The Sunday Papers

hello
Sundays. Sundays are for staring into the abyss and then, when it stares into you, giving it the V. It might also be for rounding up a batch of the best writings in the game-o-sphere and laying them out for all to see.

  • This week’s links have been dominated by Starcraft II stories. There’s the story, via TeamLiquid, about the mum who learned the value of Starcraft II, which is worth a read, despite not really convincing anyone with that “oh children are the greatest” line of thinking. Then there’s this article on the Starcraft pros, which features the chap whose mum appears in the previous article. Finally there’s this article over at Edge Online which deals with the battle for control of Starcraft in South Korea. This time, it seems, Blizzard were ready to take on the organisations which had made so much money from e-sports in the years follow Starcraft’s original surprise success. Fascinating stuff.
  • Don’t like the idea of Farmville? You’re not alone, but I wonder if you’ve bothered to articulate that dislike with any kind of analysis of what’s not to like? Laurie Penny has, over at The Guardian: “The bitter irony, of course, is that FarmVille itself is a neo-feudal state, where rich virtual landowners exploit the free labour of virtual farmhands to make real profits. For all its evocation of rustic utopia, this and other farm simulations are ruthless markets whose exploitation of human emotion is anything but virtual.” Strong.
  • My comrade in game creation Tom Betts has been doing some research, and that included dissecting the work of Eskil “Love” Steenberg, interviewing the Dwarf Fortress mastermind Tarn Adams, and examining the work of Introversion. An extraordinary amount of good stuff in there, and I think the piece on Love is the most interesting. Tom is the programmer for my Channel 4 game, which got announced recently. More on that here.
  • For more game development thinkfood, have a look at Ace Team talking about how they reconciled 2D and 3D art styles for their crazy-looking art bowling project, Rock Of Ages. “Medieval art (Byzantine, Romanesque, etc.) doesn’t really have any 3D perspective, and has rather flat lighting and colors. You can use the same shapes and color palette, but if built completely in 3D a lot of the charm of the style is lost. Another concern was not hurting gameplay, where the navigation through the environment with the boulder (which plays much like marble games or racing games) needs the exact opposite: good perception of depth and perspective.” And the solution is intriguing…
  • Back at the Guardian and former Sunday Papers editor Kieron Gillen can be found having a chat with Dan “Dear Esther” Pinchbeck and some other shifty types. And, while we are in the land of podcasts, a few people have suggested that I link the Gamers With Jobs 1998 podcast. I’ve not listened to that yet, but it’s reportedly a fun time. (And a great time for PC games.)
  • Following various defences of the tabloid nature of the gaming press over the past few weeks, here’s a damning take from Chris Hecker, based on his own experiences with being quoted for the headline. It’s one of those stories that make you wince a bit.
  • A fun and informative list from Gamasutra, detailing the top 50 game developers in 2010, as they see it. What’s interesting about this – and makes it worth reading – is the number of times you can connect something you have seen in a game with the person actually responsible for it. It’s a real “Oh, he’s that guy” kind of a read.
  • More on the Marvel Brothel story from Harbour Master.
  • Prolific mod maker (or perhaps he should now be know more for his writing) Robert Yang talks about Gay (But Not “Gay”) Characters In Videogames. Here’s a crucial bit: “Insisting that difference along any lines, like sexuality (or race, in the case of Grace Holloway from BioShock 2) is “irrelevant” or “doesn’t matter” is a dangerous argument. I’m not sure what Western country you’re living in, but more often than not, being non-straight, non-male or non-white is going to affect your life in some profound way.” For this reason, says Yang, games need to deal with both sex, and with how all kinds of sexuality end up defining us.
  • The New York Times turns balancing the US deficit into a game. Sort of.

Right, I’m off to collect my binoculars scan the horizon for the arrival of my enemies. Music for this procedure will be provided by C418’s life changing moments seem minor in pictures. Yes, that’s the album from the chap who did the Minecraft music.

More soon!

121 Comments

  1. President Weasel says:

    I couldn’t finish the article about Day9 due to the heavy “adults are stupid, children are golden gods” slant of the writing, which was annoying as it seemed like there might be some interesting information there for someone with a higher tolerance. I guess I’m just a stupid adult.

    • Hayvic says:

      What third world country does she live in that her youngest isn’t getting any type of formal education?

    • Xercies says:

      You know what she is right about school being regurgiatated information, but sometimes that information is useful. But everyone who home schools forgets about the one crucial thing, SOCIAL INTERACTION!!!!

      Yes one part of our learning at school isn’t actually school or what were taught by the teachers. its the social part of it. I’ve seen those programs where they home school and seen some people that have been home schooled, there social interaction is nearly non existent. You need to meet people yu like, more importantly, you need to people you don’t like. You need to deal with bullying instead of cowering in your home(because the bully excuse is a very big reason why parents do it) Otherwise you can’t deal with life basically.

    • Peter Radiator Full Pig says:

      Just watch Day9’s 100th video (Its on youtube).
      It was embedded once here before, contains all the information in that article, I actually dont see any reason for that article to exist except as a rough and brief summation.

