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The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for nursing a bout of insomnia with some gentle electronica and cup of tea. It’s a beautiful misty morning here in the West. Perfect for collating some internet writings before setting off for a long walk to a pub lunch. After that, surely, a man will be able to sleep.

  • Mr Garratt on why Molyneux quitting Microsoft is such a good thing: “No one deserves the accolades more. Peter Molyneux is British gaming’s national treasure, a genius creative who’s pushed games in areas no one else has dared. Yes, he’s failed on more than one occasion, but that’s because he’s tried. In such a risk-averse industry, that’s rare. If you push you will fall, but he never stops. Going it alone again means he can experiment in ways a large corporation would never allow, that he can remain on the road of innovation.”
  • Mr Stone remembers Flight Simulator 98: “The mind-boggling scope was an invitation to explore. ‘Flip open an atlas’ the Create A Flight menu seemed to implore, ‘Choose a start point and, if you like, a destination, and be on your way’. For no logical reason you’d find yourself following the Nile or the Amazon one night, crossing the Caspian Sea or the Bay of Bengal the next. This was Flight Simulator in the days before the series started dispensing patronising gongs. An achievement was finding the airstrip you sought before your tank ran dry, or putting your plane down in one piece despite fierce crosswinds and failing light. Satisfaction was a completely natural by-product of improving airmanship and burgeoning knowledge of a relatively complicated machine.”
  • Thanks to everyone who sent me the link to “How I Helped Destroy Star Wars Galaxies“: “I remember with crystal clarity when I realized I was making more money from this enterprise than I was at my full-time job. I quickly decided to expand and hired four guys in Singapore to play 24/7. I paid them unreasonably well for the time, almost 3x as much as they would for other re-sellers; this bought me loyalty, and in this enterprise, loyalty is everything.”
  • Not everyone is interested in Mass Effect 3: “I cannot suspend my disbelief on this. It is, quite simply, beyond belief. The Systems Alliance might fail to respond fast enough the first time a colony suddenly goes silent. But the second time? Third? We are told, and shown in ME, that Alliance strategy is not to try to defend every colony and outpost, but hold the fleet ready to respond when scouts report trouble. On this basis what should have happened was that the Fifth Fleet dropped on the Collector cruiser like a gigaton of bricks and blew it out of the sky.”
  • This is old, but for some reason a couple of people linked it, and so I repost because the topic is timeless: “A Complex Problem” looks at the problem with “simple and fun” being the ideals of game design: “Gaming needs greater diversity — the kind of diversity movies have — if it is to escape being pigeon-holed in the cultural ghetto. Gaming may boast of titles that scratch the same itches Michael Bay does but has thus far failed to produce anything comparable to Werner Herzog and Errol Morris. That really is the most frustrating aspect of this. Games can be so much more than what they are now.”
  • Is a 100-hour videogame ever worthwhile? (Yes.) “You can accomplish a lot in 100 hours. You could read War and Peace, for instance, then follow it up with Thus Spoke Zarathustra and a few starter courses in a new language. You could watch Melancholia 40 times and still have time to squeeze in a screening of Shoah. You could also drive from Los Angeles to New York and back again, or complete 20 weeks of training and then run a marathon. Or, if you preferred, you could also play through the video game Dark Souls from start to finish.”
  • Beefjack asks: Which historical figure would you mechanise? Ian Livingston replies: “Have to go Britsh! So I would mechanize Winston Churchill wearing his long overcoat, cigar in the corner of his mouth, armed with a Bren Gun.”
  • Eurogamer’s take on that Portal 2 presentation.
  • How TV gets Gaming wrong.
  • The Guardian’s quest for weird fiction: “Over the next four weeks I will be scouring the internet for the best independently-published weird stories. I genuinely have no idea what to expect. I’m hoping I might stumble upon a new Angela Carter, Mervyn Peake or China Miéville; a weird and fantastically baroque masterpiece from a unique imagination. Maybe even a few of them. On the other hand, I might end up destroying my mind with a steady diet of third-rate Stephen King clones and Harry Potter rip-offs.”
  • Jean “Moebius” Giraud died yesterday. Here’s a Tumblr devoted to his extraordinary work.

Music is not really music this week. It’s Zimoun’s 138 prepared dc-motors, cotton balls, cardboard boxes 40x40x40cm, via Tom Betts.

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Jim Rossignol

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