The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for sleeping. And then awakening, to compile a list of the fine (mostly (Well, less mostly than normal)) games-related reading I found this week, while trying to resist linking to some piece of pop music. Go!

Failed.

123 Comments

  1. kwyjibo says:

    You really do not need a dissertation to dissect Tik Tok. It’s a Justice/Uffie rip off. Really fucking easy.

    • jozga says:

      Maybe not as much as Pop the Glock ripped off Ready to Uff (see comparisons on youtube), but yeah, still a huge ripoff. The article, in the comments, seems to dismiss this by saying that Uffie and (Robyn) are different by virtue of being better, but that doesn’t change the fact that the music is exactly the same in places, surely?

    • Baka says:

      It’s called common sense and reading comprehension. Please calm down. If it makes you feel better, you can say something about lederhosen and sauerkraut.

    • Baka says:

      goddamn reply system!
      obviously for the angry guy below this.

    • bildo says:

      @ Tee Jay
      I see what you did there. lol.

    • Gwyn says:

      “Maybe not as much as Pop the Glock ripped off Ready to Uff”

      Uh huh, try typing that again?

      I mean I’m happy that I just checked out two Uffie tracks (both awesome) so I can’t really complain.

    • jozga says:

      erm yeah, typing fail sorry.

    • perilisk says:

      A dissertation which somehow drifts from bitching about TiK ToK to using it to show that American conservatism, exemplified by Sarah Palin, pro wrestling, and country music, is horrible and dumb. If I meet this guy, I’m going to punch him in the vag to make up for wasting an hour of my life.

    • Helm says:

      Punch yourself, you’ll find the effect surprisingly similar to what you’d fantasize above.

  2. Dood says:

    Does anyone know if, in South Korea, you are a huge nerd when you do sports in your free time and go to the pub with your friends instead of going to the baang? Has it gone full bizarro-land yet?

    • OctaneHugo says:

      It’s so whacked out in South Korea that they don’t even have sports anymore. In fact, they’re much closer to bypassing the need for physical existence at all.

    • bildo says:

      of course it isn’t. I’ve been living in South Korea for about 9 months now. I know a lot of people here and not one is in the PC bang for nearly as much time as the guy in the article. Then again, my job deals mainly with the higher income families of the country so this may be a problem with the members of poorer families.

      “you are a huge nerd when you do sports in your free time and go to the pub with your friends instead of going to the bang (pronounced bahng as in “ahh, refreshing”)

      Baseball is a HUGE game here. There are three teams that play in Seoul and they are sold out most weekends. Consider in America, it’s not too common for a game to be completely sold out. You usually have to buy your tickets a couple weeks in advance or you’re screwed in terms of baseball. Also, drinking here is a major part of their culture. Business men drink almost every night of the week, especially since they are usually forced to drink by their bosses so they can ‘bond’. The “bars” are packed every weekend and I would say more people go to bars with their friends and coworkers on a weekend than those visiting PC bangs. Since I’ve been here, I wanted to check out the PC bang scene and did so a few times on a friday and saturday, there are always plenty of open seats.

      Are people considered nerds when they spend too much time living in a fantasy world rather than reality? Well, Koreans are people too so you should be able to answer that yourself. Rhetorical question.

      “It’s so whacked out in South Korea that they don’t even have sports anymore. In fact, they’re much closer to bypassing the need for physical existence at all.”

      You must be trolling because that’s dead wrong. Ignorance is bliss, amirite?

      “Has it gone full bizarro-land yet?”

      Uh. No. Also, Starcraft isn’t as big as people say it is here. In the past it was very popular but now it’s more like a cult following similar to those of the CS 1.6 crowd. Sure they have TV channels which air programs for Starcraft here but they don’t show Starcraft 24/7 on any channel like most people think. Matter of fact, I would argue that most Koreans aren’t as thrilled with SC2 as most would think they should be. Many of the ex-starcraft players I know say they don’t care for it. That could change on launch day though. However, many people are looking forward to it. Not everyone is freaking out over the game, that’s for sure.

      Anyone else feel the need to speculate on how “weird” Korea is?

    • Oak says:

      In Korea, they wear hats on their feet and hamburgers eat people.

    • El Stevo says:

      @bildo

      Do they have jokes in South Korea?

    • derp says:

      In England, teeth don’t exist and men have babies.

    • Wulf says:

      @bildo

      You always get this kind of nonsense, unfortunately, as there will always be large amounts of people who’re ignorant to the true nature of the world, and would rather operate on assumptions rather than actual experiences, or listen to those who have had experiences.

      Here’s one example: link to u.snelhest.org

      I’m sorry to the Americans reading this, this really isn’t solely your problem, but it’s the best example that I have right now. I’ve actually experienced this. The mother of an American friend of mine genuinely believes that British people eat meat off a spit, and still drink mead, because we’re backwards, and we live in the badlands.

