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The Monday Papers

Sundays are for sleeping it off. Later, you realise you didn’t manage to round up a collection of excellent game-related links and writing from the previous week. Gods no! What can be done about it? Well, you can publish it the next day. Phew!

  • Brainy Gamer talk about the “wholesome cacophony” of the ongoing “dumbness” debate within games commentary: “If Theater is high art in an echo chamber, and video games are low art in a cacophony, I’ll take the cacophony. The great video game conversation is happening 24/7 worldwide – rants, fanboys, and flamewars included. It’s a wholesome cacophony and an irrepressible sign of life.” And that’s pretty much my take, too. Thanks, Internet. Keep making lots of noise. Related, here’s their list of smart games.
  • A History Of Videogame Narrative: “The culmination of years of basement film marathons and unrivalled technical prowess was in the slew of great science fiction titles of the 90s and early 2000s. System Shock, Half Life and Deus Ex, while borrowing heavily from the works of Ridley Scott in particular, are franchises which continue to this day in some form or another, and truly rival their source material in the stories and characters they develop.”
  • Blendo Games’ Day Z comic.
  • Why local beats online in multiplayer gaming. Not entirely sure I agree with this anymore. There was a time when I would have argued it, but now I get a greater kick out of playing with the army of online friends I’ve built up over the years than I do with people I have immediately to hand, and I am not sure the experience would be improved by having them in the same room as me. (Sorry guys!)
  • IndieGames offers “A Brief Tour Of Simogo’s Cancelled Projects
  • Kotaku discusses the issues surrounding MLB 2K12 Perfect Game Challenge. Another one of the great videogame stories for the archives.
  • Talk about arguing up hill. When recent times have seen total reinvention of the hi-score, Dino Farm argues the contrary: “You don’t care about videogame scores, because videogame scores are simply not well-implemented. Even without the “completion” element, scores are not built into games in a way that would make us care about them. The first problem is in the nature of the kinds of numbers videogame scores produce.”
  • Need boardgame discussion? Me too! Fortunately there’s the Shut Up & Sit Down Podcast. Side note: My brain insists that it should be “Sit Down & Shut Up.”
  • Split Screen looks at the “Game Of The Year” and Collector’s Edition boom: “Publishers are playing the role of an overachieving parent, making up awards for their children, then demanding we all acknowledge these imaginary accolades. It’s as crass as buying your mum a “Best Mum in the World” card for Mother’s Day when you know that some mothers have died for their children. I’m sure your Mum makes fantastic pancakes, but you need to have some perspective. Whenever a publisher can release Dead Island: Game of the Year Edition with a straight face, you know something is rotten besides the zombies. Are your relatives really going to be fooled when Christmas shopping if every single game claims to be the Game of the Year? Not everyone is getting it wrong: CDProjekt should be commended for The Witcher 2 Enhanced Edition, which not only contains tangible enhancements, but was extended to everyone who had previously bought the game for free.”
  • Simon Parkin speaks with Jade Raymond: “Then, personally I’ve had a lot of good feedback from girls that have found it helpful to see me out there talking about my career in the industry. I think in some sense you don’t want to be the only girl in a job and so seeing other girls out there working in the industry helps that perception. You wouldn’t think that Assassin’s Creed is a particularly female type of game but I was at the core of the team. You know, that team had the highest percentage of women on it of any other project at Ubisoft at the time. Of course, when I was Producer on The Sims there was a very healthy gender balance. That reflected the number of women that play that game I think”
  • Brandon Sheffield speaks to CliffyB: “…there’s Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls. That’s ironically one of the most innovative games with what we call “mingle player” that has had those kinds of blending and blurring of single player and multiplayer — and it came from Japan! So clearly some of the developers over there get that, because that game is going to continue to inspire a lot of Western developers to figure ways that you can have connected elements in campaign games, and have more of a blended experience. I would’ve loved it in Skyrim if my fiancee could have left a treasure in a chest in my house while she was playing, Animal Crossing-style. You know, Fable with the orbs in the world, that’s where we’re all going, right?”

Music this week is this Message To Bears.

I love you, Internet.

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Jim Rossignol

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