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The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for basking in early morning sun with a cup of tea. Sundays are for basking in the afternoon sun with a cup of tea. Sundays are for basking in the evening sun with a cup of tea. And also, for reading.

  • This is a fascinating comment on Thirty Flights Of Loving (a game which some have dismissed because of its cinematic approach): “Usually, videogames inhabit spaces. They set them up to be populated, they create functioning, navigable environments that in some way or another have an unbroken connection to a previous space, even if it is only by virtue of the player’s memory. There is usually no cut. Like a long take from A Touch of Evil or Children of Men, the player wanders throughout a space at leisure, bearing witness to spatial connections unable to be hidden or emphasised through montage. But not always. Thirty Flights of Loving is a very unusual videogame. Thirty Flights of Loving is a videogame that cuts space up.”
  • Kotaku report on the Stardock/Elemental sexual harassment case: “This August, two years after Elemental’s disastrous debut, Stardock filed a lawsuit against former employee Alexandra Miseta, claiming that actions she took immediately before her departure were a major contributing factor to Elemental’s failure. However, Stardock vs. Miseta is not the first time Miseta and Stardock CEO Brad Wardell have faced off in court—and the timing of the new lawsuit suggests it could have more to do with the other court case than it does with Elemental.”
  • RPG Codex talks to former Interplay and Troika man, Tim Cain: “I did enjoy both Fallout 3 and New Vegas. I know that surprised some of my fans, who wanted me to hate the games and rail against their design choices (which I have repeatedly pointed out were different than the ones I would have made), but there is no arguing that more people enjoy the modern versions of the franchise than the older ones.”
  • Kotaku also have a look at Glassdoor.com employee-bashing of major games companies, which is a site I think everyone takes with a pinch of salt: “Perhaps foremost being that all the user-contributed reviews on the site it is anonymously contributed. Glassdoor admits in their FAQ that they are “unable to fully verify the identity of an anonymous user,” but they “require each user to certify their employee relationship to the company when they post any content” and require someone to be registered with the site with a verified email address. Finally, they state “active community moderation and our commitment to review every post” severely mitigate the risk of inaccurate information going onto the site.” All that said, there’s some provocative and thought-provoking stuff in there, not all of it negative.
  • PCGamesN take a look at the strange tale of the self-destructing indie game: “By some blessing, GlitchHiker’s creators didn’t have to see it go. The team of five game developers and one musician were sat in a nearby bar when the text came in – like the hushed doctor, arms folded mutely in front of him – to say that the game didn’t have long left, that they should make their goodbyes before the end. This pioneering group of indie developers had built a game that was programmed to self destruct. Now, the curtain was falling.”
  • A question we will hear more in the future: When A Kickstarter Fails, Does Anyone Get Their Money Back?
  • Meanwhile, a lot of people have been taking about that other money question, Steam Greenlight’s $100. Here’s Jonas Kyratzes on the subject, and here’s Rob Fearon: “And here’s the punchline. I had a computer. I had development software. I had art packages. I had sound packages. I had a whole myriad of stuff sitting on my computer. I had UDK and some wonderful guidance from Rob too. I didn’t have $100 I could throw down on a gamble as a business expense. Luckily, I didn’t need $100 as a business expense either but I’ve found out the past few days that this would make me entirely not a serious developer according to some people.”
  • On “Seduce Me” being removed from Steam Greenlight: “I understand it more on iOS, because Apple has this air of, ‘we’re here to protect you, everything just works and it’s a nice, safe place to be’… That’s Apple’s whole ethos: I don’t like it, but I understand it. I don’t understand Valve’s, because it’s supposed to be part of the PC, Linux ethos. I’d always seen them as being on the side of the underdog, on the side of free speech.”
  • Criticism of the use of malaria in Far Cry 2: “Reduction of a disease to simple 1’s and 0’s is going to be difficult, especially if it is as well-studied as malaria is. Yet, it feels to me that the disease is utilised half-heartedly as something that only annoys the player, rather than truly limiting them. Symptoms of malaria are cyclical and are aligned to the destruction of the body’s red blood cells. As the parasite reproduce and destroy massive amounts of the critical oxygen-carrying cells, coldness and rigor sets in, as does a characteristic fever. For a game that heavily relies on the reality of bullet wounds, expansive landscapes and gun rust, it is a strange decision to distort the cyclic nature of malaria.”
  • The Mittani interviews John Smedley, and that throws up an interesting point about Planetside’s future: “SOE is redefining itself as a creator of emergent gameplay experiences. That’s our future. You can call it sandbox but it’s so much more than that. A good example is Player owned bases in Planetside 2. That’s coming. We’re going to make huge continents that are empty and have vast resources on them and players can fight it out and put down their own bases there and other players can come and obliterate them. Sound familiar Eve Players? Actually we had something like this in Star Wars Galaxies too. THAT is content.”
  • An article about whether horror games are scarier if you don’t know how to play them.
  • This article about Google’s mapping technology is fascinating.
  • Duncan Harris’s Skyrim screenshots really are something.

Music this week is from Jean Grae, who was kind enough to reference RPS in her latest gaming-inspired track.

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