      When you first encounter something like this, it’s so confounding, and it’s genuinely hard to believe that people can be like that, and yet they can, they are. Yet here’s the fun bit: Americans who’re actually like that are in the vast minority, most of them actually have a pretty good idea of what the world around them is like. The vast majority of America does not think like that image would suggest, just an irritating minority.

      However, experiences with a minority can shape the perceptions of people, and likewise, I’ve found that those outside of America tend to believe that all of America shares this attitude. Interestingly, I’ve had experiences like this across the board.

      Another fun example I can think of is on a forum I frequent, where the poster asked whom people thought were the most annoying people in online games, and one of the options was ‘The British’. I actually poked the person in question about this, privately, and found that they’d had some pretty bad experiences with some particularly imperialistic Brits. You know the sort, ‘bloody immigrants’. Those people.

      It’s actually hard to express that people like that are a minority, because there’s really no one I actually know in Wales who has that mindset, who acts like that. So they must be a minority. It was with a heavy sigh that he finally settled on only the Welsh being exempt, because I was the only example of them and I certainly wasn’t like the people he’d encountered online.

      The point of all of this is that an interaction with one person of a culture can have the other person believe that the entire culture is like that, and use that as a map as to how they’ll treat other people from that culture, or from that race. This is commonplace.

      And here we have people who believe myths about Korea without really knowing the reality, because they’ve encountered a minority and they’ve mapped that over the entirety of South Korea, so everyone in South Korea must therefore be of that minority, because those are the only Koreans they’ve come into contact with. Well, of course those are the only Koreans they’ve had contact with. They’re gamers, too. It’s hardly bloody surprising.

      And this sort of ignorance is something that everyone has to fight, every day. It’s the same with subcultures and lifestyle choices, too. For example: gay people must be flaming (D:<), anyone who enjoys fantasy settings must live in someone's basement and not have a social life, Star Trek fans are virgins who dress up like Klingons, all furries are perverts, and so on, and so on, and so on, and so on… ad nauseum.

      It's just something I'm sick of, these days. And sometimes it's just impossible to fight, and even trying to do the same thing to those groups (trying to present an annoying minority as an entire people) doesn't knock them out of it.

      These days, I'm almost past the point of trying. I'll just half-heartedly do it back, instead. Since really, this all-encompassing ignorance isn't something we're likely ever going to be able to fix.

    • Baka says:

      I’m not really sure, if you’re serious there, Wulf.
      But considering the Wulf of Text you just produced… please read the three comments between yours and bildos again.

    • bildo says:

      “Do they have jokes in South Korea?”

      Of course not, they’re too weird to have them. Europe on the other hand is blessed with humor.

    • bildo says:

      @ Wulf

      Yeah, I know what you mean.

      I’m an American and I’m a fan of the sterotypical joke here and there. No big deal. However, those previous posters seemed to believe the sterotypes that people in Korea don’t do anything besides go to work for Samsung and play Starcraft. I have no problem with the humor it’s when people believe what’s in the humor.

      It’s the same in Korea too. Many Koreans, I’m talking about the richer families too, since I deal with them most often, think that every American has a gun so they shouldn’t go out at night. Even if it’s in a safe place like Upstate New York. I usually laugh and just inform them they have nothing to worry about….even if they go to higher crime areas. I just tell ’em to stick with friends at night and they will be fine. No different from any other modern country. Usually they leave feeling like they have been lied to for years, which always makes me laugh XD

    • Dood says:

      Oh wow. Way to misunderstand the joke about another joke. Guess we’re all imbeciles then.

    • bildo says:

      “Oh wow. Way to misunderstand the joke about another joke. Guess we’re all imbeciles then.?”

      Since you’re the master of comedy, tell me which part was the punchline and how anyone is supposed to know you’re joking? Also, inform me of the joke which your joke is based off of. I didn’t find any jokes in the article about South Korea or one before your comment.

    • TeeJay says:

      Jim’s article on South Korean PC gaming: link to rossignol.cream.org

      Also Chapters 3 and 4 of his book “This Gaming Life: Travels in Three Cities”

      free online edition here: link to quod.lib.umich.edu

    • TeeJay says:

      @ Wulf: “The mother of an American friend of mine genuinely believes that British people eat meat off a spit”

      It’s called a “kabab” isn’t it?

      link to berlin.metblogs.com

    • Fumarole says:

      So, neither jokes in Korea nor Wales? Got it.

