The Sunday Papers

Flappy Bird on pages 3, 5, 6, 11, 18, 36-124.

Sundays are for sleeping in til midday, before rising to gather the finest articles about flapping birds the internet can provide. What will make us all angry next week, I wonder?

  • Let’s do all the Flappy Birds articles first. Brendon Keogh writes about the problem with innovation, and does some rare work towards understanding what makes Flappy Bird a fun game to play. “There’s a slapstick, black humor to it – a morbid desperation. Mechanically, this translates into the game’s difficulty. In most flying games, it’s possible to find an equilibrium as your flaps turn into something resembling gliding. Not here. Flap too little and you plummet; flap too much and you’ll bang your head on the pipe. You must compensate for overcompensation.”
  • Mattie Brice writes in Our Flappy Dystopia about capitalism, colonialism and outsiders. “Most indie games strive to be addictive entertainment just like AAA ones do and employ similar kinds of people with a shared background. Indies can stay because they don’t threaten how big business works; instead, they merged right in with it. To this industry, using those green pipes was sacrilege, with the horrific possibility that, in Jason’s words, “some kids might grow up thinking these are ‘Flappy Bird pipes.’” What, exactly, is so bad about that?”
  • Mammon Machine takes the long road, looking at the press’s response and responsibility within the Flappy Bird saga. “In contrast to how much has been written to extract meaning for any and all events surrounding Flappy Bird, Kotaku’s carefully-not-actually-an-apology ends with a series of befuddled questions, as if the reasons for Dong Nguyen taking down the game had become a cosmic mystery. “Was it the badgering he got by the press that turned things sour?” as if nothing could be more ambiguous than the involvement of the press.”
  • Still hunger for more words about striving aves? The Flappy Bird Think Pieces tumblr gathers links to more, albeit it with mean-spirited intent. Always be overthinking.
  • A brief pause for a couple of my own thoughts. i) Flappy Bird was a rare thing: a videogame which caused enough controversy to energise the broader world of gaming writers – mainstream, alternative, everyone – to write about it. Within that, I wish there had been more writing about the game itself. I think there’s actual value in Flappy Bird as an object, separate from its developer, the culture, the response. Process stories; words about the words in response to the words about the game. For that reason, I still like Ian Bogost’s piece the best, because it’s centered on analysing the experience of playing Flappy Bird, rather than our response to it or its success. ii) My best score is 93. Beat that!
  • Related: Jeff Vogel writes about Why Indie Developers Go Insane. “I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I have a pretty thick skin. Even then, this stuff has an effect. You can’t help it. It’s part of being human. One angry message has more effect than ten friendly ones. It has a real psychic weight. And, once you know it’s there, turning off your computer and avoiding Twitter doesn’t remove it.”
  • Not-games, not-a-games, ungames; they’re all kinds of videogame, as valid and interesting as anything with a score multiplier. I dislike anything which tries to shrink the borders and exclude certain types of experience. If you tell me that dogs are videogames, I wouldn’t disagree. I’d think, great, let’s see what dogs can do. Is my approach limiting in itself? Joel Goodwin spoke to Dan Pinchbeck and Ed Key about whether they’d rather not have the “game” label, in two parts.
  • Game Informer go to lengths to chart how LucasArts came to a shabby end. A lot of this is a summary of things we already knew, but there’s more on the fate of 1313. “One of Lucas’ most crushing curveballs came weeks before the game was announced. He didn’t want the protagonist to be a fresh face; he wanted it to be Boba Fett. Without any working Boba Fett assets ready for the announcement, the team members who unveiled the project to the press during 2012’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, had to play dumb. They lied when asked directly about it, unable to mention anything about the iconic bounty hunter being the lead.”
  • This is excellent. Polygon profile Dan Shea, a gun expert and collector who works with the videogame industry to make its weaponry as accurate as possible. “Walking around the vault with Shea is like walking around the world and back in time. There are weapons here from North Korea and China, from Israel and Iraq, from Germany and Africa. Being allowed into this room implies a kind of trust, and not just because of the lock on the door. I am being entrusted with the stories behind these guns. Many were used in battle and are each surrounded by history, and by loss.”
  • Related: A year ago, American Vice President Joe Biden sat down with the videogame industry to talk about the medium and its links to gun violence. Issues were raised, plans were made. A year later, Mike Rose at Gamasutra looks into what has happened since.
  • The boys of the Regular Features podcast show you how to seduce a gamer.
  • This’ll take you the rest of the week: the videos of the talks from the Steam Dev Days conference are now online. Advice from experience.
  • Chris Livingston continues to capture wonderful DayZ moments via his Hey Are You Cool tumblr. This past week he stumbled across a hostage situation and recorded the overheard conversation. It’s compelling, a little sad and worth watching right to the very end.
  • Jason Shiga has a new comic! Don’t know why you should care? Read this old comic.
  • Reader James Morgan wrote in to suggest his sister’s band Mountainear for this week’s music recommendation. Good thing, because it’s good. And its video is a bit LARPy.


