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The Sunday Papers

THE SUNDAY PAPERS, RIGHT

Sundays aren’t, as you might expect, for compiling the Sunday Papers. No, instead they are for resting my cadaverous frame somewhere in the bowls on London, safe in the knowledge that I had already compiled The Sunday Papers and scheduled it to appear on the day of rest. Clever! But not as clever as the writings contained therein. These are they:

  • So here’s a piece by Wired’s Chris Kohler talking about how the mainstream games industry fears that mobile gaming will undermine the success of the blockbuster. “The surprising popularity of casual games among even the hardest of the hard-core foreshadows a sea change for an industry that over the years has grown to resemble Hollywood, complete with star directors, creaking franchises and budgets that dwarf the annual operating costs of a small city. As indie and casual titles lure gamers away from powerful consoles, some big gamemakers are scrambling to imitate the success of Facebook and iPhone games.” It goes on to talk about how big publishers are folding social and mobile elements into their big games in order to make them more attractive. And here’s a piece from Bill Harris saying that we need to understand that the process could go even further.
  • Take Of Tales’ Michael Samyn always raises a bit of discussion when he starts talking about the nature and value of games, not least because of the nature and value of his own games, which are often hotly debated in nearby comment threads. Anyway, he’s written something for The Escapist entitled “Almost Art“. Here’s a bit of it: “When a medium can represent a soldier and it can recreate a theater of war, it needs to have something to say about this subject matter. The response of the games industry to this dilemma so far has been retreat. We minimize the importance of the story and draw attention to our cool mechanics and the fun our players are having. At the expense, of course, of cultural significance and expanding the audience. Instead of embracing the artistic potential of the medium, we have retreated into the comfortable zone of gaming.” Needless to write, Samyn has some things to say about that.
  • A blog post entitled “On Inhabiting False Realities” seems like a surefire way to get a look from me. And it begins like this: “This morning, my friend Jon—a fellow Dickhead—send me a link to a Philip K. Dick essay that I hadn’t read in some time. Ready for a break from reading other essays, I went ahead and started reading it out loud to myself, in the Orson Welles voice that I always imagine Dick had (even though he didn’t) due to the vague physical resemblance in their later years.” And then it goes somewhere more interesting.
  • RPS-chum Mitu Khandaker has a new column over on GameSetWatch, pun-breakingly entitled “The Gambrian Explosion”, and it starts off with some thoughts about how evolution might be relevant to game design. I particularly like the bit about how some games can and should appeal to the higher bits of our brain: those rational parts that go against the basal sensory and survival instincts that we are normally told games are designed to appeal to.
  • While you’re over on GameSetWatch, also take a look at Tadhg Kelly’s “Game Developers Should Love Their Pirates“. Oh, that’s pushing some buttons, isn’t it?
  • Poking my programmer chum Tom until he makes procedurally generated worlds is one of my favourite hobbies, so I am in awe of this chap, whose attempts to create an entirely procedural virtual world include a procedural church in a procedural hill. Impressive!
  • Are you a regular reader of Richard Cobbett’s Crap Shoot column? You should be.
  • Another take on Dead Space 2, but this time focusing on what’s outside the window
  • Want to know about a chap who makes game installations (literal art!) out of videogames? Have a read of this interview with Cory Archangel. He doesn’t actually like games, natch.
  • Am I really linking to a Reddit thread? Yes, because the topic is “Bulletstorm 59.99 on steam. Is this a trend? Discuss.” Hmm. We should discuss that.

Music, eh? Well if you must. I’m afraid it’s rap about Real English versus Colonial English. But you’ve already seen it. If only we did all speak like Professor Elemental.

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Jim Rossignol

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