The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for recovering from a wedding. Which means that Saturday afternoons are for getting shaved, dressed and compiling a list of the fine (mostly) games related reading from across the week, while trying to avoid linking to some noisy pop I’ve been spinning. Go!

Failed.

125 Comments

  1. Davee says:

    Noo! So much pop music, when will it stop?! Can you not fail for once?

    Also, nothing about the Duke Nukem Forever reveal? Come on, KG!

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Has anyone written anything worth reading about it? I didn’t see anything.

      (I may have missed it. I’ve been away since Thursday so compiled most of this before then.)

      KG

    • Radiant says:

      Here I’ll write something about DNF.
      DNF was announced before there was Google.

    • Tom O'Bedlam says:

      fucking hell, that puts it in perspective, eh?

    • BooleanBob says:

      First Duke Nukem Forever came back from the dead, now Kieron’s Sunday Papers pop link is something I’ve actually heard before.

      We’re getting awfully close to 2012.. I feel strangely compelled to check outside for locusts, raining frogs etc.

    • Davee says:

      @KG: True, there hasn’t been much worth reading about new DNF revival, but it could at least have seen a mention? ^^

    • wm says:

      They mentioned it here: link to rockpapershotgun.com

    • subedii says:

      Whilst Duke 4 Ever has been in the works:

      – The entire GTA series to date has been released
      – The entire Sims series to date
      – Every Halo Game
      – Every Unreal series game (invluding the UT series)
      – Every Valve game (plus Steam)

      And a spectacular amount of other stuff

      link to duke.a-13.net

    • Flint says:

      I think the Kotaku story about the game’s rebirth is quite an excellent read:
      link to kotaku.com

    • panther says:

      kotaku rubs me off the wrong way all the time

    • Dhatz says:

      check this shit out: mafia 2 mod that unlocks the final level of tuning
      link to thepiratebay.org
      ike what’s next? the scrapped missions?

  2. Tom O'Bedlam says:

    That is some top flight sarcasm there.

    On the white people painted different colours article, Dragon Age is a particularly tricky game to address in terms of races due to the nature of the Origins concept. In a game such as Oblivion, where the character is thrown in at the deep end, it has far greater room for freedom of the character’s race, the prisonrer could just as easily be nordic, black or a six foot tall cat. Dragon Age is a little different because, at least in the homan noble origin, there would need to be some explanation of why there is one old money family of a different race to everyone else.

    And obviously elves aren’t going to be anything but Aryan.

    • Tom O'Bedlam says:

      Also, that letter to Todd is heartwarming. I knew EA weren’t all bad.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      There’s something almost beautiful about that manner of kindness blossoming from a large corporation. Like compassion can bloom even in the profit-focussed world of business, and the soul of humanity hasn’t been crushed by the weight of the econogenic life it spawned to replace itself. Or something.

      On a different note, I don’t care what some grumpy old games journo says, I’m not giving Apple any money.

    • Grape Flavor says:

      The thing is, most of the fantasy genre is loosely based on medieval Europe, and medieval Europe was populated by mostly white people. Although we’ve all seen, in entirely fictional worlds, the all-too-obvious “Asian” inspired civilization, or “African” or “Middle Eastern” or what have you.

      What we truly haven’t seen much of are games where the protagonist and his/her “home” civilization are a non-Europe derived one. Or, indeed, much in the way of “Modern-Multi-Ethnic-Society” fantasy kingdoms. If you want to go back to the medieval reference point, such societies by and large didn’t exist, but then again elves and wizards and marauding Demon Lords aren’t exactly pulled from the history books either.

      This is obviously all a by-product of Western RPG developers being based in the “West”, and as such the majority of the fiction is culturally Western-derived. The interpretation of this phenomenon though is highly subjective. In my opinion, branching out and exploring different influences and perspectives more is undoubtedly a positive thing. On the other hand, isn’t being upset over most Western games having Western cultural influences just a byproduct of the modern “self-loathing” cultural/political climate? As in, no one bats an eye that the majority of Chinese fiction has Chinese cultural influences, but when Western fiction develops in the same way, everyone cries foul?

      Hmm. It’s all very sensitive and I’m not sure it’s even desirable for game developers to be thinking about real world socio-political factors instead of merely focusing on the the fundamentals of a compelling, quality game. Not that you couldn’t do both, of course. An interesting topic at the very least.

    • Dante says:

      Actually there’s a while bunch of interesting civilisations no-one ever does fantasy counterparts of. The Moors are breifly mentioned in the article, they Moors are Black Muslims who conquered most of Spain in the Medieval era, yet you never see them picked up on in faux-European fantasy. They were certainly known of in the culture of the time (Othello is subtitled ‘The Moor of Venice’).

      It’s not so much about western fantasy being obligated to include them in more about the fact that this is an interesting and underused element of storytelling, and it would be cool if we did it first.

    • DMcCool says:

      That article rather twisted reality to suit its own point by not mentioning at all the most significant/best selling mainstream RPG of the last five years – Oblivion. If you look at Oblivion (and better yet Morrowind) the player is allowed to pick from any range of races, the humans divided between different european and african races, with different explorations of non-european cultures explored with the elven and “beast” races. Oblivion goes so far with this concept of multi-ethnicity that, although your rage in-lore is strictly defined by your mother, your appearance can be any type of mix between the racest available you can imagine. Unfortunately earlier in the series they tied their hands with the world’s far eastern (Akaviri) races, though you get a palpable feeling they regret this and would rather chuck them in too.

