The Sunday Papers

There was going to be a replacement image for this, but I've lost it. Maybe it'll turn up next week, eh?

Sunday hits, accompanied by the Papers, as compiled by the good-ship RPS. The idea is that we publish a list of things we consider worth sitting back and reading, while avoiding linking to classic early noughties summer-pop-glories. No, really.

Failed.

From this site

57 Comments

  1. Okami says:

    Sooo….. Squids are some kind of vegetable?

  2. Kieron Gillen says:

    I think you’ll find they’re a moss.

    KG

  3. Gap Gen says:

    Yeah, I couldn’t help think that Yahtzee’s comments were directed at a subset of comics with a number of elements equalling one, like you say.

  4. fluffy bunny says:

    Squids are probably some kind of alien lifeforms that can’t be classified properly.

    Edit: Quoted from somebody named butterpants in IGN’s comments thread:

    1. Squids are animals.
    2. There are no squids in the game. There is a jellyfish.
    3. Jellyfish are also animals.

  5. Kieron Gillen says:

    People occasionally ask me whether my Biology degree is any use in games journalism. I now have another reason: So I don’t write something like that.

    KG

  6. Pod says:

    Yuo did Biology? I always knew you were a middle-class girl. I knew it!

    Anyway, a quick glance at the wiki page for a Squid will find you the following words: Kingdom: Animalia

  7. stavrosthewonderchicken says:

    Delicious are what squid are. Downright delicious.

  8. Seniath says:

    They might not be an animal, but they sure taste nice.

  9. subedii says:

    Reading the comments section on Yahtzee’s latest ZP is nothing short of depressing, like youtube comments. On the one hand you’ve got the CAD crowd vehemently defending that tripe, on the other you’ve got the ZP crowd who seem to worship Yahtzee atop a pedestal.

    I generally like ZP, it’s a lot more hit than miss, but if you have to continuously state how you’re “aware of the irony” of what you’re doing, then either you’re not actually aware of it enough or you just need to stop doing it.

    Saying that just reads as a sad attempt to avoid being picked out on how you’re doing everything that you’re complaining about in other people. I’d have to agree with Kieron here, the shield of irony isn’t exactly impenetrable.

    In any case, if you think this one caused mass nerd rage, you should have seen the response across forums to his Smash Bro’s review. The hardcore Nintendo crew were rather… vehement in their disapproval.

  10. Kieron Gillen says:

    Subedii: Yeah, but that lot will whine about anything which even hints to suggest it’s a load of button bashing tosh. It’s constant. This had the joy of novelty.

    KG

  11. Albides says:

    It is a proven fact that reading youtube comments makes you at least 10, maybe 20 I.Q. points dumber. Reading Zero Punction comments is a reduction of maybe 5-10.

    Also, no one eats squid. They eat calamari, a divine beast in the form of a circle created from a thought experiment by Jorge Luis Borges. That they are a squid is itself an attempt by Authority to suppress solipsist tinkering.

  12. i met a marine biologist once says:

    Maybe it’s a Portuguese Man o’ War? They are jellyfish-like but not animals, they’re more like floating coral.

    link to en.wikipedia.org

  13. Ginger Yellow says:

    That VGChartz article introduced me for the first time to the fact that there are sales data provider fanboys. People are weird.

  14. fluffy bunny says:

    i met a marine biologist once: They’re still animals (corals are also animals). :)

  15. James G says:

    Gah, the “X aren’t animals” myth is a strange one, and I’ve seen it pulled out for just about every major group outside mammalia. I can only assume that there is a group of people who assume that mammal and animal are synonyms.

    Conversely, I often hear people mistakenly class amoeba as animals (they’re not, amoeba is a catch all term for several organisms in the protists, a somewhat artifical designation of multiple eukaryote kingdoms which are neither animals, plants or fungi. The protists also include several species of seaweed) and even more strangely, that yeast are (yeast are single cellular fungi.)

    :: Pats copy of Tudge et al.::

  16. MetalCircus says:

    That song in the youtube link is fucking horrible

  17. Alex says:

    Also: Fish and fucking barrels, man.