      Also, its brilliant to watch. I was only going to watch the first few minutes, but he speaks with such passion and is so articulate on his subject that its hard not to watch it all.

    • Urael says:

      @Hayvic – That incredibly naive comment suggests that you have completely failed to understand the article. The conscious decision to eschew the Western approach to education has absolutely nothing to do with Rich vs Poor, or any kind of economic disadvantage. Her son is clearly and demonstrably learning – read the Scrabble example again, the bit where the unschooled youngster comprehensively beats three traditionally educated degree-level adults.

      @Xercies – Careful with that jerking knee – you could break something. This “Home schooling = Lack of Social Interaction” trope tends to be ill-considered FUD. I’ve you’ve ever met a good, responsible parent you’ll be aware how important this factor is in the parental list. This importance increases if a child is home-schooled because the parent can no longer guarantee it will just happen through the course of a school day and has to actively create opportunities for the child. Only bad home-schooling parents will neglect this – as you say – crucial piece of child development.

    • Rinox says:

      @ Urael

      I would say though, that (definitely at younger ages) a proper schooling system will beat a homeschooling parent for the majority of children. It has the advantages of social interaction, a professional framework of teachers and guides and usually works on the fundamentals of a wide range of subjects (perfecting primary language, basic maths, basics secondary language, basics of biology/geography). At a young age, children are better off learning large quantities of information and being exposed to many fields since they are such fast learners.

      I really don’t see how a homeschooling parent could ever match that barring that a) the child is exceptional in some way or b) the schools he or she has access to are shit. At a later age, when students start specializing, I can see how it might be a useful equivalent. But for young children…not really.

    • The Innocent says:

      I do think that the “nerdy gamer’s” mom goes a bit overboard, but I really like seeing a parent trust her child. That’s the one thing that I appreciated most and missed most when I did or did not have it growing up.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I’m sorry, but home schooling will effect the childs social skills., I’m not even sure how you can argue otherwise. Maybe schools in England are different, but children bully the shit out of each other for being different in the slightest.

      My mum even fought for a girl to be put into mainstream school rather than being forced to be home schooled as she has learning difficulties and she has great social skills and friends because of it. That would never have happened with home schooling.

    • Tacroy says:

      FYI: most Americans react with horror and disdain to the idea of homeschooling because generally, the reason why parents pull their children out of public school and homeschool them is because public schools are secular, and the parents believe the child needs a super-duper fundamentalist education full of Jesus and demons and intelligent design.

      This, of course, does not lead to them being very social, though that is more of a beneficial side-effect.

      Edit: having actually read the article in question, you can even see some of that in her writing! Astonishing.

    • Nick says:

      Whereas my experiences at school basically killed my desire to have any form of social interaction for many years.

    • Friend says:

      I’m sorry, but home schooling will effect the childs social skills.

      For the better, generally. Local homeschooling organizations are becoming more plentiful these days, as homeschooling grows in popularity, and they may contain anywhere from a dozen to several hundred homeschooling families; many of the more qualified parents in those groups host classes in their areas of specialization. That’s a big resource. A lot of homeschooled kids also go out and take classes at local colleges, travel, and are otherwise quite involved in their community if they choose to be.

      If their socialization is impaired from homeschooling, it’s only because they didn’t take advantage of the full breadth of resources available.

    • kalidanthepalidan says:

      Regarding the homeschool thing…

      I was homeschooled from 1st grade up until high school. I certainly was not socially graceful by the time I entered high school in comparison to some of my classmates, but I’m introverted as is and don’t really attribute that to being homeschooled. My siblings on the other hand, who are extremely extroverted, did just fine when they entered high school. So I’m of the opinion that a great deal of it depends on the child.

      We had other families around town that we’d meet with once a week for some sort of class/hangout time. Plus I played organized sports so that helped as well. But like I said, I think a lot of it comes down to the child, as I probably would have been socially awkward in grade school just because of my personality. In the end, I’m glad my parents homeschooled me and my siblings as we have a close relationship. Plus I was able to spend a lot of time learning on my own and teaching myself, skills I find very valuable as an adult.

    • Thants says:

      “I’m sorry, but home schooling will effect the childs social skills., I’m not even sure how you can argue otherwise. Maybe schools in England are different, but children bully the shit out of each other for being different in the slightest. ”

      Wait, are you saying that this is a good thing to expose children to?

    • Vinraith says:

      @Thants

      “Most other people are bastards” is actually a very valuable social lesson to learn.

    • Thants says:

      It is important to develop some defenses to jerks, but I think for kids immersed in a situation of serious bullying for being different the lesson they learn is often “Don’t be different” or maybe “Be a bully before you become a victim”.

    • Sir Derpicus says:

      I went to a proper school and I STILL don’t know how to interact with people!

    • Xercies says:

      Maybe i’m weird but being bullied for being different actually made me want to be more different to bloody show those bullys I’m no push over and i don’t want to be one of them.

      Saying that sure I’m really terrible at social interaction, and probably because of secondary school i actually can’t even say to people excuse me because I have this inate fear that they will punch me in the face. But i still think people that go to secondary school learn a lot more and so are better off at social interaction then people that stay at home.

