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The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for waking up the heart of ancient Oxford, having sucked the knowledge out of thirty PhD students the night before, and leaving them useless husks as you grow only more powerful. Also, it is for compiling internet lists of useful reading material on the important topic of computer games! Hooray!

  • Over on Eurogamer Mr Cobbett asks why the games industry is afraid of failure: “It says something about modern games that BioShock Infinite has been able to make headlines by adding a special “1999 Mode” where your in-game decisions will actually matter…. Where normally you’ll be able to jack-of-all-trades your way through most situations, here – supposedly – everything will be a trade-off. n short, it’s being set up as a mode that’s not afraid to let you fail – and that’s practically unheard of these days.”
  • The BBC reports on some mock ups of real war scenes in Arma 2: “The world of video games has progressed too. Some seem real, as highlighted by a recent Ofcom ruling that ITV misled viewers by airing footage claimed to have been shot by the IRA, which was actually material taken from a video game. Labelled “IRA Film 1988″, it was described as film shot by the IRA of its members attempting to down a British Army helicopter in June 1988. However, the pictures were actually taken from a game called Arma 2.”
  • Gamasutra looks at the future of Minecraft with Jeb: “And also, Minecraft is a sandbox game, so people have very different opinions about what you’re supposed to be able to do in the game. Like, some people really hate the adventure and RPG part of the game, and some people want more of that, more dragons and whatever. Some people want more engineering tools. Some people hate engineering tools because they don’t understand how Redstone works anyway. So, the good thing about mods is that then we can let people who really want to specialize on one part of the game, we can tell them, “Here’s a really great mod. Just install it. You’ll have fun.””
  • Grimrock and accessibility for a disabled gamer.
  • What Mechwarrior designer Jordan Weisman is doing now.
  • Raph Koster continues by saying that Narrative usually isn’t content either: “Some replies used the word “content” to describe the role that narrative plays. But I wouldn’t use the word content to describe varying feedback. In other words, perverse as it may sound, I wouldn’t generally call chunks of story “game content.” But I would sometimes, and I’ll even offer up a game design here that does so.”
  • Why History Needs Software Piracy: “I’m here to offer a different perspective, at least when it comes to software piracy. While the unauthorized duplication of software no doubt causes some financial losses in the short term, the picture looks a bit different if you take a step back. When viewed in a historical context, the benefits of software piracy far outweigh its short-term costs. If you care about the history of technology, in fact, you should be thankful that people copy software without permission.”
  • A message from Splash Damage about what to expect from them in 2012.
  • On creating Dead Space 2’s religion: “When it came time to create [a religion], we just took all those conversations and put them in the design for Unitology. It felt like a natural response to what might happen if a Marker appeared. You know, people get all crazy about Jesus on toast, so imagine if an actual alien artifact appeared. Of course there would be a religion about it, religious impulse is very strong for that sort of stuff. It started with that basic, organic assumption that this is what would happen, and then we started growing fun and interesting ideas after that.”
  • How alike are indie developers and scientists? “We work small, build example systems, and then scale up to something that’s worth writing a paper about. Both indies and researchers are exploring areas of their fields that are usually unexplored – and that makes an experimental attitude invaluable.”
  • The story of the gamer-sourced protein.
  • Is the Dragonborn the most interesting person to ever have existed?
  • Michael Moorcock taking apart Lord Of The Rings. A similar set of criticisms could be used against certain games.
  • Ooh, some Interstellar Marines footage.

Music this weeks is The Black Mill Tapes Vol. 3. Amazing work from the Head Technician.

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Jim Rossignol

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