      It may have been a while ago, but lets not forget Morrowind’s setting and plot, that expected you to work to understand and immerse yourself in a culture that was an emalgamation and stylish represenstation of all sorts of eastern cultures, from Arab to Mongolian.

      Some companies are trying. Basically Bioware isn’t.

    • perilisk says:

      “The Moors are breifly mentioned in the article, they Moors are Black Muslims who conquered most of Spain in the Medieval era, yet you never see them picked up on in faux-European fantasy.”

      I thought the Qunari in Dragon Age had sort of a generic Muslim empire vibe (Moorish, Turkish, etc.), with Tevinter’s Minrathous being Byzantium with a little bit of Rome. You know, foreign religion, advanced technology and culture, aims of conquest on the “Western” continent.

  3. Peter Radiator Full Pig says:

    I liked that metametacritic piece. I enjoyed the fact it was done in quite a scientific way.

    And as for Terry Pratchett, i didnt keep reading once they began discussing parts of the new book, but the story about his father was quite poignant, as was the line where he talks to the interviewer like a dictation machine.

    • Mana_Garmr says:

      @Radiator Pig
      There aren’t any real story spoilers if you want to read the rest. There’re maybe two actual situations mentioned in single sentences with no details, the rest of it just mentions some of the concepts that will be dealt with in the book with no plot references.

      Or you can just jump down 4 paragraphs to “I’ve lost both parents…”, the article moves away from the book there.

    • FunkyBadger says:

      I’d already read the Pratchett article, and its excellent. As have been his young-adults books, some of his very best work.

  4. DiamondDog says:

    link to orbitbooks.net

    Meant to post this last week when the actual argument mentioned in it kicked off. Even though it’s mainly about books I thought it had some crossover with how some gamers view and defend their hobby.

    (sorry for being rubbish at the internet, just copy and paste it!)

    • DiamondDog says:

      Oh, it turns it into a link for you. Now I feel like a fool.

      I love Best Coast.

  5. Cinnamon says:

    Not really satisfied with the user score analysis. Box plots would have been better than just analysing the standard deviation and I would have paid special attention to games where the user average score was significantly different to the critic scores. It seems obvious to point out that many user reviews are not going to be so serious and are going to tend to give extreme tactical scores. That should be accounted for by looking at the median score and interquartile range.

    Also, the premise that critic reviews are better because they are more consistent with each other is flawed. One of the things that people complain about is that reviewers do not represent the opinions of the mass of actual gamers very well. If you take that as the premise then critics are flawed because both their mean and standard deviation is different to the user reviews. To confirm that you would have to do more complex testing to see if it is plausible that in most cases the review scores represent the opinions shown in the user reviews.

    • Mike says:

      You’re right, it was obvious to point out what I did (with regards to the comparison between critic and user reviews). It’s something most of us think anyway – but no-one’s actually looked at the data, which was the motivation for the post.

    • Freud says:

      User reviews online are used to manifest general likes and dislikes. For example if you had an online poll asking people to rate the Apple iPhone between 1 and 5, you would find a lot of 1s and a lot of 5s because people aren’t really rating iPhones but expressing their general views on Apple and perhaps even what they perceive to be the lifestyle and ideology Apple represents. So for anything useful, online user reviews are completely useless. Recommendations from people whos opinion you trust is another matter.

  6. DAdvocate says:

    Following on from the links last week about mixing stories and games, there’s an article in the guardian “are games the opposite of stories” which is worth the 2 min it takes to read.

    link to guardian.co.uk

  7. bill says:

    Space hulk was so close to being an awesome game. I’ve always wanted a modern version of it, incorporating detailed graphics and lighting, and proper 3d (to an extent).

    By limiting you to the slow pace of the terminators, they created a game that was part action, part strategy. Doom meets xcom. And it had one of the best atmospheres and audio cues of any game. Horrible controls though.
    I also loved the way you started as a single marine, folowing orders, and gradually became able to command all the marines.
    Also, the “command time” idea was awesome and managed to mix the stress of real time with the benefits of turn based. It’s a shame no other games ever grabbed that idea. It wouldn’t work for multiplayer, but it would rock for something like RPGs (Bioware, fallout, etc..).

    I always hoped that cancelled x-com team FPS would play like Space Hulk.

  8. JackShandy says:

    Terry Pratchett has been my hero from a very, very young age. He’s been making books longer than I’ve even been on this earth. I always took him as some kind of Constant.

    I’m reading The Last Hero again now. Bittersweet. Mostly bitter.

    • mandrill says:

      I’m not looking forward to the day he stops writing, the man is the best thing that has happened to fantasy fiction in decades.

    • HYPERPOWERi says:

      The man writes in a genre of his own. I would loathe to compare his work to the derivative goop that fills the fantasy genre to its brims.

      A signed copy of Going Postal (“You get one angel”) is one of my more treasured possessions.

  9. Radiant says:

    Reading through that X-Com piece now reminds me of how incredibly dense Uplink was.
    I bought it in a Steam sale recently and I was completely overwhelmed without the gamefaqs faq.

    But thinking about it now; that’s part of the re-playability of the two games.

    Rather then playing through the narrative being your sole reason for playing, this type of design made you play for the game itself.

