The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for keeping on getting distracted doing quick RPS posts when you’re meant to be compiling a list of the fine (mostly) games related reading gathered across the week, while trying to not link to some pop music.

Failed.

From this site

109 Comments

  1. Dominic White says:

    The New York times can be bizarrely brilliant when it comes to games coverage. I still think that the best ever review of the oft-maligned Nier was the NYT one.

    link to nytimes.com

    Most reviewers just treated it like a list of things to check off, and yeah, it’s not the most mechanically astounding game, but as an experience it’s pretty much unparalleled.

  2. DAdvocate says:

    Theres an article in the Guardian today about whether games or films are better at portraying war:

    link to guardian.co.uk

    Unfortunately it is fatally let down by one of the two contributors being rather ignorant of most (or all)computer games. I’m puzzled at how they thought such a discussion could come to anything when one participant has so little knowledge of the subject.

    • Kadayi says:

      I just read that. The inherent problem is that they talk about modern warfare as if that was remotely attempting to put across what war is really about. Probably better to reference Arma 2 instead as that’s a bit more down the realism route.

    • Radiant says:

      Kadayi the video games as an accurate portrayal of war is that games take their cues from everything but actual war.

      I doubt many devs or even us consumers have been in a war [outside of the Serbian/Croatian dev houses] so were are they getting their imagery from?
      Even realism games take their best ideas from boardgames.

    • Radiant says:

      edit I meant my issue with the video games as a…

    • Azazel says:

      TBH most films don’t put across what war is *really* about. Come and See, Das Boot etc. notable exceptions.

  3. Curry the Great says:

    About the Fall of France article, I kinda wonder if the French at all want to embrace the story they can tell of their defeat. I was in France a few weeks ago, and at the museum of arms in Paris there was a large section dedicated to Charles de Gaulle. I always thought he was a bit of a failed general that just happened to make it to a radio in London and was then seen as the voice of the people, but in this museum they glorify him in all ways possible. His final defense at the fall of France was heroïc and effective! France has fought for 4 years and now France has won! De Gaulle was a brilliant commander at the liberation of France (even though he was kept out of the D-day planning cause they didn’t trust him)! It seemed so unreal, I had never seen anything like that.

    Long story short, it made me wonder if France wants to accept her past at all, let alone tell it to the world. I think a story about the fall of France could be very interesting, I just wonder if the French want to tell it.

    • AndrewC says:

      It’s not just the French who white-wash their history.

    • Archonsod says:

      It’s not just the fall of France. There’s a whole five years of the war prior to the D-Day landings that seems to be completely ignored.

    • Yghtdsf says:

      “I always thought he was a bit of a failed general that just happened to make it to a radio in London and was then seen as the voice of the people”

      Yes, it’s not like he managed to take back control of most colonies away from Vichy, organized resistance, then years after the war as a president managed to fix the economy and give France independancy from UK and USA influence.

      The latter being of course the important part here, because if you’re not an American puppet and directly acts against UK/USA interests at times, you’re going to be written as a “failed general” in english-speaking history, with copious amounts of propaganda against your people that will still be widely believed 50 years later. French don’t shave and eat snails, russians drink a lot and chinese are baby eaters. Yawn.

    • Torqual says:

      And all germans are nazi massmurderers.

    • Curry the Great says:

      As I said, that was what I THOUGHT of him, I was 18 and in Holland you don’t get much education about De Gaulle. That’s why I went to the museum, I hoped to see the French perspective of the war and De Gaulle played a very large part there, however I had a strong feeling that it was glorification of de Gaulle rather than an attempt at explaining history. I still don’t know squat about him, and it’s very hard to find an objective account of the man.

      My point was that I was surprised at the white-washing of history there, which leads me to wonder if the French can even tell the story of the early years of the war for France accurately.

    • mandrill says:

      @Torqual: does that count as a Godwin? If it does I’m calling it.

    • Rich says:

      @Archonsod: Which considering the US was involved in two of those years is odd, e.g. the Pacific islands and later north Africa.

      I always cringe a little bit when WWII and the liberation of Europe is referred to as American led. Ike may have been supreme commander, but D-Day and the Battle of Normandy were all Monty’s. It was only when Ike got fed up with Monty and decided to take a more active roll, that he came to Europe to lead the campaign himself. The US wasn’t so arrogant as to disregard Britain’s wartime experience in its leadership either. British influence did rapidly decline as the Allies made more progress though, culminating in the US pushing Britain out of the loop as war drew to a close. Plus the British army was never again as big as it was on D-Day.

    • FhnuZoag says:

      Really if you want to be objective about it, it was mostly the Russians who did the fighting.

    • Rich says:

      @FhnuZoag: That’s true. Also the Chinese, but that might as well have a different war entirely.

    • Rii says:

      An excellent account of De Gaulle’s continuing relevance to France today can be found over at (American) Foreign Policy magazine: link to foreignpolicy.com

      “But the latest surge in French interest in de Gaulle is not motivated as much by his lofty rhetoric or wartime valor, as by the moral values which he was said to incarnate: a sense of honor and righteousness, an instinctive refusal of injustice, a disinterested commitment to the public good, a contempt for materialism and money, and a sense of civic responsibility (de Gaulle insisted on paying his own electricity bill at the Élysée Palace when he was president). His rectitude offers a stark contrast with Nicolas Sarkozy’s presidency: his vulgarity, his exploitation of the politics of fear, his unsavory connections with the business world. Under the reign of President “Bling Bling,” the absence of de Gaulle is felt all the more keenly. As an editorial in Le Monde put it in June, today’s politicians are all pygmies compared with the Gaullist giant.

