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The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for watching the dying hours of a Kickstarter and making tea after tea. It’s also for idly browsing the things that were written in the preceding days. What value might they display?

  • Splash Damage’s Ed Stern wonders how much game criticism we need: “Also, how much games criticism does anyone need? Or rather, how many people need any? Perhaps we already have enough. Most people who buy games aren’t particularly interested in critical thinking about games, any more than moviegoers are close readers of film, or downloaders are fascinated by music criticism. They like the sound it makes in their lives, but they don’t have to know how it works, or what it tells them about themselves. Most people like movies, but they want memories and making-of anecdotes and blooper reel gaffs to trade with their friends, they don’t want to spend a day on set, or a week in edit. Maybe we already have all the game criticism there’s any actual demand for.”
  • Frank Swain talks about videogames and free will: “So games such as Mass Effect and Deus Ex pose a very interesting philosophical question. It’s easy to believe that if everything is fated by God, there is no virtue in making one decision over another – it’s all God’s will in the end. Mass Effect-style gameplay prompts us to question this vision. It tells us that it doesn’t matter if your endeavours end in success or failure, what matters is how you conduct yourself on the way there.”
  • Emily Gera on the death of journalist Matt Hughes: “Comparatively, one week and a few blog posts following Hughes’ suicide, his death was already downgraded from a few online eulogies to a passing human interest story. It comes down to priorities. It’s nearing December now and the neighbourhood watch surrounding the Wainwright narrative seems to be quieting down. But now even in these brief moments of tranquility, of which in this industry there are very few, I think we’ve got our priorities all wrong.”
  • Jordan Rivas writes about self-deception in Skyrim: “I had deceived myself, and I was quite happy with the result. I had a better role-playing, and entertainment experience, because I immersed myself in this character’s mindset. In less participatory fiction, we call it suspending disbelief.”
  • Forbes offer the provocative headline, A Stripper Reviews the Saints of ‘Hitman: Absolution’, but the result is interesting: “I think it’s an excuse to show violence against women by making them the initiators of violence. It’s as if the makers of this video game are saying, “Hey, these women asked for it. It’s okay to kill them and beat them up because they’re the ‘dregs of society.’” It’s as if [the game is saying] they are subhuman and deserve to die. But that’s not who they are, it’s what they do for a living; stripping is a job, not an identity.”
  • Brendan Sinclair wonders when we’re going to get some disclosure about the topic of online sales: “With digital revenues an increasingly fundamental aspect of the industry’s well-being, the move to digital transparency may be inevitable, and perhaps even imminent. McQuillan said the industry is rapidly approaching a tipping point where the need for more transparency for all outweighs the benefits of publishers keeping their information proprietary, and where the relevant metrics of success go beyond revenues and copies sold, and toward the size of a user base and its degree of engagement.”
  • Nightmare Mode looks at “What games teach us about guns vs real guns”: “Shooting a firearm in real life is a full-body experience. You have to stand just so, hold your hands out steady and focused, but relaxed enough not to shake. You align the sights with your eyes. You breathe, mentally prepare yourself for the sound and the flash and gently squeeze — not pull — the trigger. Even the smallest gun kicks up more than you would think. In most games, this whole set of actions and preparations is reduced to a single button press, occasionally two (one for aiming, and one for pulling the trigger).”
  • There have been a lot of opinions offered on Kickstarter lately, but this one is more nuanced than most.
  • Here’s another one, suggesting that the Kickstarter gold-rush may be over.
  • Daniel Mears on Multiwinia: “In Multiwinia even the most self-assured generals are subject to the roll of the dice. Or is this just something of a misconception? As strategy gamers we expect to wield extraordinary power over our armies and brand everything outside of our purview as subject to chance. Of course, when you look at the lines of code which determine Multiwinians’ idiosyncratic behavior that probably isn’t far off, but dealing in such mathematical terms is to obfuscate from the issue.”
  • Oof. This.
  • Your brain is the problem: “you listen to a great concert: the artist is fantastic, the audio astounding, and you are having a great time for a full hour. Then something happened to the speakers and there was an AWFUL feedback loop causing a very bad screech that lasted about 15 seconds. When the concert was over, all you will likely remember would be that awful screech, not the wonderful concert that preceded it. That screech, a surprise and annoyance, is your primary experience, even though you had a full hour of good concert experience preceding it.”
  • Dogs in recent British Kickstarter games.
  • Is the THQ Humble Bundle problematic?
  • A Knightmare retrospective.
  • Surviving societal collapse in Suburbia.

In place of music, here’s a teaser trailer for a Fallout fan movie:

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Jim Rossignol

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