    • Wilson says:

      @Xercies – Hmm, I think I agree more with the people who say it’s down to the child. I’m not especially sociable while a friend of mine who was home-schooled is much more so. I expect that if I had been home-schooled I would be even less sociable, but I don’t think it automatically follows that any child who is home-schooled will be less sociable than a child who goes to a school (I know you didn’t say that but others have). As others have said, it depends on the child and on the quality of the home-schooling.

  2. vanarbulax says:

    I was going to comment on the nullpointer site but it went back up.

    Instead I will comment that you have maxed out my click meter in this set, and the curse of time zones will keep me well into the night engorging on my now tab heaped browser.

  3. Alexander Norris says:

    This is probably old, but it still made me laugh: link to youtube.com

    e; forgot to say, this is courtesy of radomaj.

  4. Rond says:

    Games aren’t exactly evolving as a medium because they don’t have enough buttsex? No thanks.
    If someone needs me, I’ll be in my racist-homophobic-chauvinist room playing Doom or something.

    • Karrius says:

      It’s so much easier to address made-up strawmen that nobody actually said than to read the article and have an intelligent opinion, huh?

    • ErikM says:

      I feel like I’m having a deja-vu. Am I going mad?

    • Jonny Miles says:

      If you read that article and came to the conclusion that a mature depiction of sexuality of game characters means simply ‘more buttsex‘ then yeah, you might want to check what room you’re in.

      The Robert Yang response blog post accuses the original Jim Sterling article of endorsing only “straight-acting” gay characters, or ones down-playing their sexuality. He calls it a homophobia wrapped in intellectualism, appearing “tolerant”.

      I think that’s a pretty harsh assessment. Of course sexuality is a defining part of a person, but games often treat it as the only defining characteristic, and give us the worst kind of stereotypes as characters. I think Jim Sterling was simply championing a character that was fashioned with loving care and a small slice of subtlety. Unfortunately, in the current state of AAA titles (with honourable exeptions by Valve and a few others), that’s a rare thing.

    • ErikM says:

      @Jonny

      I was more feeling a deja-vu toward the above comments.

      Aside from that I don’t think Yang is wrong in his musings. Nor do I think the other author is. Yang discusses a classic in gender theory. When we downplay a part of someone’s existence it tends to become invisible to the general public(white, heterosexual, males, bla.bla.) , and thus it’s only a problem for those who live that aspect of life. Arcade Gannon may be a subtly brilliant character. But he likely does little to champion the LGBT cause(which may not even have been the point of him). He is either way only a droplet of water in a sea of shooty men’s men. Every little bit helps though!

    • Om says:

      Actually, I don’t think its even a gaming issue; for years TV and film have portrayed homosexuality by simply ignoring it. Think of the safe, cuddly and almost asexual Mr Humphries or Graham Norton

    • Rond says:

      I was just trying to be sarcastic, guys. Sorry.
      I mean, if people have trouble with games not depicting gay (or any other) sexuality wide enough, there’s actually something wrong with those people. Maybe they should go check out some movie or book on the subject. Games don’t have to present deep and diverse characters, we’re just having fun with games, alright? Games might as well have no gay characters at all, you don’t blame Chess or Monopoly for that.

    • Lilliput King says:

      @Rond

      QED

    • Vodkarn says:

      One thing I would REALLY like games to catch onto is person-first character creation. IE. there’s a, I dunno, Soldier, who is female, and a lesbian. Not a lesbian who’s a female soldier. If that makes any sense.

      I think we need to include gay characters in games, but not make it so they’re “the gay character.” If the bar owner in Megaton had been gay, would that have changed the game? Other than the fact they’d be admitting people who are gay exist, no.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Honestly, the main gay characters in New Vegas fulfil the person-first description.

    • ErikM says:

      @Rond

      But games that in some way make an effort to depict real life ought to do so. Monopoly isn’t exactly telling a personal story. But who knows. Maybe the monopoly man is gay.

    • Ozzie says:

      @Rond: If you exclude all the games that have a narrative and try to tell a story foremost, then yes. But, y’know, since the example was Fallout:New Vegas, we weren’t exactly talking about Minesweeper.

    • Rond says:

      @ErikM: games telling personal story? “Hello, I’m John Smith, a character written for the sake of this quest. I may or may not be gay”. This is as far as it gets, even in story-driven games.

    • misterk says:

      reading this whole discussion, I still can’t tell if rond is joking, or is just that ridiculous.

  5. Zwack says:

    Of all the computer games I’d pick to rail against for its insidious subtext, Farmville wouldn’t make my top 10.

    No one’s forced to pay Zynga for anything. If no one gained any enjoyment from Farmville, Zynga would have made nothing. They made something that filled a gap and got rewarded for it. Fair play to them. It takes an odd outlook on life to see this as “ruthless markets whose exploitation of human emotion is anything but virtual” when the emotion is enjoyment and the ruthlessness is optional payment.

    • Hypocee says:

      The whole point is that the emotion isn’t enjoyment, but temporary cessation of artificial suffering.

