The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for gathering ancient Ogres to give to my brother in a sinister North-London meeting before he sods back off to Sheffield and compiling a list of the fine (mostly) games related reading from across the week, while trying to not include a link to a new Mix-tape that’s tweaking my monkey and a track by the band I went to see last night. Tweaking my monkey? I don’t know. I just don’t know. GO LIST!

Failed.

142 Comments

  1. dadioflex says:

    That Planetarion write-up was great. When I was at grammar school we didn’t have anything like that. The closest we had was WRG 15mm ancients wargaming and hushed whisperings about some day having the money to play one of the big US play by mail games.

  2. TheBlackBandit says:

    Now, that Bioshock review is excellent. If only he’d played a little further he could have tried some mini golf, too.

    • neems says:

      I don’t normally do this sort of thing, but –

      lol.

      That is all.

  3. P7uen says:

    I am utterly obsessed with Neptune’s Pride, despite having only clicked the mouse about 4 times in a week.

    • rxtx says:

      Hey didn’t know you were an RPSer! I’m with you in 137, have decided to let you live for now… :P I think yellow and blue have teamed up though :(

    • arqueturus says:

      We’re all RPS’ers y’know. Except the AI’s.

      Also, no comment.

    • Arathain says:

      Neptune’s Pride’s an interesting one, for sure. Such simple mechanics and presentation, and so relatively undemanding in terms of inputs, yet it manages to very effectively occupy a fairly substantial headspace (in short: I think about it a great deal more than I play it). Can anyone see above their own petty concerns long enough to stop the monolithic Yellow?

    • P7uen says:

      @rxtx

      Hurrah!

      3 of those 4 clicks were used avoiding Green-Squidman Enormo-Death

    • bookwormat says:

      @P7uen, I hope you have some genius plan B to somehow get rid of the green blob and then revenge my death? I need to see these yellow spider people suffer!

    • Vague-rant says:

      As the yellows I do proclaim that we are a peaceable people. Bookwormat, no hard feelings but I had to do it.

      And dammit I’m not the evil empire here… Green is.

    • bookwormat says:

      And dammit I’m not the evil empire here… Green is.

      Now that i think of it, I have never seen such thing as a green ship during the existence of my species.
      Maybe the “green blob” and its weapons of mass destruction are just false pretences the yellow spiders use to legitimate their actions?

      :P

    • rxtx says:

      Yeah, us greens don’t have any guns. However I have recently witnessed both yellow and blue committing atrocities against burgundy and red, so it would seem that bookwormat is telling the truth!

    • Vague-rant says:

      Maybe now would be a good time for P7uen to interject I think. Orange has seen first hand what the green weapons look like, and they’re not pretty.

      This character assassination is completely uncalled for. All I did was destroy one nation, pillage planets and crush its people like ants… I think I more than made up for it by saluting their passing.

    • F_t_R says:

      That was a mere misunderstanding – at least I didn’t wipe him out! We’re now living quite peacefully (suspiciously) as neighbors. You on the other hand wiped a sentient species out of existence!

    • P7uen says:

      Yes I have tasted Green Laser Death, it was bitter.

      My current empire comprises of roughly 2 stars and a ship, but do not fear, I shall avenge your death with an ungodly leaflet campaign!

  4. the wiseass says:

    How could you miss John Romero’s speech at the art history of games symposium in Atlanta, talking about “the game masters” ?
    Read here: link to kotaku.com

  5. dadioflex says:

    Okay, working my way through the articles here, that Crispy Gamer wrap-up seems a tad rose-tinted. I appreciate KG may have valued their output but I never saw much about them to distinguish them from any of the other many, many games sites out there. RPS is the only one I really check daily.

    “Yet the editorial staff began to worry that the import of Crispy Gamer writing might be diminished by the new acquisitions.”

    The “import”? The guy writing the article was a contributor so he’s biased but the idea that an evil corporation came and pissed on their “Game Trust” dream is nuts. If they’re so concerned about their integrity, the quality of their writing and maintaining an independent voice then do what RPS did and start their own blog/e-zine. I suspect they were more concerned about not getting paid any more when their vision turned out to be inadequate to fund their ambition.

    • FunkyBadger says:

      Still gobsmacked some idiot gave $8.5M to a games site that didn’t accept advertising. They would have been better off buying shares in Google.

      Niche journalists misunderstand economics and fail, sums most of it up, really.

    • TeeJay says:

      “…the only gaming site in the world not to run advertising from video-game companies…”

      Surely this can’t be correct? There are *tons* of gaming blogs/sites/etc out there that don’t have advertising. What definition of “gaming site” are they using?

  6. James G says:

    The Mass Effect 2 discussion is reasonably on the money in my opinion, but still gets hung up a bit on the importance of genre, if only to conclude that they aren’t strictly defined.

    The important thing about Mass Effect 2 isn’t whether its an RPG or not, but that it forms a much more cohesive game than its predecessor. It doesn’t feel like ‘3rd-person action in a Bioware RPG framework’ but rather like its own thing, whatever genre you choose to lump it in to. Getting too hooked up on that matter risks failing to take into account half the lesson, which is the game demonstrates as much to action titles at it does to RPGs.

    Of course, it remains to be seen how easy it will be to take the lessons of ME2 on into other games. Distinct elements were juggled together in a way which worked, but I’m not sure how much of this was judgement, rather than luck. Obviously dropping the whole ‘we need to do X Y and Z because we want to make a W’ is a sensible move* but I don’t think that necessarily helps you decide which elements of A, B and C should be included.

    As they say in the summary though, I’m also glad that Dragon Age was made recently. While I surprised myself by finding ME2 the better game, Dragon Age still embodies ideas that it would be sad to lose completely.

    Oh, and I’ll be sorely disapointed is Walker’s ME2 review doesn’t conclude with ‘RPG of the decade.’ It is a completely meaningless assertion in the second month of the decade of course. Which is exactly why he needs to conclude it.

    * Although one which still concerned me prior to release. I like some of my traditional trappings of RPGs. Unecessary sidequests, countless stats and customizations, the comparision between many different only marginally different tools. When I realised ME2 was going to be pruning these back I was worried. In the end it worked, and better than the game I might have demanded.

    • qrter says:

      I do find Mass Effect 2 to be pretty disappointing. And part of it is how sleek the game is trying to be. I hate using the word ‘immersion’, but here I find myself anyway – by eliminating all these different types of weapons and augmentations (however redundant they may prove to be), by adding the horribly dull planet scanning game, it makes the game a lot less immersive for me. It makes the whole experience more artificial than it should be, makes the world feel lifeless. Sometimes I feel like I’m moving from interactive cutscene to interactive cutscene. The whole thing becomes so sleek and smooth that it’s a fine game, a great game even, but also utterly bland.

      I don’t agree with the bit about a lot of the upgrades you found in ME1 turning out to be redundant – well, I mean, you would lug around ridiculous amounts of the stuff, that much is true, but saying that only 2 upgrades would turn out useful says more about the player than the game. It’s the maxim of the min-maxer. Besides, it’s an RPG – sometimes it’s a lot more fun to choose the option that looks/sounds/feels more fun/cooler/whatever than What Helps You Beat The Game (case in point in ME2 – I avoid any bit of armour that covers up my Shepard’s face too much. It’d be better stat-wise, but just isn’t fun to look at.)

      And don’t get me started on the “ammo” clips..

    • Psychopomp says:

      What’s wrong with the thermal clips? The codex entry explains them fine.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Dunno much thermodynamics, but from a gameplay perspective they work pretty well.

    • Pace says:

      My problem with ME2 is the story: there isn’t one. Technically it’s a big step up from ME1 as everyone agrees, but I thought story was a real strength of ME1, and just gone in 2.

    • Psychopomp says:

      ME2’s main plot is just a skeleton, yes, but that’s because the focus is on your crew. Everything else is just an excuse for these people to meet Shepard.

    • qrter says:

      I just don’t get the want for a reload system. Is hitting ‘R’ that important to people? I thought the overheating system in ME1 worked fine and it felt very appropriate to the setting – ofcourse weapons of the future would’ve done away with an archaic system like ammo. But now BioWare had to retrofit some story about thermal clips, because it would’ve been too embarrassing to just call it ‘ammo’, eventhough it more or less functions exactly like that.

