The Sunday Papers


Sundays are for meat. We all know that. But sometimes they are for vegetables too. Parsnips, even. But when the food is gone, we will need something else: intelligent commentary on the modern phenomenon of video games. Where could we find such rarities? Where indeed.

  • TimeGate’s Adel Chaveleh talks self-publishing: “We would kill ourselves to make a great game and carry it across the finish line of development,” says Chaveleh. “Then we would hand off the baton to another party, where they were responsible for things like PR, marketing, distribution – and a lot of times we saw stumbling happen then. A lot of time, we had to swoop in and take over. Other items we had to sit here and our hands were tied. We got tired of it, to be frank.” We’re going to see more and more of this. Traditional publishers could find their days numbered? Maybe? Right, wishful thinking there, sorry.
  • The Telegraph interviews John Carmack.
  • TIGSource produced a rather lovely post linking to a whole bunch of indie game soundtracks and their creators. Go take a look listen.
  • Eurogamer’s If Trailers Told The Truth is brilliant. Funny, and actually kind of brutal. One of the best things on EG in a while.
  • Leigh Alexander talks to a Black Ops veteran, the unlikely-named Wolfgang Hammersmith, about Call Of Duty. It’s a fresh visit to the topic of violence in games, but more surprisingly it turns out that Hammersmith wants games to be more hardcore: “”I think games can wield people’s attention, and maybe even teach them how to wield their own attention,” Hammersmith reflects. “What I would think about changing is, let’s have a way to shut off auto-aim and extra lives, and having infinite ammo, and let’s find a way to turn off the radar so you don’t know where your opponent is. Let’s have a game that allows you to use more of a field, to do things that make tactical sense.” Maybe he should get a copy of Arma 2.
  • Billy Bob Thornton thinks games are to blame for making movies worse. Sorry about that, Billy. I hear critics make movies worse by panning them in the press, too.
  • That Jim Rossignol guy went to an architecture event called Thrilling Wonder Stories II, and there were videogames. Splash Damage’s Ed Stern even spoke about Brink. It was all jolly good.
  • OXM’s Mike Channell suggests that games won’t get you the girl. Well, they won’t get him the girl, at least. Poor old Mike.
  • Michael Mateas on AI, Games and New Media, via Five Players.
  • Are you aware of The Dancing Plague Of 1518? I’m not sure why I am linking this here, except to point out that they built a stage.
  • The Quietus produces a superb interview with the grandfather of British sci-fi/fantasy (well, the surviving one, anyway) Michael Moorcock. This is well worth a read. For example, on the lack of intellectual content in Steampunk: “Yes, that’s right, and they think, “oh great, big airships! Wow!” You’re a bit suspicious of people who like too many big airships. You think, maybe you should be writing porn, you know!”
  • Was April 11th, 1954 the most boring day of the 20th century? Probably. Someone should make a game out of it.

And that’s me done for the day. I’m going to trudge out into the snow to chop firewood with my enormous axe. I might have this on my MP3 player as I go. Ah, sweet dissonance.

151 Comments

  1. beefchief says:

    I would have thought this music would be more suitable Jim

  2. Urael says:

    Moorcock is a LEGEND. Elric, Corum, The Eternal Champion…god, fantasy backdrop to my childhood, he was.

    • frymaster says:

      lucky you :( I’ve never been able to get into his stuff at all, it just totally fails to move me.

    • latedave says:

      Ditto, I always felt I should like his stuff a lot more than I actually did. That said I used to read a lot of Eddings and Gemmell so my taste is definitely suspect!

    • Cunzy1 1 says:

      I can’t read that Michael Moorcock interview. The MM at the beginning of each of his sentences reads like a disapproving hum in my voice head before each of his comments.

      Dang.

  3. panther says:

    Billy Bob Thorton, his opinion is fairly worthless anyway.

    • bill says:

      Maybe. But can anyone argue with his general point? He probably doesn’t know much about games or specifics, but it does seem like the current crapness of cinema is down to it being “games for the video game generation”. With all the love of eye-candy, disinterest in story and minute attention spans that that implies.

      Not all games are like that. Clearly not all gamers are like that. But that does seem to be who movies are targeted at.

      Of course, if he knew more about games he’d have been more specific and said “Movies for the Modern Warfare generation”.

    • Auspex says:

      Yeah it’s not like BBT the first person to make that point either. Mark Kermode has often cited it as a reason with regard to films like Transformers 2.

      Though BBT and MK probably know absolutely nothing about games but I still they’re pretty great.

    • Garg says:

      It’s an odd opinion though. I just watched the Arnie film Commando, and I’m pretty sure that was made for the Call of Duty generation. In the 80s.

    • jeremypeel says:

      Mainstream Hollywood cinema ISN’T worse than whatever timeless halcyon period it is that lives in Thornton’s head, I’d venture. To generalise like that is to dismiss nearly 100-years-worth of mediocre films. For the millionth time, world – WE DON’T REMEMBER THE MEDIOCRE ONES. Our Hollywood is one where action films like Inception, District 9 and Cloverfield can get the commerical backing the Arnie-vehicles used to, whilst The Expendables has to settle for second best.

      Also, current American mainstream cinema might be flawed in its values, but it’s at the very least far more self-aware for the most part than Faster seems to be. Is what Thornton refers to really a valuable message or merely self-justification for all that violence, when it’s as stylised as it is?

