The Sunday Papers

By Graham Smith on August 24th, 2014 at 2:00 pm.

Sundays are for remaining steadfast, even as all common sense suggests otherwise.

  • Writing for the New York Times, Chris Suellentrop salutes the underappreciated women videogame pioneers, and discusses the need for exhibitions which celebrate their work.
  • The first commercially released game designed by a woman is believed to be Ms. Shaw’s 3-D Tic-Tac-Toe for the Atari 2600 in 1980. That year, Dona Bailey programmed the colorful arcade shooter Centipede for Atari. Ms. Shaw designed River Raid, a game I spent countless hours with as a boy, for Activision in 1983. Roberta Williams wrote, among other pioneering computer games, King’s Quest in 1984.

  • Recently I pointed towards the work of Laura Michet, an erstwhile and excellent writer about videogames on the internet. She’s dabbling again and writes about the augmented reality mobile game Ingress, in which two teams of players capture portals mapped upon architectural points of interest.
  • FN was a long-time player who had submitted most of the portals in the downtown area where I work. As we walked along the block, he told me seven or eight quick little stories. Over the next few weeks, he would keep me up to date on which town halls are built over ancient graveyards, which murals have been painted over by the town, which churches used to be which slightly different kind of churches, and which street-side electrical box was recently “lost”– really, lost from the curb, and nobody knows who took it down– by the municipal utilities department. Wow, I thought. I guess this game really makes you pay attention to your community. That was definitely a wholesome way to spin it to myself.

    I felt like I needed a wholesome explanation for what I was doing. I did not tell anyone in my office that I’d been out on the street meeting strangers and swapping tales of municipal corruption. “I really like this triangles game,” I told them. That’s how I thought of it: the game where you go for a stroll and make triangles. Nothing too weird. Nothing embarrassing. But I was embarrassed, a little. I was meeting people in public. That’s kind of weird, isn’t it? But exciting. And I’m an adult now. I can meet internet people in the street if I want.

  • Ben Overmyer write a short, sharp post about his experiences with Star Wars: Galaxies, Sony’s ill-fated and deceased MMO about joining everyone’s favourite exciting sci-fi universe and becoming a carpenter or farmer.
  • Regardless, come launch day, I was in the game and playing. It was an experience to be remembered. My character was created as an Artisan, the prototypical crafter from the game. In those days, the game was based around a freeform skill system that allowed you to combine a variety of different “professions” to create your character. I strongly remember specializing in weaponsmithing and carbine use, a combination that wasn’t very popular at the time. I spent many hours speculating with my low-level mineral discovery devices so that I could gather enough materials to build the newest type of weapons and armor.

    Related and previously linked: Chris Thursten’s similar take, prompted by the game’s 2011 closure.

  • John starved to death in Eidolon, a pretty, contemplative survival game. Its creator has written on Gamasutra about how much it cost to make, how much money it’s made back, and what that means for the future of the company. Always interesting to see numbers.
  • So far, including pre-orders, we’ve moved ~1800 units, which amounts to ~$28k gross (including Humble tips and OST sales, before distributor cuts or taxes). 75% of this is through Steam, 25% Humble, even though we include on the Steam store page a request that people buy through Humble, who gives us a better deal as well as funding charity.

    Related: the same information for the more successful Shovel Knight.

  • I bought a PlayStation 3 this week, doing the thing of nipping in at the end of a console generation when everything is cheap and hoovering up everything classic or obscure. That’s also given me the chance to play the just-released Hohokum, which is a gosh damned delight. Simon Parkin gets it over at Eurogamer. Kill Screen, as ever, does not. Rob Fearon is, as ever, correctly, gently cross about it.
  • The BBC on ‘video-less’ videogames suitable for the blind and curious.
  • Over at PC Gamer, Tyler Wilde talks about Mountain; mainly, why critics like it and Steam user reviews don’t. I don’t agree with everything said, but I do agree with this:
  • I’ve been running Mountain for two days now, and I’m not spilling over with praise for its ambient melancholic introspection. It’s not brilliant, but I like it. I like it because it can’t be described as “solid,” “visceral,” or “deep.”