      These clips are supposed to be interchangeable, except they’re not – they become exclusively linked to the weapon you have equipped at the moment. You’ll run out of ammo thermal clips for weapon A and you can’t then use the clips you still have left for weapon B, you have to switch to weapon B and use that. It’s very silly and only underlines how these thermal clips are actually just ammo but please pretend you don’t know that.

    • Psychopomp says:

      “Thermal clips hold a store of disposable heat sinks universal to all small arms.”

      The heat sinks inside the clips are universal, not the clips themselves.

    • Dante says:

      I think the overarcing plot is the only area in which Mass Effect 2 is really weaker than the original, but this doesn’t matter much to be because they superior characters and dialogue more than make up for it.

      Mass Effect and Dragon Age were always diverging in their approaches to the RPG, most of us just didn’t realise how far away ME2 would move. I for one am glad they’re doing both, it gives people the option.

      Sadly it also means they get slagged off from both directions.

    • Matt W says:

      Here’s why I think the thermal clips are a neat bit of design:

      The old overheat system was an interesting way to add an additional layer of management into battles, but it suffered from a) being a little distracting to manage under fire (bearing in mind this is a mass-market game and not everyone can or wants to learn the rhythm of each gun setup) and b) frustrating when you screw it up.

      The new system achieves several things. Firstly, it fills the management gap left by taking out the overheat system; if you didn’t have either I suspect it’d make battles noticeably less interesting. Second, it adds a nice, predictable rhythm to combat on both sides: it gives the enemy pauses while they reload which you can exploit, and probably more importantly it forces the player to take pauses during which they can assess the battlefield and modulate their plans.

      Thirdly, it adds a layer of depletable-resource management – you have to keep an eye on your ammo counts. This gives you another variable to keep track of (can be a bad thing if there are too many, but here if you removed it there’d likely be too few); it gives you something else to loot (a useful bonus given the streamlined inventory); it allows for “skin of your teeth” moments when you run out of ammo on your primary weapon and have to switch to something less suitable because it’s all you have ammo for; and in that and other situations it gives you a reason to switch to other weapons, so for example you don’t waste sniper ammo on husks (this gives you a reason to care about more than one weapon in your loadout, and also prompts you to vary your playstyle a little).

      By charging all weapons every time you pick up a clip, it also manages to strike a neat balance between “different ammo for every weapon”, which is arguably more confusing than is really necessary, and a DX:IW-style “universal ammo” system which loses a lot of the benefits described above by actively discouraging using inefficient weaponry (ie, any weapon other than the best one).

      Oh, and it also makes standard infantry weapons work in the same manner to the heavy weapons, which as implemented need their own separate ammo pool to stop them becoming game-breaking.

    • Pace says:

      And anybody gotten to the end yet? I just got there last night. Man, is it stupid. I mean, astoundingly stupid.

    • Psychopomp says:

      I assume you mean the final boss, because I adored the rest of the finale.

    • Lambchops says:

      9 out of 10 final bosses are rubbish. This wasn’t part of the 1 out of 10. Still could have been worse and I forgive them as the rest of the end section was suitably awesome.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      Two things that make Mass Effect 2 stand out as a production, for me:

      – Characters no longer look like mannequins. There are moments of stiffness (and I don’t mean Joker, uh… joking about Legion), but all character movement in games should be motion-captured now. Unless you have a world-class animator. There are enough animations that they don’t look as though they are repeated too often, ME1 fell foul of this.

      – Appropriate delay and reverberation on sound effects and speech. Mass Effect 1 seems like a cheap b-movie because of things like this. If I’m outside, there may be some delay on speech, but little or no reverb which is usually more accurate. If I’m talking to someone inside a room, there should be reverberation tails on all voices due to the interior reflections. So I’m delighted they’ve added this as a software effect generated by the game, and not just recorded to the voice-overs. Sending all sounds through a low-pass filter when you’re losing health (cut-off drops further as you lose more), and software-generated delay effects when choosing star systems are little design touches that shows how particular and mature Bioware have become as developers. Bravo sound team.

    • Lilliput King says:

      I assume you mean the final boss, because I adored the rest of the finale.

      Yup, the last mission was fantastic. The ending was so-so.

      The last boss was pathetic. Shame, really.

    • mrmud says:

      The entire end was pretty much rubbish (not just the boss). The lack of momentum in the story is the big achilles heel of ME2. That said I think pretty much everything else in the game is fantasitc.

    • mrmud says:

      Well ok, thats not entierly true. It wasnt rubbish.

      I just expected alot more considering how great some of the other bits were.
      It was annoying to end the game on a bit of a downer after enjoying the rest so much.

    • Pace says:

      Yeah it was mainly the final boss I was referring to, but it was also the plot climax as well. I was quite literally laughing out loud at the ridiculousness of it.

  7. TeeJay says:

    The evolution of Gillen catchphrases, chapter 1:

    DYSWIDT >> No, really >> Tweaking my monkey

    • arqueturus says:

      What about “Vodka will never hurt you or leave you ever”?

  8. Lambchops says:

    The editorial on Mass Effect 2 is bang on. The RPG hybrid sort of style of game often makes for the type of game I enjoy most. They’ve tightened everything up and the game benefits because of it.

  9. PixelCody says:

    Planetarion occupied a hefty chunk of my mind for a few months back in highschool. I can’t say I’ve looked for a similar experience since, as getting competitive in the game meant being tethered to the internet for the start of each tick.

    Travian offered up a nice throwback to using time as a resource but it didn’t peak my interest in the same way. Now facebook games are trying to use the same mechanic in wholly unsatisfying ways.

    This Neptunes Pride.. I shall try it.

    • PixelCody says:

      Just reread the post and checked it against my comment thinking “Neptune’s Pride?” Wonder where I got that name from..

      “Neptune’s Bounty has been picking up a gear and…”. Apparently you guys have been playing the third level of Bioshock together (had to google that one).

    • Vague-rant says:

      Yeah we kind of went off on a tangent a little bit. But to be fair they both begin with Neptune, and since Neptune’s Pride has been on my mind for a good week now, the connection just came up(as some one else said you spend alot more time thinking about it than you do playing it. In any case its odd to have a game of 8 contain 4 RPSers.

  10. Premium User Badge

    Ging says:

    Planetarion was a fine, fine way to avoid doing any work during sixth form, even though it only really needed about 5 minutes activity on the web site every few hours to keep things ticking over, you could spend hours with class mates talking about plans.

  11. Radiant says:

    That article about Crispy Gamer is pretty eye opening, in that, the only time I ever knew it existed was when it was mentioned on here; yet they were EXTREMELY well funded.

    Also planetarium was shite unless you where in a huge war party. For me, being billy no [nerd] mates, trying to tend my own garden in one tick then being home invaded by FURY in the next was not much fun.
    Build ships? How? What do those ship names even mean?

    • Radiant says:

      Also how old are you making me feel here? I first played planetarium after university :|

  12. Radiant says:

    By the way Gillen you may enjoy this:

  13. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    ***ACTUAL BIO 2 SPOILERS***

    I’m currently playing Bioshock 2 on X360 and strangely I’m divided between Alec’s impressions of the game and my experiences with it. On one hand it’s somewhat meatier – as in, enemies seem cleverish and often seem to use environments to draw the player in and to set up small ambushes. Having a Little Sister drain up a corpse requires you to set perimeter defenses to protect her since it draws up Splicers – these battles, small in scope, are actually quite intense and require you to have a good feel for the environments. Also the hacking “minigame” seems more appropriate. Personally I’d ditch them entirelly but now, from interface to intention, it’s a lot more natural.

    On the other hand, the unbefugginliveable respawns are a pain. They’re a lot more pronounced than the first game, to the point where for the most part you can’t even take a few minutes to breathe before being attacked. It seems overtly ridiculous now when you just came from a dead end and something attacks you from behind… Three times in a row, in the same area. Again, this is from experience, and several times you aren’t made aware of them – it’s not Fable mass respawning all the citizens you’ve just killed, mind you – but it’s egrarious to hack a turret, turn back, take a few steps then suddenly hear the “CLANG” in your helmet from a Splicer that just respawned. And it did respawn because the turret didn’t had the time to trace and bullet rape it, and you just came from a dead end.

    This side of Rapture is also a bit more contained. It’s like Dead Space: one large world divided in levels across a tram ride.