    • Zwack says:

      But it is. People play Farmville because they find entertainment in it, not because they’re thralls in some capitalist feudal system and it’s some kind of opiate for the masses.

      Or at least it’s not more true than it is in any other form of entertainment.

    • Xercies says:

      Psychologically making them come back to there farm every few hours to feed there crops and harvest them I wouldn’t class under “entertainment”

    • Zwack says:

      That’s why you don’t play it. They would.

    • Wilson says:

      @Zwack – I think a fair few gamers might dislike Farmville not only because it isn’t a game that they enjoy playing, but because they feel like there are better alternatives. A lot of people might dismiss ‘video games’ but enjoy playing Farmville. It just seems like a shame that of all the games they could be playing it has to be such an uninventive one.

  6. pkt-zer0 says:

    That Battle for StarCraft 2 article is rather one-sided, so here’s another perspective: link to teamliquid.net
    It’s also kind of lacking the players’ perspective, some of whom are rather pleased by the dethroning of KeSPA: link to giantbomb.com
    Not entirely surprising when you consider that KeSPA required people to practice twelve hours a day for below minimum wage on B teams: link to teamliquid.net

    • ix says:

      I get that kespa is somewhat evil, but why should people play blizzard to broadcast casts of games? It makes no sense whatsoever.

  7. skurmedel says:

    I must say Eurogamer is generally very good at pulling stuff out of context for headlines and sometimes whole articles. Which the Chris Hecker piece aptly shows. This goes for other gaming sites as well.

    Often somebody is asked something in an interview, then they big some particular sentence up like he would’ve gone out in the streets and shouted it to everyone. The fact that it is from an larger interview is usually not signposted well enough. Which prompts people to think this guy is very far up his ass.

    I realize sites want many hits, and raging comment sections provide that but it doesn’t exactly help thoughtful debate.

    • Urael says:

      Poor old Chris. What he’s fallen foul of is modern journalism’s (I’ll spare you the quotes around that word, but in my mind they’re written in neon) tendency to create themes for stories and to not deviate from those themes even when the interviewer who inspired them – note I didn’t say ‘created’ them – goes to great pains to de-rail that particular story. Chris Hecker was cast very early on as an opponent of the Wii, pure and simple, due to some choice cuts carved out of a dense, ten-minute presentation. That was the story. The facts are totally irrelevant against the need to have that story perpetuated which is why the latest journalist completely ignored the content and context of their discussion in favour of attracting more readers through sensationalism.

      Sad, but horribly commonplace.

    • Theory says:

      PSA (literally, not a dig at you skurmedel):

      Headlines and image captions are almost always written by a subeditor, not the author of the article. You notice this a lot at Eurogamer because they have some pretty good contributors but at least one godawful sub. Cases in point the article Hecker linked to, and also this.

    • thebigJ_A says:

      I don’t understand what your second link has to do with your point. It’s a five year old game review, and it doesn’t even have a title other than “Review”.

    • JackShandy says:

      I think part of it is just the very nature of headlines. Whenever you take something and plaster it in all caps across the front of something, it’s going to look a lot more inflammatory. “I didn’t enjoy it.” vs. “GAME DEV “DID NOT ENJOY” NEW GAME X!”

  8. Lars Westergren says:

    I preferred Sterling’s original article. Saying that gay characters should be less 2-dimensional and not just being defined by their sexuality is NOT the same thing as saying that everyone should shut the fuck up and get back into the closet, as Yang seems to think.

    Edit: Anonymous on Yang’s blog who talks about Focault made a good point. I dislike putting lables on people, these are limiting.

    • IdleHands says:

      I thought the same as I read that article. He’s right that we should be wary of sidelining being openly gay, but I do hate when writers make a gay character include the fact they are gay into every sentence they ever speak. Yes being gay is a large defining part of that character but it is not all they are, they are allowed to be defined by other things as well.

      Guess the two articles probably agree with one another really but look at two extremes of how gay can be written, as a Graham Norton stereotype where there is nothing to them but being gay and being sidelined as not to offend gamers with them being gay so best make it a secret.

    • Moth Bones says:

      The comments by Anonymous re Foucault are absolutely spot on, as is this quote from the article itself (well done to Jim for highlighting it) – “I’m not sure what Western country you’re living in, but more often than not, being non-straight, non-male or non-white is going to affect your life in some profound way.” That is precisely what the likes of Rond upthread, and the folk who roll their eyes when feminism is mentioned, fail to understand – straightwhitemale is default and dominant, and if you get tired hearing about ‘minority issues’, how much more tired do you think we get having that ‘normality’ shouting at us every day?

      Aside from that, Yang obviously means well, but I’m unconvinced as to his prescription.

    • Archonsod says:

      The portrayal of sexuality in video games has a long way to go irrespective of the actual sexuality in question. The vast majority of characters are asexual, and you can take almost any mention of sexuality by any character as shorthand for “you will be able to sleep with me before the end of the game”.
      Writers are still locked into the Hollywood mode whereby the main character must have a love interest no matter how ridiculous or unrealistic this happens to be in the circumstances.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I always find this funny. So I went to my uncles wedding a few years back. The guy he married is an opera singer, he has a double barrelled first name and he’s the campest man I’ve ever met. I know that not all gay men are like this – my uncle isn’t. But to say it’s just a stereotype is completely ridiculous, it’s not that uncommon.

