The Sunday Papers

BIFF!

Sundays are for swinging across the country in an enormous metal track-worm, then desperately trying to pull together a Sunday Papers before house guests turn up for a game of the just-bought Dominions and… what’s the Sunday Papers? Oh, you know, sweeties. You know. Let’s just hope I can get through this list of fine (mostly) game related reading before the urge to link to a pop song becomes overwhelming.

Failed.

82 Comments

  1. robrob says:

    I can make the reply system work just fine.

    -KG

  2. Dean says:

    Dominion or Dominions?

    • Hobbes says:

      Or maybe even ‘Dominoes’, himself being the king of all typos an’ all.

    • PleasingFungus says:

      Perhaps Dominion, but with expansion(s) – hence, “Dominions”?

      I always mix the names up myself, so I can’t criticize.

    • Hentzau says:

      I thought Dominons, but the house guest thing then makes me think Dominion. This is confusing.

    • Edgar the Peaceful says:

      Hey KG. Since you (and Quinns, and Alec?) are not-so-closet board game geeks, please can we have an RPS boardgame special? Or even section?

  3. Heliocentric says:

    Wasn’t a tracked worm one of the vehicles in the expansion to command and conquer 3?

  4. Bhazor says:

    “Jordan Mechner was Prince of Persia/Last Escape”

    Shouldn’t that be Last Express?

  5. Harbour Master says:

    OMG, I thought I was the only person who bought Load Runner. That really takes me back. There’s virtually nothing on the web devoted to it – until now, I guess.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      There’s tons of stuff on the web about it, you just need to search for Lode Runner.

      When it comes to that era of gaming, I’ve always been more a fan of Robot Odyssey.

    • phlebas says:

      Jason, you need to read the comics link.
      Robot Odyssey does sound fantastic though.

  6. Morti says:

    Florence and the machine? , nice. I’ve been listening to a lot of her on these last few days.

    • Lack_26 says:

      I remember waiting ages for her to release Lungs, then I went on holiday to Germany a day before it was released, so I had a pirate copy that was obviously straight from a studio or something, it had bleeps between songs and everything. I listened to that for a month solid before I got back (being on holiday and hence without contact to the internet and British media so I didn’t hear anything else in the time). Can’t remember when I first heard of Florence, I’m sure it was 2008 though, I remember watching My Boy Builds Coffins being played in a park, with sticks and a fence instead of drums, on youtube a lot.

      Anyway, Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) is one of my favourite songs, means a lot to me for some reason.

    • Diziet says:

      Rabbit Heart is an awesome song. That album is one of my most played over the last year. :)

    • Muzman says:

      Who’d have guessed I recognise so many Francis and the Machine tunes. Now I just have to figure out how this happened.
      btw: I know it’s slightly lame to point out hemispheric weather differences, but right now the dog days are definitely with us. I’m not doing any running. I may go rob a bank or something though..

    • Morti says:

      well, I heard her for the first time a few days ago, on a Grey’s Anatomy episode…

  7. Chris says:

    Now it’s probably just me but what did the article on religion in games actually say?
    I mean I read the two pages and all I could get from it was that some games talked about religion and lots of people in the industry didn’t want to talk about it.

    Correct me if I’m wrong.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Chris

      The subtext, it seemed to me, was “many games talk about religion but none of them do it “right” because none of them talk favorably about mine.” It’s remarkable to me how clear it is that the author is an evangelical Christian despite never making a single clear reference to his own faith.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Slightly absurd. It’s as if the guy thought to himself “no-one talks about God in games” and sat down to write, expecting something cogent to emerge.

      And then ticked the “tackling controversial issues” box.

    • Schmitzkater says:

      It seems this was done after Julian Murdoch talked about it in the Three Moves Ahead podcast, over on flashofsteel.com

      I actually believe the conclusions and insights on the podcast itself to be a lot more interesting than this whole article, so here’s some linky link:

      link to flashofsteel.com

    • Matt W says:

      I think the most interesting and important sentence in that article is this one:

      ‘I’ll admit to being somewhat shocked when Wyatt, in a calm and fatherly tone, explains how awesome it was to cast aside the preconceptions of our shared faith: “Fantasy has this ability to open our eyes to the enchantment of our world, and to view real things with more wonder.”‘

    • Muzman says:

      Chris, Schmitzkater et al

      Yeah, I read that article a few times and struggled to find a point. I also don’t know how he could have written it so slightly after that podcast, which covers much more ground (but it doesn’t really get anywhere either to be frank).
      The first thought that springs to mind is how can he even be asking why no one wants to address this too specifically in games? Is there some other United States of America that’s not rife with batshit religious fundamentalism. He’s lucky to live there. The one I’m more familar with seems like a place you’d avoid the topic like the plague if you weren’t girding your loins for a fight. Murdoch himself gives you a little clue to this in the podcast when talks about Assassins Creed devolving into “an atheist screed”.

