The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for drumming your fingers and wondering what on earth is making RPS unreadable to 90% of the people on the planet, but fine for all of us. Maybe it’ll fix itself if I sacrifice a picnic basket to Horace the Endless Bear? I’ll give it a show, after I compile a list of the (fine) mostly games related writing which I found across the web this week, while trying not to include some piece of pop-frippery.

Failed.

117 Comments

  1. Stu says:

    The Ke$ha album is really good; one or two duff tracks but on the whole it’s a great pop LP. And I’ve had TiK ToK stuck in my head, on and off, for the last eight months or so. That shit is CATCHY.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Really? I can’t stand it. Though there are plenty of good Keisha mixes. And to be fair the lyrics are funny.

    • Mo says:

      When friends start a sentence with, “I woke up in the morning…” I instinctively ask, “Feeling like P Diddy?”

  2. Shadrach says:

    Ouch Ke$$$ha stuck in your head is BAD MOJO MAN, that song gives me a headache just after 10 seconds. Doobie Brothers tune’s not at all bad though – both Consolevania and Yacht Rock (yay!) showed what an excellent song it is.

    Love that creative process thing.

  3. Dinger says:

    In other words:
    Hedonic Adaptation: change positions often.
    Game Reviews and Sales: Point scores are influenced by an anchoring and adjustment heuristic.
    Games with other people: Is it John who is a lousy medic?
    Escapist: NGJ experiment on the point of failure when they hired Yahtzee and went traditional.
    The Scenic Route: What a piece of crap.

  4. Muzman says:

    Wasn’t it in Saint’s Row 2 where your character could be a tremendous blancmange of either gender?
    Possibly APB found the physics processing was too excessive for an MMO once people reach that girth.

  5. Robin says:

    I wonder if any of those early Escapist contributors would have predicted this “prestige” brand would end up being attached to a site full of bad film student video “comedy” and shabby sensationalist journalism (their coverage of Langdell-gate and subsequent arrogant refusal to correct it was shameful), kept on life support by Zero Punctuation? RPS aggregates intelligent writing about games far more effectively, and with fewer self-aggrandising puff pieces.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Robin: Oh, I dunno. Put aside the video reviews and the news and you still get 4-5 essay length generalist-gaming pieces a week. That’s a lot of content.

      KG

    • Robin says:

      KG: True, but it’s like squeezing past overflowing bins to get to the restaurant. I don’t want to be reminded that the articles are being commissioned by some corporate nozzle who thinks Rebecca Mayes and amateur dramatics in Mario costumes are worthwhile uses of human ingenuity.

    • destroy.all.monsters says:

      Quantity is no metric of quality though and the editing is far from rigorous. When it first started I also had some respect for it. I haven’t in a very long time.

    • Muzman says:

      On the video subject; while most of it isn’t worth your time I do kind of admire them for doing it. They’re basically jumping with both feet into something that’ll one day be quite common. Your ISP will be doing it. There aren’t many places like that who actively source and back original (and serial at that) content. It’s either the morass of youtube or stuff that doesn’t get watched much beyond the amateur production world.
      To actually stick it in front of the public and try and be this sort of youth interests hub is pretty daring. Sure I don’t like any of it and find most of it pretty low grade (although that one where the strippers play D&D or whatever was intriguing) and the place is a bit of a mess. But I applaud the effort.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Yay! Was that someone who agrees with me? Rebecca Mayes is not funny.

    • kwyjibo says:

      The Escapist is a bit shit. But it always kinda had been.

      It started off with a ridiculous print-like formula, taking on Edge-like subjects but with sub-Edge quality writing, a lot of it is incredibly dull. It’s design was even worse, every page would come with some totally out of place stock photograph of a men shaking hands or a woman on the phone.

      Realising that you couldn’t make money that way (I cannot believe the guy describes this failure as an innovation), they’ve abandoned their lofty ideals and have gone for all out lowest common denominator video bullshit. Yahtzee’s critiques still manage to be incisive and entertaining, but pretty much everything else on there wouldn’t get past the BBC3 commissioner during the Horne & Corden days.

