The Sunday Papers


Another RPS Sunday. So it’s a good time, as the poisons drain from your body from last night’s thirty-something birthday party at a gloriously rubbish club, to catch up on a week’s readings. We lob up a series of links to such things, and try very, very hard to not link to the track that left Alec, an awesomely sozzled Tom Francis and myself stranded in a close-to-empty floor and dancing for dear life.



  1. Mike says:

    That HardCasual piece is hard to come back to. They seem to be overanalysing it. I don’t think YHTBTR is supposed to be thought-provoking and metaphorical on a grand scale. I DO think it’s supposed to be the kind of thing that makes people smile, and allow everyone the chance to join in with a bit of self-parody.

    That can’t be a bad thing?

  2. Kieron Gillen says:

    Well, I think Satire can be pretty clever and it’s more than a little pointed with it. I also think that HardCasual has misplaced the game’s main thrust.


  3. Leeks! says:

    Wasn’t Cole Train based on Terry Tate? Not that “it happened in real life” ever justifies horrid stereotypes in media, but I was always kind of under the impression that Terry Tate was self-parodying. That would also go a long way to explaining the “urban” references Gray was upset about Epic shoehorning in.

    Also… his name is “Cole Train.” Can anyone actually make a black character called that without being at least a little self-reflexive?

  4. Lorc says:

    YHTBTR is something of a Rorschach test, isn’t it?

  5. Kieron Gillen says:

    Lorc: A bit. But I think at least two central “things” are kind of undeniable. The “Games these days are so hard…” lead in on the main webpage suggests a satire on increasing amounts of handholding. The basic structure – and content of the lyrics – specifically targets Portal.

    Oh, God. I’m doing what I said I wouldn’t.


  6. Nuyan says:

    I’m 100% sure I’ve read that Introversion part somewhere else before with the same text.

  7. James O says:

    Leeks!: The voice actor for Cole IS the actor who played Terry Tate (Lester Speight.)

  8. Leeks! says:

    Hah! And my ignorance shows through once again! Or, you know, continues to.

  9. phil says:

    Charlie Brooker’s Best Thing He Ever Did would surely be the pedo-getton episode of Brass Eye, closely followed by the whole run of and the Screen Burn column in which he jokely called for the assination of President Bush. It’s unlikely the Edge piece earnt him death threats from morons, the gold standard of good journalsim.

  10. Sam says:

    I appreciate the feedback on the Hardcasual post. I’ve posted a few of my thoughts after the responses I got on the website – basically, I agree that in my attempts to push a few ideas, I wound up completely missing the point of your responses to the game and obscuring my own thoughts about the game.

    I hope next time we link it’s under better circumstances.

  11. roBurky says:

    I’m not sure I quite understand what HardCasual is saying that people missed about Burn The Rope.

  12. Ozzie says:

    Thanks for the link to the retrospective of Shawn64s games.
    I knew that he died some time ago, but not really more.
    And especially I didn’t knew that he was so young. And already so talented……
    ………quite sad. :(

    Don’t know what else to say.

  13. Kieron Gillen says:

    Sam: I understand that particular frustration all too well. That said, It did grate a little to be used as the poster boys of not-thinking in a week when we’ve posted probably the heftiest piece of games analysis anyone has online.


  14. Sam says:

    Sorry, Kieron. I wouldn’t have said anything if I didn’t respect you and expect such great things from you, and I shouldn’t have decided that you guys were actually ignorant of what the game was working with.

  15. Alex says:

    Ooh! Handbags at dawn! ;)

  16. The_Archetype says:

    Is there anyone else out there who shares a name with a game developer? Every time I read that Mark Morris has talked about such-and-such I get a really uncomfortable feeling until I remember that there’s nothing preventing there from being other Mark Morris’s in the world.

    I just feel a bit weird everytime it happened and wondered how many other people have that experience.

  17. Saflo says:

    There’s also a horror writer named Mark Morris. Cheers!

    Skimming through Destructoid’s news not long ago, I was startled to find my own name there. He’s someone affiliated with another gaming site. Needless to say I spent a few hours curled up in the fetal position, trying to wrap my mind around the whole thing.

  18. James T says:

    The quality of a joke is directly proportional to how much shit internet pseudointellectuals can spout about it. Kudos, Team YHTBTR!

    I hope they make a sequel: ‘Now You Have To Jump Over The Hole’. I’ve even got a level layout in mind!:



  19. Dinger says:

    RPS best leaves pedantry to the comments, and the recent YHTBTR-gate shows that we, on the comments side, have been somewhat lacking.
    So I’ll fix that. Slap on some Parts & Labor (featuring the worst Rock-n-Roll beard since Erik Drew Feldman tried to blend into Pere Ubu by going Sumerian), and let’s get to work.

    There’s a reason why critically evaluating YHTBTR is superfluous, pedantic and redundantly unencessary, but it will take some explaining. As with most things, it somehow involves Lester Bangs, Rolling Stone Magazine, copious amounts of alcohol and exploding guitars.