      I’m going to second guess them a bit but I don’t think there’s any way you’d please Murdoch and Chick with any rendering of faith and religion in a game (and think faith in particular is what they want). You would mostly have to abstract it as a mechanic (as most of those strategy games already do). That will never be good enough, it assumes a neutral position where faith can be absent (or the thing you have faith in). It needs to be ephemeral and awesome in every way and then come down ultimately, on the positive side of it. Any reduction, impicit or otherwise, would rob it of its power and therefore ‘not get it’.

      In a way this is fair enough. Addressing and illustrating what it is to be faithful is interesting and people could probably do it more. And it seems possible. But I can’t see the faithful thinking any rendering of faith that comes from a neutral position does it justice, which I think you’d have to do to make a game out of it. Certainly in a strategy game.

      I’ve said this before and it sounds like a joke, but the ‘social support though Job-ish grinding inanity’ of MMOs and the circuitous, oblique puzzle logic and obsessive investigative discovery of ARGs are the game types/mechanics that would best respresent western religious experience..

    • Tom Camfield says:

      @ Muzman

      Being able to save and reload, being able to play games more than once, they all undermine the need for faith (in redemption from sin); you don’t need God to forgive your sins when the game will happily forgive and forget at a touch of a button.

      (But I don’t know if I’m repeating things that have already been said.)

    • terry says:

      I thought that I read that Peter Molyneux loves everyone who plays his games, if they’re good. Now I’m not sure what to think.

  8. Psychopomp says:

    Dominions 3 is still my favorite 4X game of all time, even at the 60$ price tag. I hope you lot do some sort of game diary on it.

  9. Helm says:

    Jordan Mechner / Eric Chahi piece was great and JM’s advice of 1-3-2 is spot on in my experience. Anything I’ve ever accomplished has been done in 1-3-2, really. Struggling artists keep it in mind: for you to live you have to cut off your own head: make the art from the heart and let others do the second-guessing.

    Leigh Alexander piece is honest, she does move goal posts around, she’s a human being not some sort of ‘objective observer’ that a lot of people like to deceive themselves journalists should (or even could) be and that’s fine. I realize that as a reader, to constantly look for contradictions in the words of a public figure so as to brand them a ‘hypocrite’ is an intellectual dead-end. Because everyone contradicts themselves, everyone’s a hypocrite to a degree, so what. I don’t expect her to be internally consistent all the time but only that her, and anyone else attempting gender & sexuality analyses of art, to be braver with it. The elephant in the room. What are gamers, what needs are we fulfilling with gaming, who benefits and how does an industry work around artistry? What is reality and what is spectacle. The inherent consuming impulse in a capitalist society. Enough talk if something is ‘cool’ or not; everything is cool, we are cool, Bayonetta is cool, Metal Gear Solid is cool and my gaming hobby is cool. The problem is how we live with how ‘cool’ everything is.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      Agreed on the Mechner / Chahi piece – I found that a few days ago, an eye-opening read. Inspiring.

    • Mil says:

      @Helm:

      I think pointing out hypocrisy in other’s arguments is a valid comment in a discussion. Sure, saying “your opinions aren’t perfectly coherent; therefore they’re worthless” is a fallacy, not least because most of us can only hope to describe a very simplified, shortened version of what we actually think in an online debate. But you frequently find people of quite dubious learning and intelligence, people who often can’t even spell common words in their mother tongue (and I’m not talking about typos), who like to get on their internet pulpits and preach endlessly and arrogantly about others’ views, morality and whatnot. Reminding them that those who can’t fix the hypocrisy in their own views should be a bit more cautious when talking about others’ is, in my book, a perfectly sensible thing to do.

