The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for being brief.

  • Keith Stuart at the Guardian looks at the influence HR Giger had over videogames.
  • In turn, the Alien movies would go on to inspire a whole generation of game designers and artists. The first-person shooter Doom mixed demonic monsters with claustrophobic sci-fi environments, and Giger’s weird organic interior designs doubtless inspired the game’s miles of intestinal corridors and womb-like interiors. The influence was surely there too in Valve’s atmospheric Half-Life adventures, with their repulsively transmogrified humanoid creatures, and face hugger-like Head Crabs.

  • Simon Schreibt, whose in-depth examinations of videogame engines and rendering techniques I’ve linked below, turns his eye to windows. This one is all about the GIFs in tandem with the words.
  • Paul Dean spoke to Amplitude, the creators of Endless Space and now Endless Legend, about being at the forefront of early access games.
  • Games2Gether launched in May 2012, almost a year before Steam Early Access began, and may well have had some influence on its development: “It’s only after the final release of the game that we had the Valve guys come over to Paris and tell us ‘You know, I think you were the first people to do this,'” says creative director Romain de Waubert. “It was pretty cool.”

  • Polygon go big (because they don’t know any other way) on the people who make fan translations of Japanese games. This is a fascinating subculture of wonderfully dedicated people.
  • In June 2007, Erbrecht and two other project members abandoned their own failing translation to join the team of the “drama-free” Mandelin team. The project began to gather more steam, collecting another translator who had also begun yet another Mother 3 localization, as well as two more emulator experts and a programmer who created tools to integrate the language patch into the game. At this point in the project, Mandelin noted that team members tended to come and go fairly regularly, with the team retaining 20 members at its peak. Again, like Erbrecht’s team, working in the time between class and the job that nets you a paycheck was tiring, and not being paid for a project of this scope comes with unfortunate side effects including resentment and burnout.

  • Quintin is going to make you buy a boardgame. Over at Eurogamer, away he goes.
  • I want you to imagine poker. It’s not untrue to call poker a perfect game. It’s also not untrue to call it occasionally boring and exhausting, and to disapprove of its chapped mathematical underbelly.

    Now, imagine if poker was made for gamers. Imagine if it was wildly inventive, with a mean streak and a wicked sense of humour. Best of all, imagine if it was a different, surprising game every single time you sat down to play. Or don’t imagine, and pay £40 for this set of linen-finished cards, plastic UFOs that stack like poker chips and gorgeously illustrated aliens. Odds are, you’ll be very glad you did.

  • Leigh Alexander at Gamasutra writes about the guilt of not living up to expectations of a “passionate” gamer, by playing games you’ve played before or games which are considered casual:
  • I give keynotes, I do interviews, I write editorial in urgent support of design innovators. I play interesting games so I can write interesting articles about interesting people. But honestly, the game I’m spending the most time on is a sort of farm game where you connect wheat in a field to produce chickens and then you connect up the chickens to produce pigs. I back things on Kickstarter because I want them to exist, not because I necessarily am slavering to play them myself. My inbox fills up with codes for DLC packs that I “star” for later but never use.

  • Simon Parkin at the New Yorker writes about the last players of Meridian 59, one of the first MMOs.
  • The royal city of Barloque was once a bustling virtual place. Its streets were filled with a babble of voices: residents visiting Joguer’s Herbs and Roots store, tourists settling down for a tipple at the Browerstone Inn, griping criminals en route to the old jailhouse. Barloque is the capital of Meridian 59, the first computer game that allowed people from around the world to gather and quest together via the Internet. At the peak of its popularity, soon after the game’s release, in 1996, tens of thousands of players lived among its crudely rendered scenes, filled with pixelated trees, shifting lava, and tired mountains. They’d battle over resources, form and break alliances, loot and terrorize one another, and assume new identities for hours at a time. As with any place where humans gather, friendships and rivalries blossomed. Two players who met in Barloque got married: a relationship seeded in fantasy, consummated in reality.

  • Edge speak to the editors who oversee every Ubisoft game, providing feedback on art, writing, everything.
  • Serge Hascoet joined Ubisoft in 1987 as a designer and tester of sorts, working on Iron Lord and Skateball for the home computers of the day. Over his 27 years with the company, he has been a game designer and studio head, but today he shapes Ubisoft’s creative direction as its chief creative officer and head of the editorial team. It was Hascoet who insisted that cutscenes were a redundant method of storytelling in the early ’00s, Hascoet who mandated that every Ubisoft game should aim for 60fps, and Hascoet who is driving the company towards open worlds and systemic games as it transitions to a new generation of hardware. His contribution to games is immeasurable – not simply because of its enormity, but because he has sat for fewer than half-a-dozen interviews and is quick to direct the spotlight onto anyone else. He refuses to be photographed individually, and is only prepared to go on record for the sake of his staff.

    Music this week is any of the mixes from musicForProgramming(). It’s good from the start.


