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The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for preaching to the choir, and then stepping down from the pulpit, picking up an axe, and going outside to deal with that wolf.

  • Even wondered what happens to Indie games that aren’t Minecraft, and don’t get on to Steam? Well, it can be something like this: “The other thing we feel is a factor in our sales, is that we inadvertently shoehorned ourselves into the “Endless Runner” genre, without realizing the damage this would do. We felt the concept of an arcade-style, highscore focused game deserved a pure, HD treatment, free of microtransactions and with a focus on depth – and our customers seem to agree. But there seems to be an immediate and general stigma around this genre (thanks to the mobile revolution no doubt) – that “runners” should be free, and they don’t belong on PC.”
  • Have a listen to Ste Curran’s experimental piece, The Queen. It’s worth a fragment of your time. You can buy it for £1 if you like it.
  • There was some muttering on the internet after the appearance of this Papo & Yo article. Like so: “We have to change our roles as a designer, if we want to achieve these emotions, he says. “Our role is to tell stories to people. To tell stories from a different point of view,” Caballero concludes. “We have to become storytellers, not designers. So I ask you: change the game industry. Please.”” Hmmmmm!
  • The New Statesman used to be a politics site! What’s all this “writing about games” doing in my politics eh? Well actually it’s examining the fascinatingly political territory that games can get into, with an article about the brilliant Papers, Please, and an article about Cliffski’s simulation efforts in Democracy 3. It’s as if videogames and politics overlap somehow. Crazy.
  • Speaking of politics, Simon “Nice hair, Writes For The New Yorker Now” Parkin asks How evil should a videogame allow you to be? Needless to say, it’s a GTAV article: “In Grand Theft Auto V, the ambition is not only to tell a story but also to create a fully functioning social universe within a faithful depiction of a contemporary city. In addition to the core story, the player has the freedom to do whatever he or she wants, from taking part in a virtual triathlon to visiting a strip club to stealing cars. In this kind of video game, often described as an “open world” game, there is a difference between action that is required by the game in the course of the narrative and the action that is merely possible within the bounds the game; this further complicates the question of whether the capacity for some types of play should be removed.”
  • On the Twenty Year crusade to “solve” Checkers: “”First off, how big a game is checkers?” asks Schaeffer. “Because, obviously, with a game like tic-tac-toe, you can play that perfectly and you can solve the game quickly. It’s not hard. Why is checkers so much harder?” It turns out that it’s so much harder because of a very large number: 5 x 10 to the 20th. That’s 500 billion billion – a five followed by 20 zeroes.”
  • Pong.com is now a sort of Pinterest for browser games. That should probably a full on article, shouldn’t it?

Music this week is this track by Angular Dreams. I’m gearing up for winter listening, to expect to head into some cold noise.

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Jim Rossignol

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