    • golden_worm says:

      Hmm. Sexuality in games. Like all depictions of sexuality, art or whatever, it’s what you bring to the table that matters. The game in itself is sexless. Some may argue that the sexuality of the game is whatever the creator of the game intended, or is at least a reflection of what he finds to be sexually appealing/acceptable. But sexuality is strongly influenced by culture so our reactions may not agree on what appeal/acceptability is.

      The greater part is what you bring in your personal attitudes to sexuality, the purpose of sexual pleasure, the purpose of games, and a whole myriad of other factors and hangups. Plus, like many other animals, we are highly influenced by super attractors in our environment, things that we are hardwired to pay attention to. Things like eyes, faces, human like movement, breasts etc.

      The fact that we fixate on things is some of the reason we like games. Like the real world, the extra attention gives you an increased chance of “survival”, but with vastly reduced variation and complexity of tasks to perform, the rewards are faster and more consistent .The level of interaction is also limited within the set inputs of the game. This allows “mastery” of the input techniques for a minimal outlay of effort (in physical terms).

      We absorb the experience and it informs a boundaries. What is or isn’t acceptable will always come up if we have hit a boundary of cultures. As everyone has their own historical viewpoint of the world these cultures can be very personal, so a game that presses so many peoples buttons could tell those who play it (or even just write about it) a lot about where the borders are for them.

      Whether you take something to be too sexual or bad sexual, or capitalist society sexual is just your own particular “perversion” showing through. The same could be said for violent games also. We are the first generation of humans who have been trained, via immortal avatars, to aim and fire on other immortal avatars. If we don’t allow this medium to show how powerful it can be at showing us what we are, isn’t that worse than being sexist?

    • Helm says:

      Mil: A lot of the internet is psychological bullying from one party over another to get them to concede to their sense of reality. The ‘level’ of such conflict can be really base trolling or high intellectual debate, but the impulse is the same. Time spent reminding others what they should be fixing about themselves is suspect of this in my opinion and it does warrant for some psychological and/or sociological scrutiny. What makes a person dedicate time to ‘fixing’ others around him, what is he trying to enforce and what pressures he’s reflecting. These are open questions, my judgement on such things is inconsequential, I just wish the questions to be there for those that are interested in internalizing the answers.

      In my answer to you I am trying to do the same thing I suggested about Leigh Alexander’s article: transcend the diversion and consider the real questions, which are infinitely harder than whether 1) Bayonetta is sexist or 2) telling people they’re being hypocritical is worthwhile. The real questions aren’t about other things, or other people, they’re about our own impulses and desires and our place in society.

      Golden worm: I consider the point that the game is a narrower bandwidth in which mastery is easier so it acts like some sort of stand-in to real-life achievement in vastly more complicated (and often hidden or diversive) rulesets. This explains a lot about how most hardcore gamers are intellectually very active (like people who often have to go against challenges and triumph) but yet deeply discontent emotionally (because their gaming master doesn’t translate to real life rewards).

      On perversion (a term I’ve personally made effort to have mean to me mostly positive connotations) I have to say that your analysis while interesting, seems allergic to discussing human beings in social relations. ‘Capitalism’ isn’t just a word for someone’s perversion, it also is part of an information structure that describes socioeconomic movement. The merits of this construct are debatable, but that this construct operates on another level than the inter-personal (where your analysis rests, if I understand correctly) should not be disregarded. We should discuss ourselves yes (infinitely more interesting than whether Bayonetta is or is not cool, or sexist) but we also should consider groups, societies, economics.

      On your final point on allowing the medium to show us all we are, I agree fervently (please keep in mind I don’t use these words a lot). My critique on Bayonetta was not to say that we’re better off with it not existing, it was that against it, as an object of reflection, we must be braver on what we see there, besides if it’s ’empowering’ us, of if we look ‘cool’ in it, a picture also shows fragments of the context we are in, our backgrounds, our societies, our communal desires and hopes. The reflection is often dark.

    • Lilliput King says:

      @Worm

      I think you’re confusing the issues. Yeah, my definition of ‘too sexual’ or ‘perverse’ may be my own, but that’s not to say the work in question doesn’t convey a particular view of feminity or sexuality. For all practical purposes, that’s just not the case.

      Compare and contrast: Chun-Li and Zoe Castillo.

