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The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for rest and recuperation. Or that’s the fantasy. In reality you are just fighting on another front, in a different kind of war. Perhaps you will get just enough downtime to read some of what has been written about your beloved videogames. Or perhaps not.

  • There have been many dismissive pieces of writing regarding this year’s E3, but I was surprised to see Gamasutra editor Kris Graft adding his voice to the anti-E3 choir: “Go to E3 and try to identify trends, you’ll soon realize that you’re looking into the past. E3 2012 could’ve been E3 2006. It is a museum without the informative placards. It’s an archaeologist’s dream. It’s a reality show starring a washed-up rockstar. It’s old gameplay. Old themes. A parade of old business models meant to pacify retailers, patting them on the head to assure them that they will be as relevant five years from now as they are today. E3 2012 was a fool’s circus, more than any other E3 that I’ve been to. It insulted my intelligence, and insulted my enthusiasm for video games.”
  • Pat from VG247 was making similar noises of dissatisfaction with the industry tradeshow: “There was no talk of mobile gaming. And there was no talk of PC. Again, E3 proved it’s incapable of being anything other than a triple-A publishing show. As the big-name component consolidates, the freeze deepens. E3 is a dinosaur facing the Ice Age. It represents an old marketing model draped with booth babes, a consumer show parading as trade for the good of no one. We’ve been here before. Why do companies like EA bother? Electronic Arts, to take an example, is healthy through growth in digital, a savvy company well aware of how quickly the market’s shifting. What does E3 give EA? Or Ubisoft? Or THQ? Coverage? Haven’t we learnt from the Q4 release crush just how diluted messages get in a crowd? Aren’t we just back at the situation that crippled E3 last time? Maybe it’ll take JR to walk out again before ESA gets off its ass and actually does something.”
  • From Magical Wasteland, this was a little cruel, but it made me laugh.
  • Richie Shoemaker talks the guys behind Infinity, who are setting their sights on Kickstarter: “The largest challenges can all be linked to financing. We’ve solved all of the hard technical R&D problems required to bring such an innovative technology platform to market. Unfortunately we still lack the resources to hire enough programmers to finish the game within a more ideal time frame. The cost of the talent we need can easily approach $300k+ paying fair market prices for a single year of development so it’s a non-trivial amount. There are ways to offer incentives, such as equity, for people to work for less salary than they are worth but it’s more difficult to find people willing to make those sacrifices – particularly within games instead of say web/mobile which has a much different startup culture.”
  • SneakyBastards on DayZ’s take on stealth: “Despite its player-driven stealth gameplay, DayZ is not an emergent game. Emergence is something defined by the interaction of systems, whereas the ones that govern DayZ are as basic as can be. It goes beyond emergence, appealing to and being a reflection of raw human behaviour. Like EVE Online, but with less ship-spinning and more cross-county hiking, DayZ is a bastard simulator; one which richly rewards the sneaky approach with the permission to continue to exist.”
  • The Guardian on attempts to link videogames with increased aggression: “BAAM – their acronym is as violent as their website – have produced some ‘research’ on video games in the form of a press release, which has been eagerly reported by the Daily Mail as part of their wider campaign against the ‘corruption’ of children by sex, nudity, violence, and other stuff you can find at Mail Online: “Children ‘made rude, uncooperative and aggressive by video games’ with some playing for more than two hours a day during term-time.” Yes, we’re back to this again.”
  • At What Point Does A Game Become A Toy? “I was one of those brainless, aimless sort of children who was always digging holes in the back garden: holes for a cat to fall into, and holes that accidentally exposed crucial pieces of council infrastructure. From Dust allows me to return to my long-lost hobby, but with fewer risks of accidentally uncovering the local cesspit while I’m at it, or disinterring the beloved remains of Compton the hamster, who died in late 1990 during a burst of ill-conceived hamster gymnastics.”
  • And while you are over at Eurogamer take a look at their closer examination of the Unreal 4 tech.
  • Slate’s piece on cyber-war is interesting.
  • Self-promo bullpoint: Here’s an image from my procedurally-generated open world game, Sir You Are Being Hunted. And you want something to read, well our lead designer talked 3rd-party Unity tools.
  • A teaser for a short film by Chris Wood.

Music this week is a sample of Thomas Koner’s Novaya Zemlya, a particularly bleak ambient work inspired by the Novaya Zemlya archipelago, which lies off the coast of Russia in the Arctic Ocean. (Out tomorrow.)

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Jim Rossignol

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