The Sunday Papers

Sunday. Articles collated. Attempt to not link to pop music. Inevitable failure. Go.

Failed.

51 Comments

  1. Mythrilfan says:

    Have we grown out of being an RPS tribute site yet?

  2. Kieron Gillen says:

    You’ll know when you have, because we’ll stop linking to you and we’ll start slagging you off. We iz meanz.

    KG

  3. BooleanBob says:

    You really should wean yourself off your addiction to the phrase ‘potted history’. I’d never seen it until I started reading this site, and now, three times in as many months! It’s giving me lurid nightmares about the French revolting in the allotments down the road and reading the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen to a few disinterested frogs and snails, newly emancipated by the dissolution of the ancien regime (Bill and Ben fronted plutocratic state).

  4. Pags says:

    Kieron, you have to help me out by stop linking to rubbishy artists which I inevitably feel obliged to connect to the RPS Last.fm group. You’re killing me on the inside.

    Also, man! I haven’t played ‘Out of this World’ in forever. Damned Tom Chick has given me the itch to root around for it.

  5. Flint says:

    Any mention of Outcast is always a good thing.

  6. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    Sounds like those failed MMOs treated Beta Testers less like testers and more like demo customers. Which is bad when they’re in effect the only actual testers.

    The concept of Quality Control just doesn’t get enough respect.

  7. AndrewC says:

    ‘Sunday. Articles collated. Attempt to not link to pop music. Inevitable failure. Go.’

    Oh noes! These are the words of a tired man. Change the format!

    Also i’m a bit grumpy about the sci fi article. The examples aren’t really novel, or often really very science fiction, just examples of futury stuff not directly influenced by one of three films. Rather than being genuinely new, they just have ideas nicked from a different set of movies.

    I mean, on this level, Halo should have been on the list, for daring to be brightly coloured.

    I know headlines and titles have to make bold statements to draw attention, but the real strength of the article for me is to show how relentlessly un-inspired most other games are. It was in the article, but pushed to the edges by the need to say fluffy nice things about the chosen games. If he had done comparison shots with loads of examples of space marines and grey spaceships, then I would have given the article a gold star that it could put on its fridge.

  8. Jockie says:

    Outcast was great, despite its really weird graphics engine. It got slated pretty bad by critics from what i recall but i loved it. I still have weird words from its language lolling around in my head. 10 points for whoever can tell me what ulukai means again..

  9. AndrewC says:

    That’s the alien word for the hero – meaning prophet, or saviour, or shitty pullover or something.

  10. Jockie says:

    10 points to you sir.

    I think oddworld could have a place on that list, just because off the weirdness of it’s sci-fi world and the creatures within, even if the gameplay was kinda flashback-esque.

  11. El Stevo says:

    Seeing that Out Of This World picture brings back a lot of memories.

  12. Filipe says:

    I like that Outcast got some love in the sci-fi article. Clunky game, yeah, but some bits are inspired. I wish more games took its open world sandbox approach.

  13. James G says:

    @Andrew C

    I was all prepared to argue with you, believing that the article would at least manage to find something novel in games settings, but alas you were correct. They even have the cheek to include Tron 2.0, a game directly inspired by a film. A few of their examples could fit if they bothered to properly analyse and discuss them, but as it is they stop short of saying anything very much.

  14. Dolphan says:

    From the comments thread on the Eurogamer blogpost – “Gillen’s reviews fill me with dread but they usually make for interesting reading.” Kieron must be doing something right.

  15. hydra9 says:

    Thanks for introducing me to Santogold.

  16. Jon says:

    Oh come on Gerard, you know the Tanith First and Only are the best Imperial Guard…

  17. hydra9 says:

    @Jockie:
    ‘Ulukai’ means ‘the great one’ or ‘great big god who descended from the heavens and will save all us poor dumb peasants.’ Man, I so badly wanted to like Outcast. It looked lovely (It did!), it had some inspired combat but oh my god, I got so sick of running round talking to about a million people who all thought I was a god, and then proceeded to ask me to do the most mind-numbing, menial fetch quest.

    Another World was wonderful, though.

  18. KBKarma says:

    With regard to that Guardian article… What, no Introversion? Why?

    And as for the Sci-Fi article… Myst isn’t sci-fi. It’s fantasy. Bioshock isn’t science-fiction in it’s accepted form: it’s not an alternate vision of the future, but an alternate vision of the past.

    I have no comments on the rest of the games, since I’ve only played Outcast (not much), Myst (fucking jungle on rails…), Multiwinia, and some of Fallout and Fallout 2 (I’m bad at finishing games, OK?).

  19. AndrewC says:

    Bioshock is a good example, not just because it has a wide reaching set of influences, but because it uses those influences to make a point – it has something to say about them. Most of the games listed, while maybe having odd influences, are just copying from those influences (because the designers liked the look maybe, or maybe because they thought it would sell).