    1. shaydeeadi says:

      I liked Leigh Alexanders’ article. There are so many games coming out it’s impossible to play them all, especially when you only have an hour or 2 to game on a good day. I’m glad Titanfall has worked it’s way into my gaming concious because before that every time I would go to play a game I would just default to DoTA and have done for ages. I buy games that I love the sound of, I’ll play and enjoy in short bursts, but every time I get that invite I’ll just drop it like a hot shit and join my friends in a party, forgotten for weeks. I guess DoTA is my casual game, weird huh?

      I can’t imagine what it would be like making them full time, I don’t think I would play anything at all. Considering I currently lack that full-on ‘passion’ (barely made it halfway through Sen’s Fortress in DS1) I need to be unemployed for a bit, then I can sink my teeth into some epic games instead of bitesize chunks of game. I think I may have missed the point, not sure.

      • sinister agent says:

        I enjoyed it too, and yeah, it’s impossible and pointless trying to keep up. You’ll always miss stuff, or be playing new things just for the sake of it rather than actually enjoying them (not to mention the inflated prices it’ll mean).

        I long ago decided to just stop listening to people who sneer about “casual” anything. Those peope are twats. Let them have their little twatty world, it won’t make them feel any better but it’ll keep them from ruining everyone else’s day just to soothe their egos.

        • Jenks says:

          You sound angry. Do you need a hug?

          • frightlever says:

            You sound like a dick. Do you need a tug?

          • FrumiousBandersnatch says:

            They do not sound angry to me. Either you are making up excuses for trying to cyber-hug people on the internet, or you are a really passive-aggressive person. Or both.

          • says:

            I need a hug. (I’m male)

            OT, love Leigh’s style, really interesting read and gonna use the playing a long game vs. growing up joke on my students!

      • derbefrier says:

        Titanfall is. A great game and lends itself really well to short bursts of fun. I don’t play a lot of multiplayer first person shooters anymore simply because I don’t have the time to get good at them anymore but with titanfall I can jump in play a few rounds have a good time and not feel like I held my team back because I don’t know all the ends and outs of it. Sometimes I wish I was a teenager again just so I would have the free time to get good at games like dota or natural selection 2 or other more complicated games. Man there’s a lot to love about being over 30 but it sure does cut into your sitting around time.

        • Raiyan 1.0 says:

          Hell, I’m 22, and with the amount of school work I have I usually find myself playing a few rounds of Sky Rogue or Luftrausers instead of sinking my teeth into something deeper, knowing that I can’t sacrifice enough time at the altar of hardcore games. Retreading back to old games is always attractive – like going to see an old friend after a long time. No new rules to pick up; just continue where you left off.

      • SuddenSight says:

        Even more surprising to me than the number of games I haven’t played (there are frequently monetary as well as time reasons why I can’t play all games) is the number of games I haven’t heard of. I spend over an hour a day reading about and watching videos about games on the internets, on average. And yet there are dozens of games in my library – some of them games I really like – that I hadn’t heard of before looking them up because they were on sale or in a bundle.

        Stuff like Toki Tori, Stealth Bastard, Dynamite Jack, Sword and Sworcery, … the list goes on. Merely knowing what games there are would be a full-time job, let alone actually playing them all.

      • Geebs says:

        TL:DR for that article: the author is feeling a bit burned out and hasn’t yet realised that the way to deal with burnout is just go do something else for a bit.

        • The Random One says:

          That may be difficult when that something is your job.

          • Geebs says:

            Well, I was describing the first phase of coming to grips with it. The more advanced level is to be totally burned out on your job and carry on anyway.

            I do agree that there’s more pathos in being burned out on fun

      • Michael Fogg says:

        I’m yet to find a piece by Leigh Alexander that is at least a little bit enlightening.

        • frightlever says:

          Perhaps you’re thoroughly enlightened and, thus, have achieved Nirvana. Does that feel about right?

      • Consumatopia says:

        Maybe it’s time for gaming to transition to something new. I suspect that there are a lot of us who find reading about certain kinds of games (DF, EVE) a lot more interesting than actually playing them. Some people feel guilty about that, as though it’s somehow irrational–like thinking you want something you don’t actually want. But why do simulations have to be played in order to be worthwhile?

        We can create new worlds, put simulated agents inside those worlds, and watch to see what happens. Someday we will realize that it’s perfectly natural to just observe these simulations as a sort of algorithmically-assisted fiction rather than try to -play them. We have spent too long chasing the impossible and pointless dream of immersion–switching places with an agent in the simulation, so that our own imperfect reality is wiped away and replaced with their artificial one. Perhaps someday we will realize that it is best to live our own lives, while merely watching and reading about their simulated lives.

        There is something that the “passionate” gamers complaining about casuals get very right–people very much ought to step back and ask “why am I spending time and energy playing this?” However, if you interrupted them at the moment they’re playing and asked them to explain why they’re playing, I’m not sure the “passionate” would give you any better answers than the “casual”.

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          kfix says:

          This is a large part of the reason I am excited about Limit Theory. If the plans for that game are realised, I fully expect to spend a lot of time just sitting and watching the economy happen.