    • Mil says:

      @Helm:
      I’m not sure what you mean when you say that [paraphrasing slightly] the real questions aren’t about other people, but ourselves. Humans are social animals and what others say and think certainly have an effect on us. Why are we posting here and reading others’ answers, if not to fulfill an instinctive social need? If other people work to spread intolerance and (in your words) “bullying”, won’t they hurt us through the same social instinct (to the extent they’re successful)?

    • golden_worm says:

      @Helm
      Being braver about what we are seeing is about right. It is a reflection of more than the current accepted norms or some marketing departments base understanding of human psychology. The reflection is also of ones own attitudes. As far as you can conceptualize them the larger groups and structures beyond individual interaction are all in your head. The rest, which is in the realm of “the economic/social/morality stuff we haven’t worked how to do yet”, is the perfect place to be safely explored through games.

      When I say “perversion” it’s as just an example of how we label each others boundaries.

      @Lilliput King
      I am never knowingly not unconfused.

      I don’t get the compare contrast you are making. If one is making an overtly sexual presentation than the other, I’m afraid I can’t tell which. Then again I’ve only heard of Chun Li and have no idea who Zoe Castillo is. An avatar of some sort i guess. One you imbue with your own construction of what is and isn’t acceptable behavior. Or an npc that you also give a whole chunk of you brain over to believing in, and judging, though your previous experiences?

      The way it is intended to be seen does not exist. Any perceived attempt to convey a particular view of feminity or sexuality is just another extrapolation of your own experience. No-one but the creator of the game can know for sure what was supposed to be conveyed and they are influenced by their life experience in the same way.

    • Lilliput King says:

      “If one is making an overtly sexual presentation than the other, I’m afraid I can’t tell which. Then again I’ve only heard of Chun Li and have no idea who Zoe Castillo is.”

      Heh, hardly surprising, then. I don’t mean to be rude, but it would’ve taken less time for you to do a quick search on wikipedia than it did for you to type such unbearable glibness.

      “No-one but the creator of the game can know for sure what was supposed to be conveyed and they are influenced by their life experience in the same way.”

      Mm. How do you know the sun will rise tomorrow? Laws of nature, you might say. How do you know those will apply tomorrow?

      To say that because we can’t be certain of something means we can’t ‘know’ anything at all about it is just incorrect. Similarly, while we have a particular perspective on works, this doesn’t mean the work itself has no relevance to that perspective.

      More examples. A square table stands between you and me in a room. I stand in the corner, you stand at the head of the table. Hence I see the table as a diamond shape, while you claim it is a rectangle. Your point of view would suggest we’re incapable of recognising the actual form of the table. And yet, we can. We are both very aware the table is a square.

      The point being, we interpret, but we can only interpret because there is something to be interpreted. We bring something to the table, certainly, but what we bring depends on the table. The table is unchanged by the process.

    • Helm says:

      Mil: Humans are social animals and what others say and think certainly have an effect on us.

      I don’t know about ‘social animal’, it’s a pretty loaded cliche in my opinion. But for the benefit of the discussion let’s rephrase, human beings for various reasons require social integration to be healthy. And we should be thinking about ourselves via these effects instead of the more common criticizing and pressuring of the others so they have different effects on us. I am not sure if the distinction I make is clear, but I hope so. It’s a diversion to try to change the people around oneself so that one is happy. Everyone makes choices of with whom to socialize of course, but at some point one also has to make a choice about what they want themselves to be.

      If other people work to spread intolerance and (in your words) “bullying”, won’t they hurt us through the same social instinct (to the extent they’re successful)?

      They would, but we can transcend that aspect of sociality by not engaging, not countering with bullying of our own. The less strawmen the better.

  10. the wiseass says:

    Oh please faith, beliefs, godlike entities, the circle of life and destiny have all been discussed to death in video games. There is hardly any reason to put all this into the context of real life religions. I don’t really feel the need to have real life religions meddling with my games now. I mean most religions are already a great source of division, war and dissent amongst human beings and considering how most games can’t even discuss the most basic questions of life without resorting to stereotypes, I can’t see how this will do the gaming community any good.

    As an atheist I don’t even think religion is worth all the attention it gets. Not to mention that many religious fundamentalists already consider video games as the work of the devil. Considering how huffy and pettish many believers are about their faith, I don’t see how any reasonable debate might result from this.

