The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for righteous fury and fried breakfasts. Cups of tea and indignation. That’s the stuff. And I am sure something in this week’s collection of internet link materials will cause you to tut and huff. That’s just the way of these things, isn’t it? There’s always something wrong on the internet. Fortunately it gets a lot of things right, too. Let’s see if we can pick a few of those this week.

  • PBS’ article on LittleLoud’s Sweatshop is worth reading: “The next layer of the game’s rhetoric unfolds more slowly. The fact is that you can’t really convey the extent of the hardships faced during a long, underpaying shift on a factory line in any medium. (You could craft a time-accurate simulation, but it would be difficult to rope many into playing it.) Instead, Sweatshop’s strategy is to pull you into the antagonist’s mindset; it forces you into the cold logic of sweatshop management and leaves you to reflect on your own descent into it.”
  • Tim Stone has recently written a retrospective of Wild Metal Country over on Eurogamer: “Wild Metal Country, you brilliant, quirky, exhilarating creature. Why aren’t you better known? Why did you never get a sequel? Why did certain members of my profession think you warranted a measly 5 out of 10?” I have to say, I was one of those who was disappointed. It seemed like a game that I should love, but it only frustrated me.
  • Leigh Alexander writes “Sexual Video Games Are Good For Us“: “Maybe interactive entertainment has an ability you and I don’t have: To articulate strange things, deviant things, the moth’s-wing flutters of our secrets, our sexuality, our emotions. Maybe we notice strangeness, and we want to hear somebody else say it, we want to hear somebody else explain it, because the game has done so well at touching parts of us that we don’t have words for.”
  • John Carmack says that violent games are cathartic: ” I really think, if anything, there is more evidence to show that the violent games reduce aggression and violence. There have actually been some studies about that, that it’s cathartic. If you go to QuakeCon and you walk by and you see the people there [and compare that to] a random cross section of a college campus, you’re probably going to find a more peaceful crowd of people at the gaming convention. I think it’s at worst neutral and potentially positive.”
  • Troy Goodfellow’s “National Character” series continues over on Flash Of Steel, looking at the portrayal of nations in strategy games. This time up it’s India: “It’s no wonder that game designers want to think of India as a single culture and entity. Even though it was very rarely unified in its history, there is an assumption that the peninsula makes sense as one civilization and not, say, five. The reference points, then, become almost exclusively modern. What do we mean by India? We mean whatever the British said was India, and that is close enough for game design work. Religious divisions between north and south, east and west, old and new become blurry and we see an unbroken chain of custody from Asoka down to Nehru, even though the Mughals had only mixed success in the south, the Punjab was always restive and the British showed up to an India where they could play prince against prince.”
  • Read about the project to create the Video Game History Museum.
  • The Prime Minister’s Questions dev asks: “Am I Real Indie Developer Now?” Sure, I say – why not?
  • Alex Peake writes some words. Words like: “[T]he question that comes up is what happens when we make machines make us make them make us into them? There are three different Moores’ Laws of accelerating returns. There are three uncanny valleys that are being crossed. There’s a sort of coming of age story for humanity and for different technologies. There are two different species involved, us and the technology, and there are a number of high stakes questions that arise.” He’s talking about the Singularity, of course. And games!
  • Press X Or Die is doing a huge series on Champions Online.
  • Michael Cook has been writing about game AI: “Some plucky MIT researchers have taken ‘RTFM’ to heart and made a Civilisation-playing AI better at the game by giving it the ability to learn from the manual! “So what?” might be your first response to that. Actually, “lol skynet” might be your first response, but I’d wager “So what?” would come a close second. Before you go back to skipping tutorials and ignoring those little loading screen hints, though, let’s dip our toes into this research paper and see how this work might change the way games are explained not just to machines, but to humans too.”
  • Blog circularity! PCG’s Graham Smith posts about something he found on The Sunday Papers and then we post about it on The Sunday Papers. It’s that thing about extremes of opinion in games journalism. More importantly: The ouroboros worm of the internet has no beginning and no end!
  • Agent Dan writes about “when is it justified for a writer to work for free?” A good overview of the situation and circumstances involved.
  • Robotic octopus arm is the first part in a project to create an entire robot octopus.
  • I really must get an upside down map of the world.