      To say we should stop portraying gay men like that is stupid when lots of people are like that. We should stop portraying all gay men like that yes. But for all we know Gordon Freeman is gay, that explains all those awkward silences whenever Alyx is coming on to you.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      At the end of the day, if someone is gay or not should not NEED to matter. The argument for “it doesn’t matter” can be the same line of thinking of “neat, the president is black”. It’s neat we have someone that isn’t white, but really, why does it matter in the abstract? We should’ve been electing non white male straight christian people a while ago. So yeah, while it may matter now to shout “Say it loud! I’m gay and I’m proud!” in the longterm, it shouldn’t be required, as general tolerance should be expected. Hell, I think sexism in gaming is a more important issue right now, and I’m not a woman or sexist! (Ba-zing!)

    • quantumdot says:

      See, while I agree with the general idea of both parties, I don’t like a) all the offensive imagery that was in Sterling’s post when I read it, as well as a lot of his wording, and b) the hostile stance Robert Yang ended up taking. While I didn’t comment on the article, I conversed with him via twitter, and I do agree that he had a valid point to make that may have since been obscured.

      I think that the crux of his problem with Sterling’s article is the sense that Sterling seemed to intimate that having an out character that was forward about his sexuality would be automatically inferior to a more “closeted” or “straight-acting” approach. In a perfect world, of course we wouldn’t need to have labels, and the media would act as if gay characters are the norm. Personally, I’ve discussed with my friends that having a non-stereotypical and non-flamboyant character or array of characters in the media would be lovely. However, the fact stands that as IdleHands said, we do kind of sit at two extremes, with neither being in the right. In the case of Arcade Gannon and FO:NV, it’s very much in his character not to be forthcoming about anything, least of all his sexuality. However, this doesn’t automatically make him TEH BEST GAY CHARACTER EVAR, in my mind.

      Ideally, yes, there would be a variety of people of all presentations and sexual orientations in the gaming (and other media!) world, but unfortunately there is not. While Arcade’s character and FO:NV’s presentation of GLBT people is a step in the right direction, I would definitely not call it the pinnacle. We’ve yet to reach that in all areas of life, and it certainly isn’t games’ fault.

      Sorry about the TL;DR, but this is something I feel very strongly about and it’s unfortunate that these two articles had to be in the center of a Mexican standoff. I still feel as if Sterling’s article wouldn’t have been nearly as incendiary if it had been a little more serious.

    • quantumdot says:

      *him in the first paragraph being Robert Yang. Eeep.

  9. Tei says:

    SUBTEXT
    In sim-city, you are the inmortal ruthless dictator, that wen get really bored, can summon volcanos, twisters, earthquakes, and the like.

  10. Evil Otto says:

    Sundays are for playing psychedelic bluesrock songs on a toy piano.

  11. DeepSleeper says:

    If Chris Hecker is pissed that people keep quoting him saying the Wii is a piece of shit, perhaps he should stop talking to the press entirely.
    And stop his “Rants” at GDC.
    And basically stop being in the public eye entirely.

    That’s what it takes not to get quoted out of context. That’s what it takes not to be pointed and laughed at on the Internet. Being invisible.
    Otherwise you’ll just have to live with being the “Wii is a piece of shit” guy.

    • Dominic White says:

      It’s not so much a matter as ‘Don’t talk to the press’ as ‘Don’t make deliberately inflammatory rant-speeches at game development conferences and be surprised when you actually start some fires’.

    • Jonny Miles says:

      He’s got a lot of great and interesting things to say on games, so I hope he doesn’t stop or self-censor himself into boring-ness. You’re entirely right that invisibility is the only guaranteed way to avoid these quotes, and I think he knows this also.

      Unless he wants to seriously compromise what he says publically, and doesn’t like hate-mail, the only alternative is to try and incite some movement towards responsible non-tabloidy journalism in games.

      A beautiful ideal, but Kotaku get a lot of money for those pageviews (god knows I’ve helped) and “Game Developer makes humourous remarks about Wii while making educated and technical point” wouldn’t be one of their greatest hits…

    • DeepSleeper says:

      I have to admit, I’d be let down if he did just shut up and go away.

      He has some good ideas, I just spent a couple hours reading his site. It’s just a bit depressing to me that the only way not to be misquoted is not to say anything.

    • ExplosiveCoot says:

      I’ve heard the rant; and his “Wii is a piece of shit” was said in a jokingly exaggerated fashion, not in a rant-y “I hate the Wii” fashion. The GDC rant was much more akin to a comedian performing standup than to a serious, issue-focused speech. Think of how many comedians make racist jokes or jokes about stereotypes – they don’t do it because they believe what they’re saying necessarily, but more because they can use humor to pick at a difficult or controversial subject. Now imagine if some media outlet decided to report the inflammatory things these comedians say as the truth about what they actually believe without any context. Now further imagine that these headlines are picked up across the news world, and soon everyone believes something that is completely untrue.

