

          • qrter says:

            I find it amazing that people actually have objections to RPS including trigger warnings. If it might help someone, why would it incovenience you?

          • jalf says:

            Just think of how WASTEFUL it is! 8 characters right out the window! Those keystrokes could have been used to pander for people who have never had anything bad happen to them!

            Yeah, getting worked up that someone tries to be respectful of others seems pretty… sad.

          • The Random One says:

            Yeah, this is when the “urgh all this political correctness” brigade approaches self-satire. It’s just such a blatant display that they are annoyed whenever something happens to the benefit of someone who isn’t them that I’m amazed anyone would actually attempt to argue that.

      • WrenBoy says:

        Would you rather that he use the more formal “Some of the content of the linked article may disturb or offend.”

        No. Much like the trigger warning trend itself I consider that to be a paternalistic attitude and more deserving of lowest common denominator tv channels than a series of thought provoking articles.

        • PopeRatzo says:

          While I agree there is a lot of paternalism in the desire of hipsters to protect, and to project an image of themselves as sensitive beings (who just loved Hotline:Miami), I think if you’re just patient, the “TW” thing will go away in favor of just eliminating anything in public discourse that could possibly make anyone uncomfortable.

          • pepperfez says:

            That might be one of the most idiosyncratic definitions of “hipster” I’ve ever heard. Also, note that the prevalence of “trigger warning” coincides with a greater willingness to frankly discuss sexual violence in public, so quite the opposite of “just eliminating anything in public discourse that could possibly make anyone uncomfortable.”

          • The Random One says:

            Yeah, of course warning people that they might not want to read an article will eventually end up with no one writing anything objectionable, just like putting stop signs next to intersections that require attention lead to no one moving ever again.

        • Sheng-ji says:

          Let me guess, nothing offends you. Despite having very clearly been offended over this!

          • WrenBoy says:

            I don’t think I even implied that I was immune to being offended. What I was saying is that I disagree with the paternalistic mindset which feels the need to protect people from the possibility of encountering subject matter which offends them.

            That is more related to the paternalistic but at least honest warning TW was being compared to. TW itself is just a mindless convention as far as I can tell.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Sorry, it’s just the normal internet response to this is usually “Nothing offends me and if you get offended by something, no-one should pay you the time of day”.

            I did rather jump to conclusions, sorry!

          • WrenBoy says:

            No offence taken.

            I think the “Nothing offends a superior specimen such myself” attitude is pretty foolish. Such a person must be either dishonest, empty headed or entirely without strongly held principles. At the same time I think people can be a bit precious about their own offense.

            I’m as guilty as anyone of treating whatever caused my offense with the gravity it deserves while rolling my eyes at the bizarre overreactions of others. Expecting the world to be examined and sanitised according to my own tastes before I am exposed to it is taking things considerably too far however. Someone appearing to do this for my own or someone else’s benefit is mildly insulting when done on a small scale and somewhat sinister when done wholesale.

            Again, while I think the TW warning come from the same mindset I assume it’s just convention and those who follow it find any objections impolite and vulgar.

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        Best

      • pepperfez says:

        If that isn’t a Willy Nelson instrumental I want off this planet. (No I didn’t watch it are you crazy.)

    • Premium User Badge

      c-Row says:

      You young folks with your abbrevations… I had no idea what TW was supposed to mean at all.

  6. Premium User Badge

    daphne says:

    The block quote format is excellent, I would have commended you for it even without you asking for feedback.

    • SuicideKing says:

      Yeah i realised we’ve needed this forever. It makes it much easier to separate quotes from Graham’s text.

    • Skabooga says:

      Now that I’ve seen the Sunday Papers done this way, I can’t imagine why it would be done any other way. It definitely makes the blurbs and quotations easier to parse.

    • Premium User Badge

      Martel says:

      I agree. It made me much more likely to read the entire caption for each section for some reason too.

  7. Muzman says:

    At the risk of derailing the hell out of this and bringing out the clowns who think sensitivity warnings are for wimps or are offended by the sight of them somehow, I wish to suggest that “TW” is not a thing.

    In our intersecting internet bubbles we can get the impression that certain trends have a convenient currency when they actually don’t. ‘Trigger Warnings’ have become sort of a hip expression of late, for want of a better word. But they are an out growth of American PTSD therapy terminology. As much as it might seem like it some times they do not have a global currency and not really a truly international one either.
    On the internet we often adopt things as universal that are chiefly American without realising that’s all they really are and this causes unnecessary confusion (cf. John’s confusion not so long ago over the ‘Safe Space’ notion, a chiefly American expression used mostly in colleges).

    Trends in terminology come and go, but we know how to write a content warning already in a way that most English speakers can understand. I suggest we do that instead.

    • Simon Hawthorne says:

      I have no strong views, but will say that I had no idea what “TW” was but can figure out what “Trigger Warning” is even though I’ve never heard the term. Using abbreviations, acronyms or initialisms leads to further misunderstanding.

      But thank you Graham for this week’s Sunday Papers and I agree that the new quote layout is easier to read.

      • Wulfram says:

        TW: took my mind straight to Total War, which was kind of weird. Though I worked it out fairly quickly.