    It’s also not very clear why draining a corpse of ADAM raises Splicer awareness, or why I’m getting warnings to prepare myself against an oncoming Big Sister. You hear screams and the screen flashes red, which several hours into the game you’ve already come to realize means one’s coming. And people complain about Nintendo and Zelda and always having to read “you’ve found a key!”. Something in the options, perhaps? It’s a bit grating.

    It’s certainly a lot more “shooter” than the first game, which leaves me undecided. The morality in the first game was pretty hamfisted but the world was a lot more… Shall I say mysterious? I felt the first game was a lot more about discovery – of the Daddies, the Sisters, the things which made and unmade Rapture. Here, part of the mystery is gone. You are a Big Daddy who doesn’t really play or control any different than any other FPS main character. I mean, drilling Splicers makes me smile, but then I’m using machine guns and hacking tools and I’m wondering “why am I playing with a Big Daddy who behaves like everyone else?”. Nitpicker, I know. And then the familiar aspects of the first are both welcome and repetitive – why am I still finding these audio logs scattered around? Do these people really have nothing better to do than leave messages about? At one point, you enter a room where there’s a tape on a bed. You hear it and the woman talking feels that Lamb’s poster on the wall is looking down on her. When I heard that, I told my girlfriend who was watching me play “wanna bet that there’s something behind the poster and that it’s going to open a door behind that closet?” And then, I defecate you negative, there is a goddamn switch behind the painting that opens the closet next to it so you can move forward!

    Also, I was very disappointed with the intro. The first one’s was clearly one of the best intros ever, like Half-Life and Modern Warfare, to really give players a sense of place and of self all the while limiting your interaction and just letting you soak up the environments by looking, at your own pace, to what was around you. Here, it’s a ride. We were already spoiled on being a Big Daddy, sure, but you don’t have the satisfaction of realizing this yourself: the game forces the character to look into a glass and see his own reflection.

    The one thing that seems to be very good – potentially, at least – is the feeling that dealing with key characters in a certain way may affect the final outcome or at least, how certain things play out. There’s a big hoopla about the main character’s past and how he was a “monster”. At one point you are confronted by a woman whose jaw was broken by you. You have the chance to either kill her or let her go. Crude morality, perhaps, but the result is nice – she starts doubting the reputation you had and decides to help you by sending Elite versions of those robo-turret-choppers to help out againt an ambush. I suspect that had I killed her I wouldn’t have had any means to get some. And I’ve yet to see if these decisions do matter in the long run or if they’re confined to each level, but it’s a nice touch.

    I’m liking it but still, I don’t think I’ll be handing out a 9 any time soon.

    • Bhazor says:

      As someone who has played it perhaps you could yay or nay me (a dude who hasn’t played it).

      Do you turn out to be playing as Andrew Ryan in a Big Daddy suit being held hostage by Tenebaum? Because I swear I’ve been expecting that twist ever since I was revived in her house after dying in Ryan’s Office in the first game.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      @Diogo

      Y’know I haven’t played it yet (not going to), but I gotta say it sounds like the karma didn’t change at all where you get rewarded for doing the good thing.

      Which is not how it should happen. Everything should be harder when you do the right thing, otherwise there’s no sacrifice at all, so why even bother? On the other hand it would be ridiculous to never to get anything in the end, but I really don’t think gamers have such a short attention span if you’re blasting through the game you’re gonna forget what you were doing originally, i.e. saving the Little Sisters.

      I might be reading too much into what you said though. I just expect less ham handed responses to choices.

    • Diogo Ribeiro says:

      ***STILL BIOSHOCK 2 SPOILERS***

      @Bhazor:

      Can’t tell yet but I’m suspecting the twist will be something like that. For now, there’s a lot of crossed info regarding the character’s past. Lamb addresses me as “Delta” all the time, but in the meantime, I’ve been told I was a guy who went down to Rapture on his own. Everyone called him (me) Johny Topside but Ryan apparently wanted to rub me out, thinking I was a spook, but I still don’t know exactly how that one turned out.

      Also, since ADAM is said to contain memories of the dead, I’m still unsure if Eleanor calling me ‘dad’ is to be taken for granted or if it’s really just another narrative layer which turns out to be a red herring because of the ADAM I’ve been collecting.

      @DJ Phantoon:

      Not really sure if doing the right thing should provide a harder outcome. I’ve seen that idea cherished in the past, and I understand it to a point, but I can’t say that’s how it should always be. Then again, in the case I mentioned the Elite robo-turret-choppers don’t last long unless you play your cards straight and besides, they’re still notoriously slow when it comes to tracing a target. So I’m like “yay, splicers for dinner” when I notice the two splicer the Elites were going for were shot on a flyby but leaped out of the way and came straight for me. It made the whole thing more manageable but not necessarily easier. I did save on some ammo but then, further down the level, crossfire between a rocket turret and a Big Daddy took both Elites out and cost me all of the precious Heavy Rivets I had been saving.

  14. Sobric says:

    I bloody love Chew Lips. Play Together is my current favourite, but their whole album is pretty damn good.

  15. mcw says:

    I found this article, concerning the future of digital distribution, quite interesting.
    link to redkingsdream.com

  16. TotalBiscuit says:

    Planetarion ate up the latter part of my teenage years. It was more socially restrictive than WoW raiding, to actually compete in the top tiers, you had to alter your sleeping schedule to ensure everything happened at just the right time. There was no queueing system.

    I quit around Season 5, glad I did to be honest.

    PS – Thanks for the link, I’m glad people like the ME2 article and my apologies if the site goes down, our server is not up to scratch and we’re moving in a couple of days to something more capable.

  17. Jimbo says:

    That update at the bottom of the ‘British Newspapers Make Things Up’ article is delicious.

    • Acosta says:

      Yes, one should never write being angry, the chances of epic stupidity and outrageopus generalizations increase to a non healthy level. I thought Internet taught that long time ago.

    • Starky says:

      I love the irony also after railing against inaccuracy and misinformation he didn’t edit the body of his article with the corrections either. Times this and times that to [Sunday] times.

      Typically hiding a disclaimer at the bottom as tabloids often do.

      He’s not incorrect though, all British newspapers are filled with trash tabloid reporting, balanced objective reporting was the first causality in the “war” newspapers wage against other news sources.

      There are very few trustworthy news sources now, and those that still hold some respect (which the Times, and the Guardian still do) quite often fail to meet the standards they used to self-enforce.
      Still thanks to the internet, it is relatively easy to access other sources of various opinions and discover if an article is misleading.
      The problem is often the motivation to do such checking is lacking – it is just easier to write-off an article as untrustworthy, and ignore it.

      That said no American should dare even mutter any insults at British press given the sorry state of their own mainstream media. With the possible exception of the New York Times.
      The BBC (especially in radio format, such as worlds service) for all it’s flaws is orders of magnitude more reliable and trustworthy compared to any American conglomerate source – if only because it people actually care about the BBC’s objectivity so it gets assaulted with complaints constantly – which do help to keep it honest despite it’s “media liberalism” – a trend in British media in general for years, one the BBC wasn’t immune too.
      CSPAN is probably the best American source, though like much of American media has a conservative bias.

      Hell Fox is a pretty reliable source at times, at least if you only listen to the facts and NOT the opinions of the (often idiotic) hosts. Fox at least (to my limited internet based viewing) seems to report the facts BEFORE it adds in it’s (usually conservative) 2cents.

      I suspect the problem lies with people unable to tell the difference between opinion and objective fact – a result of lack of education in this area and the prevailing belief that all opinions are equal ( that one persons “truth” is just as true and another persons), a ridiculous and poisonous belief.

      Still it would be nice if British newspapers were banned from quoting anonymous sources, get rid of this “A spokesperson for X said” crap and actually force people to put their name to the garbage they spew and news might bet a whole lot more reliable.

      A little accountability could go a long way to cleaning the tabloids up.

    • Lambchops says:

      @ Starky

      There was a rather nice bit on Charlie Brooker’s Newswipe recently with an American journalist (her name escapes me) explaining why she thought that the anonymous source thing was somewhat ludicrous and allowed for some rather shoddy reporting. I’ve got to say I agree with this – unless you’re putting yourself in actual danger through your comments you should have to stand up for your views and put your name behind them rather than spewing out quite possibly innacurate information behind a veil of anonymity because a tabloid report is desperate fora newsworthy story.