    1. Noburu says:

      Graham me thinks you are new to wordpress, give us a jump man! I had to scroll for two years to see if i missed any previous posts.

      Otherwise you keep up the good work!

    2. TreuloseTomate says:

      Man, I can’t read enough about Flappy Bird!

    3. LevelHeaded says:

      Requesting Flappy Bird moratorium.

    4. int says:

      I still don’t know what Flappy Bird is and am too frightened to find out.

      • LionsPhil says:

        I believe it’s that standard one-button game, where you have to time pressed of the button to rase a steadily-falling value so that it stays between two other fluctuating values, dressed up as a fat bird flying through gaps between some green pipes. It’s one of those things that seems to have become infamous because it’s infamous.

        Oh, and it also commits the sin of rotating pixel-art off the pixel grid, so it deserves to burn in the deepest and hottest pits of hell.

      • Koozer says:

        It’s like Balloon Fight, but with horrendous physics and a single task – to squeeze through a random sequence of gaps.

    5. LionsPhil says:

      That first article:

      Of course, there are plenty of great innovative games that are great because they innovated: … Minecraft

      Wait, what? Notch straight-up states that what he did was iterate on Infiniminer. This guy should be holding it up as an example of his point, not a counter to it.

      • Geebs says:

        He’s using the New Standard One Infinite Loop definition of “innovated”

      • Arglebargle says:

        Innovation, she is a funny thing. Apple innovated with the mouse! Well, they snagged it from Sun, where it would doubtless have perched on a table unseen for years. Then they spent years fighting against anything except the one button mouse. Innovation. Funny.

        • Michael Anson says:

          Apple did innovate on a large number of things, though most of their innovations were in the hardware or software behind the scenes. An example is Wozniak’s work on the Disk ][, which he had designed with only five chips while never having seen a disk controller, then built it on the bus to the expo.

      • TechnicalBen says:

        Year, I’m willing to give Micecraft the scope it shows as it is derivative enough to be inspired by Infiniminer, but equally “different”.

        Most “new” things are just large enough changes from the thing that proceeds them.

    6. SuicideKing says:

      Flap goes the weasel.

    7. WrenBoy says:

      Regarding the Jeff Vogel article, I think people overuse the word troll.

      “[Some developer] is a moron and his games suck” may be a hurtful and possibly inappropriate thing to say but if the guy saying it believes it to be true and says it because he thinks the world would benefit from the wisdom of this observation, I dont see how it is trolling.

      For instance in last weeks Papers there was some unfriendly criticism in the comments directed at some guy called Carter Thomas who was the author of this link to I think the guy is despicable and I imagine his games suck. I dont consider stating this obvious truth to be trolling in the slightest.