    Those words are ugly shorthand writers use when they’re tired of describing complex things, or don’t understand them. Controls are “solid,” combat is “visceral,” customization is “deep”—I’m sure I’ve been guilty of using them all (shame on my family). It isn’t good writing, but sometimes it’s hard to get excited about the umpteenth iteration of ‘the sniping mission.’ In a state of fatigue, limp clichés are easy and comforting. “Look, we all know what this is,” they say, “So let’s just agree that it’s fine and move on.”

  • As, I guess, some American channel is showing every Simpsons episode ever, read The Toasts celebration of Ralph Wiggum.
  • But Ralph is more than Chief Wiggum minus power. Ralph’s goodness is not the absence of malice. Ralph’s goodness is pure and unself-conscious. “Was President Lincoln okay?” he asks Ms. Hoover worriedly after learning of the Ford Theater assassination. It’s the last day of school, and everyone else has already left for the summer. Ralph’s not leaving until he makes sure that President Lincoln is doing all right.

Music this week is Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off, over and over and over and over and over.

, .

87 Comments »

Top comments

  1. Cara Ellison says:

    Sometime RPS contributor Robert Yang also pointed me to this excellent documentary, Ways of Seeing by John Berger, one of the most influential art programmes ever made:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pDE4VX_9Kk#t=59

    Relevant to video games in all sorts of ways.

    “I don’t want to suggest that there is nothing left to experience before original works of art except a certain sense of awe, because they have survived, because they are genuine, because they’re absurdly valuable. A lot more is possible.

    But only if art is stripped of the false mystery and the false religiosity which surrounds it.

    This religiosity, usually linked with cash value…”

  1. Cara Ellison says:

    Sometime RPS contributor Robert Yang also pointed me to this excellent documentary, Ways of Seeing by John Berger, one of the most influential art programmes ever made:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pDE4VX_9Kk#t=59

    Relevant to video games in all sorts of ways.

    “I don’t want to suggest that there is nothing left to experience before original works of art except a certain sense of awe, because they have survived, because they are genuine, because they’re absurdly valuable. A lot more is possible.

    But only if art is stripped of the false mystery and the false religiosity which surrounds it.

    This religiosity, usually linked with cash value…”

  2. Eight Rooks says:

    It’s fascinating to see Icewater defend making virtually no money whatsoever, with a bunch of people attacking them for daring to “settle” – and sad, though not remotely surprising, to see Eidolon was (in coldly pedantic terms) a flop. (Long tail or not, it should be obvious what I mean.) God damned shame, that. For all its flaws I would argue until I’m blue in the face it has some of the best writing a videogame’s ever had – far better than any classic CRPG ever made, for starters.

    It is flawed. The survival aspect is almost completely superfluous, and I insist that’s not a good thing. You plainly don’t need to devote anything more than the bare minimum of effort to it and it’s so simple as to be practically automated, so why is it in there? The world is frequently stunning – I didn’t take all those screenshots for the lulz – and yet seeing the same silly little 3D model for blackberry bushes repeated a million million times, arbitrarily, clumsily blown up or shrunken down keeps on jolting me out of my reverie over and over again, to go for just one example.

    I hope John Walker simply hasn’t said anything else about it because of That Which Shall Not Be Named going on… yet while I worry it’s not that, I wouldn’t blame anyone for backing away from the damn thing.

    Yet it’s still hit me where it hurts; it’s moved me more than many, many other more conventional “games”, or arthouse projects, come to that. It’s miles better than Dear Esther’s twisted purple prose and complete lack of depth, for starters. (Oh, I went there.) I haven’t come close to “finishing” it (and it has no end anyway) but the twelve hours I’ve spent with it so far were more than worth the asking price. If only these guys had been able to polish the thing just a little. Bit. More, then perhaps that post-mortem wouldn’t have been quite so… gloomy? Oh, well. Them’s the breaks.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      If the That Which Shall Not Be Named is the That Which Shall Not Be Named I think you mean with That Which Shall Not Be Named, I don’t think that That Which Shall Not Be Named is related to Eidolon?

    • Shuck says:

      I don’t think anyone is attacking him – they’re just confused by his characterization of the production as “sustainable,” and pointing out that it’s basically incorrect. He’s living off of savings, obviously, and looks forward to making wages below the poverty line – that’s not really sustainable. If you have contract workers that are making similarly worthless hourly wages, they’re doing it out of friendship or because they believe in the project as a hobby, not for the wages – that’s certainly not sustainable. Going forward, it’s going to be increasingly difficult to find people willing to work under those conditions (friendship has its limits and every game has to be something that excites everyone in your labour pool enough that they’ll take it on as a hobby).
      I’ve been doing some work (with no expectation of pay) for a friend in a similar situation – he’s finding it impossible to get projects finished because of the difficulty of keeping a group of people working on a project for any period of time without compensation.

