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The Sunday Papers

Sundays for waking up in Luton. Luton? Really? Yes. Luton is actually nicer than you remember. At least 67% nicer. I mean it. Anyway, Lutons aside, it’s time for some words on videogames and things.

  • PopSci on Sniper Elite V2’s gory killcam: “And that’s part of the what makes Sniper Elite V2 so interesting. It is easily the most graphic, violent video game I’ve ever seen, but the violence is relatively realistic, not cartoony. The game has the dubious honor of humanizing Nazis more than any of the scores of WWII-era games, films, and books that came before it: these are not anonymous targets, dispatched from far away with the tug of the R-trigger: once you see testicles exploded, fingers severed, an artery slashed open by the force of your bullet, that you shot, from your own gun, you feel the effects of your actions in a way I didn’t expect. The original idea might well have been to create the most extreme, violent period shooter ever made. Blood! Guts! X-rays! But the effect is the complete opposite. You’re not yanking a cartoon ninja’s spine out of his body with your bare hands, or stabbing a shrieking purple alien with a glowing light-sword. You’re killing people. And that’s a messy business.”
  • This Killscreen article is interesting, even though I think it lacks nuanced analysis: “Thinking of videogames as “free-to-play” reminds me of why I hate to play games with other people. In its purest form, play is a creative act negotiated between two people without intermediary. I am not playing when I’m interacting with a videogame, I’m accepting someone else’s rules and experimenting with them, allowing the designer to delimit my instincts for behavior. Doing this with another person feels like a waste of time, an inherent loss of the generative possibilities of play without intermediary limits. Videogames are the experience of being ruled. In contrast, play is the experience of generating new rules in collaboration with someone else. The idea that “play” is free is redundant. It is only ever free. As soon as money is involved it no longer simply “play” but a perverse form of labor, proving one’s worth as a participant in, and exponent of, the zeitgeist. “
  • Digital Foundry’s “The Making Of The Witcher 2“: “”The second secret is tight co-operation between engine programmers and other developers, which allowed the engine devs to create a tool that embodied their game concept. It’s worth mentioning that we remained pragmatic during the development process. If there was a solution that met our expectations, we didn’t develop our own. That’s why we used middleware like Havok for physics, Scaleform GFx for UI or FMOD for audio.””
  • While you’re over at Eurogamer, take a moment to read their Game Of The Week article in Diablo 3: “It seems as though, over the past 12 years, there’s been a schismatic divergence between what Blizzard thinks a Diablo game is and what the series’ fans expect of it. The always online requirement is absolutely a hard-headed business decision, but it’s also a philosophy, a statement of intent from a company that – from the top down, and in its game design departments as well as its accounting ones – simply has no interest at all in making games that aren’t connected. Blizzard’s mavens were probably dreaming of this future when they launched Battle.net with the first Diablo all the way back in 1996, but they were too far-sighted by half, because sixteen years later we’re still not ready for it – and neither is our internet infrastructure.”
  • Jenova Chen’s goals for games: “We had a goal to evoke a feeling that would make people want to socialize with each other, want to learn from each other. Empowerment distracts you from socializing. After the internet became popular, almost all single-player games became multiplayer, but I think a lot of those games are designed for individuals, not socializing.”
  • In light of this week’s events, this is the hard question. (There’s an extent to which games are becoming events, rather than products.)
  • Venturebeat interviews Jon-Paul Dyson, director of the International Center for the History of Electronic Games at the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, NY.
  • Cobbett’s fine work continues over at Crapshoot.
  • I shouldn’t have to remind you to listen to Three Moves Ahead.
  • This isn’t a link to an article, it’s a hidden reminder that you can email me interesting reads via the link in my name or tweet me up.
  • BLDGBLOG: Secret Soviet Cities.
  • From the archives: John suggests this OMM review of Codename: Eagle, the game that came before Battlefield.

Some music? Why yes. It’s Giant Claw.

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Jim Rossignol

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