    • Starky says:

      @lamb

      I clean forgot newswipe had started up again, time to break out the Iplayer, cheers.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Hey now, Starky.

      We have The Daily Show.

      Obviously our news is better.

    • Starky says:

      The Daily show is awesome, and I wish we had an equivalent show, through we do have some good shows that satire current events or politics.
      Not the nine O’clock news.
      Mock the week
      Bremner, Bird and Fortune
      and more…

    • TeeJay says:

      @ Jimbo
      “That update at the bottom of the ‘British Newspapers Make Things Up’ article is delicious”

      …except it doesn’t really clear up things entirely for people outside the UK who might not know:

      While “The Times” and “The Sunday Times” do indeed have separate staff and editors, they also share the same website and are owned by the same parent company (Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary of News International, which is in turn entirely owned by the News Corporation group). They are two separate newspapers, but they are not “completely” separate.

      link to timesonline.co.uk

    • TeeJay says:

      Would it be accurate to say: ???

      UK
      broadcasters (BBC / ITN / Ch4) = more balanced (by law)
      newspapers = more politically-partisan / party-political / more opinion-piecess and ‘controversialists’

      US
      broadcasters = more opinion-pieces / ‘controversialists’ / shock-jocks
      newspapers = more balanced

      ???

      Public debate about this issue will probably increase due to UK-based media (eg BBC, Guardian, Economist etc) having more readers/viewers in the US and elsewhere and more stuff is coming the other way (eg CNN / Bloomberg TV / CNBC / ABC News Now are all available on Freeview as free-to-view UK digitial TV channels).

      Federal Communications Commission (US) and Ofcom (UK) regulations will be complicated if/when TV and radio all go online/on-demand plus there will probably be a lot of public ‘reaction’/’adjustment’ in getting used to different types of media approach and standards.

      Of course this already applies to lots of countries, but differences jump out more clearly between media channels using a shared language and where the number of global channels which are are not ‘localised’ or ‘edited-down’ to fit each country’s culture/regulations increases.

  18. Primar says:

    On a similar note to Planetarion – does anybody remember (or played) TDZK? Free web game where you had a ship, flew around mining/trading/PvPing and stuff. Had fond memories of it, but it appears to have shut down these days. :(

  19. The Pink Ninja says:

    I’m ticked off about the romance in Mass Effect 2. That the “Sex-scenes” are less graphic doesn’t bother me. Fan service is nice but in the overall scheme of things it’s less important than, say, allowing me to customise my armour or removing the tedious world exploration.

    My problem is the graphic sex was taken out in addition to f/f romance (Or m/m for that matter) due to self censorship after the controversy over the last game. How do I know? Because the director of the game, Casey, said in a Q&A that there were no f/f relationships in the first Mass Effect because Asari aren’t women.

    Does anyone who played either MEs believe that?

    He’s too smart and too well informed to believe such a thing, leading em tot he conclusion it’s a weak excuse to try and disguise him folding to the Moralising Right Wing blah blah blah.

    I’m not asking for graphic sex. The “sex” in this game has mostly been reduced to cuddles, which is fine by me. But there is no opportunity for a RELATIONSHIP. And that’s to the detriment of the characterisation and storytelling of the game as a whole, the stuff ME relies on.

    What is my les-Shepard supposed to do?

    • Schadenfreude says:

      Hit on Yeoman Kelly Chambers.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Uh huh.

      Or if humans aren’t her thing, she could try going for Morenth, although it’s probably not wise.

    • Taillefer says:

      Why do relationships have to be romantic to be rewarding?
      I only played female Shephard. But the rapport with Tali and Jack in particular were the best parts of the game.

    • TeeJay says:

      “no f/f relationships in the first Mass Effect because Asari aren’t women”

      So he’s retrospectively moved from “lesbianism” to “bestiality”? O_O

    • Cynic says:

      @Pink Ninja
      Hit up youtube and you’ll see that voice assets for f/f and m/m relationships were left in and a simple sex-change brings them out, no archive diving required. So clearly the removal of same sex relationships was something done nearer the end of development.

    • Lilliput King says:

      No, look. They haven’t been removed.

      There are two f/f options, and sort of 3.

      Listen, yeah?

  20. Ganders says:

    So I’m carefully skimming over ME2-related stuff because i’m still playing ME1 and trying to avoid spoilers for both, but after looking at this i have to ask: are you saying the exploration of planets with the mako in wide open areas has been removed?
    Other people might find it tedious but i love it, taking in the environments etc.

    • Ganders says:

      -and that was a reply to pink ninja but yeah, someone clarify please.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Yeah, completely.

    • Ganders says:

      Well crap. Better prepare myself for corridor world then.

    • Lilliput King says:

      There’s still exploration of a kind – you go around scanning planets, and on a couple of them you can land and do things.

      By do things, though, I mean shoot people.

    • MWoody says:

      To elaborate a bit: the Mako is completely out of the game. In its place is a system whereby you skim over a rotate-able map of a planet while holding down the right mouse button. On the right is a little meter that shows if any – and, if so, roughly how much – of the four collectible resources for the game are under your cursor. If you want to collect a resource, you click the left mouse button to fire a probe and take it. In the very rare case that there’s a single anomaly on the planet, a voice (but NO visual indicator – sucks to be you, deaf people or those playing with it muted!) says as much when you first orbit the planet, and you have to drop a probe on a specific place to trigger it. It’s inane, boring, and just plain awful game design.

      On a related note… Thinking back, not only is the Mako gone, there are NO vehicle sections in the game. Why are there vehicle control keybinds in the game options?

    • Wednesday says:

      Yes, it’s gone in its entirety.

      I wasn’t the planets that bothered me as much as the fact that all sidequest ground areas took place in only three different buildings. You can try and win a no-prize with stories about prefabs, but that doesn’t make it less dull.

    • Lambchops says:

      I’d imagine that the vehicle binds are there for DLC (there’s some sort of hovercraft type vehicle called the Hammerhead been mentioned I believe).

    • TeeJay says:

      @ Ganders

      I’m doing the opposite: so far I’ve found “playing” several hours of ME1 crushingly boring but I’d still like to see all the content to keep in the ‘cultural/gaming loop’ as it were as discussion of ME crops up everwhere…

      …I’m thinking of looking for a full “run-through / speed-run / cut-scene compilation / machinima” on YouTube.

  21. Ignotus says:

    The sunday times is probably bad but no one should cry for Satoshi Kanezawa. He’s really the worst of the worst; his poor grasp of statistics invalidated all his recent work, where he wrote a whole book “explaining” correlations that don’t actually exist:
    link to stat.columbia.edu

    On separate occasions, he noted first that he believes all social sciences reduce to biology, and then that he hasn’t taken any biology since high school. You do the math…

  22. Rosti says:

    So conflicted: Hurrah for Phono 2.7 being imminent, :'( for this being the (probable) end of the Phono-line. Many thanks, Gillen McKelvie et al.

    • Norskov says:

      Sad indeed, It’s been nice while it lasted and lets hope there’s a Phonogram 3 at some point in the future.

  23. :| says:

    “What can developers learn from Avatar?”

    How to deploy the Mighty Whitey trope without shame and recycle Pocahontas in space? Let’s not.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Sidenote to :l

      Why does Europe hate Will Smith so much? Yes you Brits, England is part of Europe I PASSED GEOGRAPHY ANSWER THE QUESTION!

      Actually, I think I remember watching a bit about casual racism in advertising on Screenwipe (yay Youtube!) so if anyone has an answer that’d be nice.

    • Starky says:

      Bleh the whole debate and hand wringing over Avatar and like films is so utterly pointless – they’re fun films, and no more – white guilt my British arse, it’s a standard human fantasy regardless of colour.

      Dances with wolvers, Avatar and the Last samurai were all good to great movies, but they are pure fantasy. You know what it would not have made a damn bit of difference if it was Will Smith who danced with wolves; Ken Watanabe (who’s character in the last Samurai was the REAL hero and the title character, it wasn’t Tom Cruises) jumping into a blue alien body, or if Wes Studi (who was in Dances with wolves AND Avatar) had gone all turning Japanese (I really think so).
      Good films but pure fantasy.