      The solution here isn’t to not talk to the press, the solution is for the press to grow the fuck up and report things with some context, and if no one in the press is willing to do so then the solution is for readers to quit buying sensationalist bullshit and demand reporting of a higher standard.

      Pardon the profanity.

    • Mo says:

      @Dominic White:
      But he did his rant during a session specifically for rants. As in, there were multiple people who all did five minute rants, most of which were just as inflammatory. And again, the rant in its entirety makes a lot of sense. He was talking about the state of AI in videogames, he clearly wasn’t ripping on Wii/Nintendo for the sake of it.

      Moreover, it was a bit surprising that this “got out”. I’ve been following GDC for many, many years on Gamasutra and the like, but I clearly remember that GDC being the first year the general press really paid attention. What sucks is that GDC used to be the place where game developers could speak their mind. Incidents like this mean we’ve been seeing less and less of that.

  12. terry says:

    I am very excited for “Walking City” after reading those analysis articles, and upon learning it takes inspiration from almost all of my favourite games. Player one needs citybuilding badly.

  13. Rii says:

    Love the Gamasutra list. Two entries for Zynga, Steve Jobs(!), and EA’s Riococoicoitello for reaming the used game market.

    The art and business of making games, indeed.

  14. Rinox says:

    That Day9 article was an interesting read, but is only ‘true’ to some extent. I’m sure she’s not lying when talking about her own sons, but let’s face it, the vast majority of the Starcraft community aren’t kind lovers of life with a healthy sense of fairplay. At all.

    Her son is probably offering her a bit of a rosy view of that world. Anger, jealousy, frustration and even violence are words I would describe to use it myself. Which isn’t to say that SC is unhealthy or ‘bad’, but rather that it isn’t any different from any other highly competitive world (like professional sports).

    Even at the lower tiers where people are playing for worthless internet ranking crumbs it’s hard to find any people who are nice. So…colour me in disagreement.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      “Even at the lower tiers where people are playing for worthless internet ranking crumbs it’s hard to find any people who are nice.”

      Dunno about that, I’ve not faced any jerks yet on the Euro servers. Sure, there were a bunch of folks who can’t handle losing really well, but that also happens to the best of us.

    • Rinox says:

      Mm, ok, I’ll admit that I haven’t seen that many people go off or completely ballistic during games. But I’m also counting people who do not even say ‘hi’ at a game’s start or ‘bye’ before quitting. Or people who don’t respond at all to several attempts at communication. Ignoring someone is just as rude as going completely ballistic, imho (and the latter is so much more fun to watch).

    • Starky says:

      The vast majority of GOOD Starcraft 2 players are though.

      I’m a average at best SC2 player (could probably push to diamond if I played more, but have been bouncing between gold and plat) – but even at these levels it is fairly rare to come across a complete twat.

      Sadly for new and inexperienced players all idiots, abuse gits seem to be bronze and silver, or a bit higher in 3v3 and 4v4.

      The worst I’ve seen (and done) is a bit of a 2 line rant at the end of a losing game – usually more at myself than my opponent, sometimes at my teammate in 2v2 which I know I shouldn’t, but frustration someti9mes gets the best… All the SC2 communities are very, very friendly and places like Team Liquid will not tolerate any abusive behaviour.

      Edit: Oh come on not saying hi, or bye is no where near as rude as launching a tirade of insults at someone.
      At worst it’s slightly rude, but it’s basically neutral – not friendly or rude.
      Especially in the EU where sometimes people may not even speak English at all.

    • Rinox says:

      It’s weird, cause I’m in the same levels as you (gold-plat) and rarely meet anyone who gives me a semblance of being good-natured or having fun. As for the “hi” and “bye” thing…I don’t mind if people do it in their own language at all, in most cases I’ll be able to understand it anyway. But if I say “hi” or “bye” and there is no response at all, it’s rude. It means they can’t even be bothered enough with typing 3 characters. Ignoring that anyone is there at all is, for me, even ruder than calling their tactics lame or noob.

      Self-griefing confession: in the past, if it was obvious the opponent was going to win and I told him gg and bye, and he didn’t even reply, I’d do everything to extend my death struggle as long as possible. I’d send out drones all over the map and cap geysers and put up lairs in unlikely locations (especially on 4-player maps) just to turn it into a frustrating hide-and-seek game for my opponent. I don’t do that anymore (since I’m wasting my own time with it as well), but sorry, if you can’t even be bothered to reply with a 3-character response courtesy, you can spend the next 5 minutes scouting out pointless expansions.

    • Ysellian says:

      @Rinox, The reason I personally don’t reply to the GG is because usually people have already left by the time I replied.

      On the Article about Blizzard’s way of handling South Korea. Well you don’t bite the hand that feeds you, I really hope Blizzard get out of their Activision styled minds and remember that if they focus too much on making money they will lose that which made them great in the first place.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      @Ysellian: “Well you don’t bite the hand that feeds you, I really hope Blizzard get out of their Activision styled minds and remember that if they focus too much on making money they will lose that which made them great in the first place.”

