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The Sunday Papers

What is a Sunday? For some it is a day for considering how best to invent underwater weapons. For others it is a day to lament the inevitability of the future being very much like the present, only more expensive. For others still it is a day for worshipping a bossy giant named Gawd. For us, though – the unwitting minions of a vast, subterranean brain that has spent three decades using videogames to control our behaviour – it is a day for compiling and then browsing the words written regarding our special interactive lexicon. These here are some examples of that.

  • We’ll have more of our own breakdown of Dragon Age II next week, but in the meantime a really strong take on the game has tumbled from the fingers of Richard “Who Also Writes For RPS Sometimes” Cobbett. His big critique basically hangs on the role and delivery of magic in the game, but here’s a bit where he just poke it with words: “Much of Dragon Age II feels like every team working on it did so in complete isolation, only communicating via Chinese Whispers. I’ll say this up front – I enjoyed playing it. I don’t pump 22 hours into a game I’m not enjoying. However, it’s one of the most fragmented, half-baked fun RPGs I’ve ever played. In terms of world design, it’s a game where an elf member of your party is horrified at the cramped, poverty-stricken conditions of her peoples’ part of town, despite the fact that the level designers have given her nothing short of a mansion to live in. It’s a game where you, as a refugee in a city that doesn’t want any of your kind in the first place, can walk into a brothel, kill a hooker (it’s okay, she’s evil) and just walk out without anyone even noticing or caring.” He thinks it’s rushed and sloppy. What do you think, readers?
  • Richard Huddy, head of GPU developer relations at AMD, says DirectX is holding back game performance, and suggests doing away with it: “We often have at least ten times as much horsepower as an Xbox 360 or a PS3 in a high-end graphics card, yet it’s very clear that the games don’t look ten times as good. To a significant extent, that’s because, one way or another, for good reasons and bad – mostly good, DirectX is getting in the way.” Hmm!
  • Eurogamer’s Tom “Tom Bramwell” Bramwell has declared Shogun 2 to be Eurogamer’s Game Of The Week! Here’s a bit: “Shogun 2 is huge as well, of course. It has a 60-province theatre map and an Avatar Conquest multiplayer mode “so substantial it’s almost a game in itself”. If you like Total War so much, you could go live there.” That’s a good declaration you got there, Bramwell. We like it. Maybe we should start declaring our game of the week, too. Just not this week. Because I don’t want to be caught copying Tom’s homework.
  • Actually, this week’s top “Why Didn’t Jim Rossignol Write This Feature” feature is this one from Christian Nutt. It’s about what’s next for Eve Online. Why don’t I write about Eve anymore? Because I don’t play it anymore. That’s a shame.
  • A moderately bizarre rant about player housing in MMOs. I kind of agree, but that makes me feel awkward. It also reminds me that Quintin said he wants to play Mortal Online and write about it. A statement that he may soon regret
  • VG247 went and interviewed Kaos’ GM David Votypka, who admits – when talking about Homefront – that they are things they’d like to do better. Don’t worry Dave, there’s always Homefront 2.
  • This infographic comparing the crafting in Team Fortress 2 to the crafting in Minecraft made me craft. Craft! Crafty craft. Craftcraftcraft.
  • Jonas Kyratzes is documenting the process of making his new game, The Book Of Living Magic, in a series of video diaries. Here’s the first one, and here’s the second. Clearly there will be more to come.
  • This post and also this one on Brainygamer talk about how the console toy’s LittleBigPlanet games encourage game design literacy. And they totally do! Well done them.
  • Here’s something that Brendan Caldwell wrote. It mixes Mass Effect 2 references with commentary on the political situation in the UK. Well, it was inevitable, I suppose. Infinite typewriters, monkeys smoking cigarettes. Is that the metaphor that’s appropriate here? I get so confused.
  • There’s a contest to create a Linux-exclusive game. For some reason.
  • Quiet Babylon’s Tim Maly responds to my 2009 chat with BLDGBLOG. He asks “What kind of architecture do you end up with if you bring the main approaches of game design to real world architecture?”
  • Paste Magazine have a huge piece by Matthew Burns on his experiences of GDC: “Work on games for too long a stretch and they take over your mind and spirit. Sensation deadens and the hours bleed into each other as you grapple with the problems inside your virtual worlds. It’s partially a result of those long nights in front of the screen, deep into that many-day limbo world of crunch and looming deadlines—but it’s also the enveloping embrace of the medium, the way you can come to inhabit, or be swallowed by, your own creations.”
  • And I hope you’ve bookmarked/RSS’d/whatever-the-cool-kids-are-doing-to-track-sites’d Magical Wasteland.
  • Related to the top (at the time of writing) post on Magical Wasteland, here’s a video over at The Escapist about female characters in games.
  • This is a rather nerdy competition to win a top-notch PC.
  • So You Want to Work in the Video Game Industry?
  • This is my favourite headline this week: “God’s Wife Edited Out Of The Bible.” She wasn’t happy about him working six days a week.
  • But this is the best story of the week – a video of some bastards pouring concrete into a gigantic ant’s nest. It’s all in the name of make us saying “Crikey, that’s amazing”. Which we did. Because it’s amazing.

So yeah. That was a lot of off topic material. Here’s some more: remember this? Well then you will – at least if you are British – likely be amazed by this. Oh, Mike. Also, have a look at this.

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Jim Rossignol

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