      • Eight Rooks says:

        Poor choice of words, maybe. Sorry. I certainly didn’t necessarily mean to be a cheerleader for the guy, much as I love the game. His piece does seem to have a distinct tone of “But we finished it, I don’t see what the problem is” – going straight to “Wow, we can actually make a go of this” while glossing over what seem like pretty important long-term issues. At the same time, some of those comments have a distinct tone, to me, of “My God, you can’t possibly be serious” – they seem to take it as an affront that he doesn’t care what he has to struggle through, as long as he keeps making games. That the people he’s asked to work with him can’t possibly be okay with this, because goodness, how could anyone be? etc., etc.

        • Shuck says:

          Well, I think there are two things going on: one is that this involves a business model where work is done by contract workers who essentially aren’t getting paid, and that seems exploitative. And maybe it is – he’s obviously not seeking to exploit anyone, but did these people go into this with the hope/expectation of being paid? Are they doing this because they need shipped games on their resumes in order to get actual paid work? Are they doing it just for the pleasure of it? When someone says, “We all made this game and no one is really getting paid, but that’s cool” you don’t actually know if it really is without hearing from the other people involved.
          The other thing, I think, is indie developers (and would-be indie developers) are freaking out because they’re realizing that being a “successful” indie developer is likely to mean less-than-living wages.

          • Premium User Badge

            drewski says:

            My interpretation is that they knew before commencing work that they would contribute unpaid, but be entitled to a share of the profits.

            In that sense, the “business model” is sustainable as long as he is able to obtain people willing to take the risk of little or no pay in return for a potential windfall return should a game be greatly successful. Not sure I’d want to either start or work for a company on that basis, but I’m not sure it’s exploitative as long as you’re clear to everyone what the conditions are.

      • jasonisme84 says:

        I don’t know where the company’s based, but is pay below minimum wage legal, even if its your own company?

        • Premium User Badge

          drewski says:

          Must be, otherwise executives and owners wouldn’t get away with paying themselves a $1 salary in tough times.

          Probably depends on the country, but even in the most rigorously enforced labour system it seems unlike a government would bother prosecuting someone for underpaying themselves.

        • Ergates_Antius says:

          That would only apply if they were employees which, from the sounds of it, they weren’t. If you are self employed, you are free to subcontract yourself out for as much or little as you like. You can even work for free.

  3. PopeRatzo says:

    Always interesting to see numbers.

    Not always. Sometimes.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Mungrul says:

    You have a PS3 Graham?
    Then you SHALL play Valkyria Chronicles.

    • Graham Smith says:

      Alright. Why?

      • RARARA says:

        It’s somewhat a natural progression of the original XCOM – time units and all.

      • grom.5 says:

        Alternate time history for the first world war (more or less)
        Original take on the strategic part (you have points of action to move a troup. When you move it, you pass in third person and have a limited number of action to move, shot and go hide yourself)
        Permadeath not too annoying if I’m not wrong (Not a good point for everyone, but I feel more in a strategic game if I have some serious problems)

        Gorgeous pastel graphics

        It is worth a shot.

        • Moraven says:

          And you can always rescue an shot down team member and bring in reinforcements. Only if the enemy tuoches their unconscious corpse do they permanently die.

          Fantasy lite WW1 setting.

          Turn:
          You have a set of Command Points. 1 CP to control a solider, 2 CP to control a tank. Also there are special commander abilities that cost CP.

          Take control of a unit. Third person movement. Each unit has a certain amount of movement. Movement is in real time at this point. Enemies (and your own soliders) will Overwatch fire automatically at anything in their Line of Sight. So it is wise to walk around or between cover, avoiding damage in real time movement.

          Each unit can take one action. Aiming freezes the Overwatch firing and you have a cursor, the smaller it is the more accurate you will be. Headshots kill. Tanks have vulnerable engines in the back or their Tank treads can be shot to limit their movement.