      In France, de Gaulle is now inescapable, a myth as much as a man. The once-controversial leader is celebrated by political groups across the entire spectrum, from die-hard conservatives to socialists and communists. More French streets and public squares bear his name than that of any other historical figure, and several major museums across the country honor his memory — including a grandiose, high-tech museum in the Hôtel des Invalides in Paris, adjacent to the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte. This proximity is more than an accident: The general has effectively replaced the emperor as France’s national icon.

      Outside Paris, in those parts of the world that contest the global dominance of Washington, de Gaulle is especially appealing as an emblem of anti-Americanism. In Latin America, for example, de Gaulle’s image has been grafted upon a powerful native tradition of anti-imperialism, economic nationalism, and cultural resistance to gringo hegemony. This populist, occasionally authoritarian tradition is embodied with panache by Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, and it is no coincidence that de Gaulle has featured among El Jefe’s intellectual references. In Africa, meanwhile, de Gaulle is viewed as a political predecessor to leaders like Nelson Mandela: a strong leader who worked for the general interest as opposed to his own personal enrichment and successfully created a set of durable democratic institutions that could operate independent of charismatic leadership.”

    • Torqual says:

      @Mandrill: God wins everytime.

  4. AndrewC says:

    I vaguely remember a Sunday Papers article about an american alt-rock band’s relationship break-up song where the guy singer ends up praying to god to kill the man his lover is now with? The point of the article was the worry that someone, somewhere would take the emotions of the song at face-value, as that would lead to some bad, and unintended, places. That they would think it was a serious song.

    I got the feeling that the writer of the Cuomo article was taking Weezer songs at face value. Certainly I get the impression from Weezer songs that they are painfully arch and knowing – his stroppy-nerd persona is just a mask. A mask hiding all sorts of neurosis and self-loathing, as people who tie themselves into moebius strips of self-acknowledging irony often are, but none-the-less a mask: a game, a play-act.

    So the lady who wrote the excellently written article about Rivers maybe still has some perspectives to learn about hero worship, and taking a human’s words as gospel.

    But hey, maybe this says something about me, coz I could never see a way that the words of those songs *could* be taken seriously, so thunkingly obvious were all the nerd references. It had to be a put on, right? Right? Like a stand up act: ‘Rivers The Nerdy Singer’. Right?

    Maybe the thing the article really teaches is that however small or fleeting a song/game/movie is to your life, which would accurately describe Weezer to mine, it is somebody’s, somewhere, whole life.

    Which is quite a thing.

    Computer games.

    • monkehhh says:

      link to youtube.com
      Shellac – Prayer to God, awesome song!

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      The immortal Prayer To God by Shellac.

      KG

    • AndrewC says:

      That Steve Albini, what a funster.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      “Maybe the thing the article really teaches is that however small or fleeting a song/game/movie is to your life, which would accurately describe Weezer to mine, it is somebody’s, somewhere, whole life.

      Which is quite a thing.

      Computer games.”

      I love this.

    • disperse says:

      @AndrewC

      You said all I wanted to say. And much better than I would have.

      I’m honestly not sure if Rivers Cuomo is playing a persona or simply revealing too much, but that doesn’t prevent me from enjoying his songs ironically.

    • disperse says:

      YouTube compression doesn’t do “Prayer to God” any favors. First time I heard Shellac, a friend of mine put that album on the record player and the production is stellar. I’m not an analog snob and don’t even own a record player but I see why Albini doesn’t like his albums put out digitally.

  5. Dinger says:

    The RTW piece reminded me about a story from the development of World War II Online.
    The developers had been what was left of the dev team for WarBirds.

    The short version is:
    A. Some AirWarrior fans out in Austin, Texas make an updated WW2 MMP flight sim, and call it WarBirds.
    B. They get into a financial squeeze and sell to Wild Bill, of Microprose fame, who now has a new company, iMagic.
    C. Some of the original people get annoyed with being run by iMagic, quit, and (with the help of Angel investors) start developing their own game (Aces High). They are replaced with people from the “community”
    D. iMagic sees the CD-ROM business go bust in 1999 and tries to close the Austin office, moving development to North Carolina.
    E. The entire Austin office rebels. They quit en masse, get a ton of VC and start developing not only a “can’t-miss” new MMP online game (WW2OL), but a gaming portal (Playnet. No relation to the proto-AOL service)

    So, about 2000, some of my buddies from the WarBirds/Aces High continuum go to Austin for the Aces High convention, or whatnot. And some of them go to visit Playnet’s offices, and get the grand tour of a lot of super-cool toys and expensive stuff that nobody knows what to do with.

    Towards the end, one of the guys flew off the handle and started yelling at the Playnet folks “you’ve got all these layers of administration, all these support people, content specialists, office managers, and not only do you not have anything approaching a working product, what you do have is a buggy alpha of the Battle of France? Do you guys have ANY IDEA how to run a business?”

