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The Sunday Papers

The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for rest. Recuperation. On Sunday we feel okay. We will rise again. And when we rise, we will want to read something, cup of tea in hand. We will want to be better than we were. Stronger. Wiser. Perhaps we could read something about the goings on in those video game minds? They’re always pleasant. Yes, that’ll do. That’ll do.

  • Tap Repeatedly have a splendid interview with master concept artist Daniel Dociu, who you will be familiar with from Guild Wars 1 & 2. He says stuff like this: “It seems at times that a strong visual identity tends to polarize the main stream audience. People will tend to love it or hate it, the further developers deviate from the vanilla. It prompts an attitude — which is what art should be about; but of course that response can be positive or negative. A realistic approach is easier to digest. With budgets only going up and teams getting bigger, with pressure increasing to generate more revenue faster, there is understandably a tendency on most developers part to play it safe and stay within a comfort zone.”
  • UK-based games industry site MCV asks: Can we benefit from piracy? I reply, sure, if we’re really clever or lucky about it. But most people aren’t really clever. Or really lucky. The article itself has some interesting back and forth between the talking heads but, as usual, no definitive answer.
  • Tom “Penumbra” Jubert offers Ten Tips On How To Become A Professional Games Writer. There’s a lot of stuff in there that is just relevant to being a writer, of course, so it’s worth a look if you are that way inclined. I’d probably add to that: Get Stuff Finished. An unfinished anything is no use to anyone.
  • A beautiful post from DIROLab “On Simulation, Science, & Love“. This is a new project set up by Martin “GoldenEye” Hollis and chums, with the intention of investigating the possibilities of love and romance within games. I’ll be interested to see where they go with this.
  • Kotaku present the argument for Angry Birds as game of the year, by way of Mr Jaffe: “To Jaffe, Angry Birds is the real deal. It’s a great video game. And he denies that he was wowed by its crossover success. He says today he’ll do better than have nominated it. He’s going to vote for it as Game of the Year. The top one!” Hmm.
  • VG247 take a moment to consider the crisis in Japan and what gaming companies have done about it.
  • And PopMatters takes some time to discus the hopelessness at the heart of Fate Of The World: “The game sees a sharp difficultly spike after the tutorial mission and the task of wrestling with the onslaught of global problems becomes daunting. Efforts to maintain low-emissions are met with dissatisfaction, while at the same time protections against devastating storms, droughts, and other phenomena are quickly outstripped by climate change. Playing Fate of the World can feel like fighting a losing battle. The win condition for the Oil Crisis mission alone—simply survive until the year 2120—is startlingly pessimistic.”
  • What We Would Gain By Losing The Word “Gamification”. (Some of our precious fucking life back.)
  • And, related to the previous point, I’ve been reading a bit of Jane McGonigal’s fun but strange book, Reality Is Broken. Many of the thoughts I’d been having about it have been nicely summed up in this article by Heather Chaplin, in which she rebuffs McGonigal’s ideas about improving reality by making it more like a game. Chaplin is correct in that “gamification” misses the point about both the importance of reality, and the value of games, but I can’t help thinking that a more others will find a more cogent way to make McGonigal’s argument in a way that doesn’t seem to miss out what is vital to gaming.
  • 3am Thinkings on Amnesia. I really should get around to playing that game.
  • Absurd, brutal, ultimately very funny: “Mahna Mahna song during Execution“. Watching that makes you a bad person, incidentally.

Music! I’ve been listening to a bit of this, which one of the blokes from Sigur Ros. Lovely stuff, and as Icelandic as volcanoes and bad schnapps.

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Jim Rossignol

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