The Sunday Papers

Tasty Tea.

Is it Sunday? Is it Saturday? Is it Monday? Jumping across eight time zones confuses these things – plus the clocks going back for added brainhurtage. Still – let’s keep our eyes directly ahead and maybe we can get through this. What is “this”? Well, it’s a list of interesting reading we compiled across this week, which we then publish while trying to not include a link to a pop song that’s the most rare of creatures – a piece of John Walker music which is just about danceable.

Failed.

49 Comments

  1. radomaj says:

    Planescape: Torment, of course!

  2. subedii says:

    Am I the only one who thought “the singer?” When Barry White was mentioned?

    Oh, and on a side note of celebrities: David Hasselhoff teaches you how to be a better person through Red Alert 3:

    link to conquerthislife.com

    EA really pulled out all the stops advertising this one didn’t they?

  3. Muzman says:

    I’ve been reading The Dumbification of Spore. Heavy science guy lightly discusses discussion of the lightness of Spore. Potentially illuminating.

  4. Katsumoto says:

    That isn’t on GoG is it? Or i’m just being blind as always.

    Why not do a super obvious retrospective of Fallout1+2 and tie it into your impressions of 3?

    Ross Atherton says the originals are shit now – I say they aren’t! What do YOU say? etc. If that’s too obvious you could always do something on MDK instead.

  5. rez says:

    You’re not alone, subedii.

    Incidentally, I ingest your delicious feed through the Google Reader straw. RPS FTW!

  6. Will Tomas says:

    I’d second something on MDK – partly because it’s one of those I never played and am rather unsure whether to bother buying it now.

    Also, Freespace 2, Giants, Redneck Rampage, Kingpin, or Messiah.

  7. Jim Rossignol says:

    I don’t honestly think I could recommend Kingpin, although I enjoyed it enormously at the time. I did a retrospective on it here.

  8. Pace says:

    Oh God, thanks Subedii that video was … was.. I don’t know what the fuck to say about that video. But they’ve almost got me convinced to buy that game! (if they’d just quick showing actual gameplay I’d be there.)

  9. Pace says:

    [quit showing, that was supposed to be]

  10. mirror says:

    (from the google blog) “Not only do these feeds capture the personalities on our team, they are mainly all “full text” feeds (i.e. containing the original pictures, videos and text).”

    Do you guys think you’ll do this? Do you avoid it because you want traffic actually at the site?

  11. Calabi says:

    I third MDK, or I will write something and it will be bad.

    I’m also surprised to hear that Barry White is reviewing old games seeing as he is dead.

  12. Rei Onryou says:

    Don’t you know that old games go to heaven?

    I fourth MDK. Classic always worth looking at again. Shiny games don’t get enough attention (well, the good ones I mean).

  13. Nick says:

    Yeah, Shiny used to be good.

  14. ImperialCreed says:

    @Calabi

    Not quite dead, but this hangover of mine makes me wish I was.

    Also, thanks Kieron, you great tall lovely man you.

  15. Acosta says:

    @ImperialCreed

    How do you feel having the most awesome name ever?

  16. ImperialCreed says:

    @ Acosta

    Embarrassed and self-conscious. Hence my use of an online handle :)

  17. eyemessiah says:

    Re. the RA bitching.

    While AGM’s article comes across as fairly petulant, his first list actually seems fair enough. Those are all things I’d look for a RA reviewer to comment on, and Dan skipped them so I have to concede that for me it wasn’t a very useful review either.

    That said, I don’t share AGM’s intense sense of entitlement, so, for me, his bitching is every bit as irrelevant as Dan’s review.

  18. Carra says:

    Soldiers: heroes of WW2 is an underrated classic.

    Great game!

  19. Dolphan says:

    The AGM article is massively irritating. The questions are halfway reasonable, but the 7-point list and stuff like “The sad reality is that most people who buy and play RTS games, don’t really even understand the point of the genre” sets my teeth on edge. And his point 4 is very telling – he wants carbon copies of the games he loves. Ad infinitum.

  20. nabeel says:

    “Suffice it to say that if PC Gamer were to run reviews like the one this guy describes, we’d have as many readers as an RTS fansite.”
    ssssssSNAP

    nabeel

  21. eyemessiah says:

    @Nabeel

    I suspect AGM would be pretty pleased with that outcome!