    Needless to say, he didn’t get in the beta, and months after release, Playnet declared bankruptcy.

    Somehow WWIIOL is still going. I wonder about how that’s possible.

    And no, the Battle of France is not sexy. The problem with most wars is that they make terrible videogames.

  6. Urael says:

    Image caption from the Gamer Stereotype article : “Caroline Overington believes that adults that choose to play video games are “major-league lame.””

    That’s ok, ‘Caroline’. We gamers believe you look like a man.

    • James G says:

      Responses like this probably don’t serve to dismiss the stereotypes. Not only is ‘you look like a man’ an entirely ineffective counter argument, but it doesn’t exactly do much to counter the impression that gamers are male, straight, and have streaks of misogyny borne out of their inability to talk to women.

    • bleeters says:

      I’m content to carry on ignoring their irrelevant opinions until they eventually all die of old age, myself.

      Having said that, I actually do have a t-shirt with an internet meme on it :(

    • Kadayi says:

      @bleeters

      Likewise.

      Personally I find it hilarious that others feel the need to belittle other peoples leisure time fascinations. What exactly is it that they feel gamers are missing out on? Or should be doing exactly? I mean millions of people waste hours of their lives watching soap operas everyday shouldn’t they be out doing something more productive?

    • Xercies says:

      Thats also what I think about, why do people put Gaming under sad and lame when its really no different to watching TV for an evening or going out to the movies. Why is gaming considered less then those two mediums when your really doing the same thing. Or actually doing soemthing better because at least with gaming your activly engaging your mind instead of TV where you can become a vegetable.

    • AndrewC says:

      Calling all tv soap opera is much like calling all games corridor shooters. It proves useful, when faced with people making huge deflamatory generalisations, that you don’t respond with huge deflamatory generalisations.

  7. Hyoscine says:

    That’s the first Parenthetical Girls I’ve really enjoyed, that one really was super good though; kinda reminds me of .

  8. Scatterbrainpaul says:

    I’ve been banging on about Parenthetical girls for weeks, once again nobody listened.

    Actually i’m lying, i’ve never heard of them, but quite like the song you’ve linked to.

    My musical tip for the week. Debut album by HTDW called love remains released early next week. Hope to see them feature in the sunday papers soon

  9. Batolemaeus says:

    Mh, the NYT article could have been improved by mentioning the dread one can feel in Arma/Arma2. While Modern Warfare-esque shooters throw a lot of explosions into the mix, they hardly convey the helplessness and futility of a simple soldier in the field. They obscure it with a horde of redshirts who are nothing more than moving targets in a shooting range.
    My killcount in the abysmal Bfbc2 singleplayer campaign was simply staggering. When bad guys shot at me, I’d just pop out and take down several of them before hiding again and healing. Compare this to Arma, which often sends you frantically looking for cover as a hail of bullets from somewhere rips half of your squad apart. For portraying the horror of combat, the descendants of Operation Flashpoint are by far superior to the spectacular scenes written into MW/MOH.

    • Kadayi says:

      Agreed. I’ve recently gotten into playing Arma 2 with a fairly hardcore clan and it’s extremely brutal vs MW2/MOH but in a good way (not that that I mind those games, I’ll probably get MoH when it hits). It’s far less about you as some bullet immune superman charging in to save the day and much more about you being a cog in a well oiled machine.Though that’s not to say it’s not without its moments of awe.

  10. Torqual says:

    Wow 100 m $ divided through 300 people, nice way to rob some one. Who is so stupid to waste 100 m $ on a piece of junk. Oh Electronic Arts. I wonder how they managed to stay in business for so long. Ah yeah there are people who actually so stupid to buy this junk. Har.

    Have a nice day.

    • Tei says:

      @Torqual: your post is factual incorrect in almost all accounts, what is odd, since simple random distribution is on your favor, but you still managed to fail :P . Not your best day.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Torqual

      Do you actually have any comprehension of how real business works at all? Things like salaries, office rental, servicing, overheads, etc, etc? Where I’m at, we are about 100 strong in terms of staffing. We burn through between 6- 700K a month. That’s 8.4 million a year just to stay in business. With a company 300 strong I’m not the least bit surprised RTW chewed through 100 million over the years, because running costs rise exponentially the larger your organisation gets.

      Also EA were the retail distributors, not the games actual publishers. They weren’t directing the project. So I wouldn’t blame EA (in fact blaming EA is kind of passée these days..though I guess you didn’t get the memo on that).

    • qrter says:

      Torqual just got Tei’d!

    • Torqual says:

      @ Tei: I train hard to be better everyday.

    • Torqual says:

      @ Kadayi: Oh that is some money to keep 100 people fed. I am wondering how many of that 300 developers were actually involved in developing and not enveloping some office business. 100m $ for a high quality product like ABP is modern robbery baroning for me.

      have a nice day

    • Kadayi says:

      @Torqual

      But the point is it’s not just about keeping people fed at the end of the day (which you singularly seem to be unable to grasp). RTW reads like a classic case of over staffing which ultimately only added to their problems (too many chiefs, not enough Indians), but this idea that they within themselves were just in it for lining their own pockets is well…retarded to be honest.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Torqual

      Also the $100 million wasn’t no APB alone. There was Myworld going on and RTW had ambitions to become a publisher eventually so it seems.