    • Veracity says:

      @Robin: It’s more like being crowded by sentient and unusually smelly bins that actively block your route into the restaurant. Maybe I’m just not trying hard enough, and I’ll admit I’ve occasionally tripped over a vaguely interesting article there, but signal:noise on The Escapist seems so awful I can’t really be bothered.

    • CMaster says:

      When I found The Escapist (before I knew of RPS), I thought, “ah, here is a site that seems to like writing about videogames seriously, that doesn’t feel the need to do “are videogames art?” before critically analysing them. Then I started reading a few articles (back then they only had 2-3 videos a week). And most of them really weren’t very good.

      I read Shamus Young’s stuff on there these days, and sometimes watch ZP (which is still as good as it ever was, however it a) gets rather repetitive and b) Yahtzee complains about corporate BS in mainstream games, yet almost never plays anything except big budget console shooters). It certainly does the Escapist no favours that they also employ a columnist who is just plain wrong about DRM.

    • Tei says:

      How it work [tm]

      Blog A writes a /fun|interesting read|is talking about what is important now/ article.
      Blog B talk about such thing, and link blog A.
      Some readers of B, know about A.
      Some google searchs shows B (and possibly, B on page 5 of the search)

      Wen people link Kotaku, is because Kotaku is posting a fan made cake about {insert here nintendo game}. Most Kotaku post seems pointless, but not all, and Kotaku do some things right, like linking RockPaperShotgun (heres your B link A), and BoingBoingBoing, and others. RPS can also link Kotaku, If feel like posting a amazing cake is a good idea (and often does, and then B is RPS, and Kotaku is A, and often wen RPS does it, is because is a good idea).

      So, is like a game, the “blogging game”, and Escapist don’t seems to be playing it. Other than Yanthze rants, I can’t see nice articles to read in Escapist, probably theres are a few, but I can’t read something I don’t even know exist. The Escapist is playing alone, while blogs like RPS and KOTAKU play in some sort of unoffficial “PUG group” (to use mmo slang (sorry about the recursivity of it)).

      And the people here that do read his articles, say that are not very good :-/ . These people can be wrong, but.. .anyway..
      I think I like what the Escapism is tryiing to do. But there are a difference on what you try, what you do, and the power you get. Actually, RPS is a better site than Escapism (thats what you get), and what RPS (seems) try is just “be a blog”.

  6. Magiced says:

    What’s this? An article about Powergirl that doesn’t mention unlikely breast size?

    • Phil H says:

      Amanda’s faces trump the breasts, they’re that good. Still terribly saddened that she’s left the book.

  7. jon_hill987 says:

    I think the unreadability depends on your DNS. My netbook, using OpenDNS can’t load it, my desktop using Google DNS can.

    • Sam says:

      Same here. It looks like OpenDNS lost the entry for http://www.rockpapershotgun.com some time this morning…

    • frymaster says:

      actually, the domain expired

      thus, the only DNS servers that would still serve IP addresses for RPS were ones with overly-aggressive caching (the www. subdomain of RPS has a TTL of 3 hours on it)

  8. Fool's Gold says:

    Thank you RPS for giving me something to read Sunday mornings.

    Q. Best Tik-Tok remix?

    A. .

  9. Fool's Gold says:

    My parents never taught me how to link properly.

    Tik Tok (Chuck Bucket remix)

    download from blog

  10. Fool's Gold says:

    And that creative process board game (?) is positively frightening

  11. airtekh says:

    Oh man, The Wire is my favourite TV show of all time. I really must buy the boxset soon.

    • Lambchops says:

      I concur. I am so glad that I finally yielded to several freinds telling me I had to watch it, bought the box set without having seen a single episode based on some glowing recommendations and boy was I not disappointed.

    • DrazharLn says:

      Same, I watched the whole series in less than a week from DVD. I really should get the second season, I suppose.