    By leaving the player to search in the dark for answers the game was about exploring the mechanics within an interesting world;
    The story was ancillary to what you were doing.

    It was something that built itself up around you.
    So the narrative was player specific, something that was individual to each gamer.

    Uplink and X-com did this wonderfully; Syndicate did this brilliantly too.

  10. leeder_krenon says:

    that best coast album is so addictive. “i wanna kill you but then i’d miss you”

    • Tom O'Bedlam says:

      I’m in love with it as well, second listen through of the morning now.

      “I’m sorry I lost your favorite t-shirt,
      I’ll buy you a new one, a better one”

    • leeder_krenon says:

      it’s kind of odd because all the 7″ singles that came out prior to it were lo-fi and rickety, and then they made this glorious summer pop record. not that i have a problem with that…

  11. Starky says:

    Had it been legal, Pratchett says, and “if he could have sat up in bed and said goodbye, I’d have pressed the button. I wouldn’t have been able to see for crying, but I would have considered that a duty.”

    Probably the best sentence ever written on the morality of euthanasia.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Yeah he almost convinces me. But I’m still left wondering what happens to people who don’t have the legal right to make their own decisions.

    • Starky says:

      I don’t think it should be an option at all for someone who doesn’t have legal right over their own care – nor should anyone with guardianship be able to make that choice.
      It is a choice that only person of sound mind should be able to make for themselves.

      It could even be prearranged – Personally I’d happily sign a card that stated that on the day it was decided that I was no longer able to function on my own, or make my own decisions, that is the day I should be put down.

      The only option any 3rd part should have (legal guardian, next of kin what have you) is the option to withhold life saving treatment in certain cases, but not euthanasia itself. Unless as said above the person being euthanized has given them prior permission for it upon their judgement when they were of sound mind.

      I’d do that, it may be a burden to any family/children I may have, but less so than caring for me as a man sized baby.
      That and I really don’t want to live if I’m no longer the person I am, unable to make choices for my own well-being.

  12. Archonsod says:

    Most of my working class friends had a PC, as did I despite my parents not working for a good six or seven years (like most people in the North East, my dad was a shipbuilder who was turfed onto the dole when Thatcher closed the yards). It wasn’t that expensive really, you had a hardware stagnation similar to the one we have today (prior to the Pentium launch anyway) so you could always buy a second hand box on the cheap, slap in maybe another 4Mb or Ram or splash out on an 8Mb graphics card and you were good to play virtually anything. Plus it was often a lot easier to convince parents you needed a couple of hundred quid for school/college purposes than to spend the same amount on a console.
    I suspect a lot of former Amiga owners migrated to the PC at that point, sad to say but the concept of paying for software tended to be alien to us. In fact, it’s like Mike said about the console – you’d get a game for Christmas and one for your birthday, maybe spend your christmas and birthday money on another game and that was it. But the paper round would let you get fifty blank floppies which you could always re-use …

    • leeder_krenon says:

      not that expensive? in 95 a 486 was at least a grand i’m sure. i kept the spectrum running til about 93, then got the amiga 600 for a bit, and eventually the pc for university.

    • Archonsod says:

      Not in 1995. The pentium line had came out and the price plummeted on the 486’s. Plus most businesses started upgrading to the pentium line so you could pick up a good 486 second hand for less than two hundred quid, monitor not included, and expect to add around a hundred to bring it up to gaming spec.
      In fact I remember seeing a new P75 box in Dixons in 1995 for a grand, around four hundred of which was the monitor.

  13. Metalfish says:

    I can’t say I found the race article particularly good. It’s probably best to keep your scientist hat on for this sort of analysis, as there’s enough emotion in the subject as is. The author seems to have a very odd sense of what each “race” looks like -i.e. if you took a white person and changed their skin colour to black they would still look like a white person, or at least the process would be obvious.

    I’m sorry, but that’s silly. The whole concept of race as described is wrong -humanity is a hotch-potch of genetic elements that create a continuum phenotypic variations that are spread throughout the populations of this planet in a number of surprising ways. If the author thinks that all black people have wide noses, for instance (my interpretation of their words), their premise might be correct. But there is as much genetic diversity within Africa alone as there is in the rest of the world put together.

    I think I’ve missed the point here, slightly intentionally, but the way most of us think about race (a stupid bloody concept at the best of times) is often not helpful. Even when you’re trying to be helpful like the author of this piece. Finally, I’m reminded of a number of campaigns where famous individuals had pictures digitally altered to challenge perceptions of race. The only real change was in skin tone, and the effect was quite natural.

    Still, I do agree there should be a greater diversity of characters within games, if only so I don’t have to play angry white male no 1025 in the next big thing.

    • Deston says:

      Very well put Metalfish.

      It is really all about perception, and the author seems to have highlighted the flaws in his.

      Don’t you find this is usually how such discussions go though? Someone attempts to write an article even with the best of intentions, but in doing so unintentionally exposes the very underlying thought processes and subconscious prejudices that cause these common divides in the first place.

      I think “race” can be a horrible, horrible subject to discuss openly in modern society. It can be worse than politics and religion combined. As a discussion topic, it has a nasty tendency to force even the most well-meaning of participants to use overly broad brushes to paint their ideas, and in doing so they often create wildly inaccurate and even harmful points of debate.

