Posts Tagged ‘The Sunday Papers’

The Sunday Papers

By Graham Smith on May 25th, 2014.

Actually we play something unreleased.

Sundays are for spinning the wheel of games: do we play Transistor? Wolfenstein? Elite: Dangerous? Blade Symphony? FIFA World? Too many choices. Best read some articles while I decide.

  • Speaking of too many choices, the indie bubble is popping. So says Jeff Vogel, creator of many fine, niche indie RPGs. This is a long read, going step by step, and I find it hard to disagree. I suppose my hope is that it’s a good thing and that when the bubble and gold rush are gone, what’s left is a healthy, sustainable ecosystem.
  • With so many games out, picking the good ones out of the crowd is a huge job. As far as I can tell, nobody, and I mean nobody, is willing to do it. This is why, despite such a flood of product, so few games have broken out from the crowd so far this year.

    If most of the indie developers went out of business, are we so sure that, outside of the game dev community, people would even notice? Are we so sure a hearty herd thinning isn’t what they secretly want?

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    The Sunday Papers

    By Graham Smith on May 18th, 2014.

    Sundays are for being brief.

  • Keith Stuart at the Guardian looks at the influence HR Giger had over videogames.
  • In turn, the Alien movies would go on to inspire a whole generation of game designers and artists. The first-person shooter Doom mixed demonic monsters with claustrophobic sci-fi environments, and Giger’s weird organic interior designs doubtless inspired the game’s miles of intestinal corridors and womb-like interiors. The influence was surely there too in Valve’s atmospheric Half-Life adventures, with their repulsively transmogrified humanoid creatures, and face hugger-like Head Crabs.

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    The Sunday Papers

    By Graham Smith on May 11th, 2014.

    Technically I only want to be comfortable, respected and attractive.

    Sundays are for locking the doors and toiling away at pet projects, because how else are you ever going to become rich, famous and attractive?

    • Keza MacDonald visited EVE Fanfest and wrote about the uncanny machismo of EVE Online, as expressed through many of its developers being beaten up by an MMA fighter. So many quotable paragraphs in this one.
    • As the fighting begins, I’m feeling apprehensive. I know quite a bit about CCP as a company, EVE Online and its unusual fanbase, but I know literally nothing whatsoever about MMA, so I’m concerned that they’re going to get absolutely destroyed. I don’t want to watch EVE’s concept artist or someone get carried out on a stretcher, twitching and covered in blood. But what they’re doing here isn’t the bloodsports I had imagined, but rather a sort of… protracted hugging. Painful hugging, I’m sure. But what I’m seeing here is impressively pale, Nordic, muscular men climbing on top of each other and kind of wriggling around for a few minutes until one of them taps out.

      The year I attended, chessboxing was the violent sport of choice. Its mixture of tactical manouvering with direct punches to the face seems at least slightly more appropriate to the game.

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    The Sunday Papers

    By Graham Smith on May 4th, 2014.

    Sundays are for recovering from Saturday’s bus trip to Wales by frying as many eggs as will fit in the pan, playing some obtuse ASCII game, and wondering what cartoons you might watch come night time.

    • James Patton writes a eulogy for the recently departed freeindiegam.es, and why the kinds of games it traded in are important.
    • These games were not about pushing out a finished product ready to sell, which preoccupies a lot of indie dev culture at present. They were about playfulness, exploration, a breathless desire to just throw some assets together and make something real. These games were working on the frontier, going to strange, unexplored places and unlocking our ideas about games and our potential to make them in unexpected ways.

      Long live Live Free Play Hard.

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    The Sunday Papers

    By Graham Smith on April 27th, 2014.

    An act of tradition.

    Sundays are for playing Numenera with good friends, but not before assembling a bumper crop of the week’s best games writing and videoing.

    • Philippa Warr writes about PolitkerStarCraft, a StarCraft tournament in which representatives from Sweden’s political parties do battle. I love that this exists:
    • On April 13, Sweden’s political parties took to the maps of StarCraft II in a struggle for digital supremacy and bragging rights in the ultimate rematch. The PolitikerStarcraft tournament first took place in 2010 in the run up to the Swedish general election. Back then, victory went to the Liberal Party who scored first place in the gaming contest as well as a sort-of first place at the polls as part of a four-party coalition government. With another general election looming, Jonathan Rieder Lundkvist resurrected PolitikerStarcraft, challenging each party in parliament, as well as the Feminist Initiative and the Pirate Party, to field a worthy StarCraft II contender.

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    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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