    • bob_d says:

      @Wulf:
      Actually most Americans are that ignorant. As an American, you really have to make an effort to know anything about the rest of the world. There’s no world history taught in most schools, and there isn’t any international news to speak of (international coverage has grossly declined in the last 10 years from scant to non-existent). The BBC provide most of the international news in the U.S., funnily enough. European friends routinely tell me they feel “cut off” from the rest of the world while in the U.S. (in ways they’ve never experienced anywhere else in the world), and tell me that Americans often express surprise when told that cell phones, computers, internet, and even electricity are common in Europe…

      @bildo:
      Considering guns outnumber people in the U.S. and the violent crime rate is much higher than Korea, Korean visitors expecting to be the victims of gun violence are actually being pretty well informed but overly alarmist, rather than ignorant.

    • Vinraith says:

      @bob_d

      I’m not sure where you’re getting your information, but it’s in error. World history is part of the standard requirements for high school graduation in every state. International news is certainly substandard in this country, I’ll grant, but not so non-existent as you’re making it out to be. More importantly than any of that, though, I’ve never met an American that thought Europe existed in some sort of primitive dark age as you describe. I’m not sure where you got that notion, but even the most redneck ultra-Christian head-in-the-sand people I know (and I live in KY, so I know a few) know better than that.

      American education is in bad enough shape, and our relations with the world are damaged enough, without people massively exaggerating the problem.

    • DrGonzo says:

      @bildo

      He meant the first reply that you responded was just a joke. He didn’t actually mean that.

      @Vinraith

      I’m sure it’s not the majority, but a shockingly large amount of people in the US don’t have any real idea what the rest of the world is like. When travelling round the US as an English person I did get patronised a lot.

      Don’t get me wrong though, I loved going there and met lots of really nice and intelligent people.

    • DrGonzo says:

      @Vinraith

      Oops clicked too soon!

      Was going to say that I met several people in the US who thought that England was a State in America.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Dr Gonzo

      I’m sure it’s not the majority, but a shockingly large amount of people in the US don’t have any real idea what the rest of the world is like.

      I’m not remotely disputing that. I just wanted to make it clear that the specific misconception bob_d was talking about is not at all common, and I’ve never encountered it. Sadly I *have* encountered people that thought England was part of the US.

      Speaking as someone who has taught a number of college science courses, I’m frequently horrified by the general lack of education evidenced even by college-bound high school graduates in this country. Science, math, history, these are all areas where a significant percentage of people somehow manage to never absorb even basic information. As I said above, given all that, I’d hate to see us made out to be even worse than we actually are!

    • TNO says:

      As an American living in London (and having lived in China as well), I can say with some certainty that most people in any country I’ve lived in know very little outside their borders.

      Yes, many Americans know almost nothing about the rest of the world, but many of my British friends know almost nothing outside of Europe. Both my American AND my European friends would probably struggle to place Singapore on a map. Or Ghana, or Algeria, for that matter. And bear in mind that when you LIVE in a country you tend to be very selective about who you interact with, generally people who are very similar to you in education and experience. When you travel to another country your inexperience makes it difficult to avoid interaction with those less world-wise as yourself. What I’m trying to say is that for every ignoramus you meet in another country, there’s almost certainly three in your home town that you’ve never met because you know which pubs to stay away from.

      Speaking on personal experience alone, I think the Americans and Europeans are shockingly similar in many, many ways. Both feel smugly superior, and both have views/habits/traditions that are seen as very backwards by the other. The details may be different, but the basic people are the same. Same strengths, same flaws.

  3. The Dark One says:

    “[T]the insouciant obnoxiousness of Adam Horovitz’s voice”

    An good article, but this phrase is great no matter the context.

  4. vanarbulax says:

    Sundays are for reading a fine list of mostly games-related reading….but due to the time difference staying up late not sleeping the day before school goes back instead of sitting with a relaxing cup of tea or some such.

    Must be a completely different mood for you chaps.

  5. Anon says:

    Fate/stay night was released in 2006, fairly late to be talking about it now isn’t it?

    • qrter says:

      We really need to lose this idea that there’s a time limit on talking about games.

    • malkav11 says:

      2004, actually. But it wasn’t fan translated for another three or four years subsequently. And yeah, there’s really no reason to stop discussing a game (or any other media work) just because it’s not brand-spanking-new.

    • The Pink Ninja says:

      I still want to talk about what makes Freespace 2 great and it was originally played with a tape-computer

    • HarbourMaster says:

      I reviewed Sanitarium last week. I am so last decade’s news. I am so past my use by date. I am so cardigan-wearing oldster who the kids hurl jokes at because I smell of biscuits. I am so ‘oh right i just heard about this twitter site’. I am how good it was in the old days when computer circuits were made out of fucking wood and we had to pedal faster to get the transistors juiced.

    • Bret says:

      And X-Com is from the mid 90s.

      Really, seems an odd nit to pick.

    • Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

      I’m just happy that someone noticed a visual novel and felt it deserved mention in a way other than “Oh, Japan.