          Scout (+movement, 3 shot rifle)
          Sniper (long range and zoom)
          Shocktrooper (medium movement, sub machine gun, high armor. Flamethrowers later)
          Lancer (Anti Tank rockets, high armor, slow movement)
          Engineer (rifle, can remove mines, place mines, repair tanks, replenish ammo to units)
          Tank (anti infantry machine gun and mortar, anti tank shells.)
          Light Tank (more movement, lighter armor, flamethrower)

          You can use a unit more than once in a turn, but they will have less movement each time. Also there are some minor ammo limitations, so you can’t snipe 5 times a turn for instance (ammo regenerates or can fully be replenished at control points).

          Story is told via cutscene episodes selected in a Book, the book that the journalist wrote to tell the story of the war, which you are acting out basically. No exploring or talking to townfolks.

          There is some class upgrading and tank upgrading, limited by your exp and ammo. Not to limiting, essentially you pick which you want to be more powerful first. Some weapons have different trees. Sometimes enemy weapons drop and you can equip them. So some variety of equipment but not to much. Want to go for more power over accuracy?

          Also each unit is a person with a name, who has their own set of perks and cons (cons being something like, they are allergic to grass, so if you run them over grass they get a debuff). They also have a Buddy list, giving them a buff if they are near that person in battle. Fire Emblem has done this for a long time.

          Essential anime like hand pointing freeze frames.

          Reason I got a PS3 and still never beat it yet. Cutscene story telling might not be for everyone but the gameplay is great.

          • Premium User Badge

            Mungrul says:

            Pretty much this.
            Although I will add that in addition to individual perks and disadvantages, each character has their own personality too.
            You grow to like certain troopers based on these personalities. For example, I have a soft spot for the engineer Ramsey. She’s not the best engineer, and her disadvantage can be quite crippling, but I have to take her ‘cos I like her.

    • Morte66 says:

      For years I had this vague idea that maybe I’d buy a used PS2 on eBay to play Ico, then sell it again, which might cost a tenner overall or something like that. It foundered on me not owning a TV, and Ico being an interlaced game which my computer monitor can’t handle.

      Now there’s a remastered Ico for PS3, and the PS3 is end of life.

      Hmm.

      PS3 + Dell 2405FPW (1920×1200, 50-60Hz, DVI and HDMI/HDCP), will it work?

      • Leafy Twigs says:

        Should work. I’ve got a similar setup with the PS3 on my desk, connected via HDMI to the 1920×1080 monitor.

        I tried putting it on the television but I’m used to playing games sitting in an office chair with the screen close by. The living room setup felt alien and somewhat disconnected.

      • RARARA says:

        And with a bit (sometimes a lot) of fiddling, you can run PS2 games on your PC.

        Go PCSX2!

      • ScottTFrazer says:

        Should work. The only trick will be sound. If your Dell has audio out you can run the audio over hdmi and just plug in speakers or headphones.

        If not you can use the optical out from the PS3 to send to a receiver or something.

        I was originally running my PS3 through a Dell 24″ LCD and using the speaker/headphone method but I accumulated a few more consoles and then bought a Marantz receiver to keep things under control. Now everything runs audio over hdmi into that.

        Well, everything except the xbox 360. That wanted an optical cable for some reason

        • Somerled says:

          For a dirt cheap setup, an RCA joiner-to-3.5 mm adaptor lets you mux audio through any half decent sound card, including onboard mobo sound. Combining that with an HDMI switch and a couple extra cables will net around $25 dollars (or however many FunBucks your country uses as legal tender).

  5. Drake Sigar says:

    My 90s memory is extremely fuzzy (all I tend to get are flashes of GamesMaster and Art Attack) but I seem to recall there were a few ‘screensaver games’.

  6. costyka says:

    So I felt like the time for some Matrix related ramblings was on – if you’d care to apropos, vis-a-vis concordantly read some – here it be – http://geekysnippets.wordpress.com/2014/08/24/yet-another-set-of-half-baked-thoughts-about-the-matrix/ Concordantly!

  7. TillEulenspiegel says:

    even though we include on the Steam store page a request that people buy through Humble

    I’m a little surprised that Steam would allow that. In any case, it’s not especially prominent on the Steam page, buried near the bottom of the description that nobody reads carefully.

  8. disconnect says:

    Matt Lees’ take on Mountain seems worth linking to:

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Not far off, really. Completely pointless to “play”, but it’s a novel thing to poke at and write some words about. Not even that novel, but I guess most games journalists don’t bother looking at iPad crap which has been doing stuff like this for years.

