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The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for nervously reading the Sunday Papers, and thinking about what might appear in them. Oh well, worse things happen at sea. Let’s have a look at all the things that can only happen in videogames.

  • It’s a big one to start: Eurogamer ask the question “How Bad is PC Piracy Really?” The answer, perhaps unsurprisingly, is that no-one really knows. Here’s Capcom’s Christian Svensson: “We looked at quantifying what the real losses are,” says Christian Svensson of the PC Gaming Alliance and Capcom, “and it’s incredibly hard to do, because you end up having to do a set of cascading assumptions that you have no real ability to validate in any meaningful away.” More insightfully, there are a lot of good points made about how and why companies choose to use DRM, but I think it’s Guillaume Rambourg from GoG who sums my feels up best: “”Piracy is some kind of ghost enemy, and chasing a ghost enemy is a pure waste of time and resources. The only way really is to make the whole gaming experience easy, convenient and rewarding for the users – this is the only way to fight against piracy.”
  • Speaking of Eurogamer, and of DRM solutions, here’s Digital Foundry doing their tech analysis thing on OnLive.
  • On a much lighter note, Ste Curran, the brain behind Chime, points out this blog of food based on videogame recipes, including sandvich. I am even going to try some of them. Curran is also looking for a developers for secret projects, if you’re free and idle.
  • Keeping with the frivolousness, here’s Kotaku’s instructional feature on how to spell important videogame sound-effects. I’d debate a few of these, to be honest. But then I am very sad.
  • Bizarre rant from Mike Bowden on VG247, where he asks videogames to stop making him learn, so that he can get on with the “experience”. I agree that game experiences should be better and easier to access, but I think Bowden is missing the point about how games work here. It’s not whether they make you learn, but whether they make you want to learn. The best game tutorials are the ones you don’t notice, not necessarily the ones where you don’t need to master anything. What Bowden is bumping against are the games that are bad teachers, and don’t reward you well enough for you to want to figure out how they work. (And arguably some of the best game experiences are only fun while you are figuring out how they work, anyway, but that’s a secondary argument.)
  • I’m pretty sure Kieron added this link to the SP document because he gets namechecked in it, but the point it makes about how games are named is nevertheless interesting: “VVVVVV hides its flipping mechanic in plain sight with that repeated letter V. Viridian’s navigation of the world sees him thrown from floor to ceiling and back again, over and over. His forward momentum (although you’ll move in all directions) completes the tracing of this wave.”
  • Tim Rogers writes a long, long, long piece entitled “Who Killed Videogames?” And it’s the best thing he’s written in ages. The gist of it: “To put it most bluntly — and this is only a theory — videogames killed videogames. As is often the case with this kind of senseless cold-blooded murder, the finger on the trigger belonged to a videogame-psychosis born of the worst qualities of game design. They are the qualities most ready to be studied: that players like (maybe-)you or me can’t progress to the next dungeon in The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past unless we’re going in with 999 rupees; if we don’t have 999 rupees, we are going to go to the nearest cluster of bushes and hack them down until we do. When a psychiatrist looks at videogames, he’s not going to appreciate the fineness of the sprite art; he’s going to find the elements that get stuck in the brain.”
  • Deltagamer charts the history of the Call Of Duty series.
  • The Reticule interview Valve’s Chet Faliszek about CS:GO.
  • Is the Humble Indie Bundle actually a cleverly orchestrated guilt-trip? BnBGaming seems to think so.
  • Will Porter talks about why real-world meetups (like our RPS drink-o-chats) still matter to gaming communities.
  • Deleted City is an “archaeology” of Geocities, the once-thriving free hub of the internet, now defunct. It’s also a clever piece of design.
  • Me being interviewed for The Observer. I talk about Fallen City.
  • A slice of PCG’s Minecraft server rendered up all nice.
  • Also in Lego news: this amazing spooky house.
  • Music this week comes via Fullbright, who recollects the original soundtrack for Syndicate. God, I’m old.

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Jim Rossignol

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