      The subject, as it is often tackled, fundamentally ignores too much of our observable reality; namely individuality and the myriad combinations of ethnic and genetic traits that exist in people across the world today.

      To bring my post a little closer towards the actual topic – I would love it if more games included the functionality to create your own character from the ground up. Granted, not all games are so well suited to allow modifications to the playable character’s actual abilities and statistics – as most RPGs and MMOs are – but it would still be great to have some aesthetic customisation available.

      Although it’s essentially a very superficial illusion, I believe it allows you as a player to experience that extra level of involvement with the game and can give more meaning to any of your interactions. You are playing as your character, not someone else’s, and that inevitably leaves much more room to form an attachment.

      For the players who simply can’t be arsed with all that, it’s always ridiculously trivial for them to select default templates and skip the whole thing entirely.

  14. Xercies says:

    Stop talking about how we don’t do race well of course the whites are going to win in the western culture, the people at the top are white mostly american there going to talk about white mostly american things. And heres the thing…that aint a problem basically. like a black guy is probably always going to make a film with all black gus in it its just in the nature its what you know its what you write about. Stop this silly nonsense about race and maybe we will have peace in the world. Not very likely i know.

    Terry Pratchett is always interesting in his talks, shame his novels have gone down hill a lot which i guess is to be expected to be honest. maybe he should do more talking/non fiction work again. Anyway great bit about his life and his father. i totally agree with him as well we should be able to choose when we die.

    Also very interested in that columbine documentry could be a good watch definitly.

    • pipman3000 says:

      the fact that they’re all white guys in no excuse. nobody ever excludes women because the writers are mostly male. nobody ever excludes characters who aren’t the writers nationality. or job. etc.

      i just think they’re scared that if they “write them wrong” (which is a pretty dumb thing to be afraid of since there’s no one way that every single black person on the entire planet acts and if you don’t get it exactly right some angry black man will kill you or something).

    • Xercies says:

      Actually you do find that to be honest unless the writer has a wife, which then makes all the female characers act like his wife. Why do you think most games writing has mostly male cast with one token sexy female. its clearly a take what you know aspect or a take what you fantasise aspect in the writing. And you may not know this but general media does the same. Do we complain about a film with zero black guys, or zero women? No. so why do we complain about games?

      Well because the writers doing this only have the narrow broad of field. But thats a different argument. We should have more women/black creators like they do in film(though again not enough) but we shouldn’t expect writers to write things they have no idea about and just get people angry when they inevitably cock it up.

    • drewski says:

      Umm, people complain *all the time* about gender and racial under- and mis-representation in films and TV.

    • Rich says:

      Making money may be a bit weak, but Night Watch, Thud and Going Postal are the best Discworld books so far (not read Unseen Academicals).

    • HYPERPOWERi says:

      I’ll deffo second Rich.

      Night Watch, Thud and Going Postal would have to be my favourite.

      Yet to read UA.

    • Xercies says:

      Hmm I liked Going Postal and Night Watch, the only other book he has recently done that I have really liked is his non-discworld book Nation.

      Also I’ve never really heard that many complaints on film and TV and i really think we should get over maybe some thngs not have minorities/women. When I’m writing a lot of my stories don’t include women because i don’t think of stories to include women. Same with other minorities. i’m afraid to say i write for myself which is a white male. And i don’t really see anything wrong with that as long as there are women writers and minority writers out there writing for themselves. Which i have to agree there isn’t enough of.

  15. kwyjibo says:

    Interesting link – link to teamliquid.net

    Korea to block Steam?

    • drewski says:

      That’s really interesting – partially for the concept, partially for the naivety of the commenters! They seem to think classification boards do it for free – I can’t speak for other nations, but certainly any game getting retail release in Australia is required to be classified, and distributors will pay a fee to have that happen.

      I suspect in this instance South Korea is merely ahead of the curve, and eventually all nations with mandatory government classification of media will adopt a similar stance. Otherwise games can relatively easily bypass national classification systems by releasing on digital platforms only. Certainly games released on Steam in Australia already come with classification information where games are already classified – it’s probably arguable that buying games on Steam which aren’t classified in Australia is illegal.

      Valve are pretty used to dealing with regional quirks in their system, so I suspect what South Korea will see is that games on Steam with South Korean retail releases will get approval for sale, as will big games where either Valve or the publisher is willing to pay for the cost of getting the South Koreans to rate the game, and all other titles will stop being available on Steam in South Korea.

    • Starky says:

      Valve will only need to pay for their own games – the cost for Korean classification for the games they sell will fall to the publishers.

      Valve will simply region restrict the games that do not have Korean classification and continue on regardless.

      Which means that steams library in Korea will drop to near zero – and the Koreans will no longer get to enjoy the awesome, awesome indie games that steam publishes.

      Sucks to be them.

    • drewski says:

      Maybe there’s a Korean Gamers’ Rights Party that concerned citizens can vote for to stop their government messing with their video games. Or perhaps this sort of initiative is actually reasonably well supported by Korean gamers? Who knows.

    • luminosity says:

      it’s probably arguable that buying games on Steam which aren’t classified in Australia is illegal.

      Nah. Or rather, in 2 states it’s illegal to own refused classificiation products, but everywhere else it’s legal to own them but illegal to sell them. Luckily for Valve, it’s very unclear whether they can be counted as selling in Australia. Not that they don’t stick to it anyway.