    I’d be happy to play a space marine game, if it was going to tell me something new about space marines.

    But on a brighter note, these sorts of list articles serve to bring attention to good games that have been sidelined by gaming design fashion. Maybe having people remember Outcast and Startopia on a regular basis will help keep those ideas in circulation.

    It’s not likely, mind, but still: Outcast! Yay!

  20. Flint says:

    Filipe:
    Clunky game, yeah, but some bits are inspired.

    There’s nothing clunky in the greatest game ever made.

    Except for the fact that it’s an utter pain in the ass to make work on modern computers.

  21. Gap Gen says:

    It’s entirely possible that games are actually more successful at creating science fiction than film, which never really recovered from Star Wars, which is fun but also terrible science fiction. Then again, I think Wall-E is the best science fiction films of recent times, so what do I know.

    I’m not sure a Total War: 20th Century would work terribly well. The formula for set-piece battles fell apart in WWI, and since then warfare changed dramatically over the course of the century. So possibly the side-stepping of thorny issues is only one of the problems.

    Also, will Empire be the first Total War game *not* to include slavery since Shogun? (Or did Shogun have slavery?)

  22. Pod says:

    I think “the Hitler problem” was over-looking all the other games where you get to “be” Germany during WWII and take over the world. I don’t remember them getting chastised because there wasn’t an “enact deathcamps” button. Everyone knows these types of games focus on military and economic strategy, rather than moral choices..

    also: WWII: Total war? How would that work, given that all of TW’s previous incarnations have involved “blocks” of men moving around, whereas the fighting styles of WWI and II can’t really be simulated that way. I think the Boer War might just be able to be simulated that way… I hope they just go back to caveman days or somethin

  23. Muzman says:

    If Bioshock is going to get in (that Fidgit article. At number one no less. Ok, the setting is pretty groovy) I’m going to go Portal, at least until someone makes a great game out of the Paranoia role playing game.

  24. Oak says:

    Total War: Thogg Hate Fire?

  25. Funky Badger says:

    Panzer General 3D let you play as Germany (they had the coolest tanks). You even ended up invading America if you did well enough. Fantastic game.

    And Bioshock is Sci-Fi – at least in any meaningful sense of the term.

  26. Dolphan says:

    KBKarma – Sci-fi does sometimes include alternate history, which can often have sci-fi elements, which bioshock certainly does. Bring the Jubilee (novel set in the early 20th Century after a Confederate victory in the civil war) is a classic alternate history, and has a lot less technology-stuff than Bioshock’s world, but you’ll find it on the sci-fi shelves (and in the sci-fi masterworks line, IIRC).

  27. Lars BR says:

    Oh my God, Kieron is a Furry!

  28. SuperNashwan says:

    Tom Bramwell is clearly the best thing about Eurogamer, which is otherwise often of dubious quality. Then again, given what the comments threads are like these days I’m not sure the site is really for me at all any more. Kudos to John and others who brave those comments to defend their articles, if it were me I’m sure I wouldn’t bother.

  29. El Stevo says:

    The Total War series doesn’t have to move forward chronologically, it can just go wherever it wants that is interesting (the Sengoku period of Japan occured long after the Roman Empire had fallen). And, once technology has advanced enough for the result to be sufficiently different, it can reiterate over previous settings. I expect a revisit to Shogun will happen at some point.

  30. hydra9 says:

    While a couple of sci-fi shooty MMOs have died over the last year, it’s interesting to note that Neocron, which came out in 2002, is still alive, and still has people paying to play every month. Though from a quick glance at the forums, it seems like a lot of people are pining for the ‘good old days’ when it first started.

  31. Chris Evans says:

    This was linked to in the article that KG posted about, but if you missed it, the basis for the idea of a 20th Century Total War can be found here.

    All thanks to Jim’s PCGUK article on Total War really ;)

  32. Lunaran says:

    “Because there’s more to videogame fiction than just taking the choice bits of Aliens.” -Kieron Gillen

    this goes on the Board.

  33. The Poisoned Sponge says:

    Just to explain to those bringing up the previous ‘be the Germans’ RTS games like Company of Heroes et al, the difference between those and the Total War series is that the majority of play in Total War is on the campaign map, which isn’t nearly so much about shooty shooty and much more about talky talky and dealing with those you’ve subjugated. Still, though, there are valid points in bringing up previous games.

  34. hydra9 says:

    For some reason, I can’t post comments at The Reticule right now, so I will say this here:
    DuBBle’s written a great article entitled The Time Of Our Lives. What he’s saying is something pretty obvious – something we should all know – but he says it well, and makes a good point.

  35. Gap Gen says:

    I’d go for a caveman Total War. Empires often spanned kilometres, and battles involved tens of thousands of milliCavemen.

  36. jalf says:

    Pah, I scoff at that DIKU article. It could at least mention that the origins of the name! It’s named after the CS department I study at (Datalogisk Institut ved Københavns Universitet / Department of Computer Science at University of Copenhagen), made by a couple of students there… Clearly, that’s the most important fact of them all :D

  37. SightseeMC says:

    Re: Hellfire article. Weak, sad, filler.

