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The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for trying to ignore the amount of work you have to do on Monday, because today you are free in the oceans of leisure. Languidly sail through hours of videogames, drinking tea and thinking about magic swords and maybe, if you find the time, do a little reading. Here’s something you might want to browse through:

  • Robert “Radiator” Yang says “Welcome To The Indie FPS”, and then goes on to examine how the FPS genre has failed to capitalise on its huge potential for alternative mechanics. Not to worry, though, because there are some first-person indie games that are exploring the possibilities and potential of the genre. I would absolutely add the Mondo games to that list. Can you think of any others, readers?
  • This review of Infinity Blade on Killscreen is quite the thing. Read it, then follow what happens next. Clever stuff.
  • This interview on Gamasutra sees Gazillion’s David Brevik trying to explain their attitude towards MMOs. I’m not totally convinced. “I think that there are some examples of MMOs that have done story pretty well. I think Lord of the Rings did a pretty good job. I think a lot of the new expansion for World of Warcraft did a good job. And so involving story more as a part of your experience gives the game purpose, and that’s really what I want to… it makes you care. It gives you goals.” And that’s true, but I think good MMO design can come up with other ways to give players goals. Designers seem to see it as a loot/story dichotomy, but I think there’s a more complex player-driven possibility in there, as we’ve seen with Eve’s political and social machinations.
  • Eurogamer has done an “idiot’s guide” to building a gaming PC. So that’s a useful thing… if you’re an idiot? Only teasing, it’s good for anyone who doesn’t know how to scare their PC into submission by threatening it with the hose again.
  • Also on Eurogamer is Quintin’s The Witcher 2 review. He says: “There’s simply no competitor that can touch it in terms of poise, characterisation and storytelling, or the way in which it treats you not as a player – someone to be pandered to and pleased – but as an adult, free to make your own mistakes and suffer a plot in which not everyone gets what they deserve.”
  • Making Games Is Hard: “Computers don’t have imagination. All they know is 1′s and 0′s, and they only do what they’re told to do. So, as the creators of a video game, we have to not only imagine the game we want to make, but imagine it being played, and all the possible ways it could be played, and then make that.”
  • Tim Rogers sure does write some words.
  • Obedience In Gaming“: “This compulsion to obey is more fundamental than any emotional engagement. Sure, in the original Bioshock, Atlas tells us a sob-story about his family, and we get fired up for vengeance when we see their submarine attacked; but that’s not why we obey. We were obedient from the very moment Atlas started speaking to us, because we were told to be. All our gaming lives we have learnt that obedience results in success, progress and pleasure. Contrary to what media hysteria would have you believe, gaming does not make us unpredictable killers, but rather crafts us into obedient, docile serfs.” Or perhaps because it’s a linear game where there is no other option that to move forward? If it was a non-linear world and you still obeyed then /that/ would be interesting.
  • An RPS chum recapitulates her Gamecamp presentation to ask Are Games Astronomy?
  • Joe Martin blogs about jumping. Slow news day, Joe?
  • Rocksteady talk to the Guardian about Arkham City: “What’s really rewarding is seeing the change in players by the end of the game. Playing a great, well-balanced, fine-tuned game is almost like learning a musical instrument in fast forward. As players progress, the music they make will surprise even themselves.”
  • Obligatory off-topic link to BLDGBLOG. But actually check out how the Lebbeus Woods designs are echoed in Portal 2. Not the first time a Woods-Valve connection has been spotted.
  • If your institution needs to know about zombies, who would you call?

Music? Well this morning this odd little thing is keeping me tuned.

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Jim Rossignol

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