  6. bill says:

    Games journalism sure has a lot of problem problems..

    Plus the BBC news has a funky new website, so of course the comments threads are all up in arms demanding to go back to the old one. Fun for all the family!

  7. dartt says:

    I quick scan of Phill’s Develop write-up reveals that no furniture was dropped on anyone. Disappointing.

  8. subedii says:

    That bank messages thing didn’t click until the end. Then I looked at the e-mail addresses and went “Oh, duh

  9. Pupsikaso says:

    Seven out of sixteen links that are not game/internet related this week. You’re adding more and more of them every week. Come on KG, as much as I enjoy reading about things other than games, that is not why I come to RPS.
    Separate them, perhaps?

    • Collic says:

      Well, there isn’ t always going to be a list of relevant stories each week. I’d rather he post whatever of interest he can find, rather than have ‘dead air’. I see your point, though.

    • El Stevo says:

      @Pupsikaso

      I’d rather Kieron posts whatever he wants to. It’s not like there’s a limited amount of space and he had to leave out some games-related links in favour of non-games stuff.

    • bildo says:

      The man can post what he wants, granted he founded or cofounded the blog. At the very least though, the only thing I wouldn’t mind him not doing is linking the pop music stuff. It’s in no way related to anything that goes on here. Like I said though, it’s his blog and I’ll continue to ignore it.

    • TeeJay says:

      It is “related” in as far as it gives The Sunday Papers a more personal feel, adds a bit of ‘mood music’.

      Maybe other RPS writers could have a weekly/monthly slot – eg. Tim Stone’s “industrial-size vehicle or hardware of the month” or John’s “cute cat picture of the week” maybe?

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Personal feel, as in I personally feel KG listens to terrible music.

    • faelnor says:

      Agreed.

    • bildo says:

      @DJ
      Okay, I thought it was just me and figured most everyone liked this stuff.

    • Vinraith says:

      I kind of like the music links, even though I usually dislike the actual music. Kieron makes a habit of linking to stuff I’ve never heard of, and while most of it’s not to my taste he occasionally exposes me to something I like and wouldn’t otherwise have heard. Those occasional hits easily justify the practice, to my mind, to say nothing of the already agreed upon fact that Kieron can link whatever he pleases in his own column.

    • bill says:

      Please don’t.

      I rather like the random selection of games and not games news. I even like the music posts.

      I don’t always like the articles, but i find them to be an interesting mix of things that I wouldn’t normally hear about, and so I like having links to them.

      The music ones are cool… hated Tik Tok, but I was interested to hear about it, and I always go to them first so I can listen to the music while I read the stories…. just like a real sunday morning with the papers.. except on sunday night for me.

      Gotta say, this week almost all the stories I clicked on were unrelated to games. ;-)

  10. vanarbulax says:

    Regarding the TikTok article which I haven’t quite gotten through yet. I like to take this obsession with pop-songs idolizing their own vacuousness and self-loathing nature, and then blowing ridiculous amounts of money tarting it up only to act indifferent and aloof, as a sign that mass media and glitzy music industry are starting their death throes as all the interesting stuff finds its own niche in social information spreading.

    People are more able to find what they personally like, mass media is left with the lowest common denominator and hence glitters the turd as much as possible. Hopefully it will implode as people realise its a waste of glitter.

    Then will all have diverse and interesting communities generating experimental and involved entertainment and art.

    …At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

    Kids these days.

    • Fwiffo says:

      When you realise Shit Pop For The Purposes Of Making Money Is Not A New Phenomenon and just go listen to what you enjoy you will be free.

    • TeeJay says:

      Maybe one reason some commentators get vexed about what is in the pop charts is they want that limelight for themselves or to somehow identify with it.

      They are free – like anyone else – to go and create or consume opera, post-bop jazz, classic rock or west african hip-life but what they really want is to feel they are fashion-flavour-of-the-month. It therefore becomes something they throw tantrums about.

    • Fwiffo says:

      Today’s flavour of the month is mongberry.

  11. tome says:

    Martin Seay’s article was so good that when I try to think of a “correct” way to describe it, I just end up tensing up my abdomen, clenching my fists, and furiously thinking “REALLY REALLY GOOD”.

    • terry says:

      The sad thing is such wonderful writing and insight can be inspired by the uniformly awful.

    • El Stevo says:

      Why would that be sad?

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      It certainly went to a lot of interesting and worthwhile places I didn’t expect it to. A great article.

    • terry says:

      I didn’t mean sad as in the heartrending sort of way but only that that is a lot of great writing about a bad pop tune. It seems equivalent to a academic post-mortem of Limbo of the Lost. Writing screeds about bad things gives them too much credit.

