Sundays are for finishing off a script, finishing off Amnesia, hopefully squeezing a walk into Daylight hours and compiling a list of the fine (mostly) games related reading from across the week, while trying to avoid linking to the latest single of someone I caught live this week. Go!
- The SF Weekly’s company profile on Zynga – “Farmvillains” – is the week’s must read piece of reporting, and not just because it’s got the sort of pun title which makes RPS stand up and applaud. A systemic look at how Zynga have built their empire, arguing – as the strapline boldly states – “Steal someone else’s game. Change its name. Make millions. Repeat.” It also looks where it may all be going wrong or where things may be changing. Go read.
- This came from earlier in the year… but Frictional write about their financial troubles and how hard it was to make Amnesia. Just in case you need another reason to buy it.
- Rachel Wagner at Religion Dispatches asks a lot of interesting questions about The Bible Online. Ones, as Quinns will note, that the game has no interest in writing. Smart stuff though.
- Russ Pitts over at the Escapist argues that Mafia II isn’t a game. It’s actually interactive theatre. As in, its main pleasures aren’t in the game. I’m actually finding Mafia II more interesting as the debate rolls on. John despised the story, but there’s enough people who really like it – or, at least, like most of it – to make me wonder whether it is some kind of achievement. Because the second you’ve got a game whose primary appeal is the story, you’re dealing with a cultural form that is far more accepted as subjective than games. (i.e. Film reviews generally go across the whole scale of marks, from 1 to 10, even on classics. Game reviews cluster.) It may be enough to make me go back to it, having abandoned it after a couple of hours.
- I still haven’t picked up the final issue of PC Zone. For those who weren’t there, BrokenTV have scanned a load of early Charlie Brooker comics from it.
- Bit Tech are doing a new game diary. It’s Boiling Point. Watch them head bravely into the jungle and deal with the swarms of bugs. Patching Boiling Point is basically like wiping the moustache off the Mona Lisa. Who’d do a silly thing like that?
- A month and a bit old now, but here’s Laura Michet chewing over the idea that Western RPGs are fundamentally about emotional alienation.
- Paul Hewett over at Beefjack on the battle to try and keep Sports games fresh.
- CNN wonder whether games piracy is actually good for business, focusing in on the ways of weaponizing piracy into a commercial venture.
- Relic’s Brian Wood passed this week, in a tragic car accident. Our thoughts to his family and friends. There’s a memorial trust here which you can donate to.
- Preloaded on how they actually publish an online game. As in, a webgame. Lots of practical advice for people making webgames.
- Matt from Five Players on how his 97-era Powerpoint is helping him with WarioWare DIY.
- Over in the console area, one of the big arguments was Abbie Heppe’s review of Metroid: Other M. She didn’t like it. BrainyGamer Michael Abbot takes apart the furore, and especially shines an eye on the outright misogyny permeating the comments. To paraphrase: I’m an idiot online, I get called a fucking idiot. Leigh’s an idiot online, she gets called a stupid whore.
- What do you do if it’s too hot? Well, there’s an upswing of people going to Ghost Houses in Japan. I love this kind of stuff.
- This absorbed Jim and Me for its entire length. How they did the Bladerunner “Hades” cityscape.
- You’ve probably seen Gizmodo’s result of data mining OK Cupid, but still fascinating to see the “real” what white people like. Seeing that particular list, I’ve rarely felt more divorced from culture, frankly.
- Janelle Monae was splendid this week. Here’s her Cold War. And, yes, the bit where she cracks on the “I was made to believe there’s something wrong with me” is awesome.