Music this week has, for me, been all about digging up old techno and electronica. I bet some of you have never seen the Come To Daddy video. It amuses me that top YouTube comment for it is “This is why you harvest little sisters.” Quite.


  1. frenz0rz says:

    “[T]he question that comes up is what happens when we make machines make us make them make us into them?”

    Uhm. What?

    • Khann says:

      I really couldn’t make sense of this.

    • Cinnamon says:

      I guess that Sunday is a day for a sermon at the church of the singularity. As usual the sermon reads like a rather obfuscated and self important review of a Neal Stephenson novel.

      This guy wants to get paid applying the addictive and hypnotic qualities of games to education in order to make sure that the little nippers are brought up right or whatever. It’s a big potential market for games technology and techniques. Ka-Ching. Who cares about the kids, let’s just keep them busy and count the cash I say.

      This ties into an idea going around at the moment that computer algorithms are in effect warping and controlling our view of reality. Them showing us what we want reinforces our desire for that thing putting us in a sort of feedback loop where we are super focussed on something instead of having broader interests. I guess that if our computers could be changed from reinforcing existing patterns in our behaviour to nudging us down different patterns then things would be different. If we speculate that we could make computer algorithms that make us more interested in making better computer algorithms then something “singularity” like could happen. Or it is something that could go on for a while then reach a local maximum rather than achieve a reality defying singularity.

    • Donjonson says:

      I thought the article was kind of interesting, good points though Cinnamon.
      The video of Code Hero looks terrible though.. I don’t want to play that nevermind learn code from it.
      Bad voice acting, really awful music, shoddy graphics..
      Maybe there’s an interesting idea there, but at this stage
      it’s very easy to get the other things right.

    • hello_mr.Trout says:

      boom singularity!

    • Xercies says:


      There was an interesting documentry on the BBC about that actually, All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace. And it definitely did posit that we have been warped by machine algorithms showing the world differently then actually how it is and us totally getting beat because of it.

    • Harbour Master says:

      Big high-five for the Adam Curtis mention.

    • Consumatopia says:

      Oh, dear God. Donjonson is right, that Code Hero video sucks. Why the heck does there need to be a 80s/90s cyberpunk VR aesthetic? Yeah, I’m sure that’s the style that appeals to young kids today. Especially when the poly count and frame rate look like something from the 90s. Honestly, if these guys are serious, they should just throw that whole thing out and make a Minecraft mod that lets you attach javascript code to blocks and mobs.

      But really, why does it even have to be in 3D? Making a game about programming is one of those recurring ideas, and for some simple kinds of “programming” (e.g. SpaceChem) it works. They should build a 2D platform game in which your avatar finds and uses pieces of code to prove that the concept actually makes sense.

      I saw AWOBMOLG as well, but I’m not sure its most biting criticisms actually apply to this sort of project. It focused more on the old-school cybernetics/ecology/Randian movements obsessed with feedback loops and supposedly self-balancing systems, which are kind of the opposite of the “autocatalytic reaction” Peake was imagining. That whole worry about “friendly” or “unfriendly” AI, or the Earl Grey vs. Brawnee dilemma, implies a perspective very unlike that of the utopian thinkers Curtis was talking about–those who assumed that once you networked all the people and machines together that everything would turn out okay.

    • Tams80 says:

      Basically, machines make us into machines, with a bit swapping (sorry, I couldn’t think of a better word) in between.

      I still don’t understand how this is possible, unless machines make us trade out limbs and organs in…

  2. Mirqy says:

    To misquote CJ Cregg on upside down maps: “take it down! It’s freaking me out!”

    • The Sentinel says:

      The freakout is precisely why we should leave it up.

    • Koozer says:

      The most brilliant thing about it is your brain “reads” the map as upside down, tries to read the words upside down, realises they’re the right way up, tries to look at the continents again, gets confused, sees it as upside down, etc etc.

    • Sleepymatt says:

      So is Down Under now Up Over??