    • Bull0 says:

      Why the fuck does he pronounce it “shism”

  9. Premium User Badge

    thedosbox says:

    The two gamasutra articles on development costs made for depressing reading, though at least both teams are able to continue.

    Good choice of song to start the week though.

    • Premium User Badge

      Martel says:

      The article on Eidolon’s is extra depressing when you read the comments. I’m surprised they were able to ship a game at all with the main guy’s complete lack of financial knowledge or sense.

      • Shuck says:

        He seems to be perfectly financially capable (within the context of what he’s doing, at least) – he’s just willing to not make any money developing games and made the mistake of calling that “sustainable.”

        • Eight Rooks says:

          Pretty much, and yet the first few comments make it sound as if this is some kind of cardinal sin. God, no, he can’t have found anyone who was happy to enter into such an arrangement – clearly he’s not thinking straight and it’ll all end in tears.

        • jasonisme84 says:

          Its not that he’s willing to not make money, he’s making a loss. He said he’d been using savings for living expenses, and the amount he’s made is less than he says he needed to live on. He’s saying it’s sustainable when he hasn’t yet made enough money to survive. That’s not sustainable. Not to mention the assumption that the other people involved are going to want to continue working for pocket money, which may also not be sustainable in the long term.

      • Freud says:

        Having shipped a game looks good on a CV and it’s likely that none of the other involved expected to make a lot of money (unless the game became a massive hit).

        I get the feeling that some of the indie scene is what the modding scene was ten years ago. A chance to work in groups and get experience. Now they have the added bonus of making money.

        I think the harsh tone in the comment section was because the guy obviously is willing to live on a minimal salary to try to realize his dream of making games and it’s possible he’s going to need others willing to do it part-time for even less helping him. It’s not sustainable for most people.

        • frightlever says:

          There may even be an element of what you get in games journalism where the “professionals” are just annoyed that some of his freelancers were willing to work for much less than market value (whatever that is).

          Reading the Shovel Knight breakdown right after the Eidolon financial breakdown was eye-opening.

  10. LionsPhil says:

    The Simpsons analysis of Martin is amusing too.

    (He’s totally drawn rounder, though. Look at that jawline and the corner of his mouth. He’s the posh fat smart kid.)

  11. kwyjibo says:

    Mountain is essentially a Steam reviews creative writing competition that costs you a pound to enter.

    10/10 would mountain again

  12. Fenix says:

    “Music this week is Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off, over and over and over and over and over.”
    Dear god no.

    • grom.5 says:

      Found the clip pretty funny. Always nice to see new kind of dance (except the Twerk part. Not my taste).

      That said, I think I just appreciate Taylor Swift because of cover other people made with her songs, like this one. (Walk Of The Earth : I knew you were trouble)

  13. Eight Rooks says:

    Ugh, more of this silly not-a-writing;

    as indulgent as it may seem to gush over oddities which attract much smaller audiences than aliens and assault rifles

    Perhaps critics ought to stop feeling self-conscious about gushing over something that’s not instantly, massively popular. God knows I dislike a lot of things, but it is not okay to dismiss or belittle something solely because only a handful of people are into it. So why even imply it is? It’s fine to criticise Mountain, and yet I wouldn’t do that just because I’ve got no interest in trying it. That is exactly what the Steam reviews saying “lolz dum screensaver not a gaem 0/10″ are doing. This is stupid, and critics shouldn’t automatically react to this with a “Oh dear. Perhaps we’re all… wrong?”

    • Geebs says:

      I simply can’t take anything seriously which has that little regard for the clouds clipping straight through the only solid object in the scene. Nice light scattering though.

      Getting excited about it really doesn’t do the ‘everything is games’ lobby any favours though. Sometimes toys are toys, sometimes art is just art.

    • toxic avenger says:

      You doth protest too much. It’s a figure of speech, a figure of speech that lets readers get a handle on the personality of the author. Maybe allow for the opportunity that he didn’t mean it as seriously as you’re taking it , perhaps?

  14. Leafy Twigs says:

    I recently picked up a PS3 too. For my starting library, picked up Red Dead Redemption, GTAV, Dark Souls, Journey, the Arkham stuff, and the port of Katamari. Will probably buy the White Witch JRPG next.

    For those of you that have one, what other games do you recommend? What’s the more unusual and interesting titles you’ve found?

