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The Sunday Papers

Sunday mornings are for waking up under a stream of sunlight and realising you need to get out of bed and compile a list of interesting reading for the internet’s unblinking gaze. Yes, the ‘Papers are more important than sleep – Up, Rossignol, and to the coalface!

Actually, I will sit in the garden for a bit with a cup of tea and it’ll be late. Sorry about that.

  • You should start today by reading Richard Cobbett’s retrospective of Wasteland. What with the big Kickstarter and everything, it’s worth remembering what it was all about: “When combat starts, I yawn. That might seem strange, and yes, RPGs have always been combat heavy. For me though, fighting things and looting their corpses has never been the point. Instead, when I buy one, it’s for the joy of entering and exploring a new world, poking around a new culture, and ideally savouring the journey like a tourist instead of feeling trapped on a rail.” Oh, if only RPG designers remembered that…
  • This interview with Ubisoft’s digital boss Chris Early over on Eurogamer suggests Ubisoft might be looking at alternatives to DRM: “The question is, with enough on-going content development, content release, engagement at the community level, can we create that kind of MMO value system?” Early asked. “I think we can. As the rest of the game industry continues to evolve, the more you hear about cloud gaming, the more you hear about companion gaming, the less a pirated game should work in all of that environment. So, therefore the value of that pirated content becomes less. Will some people still pirate? Yeah, they will. Will the person who really wants that broad experience pirate? We hope not.”
  • The guys over at Three Moves Ahead have been talking about Wargame: European Escalation, and also writing a bit about it here. They reminded me that we really need to talk about that game on RPS, because it’s real-time strategy done so well. And holy crap, look at the Three Moves Ahead archive.
  • Shut Up & Sit Down Show continues, is vital.
  • Rather entertained by Sebastian Alvarado’s “Nanotechnology as Portrayed in Video Games“: “In the MGS world, once the target has been identified, the nanomachine could be triggered to release its deadly cargo, killing the host. Back in the real world, the next logical step in this work is to make the spider walk faster (and how to make it more programmable, so that it can follow many commands on the track and make more decisions. In this case, the application of nanotechnology in Metal Gear is still fantasy, but there is a concrete theoretical basis currently being explored.”
  • Via Penny Arcade, a laser singing the Portal theme.
  • Denby interview’s Silent Hill composer Akira Yamaoka for a thing about audio in games: “He finds it frustrating, then, that the games industry doesn’t always share his views. He tells me it’s often difficult for composers to convince developers of the importance of taking great care over sound design, in much the same was as many writers in the industry struggle to make their voices heard.”
  • Lot’s of responses to – and reviews of – TGC’s Journey on PSN this week, including this one: “…it can be pleasurable to be made to experience what the designer wants me to experience but it can also be frustrating, annoying and well, downright condescending. But to top it off, the idea of raising game design to this level of moralistic high-ground in the context of an important and influential indie title rankles and worries me.” Some great points here.
  • The Idealistic World of Videogame Pacifists“: “Playing peacefully sounds interesting, challenging even. I can see why such a tactics appealed to a committed gamer like Mullins. However as the experience unfolded in my mind, playing as a peaceful monk served to further highlight what I was, in actuality, doing. If I played this way, I would be constantly reminded that I am merely playing a game. A game that can be exploited and one in which I can do whatever I want free from real life consequences. One that I could even reset if its consequences proved too unpleasant. But who cares if I flee the town when the dragon attacks using the villagers as bait so I can escape unnoticed? It’s just a game, it doesn’t count.”
  • How To Explain Your Game To An Asshole.
  • The Psychology Of Game Design: “You sit down, ready to get in a few minutes of gaming. Hours pass and you suddenly become aware that you’re making ridiculous faces and moving like a contortionist while trying to reach that new high score. You ask yourself: Where did the time go? When did I sprain my ankle? Maybe you didn’t sprain your ankle, but if you consider yourself a gamer, you’ve probably ended up in similar situations. They happen because you’ve reached a critical level of engagement with whatever game you’re playing. More often than not, these types of gaming sessions occur when you’re playing a great game. If game developers were able to characterize and add design considerations that facilitate these engaged states they’d create more enjoyable and better selling games.”
  • True PC Gaming on the most positive things about PC Gaming.

Music this week is Demdike Stare’s Ghostly Hardware.

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Jim Rossignol

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