    Really, can they actually keep a site up if the quality of articles is that poor? “What went wrong with these MMOs? Well, they didn’t listen to beta testers, some things were broken, and they didn’t fulfill promises.”

    How about specifics? Saying “avatar combat was broken” in PotBS is almost good enough, but HOW was it broken? Then following it up with self-contradictory, useless phrases such as, “The problem, however, is that while most of the games did good in these new endeavors, they failed to successfully implement them when it came to the rest of the game. Ironically the new features that were supposed to make the games critical successes was one of the main reasons why they failed.” is indefensible. So ship combat is the new feature, but it isn’t implemented in the non-ship parts of the game? The new ship combat which is good is why the game failed? Huh? I thought you said it was bad avatar combat. Is what they failed at the “doing good?” So you failed to do good and thus your game did not succeed. Brilliant.

    Sorry Keiron, but that guy’s article was complete cat’s ass writing. No insight, no information, just “I’ve got a deadline and need to write something.” But I agree with you that I’d love to know the numbers of the MMOs surviving from last year.

  38. Vandelay says:

    On the sci-fi piece, not to sure why they grouped Blade Runner with Star Wars and Aliens. I would say it shares much more with the unique films they listed than the very straightforward action of Star Wars and Aliens (even debatable that you should include Aliens in that list.)

    I was also surprised by the absence of The Longest Journey, one of the most unique stories in gaming across any genre.

    @Gap Gen: Don’t feel ashamed, Wall-E was excellent. It deserves a best film nomination at the Oscars, rather than a best animated film nomination.

  39. Devin Padgett says:

    Aww, poor Kieron. Fear not, for my PC is KIA at the moment as well, so you’re not alone.

  40. Homunculus says:

    2009, year of the voxel renaissance. RPS, leading the voxel charge.

  41. Xercies says:

    I also felt the sci-fi piece missed The Longest Journey, though the two world thing could be considered comeing from another science fiction story. Though they did have their own twist to get around that fact.

  42. Heliocentric says:

    Game tap just announced that as of the 22nd they drop all free game content of any value.

    Just uninstalled it.

  43. Aftershock says:

    Failure is not inevitable!
    You must keep trying hard!

  44. Muzman says:

    Re: That Bramwell piece. Why do games sites etc rely so heavily on games advertising?
    Getting the cash from elsewhere doesn’t really avoid the problems he’s talking about, but it would at least reduce the conflict of interest.
    Off the top of my head, I guess then they’d have to do more demographic analysis in order to sell themselves to different advertisers, which would be annoying and probably expensive. Still, it seems like keeping arms length from the industry’s money would be helpful. Or not?

  45. Kieron Gillen says:

    Muzman: From what I’m told over the years, they’ve no interest in advertising on game sites. It’s not as simple as demographics. They don’t necessarily want their brand connected with gaming.

    (i.e. Gamers are geeks)

    KG

  46. marilena says:

    A bit disappointed by Tom Chick. His examples aren’t great at all. I knew he’s a slave to Empire of Legends and Bioshock, so I’d let these slide (just like will *almost* let slide that he used a Fallout 3 screenshot for Fallout), but then he goes as low as TRON 2.0. I liked the game, actually, but it wasn’t exactly a bastion of originality, was it?

    Some games that I think he missed:

    – Beneath a Steel Sky (emulating the style of a certain period in SF, yeah, but doing it brilliantly and vividly and with its own story and setting)

    – I Have No Mouth and I must Scream (brilliant idea for a game, imo, and brilliant story, penned by Harlan Ellison, rather badly implemented, though)

    – Beyond Good and Evil

    There are probably more, those were off the top of my head.

    One thing I will say in his defense is that Bioshock is most definitely science fiction. Not great, science fiction, but that;s another, interminable discussion that I was probably better off not getting into.

  47. marilena says:

    How do you edit? I meant Rise of Legends :P.

  48. Gap Gen says:

    I dunno, most of his examples are pretty good. But then I adore Alpha Centauri, so I’d be prepared to let it slide if the rest of the games were just Star Wars licenses.

  49. marilena says:

    Some of them are good and the article is good just for bringing them up. There’s never enough praise for Another World’s setting, for instance (even though the game was a bastard hard trial and error thing).

    Still, part of it is pretty weak, unexpected from a guy who I normally find very interesting.

  50. Muzman says:

    Kieron Gillen says:
    They don’t necessarily want their brand connected with gaming.
    (i.e. Gamers are geeks)

    I guess we don’t expect much besides ads for guitars and amps in Guitar magazine (although bourbon now and again..).
    Games might be mainstream-ish but talk about games isn’t. Plus the occasional controversy flare-up and it’s a fringe niche clique on the margins. Must be kinda frustrating.