  11. bill says:

    No to filler!

  12. Xercies says:

    I have to say that RTW piece especially the second part is actually quite hilarious in how badly the company was running at the time. It truly was a comedy of errors.

    I do lament that it only seems to be the “Amercan War” and the 2amercan vision2 in games soemtimes, there is loads of things in WW2, the russian side, the french resistance, Italy facism that could make great games(I mean they’ve sometimes already made great films) but we don’t because we want it to sell to Americans. Maybe thats why Americans have an inflated ego about themselves because every media even outside of America makes them out to be Heroes.

    You know I’ve been looking at our past, we’ve already had great games, great pieces of art. i don’t like people to say that we haven’t gotten there and were so close. i’ve been hearing that for a few years now and it hasn’t materilised. So I’ve been thinking, what if that our great times have already passed us by? I mean Deus Ex, Planscape Torment, Shenmue, System Shock 2, Ultima Underworld, NOLF,. These are all great games in the past and a few of them could be considered “Great Games tm” but I actually don’t think we will see much of its like again to be honest the way gaming has become.

    I always hated the tank versus spear thing in Civ 4 it just seemed way to mind blowing and it doesn’t even go to Tank versus spear. No lie, a basic warrior defeated my gunpowder weilding defense guy garrisened in a city and took the city. My jaw dropped on the floor and i vowed that the maths was basically broken. I’m glad in Civ 5 there making things like that an impossibility.

    I like the Rivers Cuomo piece even though i had never heard of him. Some of those songs do sound a little creepy i have to say.

    A good video basically saying pretty much the same things as te gamer streotype thing.

    link to escapistmagazine.com

    And another good video saying whats wrong with gamers, though with this one i kind of don’t agree with some of his asserions sometimes.

    link to gameoverthinker.blogspot.com

    Had a laugh at the writers don’t make good lovers article.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      So I’ve been thinking, what if that our great times have already passed us by?

      There was just as much crap back then as there is now – you just don’t remember it, because only the great stuff is memorable.

    • Xercies says:

      I get that I know there was a lot of crap back in them days(the dreamcast library while having soem truly great games also had a load of shite) but i don’t know. I play these modern great games that everyone keeps saying are great but they don’t really compare to the past great Games to me, maybe thats nostalgia though i don’t think so, I do try and play the games i thought were great in the past to see if they hold up. I just don’t know i see many new games coming out of the major publishers and all the moder war copy cats and it just doesn’t interest me. Neither does some of the Indie stuff either.

      It could be that ‘ve becoming a lot less interested in games or it could be the games itself. i don’t know but I think something is definitly there.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I’ve always been a Sega fanboy, and I loved my Dreamcast. But Shenmue is the most overrated load of crap I’ve ever played.

      “Did you see a man on the day the rain turned to snow?” What?!

  13. Cinnamon says:

    What real world skill would the first great game help me improve? Some people have trouble opening pots of jam when the lid is on too tight. Maybe that would be a suitable subject for the first really great game. I’ll call it, “O Brother, where art thou?” An immersive simulation of one man’s struggle against the forces of preserve manufacturers that will last no longer than three hours and will have nothing that could be crudely referred to as fun. It will only be on PC since any other device does not have the potential for greatness chip installed. PS2 does have the emotion engine but emotions alone do not equal greatness and do not allow the revelations you encounter on the way to learning real life techniques for opening tightly sealed screw on lids.

    • Bret says:

      The real world skill is killing ants the size of buicks and space robots called “Hector” with insanely overpowered firearms.

      They will call it “EDF 2017” and those lucky enough to play it will be the only ones prepared come the alien invasion.

      But I’m talking fairy stories, aren’t I?

      There’s no way a game that perfect could exist.

    • bleeters says:

      I like to think Left 4 Dead is suitable preperation for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Obviously the game that qualifies best for that particular requirement is Cooking Mama. Told you it was a masterpiece.

  14. Jimbo says:

    The RTW staff do all need to take responsibility for the quality of their work on this project – and they’ve all lost their jobs, so that is happening – but it doesn’t take 300 people working below par to make a game fail. One bad decision is absolutely enough to sink a game – and that’s what happened with the game structure they decided to implement.

    I think RTW guy is clutching at straws with the finance issues. That might be why the studio had to close when it did, but the fact remains that they put out a game that sold about no copies. These guys seem under the impression that if they just had the financial strength to support APB post-launch for a decent amount of time then they’d be able to turn things around. Sorry, but that is just a pipe dream. This game is fundamentally (and probably irreversibly) flawed at the design level.

    As for why every other element of the game ended up as poorly executed as it did, I suspect that is a result of how jaded the dev team had become over the blatant design issues. It’s like asking somebody to build a house when they already know the foundations are destined to fail – will they really be able to find the motivation to do their best work, knowing that the house will fall down whatever they do? Of course not, and the same thing happened here. APB’s foundations were destined to fail, and if that wasn’t plainly obvious to the people working on the game, then they probably shouldn’t be working on games in the first place.

  15. BooleanBob says:

    KG, what was the article that you originally linked to, that linked to that Awl article on Rivers Cuomo? Like a few months ago. I never got ’round to finishing it, and I’d like to.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      You’ll have to give me more to go on than that, man. What was the topic?