  22. Dinger says:

    His list is also unremittently internal to the genre. Seriously, pathfinding only becomes an issue when it fails; the same goes for the interface.
    Reviews are their own genre, and for print reviews, the major genre convention is that they’re really short. In the space given to a typical game, the best a reviewer can do is evoke the feeling of the game. Hard stats and concrete details usually will get axed since they’re material the reader can get elsewhere.

    Of course, while I was impressed at the moronic RTS-fiend condescendence of AGM, we all know that professional games journalists are tourists.

  23. Ginger Yellow says:

    “I’d second something on MDK – partly because it’s one of those I never played and am rather unsure whether to bother buying it now.”

    Do bother.

  24. EyeMessiah says:

    @ Dinger
    “His list is also unremittently internal to the genre. Seriously, pathfinding only becomes an issue when it fails; the same goes for the interface.”

    While this is true, I’m not at all confident about assuming that none of the things mentioned on the list aren’t broken in RA3 just because the reviewer doesn’t mention them.

    My gut feeling could be wrong though, who knows. Maybe RA3 will turn out to be genre-bustingly good and therefore beyond the reach of genre criticism?

  25. The Poisoned Sponge says:

    I rather like that Matt And Kim song! It’s funkay!

  26. TheLordHimself says:

    AGM: “Dan’s opinion here is utterly irrelevant to the review”

    Review is basically evaluation, which is “Judging the value of material based on personal values/opinions…”

    Hmmm.

  27. hydra9 says:

    The CliffyB article is surprisingly really good. In fact, it did the RPS-retrospective thing on me and made me desperately want to play Gears Of War.

  28. Steven Hutton says:

    “Maybe RA3 will turn out to be genre-bustingly good and therefore beyond the reach of genre criticism?”

    It’s not.
    In fact it’s pretty average. The graphics are loverly but everything is so bright and bold that it can be a bit of a problem to figure out what’s going on. The balance is a bit… wonky, with some units being all but useless. It’s also a game which focuses pretty heavily on mirco management, with every unit have a unique special ability which the player can activate but which the wont use of thier own accord. That’s fine if you’re into that kind of thing personally I think it largely benefits the people who’re going to play the game to death anyway and, you know, why help them?

    The co-op is by far the best feature and if you’ve got a friend to play with (and you can get it to work) then it’s worth is just for that.

  29. RodeoClown says:

    Look, even Google wants you to have a full-text feed…

    Can you Pleeeeease put it back?

    Thanks.

  30. Pod says:

    I was dead disapointed to see which Barry White you were on about :/

  31. Jim Rossignol says:

    Understood re full feed requests. However, due to the current mess that is the RPS back end design, we actually can’t run the full feed. Basically the WordPress plugins we need to keep everything else working properly breaks the full feed. If we’re able to fix this on the next wordpress upgrade we will. Of course the entire site will need an overhaul at some point anyway, as there’s a load of stuff not working properly. I totally understand that it’s frustrating for people – edit function is a big issue on comments – but we’re not tech enough to fix this with any speed.

  32. Jim Rossignol says:

    we all know that professional games journalists are tourists.

    That’s true, except when it’s isn’t. Plenty of games journalists do go native in particular games or genres. Tim Stone’s expertise in strategy game, for example, or my obsession with Eve. We are wandering generalists by trade, but that doesn’t mean that certain writers aren’t experts in particular areas.

  33. Arathain says:

    I read through that list of pointers for reviewers muttering to myself: “Bollocks… umm, bollocks… and… also rubbish… oh, 7 is OK…”

    MDK is a jewel of light and fun and creativity. The sequel is also really good, in a slightly different way.

  34. Jonas says:

    Wow that’s… an interesting analysis of Gears of War. My initial impression of Marcus Fenix’s character was… less… favourable. It never struck me as a particularly intellectual or sensitive game either, though the sequel (which I have just played) makes decent progress in that regard.

    If only it were still possible to get a job in the game industry as a 17-year-old high school drop-out.

  35. Bhazor says:

    Am I backwards in that I don’t use RSS feeds?
    Christ next thing I know I’ll be listening to albums. In order and not with the shuffle functions.

  36. hydra9 says:

    I don’t use RSS feeds. And yes, I think we’re backwards.

  37. Jubaal says:

    Well my two favourite games on http://www.gog.com are Hostile Waters and Giants: Citizen Kabuto. In fact I’m playing Hostile Waters again at the moment and loving it as much as the first time I played it. With gameplay like Carrier Command, a story by Warren Ellis and voice-overs by Tom Baker, Glynis Barber and Paul Darrow you can’t go far wrong.