    • World One Two says:

      That upside down map is beautiful. It immediately makes me want to go exploring that world. In a videogame. On a steampunk flying ship, with plucky sidekicks and magical spells harnessing the power of the elements and evil wizards riding on the backs of dragons. You’d sail over the lush archipelagos of Canada, meet swarthy Northen explorers in the mountainous regions of Brazil, and there’d probably be a stone fortress you had to infiltrate deep in the Russian Federation. Raawr exploration!

    • Cerzi says:

      to be fair it’s also flipped horizontally (and shifted slightly to “normal” maps), which is a large part of why it looks so freaky

    • Fumarole says:

      This map switches the position of the Earth’s land and water masses.

    • Shuck says:

      I’m not sure why they call it an “upside down” map. North as “up” is surely just as arbitrary as South being “up.” They might as well call it the “right-side up map.” It’s nice to see the distortions of Mercator projection work their magic on a different set of countries, though.

    • Faldrath says:

      I hate maps that make Greenland the size of South America.

  3. Colonel J says:

    Come To Daddy, good to watch this again.

    Seeing this gives me disturbing flashbacks from the part of my sub-conscious that was scarred by Chris Cunningham’s VJ set at a festival a couple of years ago. Genius, but so intense & twisted I’m not sure if I dreamt some of those images or not.

  4. Jumwa says:

    The Leigh Alexander piece was very interesting I thought.

    More interesting was that after she finished laying out that she addressed a topic that we all wished to talk about, but which we all apparently felt too embarrassed to discuss, the first person manages to mention a sexual game topic that the next five commenters declare off limits and tell him to shut up about it.

    My partner and I have often discussed sexuality and games, and the curious lack of it. I suppose it all traces back to our western heritage of being afraid of sex, but the increase of “romance” in games such as Dragon Age seems to stick out to us. Heck, I even read mention in one interview that Skyrim will have romantic options.

    Of course, like so many serious issues in games, it’s still being treated with a certain under developed manner. Dragon Age far from impressed me with its portrayal of serious romance, and since this game was supposedly a more mature form of story telling than most games (not that I’d necessarily agree, but that’s another topic) the romance was simplistic and rather laughable mostly, and the sex itself was watching glassy-eyed mannequins moved together awkwardly set to some extremely cheesy music. We still laugh about it to this day.

    • Unaco says:

      Would be interesting to consider RapeLay and the John Carmack article mentioned here… If violent video games can be cathartic and reduce aggression and real world violence, would that mean that sexually violent video games can be cathartic and reduce sexual aggression and real world sexual violence? If you go to the RapeLay equivalent of QuakeCon and take a random sample of the people there and compare them to a cross section of society as a whole, or a College campus, would the RapeLay players be a lot less sexually aggressive and less likely to rape? Does the cathartic nature of video games extend to sexual violence?

      What about other behaviours we may want to eliminate from ‘real life’… like being a c*nt to people, satisfying our greed, Religious intolerance, American English, Racism, bigotry etc… Could we, through games which permit such behaviour, reduce these things in the real world?

    • Jumwa says:

      The comparisson had occurred to me as well.

      I think there’s some truth to the whole catharsis argument, though perhaps not so much as we’d like. I remember reading one study some time ago, the findings of which were that violent people were attracted to violent movies and games. They consumed these forms of media a great deal. The interesting thing they found, however, was that they didn’t become more or less violent after watching a violent movie or playing a violent game. But their violence levels did decrease because for the period of time they were engaged in the activity, they were distracted and not engaging in such activities. So it did reduce violent behaviour in a very direct, albeit short term, manner.

      Personally, however, the notion that many seem to try and propogate, that we are somehow all just blank slates susceptible to the slightest of suggestive behaviour, is silly. We have choice, we are more than just robots waiting to be programmed. I think it’s far more likely that those ultra-rare exceptions where violent people were found to engage in these activities, do so because they are just violent people to begin with, not because media influenced them to become more violent.

      Personally, however, I do believe, at least in my own individual case, that it is sort of cathartic. I do enjoy blowing off steam with a violent game now and then.

