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The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for cowering by the fire as the bitter winter cold creeps in. Perhaps we’ll have a laptop close at hand – and not freeze to death retrieving it from some distant bedroom – so that we can read what’s been discussed in the world of games.

  • Simon Parkin’s article on the relationship between games and gun manufacturers is fascinating: “It is hard to qualify to what extent rifle sales have increased as a result of being in games,” says Ralph Vaughn, the man who negotiates deals with game developers for Barrett. “But video games expose our brand to a young audience who are considered possible future owners.”
  • Wonderful illustrated Dwarf Fortress diary, Matul Remit, has come to an end. It’s worth a look even if you are not a DF player.
  • Videogame makers discuss the UK’s EU referendum proposals: “I would not be driven by the tax benefits, as welcome as they are, because they may disappear with the next government, but dealing with Europe or being able to deal with Europe is a far bigger, more important element in the industry.”
  • This is an interesting pairing of articles: Mike Rose on why it’s okay to not like anti-games, and then Proteus-creator Ed Clef’s sort-of response: “It’s worth reiterating that the looseness of the word “game” is actually the original state rather than some limited formalistic definition, which perhaps originates in the “game theory” of the 20th century. I had forgotten about Wittgenstein’s classic use of “game” as an example of the concept of family resemblances – thanks Lana Polansky and Chris McDowall. Despite not subscribing to the term “notgame”, Michaël Samyn’s manifesto is a good, provocative read.” Which was sort of the stuff I was going to point to. Amazingly, things are often more complicated than they seem, despite desperate tendencies to try and reduce them to some simple maxims. The word “game” is one of those things that can’t be uncomplicated, and by its very nature the concept defies precise definition. Any attempt to define things like Proteus as not being a game seems to betray an misunderstanding of meaning-as-use. There is no truth, Essentialists. Related article.
  • PCGN did a big old article on Chris Taylor’s fight to save GPG via Wildman: “After fifteen years of running game studios, Taylor is tired of watching the rewards go elsewhere. If you were to go and buy any of the games he or his studio have made over the years, or even if you went on a spree and bought everything from Total Annihilation to Dungeon Siege 2 to Demigod to Supreme Commander 2, Gas Powered would not see a penny of it. None of his games have “earned out” (sold past a certain amount specified in their publishing contracts) to the point where Gas Powered starts receiving royalties. True independence eludes them.”
  • Polygon ran an article on the history of Battlefront: “As far as niche hobbies go, historical wargaming has more blind alleys than most. Every time period is represented, as is every physical and virtual format. But common among most all hardcore wargamers, or grognards (from the French grogner: to grunt, or grumble, as an old soldier), is a disdain for simplification. To grognards, things like abstracted damage modeling, counting down from 100 percent health to death, are insulting to the people who actually fought, as well as to the intelligence of the player. It is on these grognards’ appetite for detail that Battlefront.com was built.”
  • Please read this by Electron Dance: “Videogames are lauded for their imaginative landscapes yet, despite this, critics and players often denigrate these environments with demands for purpose. It is not enough to merely exist; the developer god must corrupt places with mechanics, poison them with meaning. Proof of intelligent design must be demonstrated through challenges or collectibles. The journey itself is never enough.”
  • The first duel fought in hot air balloons took place in 1808.
  • I have to say that io9 remains one of my favourite blogs, and they’ve just done a huge birthday list of great stuff they’ve done. Its worth a browse.

Music this week is Pye Corner Audio’s Sleep Games.

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Jim Rossignol

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