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The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for checking in late to write up notes on the week’s best games writing. Let’s get this done; there are games to be played.

  • Simon Parkin over at Eurogamer speaks to some of the key team members behind the creation of the original BioShock, including JP LeBreton and Jordan Thomas:
  • Not every aspect of the game evolved so effortlessly. At one point the team needed to create a demo for the American video game magazine Game Informer. The magazine was set to run a BioShock cover story. “The pressure was on to create something that would impress, and our deadline was looming,” says LeBreton. “In a level review, there was some discussion of how an AI should be presented in the short demo. Someone mentioned System Shock 2’s evasive cyborg ninjas as a reference point. Ken threw his glasses down and yelled: ‘I don’t want to hear anything about any f***ing cyborg ninjas!’”

    I thought I’d heard everything there was to know about the making of the game, but Parkin digs up good stuff on the tension between different team members.

  • On the newly launched Kotaku UK, Mike Rose talks to Vlambeer’s Jan Willem Nijman about their unreleased prototypes. There’s info on many interesting projects inside, including download links to a few:
  • “This was a narrative first-person shooter based on the movie High Noon. You walk around this little Western town for an actual real-life hour, waiting for the train to come with someone on it who you have to shoot.

    Me, Kitty Calis and some musicians spent a week working on that, got a whole town done and put some weird Easter eggs in, but then the train never actually comes… we never got around to making that. That game was very interesting to work on from a narrative point of view, because we started out with the idea that you have to wait for an hour and talk to people, and learn about who you shoot, so it would be this one really interesting kill, as opposed to the hundreds normally in games.

  • Over on PC Gamer, Chris Thursten’s Three Lane Highway column this week explains how to communicate in online Dota 2 matches against strangers. Informative and sexy.
  • Saying ‘Sorry’ at this point will make everybody feel better. In this way you can express sympathy for the 2800 MMR midlaner who knows that he’s really probably actually somewhere in the 5700 range and yet somehow—somehow!—he’s ended up trapped in the trench with shitbirds like you. Imagine being him. He dreams of restoring himself to his rightful place, playing mid against Dendi. He dreams of the moment when Dendi will give him a look and say good and then moments later he’ll be onstage at TI4 lifting the Aegis of Champions into the air and then Dendi will walk over and clap him on the back and be like gooood and everything will be light and money and hope and maybe he’ll get to meet Purge, too.

    Your presence in this young midlaner’s life is more or less proof that dreams are born to die, so damn right you’d better apologise.

  • Earlier in the week, helpful RPS commenters linked a number of Dwarf Fortress stories. Matul Remit was new to me (even though Quinns wrote about it years ago). It’s a long, illustrated Let’s Play, and perfect if you need a little break from the family today:
  • 13th Timber 1051
    We clashed with an elf monstrous and dead. The commander severed its limbs into the air. Sorc dodged an arm. There was traumatizing involved. The other elf will be hunted after a sunrise.

    14th Timber 1051
    The elf tore out the throat meat of Trumpet! I clashed with the elf to slash its meat. I severed its head for atonement.

    15th Timber 1051
    Trumpet recovered. He is the good mule.

  • You think this article is about only about football – it’s written by a footballer, taken from their biography – but there are videogames inside. What’s it like when footballers play football videogames?
  • I can’t say with any certainty how many virtual matches I’ve played over the last few years but, roughly speaking, it must be at least four times the number of real ones.

    Pirlo v Nesta was a classic duel back in our Milanello days. We’d get in early, have breakfast at 9am and then shut ourselves in our room and hit the PlayStation until 11. Training would follow, then we’d be back on the computer games until four in the afternoon. Truly a life of sacrifice.

  • I love things like this: The Pac-Man Dossier, a detailed study of every facet of Pac-Man. The link goes to Chapter 4, which deals with the ghosts.
  • All ghosts move at the same rate of speed when a level begins, but Blinky will increase his rate of speed twice each round based on the number of dots remaining in the maze (if Pac-Man dies this is not necessarily true – more on this in a moment). While in this accelerated state, Blinky is commonly called “Cruise Elroy”, yet no one seems to know where this custom was originated or what it means. On the first level, for example, Blinky becomes Elroy when there are 20 dots remaining in the maze, accelerating to be at least as fast as Pac-Man. More importantly, his scatter mode behavior is also modified at this time to keep targeting Pac-Man’s current tile in lieu of his typical fixed target tile for any remaining scatter periods in the level (he will still reverse direction when entering/exiting a scatter period).

    And so on.

  • Richard Cobbett continues to produce good stuff funded by his Patreon backers. I enjoyed his video take on the new Jane Jensen adventure, Moebius.
  • I enjoyed this comic about international travel (and went on to enjoy the rest of the comics on the site).
  • Music this week is Japanese rock band Number Girl. Start with Num-Ami-Dabutz.

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Graham Smith

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