    • Rii says:

      @Jumwa: “More interesting was that after she finished laying out that she addressed a topic that we all wished to talk about, but which we all apparently felt too embarrassed to discuss, the first person manages to mention a sexual game topic that the next five commenters declare off limits and tell him to shut up about it.”

      Yeah, that was terrible.

      Also with the terrible: Ken Levine’s “sex in videogames is stupid” thing. Thanks, Ken.

      @Unaco: “Would be interesting to consider RapeLay and the John Carmack article mentioned here… If violent video games can be cathartic and reduce aggression and real world violence, would that mean that sexually violent video games can be cathartic and reduce sexual aggression and real world sexual violence?”

      This is an interesting notion to consider, particularly in light of the sheer horror that must be pedophile’s life. A pedophile has literally nobody from whom they can seek support in dealing with their issues without suffering judgement. Nobody except other pedophiles, of course. The positive correlations between depictions of child pornography and child molestation are well documented, but I’ve always wondered about the negative correlations … which are almost impossible to discern because you’re not about to get people to voluntarily identify themselves as pedophiles and share their appetites for erotica.

    • Xercies says:


      I’ve always wanted to do a documentary on Loli manga/anime culture because of that, what makes people like that sort of stuff, are they paedophiles waiting to happen or do they see themselves removed from that and enjoy it for different reasons. It definitely would be interesting to find out why these people like these things that we consider a little horrible ourselves.

      This is relevant, and quite good comedy on the subject of Rapelay to be honest.

      link to

    • Jumwa says:

      Rii, you make some great points.

      Also, on the issue of correlation between pedophilia and child abuse, I doubt any significant number of people into things like lolicon ever act on it. Fantasy and reality are easily distinguishable, for any normal, healthy person, and never–or rarely–meet.

      Leigh Alexander brought up in her piece about how she thinks that maybe she was able to discuss sexual topics in games because she’s a woman and therefore it’s seen as harmless, whereas if a man did so he’d be a creeper. Similarly, when we talk about the “rape fantasy” from the female perspective, it’s something harmless. No healthy woman actually wants to be genuinely raped, no matter how strong the fantasy might appeal to her.

      I’m of the opinion that people should be judged upon their actions, for good or ill, not their thoughts. It’s just fantasy, and peoples sexual fantasy shouldn’t be policed or judged; leave the thought-police out of it. Just as I don’t believe our playing violent, often depraved, vide games should be made to somehow seem to reflect upon us as individuals. Judge us by our actions.

  5. zipcress says:

    “Am I Real Read Indie Developer Now?”

    The word “Read” shouldn’t be in there, unless it’s a reference to something that I’ve missed.

    Perhaps related in some way to this being “The Sundays Papers”?

  6. Premium User Badge

    Gassalasca says:

    “the inventor of games journalism, Kieron Gillen…” :D

  7. JackShandy says:

    “…the game has done so well at touching parts of us that we don’t have words for.”


    It’s a very nice collection of pretty words, but I don’t know if the actual content goes much beyond “Weird sex is interesting. You should check out my weird sex exhibit.”

    I’d absolutely agree with that statement, though. I’d love to see more games with weird scary sex, instead of the typical fratboy giggles sex we usually see.

    EDIT: The comments are actually worth every byte. Really interesting stuff.

    • Corrupt_Tiki says:

      I find most/all sex scenes in games are really really cheesy :/ – And some of those games are really quite borderline psychotic;
      Also she is quite brave if she typed “Sexual Deviant” into google :O; “it’s no better then those porno flash games where you build up a meter and squirt.” one of those would be hilarious down at the pub, jackoff simulator for everyone!

    • dsch says:

      The article is a bit, ‘I curated an exhibit … I chose this game … I chose that game … I wrote this when I was young …”

    • emotionengine says:

      Yeah, that was a pretty incoherent, user-unfriendly mess of an article. Although the take home message (once I managed to find it) is a relevant one.

  8. Rii says:

    I’d love to learn more about India. This latent desire arises from my acquaintance with three largely unrelated niches pertaining to that nation:

    – Gandhi’s writings
    – the Indian Air Force (aircraft inventory, procurement programs, etc.)
    – assorted demographic and national statistics

    Fun fact #1: If India had remained as it was under the Raj its population would be larger than China’s.

