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The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for telepathy and cake. But that’s not all there is to life. There is also the contemplation of electronic contraptions. And they are many.

  • An important (for the desktop colonel) article on recent developments in the strategy genre: “Strategy no longer means what it once did. The prominence of League of Legends and DOTA 2 and the recent failure of games like Age of Empires Online and Fall of Nations has led to a shift in what publishers and developers think people want. MOBAs now dominate the online space, there’s no getting around that, and who can blame them? These games are easy to get into, have a huge and dedicated community. Why would you develop anything else?”
  • This is a conversation I have enjoyed following, starting with this article on PAR, and followed by the the talented Mr Brough: “There’s been more discussion recently of the “just make a great game and the rest will magically work out” fallacy. The thing is – this might work when what you want to make lines up with a wave that’s there to catch, but not otherwise. The “indie games scene” acts as a filter; it’s very hard for a game to reach the outside world without passing through it, the larger videogame community and the world as a whole trust small cliques to curate what might be of interest to them from the masses of stuff that gets made. But the games that might appeal to people out there but don’t conform to the tastes of the successful “indie game” clique just get lost. There’s no room for anything truly new if for anything to succeed it has to be liked by someone who likes the old things best.” And then there’s this: “On Twitter, more people retweeted and favorited a joke about wolverines that I wrote last night than all of my VERSU tweets combined.”
  • VG247 examines the Welsh games industry: “People are starting to realise that South Wales can do games, and that’s important.”
  • The Reticule offers a thank you to mod-makers, which I think we could all chime along with: “It gets even more remarkable when you start to realise that even many of the modding tools themselves have been created by the gaming community. The file-extractors, converters, sprite packers and unpackers, object viewers – the list goes on and on. Tools and devices taken for granted by so many people coalesced into being after hour after hour of painstaking labour, all so people could make their games, well, their games.”
  • Polygon tells the story of Incredipede, which – if you’ve not heard it – is a pretty good story.
  • True PC Gaming offers the take of a self-described “superfan” on Final Fantasy XIV: “But what saves these quests from devolving into skull-crushing monotony within the first 30 minutes is the writing. Each task is accompanied by incredibly verbose incentives, penned at a higher level of reading then found in typical MMO’s. It is the kind of writing that made me such a huge fan of Final Fantasy from the early days of spoony bards and “treasure hunters” – characters had believable problems that were accompanied with actual personalities.” I post this not because it’s necessarily a great piece of writing, but because it seems to be that there is very little written about MMOs these days that is not direct transmissions from press events, or carefully surveyed game-mechanic discussion relevant only to existing players. Just seeing a piece like this fills me with some hope for criticism of the genre.
  • A beautiful story about an impenetrably complex mathematical proof: “The first paper, entitled “Inter-universal Teichmuller Theory I: Construction of Hodge Theaters,” starts out by stating that the goal is “to establish an arithmetic version of Teichmuller theory for number fields equipped with an elliptic curve…by applying the theory of semi-graphs of anabelioids, Frobenioids, the etale theta function, and log-shells.””
  • Is The Next Generation the True Star Trek? This chap seems to think so.
  • I love the Fermi Paradox (“paradox”) and I love the proposed solutions to it even more: “It seems harsh, but there is a limit. Do we really want to make contact with meat?” “I agree one hundred percent. What’s there to say? ‘Hello, meat. How’s it going?’
  • This post on Imaginary Atlas speaks to my heart.

Music this week is Son House’s Preachin’ Blues.

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Jim Rossignol

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