    • drewski says:

      I’m sure any ambiguity, if there is any, over whether or not Valve’s service counts as however “selling” is defined in the Act will be rapidly cleared up if anyone in government notices that “sick filth” which has been banned in Australia is available on Steam.

  16. panther says:

    Thanks for linking the XCOM diaries, I picked it up recently and had nfi what to do.

  17. Dominic White says:

    I liked the original Space Hulk… but I loved the Saturn version of Vengeance of the Blood Angels more. If that’s being a traitor to the proud PC race, then so be it – at least I’m having fun.

    • bill says:

      I loved the PC version of VotBA more too. But it had the flaw of being a very early DX/Windows game where devs still hadn’t worked out how to do things.

      It always seemed like it was designed like the console version and ran almost entirely from the CD, with almost no install. But i might be mis-remembering that.

  18. Dante says:

    Reading that piece on the ‘pasty white person’ reminds me what an absolute minefield writing ethnic characters can be for white writers. In this case creators taking the attitude of making some characters black without making a big deal of it has resulted in the accusation that they are ‘white people in body paint’. Yet if they had made their ethnicity a constant part of the character then some would say they were one dimensional characters defined by their race.

    It’s no wonder some creators opt out entirely.

    • Jamesworkshop says:

      I think it’s a bit misleading when did a white character ever exhibit “white traits” they are white in visuals only.

      All character models are blank polygons with paint (textures) thrown over the top

      Skin tone is simply a matter of genetics not an expression of cultural values or behaviours.

      Reality is videogame characters defining character trait is being the person that holds the gun seriously nothing about Halflife would be different if they replaced Gordon with a monkey that could opperate the gravity gun because all you are is a pair of floating arms whos job is to hold the gravity gun.

      Skin tone or sex is only a cosmetic choice , videogame characters are tools or objects not people.

      They are virtual dolls that have no upbringing, sentience, background, education, hopes, dreams or values.

    • FunkyBadger says:

      absolute minefield writing ethnic characters can be for white writers

      Not for good writers.

    • pipman3000 says:

      it’d be cool if games would stop assuming i’m a white person who only wants to play white people :D

    • pipman3000 says:

      also writing minorities is only a minefield if you don’t know any minorites or have any minority friends or have some really weird ideas on how they are supposed to act like you’ve only ever seen black people on tv or something

    • Ozzie says:

      well, I know black people, but they behave like white people, since they only know white people.
      Adds another dimension, huh?

    • Rich says:

      “what an absolute minefield writing ethnic characters can be for white writers”

      The writers of Red Dwarf managed it. 50% of the original cast was black and no one batted an eyelid.

    • Dante says:

      I think you’ve got me wrong here, I’m not saying that people should opt out (and seeing as making all the characters white has it’s own problems, then there really is no option to do so). Simply saying I understand why they do so. I think that people it’s right that people should be encouraged to write minority characters. All I’m saying is you have to give points for trying (to an extent) lest you make it a lose lose scenario.

      Simply saying ‘well they should write better then’ is monumentally unhelpful.

    • Archonsod says:

      “I think it’s a bit misleading when did a white character ever exhibit “white traits” they are white in visuals only.”

      It depends really on what you consider “white traits”. Generally there’s only one race that games writers seem capable of, and it’s the same whether they’re white, black, elf or dwarf. So I guess you could say that in general they’re not particularly good at doing races whatsoever.

  19. drewski says:

    Astro Coast > Best Coast

  20. capital L says:

    I’m not so sure about that first person thesis. How about Dwarf Fortress or the SimCity-style direction games? I think of them as 3rd person omniscient.

    • Chris D says:

      I think the argument would be that it’s still first person because you’re the one controlling the action. You could still say “I did this” in a way that you couldn’t while watching a movie, even if it was shot from a first person perspective.

    • capital L says:

      That’s a fair point, though I must add that I only wish I was controlling the action in my abortive forays into Dwarf Fortress.

  21. Hoernchen says:

    Who writes things like ‘with Trolls seeming roughly analogous to West Indian stereotypes, and Taurens fitting under the Native American umbrella.’ ? Who wants black elves and yellow dwarves ? Are you kidding me, mr. colorful ?
    How is my game going to be better just because the developers wasted another $1m on funny colors for everyone ? Next time there is an actual ‘make my char black’ option someone will be angry because the chars just look like black people but they don’t behave like black people, whatever that is supposed to mean.

    • Ozzie says:

      Agreed. :)

    • Renzatic says:

      @Hoernchen Next time there is an actual ‘make my char black’ option someone will be angry because the chars just look like black people but they don’t behave like black people, whatever that is supposed to mean.

      Exactly. The only thing your skin color determines is how susceptible you are to sunburns. Otherwise no one can claim that some person isn’t acting in accordance to his race because, well, there is no such thing as a race based personality. A black guy from the US will act differently than a black guy from England, who in turn will act differently than a black guy from Africa. It makes it kind of obvious that a way a person talks and acts is more a cultural thing than it is a racial one.

      So if someone starts bitching about a game where some English black dude talks with an English accent who loves afternoon tea and eels in aspic, and complains about him being a “white person with a coat of paint”, just ask “how else are they supposed to act”. The guy is from England. He’s gonna act English. Race has absolutely nothing to do with it.