    Fun fact #2: Goldman Sachs predicts that India’s GDP will surpass the United States’ by 2050.

    Along with Indonesia it’s probably the nation I’m most interested in learning more about in the imaginary fairyland where I have an unlimited amount of time for such indulgences.

  9. Rinox says:

    Man, Europe looks so small when it’s not in the “middle” of the map like I’m used to.

    • Rii says:

      Relative sizes are totally off in the linked projection as they are in the standard Mercator.

      Here is an area-accurate (but shape-distorting) projection:
      link to

      As you can see, Africa is actually fucking huge and Russia ain’t that big.

    • Vague-rant says:

      Hmmm, if that’s area accurate, why did they go through such lengths to make the UK ridiculous sized. That always annoys me on most of the maps/globes I see.

      Also, Russia’s still pretty huge.

    • Phydaux says:

      If you see it on globes then you’ve got some bad globes. The problem with maps is that you cannot map a sphere onto a plane without distortion. The common Mercator projection is old and designed to help navigation (e.g. if you were to draw a straight line from London to New York on a Mercator map it would follow the same path as if you were to do the same on a globe with a piece of string.) Other maps use different projections. If you want to look at paths and sizes correctly, you need a globe.

  10. CMaster says:

    The National Character series continues to be excellent, even though it breaks a lot of the rules for good essays.

    • Troy Goodfellow says:

      Agreed. It breaks lots of rules, mostly because it is confused in parts, the links between games and themes don’t follow well and a blog is not necessarily the best place for a 15 part series that has somehow taken me 8 months.

      Major problems:

      1) Wall of text (God, I tried to do screenshots so diligently, but I suck at taking them.)
      2) Inconsistent themes and connections (Yeah, this was a bigger them than I thought it would be, because I’m a moron)
      3) Unclear if celebrating or critiquing (Will be clearer in epilogue)
      4) Is this about design or history? (It wavers and I’m not happy about that)
      So yeah, the series is really a dog’s breakfast and honestly not even close to my best work. I liked my map series better. But the response to the National Character stuff has been very gratifying.

    • Fumarole says:

      I certainly enjoy it, even if you don’t consider it your best work. Keep it up!

    • Tams80 says:

      As important as layout and construction is to making an essay ‘good’, it really is the content that matters. A poorly constructed essay with great content can still be a great essay, but a very well structured essay which has poor content (boring in my book) can’t, according to me (=)), be a great essay. As long as it isn’t boring I don’t really care.

      Your series has great content and therefore the essays are great. Sure, I can understand why you wish it was better constructed; it does bring a greater sense of achievement, but for getting the essays ‘wrong’, you certainly got them ‘wrong’ the right way round.

  11. kwyjibo says:

    Every civ in the civ games had a unique unit, the Spanish have the Conquistador, the English get the Redcoat and the Indians get the fast worker – because they make excellent slaves.

    Not sure how racist that is, but they were a damn good unit!

  12. Plushpants says:

    I like your taste in music videos Jim. Aphex Twin have always been masters of that art. Everyone should definitely check out Windowlicker.

    Creepiest thing eva.

  13. emotionengine says:

    The “when is it justified for a writer to work for free?” piece contains this sentence:

    Now, it is likely, (as evinced by the huge number of acerbic wits on, say, RockPaperShotgun’s comments threads) that there’s a huge over-supply of potential talented writers.

    He was talking about us. Heh.

    • JackShandy says:

      We’re famous!

    • cjlr says:

      All glory to the hivemind.

    • sinister agent says:


    • Tams80 says:

      Now, it is likely, (as evinced by the huge number of acerbic (t)wits on, say, RockPaperShotgun’s comments threads) that there’s a huge over-supply of potential talented writers.