    • grom.5 says:

      Demons souls
      Nier
      Valkyria Chronicles as said in a upper post
      Shadow of The Colossus HD (with ICO inside… A crime to not take it)
      Flower (Same kind as Journey but much shorter)

      Aw, also all the games from Platinum studio (Except Anarchy Reigns)
      Okami, Bayonneta and Metal gear Rising reveangeance
      And Vanquish also.

      Well that’s it for ~140 hours…

    • GameCat says:

      MGS Legacy Collection
      Folklore – action RPG thad fiddles around Irish, well, folklore.
      Rain
      Heavy Rain (not Rain sequel :P)
      Eternal Sonata – jRPG based around the music of Fryderyk Chopin. o_O
      All games from Persona series you can find on PS3.

    • Premium User Badge

      welverin says:

      LittleBigPlanet 1&2
      inFamous 1&2
      Uncharted 1-3
      The Last of Us
      God of War Collection
      Zone of the Enders HD Collection
      Heavenly Sword, so long as you can get it dirt cheap (it’s really short).
      If you can tolerate playing shooters with a pad the Resistance and Killzone games may worth a try.
      read up on Beyond: Two Souls, if you can tolerate it’s problems it may be worth playing as well.

      Metal Gear Rising Revengeance is on PC, so no need to get that for the PS3.

    • Dave Tosser says:

      Siren: Blood Curse is a thing to behold (and curse at)
      Seconded on Folklore

      Though the EU PSN is run by bastards who want to hurt you with regional prices, there’s plenty of PSX/PSP games that are playable on the main console, like the great Front Mission 3. I can also really recommend looking into the PS2′s catalogue and finding all the things I’m assuming you missed, like Valkyrie Profile 2, Odin Sphere and Zone of the Enders.

    • Moraven says:

      Ni No Kuni is on cheap time to time. Not the best battle system but a good overall JRPG.

      Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD Remix
      White Knight Chronicles II
      3D Dot Game Heroes

    • wu wei says:

      Dragon’s Dogma. It’s part Demons’ Souls, part Skyrim. Not perfect but still worth the time.

  15. Gog Magog says:

    So I got meself Kentucky Route Zero today and played it a bit.
    At one point very early on, if you choose the “Games” directory on a computer you interact with, you get the reply “Games is not real” and that made me smile.

    Edit:
    Oh. Spoilers.
    I had that problem once. So I pushed burning coals into my eyes and poured boiling silver into my ears and severed my tongue with a box cutter and hammered nails into my dick. That last one was just for funsies.

  16. Premium User Badge

    particlese says:

    Regarding your PS3 acquisition: Thanks for reminding me to play Hohokum! Polygon’s Philip Kollar didn’t think too highly of it either, but I trust RPS folks a bit more with these types of games. You might want to check out Flow, too, if you haven’t already.

    And, in case you haven’t had it pounded into your head yet, play Journey.
    This seems like a highly personal opinion, but I’ve heard it echoed by others: The first time you play the game, play it all the way through, in single-player mode (might need to sign out of PSN for that), and with all possible external distractions eliminated. (No spectators, no PSN messages, controller charged, phone(s) silenced, neighbors’ domiciles flooded with anesthizine gas, …) I’ve tried playing the game with a few people, but that extra presence somehow massively detracted from my enjoyment of the game. That said, I fully recommend giving multiplayer a go after some time, too, and I wish you as awesome a companion as I had.

    I tend to blab about Journey, so instead I’ll just link to this recent Polygon article by Colin Campbell that echos imperfectly why I don’t have much urge to replay the game. I do tend to re-play/-watch/-read/-enlisten things out of nostalgia, but Journey is the only piece of entertainment I can think of where I hesitate to revisit something I love.

    Sorry, I went on a Polygon binge yesterday.

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      Went looking up Hohokum hoping for a helicopter flight sim. Got rainbow elephants instead.
      Fair trade.

    • Eight Rooks says:

      For anyone who likes Hohokum and isn’t aware of this already I just wanted to point out the record label Ghostly International (whose artists did the soundtrack, AFAIK) have a bunch of free compilations on their web store here:

      http://www.theghostlystore.com/collections/music-free

      That’s five albums’ worth of stuff (couple of repeats, but not many), and there was a sixth free one I’ve got but which doesn’t seem to be up there. If you’re into Hohokum’s whole visual and aural aesthetic (and potentially if you’re short on disposable cash) you might want to give it a shot.