      There’s something to be said for a larger point that Thornton seems to be accidentally hinting at – post-modernism in cinema, in criticism, in anything is ultimately a dead end – but in placing the blame on games he’s the spitting image of the Bible-belt mother telling everyone who’ll listen that Hollywood has turned society bad.

    • Archonsod says:

      It’s funny, because I’d say the mainstream games have declined in quality too. I wonder if it could perhaps be because both industries have seen rising production costs over the past decade, and as a result have been appealing more and more towards the common denominator to try and make a profit?

    • Mad Hamish says:

      Yeah that’s utter rubbish. People have real short memories. Garg is exactly right, dumb movies with lots of eye candy are not a product of the video game generation. It’s pretty much the opposite. Play any call of duty game or big budget modern FPS or action game and try and tell me that it’s not inspired by hollywood blockbusters. From the visuals, music, cinematic techniques, plot devices, characters the whole bloody lot is take right from cinema. Speilberg also has a hand in this. And Commando is a fucking awesome movie, man that tool shed scene. Thornton’s just letting off steam via his flapping redneck hole.

    • Arathain says:

      I’ve certainly noticed action scenes in movies have a noticeable video game influence these days. I like it.

    • Arthur Barnhouse says:

      Would you tell Tom Petty that?

    • bob_d says:

      He’s right, he just got it completely reversed.
      Also, he seems to have forgotten what the real “negative” (in his view) influence on movies was – music videos. Well, to be fair, music videos and movies themselves. The “big dumb thrill ride” movies are the way they are because film-makers were distilling the elements that had mass appeal to an international audience, and that’s what they ended up with.

    • DrGonzo says:

      It should also be noted that Mark Kermode is an absolute bell end and should never be listened to. By anyone. Ever.

    • JackShandy says:

      Cinema’s definetly getting inspired by video games, but I don’t see it as a bad thing. Inception and Avatar were great movies.

    • MrEvilGuy says:

      This whole argument is silly. Just taking Billy Bob’s argument for face value probably won’t convince anyone – it’s a weak argument as David Houghton, Jim Rossignol, and some of you have pointed out.

      The reverse argument is silly as well, although it’s slightly stronger than Billy’s.

      And the reason both arguments are silly are because they do not take into account the overall picture of, to put rather bluntly, cause and effect in society. One oversimplified example would be that pop culture is a self-fulfilling prophecy; people find guns attractive in pop culture, and since the producers want money, they make films and games with guns – and that strengthens the gun loving aspect of pop culture. So then pop culture is the cause of shitty games and movies that have gun loving entertainment void of any intellectual content. Again, this example is oversimplified and I hope nobody takes it as anything more than an example of what I am getting at. Perhaps using jeremypeel’s idea of postmodern would have had more depth, but that’s exactly what I don’t want – I don’t want people to get an impression that this stuff can be explained with a few concepts, because it can’t – it’s bigger than that.

      So on the analytical level, these arguments are jejune, and the actual implication of people reading these jejune arguments is trivial, because the arguments are so weak they won’t convince anyone.

    • bill says:

      But that’s the point, he’s not saying that games have specifically caused the problem, he’s saying that both the games and movies are a symptom of the same mindset and aimed at the same target audience.
      Personally I think games and movies have had a very strong influence on each other. Recent movies seem very much like video games, and recent games seem very much like movies. That’s partly an effect of targeting the same demographic, and wider changes in society, but it’s also an effect of the cross-polination/contamination of industries.

      Commando might precede the video game generation, but it doesn’t play like a video game in the way many modern movies do.
      ——
      I must be getting old and jaded, because there seems to be a major drought of important meaningful movies these days. The old days had commando and cobra, but they also had raging bull and godfather.

  4. Monchberter says:

    The TELEGRAPH running a story on Carmack?!? Why i just dropped my monocle!

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      Steady on, old chap. Next you’ll be saying RPS are calling us idiots for not buying Rage!

    • pakoito says:

      Put it back, the interviewer was only interested in iPhone and how cool is it and was it difficult to program and did apple put any trouble publishing and did you spend much time learning and do you like the 4 gen better and…

    • stahlwerk says:

      The article was almost rendered unreadable by typos and omitted words. Kind of hard to when you have to fill in the blanks, doubly so for and foreign language reader.

    • Ozzie says:

      I always consider Grunge a label for bands that were born out of a certain scene (the one in Seattle in the early 90’s) or which were inspired by other Grunge bands.

      Because, musically, Soundgarden is a whole different animal to Nirvana.
      And “In Utero” is still a truly terrific and terrifying album!

    • Ozzie says:

      Ooop! Reply fail…

    • Josh W says:

      I wondered if the missed words were Carmack thinking too fast for his speech and missing stuff out. I that sometimes.

  5. Casimir's Blake says:

    Michael Moorcock… also partially “responsible” for Blue Oyster Cult’s decline in the 80s? No wonder Imaginos has superior lyrics. Hang on, this is a gaming site, right?

    • Nick says:

      I like their 80’s stuff too =(

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      Even Revolution By Night? Seriously? I can deal with the rest, but they let their sci-fi pretentions overtake them on RBN. If it wasn’t Moorcock’s cock-handed fantasies, it was those dreaded 80s power-metalisms. (Thank goodness for Imaginos.)

    • pagad says:

      Hey, “Veteran of the Psychic Wars” was a choon.

    • Temple to Tei says:

      Hawkwind’s Chronicle’s of the Black Sword were good.
      Well, they sounded like Hawkwind anyway

    • Mad Hamish says:

      What? Blue Oyster Cult never declined. Shit I bet you think Rush declined in the 80s too.