      KG

    • BooleanBob says:

      @KG: I think it was about what is was like to be a teenager during the blue album heyday, being young or earnest enough not to have to enjoy them ironically? I’m not really sure I remember. And it linked to the piece featured in today’s sunday papers with a ‘if we knew then about Rivers Cuomo <a href="link to theawl.com we know now, or something to that effect.

      That’s admittedly not a whole lot more to go on, so no worries if it doesn’t ring a bell. My attention span is such that there’s little guarantee I’d get through it even at a second attempt.

    • BooleanBob says:

      gah, html malfunction. ‘‘if we knew then about Rivers Cuomo what we know now‘ , etc.

    • Sulkdodds says:

      is it this? link to pitchfork.com Hope it’s not too late for you to pick this up!

  16. c-Row says:

    So it will surely be a japanese dating sim.

    • c-Row says:

      I meant…

      “The First Great Game […] won’t be a game which asks us to improve upon a skill set that has no bearing upon the real world.”

      So it will surely be japanese dating sim.

  17. Paul B says:

    Re: The New York times modern warfare piece – it’s the first time I’ve heard of Six Days in Fallujah – shame it never got released. I wonder if it had done, would it have sold well? Are gamers ready for the ambiguities of war, or would we still rather be the gung-ho, good-guy soldiers (barring the odd controversial level)?

    • Xercies says:

      The thing is what I read about 6 days was nothing like the game they were describing in the NY Times article. From what i read from before media it just seemeed like a standard Gears of War clone depicting an event where basically the Americans massacred Iraqies, which didn’t sit well with a lot of people. Not this ambigues moral implication of war the newspaper writes that it was. Did it change in the meantime?

  18. dadioflex says:

    The more I read opinions on gaming from a non-gaming background, the more I think, who gives a fuck?

    Right now, I don’t care what gaming journalists think, so why should I care what non-gaming journalists think? It’s like we’re supposed to get excited because a bunch of assholes with no credentials are noticing what we do. You know who else are a bunch of assholes with no credentials? You and I.

    If you want random hate for gaming, I have it. I have it with a thirty year background in playing video games. I played all the shit that was shit back then, I don’t need to be told what was shit and what wasn’t. I played it. I played the Level 9 adventures and I played the Scott Adam’s adventures… just guess who was best. I read the Mel Croucher game reviews and played Pimania. I remember PC mags that felt like newsprint.

    I was on Micronet when Chris Bourne was the Kieron Gillen of his day with added horror stories. I miss that community more than anything. We had Starnet and the first interactive chat system in the UK with sometimes less than a fifteen minute delay between posting and seeing wot you wrote.

    I regret that no-one remembers Chris Bourne, apart from a handful of sad old men like me.

    I remember flame wars with David Janda before we knew what a flame war was, pilgrim.

    There is nothing new, and I feel offended that people think there is. Gaming isn’t important, it just is. It is, it will be and writing about it is as ephemeral now as it always was.

    Do you know why there aren’t any gaming journalists of note right now who can trace their origins back to the primeval dawn of our hobby? Because if they were decent writers they moved on. The Dominik Diamonds, the Charlie Brookers, the… the… fuck me, there have to have been more than that!

    What we have now are great journalists, who have games as a thing in the background, like we had bicycles and garage roofs. Things we stumbled on, left a mark and went about our business.

    Anyone making a living in games journalism, is either destined for better things or simply can do no better. Fifty years from now, will we remember Quintin and Kieron for their games journalism? I think not. I am being precise in whose names I mention. I enjoy RPS writing in general, but in general it is not great.

    There is no new games journalism, there is the same regurgitated crap we’ve had for twenty years. Stop acting like it isn’t. We are not on the cusp of some dawn of recognition, we are, what we always were, pitiful fools who imagine our obsessions are more than there actually are.

    I despair of the sycophancy and the ignorance. I despair of poor games lauded as innovative, when they weren’t innovative a decade ago, and they definitely aren’t innovative now.

    I despair, in general.

    I despair.

    • bleeters says:

      Yeah, you’re making me despair too.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Dadio: Firstly, relax man. Your memories are your memories. All that matters is whether they matter to you. Thinking about posterity will kill you. Don’t be bitter that you’ve spent your life on things most people don’t give a toss about. Fuck it.

      That your examples are Diamond and Brooker doesn’t exactly show you’re really talking about people going back to the roots. There, you’re looking at guys like Gary Penn. Who have moved onto splendid things. So what?

      Hey, no-one said it was a career for life. Even if they wanted to, there was no career path. You moved into publishing or moved out into real paying jobs. That’s actually changed a bit – with newspapers doing game coverage means there’s more room to be a lifer. Especially in America, which has always had better pay, 40-something or even 50-something games journalists aren’t unknown things.

      And even with the option to stay, they could move on anyway. Same as other mediums. And if they do *still* be best known as a music journalist, as Paul Morley has proved.

      Frankly, if I didn’t want to be writing games journalism today, I wouldn’t be. I’m the writer of the Uncanny X-men. Look at Rab, who if you had read the piece you slagged off you’d have realised who he was. Really, we’ve got better things to do than do this, but we do it anyway.