      We like to romanticize the past, ours and others there is nothing wrong with that – so long as we’re not dumb enough to believe the fantasy.
      We like to believe that the Samurai were poet-warriors fight for duty and loyalty, honourable and chivalrous men, and that is fine in fantasy – so long as we remember the reality that they were blood thirsty oppressors who rules through violence and brutality.
      We like to imagine the native Americans as peaceful-spiritual innocents in touch with nature and their place in it – which again is fine, so long as we realize the reality is that they were poor, short lived and violent people (not all, but many, many tribes were warlike), surviving in harsh environment in a kill-or-be-killed life.
      And before the “omg you racist” comments flow in my direction (talking about race does not make one racist, despite what too many people think – ignoring something does NOT make it go away) the exact same thing is true of white classic culture – hell such fantasies birthed the fantasy genre, from Arthurian legend, Bronze age epics to Renaissance Europe Swashbuckling we like to imagine that they were better times, that people were happier and lives wonderful simple lives. When the truth is that the poor were downtrodden and the rich abused their wealth, exploiting the people of other countries by force, enslaving, murdering and butchering. Europe was just as warlike as the “natives”. Simply with better technology.
      It’s a fantasy I enjoy as the next person, I enjoy Renaissance fairs, I love Fantasy fiction, martial arts movies (which is Hong Kong doing the same with their culture), Samurai flicks and adventure novels of all flavours…

      There’s nothing wrong with the fantasy.

      What is wrong is people either believing the fantasy, and gaining some kind of guilt over it (white/western guilt), or going in the opposite direction and crying racist.
      It’s not about either of those, it’s simply about power fantasy and romanticizing another “exotic” culture. Hollywood/Western cinema is no more guilty of those kinds of tales than any other.

      All you need to do is look to Bollywood, Hong Kong, or Japanese cinema to see that they have the exact same stories from their perspective, and I seriously doubt it is a case of culture guilt for them.

      Hell that is the reason Avatar works all over the world, and is raking in massive amounts of money in utterly non-white countries, because it is a common fantasy regardless of colour.

      Modern western society is better, it just is and anyone pretending otherwise is ignoring facts for romantic crap better left in movies. Not saying we have everything right, but modern culture (which isn’t unique to western countries) is vastly superior to anything that came before.

      Slightly off topic, but the romanticism of other cultures is one of the things that hacks me off about the green movement – stupid westerners sending 3rd world countries photovoltaic cells instead of diesel generators, forcing them to use green methods (despite the great cost, difficulty to repair/meintain and poor effectiveness of it).
      Romantic idea’s of village life and native spirituality used as justification for refusing people to enjoy the massive benefits of modern technology.
      Trying to reduce harmful impact of modern industrialism on the ecosystem is great, but doing so at the cost of human lives and welfare isn’t.

    • Starky says:

      @DJ Phantoon

      Eh? I’m British and Will Smith is one of my favourite actors… He’s massively liked in Britain.

      Fresh Prince of Bel-air is still shown daily over here, and I’ve hardly met anyone of my age group (mid-late 20’s) who hasn’t seen it, or some of his Movies.

      Everyone loves Will Smith – they just may not love some of the movies he’s been in. I think we British do, but a lot of his films have been very US centric, so that might explain the lack of worldwide success.
      Hollywood is only just starting to realize that there is a LOT of money to be made outside the US, but they need to make movies that acknowledge the world outside of the US to tap it.

    • Lilliput King says:

      @Phantoon

      Probably best to take what you read on TVTropes with a pinch of salt. The following sentence is pretty much rubbish:

      “It should be noted that foreign (especially European) audiences actually tend to be less accepting of black stars; Will Smith is currently the undisputed heavyweight champion of the American box office, but worldwide he barely cracks to the top 10.)”

      That certain American films featuring Will Smith do well in America and not in Europe doesn’t imply Europe is less accepting of black stars.

      It implies Europe is less accepting of certain American films featuring Will Smith.

      Most likely, this is down to the films, and not down to Will himself. He’s a legend over here, as Starky pointed out.

    • Muzman says:

      Shorter Starky: Avatar is a movie about a bunch of bullcrap romanticising of primitive cultures that sickens me to the core. I love it.

      (Incidentally the ‘wild savages’ angle of tribal peoples is also a little extreme. There’s a significant segment of anthropology that finds tribal violence a little too inseperable from the encroaching of whites to call all humanity basically red in tooth and claw. Indeed I think the urge to see all people as violent savages is itself a kind of macho romanticism that creeps into everything.)

    • TeeJay says:

      @ Starky

      “All you need to do is look to Bollywood, Hong Kong, or Japanese cinema to see that they have the exact same stories from their perspective”

      Examples please.

      edit: “Fresh Prince of Bel-air is still shown daily over here” – I can’t find it listed on any channel in over the next 7 days: http://www.tvguide.co.uk

    • Edgar the Peaceful says:

      Will Smith is a bit of knob, but Jazzy Jeff is one legendary DJ

    • Cynic says:

      And don’t forget that people who lose the use of their legs are COMPLETELY WORTHLESS in modern and future society, thus making them ideal candidates to infiltrate the noble savages.

      Oh and spawning yet another group of obnoxious otherkin who cry when you call them furries.

    • Starky says:

      @Muzman: That isn’t what I sait at all and that was a terrible paraphrase, a much better one would be:
      I’m fine with people romanticizing the past in fantasy, in fiction, so long as they know it is a romantic idealization and nothing more – that the reality was harsh and ugly compared to our vastly superior modern lifestyle.

      Also I never once mentioned wild savages, but violence, brutality and injustice was without a doubt more common, and remains so today for many in undeveloped countries. Really though the reality isn’t about the violence, or blood-thirst but the lack of modern medicine, knowledge, education and technology political rights and freedoms so on so forth.
      People may have been happy in their simple peasant lives, farming, hunting, or communing with whatever god they believed in – doesn’t change the fact that most children died before adulthood and those that lived beyond 50 were few and far between.
      There is a reason people from undeveloped countries want to move to live in developed nations, because life is better (safer, easier) for us.

      It’s not people romanizing other old cultures in fiction I have a beef with, but them believing that and then using it to justify withholding modern technology from people in need.
      Maybe you’ve not experienced it, but I have – people (as I said often involved in the green movement) believing that poor people in 3rd world countries are honestly better off without modern technology – or if they do it should Eco-friendly, because saving the planet is more important after all.

      I’m talking from personal experience here designing a power system for a village hospital, the charity funding it insisted on solar power – which is expensive, unreliable and problematic. If it goes wrong, who’s going to fix it? I refused the job, told them that if they wanted me to design the best, most efficient system to provide them with electricity it would be a diesel generator (which any motor mechanic could easily fix) and could provide 10 times the capacity with readily available fuel.
      I’m sure that solar power (which I’m sure they got someone else to design) was good for the hospital in Africa, they might have enough power to run a fridge and maybe some lights – but a diesel generator and the fuel to run it for 10 years would have cost less and an worked better by an order of magnitude.

      @ Teejay

      Fresh Prince: link to virgin1.co.uk
      Everyday on Virgin one. It used to be on BBC 2 if I recall, again airing every day, but Virgin took the rights (and the rights of most of the star treks).

      As for examples, meh find them yourself I can’t be arsed to trawl IMDB for names for movies half forgotten viewed years ago… but they exist. Maybe not the exact same flavour but similar enough romanticizing of the past. usually their own culture. Or neighbouring cultures rather than western culture (though that happens also). Chinese Cinema (old wuxia movies) or Bollywood, which are basically single ethnicity, they don’t have the cultural diversity to feel the pressure to include minorities, so tend to stick with their own culture.
      People romanticize other cultures, people who live in cities romanticize country life, people who live in the country romanticize city life. People who live in the west Romanticise the east, and vice versa – everyone romanticizes past cultures.
      Of course American movies romanticize other cultures, because they have no ancient culture of their own to give the treatment too. Westerns are as close as they get.
      This should be self evident surely?

      Meh, anyway it is late and I CBA to go on, whenever there is a cross culture relationship (sexual, romantic or otherwise) in movies people always begin to scream racism in one direction or the other, Avatar was going to be no different despite it’s Sci-Fi covering.
      Nothing wrong with it so long as people just enjoy it as a fantasy, not take the message to heart the whole “modern bad” bent of Hollywood.

