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The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for retreating to your fortress of solitude as the heroic armies of light make a mess of your empire of darkness. Ah, well, there’s always next week, Lord Evil.

  • Polygon’s profile of the handsome Norwegian adventure-game tsar, Ragnar Tornquist, is worth a read: “It’s about really coming into yourself. About growing up and settling down and becoming who you are meant to be and accepting that. It’s about turning the page and realizing you’re not where you thought you’d be, but be okay with that or to fight against it, make a conscious decision to say, ‘This is not where I’m meant to be.’ It’s about characters who are at a point in their lives where things are changing and they need to change and they need to accept that change.”
  • Edge Online takes a look at MMO “power-gamers”: “When I first started playing Wrath Of The Lich King,” Delise says, “I was a decent-enough player. I took playing the game seriously. At the point at which I quit raiding to focus on PvP, I’d nearly reached the pinnacle of skill possible solely in PvE [player versus environment, the AI monsters and nonhuman systems arranged by the game’s designers to challenge gamers]. The transition from a casual player who takes their play seriously to a ‘powergamer’ was a deliberate one. In time, it became an obsession. At first I wanted to become very good at the game. In time, my only interest was in becoming the best.” THE BEST, GOD DAMNIT.
  • Is Steam Greenlight working? That might be one of the most important questions for PC gaming right now. “How can a game that has been accepted with open arms on one platform be shut out on another? It is truly a fascinating case study. The 3DS audience is more-than-likely very different than the Steam audience, which is one factor for sure. I suppose Steam’s original rejection of Mutant Mudds is somewhat justified now that the community itself has also not accepted the game. Perhaps this means that a game like Mutant Mudds is not suitable for Steam. But, hang on… there are games like VVVVV, Offspring Fling!, Capsized, Beep, Braid, Serious Sam Double D, Super Meat Boy, and even Commander Keen available on Steam right now.”
  • What’s the future for very wide screen gaming? “The great news on the PC front is that by and large our content isn’t created at a predefined aspect ratio and resolution. We can fire up a game and select 3840×2160. If you can’t select it, then an .ini tweak will probably make it available. Will the HUD be positioned properly? Will it be the correct size, or will it be really tiny? These are things that either our community or the developer community can potentially fix. You simply can’t do that with TV or movie content.”
  • Bruce Sterling on design fictions.
  • Have I ever mentioned what a superb site Bldgblog is?
  • True PC Gaming talks to DXHR lead, Jean-François Dugas: “It’s human nature – it’s the same when we work on a game for many years; it comes to a point where you see a feature in the game for 2-3 years every single day, and you start to think the feature is no good; it needs to be revisited or replaced. We’re all subject to this; it’s a trap. That’s what happened with the highlight on the objects, I think. People saw it on the video and thought it was too much. We knew it wasn’t, but we talked about it internally and we knew we’d have time to answer fans’ prayers, so we did, by giving players the option to turn it off.”
  • Michael Cook’s research blog is worth a read.
  • After all of the usual suspects doing their Bioshock Analysis, how about this from a conservative Christian? “So it seems that the game is both better than its critics feared, and worse. It does not wholly eviscerate the Right, or enshrine the Left. It does, however, eviscerate God while attempting to enshrine man as his own redeemer. Rather than a full-throated attack upon American ideals, the game serves as a complex fantasy prescribing an abandonment of faith. Ironic though it may seem, Ayn Rand might have approved.”
  • Forge’s devs on what’s been going on with their PvP game: ” Our first generation of players, the ones who had been with us since beta launch, have become badasses. Just really amazing players. On top of them we also had professional players in our community and they just smacked around any new player who came in to learn the game. It was a massacre. This is especially problematic because we built Forge to be a session-based PvP game that would allow gamers to play for 15 minutes to an hour, have a great time and get out. It’s hard to accomplish this when you are being tooled by 15 hardcore Forge vets. You know it’s a problem when many of the games developers can’t get a kill in.”

Music this week is from the new Haxan Cloak.

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Jim Rossignol

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