    • Thants says:

      (Oh god, he’s writing about us! Errgg, too much pressure! Gotta… write something clever, quick! )



    • Griddle Octopus says:

      What can I say, I get intimidated writing because I know that 50% of the comments are going to be better written than anything I do. *sadface*

  14. Sleepymatt says:

    “Octobot… could even be used for surgery”

    Letting Octodad operate on me? Over my dead body… erm… ah…

    • hello_mr.Trout says:

      i like the idea of the robo-octo-surgeon! they could live in a half aquarium half hospital

    • sinister agent says:

      “I think it’s great that you have eight wobbly arms. I never see you with your crazAAAAAAAAARHH JESUS GOD THE PAIN”

  15. Sleepymatt says:

    –reply fail–


  16. DarkNoghri says:

    I’ll be back later, but for now, pbbbttth. That’s a tiny octopus arm. Our school has been playing with one of these for years: link to

  17. pakoito says:

    I don’t understand why Troy Goodfellow’s “National Character” series is not including Spain. We’ve been there since the beginning and we’re Fucking Interesting. We were the US of the 1490s.

  18. Flimgoblin says:

    The “should I work for free” stuff makes me think of this site (made for web designers rather than journalism, but it crosses over a little)
    link to

    • subedii says:

      I’d say that works for pretty much any field really.

      People deserve to be paid for their work. If it’s for friends / relatives in need, or a charity, then that’s different, but any company expecting you to do work for them for free is exploiting you. The end.

    • Berzee says:

      Obvious chart is obvious.

    • Griddle Octopus says:

      Amazing chart. I will tweet that immediately and almost certainly add it to the piece, eventually, when I can be bothered.

  19. Tei says:

    Re: maps

    most people wen create a map seems to start with a existing one, and modify it. Booo!!. .thats not geek enough.

    Seems possible to create one from scratch using this perl script:
    And data definitions from this place:

    that way you can create a new map in svg format. One that is created by your computer, and not modified from a existing one.

  20. noclip says:

    Does anyone else get the feeling that the piece about writers working for free was reverse-engineered with the goal of ending up on RPS, or am I being overly cynical? It’s a good piece regardless.

    • Arathain says:

      Given that Dan already periodically writes for RPS I consider it unlikely.

    • Griddle Octopus says:

      No, I just woke up on Sunday morning with HULK SMASH rage about it, and had to calm down to think about it logically.

  21. pagad says:

    Upside-down Eurasia looks an awful lot like a Combine gunship.

    • Kadayi says:

      Canada is just huge as well (though nothing compared to the enormity of Russia)

  22. Peter Radiator Full Pig says:

    The explanation of the MIT paper on Monte Carloe method Civ AI, while sounding dull was extremely interesting, and a very good explanation to a piece of new I didnt understand.

    I wonder if we will get to see this new AI in action, in any games, and if so when?
    Are there games that use this already? The only worryng part is the fact that it ties in to the score in the game. That means each score has to be properly balanced. A score for a road that is 100, when 50 would make more sense, could mean an AI that builds roads twice as much as it should, wasting turns and workers.
    So the challange will still remain in making the AI, but in giving t the right info.

    Now Im wondering if thats the real reason there is a score in Civ. Ive never bothered with it before. Dominion or nothing!

  23. PeopleLikeFrank says:

    Hey, Ubisoft! Yeah you in the corner with the bad hair and the DRM! Lookit:
    French copyright enforcers: “Pirates are big spenders on legit content”

  24. Stochastic says:

    I can’t say I agree with Carmack about games being cathartic. I distinctly remember reading about a study showing that aggressive actions intended to “release” anger (per the Freudian steam metaphor of anger) just make you feel more angry. If you start kicking a punching bag after hearing that you won’t get promoted, you’ll just end up feeling more angry, not less. I’m not sure if a similar study has been replicated with violent videogames but I would hypothesize that the same would occur. That having been said, I agree with him that videogame players are not particularly violent, although making the inferential leap that this is owing to the fact that they play videogames as he suggests is unfounded. But yeah, as he says, I don’t think we can say videogames increase aggression, at least not in the long term.

    Now why Carmack, programming genius that he is, should be allowed to comment on such a matter troubles me a little. Whether videogames increase aggression or not is not something that can answered by the speculation of a prominent industry head but rather through well-designed empirical studies replicated by many research teams.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      “Now why Carmack, programming genius that he is, should be allowed to comment on such a matter troubles me a little. Whether videogames increase aggression or not is not something that can answered by the speculation of a prominent industry head but rather through well-designed empirical studies replicated by many research teams.”