    To be fair, that’s more or less the whole basis of Zero Punctuation. Which is why he never says anything really interesting or surprising about a game. That’s what you get when you have to stick to a formula, I guess.

    That said, ZP isn’t about being a review, it’s comedy. Although I’m getting the feeling over the last few months that Yahtzee thinks ZP is actually more than comedy, which is a bit worrying.

    That song in the youtube link is fucking horrible

    That’ll be because Phoenix are fucking horrible.

  18. Klaus says:

    I’ve always thought ZP was about comedy, which is why he pointed out all the obvious nuances about certain games. As for the review factor… well, I look at it as a semi-accurate condensed review about a game. It’s much more refreshing to hear his review about MGS4 as opposed to essays about how the cutscences are tolerable because the game is totally awesome everywhere else.

  19. Erlam says:

    I really enjoy ZP because it’s funny. He has a way with language that few do. Also, his reviews are simply the opposite of the majority – whether for good or bad. Loves Painkiller (which was godawful in my recollection), hates popular game ‘x’, and so on.

    That said, I find his comedy to be insightful and amusing. He’ll point out hilarious problems I hadn’t really considered.

    Basically, he’s a counter balance to the “it’s a 7” reviews that plague gaming websites. If there are problems, he’ll mention them, and he doesn’t excuse them all as fine.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Oddly, and almost certainly irrelevantly, I remember running across a group of Creationists* who had a bizarre definition of “life” which excluded squid.

    How do people get these things so badly wrong? It’s not hard to remember what’s an animal and what isn’t, most of the time.

    * Young-Earthers, I think.

  21. i met a marine biologist once says:

    OK, exactly: a man o’ war is not an animal, it is a colony of symbiotic animals. So, men o’ war aren’t animals, they’re colonies (of animals).

    Yeah, I’m using a quirk of plurals to get out of being wrong. Sematics ftw. :)

  22. Okami says:

    @ I met blablabla: You’re wrong again: Man O War are the Kings of Metal!

    (And yes, I’m totally ignoring the fact that you wrote men o war, because semantics can kiss my ass :P )

  23. Fazer says:

    Why is it always that the articles of Sunday Papers have to end with “Failed”? Is it supossed to be a pun of some sort?

  24. Lorc says:

    “The idea is that we publish a list of things we consider worth sitting back and reading, while avoiding linking to classic early noughties summer-pop-glories.”

  25. Pantsman says:

    Yahtzee admitted that his attack on gaming webcomics was hypocritical because of the comic he once wrote, not because of his videos, which, unlike a certain webcomic, are actually funny and original.

    I find that it’s strange that Yahtzee is usually viewed as a comedian, as opposed to a “real reviewer”, when he’s arguably one of the best “official” game critics out there right now. Just my opinion, of course, but it seems like everyone else is all too happy to load superlatives onto whatever high-profile release has just come out. I don’t agree with all of his reviews, but most of his criticisms are valid, and many are more insightful than what’s to be found in so-called serious reviews.

  26. Ozzie says:

    Hey, Phoenix is great!!
    Knew this song before………”Too Young” is also nice!!

  27. Pace says:

    I’m not sure that just because lots of people were pissed off at Yahtzee’s rant means that it ‘blew up’ on him. I’m sure he would’ve anticipated that. And ‘parasitic web comedian’? Perhaps as a comic writer himself Kieron just has a reason to be irked? I think Yahtzee’s shield of irony holds up well enough for me since he actually is funny, and good too. He gives me the impression of a ‘blue collar’ reviewer, that is, sort of like a fan reviewer, rather than the usual gaming critic reviewer.

  28. Kieron Gillen says:

    Pace: I didn’t say it blew up on him. It just generally blew up and caused a load of people to seem to talk about the issue who wouldn’t normally. It was an entertaining melee, for me.

    (The problem is that he didn’t really attack them on grounds of quality. He attacked them on grounds that they did it at all. And – y’know – selling easy snark is selling easy snark, no matter what medium you’re doing it in. That Yahtzee is much better at it than them is neither here nor there.)