  12. Lambchops says:

    With respect to solitary gaming, less growing up with a NES, I’m completely with Erik Henriksen. To me multiplayer gaming is being in front of the same screen with a bunch of friends and more than likely some beers, playing Rock Band or Mario Kart or house of the Dead Overkill or something like that. It isn’t getting beaten soundly by faceless strangers at Modern Warfare or grinding away at some MMO or other. Hence why many of my best gaming experiences are with single player games. if this is a minority viewpoint then fine, I’m quite happy with it as long as there are games to cater to both my single player and same screen multiplayer tastes.

    Oh and cheers for the link to that piece on the Wire – I just finished watching it yesterday so it made for some good reading.

    • EthZee says:

      That’s strange. I often tend to view the opposite; I quite like playing faceless, voiceless opponents which nonetheless have their own minds and personalities. But, then again, I also prefer faceless characters.

    • Vinraith says:

      Same screen multiplayer (which I agree is a great thing) is getting harder and harder to find these days. It used to be a standard console game feature, but it seems like lately online connectivity is supplanting it. It’s rather sad, really.

    • Lambchops says:

      Indeed. Although when something that’s actually quite fun and at times innovative sells poorly it’s kind of unsuprising. Boom Blox in particular springs to mind (even one of my usually game apathetic housemates enjoyed playing that).

    • DrGonzo says:

      Until internet gaming I didn’t really enjoy games until I could play on the internet. Playing against friends locally was a problem because none of my friends were anywhere near as good as me. That is not a boast at how good I am at games, more how bad they are.

      I do now want to be able to play locally with my girlfriend and agree with you about consoles not having enough local multiplayer. But the internet is wonderful and has been an excellent thing for games imo.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      You know, same-screen multiplayer isn’t something that people who live in different countries can do. Most of my friends are hundreds of miles away from me, and the only way I can play with them is through multiplayer games that use the Internet.

      I mean, sure, keep the split-screen stuff on consoles, but PCs are ultimately single-player machines with networking capacity. I have Ventrilo, Xfire, good friends and good games. I don’t need to be in the same room as them, squinting at a tiny quarter of a tiny screen to try to discern what my dude is doing while half of us have to wait around for someone to pass a controller.

    • malkav11 says:

      Basically, yeah. Same screen coop for consoles, internet coop for PCs. Singleplayer more critical than either, and fuck competitive multiplayer.

    • Vinraith says:

      What malkav11 said pretty much works for me too.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Singleplayer more critical than either, and fuck competitive multiplayer.

      I disagree with the first one and sort-of disagree with the second. Fuck free-for-all games – i.e. entirely competitive multiplayer. Give me team-based competitive multiplayer any time.

    • malkav11 says:

      I have tons of options for stuff to do with my friends, but the original appeal of videogaming was that the only participant I needed was me.

    • Kadayi says:

      @malkav11

      The road sequence was good, but the burly brawl? God that was some downright awful CGI towards the end….

  13. frosty840 says:

    Hmm… Kieron seems to be still reading this comments thread, so I’ll just mention here that I’ve been told by some people who can’t access the site that the DNS for RPS seems to have gone down, and that today was the day when you were supposed to renew it.

    Can’t verify this, as I don’t know what most of that means, but, yeah, apparently a bunch of people can’t access the site to tell you that they can’t access the site.

  14. Kieron Gillen says:

    Yeah – it’s a DNS error. We’ve got the lovely tech guys on it. Teething problems, hopefully, as it has been renewed.

    KG

  15. Casimir's Blake says:

    None of this matters.

    A fully playable public beta UFO: Two Sides has been released. RPS needs to post this NOW! This is UFO with no FPS nonsense, just Enemy Unknown in a modern resolution and appropriate visual updates.

  16. bill says:

    That EDGE thing on review scores was interesting. Can’t say I’m super surprised.

    You seem to see a similar effect with word-of-mouth as well. If everyone tells you that a game is bad and points out all the flaws, you often go in looking for the flaws, and then feel the game is worse. Opposite effect also applies.

    Then again, sometimes low expectations lead to positive surprises, and high expectations lead to disappointment – so it’s not foolproof.

