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The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for looking out at the rain and then cuddling up against the warm light of a videogame. At least the weather in Borderlands 2 is predictable, eh?

  • Over at Hookshot Mr Stuart discusses The Walking Dead, outlining some reasons why this series has generated so much excitement: “The genius of Walking Dead is that its decision system does not work like similar systems in other games; there are no right or wrong choices, there are no good or evil ones. There are just stark instinctive dichotomies. Certainly, in Walking Dead, you do what you think is ‘right’ but then instead of judging you, the game shrugs and changes the story accordingly.”
  • And here’s Hogarty on the same: “I’ve just finished the third of five planned Walking Dead episodes which, if you’ve played it, you’ll know contains one of the most harrowing scenes ever committed to code, an unfortunate event that cascades into a seemingly preventable but ultimately unstoppable sequence of gut-wrenching bleakness. It marked a high-point in the series so far, not just in terms of brazen shock value, but it terms of Telltale’s ability to tell a mature, emotive story with precisely the correct degree of gravity. Which is odd in a game that looks like a comic book.”
  • This is weird and beautiful: a chart for envisioning the near future of tech.
  • TPG’s podcast chat with Runic, about Torchlight II and things.
  • VG247 speaks to From Software: ““Ideally I wanted players to feel despair at first and then tiny hope while facing bosses. Enemies that do not drive players hopeless are not fearful at all, and can not offer that feeling of accomplishment once you beat them. Without a tiny piece of hope players may give up facing them. or struggling to beat them up.”
  • On 9/11 and Splinter Cell: “Like in any other discussion about how games affect us, it’s the matter of agency that makes video games unique. It’s that I was Sam Fisher as a thirteen year old boy — me and my brother, killing terrorists for the good ol’ US-of-A. Killing terrorists isn’t bad, but the simplification of these issues, packaged, and retailed (in some cases to young adults or adolescents who haven’t taken the time or been afforded an opportunity to form a more educated opinion on world issues) is dangerous.”
  • And related to that same issue, in multiple ways: A fascinating discussion of the possible necessity for violence in fiction: “I understood why Charlie’s mother fretted for her child, and I’ll never let anyone’s child but mine touch anything I own without ironclad legal protection (a symptom of the 21st century if there ever was one). But I also don’t know if Uncharted 2 would be capable of causing a young mind to snap. I saw the glee in Charlie’s eyes that day. He’d begun to detach himself from the discord surrounding him in his daily life, disappearing into a less concrete world. Sometimes I just worry that if children can’t decide on the boundaries between reality and fantasy for themselves once in a while, they’ll become convinced that dark urges are only fit for real life, where the realm of make-believe is rarely welcome. And that would be truly frightening in my opinion.”
  • More Yang on shooters: “All action movies need moments where the action hero proves he’s human despite the mass murder he’s committing, and in Hollywood that’s usually through comedy and a romantic foil, but AAA games are notoriously bad at romance and only Valve and Double Fine have a grip on comedy. So then how do you get those human moments?”
  • The most annoying Borderlands 2 gun.
  • Eurogamer’s analysis of Borderlands 2 running on PC: “It’s often to state the obvious that the PC version is the one to vouch for, but in this case it’s worth putting a special word in. Borderlands 2 is well optimised for even the most modest PC builds, and comes with a plethora of extra bells and whistles, enhancing texture quality and adding to the draw distance substantially. We’re fascinated by the PhysX support in particular, where simulating cloth tearing, fluid spills and debris creates a wild scene of carnage once you’ve left a battle victorious.”
  • A guide to Hollywood space suits.
  • Science!

Music this week is Methodist Bells by High Aura’d.

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Jim Rossignol

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