        • LionsPhil says:

          Perhaps it’s DLC for Total War: Vikings, along with the TW: Pillage pack.

          • Geebs says:

            Ahh, you’re referring to the “Contract Christianity and Become Wusses” DLC?

        • GameCat says:

          TW stands for Tom Waits for me.

          • rhubarb-crisp says:

            LOL me too! I couldn’t read anything beyond the “TW” because I started mumbling ‘what’s he building up there?’ and stalking my wife around the house holding the cat to block my face. “INDONESIA!” I said through his ears, and I manipulated his paws to do the attacking for me. His claws never came out, and they never do. Not for me.
            Earlier in the week she dropped the cat on me while I played Path of Exile and he clawed at my neck a couple times. It’s obvious that she is his favorite.

        • The white guar says:

          Thank god I’m not the only one. I was starting to feel slightly ashamed

        • Skabooga says:

          I was thinking that it stood for “to whit” until I scrolled down to the comments.

      • DanMan says:

        I had no idea either what TW should stand for.

    • SuicideKing says:

      I can get behind this, wasn’t sure what TW meant before i read the comments. I think expanding the word to “trigger warning” might have been better, at least it’s easier to infer the meaning even if you haven’t heard the word before.

      • Baines says:

        The best would have been to use the old standard “Some of the content may be…”

        “TW” is meaningless to most. “Trigger Warning” is meaningless to some.

        While what it means will vary from person to person, “trigger warning” feels like it says more about the people who use the phrase than the content that they describe.

        • PopeRatzo says:

          If you don’t know what a “trigger warning” is, you have no right to be reading the new RPS.

        • Josh W says:

          I like the one they do on the news: contains depictions of /contains graphic depiction of/contains description of

          just saying “Warning, this article contains descriptions of” seems useful,

          without ever having to comment on or define the idea of “a trigger”.

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      Having been a member of a number of mental health forums in the past, TRIGGER or TRIGGER WARNING were the most common terms (which I would imagine most users of online MH content will be familiar with), often with a dedicated clickable smiley / banner thing. As others have said they are an important courtesy, and seeing someone triggered leaves you with no doubt that warnings are a Good Thing. “TW” may not be the best, as is using the word.

      Most people with triggers won’t care if they know what the content is, just that they know one exists. As for it ‘not helping them’ in the long run, exposure to triggers is part of controlled therapy, where they at least know it’s coming. But being unexpectedly blindsided by it is not ‘exposure’ in the therapeutic sense – quite the opposite. Source: The many trauma psychology texts and manuals I own / experience with other people

      • Muzman says:

        I think you might want to read what I wrote again, but anyway..
        People who frequent trauma and mental health forums are by definition a subset of a subset (possibly of a subset, depending on how you slice it). I don’t think adhering to one specific treatment terminology doctrine (and then initialising it) is really the way to maximise the desired effect of such a warning, even if it’s fairly popular at the moment, do you?

        In rape and sexual assault victim support circles there has been this outgrowth of use, which seems as much about solidarity as anything else. That’s fine, but as I said I think we already know how to warn people about content if we’re concerned enough to do so. There are large swathes of the western population who discuss personality and emotion etc almost exclusively in language derived from therapeutic practice, but they aren’t everyone as yet (and this is a good thing). There would be plenty of people who do not connote trauma or their reaction to potentially disturbing material in terms of clinical PTSD therapy.

        • CookPassBabtridge says:

          OK, but I wasn’t replying to you.

          In any case – “people who frequent trauma and mental health forums are by definition a subset of a subset”… ??

          Given that this “TW” was for victims of a particular type of crime that the forums I was reading was catering to, they are EXACTLY the subset the trigger warning was for. That’s why I made the suggestion we use the terminology that is most suitable to them. I understand that its this term’s uniqueness to that group that you are arguing against. I don’t really agree with you, but my post wasn’t a response to what you were saying.

          • SuicideKing says:

            I think you were responding to me, and okay, I’m not an expert on this so…if you say so.

          • CookPassBabtridge says:

            TBH I don’t think it was really a reply to anyone / a counter-argument, so much as it was just pure information. The part about exposure may have been a reaction to a comment somewhere else on the page, I forget who said it. Something about it not being good to completely isolate victims from potential triggers. The essence of that is true, but the point I wanted to make is that it shouldn’t be haphazard. This may or may not have been relevant to the thread so apologies for causing argu-fusion. Confu-gument?

        • Sheng-ji says:

          “People who frequent trauma and mental health forums”

          Oh Jesus… I suppose such people and such forums exist, but that can’t be healthy!

          • Geebs says:

            I’d imagine it probably helps some and harms some, but I don’t think describing it as unhealthy in a blanket fashion is necessarily a good thing. Would you say it would be unhealthy for somebody with, say, tuberculosis to visit a tuberculosis forum for support from fellow sufferers?

          • CookPassBabtridge says:

            I think Sheng-ji was being sarcy ;)

          • Sheng-ji says:

            I was, but in answer to your question, Yes!!! There are support groups in real life, monitored by professionals who know when to stop the spread of misinformation, control the trolls and well, make a decent cup of tea! Sitting at the computer for support is not the ideal approach to mental health!