    • theleif says:

      All metal declined in the 80:s and continued to decline until the day Alice in Chains stepped out on the scene.
      And so, like the phoenix, metal was reborn.
      True story.

    • Mad Hamish says:

      Metal declined in the 80s? What? That’s actually an opinion? Sorry if I sound like an asshole here, but that’s a lot of shit.
      Every now and again metal spawns shitty sub genres but metal as a whole was never shit since it’s creation. The 80s was where metal found it’s identity and became a genre.
      You’re just trolling right? Please tell me you’re trolling.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      Crikey, there were people that thought Rush were ever good? At least, outside of their first album and Moving Pictures? Shocking! Yes, I liked “Veteran Of The Psychic Wars” too, but by that point BOC had lost the edge they had on the likes of Transmaniacon MC, Astronomy, or Nosferatu. Until they found it again on the ASTONISHING Imaginos, making up for most of the metal of the 80s. *runs* (Okay, Maiden were alright!)

    • DrGonzo says:

      Alice in Chains are actually responsible for the death of metal if you ask me.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      Just to drag this further wildly off topic…

      AIC were galactically superior to Nirvana, and are arguably the only grunge band that played good grunge. It’s a miserable genre anyway… I prefer to call it emo-metal but I suppose others consider such a thing covered by the likes of At The Drive In (ugh, I’ll take The Mars Volta instead, thanks). Grunge fans just didn’t want to call it metal!

    • DiamondDog says:

      Wait, metal is dead?

    • Ozzie says:

      I always consider Grunge a label for music by bands that were born out of the Seattle scene in the early 90′s or which was inspired by other Grunge bands.

      Because, musically, Soundgarden is a whole different animal to Nirvana.
      And “In Utero” is still a truly terrific and terrifying album!

    • Nick says:

      Stuff like Dancing in the Ruins and Perfect Water off Club Ninja were great, for example.

      Grunge really isn’t metal-like. Tbh metal went downhill when the majority of bands didn’t sing/try and sing and started growling like fucking morons. There are still some great bands that don’t and hey, Metallica released a thrash album again (although I like all their albums, except the abomination that was St Anger *shiver*).

    • Spacewalk says:

      Grunge never killed metal it just got rid of all the “hair” bands that were falsely proclaimed as metal.

    • Nick says:

      Nah, it just took over the spotlight in popular music so no new hair bands that had jumped on that craze emerged.

    • Dreamhacker says:

      Guys, this is a gaming site, remember? :P

  6. Monchberter says:

    Everyone should read The Quietus

    • Lambchops says:

      This opening gambit from a review of the latest Orange Juice reissue is a prime example of why this is in fact not the case.

      “The prevailing doxa vis-a-vis Orange Juice is that they mediated a certain form of insular dissatisfaction with the dour personal/political hypochondria of their post-punk forerunners and peers. Indeed, they are intermittently feted as having presciently tapped into a stream of hitherto unexplored and, at the time, resolutely unfashionable longing for a smidgen of a pre year-zero remystyification of the pop formulae.”

      Methinks someone needs to put their thesaurus away and get a decent editor.

      Some of their stuff is very well written and enjoyable but there’s a few too many instances of writing like the above to make it somewhere I’d read without being linked to.

    • DrGonzo says:

      That paragraph has to be a joke though doesn’t it? Like against pretentious pop writing and stuff.

    • Moth Bones says:

      Indeed, everyone with an interest in pop music should read The Quietus. You won’t like everything there, so what? You’re liable to find out something you didn’t know before.

    • Lambchops says:

      Deleted to a bit of reading fail on my part and uneccesary negativity of the type I don’t like to associate myself with, no doubt brought on by my mind being fried from trying to come up with ideas for a project!

  7. Urael says:

    Well done, Eurogamer. Genuinely funny. Great stuff.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      Yes, that was funny, and brutal.

      The Star Wars clip reminded me of the Gametrailers brutal comparison of the usual Squeenix cgi with the real Final Fantasy XIV battle experience.(5 minutes, 30 seconds in)

      link to gametrailers.com

      Let’s hope SWTOR fares better.

    • Mark says:

      The only problem with the EG article is that it’s too short. John Teti may be my favourite EG writer. :D

    • Man Raised By Puffins says:

      @ Mark: If you want more Teti goodness, he also writes for The Onion’s AV Club.

    • Dominic White says:

      @Lars – I can’t help but be reminded of how defensive a certain subset of Bioware fans get when you compare the carefully edited ‘exclusive gameplay trailer’ footage of SW:TOR to amateur, shakeycam real gameplay footage of Guild Wars 2, and the latter looks far, far better.

      Don’t get me wrong here, I want a great Star Wars RPG. It’s just not going to happen here.

    • jeremypeel says:

      Yeah, that was pretty brilliant.

      Shame ‘proper’ gamers still won’t give Sims 3 a try though. The expansions these days actually add tons of new depth system-wise, but that’s always hidden behind the NEW CATS! marketing, so you’re not going to see it without playing the game. The joke trailer acknowledges all this though, kinda.

      And that LBP2 trailer says everything about world-building tools we’re all afraid to say :(

    • stahlwerk says:

      I think one of the toughest problem for Star Wars games in general is that combat in the movies is highly diverse, yet everyone always seems to only remember “the cool light saber battles”, which actually don’t happen in the original trilogy. That’s why they brought in choreographers and CG-Yoda for the prequels to cater to a desire that was IMO only created by the lack of actual skillful/large scale light sabering in the older movies, and in the process they totally killed the inherent meaning of drawing light sabers as culmination of a conflict [See Episode I review, Plinkett (2009), Redlettermedia.com].