    • Archonsod says:

      They’d have a point. Black is not a race, it’s a cultural definition. The race is Negroid. If the options are Caucasian, Mongloid, Negroid et al then yes, it’s just a description of skin colour and physical traits. If on the other hand they use cultural terms – black, asian, hispanic – then you’ve got a problem, because if I opt to have my character to be Hispanic, then I’m expecting them to be from a Hispanic culture irrespective of the colour of their skin or whatever.

      Although since that usually involves making the character little more than a collection of bad stereotypes from whatever culture I’m not sure if it would be an improvement.

  22. frymaster says:

    The EA/Mythic thing, along with the recent comments by stardock’s CEO, prove again what not enough companies realise: everyone makes mistakes, but you get respect if you admit them and make an effort to correct them. Sticking your fingers in your ears and going “la la I can’t hear you, I’m pretending everything’s fine as a sort of puny PR-spin exercise” never ever works.

  23. Mike says:

    Thanks for the link, RPS! And thanks to those commenting too – my analysis leaves a lot to be desired, but I am learning!

    Next time I’m hoping to look at EVE – if anyone knows any good sources for EVE info (aside from the API) then let me know!

  24. frymaster says:

    oh, and re: Fallout 3. The options “Caucasian” and “Hispanic”… last I checked, “Hispanic” meant “of Spanish origin” and the Spanish were caucasian… There was quite a few spanish at my (scottish) university, and once the tans had gone away there was no visible skin tone differences…

    I suspect they wanted to say “slightly mexican” but, like with the “african american” option, totally screwed up.

    • Ignorant Texan says:

      Frymaster –

      Hispanic also means of Central/South American origin.

      Not having played FO3, I feel safe in opining on it. ;-) I would guess they did mean Mexican/American(i.e. darker than pink, lighter than black), but somebody decided Hispanic was less likely to generate backlash.

  25. Rich says:

    At least we’ve got another Guards book and maybe a Moist Von Lipwig to look forward to.

  26. Arathain says:

    A fine haul this week, Kieron. Plenty of highs and lows.

    I’m delighted to hear that Mr. Pratchett is still writing, since his recent works have been excellent.

    The piece on racial inclusion is a tricky one, although I agree with the author. In the case of fantasy worlds, particularly RPGs, the emphasis always has to be on allowing the player to create the character they want to play, and one they are comfortable with. In made up worlds there is rarely a good excuse for not allowing diversity.

  27. Ricc says:

    Jeff Gerstmann wrote some about DNF. Sums up what the playable part at PAX looks like, and what to think of it, pretty well.

    link to giantbomb.com

  28. solipsistnation says:

    The anti-vax movement is not only stupid, but also dangerous.

    • jaheira says:

      Agreed. Dangerous not only for their own children, but also the other kids at their school etc. I wonder why we allow parents to refuse to vaccinate. Children have rights. They have a right to education, to be free from abuse and so on. Why do they not also have the right to immunity from preventable diseases?

    • drewski says:

      Maybe because we still have remnants of the concept of children as property.

    • DrGonzo says:

      It’s only dangerous in America it seems. And I’m seeing that it is controlling the population of dumb people in America, so it could actually be good for the world as a whole.

    • Weylund says:

      Some kids have allergies – my younger son can’t have most vaccinations due to egg content. If vaccinations were mandatory we’d have a good deal of trouble (more than we already have) keeping him in the school system. We already have doctors and school people alike demanding he be given vaccinations at every turn, until we remind them he’d die if he was given one. “Oh right,” they say, “just be careful then.”

      That he’s on the autism spectrum is a coincidence. But do you think someone reporting about my son as “Patient Zero”, would care? Can you imagine how terrifying a simple flu season is?

      Parents very often have, you know, reasons for not wanting their kids to be vaccinated, and putting it in the hands of other people could turn out poorly.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I actually think you will be in an absolutely minuscule minority.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Also, sorry for the double post, but most children with egg alergies are not actually allergic to vaccines and the doctor can test to see if he will be allergic before hand.

      link to drpaul.com

    • Ignorant Texan says:

      Considering some of the dangerous medical fads in recent history – lobotomies, hysterectomies as psychiatric treatment, estrogen therapy for menopausal discomfort leading to a massive increase in breast cancer for post-menopausal women, to name just a few; it is understandable why people are skeptical of medical practices. That, coupled with a failure to grasp that correlation does not equate causation in a group of very distressed people(talk to anyone who has a child diagnosed as autistic) who are looking for a REASON for the occurrence of said condition and a long tradition of anti-intellectualism in this country and -viola- you have these kinds of demagogues attracting followings of desperate, frightened and angry people. That said, the anti-vaccine camp is a danger to the public health of this country. They remind me very much of the anti-evolutionists(another peculiarly American imbecility) in their modes of operation.

    • Devenger says:

      drewski: yes, good point; and it’s a mighty dangerous concept when misconstrued.

      I’m always shocked at the lengths groups will go to in attempts to silence, discredit or annihilate people who disagree with them. Frankly, I can only view any advocates of such underhanded personal attacks as sub-human, it makes me that frustrated.

      Sometimes, I wonder why people do not realise that the reason they have to resort to character assassination is because their side of the argument is incapable of standing on two legs otherwise. Perhaps I don’t know enough about the anti-vaccination debate/conflict, but I suspect this is a case of the factual being rejected in lieu of poorly conceived idealism and hatred. And it’s getting people killed. Poor show, humanity.