    • Grunt says:

      This is why hype avoidance is A Good Thing until after you’ve played the game and have your own experiences and opinions to launchpad from.

      I watched Matrix Revolutions this way and kinda liked it (despite some clear problems with script/plot etc).then fouind out the entire Internet (plus a few million real people) hated it.

      I still kinda like the film. :)

    • Xercies says:

      Same with me and Indiana jones and The Kingdom of The crystal Skull. i watched that before hearing all the hate for it and i kind of really liked it..not as good as the other two(it was kind of better then temple of Doom i have to say) but it was still a quite good film. i even liked the nuclear fridge part and didn’t see why people were so hateful on that. if you saw other Indiana jones movies you would know it actually kind of fits in with Indiana jones. i mean the other three films don’t have impossible bits do they?

    • Thants says:

      I’ll go to my grave trying to convince people that Matrix Reloaded is a really good movie.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is still a) great fun and b) a worthy addition to the Indiana Jones series, Kieron be damned. It was made twenty years later so it’s set twenty years later so it uses 1950s pulp instead of 1930s pulp. This means soviet spies and psychic powers and UFOs, instead of jungles and long-lost Inca treasures and Nazis. The actual film may not be particularly noteworthy, but then neither were the first three Indies, and you have to give the writing team due credit for having the awesome idea of actually playing off the whole “it was made 20 years later” thing.

    • malkav11 says:

      The Matrix Reloaded has some pacing issues, some terrible dialogue, some cringe-inducing scenes (the real-world dance party? what the hell were they thinking)….but, crucially, it does have two jaw-droppingly awesome action scenes: the Burly Brawl and the highway chase sequence. For those alone I own the movie.

      Revolutions spent 90% of its time in the real world, which is exactly the part of the Matrix setting that should have been interstitial at most, being far less interesting and not why anyone went to see the first Matrix. As such, I found it uniformly worthless.

    • Bret says:

      Crystal Skull is a bit of an abomination, and nothing could convince me otherwise. And I did avoid reviews.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Norris: I’ve never seen Crystal Skull!

      KG

    • Rich says:

      There was no fourth Indiana Jones movie. It was just some horrible fever-induced nightmare, caused by some really strong stilton before bed. I won’t listen to anyone saying otherwise. It’s the only way to preserve my sanity.

      SHUT UP!

    • Tei says:

      I think in the Indiana Jones universe, everything that is a myth on our universe, is real there. As in, ufos landing in piramids, the midas touch, atlantis.. etc.. because that is freaking cool, and you want indiana jones to be cool.

    • aldo_14 says:

      Mrs Aldo and I saw Crystal Skull (on its release day) about 3 hours after we got married, so I find it hard to bring much ill-will towards that movie. Especially as I can look up our anniversary day on imdb.

    • bill says:

      the Indy-in-a-fridge is quite a good example.

      Watching the movie with friends I kind of enjoyed it, up to the anticlimatic last 15 minutes. Of course the fridge thing was dumb, but to be honest I didn’t really notice it and it didn’t really impact my enjoyment.

      But after reading lots of online jokes about it, I watched the movie again, and when it got to that part I couldn’t get all the jokes out of my head – so my brain focused on that part and blew it up to be much more important than the first time.

      Also, everyone focuses on the fridge bit, because it’s what everyone focuses on. But no one mentions that it’s basically John Hurt’s character that kills the movie. that and the lack of an end fight.

    • AndrewC says:

      There’s no end fight in Raiders either. But Crystal Skull is a painfully mediocre movie.

      Those that are pretending it doesn’t exist: your ironic close-mindedness isn’t as ironic as you think.

  17. Alexander Norris says:

    Denby’s APB thing on BeefJack seems to sort of miss the point – the man can be fat because the fat mafioso is a Hollywood stereotype and APB wants to let you make a posse of suit-wearing mafiosi. I don’t think ascribing it to a deliberate decision to make the female equivalent of the maximum bodyweight male actually sort of slim is particularly wise.

  18. bill says:

    As someone living in Japan, and hence pretty out of touch with western music right now – i have to ask:
    Is that Kessha song a serious release,or some kind of youtube parody meme i’ve missed out on?