  11. Jimbo says:

    Correct, Amqz. For what it’s worth, I think “biggest name in female videogame criticism” was exactly the right phrase. There are plenty of competent females working in the industry, you just don’t tend to notice them because they don’t rely on their gender to such an extent.

    As far as I can tell Ms. Leigh just makes vague accusations so that she can rail against them, or invents straw man arguments so that she can tear them down. Like the ‘big round of guilty handwringing and/or judgmental tsk-tsking’ over Bayonetta – when did that happen? 99.9999999% of gamers everywhere looked at it, saw there was a ridiculously proportioned and overtly sexual female lead, and then didn’t care at all because it isn’t 1995 (not that anybody really cared then either).

    Even if there had been some genuine brouhaha over Bayonetta, how would her being female make her anymore of an authority on the issue? Why is her position on such matters always considered more worthy than those of her male peers? I find it quite ironic that somebody who seems to be considered a champion of equality, gets extra attention almost exclusvely because of their gender.

    • the wiseass says:

      I used to respect Leigh for her work, but lately the quality of her writing has diminished horrendously. It feels almost as she ran out of ideas , but still desperately tries to make a point… somewhere… But yes I agree, I oft read comments that are more thought through than her actual articles. No offence Ms. Leigh.

  12. Lambchops says:

    Ah French Navy was definitely one of the best songs of last year.

    —-

    The videogames in teaching thing is pretty interesting. It’s something that was part of my primary school life from a young age. I remember our school’s BBC Micro which had a few games with educational value (one taught you that running into cars while on a bike is bad – another involved shooting submarines by guessing numbers). Then a few years later Zoombinis was relentlessly played on our class’ Apple Mac; which i’m sure was rather valuable in ecnouraging logic skills.

    Aside from personal experience I think Scotland does quite well ion being open to the use of games in an educational sense. Take something like Consolarium It’s an initiative starting by learning and teaching Scotland which encourages the positive use of videogames in teaching using both obvious eduacational games such as Brain Training and less obvious titles as well. You wouldn’t instinctively see an educational use behing Guitar Hero – but as it turns out it can be used to encourage creativity and motivate the children. While such things are clearly just being trialled in a small number of places it’s good to see somebody trying to focus onto just what games can be used for as the use of games when I was at school, although enjoyable and useful, was probably somewhat slapdash in nature.

  13. M.P. says:

    Wow, that is MUCH better writing than I’m accustomed to from Gamespy!!

  14. haircute says:

    I had assumed The Internet’s Tim Rogers and the other fine young men of InsertCredit were the Fathers of NGJ. Who is that one guy who owned the site and dressed like a Hot Topic exploded all over him?

  15. Guy says:

    What I find so wonderful about Adam Curtis is the juxtaposition of his fantastic use of the image (and archive) and his magnificently inadequate understanding of history. Combined its creates programmes that are great to watch with the volume muted. As it is I hardly know where to begin deconstructing his relentlessly 1968 view of the world. Instead I’ll suggest anyone reading Mr Curtis immediately follows it by ignoring everything he said and going to read Waq al-Waq- link to islamandinsurgencyinyemen.blogspot.com -which is actually written by people who know the Yemen.

    Oh, and I liked the videogame comics.

  16. Casimir's Blake says:

    Now this is why I read RPS, linking to an interview with Brian Eno. I do wish more would try his early-70s “ambient-rock” albums though, Before And After Science is a masterpiece. There’s far more to the guy than his ambient music…

    • Tom Camfield says:

      Basically, the Eno piece screamed RPS. Three reasons.

      The first was that striking quote which seemed to summarize the whole NGJ thing: I think at the time a lot of people needed a name, not just to say “we should be doing this” but also so other people could go “no, no, no”. You give something a name and you can debate its merits, even by just highlighting that there was a thing called games journalism and it could be done differently, something had changed. And now we have things like the Solium Infernum diaries, which is pretty much exactly what Kieron was asking people to dig and has now come fully to life. And once I start writing about NGJ I find it hard to stop, but…

      Second, I knew Rossignol was a fan of Eno, and it reminded me of something Rossignol would have posted up, back when he updated his website and we all got to read about Ballard (RIP), Dick (RIP) and Rorty (RIP). Tragically, Jim’s heroes do seem to have a habit of dying. Double tragedy because they seem to be mine too. That at least one is still kicking around is clearly A Good Thing.

