The Sunday Papers

Alec remains the king of images.
Morrissey said that everyday was like Sunday. The bequiffed miserablist was wrong! Other days of the week don’t see RPS posting a round-up of interesting items for sedentary examination in list format, while Kieron resists going off about the gig 3/4 of RPS went to see on Friday.

Failed.

9 Comments

  1. terry says:

    Ah, Hunter…. a thrilling tale of flying bicycles, windsurfing drivebys, ridable fish and General decapitation. One huge ass game and easily as deserving of praise as the Midwinter series. Shame I could never find it for sale..

  2. Arnulf says:

    Incredible! I’ve almost forgotten these. From the open-world-games, I’ve owned (or still have) Mercenary: Escape from Targ, plus its Expansion Second City. Also Damocles, which had Einsteinian physics… fly too often between planets and your precious time was used up!

    Urban Chaos I got for the PC… should try to get it working with a gamepad. Fighting was really well done in that.

  3. Mike says:

    That Amateur/Indie thing is really interesting. I think the whole ‘death of the garage gamer’ thing is more a question of definition. People might not literally be hacking out Visual Basic in their bedrooms, but the ethic, style and level of competence is still there, don’t you think?

  4. roBurky says:

    I like the idea of a distinction between indie and amateur that the GameSetWatch article makes, but I don’t like the way it seems overly negative about amateur games.

    Rather than just pointing out some differences in mindsets and methods, it also gives a lot of generalised examples that make the amateur game designer look stupid.

    “Indies try to create buzz by launching a Flash-based website with game media releases; Amateurs try to create buzz by launching a Geocities site with lots of flashing blink tags” etc

    But then at the opening and closing of the article, the author seems to be in support of amateur games, which I find a little confusing and at odds with the tone of the rest of the article.

  5. axel says:

    Andrew Doull is the maker of UnAngband, so he is an amateur himself. There is nothing wrong with amateur games – there is a lot right with them. The world would be a better place if there were more of them.

  6. Inflatable Moron says:

    “Seriously, when they dropped You! Me! Dancing! I thought the entire building was going to be torn apart in pritt-stick-fume powered zine-kid melee of orgiastic violence”

    Im going to See Los Campesinos on Tuesday. This bodes well!

  7. wiper says:

    Exploding seagulls!

    That is all.

  8. Mr.Moon says:

    After reading the whole EA bit, I think there is going to be a video game crash. High rising costs, plus Too many online shooters and FPS games… companies are going to start losing money. On the other hand, I think independent developers will stay secure in their niche markets.

  9. Dinger says:

    So EA has finally realized their name stands for Elevator Assets? In any case, it’s a useful position to take when trying to woo small development houses: you will be assimilated, so might as well do so with us.
    You could also view the same problem of rising costs reducing the number of viable genres as heralding the destruction of the “big label” hegemony. Think of the passive entertainment industry (television and movies): there’s only a small handful of demographics for which it makes sense to produce a $100M movie. A slightly larger range of genres encompasses the vast majority of primary distribution films. Then you get the art-house stuff. Television has national and international networks, which show programs of broad interest, but usually produced with much less money than movies. Then there are specialized channels, aimed at more precise groups (e.g., The Hitler Channel), and these often have even smaller budgets and audiences.

    So, for the game industry: yes, it takes a huge team to make a AAA release, and the sales you need to make to cover the costs means that you’re either doing WoW, The Sims, or Halo, maybe this time with zombies.
    But the same technological improvements that make “cutting edge” expensive make “perfectly acceptable” rather less so, especially if you can license tools based on anticipated or actual revenues.

    “History of the Open World” saw the author’s favorite dodge of the passive voice fail through overuse. It’s an interesting stroll, but, for me at least, it fails to connect the games, to pick out the intellectual threads that tie them together and to highlight the developments. It also smacks of teleology, ending with the release of GTA III in 2001 as the summit of the genre. Is “Open World” a genre, and, if so, what are its characteristics? Why does the list include Adventure!, but not the Ultima series? For that matter, aren’t most MMO games ‘Open World’? GTA III came out in 2001, but so did Operation Flashpoint; what makes the one first-person, go-anywhere, do-anything game different from the other?

    Finally, Mr. Doull makes some excellent observations on amateur games and indie games. I think contraposing the terms confuses a lot of people, and that explains why most people “don’t get it” (possibly, but probably not, including Doull himself).

    “Independent developer” describes the relationship between developer and other companies in the real world.”
    “Amateur” describes the developer’s approach to the game, and is opposed to “Professional.” Amateurs are driven by passion, and the joy in making a game, whereas professionals seek to make a complete product.

    Right there is a split in usage that I think has gone unnoticed. We use “Amateur” both to refer to those who work on a project without expecting their work to be fully compensated, and those who, working on a project, only do the things they like.

    Amateurs in the first group can bring a passion and dedication to a project that a professional cannot afford to. I understand this to be Dubious Quality’s “Inkblot” analogy Doull refers to. For example, a professional team working on an FPS couldn’t afford an accurate tidal simulation and plotting the planets moving across the sky: those are the touches of an amateur, possessed by dedication, who can add something that does not have an obvious effect on sales. An amateur who doesn’t work or worry about expenses can explore areas pros cannot.

    The other sense of ‘amateur’ refers to those who don’t do the things they don’t like to do. When we call something ‘amateurish’, that’s what we mean, most of the time: an autodidact with little understanding of the stakes.

    But many amateurs of the first group realize that, for their amateur vision to have impact, they need to do a lot of uninspiring crap-work to produce a complete whole.

    Oh yeah, and contrary to the author’s implication, there are amateur artists too, in both categories. The latter group of amateurs often make really cool looking stuff that busts poly counts, texture rules, LODs, or something else such that their work has a non-obvious negative affect on the whole. The former group can draw upon painstaking research in reproducing a visual environment at a level of fidelity beyond what the market will bear. You know, like giving a guy in the back a stack of botany books, some mathematical tables, and a couple of computers, and saying “see you in a couple years”…