      Read the linked articles in my reply further above regarding the subject. There’s a lot more to this than Blizzard being money-grubbing dicks – I’d say they’re certainly the lesser dicks when going up against KeSPA, at the very least.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      The lower the tier, the more people think of themselves as pros.

    • Ysellian says:

      @pkt-zer0. Yeah I admit I was too quick to judge.

    • Ysellian says:

      May want to ask RPS to add your links as well, because if you think about it. Blizzard is actually going the programing scene a huge favor.

  15. drewski says:

    US budget in $11b surplus in 2015, $325b surplus by 2030. Zero job losses, zero wage cuts. No cuts to research, no cuts to government departments. No new taxes on people earning under $250k p.a., no payroll taxes, corporate tax rate cut (but loopholes in tax code closed) to encourage investment and employment. Carbon and bank taxes implemented. I’d also spend some of that future surplus cutting tax rates in compensation for the carbon tax.

    You’re welcome, US citizens.

    • Dreamhacker says:

      The problem is that lowering corporate taxes doesn’t automagically create jobs. It’s a bit more complicated.

    • bob_d says:

      @ Dreamhacker: Yep. They did it recently and had no new jobs created, for a pretty simple reason: the economy is consumer-driven. People weren’t buying more stuff (as their wages were still low or they were unemployed), so there was no increase in demand for goods, so no reason to hire people. The decreased tax just meant corporation had higher profits, which doesn’t benefit workers any. In fact, a number of companies with record profits went on to lay off large numbers of their workers (thus increasing their profits further, at least in the short term).

    • ExplosiveCoot says:

      Right now most US corporations pay no money in taxes:

      link to reuters.com

    • drewski says:

      Of course it doesn’t “automagically” encourage jobs, but it stimulates investment, increases shareholder returns and drives productivity growth, all of which is good for job creation long term.

      The reason job losses occur is because they are not productive, for whatever reason – if a company (or any other entity) can make greater income from paying someone for their labour than they can for not paying them for their labour, they will do so. And the greater income can be retained in an entity, the greater the incentive to invest in that entity – and that investment includes labour.

      There is no magical solution to preventing a recession in the short term – recessions, and accompanying job losses, occur because investment was made in enterprise that is not productive. The only way to solve the problem is to liquidate poor investment and realise losses. Unfortunately, people not employed in productive enterprise will lose their jobs in times of recession.

      When a company returns profit to shareholders, that money doesn’t “automagically” disappear either – those shareholders then spend that returned profit on something else, which drives growth in that sector of the economy, whatever it may be. By setting business taxes as low as possible, you encourage spending in areas which are productive and generate employment. High corporate tax rates are a large disincentive to productive investment; productive investment is what drives economic and employment growth.

      The US economy is only consumer driven because policies to that effect have been deliberately and repeatedly implemented over recent decades – discouraging productive investment and encouraging reckless consumption. The US now has to pay for that error – there’s no ducking it.

    • bob_d says:

      “…those shareholders then spend that returned profit on something else, which drives growth..”
      Groan. That’s moving into the trickle-down argument, which is complete B.S., sorry.

      link to nytimes.com

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      The trickle down theory works…

      In Sweden, where they get taxed to hell if they don’t spend the money or invest it. Seriously, rich people love to sit on their money like chickens nesting eggs. They have to be forced to spend it, otherwise the economy can stop outright. You know how much the top 10% of America has in money? 50% of it. All the income, cash, whatever. They have half, and they’re 1/10th of the population, and they DON’T give back. Does that seem right to you?

    • believeinurselfok says:

      y u be down on US man. we bail out bondholder banksters all the time. no big deal. have some soma. lets rabble amongst ourselves. Ireland and Portugal? Bens got it covered.

    • Xercies says:

      @DJ

      Just because it works in Sweden doesn’t mean it works everywhere else, thats why you have to test these things. saying that just because it hasn’t worked in the past doesn’t mean its a failure. So yeah more testing needs to be done on this theory.

    • drewski says:

      @ bob_d – it’s not the trickle down argument at all; it is not anything like it, either. It is not even relevant.

      If a company returns $100m to shareholders, those shareholders can either save it (in which case banks lend it out to people who also do one of the following with it); invest it (in which case it boosts productive enterprise); or spend it (in which case Ferrari sell some more cars).

      Unless they literally hide the money under their mattress, it all goes back into the economy. Given that if they’re shareholders in the first place they’re obviously the type of person who actively manages idle capital, it seems unreasonable to suggest they will suddenly start hoarding dividend cheques.

  16. Dinger says:

    So, Mr. Betts’ assessment of Love finishes with a carefully-worded observation that could be reduced to “It’s an ant-farm”?

    Speaking of which, that Rock of Ages trailer is hilarious. No matter how many times it’s done, making fun of David’s junk never gets old.

    • tom says:

      Hmm, I hope I wasn’t making out that it was as simple as that. (although ant farms are pretty cool). I think its just very difficult as a developer (especially a solo developer) to balance your creative interests with the requirements of a game designed for a wider audience. Personally I feel that Love demonstrates some amazing ideas and some spellbinding aesthetics, but the gameplay didnt gel for me. Love seems to lie much more in the camp of ‘art game’ than Eskil likes to admit, and I think he would get more mileage from exploiting/exploring the artistic/creative/atmospheric aspects of it than pushing a hard to follow FPS/RTS hybrid that requires a certain level of server traffic to maintain.

