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The Sunday Papers

Sundays! They can be for all kinds of stuff. Singing, dancing, rejoicing. But it’s possible you’re having a quieter time. You’re sat down somewhere with a glowing screen, and you’re filtering through information. So much of it… Here comes some now.

  • Read of the week, for me at least, was the Frozen Synapse post-mortem: “Commercially, our targets were: Focus completely on digital; achieve Steam distribution; sell over 100k copies within a year from release without a significant marketing spend; create a game that would be popular with core PC gamers; we wanted to make something that would really appeal to readers of RockPaperShotgun!” Well, that’s always a good idea.
  • Tom Bissell wrote a bunch of stuff about Skyrim. It went a bit like this: “Review Skyrim? You may as well try reviewing last month. “It started out strong, but by the end I was definitely ready for it to be over. Some great things went down, along with some stuff that kind of blew. I nevertheless recommend last month. Lots of variety. 3½ stars.””
  • On Gamasutra Greg Lastowka looks at whether players can and should be granted legal ownership of virtual items: “In 2004, a Chinese gamer from Shanghai, Qiu Chengwei, found a Dragon Saber in the Korean MMORPG Legend of Mir. The Dragon Saber was so powerful that it was worth almost a thousand dollars. A friend of Qiu, Zhu Caoyuan, asked him if he could borrow the sword. When Qiu transferred the sword, Zhu sold it to another player and pocketed the money. Qiu had not just lost his virtual sword; he had lost a substantial sum of money. I do not know if Qiu went to the game company, but he did complain to the Chinese police. The police, however, turned him away, explaining that according to the law, the Dragon Saber wasn’t his legal property.” But if that was the case… And so on! It’s all fun and games on the virtuality frontier.
  • The Making Of Flotilla on Next-Gen is a good read, if just because it reminded me that I need to play it: “When you’re not locked in space battles, you pilot your ship between planets and a tree of choices pops up. You might encounter a pair of white-collar porcine criminals asking for help, or Rastafarian cats who appear in a burst of dub. Joining a karaoke contest might win you an extra ship or power-ups like a faster fire rate. You might even have to choose what to do about a bunch of baby yetis that have chewed through your ship’s wiring: defang them or blast them out the airlock?”
  • Did Bioshock ruin FPS games for you? No, that was Stalker.
  • Can review scores be fixed? Andrew Meade thinks maybe they can. That’s the spirit, Meade.
  • Kotaku point to Wizardcore. You won’t want to look away.
  • A lovely feature about Runescape over on PC Gamer: “Fights were tough, and weren’t made any easier by a zoomed-in interface that made it almost impossible to move and talk at the same time. To compensate, players would boil down messages to impenetrable acronyms that, even now, make very little sense. Sporadic bursts of movement paired with exclamations of “HH” usually translated as: “Oh God, help me! I’m being killed by a goblin!” Few players ever worked out these cries, causing me to fall again and again to depressingly avoidable deaths.”
  • This confusing editorial on VG247 argues that games do cause violence, but that we shouldn’t care. Or something. A bit baffling.
  • This Batman installation illustration made a lot of people cringe. It should be making the publishers cringe, too. But it won’t, because they’ll never play their own game on PC.
  • Leigh Alexander on living with a robotic dinosaur.
  • John Arr made you a crossword puzzle. The password for the answers is horace, apparently.
  • Another fine speech about the state of things by Bruce Sterling.

Music this is week from Nils Frahm. Try this.

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Jim Rossignol

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