    KG

  29. Andrew Armstrong says:

    Yahzee’s thing was pretty neat. I did wonder why he proposed it as hypocritical/ironic in it, Pantsman gives the reason (I like RPS comments! I gave up on the Escapist forums a long time ago). In short, CAD does utterly suck. I mean, really, really bad – so bad it’s worth not ignoring just to say it’s bad. The copycats are not too good either.

    I also disagree that it’s just comedic. Comedy can make a great veil to good criticism, which it is. No reason why reviews cannot be entertaining in themselves.

    I liked Leigh’s column too, shame it’s still at Kokatu.

  30. Dinger says:

    Evolve or die, man. If ZP or RPS kept doing the same thing every week, they’d see their viewership peak and then decline. You gotta keep pushing the envelope.

    Still, yes, sacred-cowtipping is a large part of ZP’s schtick. Much of what he draws attention to are the things that Must Not Be Mentioned in most reviews, like taking a decade-old franchise that you’ve never played and asking: who are these people and why do I care? If you take a talented comic writer who has wasted a life on pizzas and cheeseburgers and send that person into a sushi restaurant, the review that will come back will certainly be funny (I mean, we’re talking about men with big knives, slimy bits of raw seafood, rice and sake — comedy funkin’ GOLD), and it might be observant of some foibles of convention, but it won’t be particularly helpful to know if it’s a good Sushi restaurant.

    That’s ZP’s thing. Trolling fanbois helps too. But you don’t shit in the well. There’s a lot of crappy comics in print and on the web, and some of them are made for money. Most of the comics folks link to here just downright suck with pointless esotericism. You shouldn’t need to have played the game to get the joke, and if your alter ego’s in there, it’s most likely a blog and not a comic. But “I’m aware of the irony” doesn’t excuse wasting our time on animated cartoon criticizing lame-ass comics about stupid video games we’ll never play anyway.

  31. Krupo says:

    The only thing parasitic about ZP reviews are the drawnbypain ads that have appended themselves to the end of recent reviews like a leech from hell.

    Although I’m of course bemused by the fact that he does his own meta-joke about it in the aforementioned review. :)

  32. Erlam says:

    “I find that it’s strange that Yahtzee is usually viewed as a comedian, as opposed to a “real reviewer”, when he’s arguably one of the best “official” game critics out there right now.”

    I would say he’s usually viewed as a ‘real reviewer.’ In fact, I’d wager he has more clout than most people out there, in terms of reviews.

    The reason he’s so successful is that he’s a breath of fresh air — a lot of people (myself included) want to hear the absolute worst a game has to offer. I don’t care if it has bloom and 3043904234234 polygons on a piece of grass — I want to know if your enemies are pants-on-head retarded, your allies end up doing more harm than good, and the game just generally plays badly.

    I don’t get that from PC Gamer, or 1Up.com or whatever.

  33. Kieron Gillen says:

    Parasitic=Someone who couldn’t make their living if someone else wasn’t doing something else.

    In other words, all critics and satirists are in some way parasitic. In our little corner of the world, if we didn’t have games to mock or analyse, we’d be sitting here and twiddling our thumbs.

    KG

  34. Kadayi says:

    I find Yatzee a bit hit and miss as well, but it’s generally worth watching just for the animations and metaphors, even if you disagree with him about the games themselves. This one was a bit unusual tbh, simply because it’s not like anyone is forcing you to read web comics, or charging you to so. Certainly any old Ying Yang can pick up a copy of Photoshop and a Wacom and turn out a comic, but actually being successful enough at it to make a living off of internet breadcrumbs and the goodwill/gullibility of your readers is another matter entirely. For all the slagging that gets thrown his way CAD seems to be popular enough.

  35. Pace says:

    Well, I thought his attack was more about the lack of originality and humor, (and sheer volume), a problem he at least doesn’t have. Unfortunately I’m lost on the snark bit.

    Though as Kadayi says, it may have been a bit unnecessary and out of the blue.