    • stahlwerk says:

      It’s not just a north-american problem. There are multiple movements and schools of thoughts in germany (Waldorf-schools*, “Anthroposophy” etc.) which are firmly entrenched in the anti-vac camp. Over the last years they gained quite a lot of publicity, public support and an image of “exclusivity”, which is just sad, because some parents just want “the best” for their children.

      *) disclaimer: I don’t claim that kids going to these schools are somehow indoctrinated or otherwise affected (since puberty works against education of any kind). I knew a few kids from one of those schools and they were totally decent, never knew their parents, though.

    • solipsistnation says:

      You know, they’ve largely been moving away from using eggs as the basis of vaccines for basically that reason. The last time I got a flu shot they weren’t based on eggs at all.

    • Xercies says:

      Have you never watched v For vendetta, that clearly shows that vaccines could be used for evil purposes by evil governments to kill us/put identity chips into our body so they know where they are.

    • solipsistnation says:

      Anyway, this isn’t an issue of parents whose children are allergic to the vaccines refusing in order to protect their children (and really, do the research and check with your doctor and so on to see if it’s a real worry with modern vaccines)– it’s parents who have been frankly, misled by poor research and hysteria and people with some kind of agenda I can’t figure out who think they’re protecting their children.

      It’s also an issue of the expansion of the autism spectrum to include more behaviors that previously weren’t considered autism, leading to more children being diagnosed with autism earlier.

      And, of course, it’s an issue of people just deciding that the government is bad, mm-kay? Don’t do what the CDC says! It’s all a front for FEMA, and we KNOW they’re bad!

      I return to my previous observation– at best, anti-vaxers are kind-hearted but foolish.

    • bob_d says:

      Yeah, the sad thing is that vaccinations have been so successful in the developed world that people there have taken the post-viral environment for granted and forgotten how dangerous these diseases really are. It would be bad enough if they were only putting their own children at risk, but the fact that they’re putting everyone at risk is intolerable. Even if one believes that there’s a credible link between autism and vaccines, I don’t understand why people wouldn’t vaccinate their children; the risk of having autistic kids seems more palatable than the risk of dead kids.
      What’s really maddening about these anti-vacc folks is that they malign those who disagree with them (ironically inferring that vaccine supporters are responsible for killing children, which is, of course, exactly what the anti-vacc people are actually doing) while simultaneously having the gall to sue over trivial comments.

      @Ignorant Texan:
      There’s probably some overlap between the anti-vacc and anti-evolution folks. The anti-evolution people (aka “creationists”) are anti-science in general. I know some creationists argue that bacteria can’t evolve resistance to antibiotics (and that therefore there should be no restrictions on their use), which given the dangers we’re now facing due to antibiotic-resistance “superbugs” puts them in a similar position of being a danger to others. I often fantasize about placing all these people who are deliberately making themselves public health hazards on an isolated island somewhere to spare the rest of us the consequences of their ignorance.

    • bob_d says:

      As far as the increase in autism being related to increased diagnosis, I read recently that autism is now being over-diagnosed (i.e. other conditions are now mistakenly being labeled “autism”). Apparently, though, even adjusting for that increase, cases are rising. Genetics seems to play a role, but that doesn’t account for it either. That all argues against a vaccine connection (the fact that autism rates steadily increase, regardless of changes in vaccination practices), but it does argue for an unknown environmental influence. (Made more plausible by the recent link between ADHD and exposure to organophosphate-based pesticides, which are practically ubiquitous.) That is where the hysteria comes from – from trying to deal with an unknown threat, against which we are all powerless. When faced with serious problems, people will latch on to any solution that’s under their control, regardless of whether it’s actually, you know, correct or not. Since their assigning of causation is entirely based on the need to have control over their lives, rather than evidence, people become completely irrational and hostile to anyone who disagrees.

    • Ignorant Texan says:

      bob_d

      While there may be some overlap between the anti-vac and anti-Natural Selection(Creationism has been dropped, btw, for Intelligent Design[same arguments, but they’ll jump on you for attempting to link them to their past ‘brand’ name]), on the whole, the anti-vac folks are generally well-intentioned, but misinformed people who either have children diagnosed with autism, or are afraid they might. The anti-evolutionists are anti-science, they also deny any geology involving explanations of more than a few thousands years, most of astronomy/astrophysics, biology, you name it. Anything involving falsifiability. While both groups are dangerous, the anti-vac folks have the potential to be educated, most of the anti-evolutionists don’t because they can’t be. Texas is where a lot of these anti-evols are based, the recent fight over HISTORY(Texas schoolbooks) would be funny, if it wasn’t so infuriatingly damaging to the education of children in this state.

    • Archonsod says:

      “As far as the increase in autism being related to increased diagnosis, I read recently that autism is now being over-diagnosed (i.e. other conditions are now mistakenly being labeled “autism”).”

      Even perfectly normal people have been diagnosed with Autism. It’s the problem you have with many behavioural disorders; they classify aberrant behaviour but since there’s no such thing as a normal psychological profile (or at least not one you’d ever find two psychologists agreeing on) the difference between a diagnosis of being mildly introverted or being autistic depends entirely on the person doing the diagnosis, unless of course you’re at the extreme end of the spectrum and incapable of looking after yourself. It’s one of the main reasons psychology is still seen as quackery in some circles.