    • TeeJay says:

      Isn’t there always a valid place for this-week’s gimmicky, trashy, stupid, voxcoded, blond-celebutante, piss-taking, rip-off pop-music (usually on Radio 1 day-time playlists and 24hr music-video channels)? Surely if it’s appropriate for this audience then it is “good” (just like large-chested italian-bellowing baritones are appropriate for opera). In other words judge it in the appropriate context.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      I think writing about the bad things – especially when bad things are enormously popular – is phenomenally important. It’s easy to reject something just off the cuff, and it leaves you no better and actually weaker to trying to make another world.

      You need to understand the Vampire before you can ram a stake through its heart.

      KG

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      I quite like Tik Tok. *shrugs*

      I dunno, it’s a pretty average pop song, but it’s got a sense of humour to it.

      So says me, anyway.

      It does have Poker-face syndrome, though. Pretty much ruined by a really awful chorus.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      I actually like Tik-Tok more than Shay. I’m more talking about the general point.

      KG

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      Also, comparing it to some of the other songs cited in that article – Hollaback Girl, Girlfriend, I Kissed A Girl, even Wannabe – I’m struggling to understand why anyone would single out Tik Tok as especially horrible.

      At least one can listen to it without their brains dribbling out their fucking ears.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      (it’s still a great piece of writing, mind)

    • The_B says:

      Yes Kieron, but can we talk to the monsters?

  12. Flimgoblin says:

    That Dungeons and Dragon episode sounded cool, takes me right back too… nice for it to have some resolution (even if it’s just a script)

    • YogSo says:

      Could you do a quick recap of the script, please? Is it that rumoured story with the revelation that Venger is actually the DM’s son (I guess it is in light of the Redemption comment)?

  13. Lars Westergren says:

    Two good links I’ve found during the week and which I hoped would be included in Sunday Papers – “A brief history of PC games”. A selection of notable PC games the last 10 years, all the covers in one image. Let’s argue about what games are missing, if size of covers is based on revenue, popularity or artistic merit, and why your favourite game didn’t get bigger image!
    ;)
    link to img687.imageshack.us

    And if 2010 looks a little sparse so far, I also found this blog which keeps track of upcoming PC releases. Wow… quite a lot in the pipeline. If you remove all the Bejeweled clones and the “hunt for items in image” puzzle games I think the list is reduced by 10-20% though unfortunately.
    link to adrianwerner.wordpress.com

    • airtekh says:

      Cheers for the JPEG Lars.

      It allowed me to bathe in soothing nostalgia for a few minutes. Ahhh.

    • jaheira says:

      Thanks for that link Lars.
      All things considered I think we can conclude that 2000 was a good year for PC gaming.

    • jaheira says:

      Hold the phone, I just noticed Far Cry 2 isn’t on there. I will now destroy the universe with my rage.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      @jaheira
      >I will now destroy the universe with my rage.

      That’s the spirit!
      ;)

    • Hidden_7 says:

      This graphic just blows my mind. Firstly, just how much stuff came out in ’98 is mind boggling. Further, the revelation that from Quake to Half-Life was only TWO years? The sheer number of sequels (usually pretty good ones) that would come out the year after the first back in the day.

      It recently came up that I didn’t buy Thief 2 new, but got it part of a collection much later. My friend, who was borrowing it asked me why I didn’t get it new (because he had) and I couldn’t remember. I loved Thief, and bought it as soon as it came out, why wouldn’t I have done the same to the sequel? Clearly because that year there was already too much good stuff. Deus Ex, Diablo 2, and Unreal Tournament completely monopolized, if not my time, then my money. It would make sense that I would have just borrowed Thief 2 from a friend at the time.

      Anyway, thanks for this link, a nice trip down memory lane.

    • gerafin says:

      During the course of looking over the “brief history,” you have no idea how many times I uttered the phrase: “(INSERT GAME NAME HERE)!! Yes!!! That was such a cool game!”

  14. Jeff says:

    Is one of the problems of games journalism supposedly respectable games journalists getting drunk, making asses of themselves in a recording for public consumption, then getting overly defensive about it when people complain about said journalist getting drunk and making an ass of him/herself?

    • Sir Derpicus says:

      It should be, but then people remember that they’re game reviewers.
      …well, the sensible ones remember anyhow.

  15. Tom Lawrence says:

    I actually like Ke$ha.

    Here’s a good pro-Ke$ha article, by way of counterpoint.

  16. Leo says:

    I am just counting down the days to QuakeCon, in addition to this I’m coding a game for TiG Source’s new contest this month. I hate that the deadline is so close, but it’s been the kick in the pants I need to realize a project I’ve been wanting to try for the longest time. I don’t think I’ll have time to make smart enemies, or multiple levels.

    Also: this morning is HANGOVER CITY. Anyone else going to QuakeCon?

  17. The Archetype says:

    The Like! I was sort of afraid they’d dissappeared off the face of the planet after their first album, I’m glad to see they’re still around.