  36. Leeks! says:

    To be honest, my initial reaction to ZP this week is that Yahtzee went too far (and I’ve never read CAD). Though he dissected webcomics in the same way he does videogames and was very particular in mentioning that he wasn’t singling anyone out, something in there made it feel like a personal attack, and I think that’s the point where the irony aegis buckles.

    I still laughed (because I’m callous and insensitive), but it did feel like he maybe overshot on this one.

  37. Noc says:

    I winced through most of this week’s ZP, mostly because as soon as it started I knew exactly what was coming. Since he’s done this rant before. On CAD in particular, too. He’s completely right, of course, and for the second time (the last one was his Oblivion review) he’s encapsulated a rant that’s been going over and over in my head for a while. And I mean “Of course” in reference to CAD being toilet-wipe, not in reference to Yahtzee being right all the time.

    And I think the reason he’s so successful is because he swears in an accent. It’s appeal is the rant, and the review component is simply a) something to talk about, and b) something people can identify with so that they agree with him and thus give a “Yeah, man!” response. Lacking that, or objection to the point, tends to spoil the humor, which is why he’s often “hit or miss;” if you don’t have anything to latch onto and identify with, than the humor falls flat. Not that this is how he writes it, but I think that’s the way those components work on the listener’s end.

    That said, I think the “hypocrisy” he’s noted is in the over-reaching barbs that flesh out the rant, as opposed to the specific points buried in them. Humor involves distortion: anything explained clearly and completely generally isn’t very funny. So instead of a couple of pretty on-the-ball points about the quality of a specific webcomic, you get this broad jab at a category to which Yahtzee belongs. Why do we LIKE ZP, and not CAD? We could talk about it, and figure it out pretty well. But it wouldn’t be very funny.

    And Mr. Met a Marine Biologist Once: I think that’s the definition of what makes Men of War animals.

  38. dhex says:

    reading control alt delete sometimes feels like a personal attack. they had a comic on stalker that was baffling in its cruelty towards the notion of laughter.

    i think zp is clever, but i enjoy silly and meanspirited wordplay.

  39. Alex says:

    Humor involves distortion: anything explained clearly and completely generally isn’t very funny. So instead of a couple of pretty on-the-ball points about the quality of a specific webcomic, you get this broad jab at a category to which Yahtzee belongs.

    I think that’s kind of his “problem”, review-wise: humour involves distortion. He has to be funny so he has to find things to bitch about, which instantly makes him an unreliable reviewer. Because of the formula of ZP he can’t be nuanced.

    Like I said, that’s not a problem, he certainly makes me laugh (well.. a lot of the time) but.. a reviewer he ain’t.

  40. John P (Katsumoto) says:

    “And I think the reason he’s so successful is because he swears in an accent.” :) Heh, this particular Americanism always amuses me, sorry. Everyone has an accent!! (will now inevitably turn out you’re not American :))

    How much of his success in America, say, is due to his English accent, I genuinely wonder? Everyone finds him BALL-BELTINGLY funny here as well though, and his “accent” is just normal every-day boring bla bla to us.

    You’re right tho, the appeal is in the rant. I know people who really love ZP apart from when he occasionally digs into a game they love – but what else do you expect? I don’t go to ZP to get an opinion on a new release, I have PCG and Eurogamer for that. There’s just nothing funnier than a good old-fashioned dig.

    For instance, this month’s PC Gamer has a very low average score for the reviews. A poor month for gaming, but a really cracking read. The Art of Murder review is genius.

    edit: in the time it took to write that, Alex has said what I meant in a far more succinct manner. Thanks!

  41. The Hammer says:

    Yeah. I found the ZP episode a trifle hard to swallow, considering he’s already made the rant before, on his website. Either he’s running out of ideas, or he wanted to court even more controversy.

    The thing is, annoy enough people, and you’re alienating your audience time and time again. Yes, he’s popular with the adventure game crowd (of which I am part of), but adventure gamers often play other genres too, and other games, so they’ll get caught in the explosion too.

  42. Noc says:

    John P: Close. I’m American, but I’m from Boston, which means an accent is inevitable.

    But a reviewer he is, I think. You just need to do a little bit of thinking, and trim the review bits out from the jokes. Sort of like how you have to do the same thing with reviews and scores.