            I suffer from and my son suffers from medical conditions, my partner suffers from a mental health disorder. Not one of us has received positive support or help over the internet – plenty of misinformation, well meaning but ignorant advise and in one case a con artist who scammed at least 5 people out of a lot of money, myself included – because he though that the people he was targeting were too weak to stick up for themselves. But not one single paragraph that has helped as much as actually meeting with people in similar situations.

    • Premium User Badge

      SuddenSight says:

      Agreed entirely. I appreciate content warnings, but calling them trigger warnings suggests they exist only for the benefit of people who have a medical reason to avoid certain content. This is not true, and acceptable jargon for the more accurate context already exists (“content warning” or even simply “warning”).

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        OK, you don’t want to read about certain topics – thats cool. There’s things I don’t want to read about too – such as physical torture or surgery videos. I want to know if what I am about to read contains them, because I will avoid it. Thats because I am a colossal wuss and I don’t want to feel queasy – there is no trauma or PTSD.

        But I don’t care if it reads: TRIGGER WARNING, Content Warning, Trigger or anything else. I just want to know its worth avoiding, exactly as victims of certain crimes do. If its bothering you which words are selected, then ok – lets go with “content warning”. As long as the courtesy still exists to those who need it from a protective viewpoint.

        This seems to be a strange argument about ownership of a term, as though there is this ‘trauma group’ that sees itself as more special or deserving and displacing other’s rights. I’m pretty sure all anyone cares about is not needlessly causing people distress.

        • Geebs says:

          I think it can very easily look like an attempt to assume some sort of medical/therapeutic authority when used outside a specific context, which is what has people riled up when they would otherwise be happy with a “content warning” tag.

          • CookPassBabtridge says:

            OK thanks Geebs, I was interested to know why people are angry, but I will confess to still being confused as to why this makes you feel that way. Is it that you feel patronised or criticised by it? Or just that you feel RPS are somehow haughtily assuming an authority they don’t actually possess? To me its just a couple of words, a bit like “Contains flash photography”, that would just zoom by me because its not relevant to me.

            Anyways thanks for the response and info.

          • Geebs says:

            It doesn’t bother me personally, but it does count as technical speak/jargon, and when you encounter that stuff you suddenly have to stop short and think about an array of meanings which you wouldn’t have to consider in common parlance. It’s extra double challenging when it has connotations of feelings/or socially awkward connotations. I think that’s why people have said in the thread that they’d be happy with the same content warnings, but in more obviously lay terminology.

          • CookPassBabtridge says:

            OK cheers Geebs, that makes sense.

          • The Random One says:

            A weird way of thinking, I’d say. Jargon often becomes regular speech when used often enough, and it seems like that would be the intention here. Though it raises the question of what wording would be more effective.

          • TWChristine says:

            I figure when people see someone say something along those lines they just see it as “pretentious” and then kind of automatically resist it as someone coming off as smartypants. Or something. I guess I can’t call it completely ridiculous, because whenever you see newscasters saying a word they clearly just learned, they banter it around constantly as if eeeeverybody knows what they mean, and that drives me nuts.

          • Premium User Badge

            c-Row says:

            @TWChristine So what does the TW stand for in your name, anyway? ;)

          • LionsPhil says:

            Though it raises the question of what wording would be more effective.

            raises the question

            My inner language pedant thanks you profusely for not saying “begs”.

    • Frank says:

      Yeah, I never saw “TW” before today (and am an American), but I really don’t see your point here, making this into a linguistics lesson instead of just saying “folks don’t know what that means yet, y’know”.

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        Indeed. Maybe we can run a poll for which phrase everyone prefers?

        In keeping with RPS terminology, I’d like to suggest “Words Wot Might Be About Well Bad Stuff” (“well bad” being a 90′s inner London way of saying “mightily dreadful”)

        • Bull0 says:

          Maybe we could try and explain things with full sentences instead of coming up with a two-word catch-all?

          • Sheng-ji says:

            I like what Geebs said just above – “Content Warning” myself.

          • Bull0 says:

            Having clicked through I realise now “TW: rape” is what the article author themselves chose to put, so it’s probably pretty apt to use the same thing / not necessarily fair to judge Graham on it.

          • Baines says:

            Live Free Play Hard just used “CW for child abuse”, I guess as an abbreviation for “Content warning”. Because the CW Network is probably no more about child abuse than any other random TV network.

            Is the word count at RPS at such a premium that clarity isn’t worth an extra word?

          • Sheng-ji says:

            “Because the CW Network is probably no more about child abuse than any other random TV network.”

            Insert joke about the BBC here

  8. Asokn says:

    Have I missed the bargain bucket this weekend?

    • LionsPhil says:

      Personal issues affecting the author, I believe. I guess nobody else has been able to step in temporarily.

      • dE says:

        I made a copycat bargain bucket, but it’s stuck in moderation queue, thanks to all the links. If perchance someone unflags it, you may get your copycat bargain bucket yet. If not, I just wasted about 2 hours.

        • YogSo says:

          I’m just gonna leave this here for CookPassBabtridge.
          TW: d’awwwww.