  18. DeepSleeper says:

    Fate/Stay Night and Tsukihime, both by that author of visual novel, have the same thing going where all the endings are considered canonical, and sequels build off them and around them in some wacky crystalline structure. The fighting game Melty Blood is my favorite example of this, as it builds off a hypothetical ending to Tsukihime that does not, technically, actually exist.

    It’s generally regarded as something the author does because he likes screwing with people’s heads. I’m not sure there’s anything to learn from it.

  19. Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

    Rotten is my hero…and he has the Guardian journo by the balls…

  20. malkav11 says:

    Incidentally, while I’ve yet to read Fate/stay night (it’s on the list), it looks to me like Pathologic pulls a similar trick of having three different storylines that conflict somewhat as to the actual events that occur but are all considered valid and canonical parts of the same overall story.

  21. gp says:

    That Fate/Stay Night piece was really bad. Or maybe your summary made me expect something that it wasn’t. The way Bossche described it it came off as a kind of poor man’s Groundhog Day. It’s throughout the whole article but I think I can get my point across with this single paragraph:

    Fate/Stay Night is set up so that the three separate, non-intersecting stories form a trilogy. Each story develops the character and reveals new twists, playing on the knowledge of previous games. A completely innocuous friend of the protagonist becomes the main heroine in the final route, Heaven’s Feel, and the transformation of her character relies heavily on how she has been set up as an innocent bystander for the past two routes.

    Although I doubt the visual novel/game makes you play these ‘routes’ in this order, he is implying pretty strongly that they are narratively (although chronologically parallel) ordered (“the final route”). He makes comparions to games like Fallout 3, like that bit in the Hotel. That comparison doesn’t hold (nor does it hold for most other western games with morality choices)–Bossche stresses that there are paths, routes, but Western games are more like a string or map (what do you call a non linear string?) of modules where the choices you make accumulate to give you a number, and a different scene, at the end. This is what I mean by a poor man’s Groundhog Day–they are paths, and each path & each day ended differently–but like how Murray wouldn’t have been able to get the girl in the end had he not lived that day over and over, nor would the player/reader understand the heroine’s transformation without having played that game twice over, differently.

    From the sound of it, its less having broken the choice binary and more having made it into a ternary. The point about moving away from good/evil is there & true but fate/stay night is, at least in Bossche’s hands, a terrible, terrible game to make that point with

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      It’s some Japanese stuff. What did you expect?

      I dunno if it’s any good, but I know quite well that quite a lot of japanimation is terrible just like our shows and weeaboos will accept any garbage thrown at them from Japan.

    • TCM says:

      i have not seen any good anime so i will complain that there are fans for things i have never watched

      (90% of anything is crap. That includes both shows, and fans.)

    • gp says:

      My issue isn’t so much as with the game as with Bossche’s article dudes!!

    • TCM says:

      Oh, no, not you. You’re pretty much spot on, and I’ve played the whole game.

    • malkav11 says:

      Again, haven’t read it, but he specifically says you don’t get the choices that unlock the next scenario until you’ve played the previous one.

    • WarpRattler says:

      Fate/stay night does in fact require you to play the routes in order: “Fate,” followed by “Unlimited Blade Works,” and concluding with “Heaven’s Feel.” And yes, the sequel, Fate/hollow ataraxia, does count all of these stories as canon; in as non-spoilery terms as possible, this is explained away as a magic experiment going wrong and causing a rift in space-time that makes it so all events that could have happened did so (such that certain characters who died in various routes of the first game are still alive, but have knowledge of the events that killed them).

      I see the problem with the article more as how he compares it to other visual novels in the romance department. Fate/stay night‘s romantic bits are a relatively minor part of the game, and take a backseat to the plot itself, which is more about swords and sorcery than wooing a girl. And while each route does tend to focus somewhat on the heroine of that route, getting the better endings in the second and third routes (which each have two “proper” endings; the Fate route only has one, and then all routes have various bad endings involving death or worse) actually requires you to build up points for another character entirely!

      Regardless of all this, the PC version of Fate/stay night is for all intents and purposes an H-game (though, again, that stuff is minor – across all three routes, it contains less sex per minute than some R-rated movies, and less sex per paragraph than most young adult novels). However, there’s a patch that replaces some of the PC game’s content with the equivalent content from the PlayStation 2 port, Réalta Nua, and the next version of the patch (still in production) will include the worksafe replacements for the H scenes. As soon as this patch comes out, I can start recommending Fate/stay night to people. It really is an excellent story, but the porn is a major turn-off for most, which prevents me from doing so now.