    [Edit: Also, I don’t really feel like he’s crossed a line, here. Maybe it’s because I read CAD; it’s on the bookmarks tab with the rest of the webcomics I follow, and I read it in the same way that I read Garfield whenever I pick up a newspaper funnies page. CAD is right below Butternut Squash and right above Cat and Girl . . . so I read it. And I think, I THINK, Yahtzee does too, which I’ve guessed at since he’s arguing from a point of reasonable familiarity. Less “Oh, it’s stupid and not funny so I don’t read it” and more “LOOK AT ALL THESE THINGS. SERIOUSLY.”

    So, from this assumption, I’m guessing that it’s less about dredging up old material and more about commenting on something that’s recently come back to mind: i.e. CAD running into a brick wall of drama and anti-slapstick.]

  43. Leeks! says:

    I feel the need to point out that critics and satirists should cross lines every now and then, if only to provoke discussions like this one and keep themselves relevant. The important thing is that we, as the community that supports these people, are aware that the line exists, and are willing to debate exactly where it falls. I think this is why the RPS threads are (mostly) a magic faerie bubble of sanity and the Escapist boards are, well, what they are.

  44. Skalpadda says:

    @ I met blablabla: You’re wrong again: Man O War are the Kings of Metal!

    He did say “OK, exactly: a man o’ war is not an animal, it is a colony of symbiotic animals.” I really can’t imagine these guys as anything other than a symbiotic entity that can’t survive without the others.

  45. Gnarl says:

    The interesting thing is that CRTL-ALT-DEL in it’s early days actually made fun of other webcomics cliches (admittedly for like four strips, but still). It also used the shield of irony to defend it’s comedy.

    Does that mean this guy has a double shield?

  46. Cargo Cult says:

    My problem with Yahtzee is that he didn’t go too far enough!

    (I found the video pretty funny. I don’t read Ctrl-Alt-Delete, so didn’t recognise the pretty specific digs – I thought the ‘miscarriage’ reference was just an imagined, truly horrible plotline that webcomics could never descend to. When I discovered that actually, such a ‘comic’ actually existed, and was every bit as crass and unfunny as I imagined it? Blimey.)

  47. RichPowers says:

    Yahtzee’s reviews are great because he explains how the game actually plays; so many other reviews lack detail and resort to bloated summarization. That he can convey a game’s essence without resorting to a contrived and broken scoring system is also a plus.

  48. perilisk says:

    “Parasitic=Someone who couldn’t make their living if someone else wasn’t doing something else.

    In other words, all critics and satirists are in some way parasitic. In our little corner of the world, if we didn’t have games to mock or analyse, we’d be sitting here and twiddling our thumbs.

    KG”

    Coming from someone with a biology degree, that seems like a terrible analogy. Critics (and even satirists) help customers evaluate where they can spend their money wisely, and build a culture of trust that would probably not be possible in a direct relationship between seller and customer, particularly with the way some in the industry treat their customers right now.

    Every customer who avoids getting burned buying a terrible game due to an honest, well-written review is a customer who is more likely to spend money on (good) games without hesitation, as opposed to holding back for the next Blizzard release, abandoning the industry altogether, or latching on to the dubious practice of “trying before you buy” which I suspect allows the “customer” remarkably higher purchase standards than might exist with merely perfect foreknowledge of quality.

    While reviewers are terrible for the individual games that don’t deserve a try, I think they’re a net financial benefit to the industry as a whole. Mutualistic symbiotes, in other words. So, you know, don’t be so hard on yourself.

  49. sinister agent says:

    Parasitic=Someone who couldn’t make their living if someone else wasn’t doing something else.

    That’s pretty much everyone in the world, surely? Parasitic surely means that they directly harm or detract from that which they depend on to survive. I wouldn’t call critics parasites even if they did nothing but slag games off – demanding higher standards is arguably a good thing for games at large, even if it means the death of some bad ones.

    Also, what Perilisk said.

  50. Gap Gen says:

    To be fair to the boy, Yahtzee did start out making games himself.