      Still this probably isn’t the place for this debate, which I CBA to have anyway (I’m worn out when it comes to race debate in movies, because it is relentless at IMDB)…

    • Muzman says:

      Frankly Starky what little grasp I had of what you’re saying has all but vanished.

      Romanticising primitive cultures is bad, unless you know it’s a bunch of baloney. We shouldn’t be concerned about Avatar doing this (which it clearly does) for any reasons of perpetuating noble savage myths, being a little patronising, or doing the mighty whitey ….because it’s all a bunch of baloney.

      Ok. We can take it as read that it’s a movie, right. From that point people usually go on to discuss what meanings the film is trying to impart, as they see it. Some go a little overboard as to what impact these meanings might have on viewers. But saying “I don’t care what it says, because it’s all a bunch of baloney one way or the other” doesn’t really end that discussion I’m afraid.

      You’re going to have to dig for those examples of other cultures doing the might whitey trope as well (or the ‘mighty -culture of origin-‘ as the case may be) I’d love to hear about those. It’s not at all the same as romanticising primitive cultures or foreign cultures, even though they’re connected. It’s quite specifically about one person from one culture showing the simpler folk how its done, becoming their leader and inspiriation and even switching sides. People get wary of it because it is a post colonial cultural bridge building myth. The question isn’t that it would be exactly the same if Will Smith was in the title role, it’s “why wasn’t Will Smith in the title role?” I reckon you’d be hard pressed to find any cross culture story like that which wasn’t influenced by the western tradition in those sorts of tales at any rate.

      Then, going off on one about greenies and their goals. Well I don’t know. I do know some kinds of folks who delight vicariously in primitive life. They aren’t remotely representative of environmentalists or aid workers. If they’re helping to solar power a hospital they’re pretty far from the most extreme anyway. I know nothing of the case, the location, the peoples involved etc but I can think of a few reasons you wouldn’t want to use a diesel generator in a remote or developing country if you could avoid it (They use tons of fuel for one thing. Fuel supplies are a great source of fun for bandits and rebels for another) But I wasn’t there, dunno etc.

    • TeeJay says:

      @ Starky

      You are massively over-generalizing.

      “Our vastly superior modern lifestyle” isn’t vastly superior in *every* respect.

      Not *every* community in *every* previous historical period has had more “violence, brutality and injustice”, nor is there a completely automatic and direct connection between these and a country being less developed / more rural.

      “Modern medicine, knowledge, education and technology political rights and freedoms” – these aren’t all one unified ‘lump’ that always goes together, nor do they simpl progress along an automatic line that runs from past-to-future or poor-to-rich.

      I am not going to argue about or deny the benefits of having health care or longer life spans, but rejecting ‘happiness’ isn’t a coherent position.

      It’s not people romanizing other old cultures in fiction I have a beef with, but them believing that and then using it to justify withholding modern technology from people in need.
      Maybe you’ve not experienced it, but I have – people (as I said often involved in the green movement) believing that poor people in 3rd world countries are honestly better off without modern technology – or if they do it should Eco-friendly, because saving the planet is more important after all.

      I’m talking from personal experience here designing a power system for a village hospital, the charity funding it insisted on solar power – which is expensive, unreliable and problematic. If it goes wrong, who’s going to fix it? I refused the job, told them that if they wanted me to design the best, most efficient system to provide them with electricity it would be a diesel generator (which any motor mechanic could easily fix) and could provide 10 times the capacity with readily available fuel.
      I’m sure that solar power (which I’m sure they got someone else to design) was good for the hospital in Africa, they might have enough power to run a fridge and maybe some lights – but a diesel generator and the fuel to run it for 10 years would have cost less and an worked better by an order of magnitude.

      @ Teejay

      Fresh Prince: link to virgin1.co.uk
      Everyday on Virgin one. It used to be on BBC 2 if I recall, again airing every day, but Virgin took the rights (and the rights of most of the star treks).

      As for examples, meh find them yourself I can’t be arsed to trawl IMDB for names for movies half forgotten viewed years ago… but they exist. Maybe not the exact same flavour but similar enough romanticizing of the past. usually their own culture. Or neighbouring cultures rather than western culture (though that happens also). Chinese Cinema (old wuxia movies) or Bollywood, which are basically single ethnicity, they don’t have the cultural diversity to feel the pressure to include minorities, so tend to stick with their own culture.
      People romanticize other cultures, people who live in cities romanticize country life, people who live in the country romanticize city life. People who live in the west Romanticise the east, and vice versa – everyone romanticizes past cultures.
      Of course American movies romanticize other cultures, because they have no ancient culture of their own to give the treatment too. Westerns are as close as they get.
      This should be self evident surely?

      Meh, anyway it is late and I CBA to go on, whenever there is a cross culture relationship (sexual, romantic or otherwise) in movies people always begin to scream racism in one direction or the other, Avatar was going to be no different despite it’s Sci-Fi covering.
      Nothing wrong with it so long as people just enjoy it as a fantasy, not take the message to heart the whole “modern bad” bent of Hollywood.

      Still this probably isn’t the place for this debate, which I CBA to have anyway (I’m worn out when it comes to race debate in movies, because it is relentless at IMDB)…

    • TeeJay says:

      @ Starky

      “Our vastly superior modern lifestyle” isn’t vastly superior in *every* respect. Not *every* community in *every* previous historical period has had more “violence, brutality and injustice”, nor is there a completely automatic and direct connection between these and a country being less developed / more rural. “Modern medicine, knowledge, education and technology political rights and freedoms” – these aren’t all one unified ‘lump’ that always goes together, nor do they simply progress along an automatic line that runs smoothly from past-to-future or poor-to-rich. I am not going to argue about or deny the benefits of having health care or longer life spans, but rejecting ‘happiness’ isn’t a coherent position.

      Like you I also get annoyed by people striking simplistic and over romaticised anti-development/anti-modernising postures, but equally I dislike people adapting an ‘equal and opposite’ extreme view.

      I am surprised that you think India doesn’t have ‘cultural diversity’ or ‘minorities’.

      Reality is messy.

  24. BobB says:

    Not that I don’t love the Sunday Papers but what has happened to Tim Stone’s sim posts, there hasn’t been one for ages?

  25. Ergates says:

    I was once, briefly (about 2 days), the most powerful player in the whole of Planetarion.

    I finally saved up enough resources and built some battleships – around 10 I think. Except a glitch on the server delivered about 10,000,000 (or some other ludicrously large number anyway) of them instead.

    I went straight to the top of the “most powerful players” (or whatever it was called) leaderboard, ahead of everyone else by a country mile. It really was a ludicrous number, I had more battleships than all the other top people combined.

    Being an honest chap, I informed the admins who subsequently restored the natural order of things. I can’t say I wasn’t tempted to utterly obliterate anyone and everyone who had ever attacked me, but at that would ahve been cheating, and cheating is bad.

  26. kedaha says:

    I started reading the crispygamer article and had to stop after a page.

    It’s truly shocking how much importance the writer puts on crispygamer.

  27. Magnus says:

    I found the DRM piece very informative, especially hearing from StarForce PR and those that use DRM and their justifications for it.

    Interesting that LewieP got no response from Ubisoft, and there was no comment from D2D about their new methods. I’d have liked to have an interview from them.

    Good work Lewie! Keep it up.

  28. fergie says:

    Mass effect 2 is my game of the year so far. Im finding it hard to find anything about it that i dont like the combat is sleeker and sexy unlike the first game were it was clumsy add to that we get to use big guns!

    And praise to Bioware for getting rid of that dumb clumsy inventory in the first game. Story wise is far and away better than the first game and feels much longer to. Im glad Bioware gave us the option of of having a relationship with Tali who my fav charactor.

    Other small things made the game better for me like the way the charactors felt more alive for example tali because we cant see her face she has to use her arms and body and move around more unlike in the first game were they felt more like rocks that didnt move. The voice actor for tali to was great kudos to her.

    The only real thing i dont like is the lack of being able to customise my charactor both what he wares and weapons etc. Also the game run amazingly well on my PC which came as a surprise.

    Great game Bioware!!

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Fergie, that makes no sense. If Tali’s race doesn’t care about expressions, why would she instantly know that she needed to use motion to better get her point across?

      In fact you’re lambasting the first game and calling the second one the game of the year. When did you get hired and who are you?