      Shame that never happens.

    • Stochastic says:

      I think it’s fine for Carmack to voice his opinion and when he does we should definitely listen. I also think it’s fine for journalists to report this and I’m glad it’s in the Sunday Papers as it’s an interesting topic. All I’m saying is that we should take what he says with a grain of salt since he’s not an authority on the matter. I didn’t mean to come across as pedantic.

  25. Ex Lion Tamer says:

    I don’t think Graham Smith is entirely fair to the original Brainy Gamer piece, but I think he’s got something about the inspiration games criticism can take from music criticism which “review[s] all music through a single, defining prism of taste.” RPS being a fine – though broader in scope – example of that model already (as is Tom Chick’s work, or Kill Screen, or Abbott’s own site). In fact, I think we have quite a bit more of that than Smith allows – it’s just that we don’t have as much of it at the top levels of audience share or media attention as we do in music criticism. Is the inclination to accept (or even seek out) manifestos and truly critical analysis that much stronger in consumers of music than games? The old “product review” and “medium age” explanations seem a little too easy, too, but I suppose they could all contribute.

    Incidentally, Jim, a particularly fantastic crop of things to mull over in this installment. Thanks.

  26. theimpossibleman says:

    Fact: South-oriented maps are awesome.

  27. innociv says:

    In response to ‘Leigh Alexander writes “Sexual Video Games Are Good For Us“’:
    Yeah, sure it is if it’s not like GTA, Duke Nukem, or Saints Row illustration of it.

    People shouldn’t be repressed and afraid of sexuality, but trying to show that women should be treated like objects and used is not the right way to depict it.

    It’s sad that it’s easier to get those themes at an MA rating(instead of NC-17) but romantic sexual intercourse is totally wrong for these games where they card you to buy them.

  28. Kadayi says:

    There’s quite a nice link of of that graham smith page to this one, by Duncan Harris full of amazing game screenshots he’s taken using various mods and tools: -: –

    link to

    Some really great wallpaper material there.

  29. Advanced Assault Hippo says:

    After returning from my latest mission in the Serengeti, I decided to read Carmack’s piece on violent games.

    Although I’ve killed before in real life many times, I’ve always done so out of a sense of duty. So I find myself struggling to judge the accuracy of his statements – since I already have my ‘outlet’ and don’t need another one.

    Violent games therefore serve no purpose for me as such, but I still appreciate good game design when I see it, whatever the genre.

    • Jake says:

      Are you writing this in character as an advanced assault hippo? It’s so hard to tell when people are being serious around here.

    • Berzee says:

      Jake, are you really not able to tell if he’s being serious?
      Or are you joking?

    • JackShandy says:

      Don’t even try to tell who’s being serious on the internet, there’s no end to that rabbit-hole.

    • Corrupt_Tiki says:


      I agree, I mean, when I get the ‘urge’ so to speak, I don’t fire up a game of CSS or BFBC2, I just travel down to the local ghetto and rough up some Peasants/Hookers/Hobo’s & any other minority that is usually classed as ‘fodder’ by game designers.

  30. Urthman says:

    I agree with Graham Smith’s article so much. Finding one reviewer who enjoys the same games you enjoy and hates the ones you hate is worth more than the entire PC Gamer website put together. (Which is why I’m so sad that Chris Remo is working for Irrational Games instead of doing stuff like Idle Thumbs.)

  31. dellphukof says:

    The cursor blinked unapologetically on Julie’s screen. She was only now aware that she was breathing very loudly, almost panting. Before that night, if someone had asked if she had any baggage in her life, she would have laughed and responded, “I haven’t lived an interesting enough life to have any baggage!” But this one man she had never met in person made her see that a huge weight was indeed resting atop her life and stunting her growth. It had taken her 43 years to acknowledge what very well could have been the most important truism in her life. All the decisions she had made up until then, from her major in university to the man she married to the names she had given her children (she refused to give them the names her parents had suggested), had in some way been a malignant protest against the wishes of her xach hang hieu