          • dE says:

            I actually think we should start a movement.
            Everytime someone posts something hurtful or tries to start a fire, we just post a cute plushie. No snark, no condescending tone, no holier than thou, no passive aggressive, just post a plushie.

          • YogSo says:

            Oh, I can’t remember the exact details, but I’m sure that John? did something similar in one of the articles that attract that type of commenter, you know which ones. Whenever someone posted something nasty, he edited the post to show pics of… little seal cubs? Or maybe just kittens? Can’t remember, but after a short while the comments were full of pictures :-D

          • CookPassBabtridge says:

            I appear to have experienced an oxytocin induced vasovagal syncope in reaction to the feline proximity seeking behaviours.

            That is to say, I passed out from the cute of da widdle puddy huggin the sheep

            EDIT: Also @ dE – I used to do that on forums. I would usually link to this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7a3ByQjDY4 and block caps “LOOKADABUNNEHZ”. People just kept arguing. Even bunnehs cannot arrest the human argumentation instinct it seems.

            Finally, PLEASE can someone tell me how to that thing where you make the link be the words you typed? I can never get it to work.

          • YogSo says:

            The html tag for links is [a href="copypaste link address here"]clickable red words[/a], quotes included, but replacing the brackets with those “less than” and “bigger than” symbols, the angled ones.

          • CookPassBabtridge says:

            Thanks! At last I can do this
            Whahooooo

  9. Gassalasca says:

    I say nay re the new quote system. Bring the old one back, please.

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      Noooooooo.

      Keep it. The shadow reminds me of Graham’s Beard. Imagine the white part as his ‘eyes’, and the grey bit as his hirsute man-covering **shivers and bows humbly**

  10. archiebunker says:

    Oooh, I like these TW thingies. I’m going to start adding them to all my posts from now on!

    TW: Sarcasm

    Could we please get trigger warnings that posts may contain trigger warnings?

    You can never be too careful.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      TW: internet discussion

      Someone insulted me really badly once. :(

    • pepperfez says:

      archiebunker says:

      TW: Sarcasm

      Too many layers to this comment.

    • The Random One says:

      Don’t forget TW: Can’t possibly imagine why something that doesn’t bother them personally might greatly affect someone who has suffered trauma.

      That’s a lot to type every time, so just tattoo it in your forehead.

  11. sinister agent says:

    Blockquote format is a good idea, though it might work a bit better with clearer dividers between each article-quote bit. A bigger space or a line or summat maybe.

    Didn’t realise Chrivingston weas doing a Rust diary. Not bothered about Rust, but can see him making it funny. TO THE READMOBILE!

    • LionsPhil says:

      Chris Livingstone…Chris Livingstone…

      …OH! The Concerned guy! Yeah, this might be good.

    • Lemming says:

      Has done. It’s only the three entries, the third being the final one.

  12. Philotic Symmetrist says:

    My fatigue-addled brain may be missing something here but is the majority of the first point of Ian Bogost’s talk trying to argue that newer games simply are and will be better than older games? It definitely sounded like he was saying that about operating systems and even there I’m pretty sure that’s quite obviously just not true.

    • The Adventurer Times says:

      I think he’s saying just the opposite of that (as he thinks critics need to stay away from the technological progressivism exhibited in the operating system world), that new games aren’t necessarily better than old games. That said, I am quite confused about his overall arguments, which right now seem to miss the point of the critical community, the idea of a discipline, and what criticism actually is about. Any chance someone could restate his positions?

      Edit: I rescind my request, as it turns out the answer to better understanding the article was to stop looking at it for a few minutes. I’m still not sure Ian Bogost completely understands the kind of criticism he’s talking about, but I think that may sort of be the point, or at least tie into the point.

      • Premium User Badge

        SuddenSight says:

        I am also extremely confused.

        To be clear, I consume and enjoy criticism of a wide variety of artistic media, including books, music, movies, television, and even websites. In the case of some of these media, especially books, the medium itself is so old that the idea of critics holding a “technological progressivist” view of the objects is ridiculous. In that sense, I don’t understand how any of the arguments presented lead to the conclusion that games criticism is somehow unnecessary or even non-existent.

        On the other hand, I do have some sympathy for where the article probably came from. There has been a long tradition of talking about graphical fidelity and system support as core parts of the game experience.

        I agree that the focus on graphics is dated and reflects a mindset from when computers were new and things like polygon counts and pixels were used to measure the quality of games and systems.

        I think that most of games criticism has moved on. Graphics requirements and system support still have a necessary part in any game review, of course, because games are a consumable (at least the kind of games that you buy).

        However, there is more interesting critique of games in existence. Retrospectives on games from the 80s and 90s exist in droves these days, including on this very website. I feel like this kind of criticism is the most useful from a social perspective – game critique which is no longer a simple buyer’s guide, but a consideration of the intent and impact of games. That is the future of good games critique, and I hope sites like Rock Paper Shotgun continue to create excellent features on how games work and how they impact us as people.