    In my University years, I put my hands on all that I needed toecome a rockstar. Some Saturday morning, I wasn’t too hungover not to go to a yard sale — there’s a whole economy built around collecting what college students throw out at the beginning of the summer and selling it back to them the next autumn. And so it was here.
    There, on a table, was the crappiest Fender Stratocaster copy I’d ever seen, and three books: A rulebook for Drinking Games written by a pair of fratboys to be sold to frathouses across the US for the “devotional literature” section of their library, a songbook with the chords for every track on the KISS Alive II double album, and a coeval biography of KISS, tracing their rise to fame as “the guy who set his hair on fire before Iggy. Who is this Bat-Lizard and What does he want?” all the way to “The lights go down, and the Cat comes out to sing ‘Beth'”.
    I bought it all, the table included.
    The drinking games manual was the first to go — it didn’t survive the night. I’d never seen vomit describes so poetically, or extensively; nor had I seen the ludic-expurgative nexus set forth so plainly as in the boot-based rating system they pioneered. But, as my experience that evening showed, pros don’t need no steenking games to get drunk with those around them.
    But with the Axe, and the Kiss literature, I had what I needed to become a rock-n-roll star. And some guy down the hall with a Flying V was convinced it should happen, so we set out to form a band.
    The Axe was a real piece of crap. The pots were busted, so the previous owner had just masking-taped the pickups straight out, hotter-n-hell. That turd couldn’t do much more than feedback and go out of tune. But that was more than I could do, so I took up the challenge, spending class time writing some god-awful lyrics (“blood and bones on my bathroom floor/on my fingers I count to four”) instead of taking notes, and getting the look just right (‘cos in terms of sound there wasn’t much to improve on).
    We were set for our maiden show, on all-Hallows-Eve, or thereabouts, the opening act was warming up, when five minutes beforehand, Fate intervened. Or rather, security, and both the departments of fire and police.
    So we were on the run, and the gig didn’t go down. The opening act responded by busting out the hairclippers and shaving everyone’s head in sight.
    My band never played. I never got to be a rockstar. Our scary-goth bassist took some of my lyrics and repurposed them for her next product, an unlistenable outfit with the ouright offensive name of Aborted Messiah. The dude with the Flying V, last I heard got a gig with the Rolling Stone making political comics with lots of swearing. We gave the Axe a Viking funeral: superfuzz+bigmuff+feedback+hold a power chord and toss in a couple M-80s and blow the back out.
    But the Kiss biography — that stayed with me as a reminder of what could have been. The author filled out the back of the book with a review of Destroyer written as a really poor imitation of Lester Bangs. It was so poor, that the author himself admitted that the ‘zine he sent it to rejected it outright.
    The review continues to haunt me. He praised the “minimalism” of the album — no, not the minimalism of the Ramones, which was “so academic it could have been assembled in a library.” Undoubtedly, “We’re a Happy Family,” stands as the Ramones’ response to this accusation. In any case, one has to wonder what sort of minimalism involves Bob Ezrin and a Boys Choir to lend gravitas to the fellatial potentiality of Gene Simmons’ tongue extensions.
    He also declares that “Hard Luck Woman” was “the perfect Rock-n-Roll ripoff,” perfect because, while not a riff was ripped off, it was clearly a Rod Stewart song.
    Which brings us to “You Have to Burn the Rope.” The game is not minimalist. For a game of its genre, it has many unnecessary elements. You can shoot. There’s a maze before a boss. There’s an end song, and although fellatio is not directly mentioned, the relation between your avatar and the Grinning Colossus’ mouth makes evident what’s going on. In fact, the solution to the game is anything but minimal or evident: you need to set fire to a rope holding a chandelier, causing it to fall on the Boss monster, and end the game.
    “Hard Luck Woman” isn’t a ripoff. It is a song that was written for Rod Stewart, but that Rod Stewart thought was a crappy imitation and rejected, much like the magazine rejected the crappy imitation of Lester Bangs that praises the piece. We may never know if YHTBTR was a rejected idea for Portal II: The Shattering of the Colossus, but it’s a mistake to read it, as some have done, as a Portal-ripoff.
    It’s a commentary on modern game design, above all, but not limited to Portal, according to which the game makes explicit (or increasingly explicit) the complex, non-intuitive and bizarre behavior needed to win.

    It’s a Reductio ad absurdum, like reviewing drinking games by the likelihood you’ll vomit. It’s clever; we get it, but how far can you really take it? Now let’s talk about an Apatosaurus in space.

  20. Alex says:

    I switched off as soon as you mentioned “Lester Bangs”.

    The only text that starts with “Lester Bangs” that I tend to want to keep reading, is by Bangs himself.

    Anyway.. what about that Apatosaurus in space, eh? Mad!

  21. Dinger says:

    Well, at least I got my point across then :)

  22. Alex says:

    Ha, yes. :)

  23. TwistyMcNoggins says:

    Damn, and there was me thinking the whole thing was just a rubbish joke.

  24. Birdoman says:

    The ‘Ropeburned Redux’ post on HardCasual was a pleasure to read, a genuine act of humility in the cold, cold world of the ‘blogosphere’, RPS excepting of course.

    @Mario: What does having a black president have to do with cultural referencing in games?

  25. Electric Dragon says:

    Portal itself is already a kind of Richard Rogers-esque inversion of the usual Valve game mechanic – whereas HL2 conceals its tutorials, Portal explicitly frames the first half of the game around the player being forced to participate in a series of tests.