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      #1 all over the place last year. And it got to #3 in Japan, or so wikipedia tells me.

      KG

    • destroy.all.monsters says:

      I thought it was pretty funny and I’m edging ever closer to old codger status. No I’d never heard of her before either.

    • Vinraith says:

      @destroy.all.monsters

      Ditto and ditto. I can’t say I’m entirely upset about being out of touch with mainstream music at this point.

    • jeremypeel says:

      It’s not all that bad, dear codgers. About as wonderful and as terrible as it ever was.

    • Vivian says:

      Keisha was boring shit when Uffy did it a million years ago. Also, I can’t take anyone seriously whose whole look could be described as brook hogan escaping through joss stones wardrobe after being kept in a cave for a year.

    • Jhoosier says:

      @bill: I’m in Japan and can say I’ve heard of it, but I spend a lot of time online. I’m pretty sure I heard it in a dance club recently, though I’ve not idea when because I’ve been all of like 3 times in the past year.

    • CMaster says:

      There is a rather popular parody out there. I hadn’t realised that the offical video (having only heard the song on the radio) told almost the exact same story of Alcoholism though.

    • bill says:

      Well, parts of it sound vaguely familiar, so I guess i’ve probably heard it in shops over here… but sounding vaguely familiar didn’t rule out a youtube parody – and the quality of the video and writing kind of pointed to one.

      I’m so out of touch :-(

      /karl-ojisan

  19. airtekh says:

    About that Kiala Kazebee piece, I have to murmur in agreement.

    I played EVE Online for a few weeks a couple of months ago, and in all the time I played it, I never interacted with another player once.

    While I did enjoy what time I had in it (and I have nothing but respect for how CCP have created their universe), I got bored when I had reached the limits of what I could do by myself. Further progression would have meant joining a corporation, and being daunted by that, I quit the game.

    I suppose it’s easier to play games with people you already know, rather than risking your sanity by playing with random strangers on the internet.

  20. Pencil says:

    Kpop is the best place to find autotuned girls. Don’t know what they’re singing about, but it’s catchy

    Run Devil Run (originally a Ke$ha song)
    Abracadabra

  21. The Hammer says:

    It’s a shame that they hide those pieces so well underneath all the pap. I preferred it when you could read The Escapist in magazine format, but alas.

  22. Marcin says:

    Yeah, WHOIS tells me your domain name was up for renewal yesterday, and wasn’t renewed. And it’s in John’s name too, so we have the responsible party … :P

  23. Lars BR says:

    About the use of facial expression in comics, I think it applies equally well to video games – one of the things that struck me about Alyx in HL2 was all the unspoken dialog via expression, which really helped create her as a person.

    • Veret says:

      Huh, maybe that’s why the Halo games seem to suffer from bad acting? Most characters in Halo 1-2 have the facial movement range of a muppet, so…yeah.

    • mlaskus says:

      Muppets are very expressive!

    • jeremypeel says:

      @ Veret: When I agreed to play Halo 3 co-op with a friend, I’d just finished playing through Half Life 2 plus episodes for the first time (this was only last year, I might add). I was pretty horrified by the box-faced OO-RARRing NPCs all over the place, especially in what is apparently a fairly story-centric series. My friend ending up shouting at me for shooting them in the face, which isn’t something I normally do.

  24. Vykromond says:

    I believe the definitive words re: Tik Tok are link to martinseay.wordpress.com .

  25. Sam says:

    RPS is back yay!

  26. Morte says:

    nice little comic there by Julia Scheele. Although I don’t think bipolar is a syndrome, its an affective disorder. And I definitely know lithium isn’t an anti-depressant. Also work is possibly the best thing for anyone with a manageable mental condition, through proper engagement with employers. Staying at home is the worst thing to do. Constantly fight to get back to work, not just against the illness, but against the system that will have you stay at home pumped on drugs. Work provides self respect and dignity, key in fighting low mood.
    I’ve had Bipolar I all my life, I have an awesome care team which includes my employer. Be open honest and totally determined, and study everything you are told or have put in front of you. I lead a normal life and have a successful career, with only 1 year out in the last 3.