      • Geebs says:

        Thin skin. Those of us with normal jobs are already pretty used to people telling us we suck on a one-to-one, personal basis. Also actual, physical, on the spot violence rather than inter-threats.

        (admittedly, yes it hurts your self-esteem to have people say that something you created is bad; but sticks and stones)

        • WrenBoy says:

          Thin skinned is a little uncharitable I think. It must be distressing to see so much negativity directed at you. “Normal” on the job criticism may be delivered in person but it comes from a small number of people. Even if everyone at work hates you, and thats quite dramatic, thats still a fairly small figure compared with an internet shit storm.

          That being said, the Flappy Bird guy fucked up big time by killing 50K a day. He will come to regret that but he is young and naive. Ive done things I later regretted when I was his age.

          • Geebs says:

            If you’re talking about the FB guy, you’re arguing from a position of knowing literally nothing about him. Maybe the guy has personal circumstances which mean that coming into a lot of money suddenly cause him problems, for entirely non-internet related reasons? You don’t know.

            Come to think of it, you’ve admitted that you didn’t play any of the cloner guy’s games. They might be amazing! (they’re probably not)

            My argument was more directed at the people coming together to feed off the perceived sorrow of the situation – “yes, I know how it feels because I sold 100 copies of my game and got a couple of brusque support requests”. Jeez, at least you’re not in retail.

            • RvLeshrac says:

              Yeah, it kills me that these special little snowflakes all think they’re going to get PTSD or some garbage because a few anonymous trolls are trolling them. Further hilarity when they start talking about how “threats have been made”, especially when there’s almost zero chance of physical interaction with the people writing the comments.

              I’m curious as to how many people have thrown punches at them because they refused to discount something.

              Or how many times they’ve been told, to their face, in-person, that someone “hopes the entire store burns down around you and all your co-workers” because a product was outside the return period.

              Or how many times they’ve had people drive by their office and unload a full magazine because they refused to take a check.

            • RobF says:

              Having done roughly the same amount of years doing retail in a rough arse town as I’ve done doing sitting on my arse making videogames now, I’d generally side with “go and work in retail, you get less shit”.

              Which is saying something about how vile some of the people you have to deal with in videogames truly are. I’ve had some fairly hairy moments in retail (I used to do non-payment collections/phone calls as part of my work for a while too for bonus points) but in all that time and for all the pains of dealing with humans in person and over the phone, the sheer scale and the ferocity of when the internet gets its claws in is still shocking.

              (for balance, it’s been my fortunate experience to find that there’s an overwhelming amount of people who are incredibly nice too. I also understand that I’m fortunate that the internet has never quite decided I’m public enemy number 1 for often inconsequential reasons also, having to date only ever acquired one kinda pathetic internet stalker so I consider that a good run compared to many of my peers)

              But y’know, it’s not really a competition either so…

            • joa says:

              It’s the classic playing the victim game — make everyone feel sympathetic towards you because people are “making threats” and other such rubbish. Angry trolls sitting behind their computers typing out nonsense aren’t threats to anyone. Given anonymity people will always go overboard, because it’s just meaningless words. Don’t take anyone seriously unless their actual identity is attached to their words.

            • RobF says:

              I don’t think you’ll find it is the “classic playing the victims game” or anything of the sort but sure, you can believe that if you want to and I hope that neither you nor any members of your family are ever on the receiving end of the internet pyschos when they get their knickers in a twist.

            • joa says:

              Look I don’t doubt that there are some whack jobs out there. But what I’m saying is that the majority of people writing things like “I hope you die” etc are quite ordinary people who would not harm anyone in real life. It’s just people getting down to their base impulses when you give them anonymity. So people who are claiming real threats based on these comments are playing the victim, because from the ordinary people there is no real threat.

            • RobF says:

              You know when it crosses over into actual physical mail, phone calls, answering phone messages and all that jazz -as it often does- then it’s really, really hard to be so sure.