      Now all the SW games (post Dark Forces) coming out try to give you the option to be a Jedi which is cool, who wouldn’t want to be a kick ass knight doing good – or evil – deeds. But the problem becomes this very simple truth:

      Swordfighting + Video Games = incredibly hard to get right.

      Why is that so, why doesn’t it work like FPSes? Because the way a sword is handled is totally different from how a gun is wielded, both from the wielder’s standpoint and the recipient’s .
      Reduced to the bare act of shooting, a gun is a point and click device. FPSes work, because we can accept that the gun is held in a steady aim and “rotates” about the center of view, in lock with the movement of the players mouse, analogue stick, wiimote or whatever. A gun does not need inertia (quite on the contrary), a gun never leaves the viewport, a gun doesn’t care where it is aimed in relation to the body.
      Now with swords thats entirely different. I myself have never wielded a sword, not even a LARPer’s model, but I’ve seen plenty of Errol Flinn’s exploits, which makes me at least knowledgeable to what a “fun” sword fight should feel like. So, assuming it is a melee fight sword vs. sword, we need to recognize the following complications:
      1. The eyes of the wielder must stay fixed on the opponent and his blade and may not follow his own, making the direct simulation of controlled sword handling with a point and click device impossible, since the pointer must leave the viewport to become effective. A solution is to just designate the target with the pointer and then perform a preset swing which leads us to…
      2. A sword can not be swung effectively in all directions, and is highly dependent on stance. So you’d need to simulate different swings depending on where the target is in relation to the body of the wielder and penalizing most of them for not being performed in a proper stance. While this kind of works for 3rd person games, it makes first person swordfighting unrealistic, since there your viewpoint dictates the stance of the body, changing as fast as you can flick your pointing device.
      3. The notion of blocking an attack would be inherently dependent on how good the collision detection of the engine is. This is hard on a single player/client based game, given the speeds of a swung sword, even a tiny numerical error and the enemies weapon will clip through your perfectly performed parade, inflicting D20 damage. In a remote server based system this is for all intents and purposes impossible.

      Over the years we have seen many different attempts at melee in games, most of which amount to selecting a stance and swing style from a predefined repertoire (high vs. low, heavy vs. light, quick vs. slow) in both 2d (prince of persia, pirates!) and 3d (e.g. Jedi Knight, Thief). The factor of blocking mostly is handled by a rock paper scissors mechanic (high block vs. high blow etc.). A more visceral implementation of this introduces combos and special moves, but which amount to the same “wash rinse repeat” style of sword fighting, but may feel a lot more fluid.

      I don’t know if any released games ever tried to tackle handling a sword in a realistic manner, but I remember reading in a Pete Molyneux interview from around the time they were working on Black & White that Lionhead internally were working on a tech demo involving VR. But that may as well have happened as a figment in P. M.’s happy place. Were there any notions of that in any of the Fables?

      So, what does that have to do with star wars games? Simple: Either you find the formula that makes sword/saber fighting in a video game fun and enjoyable or you should drop it like the 90% guaranteed turd it is (again, see Dark Forces). Or, if you must, because focus groups told you Star Wars was all about glowing sticks that go woosh, include a button mashing mechanic, but then at least have the decency to acknowledge that you will never be able to give the player the abilities to perform the stunts that you are implying the characters to have in the trailers and cut scenes.

      TL;DR: Sword fighting in games is hit and miss (but mostly miss) and thus should not be the thing to hinge your player’s expectancy and playing experience on.

      PS: This might have been the longest comment I’ve written on RPS, yet. Sorry if it got a bit rambly in the middle, but it’s a topic that hits close to home, since in every game I played that incorporated melee mechanic you could almost hear the gnashing of the developer’s teeth over the sound of clanging steel. We really need a genre defining game that is to sword fighting what Wolfenstein was to gun shooting and Zeno Clash to brawling. Star Wars games, regrettably, don’t seem to ever get it right.

    • Dominic White says:

      I think that the key problem SW:TOR is facing is that the gameplay looks like it’s straight out of the mid-2000s. Have you seen the animations for gun-users? If the target is above or below them at all, the laser sight (!!) of their gun actually points to them without the gun actually being aimed, and the shots come out at an angle. We’re talking some sterling attention to detail right there, when something as basic as pointing a gun at someone (which is half of Star Wars combat – the other half is swinging a laser sword) can’t even be done right.

    • Arathain says:

      @ stahlwerk: I thought the choreography for the climactic lightsaber battle in Return of the Jedi was quite good, although I take the point of that being the end of conflict resolution, rather than being all of conflict resolution. Oh, those prequels. They were exactly like bad/mediocre fan fiction of an original work.

      Another primary part of the problem with sword fighting is that most fights between skilled opponents are over in a matter of seconds, lacking the dramatic moments we want from our battles. Remove all the attacks that are made for the sole purpose of being parried or blocked from any given movie fight, and all you have left is a couple of touches and the final hit, even when it’s fairly authentic otherwise.

      So yeah, abstraction is fine with me, as long as it’s fun abstraction.