    • gp says:

      My bad w/r/t the routes having to be played in order. I do like the idea of different parallel story lines being considered all canon. I’m really.. really disappointed that the author felt the need for some magic time warp business to make it ‘plausible’. I’ve deleted and retyped what I’m trying to say here a few times, I’m not really sure how to go about it. I mean, there’s no wizard in Reservoir Dogs. We just accept that what we’re watching isn’t, like, in order. We can deal with that. You read the plot summary on wikipedia and it says “This summary is in chronological order”. Fixed. But when you have 3 alternate stories on the go, people can’t just reconcile that and fix it for the story summary, without some cause for the story telling device made manifest in the story itself. The new Star Trek movie pulled some time travel crap to, to narratively ‘reboot’ the series & thousands of nerds cried in anguish as they realised that the original crew and even the events leading to Picard’s birth were destroyed. Why?

      I read this thing a few days ago about Fight Club being about Calvin & Hobbes grown up (link at the bottom). It went deeper than just pointing out that they’re both about guys with imaginary friends, so it was pretty convincing & a valid interpretation of Fight Club. But the worst thing was, the writer kept on adding this dumb shit like, Susie grew up and ‘changed her name’ to Marla. Some bully grew up to be Bob with amnesia. He couldn’t just accept that the characters might be present in both, without adding these excuses as if, “But their names are different” refuted his essay. As if he needed to construct a miniature biography to make it make sense, when actually he makes it approach nothing more than fan fiction.

      Stories, whether in movies or games or books, can totally handle a character being in 2 places at the same time without magic. A character developing along 2 entirely different paths in two different personal stories without a time machine, without a clone. Why do they feel the need to add these bullshit plot devices!?

    • gp says:

      Forgot to add the link~~
      link to metaphilm.com

    • WarpRattler says:

      In Fate/hollow ataraxia, the plot device is less to justify that all three of the stories happened (it “officially” follows Heaven’s Feel plotwise) and more to justify the fact that characters who died in Heaven’s Feel (most of the competing magi, as well as their “Servants,” the heroic spirits they’ve summoned to fight for them) are alive and well, and are going about living normal lives now that the nonsense with the war is over. To this end, hollow ataraxia does include characters that die in every route.

      More to the point, Fate/hollow ataraxia is part sequel and part fandisc. The sequel part (hollow) involves completely new characters and alternate-reality versions of some characters in Fate/stay night, while the fandisc part (ataraxia) is basically Fate/stay night as a slice-of-life comedy rather than as a fantasy novel, and involves the plot device and such mentioned before. The two stories are for the most part separate until further in.

    • Saul says:

      @gp: As much as the article was unclear on a number of points, his general argument is beyond sound: straight good/evil plots are Boring with a capital ‘B’, and transparent game mechanics that tell you which ‘path’ you’re following make them even more so. It’s a shame that a market hasn’t yet been found for ‘visual novels’ in the West, because I think if they existed in the consciousness of game developers, said developers would be less likely to treat game writing as an unimportant component of game-building.

      Plus I think a lot of gamers would find what they were looking for in visual novels. I’ve seen quite a few comments on RPS threads along the lines of “why don’t they just take out the annoying “action” and just let me play through the dialogue of (Alpha Protocol/Dragon Age/Mass Effect/Insert game title)? I’d play that.”

    • malkav11 says:

      There’d need to be a lot more decision points than there are in most visual novels to really offer the equivalent of something like Mass Effect with narrative substituted for shooting.

  22. TCM says:

    I’ve been trying to get our own PleasingFungus to play Fate for some time — perhaps now he’ll actually bother to get past the prologue.

    THANK YOU SUNDAY PAPERS

  23. Fumarole says:

    D&D was a very dark, edgy show for its time[…]

    One simply cannot get away from Dark and Edgy it would seem, even in 1983.

    • BigJonno says:

      Yep, so dark and edgy that they were a D&D adventuring party who only had three actual weapons between them, all of which were variations on a big stick.

    • bob_d says:

      D&D was a very dark, edgy show for its time[…]
      Yes, compared to the “Care Bears”.

  24. Lars Westergren says:

    Also. I just got Eschelon Book 1 & 2 on Steam this week. I have just played a couple of hours of Book 1 and I’m positively surprised. Graphics and sound are nice, UI is fairly pleasant, and it really scratches my Baldur’s Gate classic RPG itch. Recommended.

  25. leo says:

    RAGE and Doom 4, supposedly.

  26. Dinger says:

    No knock on develop, and the rock-n-roll studios (Introversion, Dejobaan, Positech, — put your name here) were represented, but the accounts of it remind me of an event I went to in 1991. As (literally) the guy listed on the radio station program as “rock-n-roll”, I had a pass to an event in Cleveland for indie bands wanted to break it big. Basically, I went down there and hobnobbed with a bunch of roots-rock outfits considerably sadder than Prisonshake, and some Hard Rock types who’d die to have ten minutes on our 440-watt transmitter out in the firelands. I watched them all listen to the A+R types like their stinking breath was sweet perfume. I got a cassette out of it “Distant Thunder: The Sound of Cleveland’s Coming Metal Storm”. It depressed the hell out of me.

