Posts Tagged ‘The Sunday Papers’

The Sunday Papers

By Graham Smith on April 20th, 2014.

Sundays are for checking in late to write up notes on the week’s best games writing. Let’s get this done; there are games to be played.

  • Simon Parkin over at Eurogamer speaks to some of the key team members behind the creation of the original BioShock, including JP LeBreton and Jordan Thomas:
  • Not every aspect of the game evolved so effortlessly. At one point the team needed to create a demo for the American video game magazine Game Informer. The magazine was set to run a BioShock cover story. “The pressure was on to create something that would impress, and our deadline was looming,” says LeBreton. “In a level review, there was some discussion of how an AI should be presented in the short demo. Someone mentioned System Shock 2′s evasive cyborg ninjas as a reference point. Ken threw his glasses down and yelled: ‘I don’t want to hear anything about any f***ing cyborg ninjas!’”

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The Sunday Papers

By Graham Smith on April 13th, 2014.

I'm back whether you want me or not.

Sundays are for whatever you please. Don’t let me tell you what you can and can’t do. You’re free and the world is your lobster.

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The Sunday Papers

By Adam Smith on April 6th, 2014.

Sundays are for waking too early and spending the morning staring into the coffee, searching for signs.

  • We begin with typically excellent and thorough work from Electron Dance, where an investigation into concepts of choice and narrative becomes a fascinating tour of hypertext and holodecks. It’s the best thing I’ve read this week.
  • We’re used to the common wisdom of books and films being uni-directional media. We start on page one and know we’re finished when the credits roll. We’re drawn to the idea of “The Narrative”, a master sequence of events being played before us. Even films like Inland Empire (David Lynch, 2006) or 21 Grams (Alejandro González Iñárritu, 2003) which present fragmented stories, still take their passengers on a directed ride from start to finish. We’ve bought into the idea that storytelling is about a journey to an endpoint, an authored destination.

    The real destination is the creation of meaning, whether that be the reader’s interpretation or reconstructing the author’s intent. The work is not completed by reading the final page but by reading all of the pages.

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The Sunday Papers

By Graham Smith on March 30th, 2014.

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.

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The Sunday Papers

By Graham Smith on March 23rd, 2014.

Regular like clockwork.

Sundays are for watching roller derby and wondering why someone designed a sport that was like NASCAR but with people instead of cars. Sundays are for reviewing the best (mostly) games related writing from (mostly) the past week.

  • Critical Proximity was a conference about games criticism which took place the Sunday before GDC. Alan Williamson from Five Out Of Ten Magazine produced a video for the event on an important subject: why magazines are better than these newfangled webpages. It’s a romantic, cheerful call to arms for maintaining, and more importantly pushing, the old format further. I tend to agree, and continue to idly consider doing something about it. But probably I’ll just eat another packet of crisps and order some of Alan’s work online.
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The Sunday Papers

By Graham Smith on March 16th, 2014.

Sundays are for trundling around a small village in Germany, picking up and dropping off passengers in the wondrous, mostly fixed OMSI 2, using my new Logitech Driving Force GT steering wheel. As I park at the terminal, waiting for the beginning of my next route, why not join me in perusing the week’s best (mostly) games writing?

  • Relevant to my interests, creator of QWOP and GIRP Bennett Foddy takes to Polygon to explain why you don’t want an online version of Matt Thorson’s Towerfall, or other, similarly local multiplayer-only games. Basically, laaaaaaaag: “As a game designer, if you want players to be able to dodge an arrow at the last second, or to stomp their enemies on the head like they do in TowerFall, you’re designing a game that won’t play well even over a LAN, much less over the messy, noisy collection of networks that make up the internet. There’s literally no way to eliminate the effects of lag, and you’ll wind up with game-breaking problems like Dark Souls’ infamous PvP ‘lag stab’.”
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The Sunday Papers

By Graham Smith on March 9th, 2014.

NO FAILURE.

Sundays are for manning a table at a local craft fair. But they can also be for reading pre-prepared links to the week’s best (mostly) games writing, while attempting to look the other way while the author again links to their own podcast.