    • Mad Hamish says:

      Well sword fighting mechanics is kind of a moot point with SW :TOR as it seems to be just point and click then trigger animations. The light sabre fighting of this kind in the KOTOR games worked pretty well but from what I’ve seen in TOR it looks like a step back, don’t know how that’s possible but it seems to be the situation.
      As far a realistic sword fighting mechanics, I’ve never been in a sword fight either(drunken fighting with sticks doesn’t count). Bt as far a satisfying sword fighting mechanics there have been a few games that did it right.
      Warband has done a damn fine job of refining Mount&Blades already great system, Jedi Acadamy was the best light sabre combat I’ve ever played it’s odd that they seemed to have abondoned it, I remember having great fun with Die by the Sword when it was released but that seems to be a contravertial opinion.
      I’ve heard good things about Severance: Blade of Darkness and Dark Messiah too, I’ve been meaning to give them a try.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      I haven’t touched Severance in at least 6 years, but I do remember enjoying it a lot. It’s a slightly wonky but quite fulfilling hack-n-slash that spent a lot of time making you run around old castle ruins and underground caverns. It had dodgy mouse control and for some reason seemed easier to play with the keyboard. For a few quid, recommended, there was something compelling about it. But again, expect slightly iffy controls. (And I do remember blasting King Crimson’s “Red” a lot while playing it, good memories.)

      Dark Messiah is decent but has little replay value.

    • Vodkarn says:

      “Another primary part of the problem with sword fighting is that most fights between skilled opponents are over in a matter of seconds, lacking the dramatic moments we want from our battles. Remove all the attacks that are made for the sole purpose of being parried or blocked from any given movie fight, and all you have left is a couple of touches and the final hit, even when it’s fairly authentic otherwise.”

      I’d say Luke vs. Vader was a pretty ‘realistic’ seeming fight, and it was fairly long. Basically you have Luke channeling a bserserker and just swinging as fast and hard as he can, and Vader trying to simply deflect the swings which are much faster than his heavy-handed sweeps.

      RE: Jedi Academy’s saber battles.

      They were ok for singleplayer, but multiplayer was an absolute joke. Every single person who played the game learned: Force Pull – Stab Ground in Heavy Stance or whatever it was called. Essentially a 2 action kill (actually, it WAS a two action kill) with no real counter. The only other combo I ever saw people do was invisible -> Force Choke -> drop off ledge.

      My strategy was to use see invisible or whatever it was called, and max-ranked force shove, and jsut hurl them out of the air off the side of maps when they would try to jump at me invisible.

    • bill says:

      The lightsaber battles in the original trilogy are a lot better than the ones in the prequels. They were choreographed by a great fight choreographer who did lots of great movies, like The Princess Bride (if memory serves).

      Of course, tastes were different then, and the Princess Bride fight would probably be considered very dull and slow by modern generations. (goes back to the Billy Bob issue and current movies/games generation). That was before most western audiences were exposed to wire-fu in the matrix and every movie since.

      The original trilogy was a samurai trilogy. The jedi were samurai. They fought like samurai with katanas.
      In the new trilogy they morphed into matrixified kung fu masters. (and morons, but I can’t explain why they lost all intelligence).

      Heck, i love wire-fu and hong kong action movies, but i thought the fight pacing in the original trilogy was a lot better than the prequels. Slower, more realistic, and telling a story. The new ones were faster, but that was about it.

  8. Kadayi says:

    “Maybe he should get a copy of Arma 2”

    Exactly my thoughts.

  9. Snall says:

    Elric writer is still alive|? I recently (A few months ago) bought the Elric stories in some new re-print as I never got around to reading them…I have way too many books and have still not read too much, but it looks ok- maybe a precursser to polish Witcher guy and some Glenn Cook Black Company esque things.

  10. HexagonalBolts says:

    intelligent commentary, relevant debate, titillating gossip

  11. Nick says:

    Before videogames there were no crap movies.

  12. Rond says:

    An interview with John Carmack about iPhone gaming? Wot.

  13. pakoito says:

    – So we’re here interviewing John Carmack and…first question: “how cool is the iPhone, MEEEEEN?”
    – It’s ok, you can do stuff.
    – Thanks John, top notch interview, AREN’T WE PSYCHED WITH IPHONE? HELL I AM!!!

    Also, the eurogamer on trailers nailed it. The star wars MMO is sooooo doomed xD

  14. Mike says:

    That Chanell piece is terribly whiny. Some people really love to milk that underdog feeling from the nineties, don’t they?

    • Rinox says:

      Wow, that New Vegas dance video is THE SHIT!

      Boone is a God, too.

      EDIT: was meant @ Tei one post below…reply fail

    • manveruppd says:

      He’s sadly right though, a lot of people have simply had no contact with gaming at all and regard us as sociopathic freaks obsessed with killing prostitutes :)

      You games journos have this admirable and quixotic dedication to evangelising gaming to the unbelievers. It’s kinda cute and really idealistic, but you just have to accept that with some people it’s just pointless: they’re not gonna get converted whatever you do, so you can stop trying. What Mike Channell (or anyone who wants to “get the girl”) should’ve done there is just say “I’m a technology writer” and left it at that. If they ask you to get more specific you can say “I specialize in games”, and if you get any funny looks or contemptuous comments just scoff out “It’s a mutli-billion dollar business!” and make her feel like a fool. You don’t have to let on that you genuinely love games or how you believe in their artistic worth or their educational potential or whatever. You’re a writer, and you write about technology (dem xboxes hav dem chipses innem, dun’t dey?), which sounds both intellectual and businesslike.