      Third, was the lovely quotes about Abba and irony, which I think helps gives another aspect to last weeks Lady Gaga fest (ironic appreciation), and his words about gospel, which gives yet another aspect; pop being one church of shared experience.

      This is the kind of thing that fuels brains.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I should totally start updating the website again.

    • Tom Camfield says:

      @ Jim

      Do it! Please. Some people decided to get a philosophy degree after reading Rorty on your blog. You never know who you’re reaching.

  17. qrter says:

    Another Green World is still a hugely impressive album.

  18. Serenegoose says:

    Vinraith said:
    @Chris

    The subtext, it seemed to me, was “many games talk about religion but none of them do it “right” because none of them talk favorably about mine.” It’s remarkable to me how clear it is that the author is an evangelical Christian despite never making a single clear reference to his own faith.

    I rather do wish now somebody would make a game featuring the Christian god, in the only way such a character could be shown according to their actions. As a villain that would make Sauron feel inadequate. “I will rule over you with uncaring tyranny, but you must LOVE me for it.” Though, then I also like villains that are sympathetic… so I guess their god would be a bit one dimensional like that.

    • Subject 706 says:

      Hey, it’s TOUGH LOVE.

    • Tom Camfield says:

      @ Serenegoose

      That’s not exactly how Christianity works, it’s the redemption part that matters; that for all the evil you do, there’s someone willing to forgive.

      It’s a far more tempting pot of gold than just bowing for nothing. See also, a source of strength, a set of values for your life etc. It’s really quite extraordinary the need there is for this kind of thing.

  19. Shazbut says:

    It’s “The Last Express”. It was about 9,374 times more worthy of recognition and discussion than, say, Bioshock. You could have got the name right! *cries*

  20. Shabooty says:

    God Camera Obscura is so good

  21. medwards says:

    On the ‘Faith in Video Games’ article:
    I found it an interesting article, but when I finish my Dragon Age adventure that is explictly about revolution, its hopes and contradictions, its enemies and friends, and about how power responds then I’ll bet you that the people defending this article will come down on me like a sack of bricks.

    Why? Because the entire article is not about why video games don’t tackle faith and religion, it is “Why aren’t there more games that are explicitly propaganda pieces for faith and religion.” That sort of attitude brooks no room for any other movement to compete because it is all about how their particular movement is marginalised. You’ll note that the article never discusses or even seeks out games that are about athiesm (beyond a mention of BioShock 2). The article isn’t about “Why is faith and religion a scary topic to handle, and how have some people handled it?” it’s about “Damn you game developers for not talking about faith! Promote more faith!” You can see it in the authors umbrage at peoples reticience to do interviews. As such, I find it disappointing because it has the potential to open new avenues for storytelling but takes blinders to it.

  22. KeenanW says:

    I logged in for the first time in awhile to say that “[…] Talking of which – seen that Irrational have started blogging?” is one of the cleverest things ever written on RPS.

  23. Matt says:

    I want to know what others thought about the game Leigh Alexander wrote about (not necessarily her article but the game itself). I want to know what people were thinking when they played that game.

    For me the most profound thought that I had while playing Every Day The Same Dream was when I “beat” it. I had completed all the tasks necessary to break the cycle of habit. I (according to the elevator lady) had broken my conformist ways. Yet now as a non-conformist I still was faceless and then walking through the world one last time I realized I was also utterly alone! There was no victory in breaking my conformist ways, soul-crushing tho they might be. There might be more real-world truth in that then I would be comfortable to admit.

    • Sinnerman says:

      What I thought? I can’t remember exactly but I started off thinking that the last thing I wanted to do was what might be expected. The thing that bothered me the most was the wife being such an automaton, or at least having less character and awareness than the woman in the lift. I found the ending a little trite and predictable to be honest but maybe that is because I have read too much Kafka. I liked the idea but it wasn’t much of a game, the rules were too simple, it was also a little derivative of the superior “Don’t shit your pants” which was better art and a better game.

  24. Sinnerman says:

    The AAA interactive entertainment video game experience industry world could do with a couple more Eric Chahi and Fumito Ueda type people. Just a couple more, wouldn’t want to overdo it.

  25. Matt W says:

    That BLDGBLOG piece is mind-expanding. I didn’t know you could think like that, but I think I like it.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Yeah, it’s really interesting. The use of space is something that I hadn’t considered properly before. I wonder whether games could discuss the quote at the start, too, where you spend ages cultivating a home and then soldiers blow open the wall and storm in. It could be a very powerful thing to do.