  17. blastaz says:

    I always wondered about shovel knight. If they knew the game would cost that much to make why did they go to kick starter asking for a fraction of the price with no alternative funding in mind?

    • Premium User Badge

      Anthile says:

      Kickstarter is not only about funding anymore but it’s also an important marketing tool. Websites are more likely to write about games that are on Kickstarter, especially successful ones, than if they had been conventionally funded. It also gives some nice positive reinforcement for the “brand”.

    • Tei says:

      Its hard to calculate how much time a software project will need, because in a big part is a creative process, and creativity can’t be forced.

  18. Tei says:

    Theres a alternate universe where RPS is a printed magazine, and on the pages 5 and 6 comes the C# source code of The Mountain. On this universe Korea invaded Japan, and now are they are called something like United Japan. They love PC games.

  19. Bob says:

    “Ms. Shaw designed River Raid’

    I was addicted to River Raid many years ago. I had to play it on a friend’s Atari 2600 coz we were not allowed such “extravigences” as consoles. I did manage to emulate a $5AU purchase (for a nostalgic romp) a couple of years ago. So thanks Ms. Shaw, for all the hours of entertainment decades ago.

  20. Syt says:

    SWG was my first MMO, and I remember the time spent with it fondly, in those pre-”New Game Enhancement” days. It had its flaws (doctors were for a while the most profitable profession, because they negated the negative effects of wearing full body armor), but its attempt of basically doing an EVE style game in the Star Wars universe was awesome.

    For people interested what it was like before it shut its doors SuperVaderman did an 80+ episode YouTube series with a lot of reminiscing (and following the quests that were later added to the game).

    I guess the game was doomed from the start. For their good intentions of making a “life sim” within Star Wars, the brand itself draws too many people who want to swing light sabers (Jedi were originally not in the game), and go on wild adventures and quests (SWTOR offers that, but feels shallow and linear compared to SWG’s freedom).

    I’ve always had a soft spot for the Old Republic setting, because with its huge distance from he “classic” universe, time wise, and its limited amount of established content (a few comic series at the time), it was basically a “re-imagining” of the Star Wars universe with familiar concepts and places, but completely new characters and stories, kind of like old vs. new Battlestar Galactica.

    I can’t but help to think that SWG would have greatly benefitted from moving their game to that era (even if it meant not having the iconic vehicles, landmarks and characters form the movies and Expanded Universe), as it would have given them more freedom to implement their own vision.

  21. Premium User Badge

    Stellar Duck says:

    Good choice of papers this time!

  22. Discosauce says:

    I quite enjoyed the piece by Laura Michet, and I am now venturing into the world of Ingress. I think it looks like a fun way to get out of the house, meet real live people, and possibly include some exercise.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lumberjack_Man says:

      I started playing Ingress thinking it was an interesting idea that I would get bored of quite quickly. 10 months later I play every day, have discovered parts of my native city that I’ve never been before, met some great people of varied backgrounds that I probably would never have normally given the time of day, got out of bed at midnight to cycle out to the middle of a nature reserve to take out the last enemy level 8 portal remaining within the M25, and have walked a few hundred kilometres. It’s bloody great and you feel like a spy!
      As you level up it becomes increasingly social and you’ll find you absolutely have to connect with your local community to get the best from it, although it is entirely possible to play as a lone wolf.

      • Discosauce says:

        That sounds like what I’m looking for! I’m liking that just by checking the app, or better yet the online site, you can see who is active in your area and what they are doing. Today I set out to propose a load of new portals in my local area along my cycling route (exercise!) which has relatively few, and tomorrow I’m thinking I’ll head downtown on a portal hunt. So far, so good.

  23. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    Graham -

    Okay, this is incredibly weird to say (hear me out) but my respect for you just took a big leap up with your snipe at Kill Screen. I like positivity, but sometimes it is important to call a failed experiment a failed experiment (I write this as a issue-1 subscriber of the print magazine that has now been basically killed by the website).

    You’ve done fantastic work for RPS (not counting all your behind-the-scenes work largely invisible to us readers) but I guess I hadn’t fully connected you to the RPS Brand. This little bit of concise truth has made you, in my mind, a member of the RPS Superhero Team.

    Weird post ends here.

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