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.
- I linked to this when APB’s actual closure was announced, but it deserves a proper picking over here. Luke Halliwell Ex-Realtime Worlds writes a three part piece on what went wrong. It’s a pretty comprehensive portrait of a developer going astray. Key thesis: “In any case, I don’t think specific design flaws were the root cause of our problems. While it’s true that without them, APB probably could have sold much better and I wouldn’t be writing this piece, it would be a very lazy attempt to explain our failure. It would be tantamount to pointing the finger at a small number of staff and saying “it was all your fault”. I don’t buy that. There were 300 of us, some of us there for years, and we spent over $100m. The problems had to run deeper than that. I believe our poor decisions (and there were plenty of them, not just in design!) are best explained as patterns of behaviour within the context of a system that was not healthy.” Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.
- Picked up from Critical Distance, Gamers With Jobs writes about the disappointment with the Ruse campaign’s missed opportunity. As in, a French developer with a big budget chose to just do another American-centric game about the liberation of Europe, rather than – say – do something about the Fall of France. I think it’s a little hard – the malaise of Western Europe Developers to tell “American Stories” as a default is something that’s not specific to just France – but doesn’t mean I don’t agree with it. The first mission of Ruse’s campaign was so tired, I couldn’t bring myself to continue, and rather switched over to the skirmish and multiplayer.
- The New York Times has a big, serious look at videogames and modern warfare. In a week where the mainstream press has been awful, it’s also good to see how good they can be when they try.
- Pseudo/Juhkystar directs me at Andy Schatz republishing his PCG column over on Facebook, where he speculates what the world’s first Great Game will be like. Like, Robotron, yeah? But no! “The First Great Game won’t be a platformer or a traditional RPG or a stealth game or a shooter. It won’t be a descendent of Starcraft or Street Fighter, because it won’t be a game which asks us to improve upon a skill set that has no bearing upon the real world. The First Great Game will offer “Aha” moments by the bucketload, “Aha” moments that pertain at once to the game mechanics, but also the narrative and the real world. And when it has run out of “Aha” moments, it will end.” Go read.
- Frictional wonder about Game Length and Amnesia – and how much it hurt the game’s review scores by avoiding “filler”. Worth noting that Quinns’ argument was the opposite – that it was actually a little too long.
- Daily Mail: Small World/Small Apology.
- Andy Five-Players on the ancient mystery of Civ: TANK VERSUS SPEAR.
- A big piece on the “Gamer Stereotype”. Hmm.
- This Awl piece has sat on a tab of my netbook since it was first published. Finally read it this week, and it’s very funny and very pointed. Sady Doyle on Rivers Cuomo Messes You Up Forever. I was always more of an Afghan Whigs guy.
- Nitsuh Abebe’s piece saying why, contrary to what some people may say, that writers don’t make good lovers had all of the RPS chatroom smiling and nodding and all of the RPS chatroom’s delightful others sighing forlornly.
- Parenthetical Girls are an acquired taste, but in a week when I’ve been rooting through shitloads of new music, this new track of theirs – Young Throats – stuck with me.