    • Robin says:

      If you want to see a game explore this idea, you could do worse than (the annoyingly not on Steam or GoG afaik) Silent Storm.

      With typical PC game stat escalation, you start off stealthing around buildings to get good sniping vantage points, then once you’ve got your hands on demolition explosives and MG42s you can start blasting irregularly shaped holes in walls and floors and blowing up whole buildings.

      Then you get mech-suits, introducing the trade-off of whether you should try fighting indoors with them – massively boosting your defensive capabilities at the risk of collapsing the entire east wing of the orphanage (or whatever) with a stray shot from your experimental Axis death ray.

  26. Tei says:

    “Everything Becomes a “Console”
    This one is somewhat controversial. It seemed that with the move towards mobile and web, the closed ecosystems of the console world would be under siege and eventually collapse. What game developer (except perhaps the ones most entrenched in with the Nintendos-Microsoft-Sony trinity) hasn’t fantasized about this walled garden having its walls rammed down?

    Well, welcome to the new world. The iPhone has proven that given the right amount of “openness”, neither consumers nor developers really mind closed platforms.

    Even on the anarchic web (regions of which remind one more of a Mad-Maxian post-apocalyptical cyberspace than an enlightened utopia), Facebook is in the process of creating a closed environment within which consumers and game developers can meet and exchange fun and money (more or less) safely.”

    Internet is a better example that “mad max” works much better than closed gardens. But..he!.. If you think consoles work, good luck with that.

  27. MD says:

    “Over at UserCreated we have an interview with the Nameless One modders. Yay!”

    Unless I’m missing a reference or something, that should be Nameless Mod, not Nameless One. (Nitpick for sure, but it was enough to confuse me, so I’m not just mentioning it for the sake of it.)

  28. Kadayi says:

    BLDGBlog on Nakatomi space. Very cool read.

  29. Tacroy says:

    In re: video game comics, I present to you: the Doom Comic.

    Select quotes:

    “I’m a 12.0 on the 10.0 scale of badness!”
    “You are huge! That means you have huge guts!”
    “Ahh, chainsaw. The great communicator!” Next panel: “Allow me to communicate my desire to have your guns!”
    “You’re stupid! And you’re gonna be stupid and dead!”

    I think it rather accurately demonstrates how utterly messed up the Doom marine would get after the first couple of levels.

  30. Wulf says:

    Reading up on the naming of the rooms in VVVVVV was thoroughly enjoyable, and I can see why he had the mind for the task, he’s a very creative thinker. And the bit about an uneducated naked guy was worth the click alone. The room names really are part of the fun though, and I can’t really say anything more about that that wasn’t said in that eloquent article. I do, however, have this urge to play Dizzy now, and I’m wholly convinced that someone should try and do a modern indie take on Dizzy.

    Someone like… you!

    Anyway, Leigh convinced me to give Every Day the Same Dream a go, and so I did, as I hadn’t gotten around to it yet. And being the trickster and befouler of routine that I am, I pretty much quickly figured out all the things I could do. Especially funny was ending up naked at a graveyard, with an old lady at my side. That, alone, almost made the game for me.

    “Let me take you to a quiet place.”
    “Errrrrr.. ooer missus, why am I with you, at this graveyard, naked?”
    “Shhh, they’ll hear us!”
    “Ooookay. Hooray, my life isn’t as boring as it was yesterday. Let me tell ya. Normally I go and sit at this cubicle, but I felt this bizarre yet benevolent–or at least I assume it’s probably benevolent, or just drunk, or both of the above, and probably a bohemian to boot–outside force enter into me, influencing my actions. And hoo boy, here I am, naked, and in a graveyard, with yo–”
    “SHHH!”
    “Right!”
    […]
    “Sooo… this is boring, want to leave, maybe grab a burger, my tre–OH MY GOD, YOU’RE NAKED TOO. I need to be going now! Bye!”

    Yay mental tangents.

    …I have this feeling that my own internal commentary made that game far more entertaining than it probably was.

    So!

    Uh…

    Oh!