        • The Adventurer Times says:

          I’m not sure Bogost actually is saying that criticism is useless or non-existent (though the summary provided on this page seems to think he is). I’m not even sure he’s really talking about technology so much as the age old tendency of people to assume that newer is better, intentionally or otherwise. I think that’s the general gist of what he’s saying, “Don’t forget that there was good stuff, relevant stuff, in the past”. That’s why he talks about writing “specific criticism for specific games”: It’s not a denial of the value of intertextuality, but rather the value of using sweeping statements about the past in intertextual criticism.

          There are, however, an awful lot of weird statements written around that observation. It is apparently useless to note improvement in games over time, because that just reinforces the assumptions the existing tendencies of gamers, and it doesn’t matter if this development is something to praise or merely highlight. The mere risk, and even likelihood, that an established community of game critics would lead to more discussion about how we talk about games than the games themselves is apparently dangerous enough to scuttle the whole endeavor.

          I think this more a weirdly phrased warning about the road game criticism is walking down than anything else, warning that it may not go where we think it will, and that we’re not as far down it as we’d like to believe. Not all of the infrastructure has been laid, not all of it is fully set yet, and it’s almost impossible to tear it up if we don’t like what we find.

      • valrus says:

        I was confused, too, but I think I figured out the argument. I don’t think it’s about old or new being better, but something like: “We game critics like to claim we’re improving games, but insofar as there’s ‘progress’ in gaming it’s independent of us. Games are technology+aesthetics; we have basically no effect on the former, and the latter isn’t a matter of ‘progress marching on’ in any case.”

        But I think this sells games (and critics) short; there’s a third leg — the “craft” of game development — that isn’t just the march of technology or a matter of aesthetic taste. I think “craft” can and does improve, that and part of that progress is having intelligent critics who can distill into words why something was fun or not, how the effect was achieved, or what the developer might have done instead. As a hobbyist dev, I find that kind of criticism very valuable.

        • The Adventurer Times says:

          The weird thing is that while while what you’ve mentioned seems to the point of the first two arguments he lays down, its barely mentioned in the third and fourth sections. Instead, he becomes really dramatic and makes these huge claims about the viability of all critical endeavors without providing much in the way of support.

          • valrus says:

            Yeah, as for the rest of it., I couldn’t quite figure out what he was assuming the audience believed, or whether it was intended as a preemptive argument just in case the audience believed something or other. In any case I was pretty sure the audience wasn’t me, so I skimmed it.

    • soul4sale says:

      Oh my Christ, that was painful to read. I think he was saying “better tech does not make better games,” but the word choice was a mess. Games criticism is absolutely necessary, to me at least, unless everything becomes procedurally generated, open world MMO and free. Even then…

    • Nate says:

      It seems like there’s some context that would clarify it. It’s clearly written in response to something.

      It feels like Bogost is trying hard to get published alongside Sokal, which is unfortunate– never noticed that in his writing before.

  13. Horg says:

    The Day Z article pretty much nailed down the problem with the game in its current state:

    ”The problem with freedom in the context of Day Z is that it is inevitable that players will turn on each other. There are simply not enough compelling reasons not to.”

    It has been said many times before, but when you make a pseudo-realistic zombie survival game where the zombies don’t matter, what you end up with is a dickhead simulator. As stated, the devs have very deliberately included tools for players to indulge in virtual sadism, which is making the game somewhat notorious. The problem is that if it is the devs intent to add more social features and promote cooperative interaction, they may have already done too much damage to the Day Z brand to make any of it matter. The standalone Day Z is now synonymous with the inherent torture features that came to be developed first.

    • LionsPhil says:

      And, crucially, it will draw the kind of players who want to be dickheads, and repulse those who would co-operate, thus trapping itself in a doom-spiral of virtual sociopathy.

      • Premium User Badge

        Rizlar says:

        Haven’t played the standalone, but in the mod there was also a huge amount of griefing even without the non-lethal restraints, it was just limited to shooting you dead. There were still loads of players who would cooperate, stockpile supplies in makeshift camps or vehicles, help new players, wander aimlessly or survive alone with minimal social interaction.

        Seems that this is still the case in the standalone, that there is in fact a whole range of experiences and behaviours. It’s a space to play in, of course the normal rules of society will start to break down. Which results in people breaking each others legs or running trouserless through a city making whale noises.

        The assumption that without concrete reasons to cooperate people will devolve into mindless sociopaths doesn’t seem to be held out by the evidence. Well, a lot of them will, but not all.

      • Premium User Badge

        FriendlyFire says:

        Isn’t that good though? Dropping all of them in a few games the rest of the world doesn’t give a toss about lets everyone else play games in a more enjoyable fashion. They get to have fun griefing and being total dickheads, and the rest of the world can look in, laugh, then play actual games without the interference.

        In fact, I hope DayZ and Rust become a lot more popular and almost drug-like such that those people never play other games.

      • Bull0 says:

        Yep – gave DayZ a good go, everybody is a dickhead, it isn’t worth it unless you’re in it to be a dickhead to people.

        Perhaps if they put some tough PVE challenges in there players would have an incentive to cooperate a bit more. That’s essentially what we’re saying, right?

      • Sheng-ji says:

        A side point, a recent day z article here on RPS for me had zero readable comments for me, I had blocked everyone who had commented! A rough count came up with approximately 50 comments at the time!