              I’m gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that if you’re receiving that kind of barrage, and believe me I know -plenty- of people who have been on the receiving end of that sort of behaviour because this is videogames and this is part and parcel of how shit works here for some reason, you’re not “playing” at being a victim. You -are- a victim.

              Honestly, the playing down of abuse isn’t good and you shouldn’t really do that. “It’s not that bad” is, sadly, “it really is that bad and worse, thanks”.

            • WrenBoy says:


              Maybe the guy has personal circumstances which mean that coming into a lot of money suddenly cause him problems, for entirely non-internet related reasons? You don’t know.

              Anything is possible but most things are really really unlikely. I ignore those things unless I see evidence.

              For the record the article was talking about that guy so I assumed you were calling him thin skinned. I was trying to explain that, while he will probably come to regret how he handled the situation, it doesnt take too much imagination to see how irrational Internet anger could have spooked him.

        • Michael Anson says:

          I’m not going to accept this comment unless you are either in tech support, community management, or accounts receivable. Developers, particularly game developers, receive far more unwarranted personal attacks per day than anyone else outside these jobs, and with just as little compensation. And worse, the attacks are also on the very things they work hard on, pouring heart and soul into them. The scale is a bit worse than you’ve portrayed it.

          • Geebs says:

            Oh really? Well, I’m not going to accept your comment unless you’re a reddleman, gong farmer, or vignettist. Until then the burden of proof is on you.

            As to the political cast which people are trying to put on this particular debacle: people would do well to remember that The Life of Brian was a very clever film.

          • Philopoemen says:

            I’m a cop. I’ve been assaulted, stabbed, shot at, spat on, blood and faecal matter smeared all over me, my wife and children threatened to be killed or raped, and so on. And the people I feel sorry for the most are paramedics and mental health nurses that get all this and more, and don’t have the ability to fight back, for s a fairly basic wage.

            Being told you suck only matters if you have any emotional investment with the person saying it. Otherwise it’s just white noise.

            For all developers that think they have it bad…just remember Derek Smart :)

            • RobF says:

              Man, I hope you don’t work any harassment cases because I don’t think you quite get how it works.

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          FhnuZoag says:

          You’re making a pretty good case that your retail experience is literally hell, but not such a good case that everyone else should expect, and accept it in their line of work.

          I have never been threatened in such a way when I was working retail.

      • Low Life says:

        Everything is trolling now. Your point is valid, and then there’s the other end where telling a joke on the internet is considered tolling. The word has completely lost its meaning.

      • Sharlie Shaplin says:

        For alot of internet goers in these times, it seems the troll title is given to anyone they disagree with.

    8. LionsPhil says:

      Annoyingly, given I remember Fleep but not what happens in it because it’s been too long, I think we’re RPSing the Shigabooks site. It’s got damn slow.

      Edit: Seems to be totally unresponsive now. So much for reading the new one!

      • Jigowatt says:

        Yes, I was getting extremely frustrated with it taking 30 seconds to load each page, but thankfully managed to find an alternative site: link to
        Not sure what to make of the comic. It had an interesting build up, followed by a rushed, ridiculous, nonsensical ending. But I expect I may have missed some sort of point (?).

        • LionsPhil says:

          Aha. Cheers, and now I remember why I don’t remember the ending.

          …it’s just a little odd reading that on a dead guy’s petrified website.

    9. Rizlar says:

      “One of Lucas’ most crushing curveballs came weeks before the game was announced. He didn’t want the protagonist to be a fresh face; he wanted it to be Boba Fett.”

      What an arsehole.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Lucas agreed that this situation made sense for Sith royalty, and offered up two Darth titles for the team to choose from. “He threw out ‘Darth Icky’ and ‘Darth Insanius.’ There was a pregnant pause in the room after that. People waiting for George to say ‘just kidding,’ but it never comes, and he just moved on to another point.”

        Explains so much about the prequels, doesn’t it?