    • HYPERPOWERi says:

      @DrGonzo

      Actually, anti-vaxxers are pretty prominent in Australia as well. Unfortunately, if you google “vaccination”, the first site that pops up in the results is avn.com.au — an anti-vax group in New South Wales.

      We’ve protested a talk by their head honcho here in Perth (a lady by the name of Meryl Dorey). She’s all sorts of nuts. Some of the choice quotes she’s used in her talk were: “Doctors and medical practitioners don’t vaccinate as much as other citizens — do they know something that we don’t?” And, well, a whole pile of conspiracy theories and idiocy about mercury and thimerosal present in the vaccines. She even quotes David Icke on her website (the Illuminati-control-the-World-Health-Organisation fellow. Also: lizard people).

      Except thimerosal hasn’t been used in vaccines since 2003. Mercury is, but not the sort you find in, for example, fish, which will be detrimental to your health.

      Bah. This so gets up my grills.

    • Rich says:

      “Mercury is, but not the sort you find in, for example, fish”

      I think it’s more the fact that the quantities of mercury injected in a vaccination are pretty tiny. For instance, they’re nothing compared to the dose you’d receive from eating a single tin of tuna.

  29. MadMatty says:

    Stu my Hero.

    Wholehartedly agree on all of it, xcept for getting an iPod.
    Basically, you can Stu-ff it.

    • pupsikaso says:

      I agree. Until the iphone gets some proper buttons instead of being touch-based, I’m not touching it with a 5-foot pole.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Why does no one ever mention that iPod have crappy sound quality? And I don’t just mean the shite headphones, even when switched over to my Seinheisser’s the sound is still flat and really lacks bass. That makes the product fundamentally flawed.

  30. pupsikaso says:

    Congrats on becoming a man, KG!
    Where are you going for the honeymoon, and what games are you taking with you?

  31. MadMatty says:

    heres some sub-pop/electro

    link to youtube.com

    the track´s “electro f*ckers” by Miss Kitten

  32. RockCzar says:

    I knew the race article was going to suck from the title alone. “Pasty” indeed, as if there’s something inherently unattractive about white people. Let’s hope self-loathing liberals like Chuck are relegated to pushing racial quotas only in the virtual world..

    • pipman3000 says:

      lol you’re afraid a ‘racial quota’ is going to take away your job and give it to me but that’s okay i don’t want your job the evul givment pc(not the king rps worships) police already gave me the job of a rich surgeon and now i’m cutting up and killing patients and getting paid for it :D

  33. Kyle says:

    That Pratchett interview made me all weepy.

  34. drewski says:

    Weylund – I’m sure in hypothetical compulsory vaccination world, there could be either exemptions for people for whom vaccinations are life threatening, or alternatively formulated vaccinations which are safe for people with various conditions.

    There’s little problem with the odd child not being vaccinated – if everyone else is, that child is protected by herd immunity. It’s when sufficient numbers of misled parents don’t vaccinate their children and the herd immunity breaks down that not vaccinating children is a problem and, ironically, it’s usually the children who are unable to be vaccinated that are most severely affected, because their immune systems are often compromised already and unable to fight off otherwise relatively harmless infections.

  35. The Dark One says:

    After Action Report is a such a terrible term. Why do I want to listen to your sterile recitation when I could follow someone’s immediate and inclusive Let’s Play?

    • dethtoll says:

      Because not everyone has the time or inclination to listen to some mushmouthed asshole ramble on and on about a game for 12 hours. Much faster to simply read.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      My only problem with “Let’s Play” as a phrase as it somehow implies that it’s always going to be one of the “Tell me what to do and I will” ones. And most of the time it’s not. It’s actually “I’m Playing”.

      (Which is part of the problem Dethdoll has hit upon – it’s such a foggy term used in so many ways that it’s easy to misunderstand what it means.)

      At least you shouldn’t call it (“Don’t Mention The War” – Ed)

      KG

    • pipman3000 says:

      screenshot let’s plays are the only ones i read unless the guy/girl/people doing it have a really awesome voice or atleast a normal voice and it’s a really scary game or a horrible voice but they know it so they very rarely talk and mostly just use subtitles. or no voices at all because the game just speaks for itself.

      if an AAR is just a screenshot lets play then i guess i really like them then.

    • dethtoll says:

      Technically, LPs are a revival of AARs. AARs in their original form mostly centered around strategy games, and often tended to border on fanfiction. AAR these days refers more to screenshotty LPs, and the original meaning of the term has fallen by the wayside.

  36. FallenMighty says:

    I’m confused. Is this still RPS or did someone running a Global Agenda fansite buy the domain?

  37. Mungrul says:

    That Amy Wallace piece resonated with me.
    I recently had an otherwise intelligent work colleague decrying vaccination in general.
    I was born and raised in Berkeley, Gloucestershire, birthplace of the father of vaccination, Edward Jenner.
    So to me vaccination is one of those incontrovertible universal facts, much like, you know, GRAVITY.
    I can’t believe that people are willing to risk the lives of their children over this.

    Of course, then I realised my work colleague’s other half is currently studying Homoeopathy.
    Proponents of Homoeopathy are incredibly vocal in opposing vaccination in an attempt to further their own mumbo jumbo.

    How otherwise intelligent people can fall for this codswallop is beyond me.

  38. Azazel says:

    Best Coast sound like they should be on a C86 compilation. <3