  17. Starky says:

    edit: reply fail :)

  18. Urael says:

    As a slice of gaming history, that 1998 Gamers With Jobs podcast is HILARIOUS.

    “It requires a monthly fee ANd a 3D card? Are they TRYING to put themselves out of business??”

    • sebmojo says:

      It’s a very clever piece.

      They missed my own highlight of 1998, the penetratingly awesome BATTLEZONE. Damn that was a good game.

  19. Urthman says:

    From the Edge article:

    and not a single dollar was paid to Blizzard by any of the Korean entities which grew up around the StarCraft phenomenon.

    Except for the five million people who bought the game?

    This here is what’s wrong with the gaming industry. Blizzard sells five million copies of Starcraft in South Korea and they see that as a failure. A failure because they didn’t implement a bunch of technological rent-collecting mechanisms to limit the ways people could play and enjoy the game they bought without paying Blizzard more money.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      “Except for the five million people who bought the game?”

      That’s the players, not KeSPA. Also, it’s KeSPA who charged folks the equivalent of 1.5 million dollars for broadcasting rights (that they didn’t even own) – Blizzard only requested a symbolic amount (one dollar) from GomTV for the same.

    • Moth Bones says:

      “We once again confirmed that [Gom owner] Gretech does not have any desire to negotiate as they deny the existence of pro-game teams and the Proleague,”

      Bloody hell, this is the darts schism all over again, isn’t it?

    • Simon Denton says:

      I don’t trust that 5 million figure — my own research indicates that it’s 4.5 million, but that figure is from the Korean distributor, not Blizzard. And Korean companies are not known for their honesty.

      Also, despite their disposable income, Koreans are not known for their software-buying habits — they usually ‘acquire’ it by other means. Most popular Korean software is a free download supported by advertising or sponsorship.

  20. RagingLion says:

    Continuing the Starcraft 2 pro scene theme my favourite piece of games media this week was not a written piece but a video from Giant Bomb of their visit to the season 2 finals of the major Starcraft 2 tournament there. It’s a fun piece and contains a few in jokes but it generally just gives a really good impression of the pro scene out there and they also visit a PC Baang and interview the winner as well. Also, the editing is absolutely STELLAR! There’s an accompanying video on one of the houses where pro Starcraft players train as well which is very interesting to see and there’s some good interviews with folks.

    link to giantbomb.com

  21. Carra says:

    Instead of reading all that about Day9 you could just watch his brilliant autobiography on youtube.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Yeah I watched that a while back and it was great. I don’t even play or like Starcraft, but I found it fascinating. It’s probably just because he is so incredibly passionate about it, so it’s fun to listen to.

  22. Frank says:

    Me: “Wesley Yin-Poole is a piece of sh*t!”

    Hecker should have known better, talking to the douche who started that Schafer-Kotick nonsense.

  23. Frank says:

    Isn’t that NYT game identical to this, but without graphics? link to marketplace.publicradio.org

  24. Stephen says:

    ” Well, given the depth of Sean’s insights and mastery of life, I think we ought to drop the reading, riting and rithmetic and let him teach Starcraft in schools.”

    Whoa whoa whoa. Don’t do that. That would be really, really stupid.

    • Kandon Arc says:

      But he knows more than most therapists!

    • JackShandy says:

      I can’t wait for the day we actually ARE invaded by aliens, and strong knowledge of build orders and a fast rate of clicks per minute become ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL.

  25. kwyjibo says:

    I read the Guardian Farmville piece not as a Farmville attack piece but a shining beacon of capitalism done right. If these serfs are stupid enough to give Zynga their money, then fuck them, Zynga’s bound to be more responsible about it than they are.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      Zynga has psychologists work with them at every stage of game development to make sure their games trick and control people as much as possible. If you think that makes Zynga smarter than the people they fool I would imagine you think propagandists are geniuses.

    • Thants says:

      Capitalism done right is terrifying.

    • Ozzie says:

      Actually, this is an example of perversion of capitalism for me, so I think it’s “capitalism done wrong”.

    • Pantsman says:

      Indeed, how dare they have never been taught about financial responsibility or given intellectually stimulating leisure activities?

    • kwyjibo says:

      “If you think that makes Zynga smarter than the people they fool I would imagine you think propagandists are geniuses.”

      They are. Riefenstahl’s work is incredible, the Tate Modern has rooms dedicated to Soviet propaganda, Mad Men isn’t just about the clothes.

      Valve hire psychologists to play with Steam pricing in order to maximise their profits. I would imagine you think it “trickery” only when you don’t fall for it right?

  26. thebigJ_A says:

    It says “no key assigned” in GFW. What do I do?

  27. C418 says:

    Thanks for that Jim.

  28. Gap Gen says:

    Did anyone else look at Rock of Ages and think Terry Gilliam/Monty Python?