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The Sunday Papers

The Sunday Papers is a collection of internet links that, when clicked, may take you to sites other than Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Do not be alarmed. Sunday is a day for tourism to other, lesser sites, where you can read the work of intelligent, occasionally frightening, people from all around the internet. It’s okay, just sit down and try a few. Take your time. It’s all going to be just fine.

  • Thing of the week has to be Ryan Henson Creighton of Untold Entertainment accounting how he games the “No F@%$ucking Respect! Social Game Developers Rant Back” session at GDC last week. It’s quite the read. The panel had set up a social game which was to be played out by the attendees, allowing someone to do a guest rant. And Ryan did a naughty: “And here, through the uncharacteristic use of cunning and deceit, i had snatched the entire bag of plastic coins that GDC’s social games industry powerhouses needed to run their social game. i tried to judge how best to cram the coins into my body cavity to hide them, and decided instead to furtively stuff the bag into my backpack before giddily awaiting the coming storm.” Now that’s someone who had a memorable GDC.
  • Miss Anthropy celebrates the ladies of Dragon Age over on Pop Matters. “I’m not very traditionally girly, and I like it when a video game character is able to communicate that mixture of gendered ideals without becoming a caricature. I found that in Dragon Age.”
  • Playing videogames with parents is good for the mental health of adolescent girls. “Researchers from BYU’s School of Family Life in Provo, Utah, found that girls who played age-appropriate video games with a parent felt more connected to their families, had fewer mental health issues and fewer problems with aggressive behavior.”
  • Speaking of gaming with the younglings, Mathew Stone takes some time to do a big text sigh about the sorry state of children’s games. Ironic really. “What do you think of when somebody says children’s book? Maurice Sendak, J. M. Barrie, Lewis Carroll, Roald Dahl, E. B. White, A. A. Milne, C. S. Lewis… the list goes on. There are so many amazing, spectacularly creative, really important children’s books out there. So where are the children’s games? Well?”
  • BrainyGamer’s Michael Abbott talks about “The Rollercoaster Bias” in David Cage’s work. Another GDC inspired piece, of course.
  • And I only caught the first part of Clint Hocking’s “State of the Art” GDC presentation on “How Do Games Mean” type theories, but it was building up to be a corker. I look forward to seeing it all. As a placebo, it’s worth browsing his Convergence Culture posts, and his blog generally.
  • Here’s an interview with clever and tall game design experimenter Jason Rohrer, focusing on his peculiar multi-tiered shooter, In A Star-Filled Sky. “Developing this game gave me this whole newfound appreciation for what i had always passed off as pointless… player punishment and repetition for the sake of making the player do stuff over and over.”
  • Eurogamer talk to Bioware’s Mark Mike Laidlaw about Dragon Age II: “There’s this strange perception that because the combat is faster – characters leaping into place or charging forward – it’s an inherently console thing. We designed that because we thought that the ability to whirl around and snap off a fireball at a guy who’s charging you, rather than shuffling in and launching it usually a couple of feet behind him, created a much stronger sense of responsiveness. To me that benefits the PC players and the console players.”
  • This BLDGBLOG interview with author China Mieville is top notch: “I’m always much happier talking in terms of metaphor, because it seems that metaphor is intrinsically more unstable. A metaphor fractures and kicks off more metaphors, which kick off more metaphors, and so on. In any fiction or art at all, but particularly in fantastic or imaginative work, there will inevitably be ramifications, amplifications, resonances, ideas, and riffs that throw out these other ideas. These may well be deliberate; you may well be deliberately trying to think about issues of crime and punishment, for example, or borders, or memory, or whatever it might be. Sometimes they won’t be deliberate.”

Music? Oh go on then, I suppose we could link to Minecraft – Volume Alpha.

More soon!

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Jim Rossignol

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