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The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for quietly sitting down at your PC, putting on some music, and drinking a cup of tea. Perhaps, as you sit there, you might consider some of the week’s events. Do they really matter to you? Are they really significant in the scheme of things? Maybe not, but The Sunday Papers is here to say that taking an interesting in random ephemera is sacred, and will always be so. Let’s see what we’ve got this week.

  • Gosh, I know the reaction to E3 this year was largely “why were there no surprises?” But Keith Stuart takes it a few steps further to ask whether it might actually signal the end of gaming as we know it: “The apathy shown by some of the big players toward the exhibition hints at its demise, but that will be a death knell not just for a ludicrously noisy show, but for a whole way of thinking about games – as epic, landmark events. Some see the dripfeed of marketing information naturally transmogrifying into the dripfeed of content.” It’s an interesting point, but I think the rise of DLC is actually a more significant marker for that. No game will be complete, everything becomes about what comes next. Troubling indeed.
  • Here’s the most in-depth analysis of Metacritic scores I have seen so far. It contains a few little treats, in addition to the painfully obvious stuff: “There are a staggering number of smaller publishers who are doing well regardless of my never hearing of them. Congratulations! I retroactively bestow upon you my blessings. In many cases the lesser experienced, often first time, publishers are outperforming the industry veterans. The little fish can outswim the big fish.”
  • Story of the week, in industry terms, was probably the one over Duke’s reviews and the PR agency that went too far. The pressure on PRs to “secure” high review scores can sometimes be huge, which perhaps explains some of the more “innovative” responses like this one. I’d advise making better games, and also taking life less seriously.
  • Our Evolve chums explain why they are the solution: “PC gaming has a big problem. It’s not the hardware. It’s not piracy. It’s not the games. It’s how PC gamers are forced to play. The environment is far too fragmented and siloed. As a result, the PC gaming experience is isolated, dissociative, and falls short for a generation of gamers raised on Facebook and Twitter. These social barriers are the biggest obstacle to the survival of the PC as a gaming platform.” Now if they can just figure out a way to bypass GFWL and fix entirely broken networking in games like Hunted, we’ll be on our way…
  • Lewis Denby tells us about what happened when a gaming zombie apocalypse happened for real in Bristol: ““Cocktails! Cocktails!” the zombies moaned. We tried to lure them up then run around the other side, but it was no use; they might have been drunk, but they weren’t stupid. It seemed like an impossible task. But then someone in the crowd shouted “Cocktails are that way, girls – two for one!” and the most majestic, wonderful thing happened.”
  • Eurogamer talked to John Carmack. He explained one of the things that is holding the PC back, and explains that he’s getting the various major parties to deal with it: “That is still one of the cool things about being able to work with OpenGL extensions on there. As soon as we can present a compelling case to these guys, which is basically, look, this $200 console is playing smoother than your $2000 system on here, you need to fix this and here’s one of the steps you can do there, and they got it done. That’s still a good thing.”
  • While we’re on programmer stuff, here’s a call for a simpler programming language, and a lot of responses from programmers in the comments saying that “C is just fine, thanks. Leave us alone.”
  • Here’s another response to the Matt Findley RPGs stuff, my favourite point from this is simply: “Games are not “supposed” to be about anything.” Quite so.
  • What does downloadable console game Stacking really mean when you take over another doll’s body? Infinite continues asks the project lead: “An idea that was never fully explored in the game was that the normal mode of behavior in this world was that larger dolls could stack smaller dolls inside them. This idea came from one of the first images of Stacking I had, which was of a mom unstacking her children while dropping them off at the train station to go to school. This idea was incorporated as the lost German family, who you do see unstack in their silent film play, and rejoice that they have been reunited.”
  • The most amusing part of this article on the most recent Bilderberg group is the guy in the comments who insists that there is nothing going on with so many powerful people meeting in secret, because otherwise he’d have heard about it. Good point. Must be nothing.
  • Sounds like this game is going to give me a reason to switch on my dust-entombed PS3.
  • Watch RPS chums from BERG explain why Mary Poppins should be viewed as a speculative film about the possibilities of technology and a time-traveller from the future.

Music this week is Pianoscope by Alexandra Streliski, which should allow you to sit about the house pretending that your life is a quirky French movie wrought with existential irony. Works for me.

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Jim Rossignol

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