        • Bull0 says:

          Heheh, that’s telling.

        • Premium User Badge

          Rizlar says:

          So that puts it in the same boat as any article about increased inclusiveness in games?

          • Premium User Badge

            drewski says:

            I wonder if there’s a correlation between being likely to play DayZ and holding anti-inclusiveness positions on RPS *strokes chin thoughtfully*

          • Premium User Badge

            Rizlar says:

            Or those types of articles, about discrimination and abuse, tend to attract the same commenters, maybe?

            The assumption that those commenters play DayZ is spurious. Funnily enough I find all the writing about Rust, Castle Doctrine and DayZ, by people who have played the games, really interesting, even if some of what they describe is indeed disturbing!

      • Dawngreeter says:

        This is an issue with a lot of sandbox games. People will ask what can you do in a sandbox game, and the usual response is something along the lines of: “Whatever you want!”. To begin with, I’ll take EVE as an example, because it’s the best game ever made, even though I can’t play it. It’s a sandbox, I can do what I want. Ok, can I bee a fruit vendor in a lower middle class district of a Minmatar city? Oh, ok, only space stuff. Can I bee a fruit vendor in a Minmatar space station? Oh, ok, only spaceSHIP stuff. Can I be a traveling Minmatar fruit vendor, IN A SPACESHIP, who aspires to become a famous musician? Etc.

        The thing is, our field of interaction with the world and with the other players is strictly defined by tools and options the game provides. The only meaningful interaction with the game world is through the use of such tools. Yes, many MMOs have role-play servers and role-play communities but, for the most part, what they are doing is using the game as a needlessly complex chat client. And not only that, but from what I can figure out, anything that happens in the game is a detriment to what they are trying to accomplish (which always makes me wonder why they are using the game client at all, wouldn’t a group chat room be a better and more productive option? At least that way, when someone says they are, say, climbing up a tree they are aren’t presented with a game in which trees can’t be climbed, therefore immediately illustrating the complete absurdity of the entire exercise…)

        So, a game gives you 50 options to brutalize another player. And also an option to shoot a zombie occasionally. It shouldn’t take a genius to figure out which of those is going to define a player’s field of interaction. As long as cooperation between players is merely an agreement not to use the tools that the game provides, the only people who would be interested in doing so are people not interested in actually playing the game they are in. It’s like playing a multicultural peace advocate in Counter Strike.

    • PopeRatzo says:

      Day Z is a failure because it wasn’t finished. The developers got their “early access” money and then said, “fuck it”.

      Thanks to Kickstarter and “Early Access” we will see a lot of games like this, that might have had promise but the lack of incentive for the developers to actually complete their work and make a saleable product just does not exist. The people who made Day Z can use it to enhance their resumes and give them cred for the next Kickstarter or “Early Alpha” project and just rinse and repeat.

      There is an enormous dearth of quality games right now, and Kickstarter and Early Access are two of the main reasons why. The message is not being lost on AAA game companies who see how easy it has become to fleece a game-starved public and just release crappy multiplayer games with a vague promise to follow it up with DLC.

      • Deadly Sinner says:

        Why are you lying? DayZ is still in development.

        • tormos says:

          Because Pope Ratzo’s “thing” is that he hates games and especially games that are new

  14. SuicideKing says:

    Our own Rich Stanton writes in The Guardian in defense of The Castle Doctrine

    I thought this was to do with some RPS hiring/working policy or something. Because Castle Shotgun, you see.

  15. Premium User Badge

    Rizlar says:

    That New Statesman article is terrible.

    The blog post it referenced is great though. The description of the act is hugely affecting. That would definitely shake me up and I really hope it was just someone taking a joke a bit too far rather than something worse. Still an arsehole though.

    It’s funny how much it is a gender perception thing. As the blogger points out, men are unlikely to experience those fears and unlikely to have that happen to them in the game. Yet male rape is a thing in the real world! It may be that it’s a lot more hidden in society, which makes it not exist in DayZ. Got to love being a man.

    • Baines says:

      According to Wikipedia, it wasn’t until 2012 that the FBI changed their definition of “rape” to be gender neutral. So until two years ago, the definition they used specified the victim be female.

      A recent Huffington Post article says that woman-on-man rape is a lot more common that believed. It claims to cite a study where nearly half the men polled said that they’d had unwanted sex, and that a fifth said women had used physical force to get them to have unwanted sex. (I say “claims”, because the link goes to an article that doesn’t mention such a study.)

    • Nate says:

      At 172 hours to rape threat? I’d instead suggest that it seems less likely to happen to women. At least, if my experience, and that of Kiimpulsively, is representative. (Edit: you know, in hindsight, Kiimpulsively’s experience is much more extensive than any rape threat I’ve experienced with online gaming. The comparison I made was way too simplistic.)

      • pepperfez says:

        I’d say it was more “in-game rape” than “rape threat”, which is not a distinction I’m happy to have available.

  16. bill says:

    If anyone didn’t read it, Brendan’s Rust diary was excellent. One of the best things to read on RPS in ages. (and I have no interest in Rust).

  17. Tams80 says:

    “You would think horrifying acts in the name of survival would rate higher priority that horrifying acts for fun.”