    The ending. I was a bit disappointed by that, I watched myself die, or I somehow telepathically ordered the human race to act like Lemmings (GET OUT OF YOUR CARS AND GO JUMP OFF SOMETHING), or… uh, I don’t know! I was really rather hoping that by breaking his routine, I would’ve made him into something really special. Maybe a well loved artist, an actor, someone doing something fun.

    Or even… By day, he’s Ordinary Cubicle Drone #14, but by night, he’s Cow-Man, defiler of the nondescript! After an encounter with a mildly radioactive and inebriated Cow (but we’re not going to tell you how the Cow happened to be inebriated, but it probably has something to do with Elysian Dragons)…

    Well, that’s how it ended in my head, anyway. That’ll have to do.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Wulf: While I was never the biggest Dizzy fan in the world, I highly approve of your one-man message-board thread to make someone make one.

      KG

    • Taillefer says:

      There’s a Dizzy community with a few fan-made Dizzy games. And they’ve created a Dizzy construction kit called “DizzyAGE” so you can make one too.

      Not quite what you meant, perhaps. But, just in case you weren’t aware of it.

    • HermitUK says:

      A modern day indie version of Dizzy, you say? That’d be Spuds Quest, says I. Beta version came out in 2006 and the developer is back working on a final version. There’s a site for the game that’s currently down, but a couple of trailers on his youtube page: link to youtube.com

    • Richeh says:

      That can’t be Dizzy, Hermit. I see no awkward jumps where you lose all your lives rolling off the precipous platform once you’ve finally made the jump onto it from seventeen clouds that you sink through. Without infuriating, uncontrollable leaping, it can’t be heir to the series that cost me two joysticks.

    • HermitUK says:

      Admittedly this is true, certainly the beta version didn’t include sudden death among its features.

      Sadly it also lacked the option to kick a narcoleptic egg into the sea for your own perverse amusement. It was still decent, mind :p

      There was also a third Wibble World Giddy game on the PC some time ago, though the first on the Amiga was the best of the bunch, still, they’re over here: link to retroleum.co.uk Atari! Atari! Rave! Gibber!

  31. Urthman says:

    Regarding the Religion in Video Games article:

    Maybe I just don’t have enough of the John-Walker-Video-Game-Story-Love in my blood, but the idea that a videogame would deal with some topic in a profound way is just completely orthogonal to what I want out of video games. It seems as silly as clamoring for football matches to address the topic of religion. When will someone build a ski resort that makes a profound statement about Jesus?

    I mean seriously, there’s maybe 3 video games that deal with any serious topic at a level more profound than the average TV show. Is there really some guy who had some profound insight about torture and terrorism because he played Modern Warfare 2? And maybe he’d have an amazing religious epiphany if Just Cause 2 had a Catholic priest character you could confess all your sins to?

    Wait a minute. I think I just ruined my whole argument, because that would be utterly awesomely sweet. Just Cause 2 totally needs an achievements/high score screen which is a confessional booth where the character kneels down and recites every single evil deed he’s done in the game.

    • Bret says:

      That would be awesome.

      On the other hand, if you played as the priest, it would be Monsignor Martinez, the video game, something I cannot reasonably argue against.

    • invisiblejesus says:

      I dunno, my tastes in games tend to click pretty well with Walker’s (though a game has yet to make me cry, I’m clearly far too manly for that) and the religion in video games thing still strikes me as kind of gibberish. I mean, I think it can be done… it’s just that anyone who cares about that sort of thing (whether religious or anti-religious, which I think is distinct from simple atheism) will almost always be unsatisfied by it. The kinds of folks who appreciate a mature, non-crazy handling of religion in a game just aren’t as motivated to write intense critiques of it as those who just want their point of view (again, whether religious or anti-religious) represented and advocated for. It’s no different from news media in that respect, I think.

    • Turin Turambar says:

      You have to think about the medium that is the videogames. They are a very very heterogeneous medium, more than film or tv or books. If you think it carefully, some videogames are like a sports games, others more like chess, others more like a board game, others are like a movie or a novel, others like a choose-your-adventure-teen-novel, others like a tabletop RPG, or even a live RPG.

      Yeah, a lots of games can’t explore deep issues as their genre is about other things, but there are some videogames where it’s possible, the potential is up there.

  32. l1ddl3monkey says:

    Game based comics: I can’t believe no one’s done the “Andy Roid and his brother Hemi” joke yet. There, that sorted that out.