  27. destroy.all.monsters says:

    Thanks for the Amanda Conner link. I’ve been out of the comics loop for a couple years (which happens due to both finances and boredom) so I was unaware of her work. She really is quite good. I recall the artists working on Peter David’s Young Justice and Supergirl being pretty adept at faces and always loved Alex Maleev’s work on Daredevil too for basically the same reasons.

    I recall when Mike Deodato got loads of grief for basically never doing faces well (while still being a fan favorite). He got better after disappearing for awhile but there is still a school of art that prefers mannequins a la early Image.

    Also the benuded foot in the last panel of the Conner foldout is amazingly sexy to me.

  28. Brer says:

    The study discussed in the Edge.biz article is a good example of something that’s actually pretty universal and has been studied in other venues. This is why when you flip over a bag of potato chips (crisps? whatever, you know what I mean) or similar product you’ll read a blurb talking about how great they taste, and how careful the blend of home-made spices and fresh ingredients blah blah blah…

    I still take issue with the mass media psychologists who think that priming can affect large-scale behavioral changes or deeply-held beliefs (for example the 14% review score spread is actually smaller than the “natural” spread on PvZ you can find on Metacritic), but it does show how a bit of careful framing can tweak or nudge beliefs in one direction or the other.

  29. Wednesday says:

    That APB thing is pretty awful. The “fat” woman looks like she doesn’t have an ounce of the stuff on her.

  30. Eight Rooks says:

    More game writing criticism that’s the usual rubbish that misses the important points completely. But some people have already correctly attacked the Bioshock 2 thing for misplaced, overeager nitpicking, so this is good. Though I’ll never, ever understand the unquestioning love for Bioware, or at least never be able to politely articulate how misguided I think it is. The mere fact someone can in all seriousness write “Bioware are the unquestioned masters of characterisation in games” makes my head hurt, and that’s not an exaggeration. They deserve some kind of videogame equivalent of the Razzies for creating Minsc, the one comic relief character who without fail makes me want to do serious physical harm to the first person to wander within reach every time I attempt to play Baldur’s Gate 2, and Mass Effect just baffles me. Liara is a terrible, terrible character with no depth or nuance whatsoever, Garrus is a blank slate, Ashley is a hamfisted attempt at moral ambiguity so unsubtle it’s comical…

    There’ll be people praising Peter Molyneux’ contributions to the furtherance of videogame narrative next, then my head will explode, and it’ll all be blissful silence from then on. Madness.

    • Wednesday says:

      Bioware really are masters of characterisation. ME 2 is esentially just a character piece with some sci-fi bookends.

      Liara is awful, and ME 1 Garrus is tiresome, but Ash is fantastic, a genuinely human character. She is, in her own way, quite right wing, but she’s not a simple Space Racist. Half the time, she has a point. As to Garrus, in ME2 he really comes alive, mainly due to an injection of humour.

      And quite frankly, anyone who doesn’t fall in love with Minsc and Co is clearly a mentalist. Would you like to put forward a group who do characterisation well?(hint: not Obsidian).

      …unless its Kreia.

      …..yeah she’s pretty good.

    • Sam says:

      Quite apart from Wednesday’s comments defending Mass Effect (and, even I, who disliked Ashley somewhat, accept that she’s actually got more depth than a lot of characters), I notice that you only attacked the soft targets. Wrex is surprisingly well written – he gets some poignancy, and all of the best lift conversations involve him. Tali is a little bit Miss Exposition, but she’s acted well, at least, and Kaidan’s prickly-due-to-his-past persona comes over well.

      Compare them to most other RPGs, and they all come up rather well. (Except for Liara, who’s a wet blanket, and Garrus, who is worryingly subservient, admittedly.)

    • Wulf says:

      @Wednesday

      Anyone can do hyperbole, and I had this sort of Stan (of Monkey Island) arm-waving thing going on in my head there, like you were desperately trying to sell me a dilapidated something at a bargain price. Because of that it comes across a bit like snake oil, metaphorically speaking.