    Not just to remember which friend I loaned Giants too…..

  38. Erlam says:

    Is Giants good? I seem to recall one side tended to win far more often than any other side. Never got around to trying it though.

  39. Erlam says:

    “If only it were still possible to get a job in the game industry as a 17-year-old high school drop-out.”

    Just wanted to add that, you’re in luck! 90% of the people hired here in Vancouver are either completely non-schooled in the industry at all, and the other 10% of us were stupid enough to go to school for it.

    Get into Focus testing if you can. It’s a good foothold into the industry proper.

  40. Okami says:

    If only it were still possible to get a job in the game industry as a 17-year-old high school drop-out.

    You wouldn’t believe the kind of people that work in the games industry. If you’ve got half a brain, you can make it, if you really want to. Of course, if you got a full brain, you’ll get a job that actually pays your rent.

    For starters, find out if you’re any good at programming or modeling or texturing. If you suck at all three things, try and find a level editor you’re good with.

    Do not get a QA job. Don’t. It sucks. Really, you do not want to test video games for a living. And though there are stories of testers rising above the unwashed ranks of QA and becoming designers, they’re the exception, not the rule.

    And do yourself a favor and go back and finish school. You’re not missing out on anything. Life doesn’t really start to get interesting until you’re 25.

    Is Giants good?

    Yes. Bought it from GoG on friday, downloaded the fan made graphic improvement patches and played it the whole weekend. Play it for the single player campaign and I’ll guarantee you hours of fun.

    Every modern video game should aspire to be more like Giants and less like.. well, less like any other game that gets made these days..

  41. Erlam says:

    I have to disagree about QA leading to nothing. If you go into a huge company, yes it can be a dead end. But small, even medium companies will have ‘tiers,’ I.e. QA->Dev support->Lead QA/Dev Support->Design/Audio/Artistry, etc.

    I’m currently stuck in the Dev Support (at least in tasks, the company is trying to refuse the title) / Design jump. I designed half the weapons for our game, but will likely not get credit.

    Oh well, soldier on.

  42. Will Tomas says:

    I hate to be cheeky – but what are the links for the Giants fan-made graphics patches?

  43. Nick S says:

    Will: At a guess, probably the ones mentioned here. That’s one of the nice things about gog. Their staff collect links to some of the best mods for each game, test them, and post a list in the forums before each game is released.

  44. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    Y’know, I *was* going to bring up Matt and Kim this weekend as a suggestion to the next (being introduced to them thanks to good ol’ Stuart Campbell at his forums), since my previous one didn’t get through. If you have the time for something, consider Housemartins – understated but spiffy Brit band with real pop gems from the (gasp!) 1980’s – for next weekend.

    As for GoG games… C’mon, Giant was – and still is – phenomenal. It’s a crime not to give it a go and a thinky :)

  45. Bozzley says:

    I’d like to see something on MDK if that’s at all possible. It’s a classic.

  46. Okami says:

    @Erlam: You did game design work and get no credit for it? That hurts. You should get recognition for what you do, it’s only fair! And you’re right of course, in a small studio you can start in the QA department and have people recognize your worth.

    But I’d still advise anybody to pick one aspect of game development that they have talent for and apply for that role.

    @Nick S: Yup, these same mods. GoG sure are great, I want to marry them when I grow up!

  47. Jonas says:

    Erlam and Okami: Thanks for the answers, but I guess I should’ve been clearer. I’m not actually a 17-year-old high school dropout myself, I’m a 22-year-old university student. I just think it would’ve been pretty sweet if I’d already been working in the game industry for 5 years instead of still being on the outside looking in ;)

    On the other hand college can be lots of fun, and not getting a university education was never really in the cards for me. As reflected in your differing opinions, I’ve heard quite different things about the benefits of starting out in QA. Personally I’m hoping to break into the industry through the (massively entertaining) shortcut of modding.

    Erlam, out of curiosity: Vancouver – EA? Hothead? Relic? Rockstar?

  48. Cibbuano says:

    I’d like to see the full catalogue of LucasArts adventure games… Monkey Island, DotT, etc…

  49. Krupo says:

    I’m glad to hear there’s an explanation for why full-feeds are not on – that they’re broken – rather than it being RPS-spite.

    Since spite is the default explanation for anything.