    • Lilliput King says:

      Phantoon, are we reading different posts?

      He doesn’t say Tali’s race doesn’t care about expressions, and he hardly lambasts the first game. He said ME1’s inventory was terrible and the combat was awkward. These are both pretty valid. Erm, except the story thing. ME2’s story is pretty weak.

  29. nordwindranger says:

    hmmm if crispygamer was “the most interesting video game website on the web”, than I’m sure that I must have been checking it every day. The truth is I only went on their site when it was mentioned in the Sunday Papers, and I usually didn’t stay long.

    maybe the true reason for CrispyGamer’s demise is that it was crushed by it’s own ego

    • the wiseass says:

      Of course we know that there can be only one “most interesting video game website on the web” and that seat is already taken by our great hive mind masters.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Rock Paper Shotgun: Only website so interesting the monster that eats the entire team has to update for them.

      If a monster ate, say, Fox News, he’d probably die from bullshit poisoning.
      If he ate Crispygamer he’d drop everything to start a blog about how awesome he is for that one time he ate Kieron Gillen twice. And never stop talking about it.
      Wait. Does the monster absorb the ideas and abilities of those it digests or what?

      Explain this, Gillen! You can’t hide forever!

    • TeeJay says:

      If someone’s reviews are “good” (ie for me “good” = entertaining, accurate and helpful) then I don’t really care that much about how much advertising revenue, free games, industry smoozing or freebie trips to exotic places someone gets. A total refusal or lack of these things doesn’t “prove” someone’s review is any good or more reliable, although disclosure is good.

      The ultimate test is playing the game or if I can’t do that, seeing if a reviewer manages to catch all the things that arise when thousands of gamers get their hands on it and start posting on forums etc. Also most of the best game writers do lots of retrospectives and reassessments, and take part in ongoing debates and discussions about their own gaming and react to other people’s experiences and opinions. You can’t really fake or bluff all this stuff. It’s more about a distinct writing style/personality, attitude to / analysis of games and building a reputation for ‘getting it right’ / ‘avoiding bad calls’. Also attention to details is often an under-rated aspect – putting in the time/effort/thinking involved in finding and identifying potential problems and warning people.

      ‘Community’ is another aspect which can add a lot of value to reviews, which also means creating/maintaining a healthy two-way ‘relationship’ with a readership/audience.

      The Crispygamer article didn’t mention any of these things as being part of “The Games Trust” concept. Am I missing something?

  30. Mike Russo says:

    There will apparently be DLC that adds the exploration back in — though it’ll be a hovertank sort of thing. Few details about how it’ll work or when exactly it’ll be out, but it should be forthcoming.

    • Mike Russo says:

      The above meant to be a reply to Ganders re getting rid of the Mako in ME2 — ah, the wonkiness of the “reply” button!

  31. Fumarole says:

    Hooray for Calvin and Hobbes! I wish Mr. Watterson all the best with whatever he’s been doing these past (can it really be?!) fifteen years. If ever I meet him I shall have to hand him some cold hard cash, to apologize for those bootleg t-shirt and bumper stickers I bought in my naivety.

  32. Lucas says:

    Tom Chick was the only reason I read Crispy Gamer. His site is Fidgit.com

  33. bookwormat says:

    edit:comment fail

  34. Tei says:

    lets remenber here that ME2 is not a perfect game, and with that I mean has some horrible and lame mechanics, is just that overall is soo good game. please no more games with cover systems and “menu” inventaries.

    • Wednesday says:

      I’m not really sure why we should get rid of cover systems.

      Are you suggesting combat where characters lamely stand in the open inviting death.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      There’s not an inch of ME2’s cover system that needs improving. It’s precise, addictive, and doesn’t feel burdened by the kind of machismo-fuelled non-story bollocks that shrouds that well-known testosterone-fest.

    • invisiblejesus says:

      I’d actually say there’s one point that needs improvement, though it’s more a level design thing than a cover system thing; Don’t make a game without jumping and then design levels that require a jump-like mechanic. It doesn’t happen often, but now and then you have areas where you have to move up to a higher platform you’d normally jump onto in another shooter, but because there’s no jump you have to take cover against it, then vault up and over it onto the higher platform. It’s a nitpick, and the best way to solve it would be design for a game without jumping rather than to change the cover system or add a jump button, but still.

      That said, the game’s fucking fantastic, and overall I like the cover system just fine. Just not in those few very specific circumstances.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      A further nit-pick would be that no-jumping is a control issue and not necessarily a problem with the combat, but I completely agree with you on the vaulting. Removing jumping from a game just cements the dumbing-down factor, but ME2 is otherwise so tremendous I put it as a minor criticism, not a complaint.

      I DO complain about the planet scanning though, right-click to scan should be a toggle, not momentary action.

    • Atalanta says:

      @Casimir’s Blake — Bioware games generally don’t let you jump/vault at all, so I’m not sure how its continued non-existence is dumbing things down.

      I really liked the cover system, but I do wish sprint, enter cover, and vault weren’t all the same button. That really isn’t much of a nitpick, though — normally when I was sprinting it was sprinting into cover anyways.

    • invisiblejesus says:

      Indeed. Jumping was not “removed” from the game, as it was never a feature of Mass Effect 1 or any other Bioware game in the first place.

    • MD says:

      @ Wednesday

      I haven’t actually played Mass Effect (1 or 2), but Tei said “cover systems”, not just “cover”. So presumably he would prefer the act of taking cover to be something that arises organically out of the control system + combat dynamics (+ level design), rather than having a seperate ‘cover mechanic’.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      I did say removing jumping from a game, not necessarily referring only to ME2. There’s no need to jump down throats about it. I’ve never played any other Bioware titles, the closest I’ve gotten outside Mass Effect 1 & 2 is Icewind Dale, though that’s more a Black Isle title.

  35. fergie says:

    DJ Phantoon i wasent saying ME1 was a bad game i liked it otherwise i wouldnt of bought the 2nd one now would i dude. I ment to say ME2 was MY personal fav game of of the year.

    As for the emotions and expressions thing i was trying to comend Bioware on a good job they did with Tali that through her body language you can pick up on what she is feeling because you cant see her face no need to have an attitude towards me DJ.

    As for who i am just a long time reader of RPS :)

  36. cjlr says:

    Ahh, Mass Effect 2… Sadly I’m not yet finished even my first playthrough of it, due to the unfortunate workload that comes with being a Physics major. But I do have some comments. And now I will share them.

    Mass Effect 2: Drag the Cursor across the Brownish Circle for Seven Hours.
    The Mako was a mixed bad: fun at the best of times, soul-crushingly boring at the worst of times. Its removal is not automatically good or bad, though, so long as the replacement is better. And oh, lord, it is not. Joyriding the mako eventually got old, but (especially on PC, with much improved handling when compared to the 360) it was still a big APC with jet boosters and infinite ammo. Target practice and jet-assisted powersliding were still good for some entertainment. The planet scanning chore (for it is far too shitty to even be called a minigame) manages to be less fun than a barrel full of used needles. In contrast to the driving, it is not possible to derive any enjoyment from. It is a time-killing waste of bits. I have several times given up on playing ME2, after a couple hours, because I became so tremendously bored by the agonizingly dull business of exploration. This is not how it should be. Call me a sentimental fool, but to drop the Mako on an unknown world, to see the first glimpse of an alien sky, and to get out and take the first human steps on an alien world? That was nice, damn it! If only they’d bothered with a proper gravity simulation…

    And yes, some of that is my fault for trying to explore everything. But if you want to upgrade everything – and given that you’re preparing for a potential suicide mission, why the fuck wouldn’t you want the best possible shit at hand – you’re going to need a busload of minerals. Said minerals must be harvested. They cannot just be bought, interestingly enough, even though by now I have already purchased everything available and have more money than I know what to do with. But really, when so much of the game was developed to excise the non-essential deadwood of the first, why are we stuck with this abomination of a game mechanic?