      The truth is much simpler: Anyone who bothers to hire a decent writer can do characterisation well, and Bioware certainly aren’t the masters thereof, or the first to do it. Origin were doing characterisation incredibly well long before people even knew what a Bioware was. Then there’s Troika. Can anyone really say that the likes of smilin’ Jack don’t stand up equally well to Mass Effect 2?

      Actually, I’d actually say that Jack is just that little bit deeper than most of them, but that’s only my personal take. Obsidian brought in a couple of writers for Mask of the Betrayer, and assigned a couple of characters to each of them. Mask of the Betrayer is also known to have rather seminal characterisation because of this. So yes, Obisidian can do it well, too. Just because you’re not aware of something, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.

      Even Atlas/Fontaine from the original BioShock wasn’t that bad as a character goes, he was a clever old ponce as far as clever old ponces go. Oh, and I’d be beside myself if I didn’t mention, oh, say… Planescape: Torment (Morte was a bloody brilliantly handled character), and pretty much a huge number of adventure games; the LucasArts stable, The Longest Journey, and so on.

      Bioware can do characters brilliantly, yes, but they can also do horrible, one-dimensional, dire excuses for characters (I personally felt the cast of Dragon Age fit pretty well into this category). It depends on the game, and every developer has good games and bad. ME2 was one of their more pleasing games, with meaty, believable characters to boot.

      Anyway, bad hyperbole is bad. The ability to write great characters is not solely limited to Bioware, not by a long shot.

    • Wulf says:

      Oh! And the Tex Murphy series. Tex has to be one of my all time favourites as characters go.

    • Hidden_7 says:

      @Wulf

      I think there might be a bit of verb tense issue here. You cited a few contemporary examples, certainly Obsidian and Irrational are still around, but a lot of your examples are developers who are long gone. I might be wrong here, but I think when people say “are the masters of characterization” they mean present tense. People that are still putting out games with great characters in them.

      Personally I felt Dragon Age had some of the best character moments. They didn’t always come across right away, and I can see how some characters can seem two dimensional at first glance, but then you get to know them and they really aren’t.

      Obviously the issue is a “to each their own” sort of situation. Some people will really like certain characters, some people will really hate them. Personally I consider that if I have strong opinions about a character one way or another the writer has done their job. I couldn’t stand Ashley, because she was racist and xenophobic, but thought she had good arguments for that and liked to think of her as separate from the more extreme people. She’s the sort of person who will say “I’m not racist, but…” and then say something really racist. But as much as I dislike her I think this is a good job of characterization, because I felt something about her. Kaiden I think is a poor job, because I just don’t care about him one way or another. Zevran is another character that I dislike that I think is characterized well. The sort of person he is really grates on me, but that means he’s realized well as that sort of person.

      So yeah, Bioware can drop the ball, every game / book / movie with tons of characters is going to end up a little hit or miss, but I think Bioware hits way more often than they miss, and the only other people currently developing that have that sort of consistency, I feel, are Obsidian

  31. Spinoza says:

    RPS!!! You comeback to me!! (cue emotional breakdown).
    link to youtube.com now that is real music

  32. Kid A says:

    I will, perhaps, cede that I am a little unfair on Bioshock 2, but it does irk me greatly that a lot of miscrepancies and equipment choices that are new to the sequel or removed are handwaved away. Given that I grew up as a 10-11 year old with, System Shock 1 and 2, and then moving onto Baldur’s Gate and the like, I have perhaps been spoiled for strong narratives in games. As I said in the comments on the site – it might have to be one of those things we agree to disagree on.

    That said: I can’t stand Molyneux, and I challenge anyone to defend the writing of Modern Warfare and it’s sequel convincingly.

  33. The Dark One says:

    Kieron, if you’re going to put up a link to Tik Tok, it should really be this one.

  34. pupsikaso says:

    When did Delightful Girlfriend turn into Delightful Fiancée? Congratulations, KG!