        • Horg says:

          The more you read about that man, the more you wonder how Star Wars ever achieved success in the first place.

          • dE says:

            I don’t know, it looks like a case of innate talent without actual knowledge to me. In a way he’s like many writers that can create a beautiful story, based upon feeling. However when tasked to create another, they don’t know how to. They can’t reproduce that exact same feeling anymore, yet people expect them to. When put under pressure, they’ll try random elements that worked in the past.
            “We need some comedy relief, quick George, got any ideas my golden boy of creativity?”
            “Uh… cute goofy alien natives?” – like Ewoks but different? Please don’t press me on this?
            “We thought about making the lightsaber battles more interesting, what do you say Georgie Boy?”
            “Uh, add more lightsabers?” – right? Adding a lightsaber made the original that much better, so more lightsabers means better, right?!?

            It’s actually a pretty common problem with writers that write based on feeling their way through the plot, instead of systematically setting it up. Both approaches have their pros and cons, but one of them usually ends up not being repeatable, because people just don’t know what made it work in the first place. That’s my theory concerning George Lucas at least.

            • FriendlyFire says:

              It’s pretty well documented that the less Lucas had to do with a movie, the better it got. Most of his ideas were frankly quite dumb, but he was surrounded by a truly amazing team.

              This is also part of why the prequels were so bad; he didn’t have a team telling him that his ideas were bad because he was a star director at that point, and you don’t disagree with such people.

          • LawTGuy says:

            From what I’ve read about Lucas, I suspect that what made the first star wars movies successful was his first wife. She could say no to him, tell him something was a bad idea or needed more work. Once they divorced in 1983, I suspect he never had anyone else around him that told him when his ideas sucked. You can see it some of the original scripts for Star Wars where there’s good stuff mixed in with a lot of crap. I suspect his wife was essential in being the editor who helped him get rid of the stupid parts.

            • Martel says:

              That’s really interesting, I hadn’t heard that before. Does make a lot of sense though.

            • Rizlar says:

              That is really interesting. Always suspected that Lucas’s shiteness was down to being surrounded by too many yes-men, but never knew about his first wife’s influence.

              Anyway, all this has me reminiscing about a certain South Park episode that is apparently called ‘The China Problem’.

            • Shuck says:

              It’s true – we know of a number of changes that can be attributed specifically to Marcia – removing extraneous bits, alterations to the plot, changing dumb dialog, etc. (in the original script, Luke made two attempts on the Death Star, for example, and we can thank Marcia for the change). We also know of other things that were changed, deleted or added by directors (e.g. the Hans-Leia conversation of, “I love you.” “I know.”) Films, like games, are very much collaborative processes for the most part, and tending to give certain, central, highly visible people all the credit is almost always wrong.

            • Baines says:

              Martel, part of the reason you might not have heard it is that Lucasfilm pretty much erased Marcia from history after she left George Lucas.

              Some of the various things she did was to fix some of Lucas’s sillier ideas, fix his bad dialogue (back when Lucas would admit that he was a bad writer), and editing Star Wars into an overall better film. (It was also her dog that was the inspiration for the name “Indiana Jones”, not George’s dog. She also made some key edits to Raiders of the Lost Ark along with Star Wars.)

              If you look back to some of the books and articles written before they separated, you can see various credits given to Marcia. On the other hand, she is barely if at all mentioned in books or documentaries created after she left George. There is even a conspiracy theory that part of the reason George Lucas redid the original Star Wars trilogy (and wanted them to be the definitive and only versions) was so that he could claim that they were new films, and thus avoid giving her any money or credit.

          • Arglebargle says:

            Lucas has a real skill at setting up great visual elements, but beyond that….not so much. It’s been noted that he films a couple of takes, says ‘That’s good enough.’ and goes on. He was surrounded by sycophants and yes men post Star Wars. After managing a few good films (esp. American Graffiti), he’s been all in with Star Wars since, mostly to the detriment of that universe. It’s a sad thing when going Disney will improve the quality of your universe’s series.