  • Singularity was a jumbled mess when it was released, owing too much to its influences and doing little with its time-warping concept. Reading Keith Fuller explain what went wrong with the Raven Software game, based on his experience as a programmer on the game, it’s hard not to feel sympathetic. “For a day, the game was cancelled. Dates had been missed, and the project was nowhere near complete. So when the VP from Activision visited the studio and saw the true state of affairs, her assessment – while a shock – wasn’t overly surprising. She made it clear that she was going back to HQ to tell them to cancel Singularity.”
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The Sunday Papers

By Graham Smith on March 2nd, 2014.

LOSING. MY. EDGE.

Sundays are for losing my edge. I’m losing my edge to the internet seekers who can tell me every member of every Amiga developer from 1987 to 1991. I hear that you and your blog have sold your PCs and bought Ouyas. But have you seen my collection of the week’s best (mostly) game’s related scribbling?

  • Over at Eurogamer, Donlan says thank you to the sadly departed Harold Ramis, and muses on how to say thank you to the anonymous people who make the things we love in videogames. “In truth, if you’re like me, you’ll have little idea of who was responsible for many of your favourite moments in many of your favourite games – and that’s a crying shame, since a lot of games are their best moments, living on in your memory, playing over and over and getting sharper and more distinct each time. To me, Arkham City is the grapnel boost. Batman has the best ropes! Look at it go, unspooling from the end of the gun with a puff of smoke, first a coiled Slinky of wire, then a taut black line connecting you to your destination.”
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The Sunday Papers

By Graham Smith on February 23rd, 2014.

RIND SO TOUGH IT'S CRAZY.

Sundays are for listening to The Smiths, playing with virtual reality spaceships, and assembling a list of the week’s game scribblings while continuing to resist the urge to link to your own podcast.

  • This week was dominated by the re-structuring of Irrational Games. Our very own Rich Stanton takes to the Guardian to talk about the meaning of Irrational’s closure, holding up the company’s games and Levine’s comments as a mirror for what’s happening. Good quotes in there from Levine himself as well. “I love systems, I love board games and that’s all they are is systems. I think the challenge is that I probably have something more to say in the narrative space than I do in the system space, but who knows how that could combine? I mean maybe, we did this game called Freedom Force about superheroes, and one thing that I thought we did better than other superhero games was the narrative component. Superhero stories are soap operas, right? They take the characters and emotions and amplify them through the fantastical stuff, and without that character stuff – like without Uncle Ben dying in Amazing Fantasy #15 – Spider-Man isn’t interesting! Videogames often leave that on the table and make their games way more goofy than comic books actually are.” Thanks for the Spider-Man spoilers, Ken.
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The Sunday Papers

By Graham Smith on February 16th, 2014.

Flappy Bird on pages 3, 5, 6, 11, 18, 36-124.

Sundays are for sleeping in til midday, before rising to gather the finest articles about flapping birds the internet can provide. What will make us all angry next week, I wonder?

  • Let’s do all the Flappy Birds articles first. Brendon Keogh writes about the problem with innovation, and does some rare work towards understanding what makes Flappy Bird a fun game to play. “There’s a slapstick, black humor to it – a morbid desperation. Mechanically, this translates into the game’s difficulty. In most flying games, it’s possible to find an equilibrium as your flaps turn into something resembling gliding. Not here. Flap too little and you plummet; flap too much and you’ll bang your head on the pipe. You must compensate for overcompensation.”
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    The Sunday Papers

    By Graham Smith on February 9th, 2014.

    Bet there's chewing gum on the underside of this table.

    Sundays are for visiting family in the frigid north, before the country detaches and sets sail to hang out with Iceland. They’re also for reading pre-prepared game writings from across the week.

    • OXM UK’s Edwin Evans-Thirwell takes to The Guardian to write about how videogames provide his brother, who has Down’s Syndrome, with a mechanism by which to escape the expectations placed upon him. “We expect “disabled” people – that’s to say, the vast spectrum of individuals branded as such for convenience’s sake – to be passive, unaware, content to live within tacit, carefully managed social nooks in exchange for support and guidance. We don’t expect them to recognise such overtures for what they are: well-meant, but limiting. We don’t expect them to break the rules. We don’t expect them to cheat. By contrast, most video games outright encourage you to misbehave, or at least refrain from bringing down the gavel when you do: it’s what makes them such wonderful, liberating escapism.”
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