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The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for waking up tired because you spent so much of the day before playing Planetside 2. Why isn’t everyone in the world playing that awesome game? It’s a mystery no man can understand. While we ponder such strangenesses, we can also look for clues in the writings of the internet. Behold.

  • Over at the Guardian, Keith Stuart asks: Is frustration an essential part of game design? “From here I thought, well, is frustration part of game design or a failure of game design? Certainly, frustration has been there from the beginning. Eurogamer writer Christian Donlan once interviewed Eugene Jarvis, the creator of early and immensely difficult arcade titles like Defender and Robotron – he claimed that he would visit arcades and inspect the coin-op cabinets of his titles, feeling immense pride if they had clearly been kicked or punched.”
  • Tom Francis and I share a favourite, it’s Hitman: Blood Money. “A Hitman mission – a good one – is a clockwork dollhouse of interacting elements. Guards walk their patrols on one timer, a short one, and it’s easy to learn and predict them. Workers have more elaborate routines: the dustman comes to collect the trash, the courier delivers the diamonds, the janitor uses the bathroom. And the centrepieces, the targets, all move differently. One performs a whole opera rehearsal before retiring to his dressing room. One takes a long soak in a glass bottomed jacuzzi. One performs a pyrotechnics show.”
  • Ellie Gibson reviews the Pride & Prejudice game: “The point is, in this case, you really might as well read the book. There has been a good effort here to produce a polished game that respects its source and its target audience. It is probably the product of the world’s shortest brainstorming meeting: “Right, what do women like? Colin Firth, Sudoku and hidden object games. Write that down, Geoff.””
  • The Reticule on Subversion’s City Generator: “Now, Subversion’s streets echo with past promises of the best game Introversion never made. The city generator remains a by-product, without purpose or meaning, a curiosity on a developmental road less travelled by.”
  • Jesse Schell’s keynote speech at DICE is going to get some tongues wagging.
  • True PC Gaming’s System Shock 2 and Card Hunter podcast, wherein they talk to Jonathan Chey.
  • How a gentleman got fired over after-hours game-making.
  • Armed & Dangerous’ landshark gun: “The most common enemy in the game is a soldier type. This is means the shark gun can be used on many enemies effectively which is important to have the player care about it. If the gun is too specialized, it can be something of a let down to use since you’d be restricted from using it as much. If there weren’t as many soldiers, or you had to wait for too uncommon of a moment, it’s tougher to make that appealing.”
  • The New Statesman must be getting some good traffic from all these games articles: “Games that rely upon experience points for advancement are perhaps the worst offenders when it comes to the ethics the player is encouraged to show. The crudest interpretations of experience points based systems literally entail a path to progress and success that is paved with the bodies of whatever hapless individuals happen to cross your path. You want to be a better cleric? Kill some people. You want to be able to learn more spells? Set fire to a few dozen wolves. The world of the fantasy RPG is staggeringly predatory, although one might argue that’s the point.”
  • DOTA2 hero usage graph.
  • An overview of the work of Michael Brough.

Music this week is Kellar.

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Jim Rossignol

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