      We must be soft in the head, but we can’t help it anyway. Games are splendid things and occasionally some people can’t help talking about.

      KG

    • the wiseass says:

      “You know who else are a bunch of assholes with no credentials? You and I.”
      — I love this because it’s true.

    • bob_d says:

      “The more I read opinions on gaming from a non-gaming background, the more I think, who gives a fuck?

      Gaming isn’t important, it just is.”

      Those two statements are connected. Gaming (and games writing) has been the same because the industry has been really good at maintaining its hermetic culture, for both developers and the gaming audience, all of whom shared a common narrative about what games are and should be. Gaming hasn’t been “important” because few people involved in it thought it should be, and no one outside the insular “gaming community” gave a shit – gaming was too niche to draw attention. Speaking as someone who has also been gaming for about 30 years (hell, now I feel old), what gaming exactly needs is for people who don’t have “gaming backgrounds” to take an interest and steer it in new directions. (That is, people who haven’t been brainwashed into thinking of games in specific ways.) Now we’re finally starting to see people outside of gaming peer in with interest since gaming broke into popular culture.
      Every time there’s a technological change that impacts a medium, the medium changes its function to some degree. Never has a medium been so impacted by technological changes the way computer games are. Only its insular nature has kept it as unchanged as it has been; that finally seems to be changing. There will be forms of computer games that will be completely unrecognizable to those of us who have been there for a significant portion of its history; this is a good thing, something to hope for. However, that doesn’t change the fact that there will always be a faction of games that will be able to trace their lineages, unbroken, back to Spacewar! etc.

  19. Spice_Weasel says:

    Hmm… dadioflex seems to be channeling either Sartre or the angry old pensioner of your choice. That being said, he makes a good but limited point. The critique of gaming journalism’s myopia is little different than the similar weakness of sports/art journalism, or for that matter any other field that observes the work of a group of producers whose output is relevant to the interests of a subculture. True creativity in journalism is limited by the requirement to always be dependent on an external source for the fodder of ye olde mill of commentary and derision. This, when boiled down, means that journalism can only be as significant as the issues it covers. Since at the end of the day we’re just reading about an entertainment medium, the journalist’s ability to deal with issues that actually matter is quite limited by the scope of the subject matter. Within these limitations originality tends to stagnate, so the best writers tend to trend towards larger topics that give them a better framework to project their own worldview. I do hope the RPS writers don’t transition to writing politics anytime soon, though, as I’m quite enjoying their output as they hone their craft in the admittedly shallow pool of games journalism.

    Disclaimer: this post was written while drinking overproof rum and listening to Panzer AG. Apologies for cynicism, pretension, and incoherency are probably in order.

  20. Arathain says:

    Clearly, people are being very silly about this Pikeman vs. Tank thing. Battles in Civ were never about a bunch of unit X in a field with a bunch of unit Y at the other end. Battles are abstractions of larger conflicts where X and Y represent the dominant weaponry/tactics being involved. Right? So rather than being a bunch of chaps with long pointy sticks are running at angry houses, it might represent poorly armed partisans, striking at supply lines, that sort of thing. Primitive but clever traps. Forcing combat where the tanks can’t reach, thus partially neutering a prime tactical advantage. Abstractions. Obviously.

  21. kwyjibo says:

    “In a week where the mainstream press has been awful, it’s also good to see how good they can be when they try.”

    The thing is, that when they try, they absolutely knock it out of the park in a way that the games press never manage. They look at wider societal implications, they see the big picture, and present it in an approachable manner.

    Compare the New York Times’ Making of The Beatles: Rock Band, with any “Making of” in Edge of Retro Gamer and it absolutely blows it away. You wouldn’t even see SFWeekly’s FarmVillains piece in the games press, because social gaming isn’t a legitimate “genre”, and if it were, they’d be too fucking scared to lose the possible advertising revenue.

    I mean, yeah, I still subscribe to Edge and GamesTM, but I’d wish they’d stop navel gazing once every so often.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      You want the real reason? It’s resources, space, access, deadlines and the degree the audience cares about that stuff.

      (As in, the sort of general interest stories for an audience who don’t really care about games are different to the sort of things which get any attention in a games mag/site)

      KG

    • kwyjibo says:

      No, I agree that they’re for different audiences. You don’t need to explain the mechanics of a first person shooter to someone reading a games mag – but it’d be nice of them to look outside once in a while.

      You link to good mainstream pieces in The Sunday Papers, and I think the audience in a “grown up” games mag such as Edge would appreciate such pieces, but it never happens.

      Even “serious” articles such as Edge’s look at the portrayal of homosexuality it video games seems terribly insular, intent on talking to game designers, PRs and no one else. No one from academia, no one to really frame it in a larger societal context.

      I think if you care about the subject, you’ll care about those things too. I think the gaming audience would appreciate a wider look every now and again.

  22. Oozo says:

    Rivers fucked up MY life, too. And I’m not even a girl.

  23. Navagon says:

    Here’s another Sunday story: GOG.com just died. :(

    • jaheira says:

      It’s been hacked right? Yes? I mean, someone tell me it’s been hacked.

    • BaconAndWaffles says:

      Son of a bitch! It really sucks when a great site like GOG, offering a great service, can’t stay open…

    • Vinraith says:

      If GOG, of all places, can’t stay afloat then I think my entire faith in digital distribution and PC gaming as a whole just imploded.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      In case you were wondering: there’s no justice in this world.