            • Ex Lion Tamer says:

              American Graffiti and THX-1138 are two complicating elements in any overly deterministic theory about Lucas. Some great people were involved in each, sure, but those are two wildly divergent films executed extremely well.

        • Gap Gen says:

          I wonder if at some point Lucas stopped giving a shit and just made terrible stuff out of not caring any more, or whether they were always insane but somehow constrained by people who weren’t.

          • Baines says:

            Lucas’s best works generally involved him being constrained by reality and the influence of others. Lucas being allowed free rein results in some of his worst.

          • joa says:

            Eh, barring any subjective viewpoints on the quality of his movies, which of his movies have been the most financially successful? The prequel trilogy has made a shit ton of money – maybe even more than the originals I don’t know. I mean what’s wrong with making entertaining movies that a huge number of people enjoy – even if they are subjectively poor? In objective terms, he’s really quite good at what he does.

    10. amateurviking says:

      I also want to kiss Peter Molyneux on his vagina.

    11. JeepBarnett says:

      I’d highly recommend the Economies talk from Steam Dev Day: link to

      That playlist also contains recordings from all the other talks… a couple dozen hours of brain food.

    12. daphne says:

      Mattie Brice continues to underwhelm, and receive money for it. At least Flappy Bird entertained

      “For some context, Flappy Bird was a mobile game that became the focus of ire and slander because it had pipes in it, similar to those in the Super Mario Bros. series.”

      No, that’s not why it became the focus of ire and slander, but go ahead if you want to base an article on it.

      • The Random One says:

        You’re right. It became the focus of ire and slander because a bunch of idiots didn’t like the fact that it was famous even though it didn’t appeal to them personally. But since admitting that would reveal what sort of petty bastards they were, they pretended it was the pipes they were angry about. Mattie’s just rolling with their claim.

    13. Wulfram says:

      Is it possible to class something as a videogame, but not a game?

    14. Michael Fogg says:

      Fappy Bird: The Porn Parody

    15. Geebs says:

      Oh yeah, lol at the sick burn the Arts Council performed on Dan Pinchbeck. So, do we have to call Dear Esther a game because of the fact that it’s officially “Not Art”?

    16. fauxC says:

      I refuse to give brainspace or my time to reading articles about Flappy Bird. The fact that Matty Brice is writing about it suggests that it is involved in some kind of gender-related controversy which I find hard to imagine, but know nothing about.

      Shouldn’t it be enough to just say it has terrible mechanics, has clearly been made in about 3 days with templates and isn’t worth anyone’s time?

      • LTK says:

        If you’d bothered to read some of these articles you’d understand why the allegations about terrible mechanics and copied assets are blatantly false.

        • fauxC says:

          Umm, I don’t see how I could be persuaded than an unfun game is actually fun. That’s what I mean by terrible mechanics.

          • PopeRatzo says:

            It doesn’t matter that it’s not fun. What makes you think you deserve fun?

          • The Random One says:

            “Fun” isn’t an objective concept. Many people find something fun when many others don’t. We can say that about Far Cry 2, why can’t we say that about Flappy Bird?

        • SkittleDiddler says:

          Well, false according to Brice’s point of view.

        • fauxC says:

          Ok so I read the Brice article out of curiosity and it’s just a lot of white noise. Quite apart from a facile understanding of the functioning of globalised late capitalism, she seems to completely fail to understand the difference between theft and homage (not that I think the asset-stealing thing is even an issue with regards to Flappy Bird really).

          The progressive video games journalism community really needs to be better at picking its battles.

          • RobF says:

            So it wasn’t about a gender related controversy then?

            • fauxC says:

              Nope, but nevertheless an attempt to get the issue at hand to fit within an overly-deterministic cultural framework which allows only for a single insider vs outsider model, which is inkeeping with her usual style.