    Six months later, I went to see Prisonshake in the Haight at some “Midgets of Rock Tour”, and saw some band called “Guided By Voices” play their latest off of a freshly-released album on Cleveland’s own Scat Records called “Bee Thousand.”

    Moral of the story: Destroy your safe and happy lives, before it is too late.

    • devlocke says:

      @Dinger:

      I am not really sure what you were trying to say there, but I think you ended with a Mekons reference, so well-done, you.

    • Dinger says:

      My apologies. I had a drunken Danish woman complaining about my making an infernal racket on the ol’ Model M and had to wrap it up in a hurry. The point of all that: these meetings are useful exercises, but I don’t know if they’re going to help the Next Big Thing. Nor are they going to help those in attendance become The Next Big Thing and afford those 75-quid jeans they’ve been dreaming of.

      They are, however, great opportunities for indie developers to get drunk with media types.

    • Tei says:

      Usually you learn lots of things from other people doing the same thing than you in solitary. Lots of these moments of “Oh.. we can do that?”, and things like that.

      Also, by knowing each another, can help to create bigger things. Or share resources, like a good musician. Is probbaly “A Good Thing” [tm]

  27. Sir Derpicus says:

    Speaking of Fate/Stay Night.
    Something I’d really like to see in games is the gameover help section from F/SN. I think it’d allow for developers to move beyond simple/artificially hard boss fights without having to worry about the “method to win” being obscure. Granted, there are other ways to do this like having in-battle hints and clues, but I think extra (and specific) help for the people who do die against the boss/difficult sections should be promoted. Hell, I wouldn’t mind if they go one step further and give you straight up bonuses, arcade fighting games style, for dying too much.

  28. Chris D says:

    Ok, slightly off topic, but is there any video of Kieron’s World of Love speech yet?

  29. EthZee says:

    With the regards to the “10 reasons to stop apologising for your online life” – I don’t apologise for it so much as I strive to make my online life completely separate from my “offline life”.

    I find that I’m much more open and honest on here then I am in real life. In real life so many things converge to make me anxious and nervous about telling people too much about myself, whereas I will never meet the people I talk with online.
    I dislike the sharing of my personal secrets with people that I have to interact with day-to-day. For some reason, the feeling of knowing that they know something personal about me makes me feel weird and not good at all. I don’t have this problem with “online friends” – they don’t have nearly as much of a connection, and I can’t explicitly see them, so it makes it easier to tell them things.

    So, no, I don’t feel I have to apologise – but neither do I wish to have people from real life infringe upon my online life.

    • DeliriumWartner says:

      I’m not sure if I’ve been using “IRL” wrong all these years but my concept of it differs from those in the article and most of its commenters.

      I don’t use IRL to “apologise” for my online life, like a smoker saying “back to work then”. My IRL carries the meaning that the “real” life, the offline life, is worse than my online life. Online I have access to everything, I’m connected to everyone. Online is where the majority of my gaming life has been spent, and a large proportion of my social life too. The “real” world just can’t compete.

      When I’m going back IRL I’m not going “back to work”. I’m “waking up”. The dream life is online, where everything’s more fun, more funny and more interesting. Why would I apologise for that?

    • Vinraith says:

      That article, and in general the proponents of the idea that online and offline life are in some sense comparable, miss out on one very important fact. 90% of communication is non-verbal. The vast majority of online communication, right now anyway, is done through text, which obliterates all nuance, tone, body language, and other indicators of meaning. It is, simply, impossible to convey the same meaning through text that one might convey through a phone conversation or, better, an in-person discussion. “Online friends” are not the same as “real friends” for exactly this reason, you don’t really know them. Take any “online” vs. “real” element comparison and it breaks down the same way.

  30. Johnnemann says:

    Bioshock 2 had multiple endings, including an “ambiguous” one, although most players probably just saw either the “good” or “bad” endings. (I agree with the point raised, though, that game endings could stand more nuance).

  31. bill says:

    Fate/Stay sounded like a really interesting, intellectual and artistic title, so I googled it, and of course i get dozens of images of under-age anime girls in swimsuits. Go japan!

    • malkav11 says:

      It’s interesting, intellectual and artistic. It’s also a porn game. These are not mutually exclusive things.

  32. Malagate says:

    Excellent fun reading through that X-Com apocalypse diary, I do however have a slight problem from it! It has reminded me that once, long ago linked in an article on RPS no much different from this one, I was reading a X-Com: Terrors from the Deep diary and now I can’t remember where it was! Argh, that’s going to be bothering me for the rest of the day now…