    Which may be true if it were a simulator first and a game second. However, it’s a game first, so he entirely misses the point.

    The block quotes are much better by the way. Thanks.

    • Josh W says:

      Yes! This is exactly the sort of thing I was hoping to see, an extra view on the irrational layoffs, and a big theoretical issue about how to make games good.

      The way he defines passions is basically just bioware’s loyalty bars, but with more overlapping ones, and he could do with sticking in some hysteresis in the loyalty levels, so you don’t just flick off someone’s loyalty conditions, but you have to actually go down in their estimation significantly before they will retract their previous forms of favour, and vice versa for disfavour. But it’s still pretty basic stuff with the general “dating game” problem of turning social interactions into heavily goal directed manipulative exchanges.

      More interesting to me than the loyalty/animosity unlock system is just the idea of telling players in advance the internal states of the characters, especially if they are acting in a simulation.

      I quite like the idea of using something like the heart from dishonored, but instead of getting backstory from npcs, which contextualise your actions and add poignancy to the situation in terms of the overall setting of the city, you instead get their broader passions; how they relate to an active context working at a higher level to this immediate situation. I can immediately picture this loosing something in it’s subtlety, and you’d want to dissociate it from the magical way the heart worked in that game to avoid giving too ambitious impressions, but whereas in dishonoured you might hear that someone is going to do something terrible outside of the mission if they live, in the systemic passion-based game this would be a true and systemised thing. You could actually choose to leave them and come back to them later, perhaps stopping them in the act.

      This would immediately elevate it from a simple moral dilemma to something where you can actually respond in a subtle way. Many other elements of the heart would be lost, but this capacity to decide your mission, decide what you want to leave happen and what you want to stop, would immediately expand the space of moral decision making.

  18. Premium User Badge

    CelticPixel says:

    I wake up bleary eyed somewhere in Birmingham every Sunday.

  19. Distec says:

    I read the DayZ pieces and found them very timely, considering a certain controversy that had erupted in everybody’s favorite sociopath simulator: EVE Online.

    http://jestertrek.blogspot.com/2014/03/the-bonus-round.html

    TLDR; a notorious scammer had been taking players out of the game and “torturing” them on comms for him and his peers’ amusement. The community got polarized into those wanting the line drawn at these kinds of activities and those who felt doing so would undermine the sandbox and game. How evil is too evil? When does playing the villain cross boundaries?

    I think some people are a little too eager to throw out the “it’s just a game” defense when justifying how terrible they can be.

    • sinister agent says:

      EVE crossed that line a long time ago in my opinion. Not so much because “evil”, but because “you’re not even playing a video game here, you’re just dicking people over on the internet”.

      • Distec says:

        It’s very much part of the game’s DNA. That said, I would argue that it allows a lot more room for constructive (or “positive”) player relationships than DayZ seems to have.

        My take on EVE is that I will largely consider acts in the name of making ISK or other wealth as “legit”, even if sometimes unsavory IMO. What becomes troublesome is when “tear farming” uncomfortably extends outside the sandbox. I can entertain the idea of a Jita scammer being an otherwise well-adjusted and normal person in real life. Some other players…. not so much.

        • sinister agent says:

          I don’t begrudge being what it is, and I think anyone who plays it knows what they’re getting into by now. And you’re right, it clearly encourages co-operation at least with some people, what with the corporations and economy and all.

          But I’d love to play a game like EVE, except strictly in-game only. None of the forum bullshit or alternative accounts, etc. All that just takes me out of the game, makes me think “what’s the point?”. Similarly, I’d love to play a game like Day Z or Rust, but without the glorified deathmatch and general twattery that’s become its dominant culture.

    • MrRoivas says:

      Holeey Sheet. That is some grade A sociopathy there. CCP should be ashamed of themselves for not instantly banning the player once they learned of this.

  20. AngusPrune says:

    I laughed at the Ric Chivo talk, but I can’t shake the disturbing sensation that he’s taken my life and turned it in to a satirical playlet for the amusement of others.

    I mean, I’m even wearing the 80s game t-shirt right now.

  21. PopeRatzo says:

    I notice that “Finish the game so people can enjoy it” is not one Ric Chivo’s 10 Responsibilities of Game Devs.

    • Chris D says:

      You also seem not to have noticed that a list that included “Be a straight white dude” and “Polish that shit!” might not be supposed to be taken entirely seriously.

  22. Scurra says:

    The Day-Z and Castle Doctrine pieces were interesting because they both said essentially the same thing, which was that if you give players freedom then *some* of them will be sociopathic (or even psychopathic) as a result.
    Personally I think that this ought to be a sharp slap in the face to the libertarian/anarchist tendency (indeed the Castle Doctrine piece specifically touches on this) but given that we live in a world in which people don’t see Atlas Shrugged as a masterful satire on the same theme then I guess that’s unlikely to happen. (Note: no, clearly it isn’t a satire. Which may be the problem…)

    In other words, I guess I’m saying that Day-Z et al are merely microcosmic manifestations not of the “general twattery” of gamer culture but of human nature in general. Alas.