          • The Random One says:

            Mattie’s point was exactly that the difference between theft and homage is reception. If a game by a well known English speaking white dev references Mario, it’s a homage. If a game by a little known Vietnamese dev reference Mario, it’s theft.

            You can disagree with this point, but you must aknowledge it’s not clear cut. I don’t entirely agree, but I do think a different game could have gotten away with using pipes based on Mario’s in very similar circumstances.

            • HadToLogin says:

              Homage is when you use something and don’t get money thanks to it (for example – first Hitman with it’s Scarface homeage; I don’t think anyone bought it to kill someone saying “Say hello to my little friend”). Theft is when you use it and get money from it.

              Questions are: did he used Mario pipes because he was lazy/untalented/else and if there’s anyone who bought this game because he thought it’s new Mario.

            • The Random One says:

              So why isn’t anyone accusing Duke Nukem of theft? I think it’s a fair bet that at least someone bought the game because of one of the many lines from famous 80’s films Duke says. Why is that homage and Flappy’s theft.

              As for your question, did J. Blow copy the mechanics of Goombas from Mario wholesale because he was lazy, uncreative or else?

      • Runs With Foxes says:

        But it doesn’t have terrible mechanics. A game with bad mechanics is boring, and this game is the opposite, as is obvious from the amount of time people put into it. Simple is not the same as bad.

        Bogost’s article is the best one about this. The Flappy Bird situation is really entertaining to me because it’s forced people to confront what games actually are underneath all the crap we put on top of them.

    17. PopeRatzo says:

      The stories about stories about games is like when your favorite sports team sucks so all you can talk about is salaries and trades and the general manager’s personal life and payroll and draft picks and marketing deals.

      If there were lots of new games worth playing, we wouldn’t have to go through this. But there’s not, so we do.

      More Flappy Birds and Kickstarters and dev diarrheas! Free-to-play trailers! Early access mobile one-button co-op MOBAs!

      • Trespasser in the Stereo Field says:

        Thou speakest the truth. Flappy Bird was the Paris Hilton of games–famous for being famous. The fact that so many writers are posting about it convinces me that (1) there is really no good game news to write about, and (2) there are way too many people writing about games.

      • Turkey says:

        Eh. January-February’s always been kinda dry. The big publishers don’t usually drop their load of games that didn’t make it the previous year until March.

        • Gargenville says:

          You’re all losers for failing to realize Earth Defense Force 2025 comes out on friday and shows every sign of being The Most Fun Game Ever Made. I’m deadly serious. I went out and bought a new TV today specifically to play EDF on at the end of the week.

          This is a game whose developers believe so much in what they’re doing the E3 trailer featured prominent slowdown because they felt showing a truly jaw-dropping rollicking clusterfuck of giant spiders, explosions and chromed out samurai mechs would be more enticing to true video game connoisseurs than a stable frame rate and screw what anyone else thinks. This is a game that refuses to implement fall damage just because every other 3D game has it and it’d be realistic.

          (it’s also not much like the EDF Insect Armageddon on Steam, which was farmed out to a Western dev)

          • RobF says:

            EDF:IA was a horrible, horrible thing. Got just about everything wrong that it’s possible to get wrong.

            I am near wetting myself in excitement for 2025 though. God. Hurry up, week.

      • tormos says:

        my god this is the most “PopeRatzo, grumpy old man of the RPS comment section” comment I’ve ever read.

    18. malkav11 says:

      If you don’t establish borders of a category, the category is meaningless. It’s not about excluding things in the larger sense. Just because something isn’t in the “game” category doesn’t mean it lacks value.

      • AngoraFish says:

        ^this. how about we just undefine the meaning of all words until everything means everything about nothing.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Thirded, motion carried.

      • joa says:

        I think it is kinda more that people want to exclude a thing that they don’t like though. I mean if we all agreed certain things weren’t games, and RPS became ‘site about games and interactive fiction’ – would that satisfy those people? Or would they now instead be arguing that RPS shouldn’t cover interactive fiction?