    • jaheira says:

      @Vinraith

      I totally agree. This is a disaster. GOG was so … good. They did everything right. I’m still hoping this is a Denial o’ Service or something.

    • Vinraith says:

      @jaheira

      I’d love to believe that, but someone would have to have hacked their Twitter account as well. :(

    • jaheira says:

      Arcen is dying, GOG’s gone, Amnesia isn’t selling, what the fuck stupid thing is going to happen next? Maybe we’re gonna wake up in the shower and Minecraft was all a dream.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Vinraith

      This is no time to start pushing your dodgy agendas old man. Also the fact that there’s no email announcement and it’s a Sunday is kind of suspicious. I hoping it’s down to a site hack of some form.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Kadayi

      Your always-charming insults aside, I hope you’re right about the hack. If it weren’t for the twitter feed I’d be all but certain about that, being as there’s been no email, it’s a Sunday, and they were announcing new sales and upcoming games a mere day or two ago. How easy is it to break into someone’s twitter?

    • Navagon says:

      Guys, there was an announcement on the site before it went down. It’s definitely for real.

      They didn’t give any specific reasons, but said that GOG couldn’t go on the way it was. The obvious candidate would be financial concerns, but GOG also had several legal issues with games being removed from the catalogue. They also said that purchased games would somehow be made available again at a later date.

    • latterman says:

      sad news indeed, yet someone on facebook is suggesting that this is some kind of mischievous hoax resulting in a relaunch (possibly post-beta) of gog.com. I’ll just repost:

      I’m just thinking, it doesn’t seem right. Look at their Twitter. They announced the Codemasters deal 24 hours before they posted the “doomsday” message. The pieces just don’t fit, especially if you consider that they “debated about it for some time”. Assuming they *do* sleep, they only have 16 hours of “debate time”. Doesn’t sound like a very thorough, serious consideration if they can afford to have the Codemasters deal during their “debate” period.

      Secondly, let’s look at their doomsday message itself. They didn’t say anything about shutting down GOG.com. All they said was “We’re closing down the service and putting this era behind us as new
      challenges await.” A rather ambiguous statement that makes for an arbitrary case that ascertains GOG is shutting down for good. They were in beta. What if “closing down the service” had a different connotation to it?

      Thirdly, they celebrated their first anniversary last year on September 8. You’d think that they would celebrate their second anniversary on Sept 8 this year too, if they would even have the gumption to go ahead with a promo one day before their “doomsday” message. Having stuck with GOG for 1 year 10 months, I’m pretty sure that’s not how GOG operates.

      Oh yeah, one more quote:

      “We have recently had to give serious thought to whether we could really keep GOG.com the way it is.”

      I stress on the last 6 words: “keep GOG.com the way it is”. Gentlemen, I believe this statement underlies a deeper suggestion – that an evolution, proceeding the stagnation of its current beta state, is in order!

      another person:

      From about month here in Poland (where the HQ of CD Projekt=GoG is), there are RUMOURS that something huge connected with GoG is coming. I don’t know if it’s true but we should all wait patiently some days :).
      link to bankier.pl

      Let’s hope so.

    • latterman says:

      Regarding the last link:

      In three days (22nd September) CD Projekt will organize a press conference where they’re preparing some announcement regarding GOG.com.

      Michał Kiciński from their PR department wrote on a Polish business discussion forum:

      Uwaga, data konferencji to pewnie 22gi sroda wczesnym wieczorem. Informacja o tym wkrotce na GOG.com (prosze nie robic paniki po przeczytaniu informacji tam umieszczonych:)

      Which translates to:

      Please note, the conference date is 22nd, Wednesday, early evening. We’ll post information about it on GOG.com (please don’t panic when you’ll read the information we’ll post there:)

    • Vinraith says:

      If this is a publicity stunt it’s going to piss off a LOT of people.

    • PleasingFungus says:

      Apparently it’s a marketing stunt, yeah.

      Ugh.

  24. FukYourCallofDutyInfinity says:

    Dear GOG users,

    We have recently had to give serious thought to whether we could really keep GOG.com the way it is. We’ve debated on it for quite some time and, unfortunately, we’ve decided that GOG.com simply cannot remain in its current form.

    We’re very grateful for all support we’ve received from all of you in the past two years. Working on GOG.com was a great adventure for all of us and an unforgettable journey to the past, through the long and wonderful history of PC gaming.

    This doesn’t mean the idea behind GOG.com is gone forever. We’re closing down the service and putting this era behind us as new challenges await.

    On a technical note, this week we’ll put in place a solution to allow everyone to re-download their games. Stay tuned to this page and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates.

    All the best,

    link to twitter.com

    Sometimes it’s really hard being DRM-free… hard to keep things the way they are and keep management and publishers happy :(

    I blame Kotick.

  25. PleasingFungus says:

    Facade, probably. I’ve read about it, but never gotten around to playing it. Some day.

  26. Dominic White says:

    I can’t even get to the GOG site…

    This is particularly problematic, as I’ve recently moved to a new OS, and don’t have any of the games I bought. Including one just last week. And now I can’t download them.