      To any games journalist reading: It’s ok guys, you’re not our ambassador. It’s not your job to take flak from the ignorant on behalf of all the rest of us. Nobody will think you’ve betrayed your principles if you try to sound urbane and hip when chatting up women instead of standing on a soapbox and singing the Tetris theme tune through a megaphone while Daily Mail readers pelt you with eggs! Cause you know what? If Bobby Kotick and just stepped out of his uranium-powered platinum helicopter, wearing a suit that cost more than what every commenter in this thread combined made in the last month, then I don’t think the shallow airheaded LA blonde would walk away if he came out with “I sell rly l33t MMOs about elves and orcs, lol!” But if you’re a drunk guy in a fancy dress fedora, you kinda need an edge, mate… :)

    • bob_d says:

      It’s funny, my experience revealing to young women that I’m a game developer seems to have the opposite effect. “Can I run over prostitutes in your game?” they ask, intrigued, as I laugh nervously and back away. Well, those are the women who play games, the ones who don’t want me to explain exactly what it is I do, and I spend half-an-hour of fruitlessly trying to explain the concept of “game design” to someone who has never played a game, after which they’re confused.

    • Napalm Sushi says:

      To be honest, it sounds like she was just a bit of a dick.

      She uses her occupation to ruthlessly seize the moral high ground, and then openly and contemptuously sneers at the guy who innocently responds with “I make a reasonable living writing about an entertainment medium that I like.”

      While at a convention dedicated to that medium.

      My interest would’ve evapourated right there.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      As Sushi says. Really, fuck her.

      KG

    • Vinraith says:

      I’ve never understood why people are so willing to put up with romantic partners who are contemptuous of things they enjoy.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Vinraith: Orgasms. That’s the trick.

      (More seriously, no, you’re right. I don’t think I’ve ever been with anyone who’s been contemptuous with what I do. Which is surprising when you consider how contemptuous it is what I do.

      More seriously again, historically speaking it’s been likely to be the flip. There were GFs who ended up worried that games wasn’t something they knew about at all, just because I’m so transparently passionate about it.*

      KG

      *The answer, of course, was “No, it’s not an issue”.

    • Napalm Sushi says:

      I’m starting to like the word contemptuous.

      It warms me to see that I’m not alone.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Why did Thor strangle all those puppies in the newest issue, Kieron? Why?

    • MightySeven says:

      Sad if the piece sounded whiney, I wrote it with an extremely cheery disposition.

      The overpowering emotion as it was happening was bemusement. I was also aware through the drunken haze that this was probably going to make for a mildly entertaining anecdote.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Mike: It came across as bemused to me.

      And no, I would never kill a load of puppies in a comic, because Delightful Fiance would totally never have sex with me ever again if I hurt a puppy.

      KG

  15. Tei says:

    Re: dancing..

    I suppose I can share here some youtube videos I watched the saturday…

    New Vegas Dancing
    link to youtube.com

    Ants Dancing of Dead
    link to youtube.com
    (bug on the patfinding algorithm of the ants that create a infinite circle that make then walk to dead)

    AvF: Aviars versus Feline
    link to youtube.com
    just.. WOAH….

  16. strange headache says:

    I’m sorry this is not news-related but I simply have to link this here. It’s brilliant and it’s got ZOMBIES in it… and action figurines… and THE THING… and some music:

  17. TheFlyingWooly says:

    You ever listen to Lymbyc Systym Jim?

  18. noobnob says:

    Sundays are for letting yourself wonder if the Divinity 2 Dragon Knight Saga ad will ever leave this website. Better than the Intel’s dev program ads anyways.

    Also, I know this may come across as an awful parody for some, but you ought to listen to this at least once.

  19. negativedge says:

    Yeah, it almost sucks sometimes that so many of the games game journos and gamers and non gamers alike all wish for actually do exist, hidden in some corner of PC gaming over the last thirty years. Dude just described Arma, but he’ll never know. I’ve been playing IL-2 Sturmovik lately, a nice nine years after the original version first hit, and it’s like–what happened, here? where did these games go? It’s like the kind of games people dream of. And the answer is that while this precise kind of game may have died out, you can still play it all the same–and more importantly, similar games in other fields continue to be produced. Arma still exists. Europa Universalis is floating around out there. X3 does things people thought games should be doing in the year 2010 (or 2008 in that case) when they were ten. And there are zillions of other examples, most of which I’ve never heard of, but all of which has a zealous community that understands what real quality is all about.

    I am so drunk what am I talking about

    all hail the PC

    • negativedge says:

      And of course, if Leigh Alexander wasn’t such a hack, she’d be on to this, rather than highlighting Call of Duty and tired political arguments for hits. People of her ilk stop being actual gamers the second they get a sniff of the fruits of lazy writing.

    • negativedge says:

      Wow, christ, I just actually read the article. How completely awful in unexpected ways.

    • Archonsod says:

      Probably because most publishers would prefer you forgot entirely about the concept of the back catalogue and buy their new releases, so you rarely see anything older than about a month pushed into the public eye.

      In fact, given how games like CoD simply rehash the earlier titles of the franchise, I do sometimes wonder if publishers have any concept of a back catalogue. It’s like althzheimer’s is an occupational hazard for developers or something.

    • manveruppd says:

      Wow, already drunk at 11.37! :D

    • drewski says:

      Call of Duty’s still the best Call of Duty game*. The Stalingrad level shits all over anything in MW 1 or 2.

      *From a single player perspective, anyway.

    • Lilliput King says:

      I quite like “I am so drunk what am I talking about” as a sign-off.

      Also, after finally getting round to playing Freespace 2, I know exactly what you mean.