  35. Chaz says:

    No bouncing boob gifs! Denied!

    One of the guys on our forum used to have a gif avatar of a dominatrix repeatedly kicking a guy in the balls, until after about a month one of the forum admins replaced it with a picture of a vase of flowers.

  36. Jimbo says:

    Space Marine: Marine in IKEA

  37. Batolemaeus says:

    You should’ve mentioned that the comic about creative processes also hosts a lot of very verbose and very funny pieces of verbosity.
    I very much like and approve things like this: link to viruscomix.com
    (I’d totally buy the Internet magazine)

  38. Akirasfriend says:

    Michael McDonald: The Man, THE LEGEND

    link to youtube.com

    CV <3

  39. dadioflex says:

    I realise Lewis Denby is an RPS project…. but… he’s a bit crap really. Give Heliocentric a column, it’d be better. Or Vinraith, or… or.. or, just anyone else. Denby’s writing is pedestrian and he’s annoyiing.

    Ever since the Christine Love interview I’ve been, um, what’s the word?… oh, yeah… completely disgusted by his lack of professionalism.

    Anyway…

    • Lewis says:

      Certainly this comments thread isn’t the place for such a discussion, but I’d be genuinely interested to know what it is about my work that you find disgustingly unprofessional. Do feel free to fire me an email about it at myfirstname.mylastname[at]gmail.com.

  40. Sir Derpicus says:

    “When looking for online communities, I tend only to join those that are either explicitly feminist or women-friendly. ”
    …Really? Someone has to say “We’re gonna be nice to you” explicitly? You REALLY distrust us this far?
    Man, feminists (ironic blanket statement much?) suck. I’m never being nice to one again (I’m being serious about this – this isn’t some sort of attempt to drive her sort away from RPS at all).
    (on the side note, I haven’t gotten laid in 20 years!)

    • Grape Flavor says:

      I would strongly recommend you try to politely ascertain what “type” of feminist you’re dealing with – there are a lot of good people who identify as feminist because they view it as a synonym for “I support equality”.

      Always assume good faith until you can ascertain with certainly said good faith does not exist.

    • i am paul newman says:

      i’m appalled by the lack crazy lady friendly online communities
      read that courtney stoker article linked at the bottom there too :D

  41. Tei says:

    Forget the fat chick experiment!.

    Something that is interesting about APB, is that there are infinite posibilities, but I see how different people build the same character. There are something like stereotypes. Like.. I created something like a “young sexual fbi agent”, only to see other people have mold his character this way. To me, this is more fascinating than the lack of extremes on a slider (these extremes may not have appeal for audience, and wen creating a character creation tool, you have to disable the ability to create true horrible character, because some people will abuse that to troll, and that will break the inmersion for other players. So is a trade off and need some type of balance, maybe fat chicks is beyond these limits of balance )

  42. phlebas says:

    That Tom Hatfield piece on writing bothers me a bit. It’s possible that in order to improve game writing we need to start from the least game-specific side and work from there, polishing our linear, minimally-interactive stories and scripts until we reach an average level that’s at least somewhere at the straight-to-dvd level of film writing before refactoring for the hard stuff. But it seems unlikely to me – a beautifully structured and textured linear plot with well-formed characters and an imaginative setting is still not good game writing. Interactivity is the whole point of games – it shouldn’t be an afterthought or a footnote.

  43. Shadowcat says:

    If you really want auto-tuned voices stuck in your head (and in this instance, you do) , throw this on repeat: link to youtube.com

  44. DrugCrazed says:

    Whoopie for another How To Play mention :D

    The DNS issue was a bit of a bugger. Shout at your hosting providers and get them to update the domain name properly when it runs out next time.

    As per usual, a nice set of links.

    Also, the wonderful thing about Craig’s piece is how he’s now working for Big Games Publisher as one of their script writers. No joke.

  45. bill says:

    work you stupid reply button! work!

  46. Tei says:

    Re: RealID

    If people really need another reason RealID was wrong. Check this slideshow from Google:
    link to slideshare.net