Sundays are for avoiding tidying up the house by compiling a list of interesting reading from across the week, while trying to avoid mentioning a certain comic that may have been released. And how much I’m trying to avoid tidying can be ascertained by the length of this hefty Sunday Papers special…
- The most essential thing from the week was Chris Delay’s look at Introversion’s 2008, where he talks candidly about how Multiwinia almost brought down the company. Full of totally hearbreaking vignettes. Choice one: “Tom had always fantasised about building a sales counter that would sit in the corner of the office and tick up whenever we sold a copy of a game. This time around he actually did it, building the device out of second hand parts bought from Ebay and writing custom driver software for it that linked directly to our Multiwinia sales counter. During our launch party dinner and celebrations that evening, what was truly amazing about this counter was how little it was actually going up. I’m not kidding when I say that we actually checked the connections and the software several times to make sure it was actually working, only to find out it was. Even then that very night we knew it was bad, that our whole future was in doubt.” Go read.
- JG Ballard’s been dead for a while now, but Jim only got his chance to do his tribute over at Offworld this week. Rossignol does a fine job of showing exactly why he mattered and inspired people – and his relevance to games. Oh, just read it. He gets to use the title “Ragdoll Metaphysics” too, which we always like.
- After Zeno Clash’s array of positive reviews, Tom Jubert of Games Brief wonders whether Indie games get an easy ride. Someone drags out this position every time someone doesn’t like a mainly-well-reviewed indie game, and it never really gets any more convincing. On the topic of Zeno Clash, if our cryptic mentions of director/writer/awesome-chap Jodorowsky in our review intrigued you, here’s the oft-brilliant Joe McCulloch on the Metabarons, his definitive comic work. FULL BORE MENTAL.
- The Sunday Times on adding smells to games. Yes. So, at last, we will have games that really do stink.
- Clive Thomas at Wired, inspired by Jonathan Blow’s asking people to not use walk-throughs, segues close to something we were covering in the podcast – as in, the Internet’s effect on game experience, specifically puzzle solving. The solution of embracing the hive mind strikes me as somewhat pat. The vast majority of people in ARGs don’t solve the puzzles – they sit back and let everyone else find the answer for them. The people analysing Lost are mostly just consuming more slowly generated User-generated-FAQs. And “people know when not to use them” strikes me as pretty naive in a world where avoiding spoilers on a game solution is tricky, assuming you actually *want* to be involved in gaming discourse.
- Greg Costikyan’s had a busy and controversial week. First, at Gamasutra he looks at US boardgaming’s past and tries to extrapolate it into US gaming’s future – using the Twiggy boardgame as evidence. It’s grim stuff – and probably too grim, for my money, but it’s worth chewing over. Costikyan’s an invaluable scholar due to his ability to tie all of modern gaming’s prehistory together. Secondly, on Play This Thing, he takes on Indie, Punk rock and pretension inspired by the genuinely very funny if you’re not indie, fuck off video. At least, watch that. Yes.
- Phill Cameron interviews Offtopic Production about their recently released epic Deus Ex mod, The Nameless Mod. I still haven’t had a chance to go back to it yet, annoyingly, but it’s a pretty towering achievement.
- The Thoughtshake looks at monthly fees and grinding.
- Wot No Bridge Simulators? SWIZ!
- Andy Johnson at Resolution magazine writes about the concept of terror and security in videogames. And… well, it’s the start of a series, and possibly fertile ground.
- Eurogamer on the End of Publishing – which is spinning off the BAFTA debate this week about the future of digital downloads. I actually attended, but didn’t write about it – interesting, but not really much we didn’t already know. Perhaps most telling, even someone like Paradox – who own their own digital distribution channel – still only sell 20% of their games via it. Though, admittedly, that still makes 40% of their profit.
- The Art Game debate trundles on, with Leigh Alexander talking to some key players for Kotaku.
- Gamasutra looks at ever-rolling Soap Opera which is Midway, focusing in on the boom to bust of the Mortal Kombat creators. Interesting fact: Midway haven’t turned a profit since 1999. That’s mental.
- After enormous delays, there’s a new issue of my bloody, horrific child out. The second issue of Phonogram: The Singles Club is entitled Wine And Bed And More And Again, available from all good comics shops. There’s a preview here, its reviews are here and it’s inspired by this record, amongst others.
Failed. Yet avoided tidying for a bit, so a little bit of win.