  20. PlayOm says:

    ‘A Time to Dance, A Time to Die’ is now on my reading list

  21. Quintin Smith says:

    The best thing in that Dancing Plague wikipedia article is the reference to a disease known as “The English Sweat”, which it follows with “(a new disease)”.

    • Quintin Smith says:

      I take it back. The best part is this:

      Sociologist Robert Bartholomew of James Cook University in Australia contends that the dance was part of an “ecstatic ritual of a heretical sect”. This explanation is questioned by Waller, who believes “there is no evidence that the dancers wanted to dance”, citing recorded evidence that the dancers showed expressions of “fear and desperation”.

    • negativedge says:

      There are several instances of similar dancing, mostly in medieval Europe. They seem to be explained by some combination of social religious fervor and some disease that I can’t remember off hand.

    • stahlwerk says:

      I too suspect a socio-religious component. The phrase “party like there’s no tomorrow” may have held different connotations in the middle ages than it does now.

    • Temple to Tei says:

      “dancers showed expressions of “fear and desperation””

      Shurely, should be in every Englishman’s signature file?

    • Archonsod says:

      Well, it certainly sounds like my local

  22. Ajh says:

    It’s safer now than it was even 5 years ago to self-publish a game. Thanks to the internet it’s easier to promote something without an advertising agency. Of course this also means you’re one of thousands so…who knows.

  23. Dominic White says:

    That LBP2 ‘truth-trailer’ is completely true, but it’s still my most wanted game of early-2011. The feature that has gotten the least advertising, but is actualy the most important: Each level is assigned a URL, which mean that sharing the actual good ones and filtering out the trash (and 95% of everything is going to be rubbish) suddenly got a lot easier. It looks like they’ve also got an info-feed of ‘levels/games your friends liked and reccomended’ rather than just showing you the Most Played levels, most of which were ripoffs or achievement whoring.

    That said, I’ve been playing the original on and off for a couple of years now, and I’ve never seen a knob in it. Clearly I must be looking in the right (wrong?) places.

  24. Skg says:

    Something seems off about Mr Hammersmith. Gamasutra are trying to verify his credentials; his business (Vadium Tech – vadiumtech.com) have made claims that some people in the cryptography community have labelled as ridiculous; his company bio, and, it seems, all the information about him available online from before the release of his book doesn’t reference any special forces experience; a quick search online doesn’t yield any references to a ‘Bull pup’ training program for children (though the age at which this program would have occurred would, of course, minimize the amount of information available online)….something doesn’t ring true. Claiming false military credentials is surprisingly common nowadays, and there are several organisations that vet people, especially those who make claims about special forces experience, so I hope that this can be resolved swiftly.

    Of course, this is entirely my opinion as a random person behind a keyboard, so take it all with a grain of salt and all of that.

    • Skg says:

      In fact, after checking a bit more, I can’t find /any/ reference to Wolfgang Hammersmiths military service prior to the release/promotion of his book.

    • Flash says:

      Agree on the dubious credentials of Mr Hammersmith… – “leading Spec Op teams around the globe aged 18”?

      Given Leigh’s breathless prose about how ‘he’d walked the walk’ etc and her own doubts about war/violent games a bit more fact-checking was needed before interviewing a random online Walt with pistol skills and a tie-in ‘guns/tactics & gaming’ book coincidentally about to be published….

    • Chris D says:

      Ah, such cynicism! You guys probably don’t believe in Mall Ninjas either.

    • Gary W says:

      Mr Hammersmith is ex-Black Ops, so his military record was probably erased a long time ago.

      Anyway, watch out for Leigh’s follow-up article in which she interviews Mini Payne, a domestic abuse survivor from Raccoon City. Therein, our intrepid reporter Leigh attempts to draw parallels between Mini’s experience and the events in the game “Halo: Reach”. The article concludes with a stunning realization: “Why hasn’t a game like this been made before?”.

  25. pupsikaso says:

    Wow, that’s quite unexpected from Leigh. Practically every PC FPS game before CoD4 does what that “veteran” wants =/

    Also, interview with John Carmack? Awesome! Wait.. what is this.. iphone? I AM DISSAPOINT.

  26. Xercies says:

    You know when I hear some of these interviews its like developers and companies and other people live in the wrong era. Section 8 developers are only now considering DD and doing there own thing. Don’t developers know about Steam and the like now a days? Its like Activision and the other major publishers are blindfolding there developers to the real world so they don’t jump ship.

    Also on that note, that guy and leigh don’t seem to get that these games exist which always pisses em off. Its like these people only think that COD is the only spectrum of shooter out there and fuse to believe that there are other more hardcorer type shooters out there.

    Blah Blah blah telling people your part of video games is bad and gets you scorn blah blah blah heard it a million times before. Even though when i’m out in the real world(it might be because i’m in uni and part of that generation) no one seems to mind about video games that much.

    Ok that was a funny link to the dancing plague.

  27. Brumisator says:

    Ironically, by having attention drawn to it, April 11th 1954 just got a whole lot less boring. This is like particle physics, right here!
    The insignificance of an even cannot be measured without changing said insignificance significally.

    • Mil says:

      It’s more like maths. In fact, it’s very similar to the Interesting number paradox.

    • stahlwerk says:

      BUT! The article admits that “boring” was a subjective interpretation of “uneventful”. Being recognized as uneventful doesn’t qualify as an event. You’d create a time paradox (, Snake)!

