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The Sunday Papers

Sunday mornings are for realising that it’s going to be a slow week of typing because you bought a new keyboard and it’s just ever so slightly different to the old one, which means one extra bad key hit per sentence. Sigh. At least it glows in the dark.

  • Brandon Sheffield’s Game Changers article appears to be a sort of predictably zeitgeisty filler material in the subjects that he picks, but having read it I think it’s actually a genuinely important overview of where we are right now, looking who is changing the industry, and why. On the Humble bundle project: “One of the project’s additional successes comes from its ability to retain that indie feeling while growing massively. As the bundles have gotten more successful, they attracted the attention of investors. Sequoia Capital provided venture funding of $4.7 million to the bundle’s future growth, which is a decidedly un-humble amount of money.” These are the companies worth paying attention to. Humble alone is interesting enough because it is generating significant wealth for indies who might otherwise have struggled to break even. That success is indicative of where the “indie” revolution has got to, now: people have worked out exactly how to get the games to the players, and the money to their bank accounts. And that’s worth being aware of.
  • Eurogamer talks to Team Bondi’s Brendan Mcnamara (some serious spoilers if you’ve not played LA Noire): “People are entitled to their opinion. I’m perfectly happy for people to say they don’t like working with me or I’m a bully or I’m this or whatever. The part that annoys me is people do it anonymously. I’d rather they just ring me up and tell me to f**k off, right? Or people want to print your company emails on the internet. I’m like, what is that about? That could happen to any company in the business.”
  • While you are over at EG, read Nvidia’s boasting about Battlefield 3.
  • Skyrim bugs are going to dominate the next couple of weeks, aren’t they?
  • Harbour Master pinged me this odd little piece on Passage: ” I took my parent to look at it and even managed to get my mother to play it. As she got to grips with the controls (it is literally a stick and a button) I explained what I understood Rohrer’s design to be and about some of the symbolism. I felt a bit like that guy: the pretentious art nob-end who comes up to you and tries to explain the deeper meaning of Guernica to you, along with the politics and emotions behind it; or the git you meet at a party who tells you all about whatever new prog-rock nonsense is popular (Coheed and Cambria was the last one, for me). My mother described Passage as “poignant” and I almost felt justified in my arthouse-dickhead descent.”
  • Some good thoughts on Red Dead Redemption. Oh that game will never see the light of a PC…
  • This is a strange piece of writing that a few different people have sent me this week: The Tetris Effect. Interesting, but I am not quite sure about the point he is trying to make.
  • Deltagamer offers a brief history of The Elder Scrolls’ games.
  • James Archer is defending regenerating health! Don’t worry, he offers some constructive crit too: “Is it realistic? Not really. Neither is anything where it’s possible to brush off bullet wounds and monster claws with little more than a “Ungh”. Even so, it’s not unreasonable to wonder if regen would be met with less general hostility if it was worked into each game’s lore a bit better.”
  • What indie George Buckenham learned about his game from showing it at GameCity. An interesting meditation on developer feedback, and the importance/risk of exposing your game to many minds before completion.
  • Suggestions for ‘degamification’: ” When engagement is low, it’s the job of the engager to step in and stimulate it (by gamification). But as engagement rises, the engager should degamify the systems to avoid, er, content inflation – which you might define as activity designed only to trigger game mechanics rather than whatever the supposed point of the tool is creativity, fun, etc.”
  • Cliff pings over some Gratuitous Tank Battles alpha footage.
  • Thrilling Wonder Stories has its first batch of videos from the sci-fi/architecture/film studies/futurology event up.
  • I want one of these.

Music this week is via Phill Cameron, and is Benqe’s Twenty Systems, an album made with uh twenty systems.

More soon! If you have any links for the papers you can email me (link in my name at the top there) or tweet me up here.

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Jim Rossignol

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