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The Sunday Papers

Sunday is for sitting somewhere in the Somerset countryside, reading a giant book of philosophy. If that’s gets boring there’s always a tenuous data signal out here for reading the many philosophies of the internet. Here’s a few of those.

  • So, thanks to commenter Kad, I am leading with a podcast this week. It’s an “Irrational Interviews” piece, which sounds like it should consist in entirely random and unpleasant questioning, but is actually Ken Levine vs the doctors of Bioware. “We were having lunch one day after having made some medical education software,” recalls Ray, “then we realized what we’re really passionate about is video games. Why don’t we just make some video games? Take everything we own, and everything we make as doctors on weekends, to fund the company. …That was the extent of the conversation.” And so on.
  • VG247’s bossman Pat Garrett is offline, thanks to a storm. It was the day he realised the DRM moaners have a point: “I have to be honest; I always roll my eyes when people kick up a stink about this stuff, mainly because, until this week, I had a reliable internet connection. I’m regularly being told that large swathes of the European and American gaming markets have flimsy lines with slow speeds, but I’m all right, Jack. I now know better.”
  • Chris Hecker talks “indie ethos” with Gamasutra: “I have this Venn diagram that I draw sometimes. There’s the stuff that is interesting to work on and there’s the stuff that will sell. And those two things overlap, so why not work on something in the intersection of those, you know?”
  • Eurogamer interviews EVE’s CSM chairman about the current state of play: “I think the key problems are obvious to a wide range of players. The development of the Incarna and Tyrannis expansions are aimed at Dust and World of Darkness, essentially creating new technologies for those games. The majority of the people working on “Eve Online” are no longer developing the core product. The neglect of the content, and the game that subscribers are used to playing, is causing stagnation.”
  • Things are pretty tense over at Crytek, with this Tumblr blog attacking employment practices at the company. This article outlines the issue. As I understand it, German law isn’t particular favourable towards people who want to speak out against this stuff, either. Worrying.
  • Ars Technica on how games studios often own whatever you produce while you are working there. This caused a bit of consternation for some folks, but it’s actually fairly standard practice for creative companies, because it ensures that people don’t draw a wage and actually just sink the time into their own projects. Controlling and restrictive, yes, but I get why this one happens. (I would also say that actually policing and enforcing such a clause is probably beyond most companies, too…)
  • Workarounds and fixes for Dead Island.
  • Kill-Screen has a piece about someone playing Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for the first time. And it’s actually one of those pieces about “gosh, I am older now and my perspective on games is different from when I was a kid”, which I think might be an insight in itself regarding why that game hits so many “best game of all time” lists. I remember my first time playing it, and I thought “Really?”
  • This piece on Pop Matters about how pattern, not plot, makes some videogames interesting won’t tell you much that you don’t know, but I do think it’s one of those points that’s worth emphasizing again and again. I’d love to see what would happen if every game studio in the world were forced to remove exposition and explicit plotting from their games.
  • Press X Or Die write more about Champions Online than you would ever have thought feasible.
  • 9.3 billion score in Geometry Wars.
  • A Minecraft creeper explodes in 3D.
  • RPS chum Mark Wallace writes about running a post-graduate course in rock, paper, scissors over at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

More electronic rubbish in the realms of music this week. I’ve been listening to terrible doomy stuff like this, and then some rather more predictable ambient electronic mixes here.

More soon!

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Jim Rossignol

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