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104

The Sunday Papers

Ah, Sunday.

Sundays are for sun. Well, when it’s sunny, anyway. Sitting in the sun recharges a blogger, who has probably been blogging throughout the winter in semi-darkness. You can see hundreds of them in gardens across the world, wheeled out to get their dose of solar radiation, before being moved back into the dark place where their hands can reach the keyboard once again. In the brief time when the blogger is sat in the sun he is thinking of only one thing: the bright corona of literature that surrounds the phenomena of video games. This is some of that.

  • Ars Technica has a piece on how Minecraft is being used as a teaching aid by teacher Joel Levin, who blogs here. “l chose Minecraft specifically because it’s so open-ended,” Levin told Ars. “The game presents you with a huge open world and you can do any of a dozen different preset activities. Or you can go off and create your own content. That alone gives me a ton of freedom to invent content for the kids to engage in. I don’t let them just play the game however they want. They must follow a path I lay out for them, which allows me to carry out lesson plans.”
  • One of many mentions of the problems of Dragon Age II. Cruise Elroy says this: “Given his goals, I think Laidlaw and his team accurately pinpointed what needed to change from Origins — the combat was indeed slow, the customization options were proliferative, and so on. Unfortunately, they were prone to overcorrecting these problems and lost some of Origins’ positive qualities through aggressive streamlining of its (perceived) negative ones.”
  • Gamasutra had a big old interview with Fred Wester, who is fast becoming one of our favoured figureheads of business.
  • In terms of business figureheads I am less excited about Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello, but he’s still worth listening to, especially when he says things about how gaming is the new mass market. Because that’s awesome, and scary, and we’re beginning to see the ramifications of precisely that issue. (Random side point: isn’t it interesting that EA seem to have given up on Medal of Honour being the Call Of Duty beater, and immediately transferred their hopes onto BF3?)
  • Leigh Alexander also considers why she doesn’t lose herself in games anymore. I have a lot of sympathy for this kind of situation, and it made me say that if Stalker was a yearly franchise like Call of Duty, then I probably would lose myself in games more. Likewise if there was a genuine alternative to Eve Online. The real issue, though, is that I feel that the more games I play, the more refined my tastes are becoming, and the less I am full engaged by the games I play. The process of exploring why a game is interesting is often the best part, and the more familiar I’ve become with games, the less there seems to be to learn.
  • VG247 reports on the showing of Battlefield 3 in London this week, and also have a few new images.
  • Cobbett’s Crap Shoot series takes a look at anti-classic, Bar Games. “Whatever bar Bar Games is set in must be a weird, weird place. Let’s recap. A bar roughly a mile long, yet with only one bartender at once. A single Air Hockey table. Customers who swarm to drink generic beer at the end of the evening, yet otherwise keep so much to themselves that the bartender can waste hour after hour playing Boring Dice with clients. And in the back, a giant stage and scaffolding set up to simultaneously murder customers and let them dump buckets of water on pretty women.”
  • Eurogamer proclaimed Revenge Of The Titans to be their game of the week. Not a bad choice.
  • More thoughts on Don’t Take It Personally, this time from Lewis.
  • There’s a Chet Faliszek interview on Beefjack, wherein he talks Portal 2. Chet is a fun time.
  • Why A Lack Of Empathy Is The Root Of All Evil.

The root of all evil could also be this nightmarish video that Quintin linked me to. NSFW, as it has 1970s bums in it. If that frightened you, why not cheer yourself up with this piece of light-hearted comedy?

More soon!

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Jim Rossignol

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