  28. jeremypeel says:

    Cheers for the indie music link, completely missed that. It’s something I’ve been quite enthusiastic about recently; last week I bought Danny Baranowsky’s Meat Boy, Gravity Hook HD, Gravity Hook and Canabalt soundtracks on a whim. All fantastic.

  29. Yghtgd says:

    “Michael Moorcock[…] “Yes, that’s right, and they think, “oh great, big airships! Wow!” You’re a bit suspicious of people who like too many big airships. You think, maybe you should be writing porn, you know!””

    Isn’t he the guy who writes about that Elric dude who spends his time between talking to his sword and fucking women ?

  30. Colthor says:

    “Films are crap because they’re trying to be like video games”
    Funny, I think video games are crap because they’re trying to be like films.

  31. Mike says:

    That Uvula album seems very spiritual and barely real to me – time seems to go so fast when listening to it.

    • Urael says:

      Goddammit: Stop naming albums after body parts – it’s disturbs my Google!

  32. Faldrath says:

    Eurogamer has a good interview with Julian Gollop, UFO/X-Com designer, on how that game was made and then the series was unmade:

    link to eurogamer.net

    • Pleonasm says:

      It’s a shame they didn’t ask him his opinion on the new XCOM, I’d have been interested to know his thoughts on it. Or, maybe they did ask him, they just couldn’t print his response…

    • apa says:

      That XCom story was clearly missing from the original post!

    • stahlwerk says:

      @Pleonasm: one might interpret this answer as a hint towards his opinion of XCOM:

      “And they started work on X-Com Alliance, an Unreal Engine game. I remember seeing it at E3 in 1999. […] It was basically a tactical shooter. You had a squad of four guys, you directly controlled one of them, and I was shocked. It was an FPS. It didn’t bode well basically… It was very buggy, and poorly done. It had the other elements of X-Com – research and base-building – but it looked like an FPS to me. They spent quite a lot of money on it, but it was canned.”

      skeptical optimism, perhaps?

    • Oak says:

      He (vaguely) commented on it at Gamasutra a few months ago. Second comment is down a ways.

    • JackShandy says:

      @apa “That XCom story was clearly missing from the original post!”

      Witness! Revise your testimony!

  33. TRS-80 says:

    That Rossignol fellow also has a guest post at BLDGBLOG about New York in video games: link to bldgblog.blogspot.com

  34. Lucas says:

    Did Eurogamer just suggest that marketing is less than completely honest? I don’t know because I’m not going to watch advertisements to see the clips comprising their article! Irony: Eurogamer becomes it.

    • drewski says:

      I liked that the first video was preceded by an ad for WoW Cataclysm featuring pre-rendered dragon fighting. Pretty sure that’s not what I remember WoW looking like.

    • Arathain says:

      Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. “We’re redefining epic! But not like this trailer!”

    • Deccan says:

      Note that the Cataclysm ad, or indeed the full cinematic, contains no actual dragon fighting. Just a dragon sorta flying around blowing stuff up.
      For the whole “player characters behaving in cutscenes in ways in which they are utterly incapable in-game” thing, to which you are referring, see that FFXIV review posted earlier.

  35. Lewie Procter says:

    That’s the same Billy Bob Thornton that starred as “one of the ones that wasn’t an insect” in Deadly Creatures (2009) for the Wii.

    I bloody loved The Man Who Wasn’t There and Bad Santa, but I’m pretty sure that makes him at least somewhat of a hypocrite.

  36. pupsikaso says:

    And in other news, scientists find out that dolphins can recognize themselves in mirrors. That puts them up there in intelligence together with elephants, chimps, and us.

    link to cnn.com

    • Torgen says:

      Heck, my cat can do that. Her own reflection is the only “cat” she doesn’t go to DefCon 1 at the sight of. She will look at herself in the mirror if I coax her to, but is like “Whatever, I know I’m awesome looking. I don’t need a mirror to tell me that.”

  37. Ted says:

    That “Wolfgang Hammersmith” is such an obvious scam that it almost seems like a joke. Is Leigh Alexander really that stupid that she believes him?

  38. Wulf says:

    Bah at Moorcock, bah I say.

    The Mysterious Geographical Explorations of Jasper Morello is proof that there’s intellectual worth to be found in the steampunk genre.

    It’s kind of presumptuous to assume something doesn’t exist because one hasn’t experienced it. I’m going to call him a fogey on this one, and a victim of that one law that dictates that once you get too old, anything new, interesting, and full of potential is simply an abomination and against the natural order of things.

    • Torgen says:

      Yeah, sounds like he’s bitter at his 30 year old stories being ignored, as fantasy-as-a-genre changes.

      Hell, how many young people even read Campbell or Asimov anymore?

    • Gundrea says:

      Before I saw Jasper Morello I would have agreed with Moore. I’m still in the Yahtzee camp with regard to Steampunk but I’m hopeful since I’ve heard they’re planning a sequel to Morello.

  39. Navagon says:

    I think Carmack needs to wake up and realise how much his ‘main’ projects are falling by the wayside while he dedicates himself to mini games for shiny DRM devices. When both games get delayed by a year you know something’s crashing and burning.

    • Urthman says:

      Carmack is at the place in his career where he doesn’t have to care about any of that stuff. He’s free to work on whatever takes his fancy. If he wants to delay Rage for another two years so he can port it to the LCD screen on his microwave oven, he can do that.

  40. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    The Sunday Papers are for mondays.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      Yup Monday afternoons when you’re waiting for your code to compile so you can see how many things it breaks this time…….