    Point the second: ammo.
    Yes, yes, we’ve all read the silly codex entry. Problem: it’s a half-assed shoehorning. Let’s review. Guns have their own brick of, er, lead or depeleted uranium or tungsten or whatever they shoot. This supply is, for the purposes of individual firefights, inexhaustible. The process of firing the gun generates heat, and thus sustained fire generates a (more or less) constant energy output. The gun can safely dissipate heat at a certain rate, and therefore the firing rate must be matched by the heat dissipation rate, or the gun becomes either unsafe to operate or flat out inoperable. Thus the heatsinks: to circumvent the built-in max rate of fire, the waste heat can be drawn to a removable reservoir, and, well, removed. Therefore, when heat approaches the usable limit, it can be removed, and one needn’t interrupt their firing. There is of course the issue of throwing about extremely hot ejected cores (so good luck using them in, say, a jungle), but let’s not concern ourselves with that.

    Here is the thing, though: to implement the second system should in no way affect the first. It is incomprehensibly stupid that it does. The heat management in the first game was not balanced very well, but it was a relatively unique mechanism. It has been replaced by the wonderful innovation of… ammo (in everything but name). Real innovative, guys. This IS semi-justifiable in that, as long as heatsinks are available, you can sustain fire indefinitely (a good thing) but is also nonsensical in that nothing dissipates its own heat anymore (a just plain retarded thing). What? How the fuck does that work? The point of the heatsinks was to provide an extra outlet in intense firefights. There is absolutely no in-universe explanation for why a weapon cannot fire even once without a heatsink. It’s ridiculous. This is the equivalent of the military making their weapons less versitile and adaptable – making them worse. Is every single shot too heat-intensive to manage without a heatsink? It cannot be, because the heat is not ejected until after several are fired. The only intelligent mechanic would be to combine the systems – heat is generated per shot as per ME1, and when maxed can be reset by core ejection as per ME2. This would have created an interesting, unique, dynamic system. You aren’t reduced to melee when you run out of clips, you can potentially handle weaker enemies without necessitating use of heatsinks, and when it comes to more powerful enemies, possessed with regenerating shields, replaceable barriers, and potentially regenerating health as well, the careful use of heatsinks would be required to defeat them.

    I could, in all honesty, talk about this game for a long, long time. The above gripes are just that, griping. The narrative is silly, but it hangs together well enough, and the dynamics of everyone’s interpersonal relationships are better than ever. This is still quite a good game, but that only makes the face-palmingly asinine design decisions stand out that much more.

    • FunkyBadger says:

      S’not possible to be “relatively unique”…

    • Raheem W says:

      Depends on one’s frame of reference, surely.

    • cjlr says:

      As ‘unique’ is defined as solitary, singular, or unmatched, then yes, I agree, it is not, properly speaking, permissible to call something anything other than wholly unique or not at all so. If I thought it was in any way unclear what I meant by saying what I did, however, I wouldn’t have said it. To say ‘relatively unique’ is not technically proper, but I think we can all agree that interpreting it as ‘not average’, ‘possessing some key differences’, ‘unusual’, or the like, is not too great a stretch of semantics.

    • invisiblejesus says:

      @cjlr

      “And yes, some of that is my fault for trying to explore everything. But if you want to upgrade everything – and given that you’re preparing for a potential suicide mission, why the fuck wouldn’t you want the best possible shit at hand – you’re going to need a busload of minerals. Said minerals must be harvested. They cannot just be bought, interestingly enough, even though by now I have already purchased everything available and have more money than I know what to do with. But really, when so much of the game was developed to excise the non-essential deadwood of the first, why are we stuck with this abomination of a game mechanic?”

      I’m not so sure your experience is representative of most players; I found myself swimming in minerals but short on credits,and had to skip a couple upgrades I had kind of wanted before going ahead to the suicide mission. I know two other people, at least, who had the same experience, and all of us were importing saves from ME1. I don’t know what you did differently to wind up swimming in credits but still needing minerals, but I’d have loved to know what it was. I’d love to have been able to just sell palladium, it’d have made things much simpler.

  37. Στέλιος says:

    Oh my word, Knightmare! That was really so fantastic.

    • Dominic White says:

      Knightmare really was brilliant beyond words. There hasn’t been another kids show of that caliber since – now this might seem like waxing nostalgic now, but that’s exactly what I was saying the moment the final season wrapped up. It was just that good.

      Even Americans can appreciate its brilliosity, as highlighted by this rather nifty video-review by the infamous Spoony:
      link to spoonyexperiment.com

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      Agreed, tremendous series: unique, unmatched, hugely imaginative. Knightmare would be ruined by a re-make today, if anything because all the backdrops would likely be CG and not hand-drawn.

      GaryGarrat has all the series up on Youtube, here’s series one.

      And crikey, a children’s TV series with a title theme you can whistle because it has a melody that’s memorable. Heck, even that is rare these days.

    • Dominic White says:

      A lot of the backdrops even in the original were CG. For the first season, I recall a lot of weirdly colour-shifted photo backgrounds being used.

      I’d love to see a remake, but you know they’d wuss out on so much of the fear/tension/darkness. It was absolutely nervewracking as a kid to see.. well, another kid trying to dodge blindfolded down a corridor full of giant buzzsaw blades. He’d dodge one, duck another and ohgodtooslow HUGE RED SPLATTER ACROSS THE SCREEN.

      “Oooooooh… Naaaasty..”

      Some kids grew up hiding behind the sofa to get away from Daleks and Cybermen. I genuinely feared for these brave dungeoneering kids.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      A quality Treguard moment there, every time, guaranteed. I’m sure health and safety would have something to say about images of 9-year-olds getting diced by a huge cleaver ….

      (And I stand corrected on the art, but these days it’d have to be such polished “realistic” CG, it wouldn’t have the rough, grimy, dingy feel the series had that was so appropriate…)

    • Dominic White says:

      One other thing they’d probably get wrong – for Knightmare to work as intended, you have to search far and wide for the dumbest kids ever. Even some of the older teams seemed to have genuine trouble with the simplest of logic puzzles.

      Spoonys video-review does show off the single most mind-crushingly stupid moment in the history of the show. Mordred turns up and makes the player invisible with a Shroud spell, freezing Treguard as well so he can’t help. It’s a complete gimme puzzle, though, as the assistants just have to spell Shroud (which showed up in big letters) backwards to dispel it.

      “D. U. R. H. S.”

      Nothing.

      “D. U. R. H. S!”

      Still nothing. So the supposedly paralyzed Treguard throws them a bone, and groans. “Ooooooohhh… OOOOOOOOO.” a few times. So one of the kids cottons on. He looks so excited that he’s figured this out. So he can spell Shroud backwards correctly now!

      “U. H. D. R. S. O!”

      The spell is broken and Mordred screams in pain/disbelief, retreating. Clearly their spelling was so terrible, it caused him genuine pain.

      In a perfect world, that kids English teacher would have recorded that episode, and would play it back in class on a regular basis as an example of what NOT to do. Normally I’m not in favour of cruelty to children, but this one was so exceptional that he needs a psychological beating of some sort.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      As if we needed more reasons to revere Knightmare, Dom gives us a corker. That’d be edited out in a heartbeat, these days.

  38. +--JAK--+ says:

    The only thing that matters about Mass Effect 2 for me is that Grunt is nowhere near as good as Wrex was at uttering the word “Shepard”. ME1 wins, end of story!

  39. Raheem W says:

    Also, don’t forget about the ‘unique heat management’ mechanism of the guns in ME1. Made all the difference.

    Can I announce that I’m a doctor of particle physics too? No? Okay then.

  40. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    BattleTech had both Ammo and a Heat-dissipation system!

  41. edosan says:

    Never really red Crispy Gamer, but based on that article, I didn’t miss a thing.

  42. DavidK says:

    That Crispy Gamer piece could be summarised as “we are better than everyone else, but the men who gave us lots of money just didn’t understand.” It’s like the author either thinks I’m an idiot, or he doesn’t fully grasp the complexity of what happened (which is surely more complex than the events outlined in that).

    I’m sure there’s an interesting story to be told about Crispy Gamer, but this isn’t it.

  43. Urthman says:

    Curious about Crispy Gamer, I went to their archives and opened 7-8 articles with the most interesting titles. I clicked on a few other titles from the “more articles” lists at the bottom.

    They ranged from lame to actively stupid. Equivalent to the bottom 2/3 of IGN articles, maybe. Nothing remotely at all of the caliber of RPS, Pentadact, Cruise Elroy, Idle Thumbs, Shamus Young, The Escapist, Fidgit, etc.

  44. Gundrea says:

    I just thought crispygamer was a dumb name.