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The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for playing Planetside 2 all day, of course. But there’s also some time for peaceful activities, such as reading and screaming. Let’s try some of that.

  • Does it matter that games like Asssassin’s Creed are historically inaccurate? “Ms. Dolmage appends a final thought as the afternoon winds down: “It’s interesting to think about what games like this, that claim to be historically accurate, mean for the authority of historians,” she says. “Mark and I both work … on groups that are typically not written about. As soon as you change the perspective of what you’re writing about, and whose perspective you’re writing from, history is going to change.””
  • PC Gamer interviews Chris “Starcraft II” Metzen.
  • This Ouya thing is interesting, but if you were a first-time dev, why would you bet on it for your first release? “You might think these developers would want to try their hand at developing for the established PC or mobile platforms. After all, it’s a risk to develop for an unreleased console being made by an Internet startup with no track record and no proven market share. But when talking to a few first-time developers who are supporting the Ouya in a big way, the same message is heard again and again. This tiny, unproven box represents a way to fulfill their dream of getting a game on their TV set. It can turn indie gaming into something bigger than it is now.”
  • Why dev studios should do internal game jams: “Deceptively simple, the game jam’s deadline is arguably more powerful than a sprint deadline or build milestone. If you don’t think you’ll have something to present at the end of the jam, the prospect of a public shaming by your peers can be a purer motivation to finish strong than a soul-draining months-long crunch cycle.”
  • What’s the deal with this interactive fiction renaissance?
  • “Christopher Nolan Has Ruined Videogames.”: “Video games seem to have Nolan’s films pinned down as more gritty and more human, and while they’re certainly the former, I’m not so sure about the latter part of the equation – it’s a cold cinema that Nolan peddles, and there’s never much room between the male posturing and twisting rules for much in the way of humanity. Regardless, there’s much more to him than being the master of the gritty reboot.”
  • Tracy Lien on the genesis of FTL: “In many ways the Kickstarter campaign should have failed. Its developers were unknown. The game had no existing fanbase. It didn’t have fancy graphics or promise a product so enormous that players would need to hook car engines to their computers to make it work. The developers didn’t set out to make a commercial product backed by tens of thousands of people. The Kickstarter campaign did the opposite of fail.”
  • Someone is still playing Curiosity. With an interesting conclusion.
  • SimCity as a textbook for modernist architecture: “There’s been a clear shift in how city planning is conceptualized in SimCity since the first iteration of the game in 1989. Will Wright, creator of the first version, acknowledged his debt to urban systems theory. His game focused on feedback loops, using models that sought to reduce city activity into algorithms and formulas. But in the new SimCity, the individualization of the Sims and the introduction of multi-player can only serve to shake up the game’s algorithmic heritage. Globalization is now built in: the success of your town’s industry is linked to the world market and stock exchange, which in turn impacts the cost of raw materials. A failing coal plant in one town can raise energy prices in others, but synergistic collaborations can be mutually beneficial to players.”
  • Command & Conquer, a non-preview.
  • My friend Mark Wallace is compiling an atlas of imaginary maps. Please help him out by sending him imaginary maps.
  • Have a listen to the Brainy Gamer podcast.

Music this week is some Nils Frahm.

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