    Are they just shutting down without notice, and just taking the games I paid for?

    • Dominic White says:

      Yes. Yes they are. Motherfuckers! I really do have no option but to find torrents for the games I legitmately bought now. FUCK!

    • BaconAndWaffles says:

      A quote from their current webpage:

      On a technical note, this week we’ll put in place a solution to allow everyone to re-download their games. Stay tuned to this page and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates.

      So you can slow down on torrenting.

    • Freud says:

      Drat. They announced that were about to bring AoW: Shadow Magic to market soon. I guess that won’t happen now.

    • Kadayi says:

      This fucking blows big time. I must admit I don’t think I even have half the titles I’ve bought downloaded yet…

  27. Freud says:

    What is weird that it seems to me Amnesia got more flak for its 6-8 hours game play costing $15 than Mafia got for its 11 hours for $50. And that is when the latter has a lot of filler (every single mission has me waking up and driving to Joe/picking up Joe and driving somewhere else before the mission briefing even starts). For me, I think reviewers should in this case take bang-for-buck more into account.

    I completely agree with Frictional that when you eliminate those things that tend to repeat themselves and take time (driving, combat) by design there shouldn’t be a need to compensate for it.

    Now for the problem with Amnesia. The game holds up very well as a horror game for 4-5 hours. After that we have seen enough monsters for them to lose a bit of their power. After that we have learned to filter out a lot of the ambient sounds. I guess my point is that Amnesia is probably as it is too long. Every single player seems to agree that it isn’t as good at the end as it is at the start.

    They probably could get around it, if they have more time or bigger budget, by countering the jadedness of the player after 4-5 hours by introducing new monsters, more (god damned Iron Maiden FUFUFUFUFU), perhaps changing on scenery or experimenting with the general ambiance. I do think it is possible to scare us for a bit longer than what they did, but horror games probably wouldn’t work in a 40 hour epic. The tool box simply isn’t that big and varied.

    • Freud says:

      I forgot something about Frictionals design philosophy, that is clarified in the commentary. They do want you to die less and they want you to to complete stuff the first time. But they will try very hard to create the illusion that you won’t make it. And if you die, they often make sure you won’t have to try repeating it more than one time (by removing enemies). They even despawn wandering enemies quite often to speed things up. These are very conscious design decisions with the players experience in mind.

  28. pupsikaso says:

    Could somebody repost that Andy Schatz article somewhere other than facebook, please? I’d like to read it.

  29. Daniel says:

    The message is still up for me. I’ll paste it here if you guys really can’t see it for some reason:

    “Dear GOG users,

    We have recently had to give serious thought to whether we could really keep GOG.com the way it is. We’ve debated on it for quite some time and, unfortunately, we’ve decided that GOG.com simply cannot remain in its current form.

    We’re very grateful for all support we’ve received from all of you in the past two years. Working on GOG.com was a great adventure for all of us and an unforgettable journey to the past, through the long and wonderful history of PC gaming.

    This doesn’t mean the idea behind GOG.com is gone forever. We’re closing down the service and putting this era behind us as new challenges await.

    On a technical note, this week we’ll put in place a solution to allow everyone to re-download their games. Stay tuned to this page and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates.

    All the best,
    GOG.com Team”

    • Daniel says:

      This was supposed to be in response to Navagon’s post above. Sorry about that.

  30. Mman says:

    AMNESIA SPOILERS AHEAD. Hearing that Amnesia got marked down for being 6-10 hours is pretty laughable when a lot of games now rarely even get to that length (and it apparently took me 8-10 hours).

    If anything I agree that one or two of the later parts seemed slightly padded, namely the prison cell that seemed really contrived as it is (at the least it could have done with a transition that made more sense rather than having to buy that the nightmarish creatures are somehow being controlled), I really liked the escape, but it could have been done elsewhere. I think the problem with the ending as a whole is that it seemed to be telling two stories at once; there was the story of the Orb and its curse, and then the story of the other world that Alexander is from, considering how minimalistic the rest of the game is that didn’t seem to fit and it would have been better if they meshed together more smoothly or the story modified so one was excised altogether.

  31. PoliteUserNamesPlz says:

    link to polygamia.pl

    Basically “Don’t panic when you see the announcement on gog.com’ by Michał Kiciński of CDP

  32. PoliteUserNamesPlz says:

    PR Stunt:
    Update: GoG.com’s PR head Tom Ohle sent over this hopeful message to Big Download: “As the message on the site says, this doesn’t mean GOG is gone :). We’ll have more to share in the coming days.”

    link to news.bigdownload.com

  33. ShadowNate says:

    I’m not sure at which I’m pissed more at the moment. Gog.com abruptly shuting down, or the possibility that it’s a (horrible) marketing stunt.

  34. pupsikaso says:

    I doubt it’s a PR stunt. Looks more likely that they are reforming their business in some way. But even though this means GoG isn’t gone forever, it’s going to change drastically. What change that will be, I have no idea, but it certainly won’t be good.

    • pupsikaso says:

      Wait, nevermind. Should have read the entire comments thread.
      Scroll UP people, UP!

  35. Anthony says:

    Ah, I love Parenthetical Girls, haven’t listened to them in a while or heard this song yet. So thanks! I’ll get to all those video game articles later I suppose…