        • malkav11 says:

          Sure, there are people who want to define things as “not games” because they dislike them – one need only look at what John Walker has had to say about Call of Duty on this very site to see examples – but their existence doesn’t mean taxonomy is invalid as a concept.

          • The Random One says:

            But this isn’t like biology, where you can look to definitive, objective scientific data to define that tomatos are fruit, strawberries aren’t, and scorpions are spiders. If Twine games, Proteus and Gone Home are considered to be games, then your taxonomy of games needs to grow to include them, or else it’s pointless.

            Gone Home is a pretty special thing because it’s so close to its ancestry of Deus Ex and Bioshock (walking through an area, reading stuff to discover passwords, finding secret passages) that I’m pretty sure that if it had come out before Dear Esther no one would be arguing it’s not a game.

            • malkav11 says:

              I think the issue here is that nobody’s really agreed on what characteristics define the category “game” or “video game”, and if you haven’t fully defined that category then it’s hard to say whether something belongs in it. What frustrates me is the idea that we shouldn’t define the category because it somehow diminishes the things left outside of it, or that we should never use labels because sometimes jerks use labels maliciously.

              I do think that works like Gone Home, Kentucky Route Zero, the recent Telltale entries, Proteus, Dear Esther, The Stanley Parable and similar pretty clearly fall outside of any of the existing categories of videogame and even if we’re okay including them under the “game” umbrella they still need new terminology. (I’d also argue that Minecraft and many of the more sandboxy titles it’s spawned aren’t traditional “games” per se either because of their lack of explicit goals or end state, but that’s a different end of the spectrum.)

            • The Random One says:

              I speak only for myself, but, as I said before, I’m not against defining a category, I just think this definition should be descriptive, not prescriptive. If you have a definition of games and Proteus doesn’t fit it, then it doesn’t mean Proteus isn’t a game, it means your definition is lacking. Games aren’t tomatoes; you can create a scientific definition of fruit based on what a plant’s organ does and then notice tomatoes do those things, but you can only define games from what people think of as games. We’re in human sciences territory here.

              That said, if you want to limit the definition of games for academic purposes, that’s OK. There’s nothing wrong with saying “for the purposes of this paper a game is something with clear win and loss states” as long as you don’t add “because everything else is not a game”. That’s the difference between saying tomatoes are fruit and demanding people put tomato slices on their ice cream.

              I really could go for a salad now.

    19. El Stevo says:

      My best score on Flappy Bird is 217.

    20. kwyjibo says:

      Of course Ian Bogost’s piece is the best, it always is, and it’s unfair.

      • Steven Hutton says:

        I don’t like Ian Bogost’s writing and I feel like a weird alien every time people talk about him because I can’t understand their point of view.

    21. Sunjammer says:

      That Lucasarts story is so heartbreaking. I don’t remember Lucasarts as The Starwars Studio. I remember them for Monkey Island, The Dig, Full Throttle, other games made with just as much affection and skill as their Starwars titles. They were almost Nintendo-esque in how reliably they produced works that were just guaranteed to be pleasurable.

    22. jealouspirate says:

      “To this industry, using those green pipes was sacrilege, with the horrific possibility that, in Jason’s words, “some kids might grow up thinking these are ‘Flappy Bird pipes.’” What, exactly, is so bad about that?””

      Well, it’s theft. That’s what is so bad about it. People stealing art assets from other companies and then profiting. Is that really how we want the industry to work?

    23. LuNatic says:

      So, shooting massacres in the US are caused by violent video-games, huh? And they aren’t at all influenced by the fact that a private citizen is apparently allowed to possess his own military grade arsenal?

    24. Cinek says:

      “Some kids might grow up thinking these are ‘Flappy Bird pipes.’” – not gonna happen. After FB got removed from stores – barely anyone will remember about this game in 6 months time.