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The Sunday Papers

Yeah, we said it would be regular in the first and only column, but we only got organised enough to start collating talking points this week. Honestly, every week from now on, except the ones when we get distracted by Strawberry Switchblade videos again. For those who weren’t around in those heady days of late 2007, the idea is that since it’s a lazy laid-back Sunday, we do a list of things to lazily read and have a nice sedentary think about and try to avoid discussing the relative merits of motown pop hits. Er… and that’s it.

  • An interview with Noor, a pacifist WoW player who is trying to get through the game without killing anything. What’s interesting for me here is not just his methodology, but how incredibly annoyed some people are for him playing this way. Man!
  • A new Fallout 3 diary from designer Emil Pagliarulo, which is proving controversial among Fallout fans for its apparent revisionism on the Brotherhood of Steel. Emil’s on the list of people I’d like to interview, randomly – games journalist turned Thief designer turned… well, what he is now. You out there, Emil?
  • In the wake of Rossignol extolling the awesomeosity of videogames, here’s another counter-piece, focusing on the Moral Cost of Videogames. Perhaps what separates it from most critiques is that it’s from ex-Edge writer Matthew Devereux.
  • The BBC on Blu-rays seeming “victory” in the high-density wars. It’s interesting to speculate how this would effect the PC. Would Blue-ray ever get traction as an installing medium – we suspect multiple DVDs for installation are more likely to remain dominant until Direct Download takes over. Which it probably will.
  • You’ve probably been following American Games Magazine EGM’s apparent blackballing by three publishers. Anyone got a take on it? It appears to have mainly slipped the attention, to the annoyance of some. My personal feeling is that all parties will have kissed and made up by the time the next game turns up, and EGM is just getting some pretty easy cred marks by waving it around in public. But – y’know – some small credit for that.
  • Translating videogames into pen and paper games has become something of a trend in the last five years or so. In a Gamasutra postmortem, Luke Johnson talks about how he went about it. In the week I found myself getting geeky over the imminent 40K tabletop game, fun stuff.
  • Critical Gaming came to my attention via someone pointing at his extensive vivisection without anesthetic of my Bioshock: A Defence piece over at Eurogamer (Which he even recorded as a podcast, with his brother filling in for yours truly). The main thrust of the site is a mix of Cultural-Studies reading of videogames interspersed with what he describes as “New Classical” theory. Which, at least from my surface reading, is just the same as classical game theory – I suspect the new is him kicking against what he sees as the pernicious influence of what he terms Western Game Design (By which he means games conceived on a conceptual rather than core-mechanic-basis), and wishing to re-priortise core tenets. Or whatever. While clearly I’m on side with anyone trying to apply their brain to a topic, I’m not exactly sure whether this approach will tell us anything new about videogames rather than restating well-known fundamentals. Which reminds me of one of my favourite lines in Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five when a character defends his love of reading his terrible Kilgore Trout novels: “Everything there is to know about human nature is in the Brothers Karamazov by Feodor Dostoevsky. But it’s not enough anymore“. In other words: “Everything there is to know about classical videogames is in Super Mario Galaxy by the Nintendo corporation. But it’s not enough anymore“.
  • Phew. That was a rambly one. And if you made it through it, you that – let alone the essays – you may be interested in the news of Qantm’s London offices. I’ll be talking more about games education when we publish a Warren Spector interview in a couple of weeks, but it’s an interesting one. I do wonder how many people out there have considered further education in videogames as a possible career route.
  • I really have trouble tossing up between Heatwave and Nowhere To Run in terms of what’s my favourite Martha Reeves and the Vandellas record. I think Heatwave’s YEAH! YEAH YEAH! may have clinched it.

Man, so near, yet so far.

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Kieron Gillen

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Kieron Gillen is robo-crazy.

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