    • pepperfez says:

      To be fair, a pretty broad swathe of humanity (To wit, all of the political left) recognize Atlas Shrugged as a stinging satire of itself. We don’t need to ignore its brilliance just because Rand didn’t know what she was writing.

  23. ChosenCharacter says:

    Ian Bogost bothers me. He sounds like one of those pomptous ‘nerdosophers’ that are the reason why I’m leaving RIT.

    Here’s the thing. Criticism, in all forms, is supposed to be constructive. Nerds just love pointing how awful everything is and they never write about what it could or could not do. In one sentence: You use 17th century dictionary words and I assume you’re too unsure of what you’re saying to put it bluntly.

    Not enough critics are game designers, and not enough game designers understand design. There’s no rhythm or reason, sense of flow, etc. After doing my rounds in the wonderful world of development I can’t help but see those really little things that could make this game a lot better – and I think people should do it before they try judging it critically. This is what separates the Yahtzee Croshaw’s from the cheap 300k youtube ‘reviewer.’

  24. kalirion says:

    So these post-apocalyptic running simulators already support mugging, murder, kidnapping, imprisonment and torture.

    Makes one wonder how long until one has an actual built-in rape “feature”? You know, for authenticity’s sake…

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      No it doesn’t.

      • Strangerator says:

        Do you not wonder because you know for a fact it’s definitely going to happen in some form? Would you honestly be shocked? I sometimes wonder about people who complain loudly about this type of incident but then openly support or even take part in murder/torture sims. Do you think there is no one who has ever been hurt by torture and murder who might have such a “trigger”?

        Misogyny is a subset of misanthropy, people. Of course this type of game will draw in the deviants. If you want to play around in a virtual hell, that’s your prerogative. What did you expect? “Welcome to a land where you can endlessly torture and kill others while trying to not have the same done to you. However, rape is off the table.” The goal of the game (for many/most players, if they admit it or not) is to cause psychological harm/discomfort (trolling), and I guarantee you the trolls who did this are reading the article about themselves and having a good laugh. And do please keep in mind when discussing this issue, nobody got raped and/or killed, and taking this so seriously only nourishes the trolls with the delicious misery they feed upon.

        Humans are not built be to immortal, so when you take away all risk of death, all moral direction is instantly lost (especially if said people also have discarded the notion of non-innate or external morality, which I’d suggest is a prerequisite for wanting to play DayZ and similar games). That’s why even people who are outraged at a lewd act make the assertion, “of COURSE I’ve tried being both a good guy and a heartless killer.” Oh? And how do you know you did not cause emotional/psychological harm to your victims in the game? Did you kill the defenseless for your amusement or “survival”?

        I feel like so much of pop culture pushes the message, “In case of emergency, BECOME A MONSTER.” So often, the depicted “solution” to an apocalyptic event is to rove around in small bands and kill others faster than they can kill you, never building anything or trying to regain civilization. I just hope that in the event of an actual societal collapse, thinking people will at least realize the larger you can make your group, and the faster you can establish a civilizing force for good, the better off you are.

        • LennyLeonardo says:

          The thing is, the misery in the game is simulated.

          As for rape in DayZ, for example: if you don’t see the difference between simulated torture and simulated rape, you have no business talking about it at all.

          • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

            WHAT?! Is this some kind of tasteless joke, or have I not understood a deeper point? How can you possibly state that rape is definitely more serious than torture? That seems awfully disrespectful of torture victims, especially those who have been left horribly disfigured or psychologically broken.

          • pepperfez says:

            You’ll notice that he never compares actualrape and actual torture, or indeed says one is more serious than the other. Just that simulated rape and simulated torture are different in their impact on the real people involved. Women live with an awareness of the threat of rape that’s different from anyone’s concern about being kidnapped and tortured by bandits.

          • LennyLeonardo says:

            Yeah, what pepper said. Maybe I wasn’t clear about it, but I think that simulating something places it under an entirely different set of values and measures than those of the thing itself. Of course, the level of abstraction in the simulation changes these somewhat.

    • Josh W says:

      They won’t until they include sex in the game, and I doubt they ever will, as all human characters are generally players, and spawn spontaneously and mysteriously into the world.

      The reason the games contain all these things is that they contain a variety of ways for player’s avatars to suffer, ways to trap other player’s avatars, and ways to injure other player’s avatars. All the rest is emergent.

      One of the reasons player avatars can often move through each other in many MMO games (aside from the advantages for cramming players around particular quest nodes) is that it makes it more difficult to trap each other.

      Part of the problem of Day Z is that it contains a detailed model of human suffering, and a very low fidelity model of human interactions with the environment. The bodies of the player avatars are the most complex entities in the game, not even considering the fact that a human being is playing through them. I know that Rocket has been constantly trying to make the game more about those environmental interactions, but so far the game is still mostly about things happening to people.

      • Baines says:

        Players could figure out how to fake it.

        Consider teabagging taking off in Halo. Kill someone, then taunt that player by simulating a sexual act on their corpse. (Though arguably even worse was that developers at High Voltage Software were apparently enamored enough with the practice that they made teabagging award an achievement in Conduit 2 for the Wii. Way to promote a decent online environment there, HVS.)