      • Asdfreak says:

        My casual game at the moment is EU4, but my ultimate one was EU3, with way over 2000 hours played. I always played with my stepbrother, but after all that time we became so good that it wouldn’t give us a (fun) challenge anymore. With EU4 and CK2 out, however, I have been drawn in again, both having consumed 337 and 442 hours respectivly. I allways have that one game I allways play. Now that I think about it, I would also include Skyrim as one of my past, having consumed 300 hours as well.

    2. Bugamn says:

      Sundays are for fixing 404 errors.

      • Gap Gen says:

        Sundays are for sitting in the park finishing the Baroque Cycle while a pop concert sponsored by Nutella plays in the opposite end of the park.

        • guygodbois00 says:

          …Or for laying sick in bed and feeling envy towards park-sitting-concert-listening people. Sundays are not bad for Fantasy General also.

          • Gap Gen says:

            I have had my fair share of sickbed Sundays, and I empathise. :(

        • Geebs says:

          Just in case you didn’t already know – don’t let the later bits of the Baroque Cycle put you off reading Anathem, but do let them put you off reading Reamde.

          • Wowbagger says:

            I enjoyed both, Anathem being entirely thematically different to reamde (or anything else for that matter), what’s your reasoning?

          • Gap Gen says:

            I read Anathem before TBC (likewise Cryptonomicon, which I guess is as close as you get to a TBC sequel), and yeah, I gave up on Reamde during the description of the MMO, but could be persuaded to go back to it.

            • Geebs says:

              Reamde is full of that “the point is well taken” expository dialogue which Stephenson seems to have fallen into. None of the characters ever really develops a personality because they all speak the exact same way, and the plot doesn’t ever go anywhere; just pootles along being just interesting enough to make you think that things might get better if you keep reading. They don’t.

        • Wowbagger says:

          Ah yes the best of the cycles.

    3. RedViv says:

      Ubisoft’s French Centralism is fascinating, as was the article about it.

    4. Frank says:

      I like how Edge uses “immeasurable” to mean “we don’t know if he’s important or not” instead of the usual “this guy is such a big deal”. It’s not wrong, just very unusual usage. Ooh, “enormity” there is also great!

    5. Sunjammer says:

      Hey cool, I’m one of the guys behind music for programming :) Thank you for the plug!

      • Geebs says:

        Just out of interest, which programming language did you have in mind? Just because I tend to do my coding in C while listening to Thrash, and I think that this might not be coincidental….

      • Bart Stewart says:

        How is this a thing I did not know about? It’s a great idea.

        I’ve relied on my own such playlists for years. Nice to see someone helping others with this.

      • FrumiousBandersnatch says:

        I case you are reading this; this is a really great project, BUT: i don’t think compiling everything into a big mp3 is the optimal way to distribute it. It makes it unessecarily hard to sort out what track (composed by whom, etc) you are listening to if you are in the middle of, the file.
        I would prefer a folder/zip with the tracks as separate files.

    6. Laurentius says:

      I am not striving for new either, I constantly replay old games in all shapes and forms, trying to keep up with new games is completly ridiculous task. Plus, most great games of the ninties were simply better: Master of Magic, Master of Orion 2 or Transport Tycoon simply are still unmatched. In recent weeks, apart from playing FTL i replayed Goblins 3 and played shitton of Sensible World of Soccer 96/97 and One Must Fall 2097.

      • Noburu says:

        I have played Master of Magic more than any other game likely. I bought it soon after release and played it to death. I still dust it off every few months for a game.

      • jezcentral says:

        All hail Microprose!

      • bills6693 says:

        I have to say, even though I am a child of the 90s (93 to be exact), I do have a certain love for some of the older games. However I do also find new games just as good, it really takes something special to draw me back to a game from so long ago.

        Homeworld 2, Dungeon Keeper 2, the Black & White games, and the old Magic game (the shandlar one), which was a proper magic game with real deckbuilding, a draft mode, and a very interesting campaign that took the base mechanics and deckbuilding and put a very odd and fun twist on them.

        But at the same time I find lots of new games get my attention as much or more. Civ V, XCOM, Wargame, Kerbal etc, as a few examples among many games.

        At the end of the day I feel that some old games really are still amazing (and I’m so glad that we’re getting a Homeworld remastered for modern systems) but also there are great new games out there, even though there are also tons of ones which seem to sacrifice mechanics or story in favour of pretty particle effects and stubble animations. I’m also sure that when I finish university (in a week!) and go into real employment (hopefully not too far away) that I will have far less time and will appreciate these older, deeper games more for the limited playtime I have available.

        • welverin says:

          I was playing games before you were born and most of the stuff I played back in the late eighties and nineties I could stomach for more than a few minutes now. That includes the things I really like.

          Game design has come a long way since then and I just can’t put up with the more archaic elements of old games, and no, I am not referring to the graphics that’s the one aspect I have little issue with.

          • Raiyan 1.0 says:

            I tried playing X-COM: Enemy Unknown ( a game released two years after I was born) last year… and bounced right off it. I could appreciate the depth and beauty of the design (and I have massive respect for Gollop), but it didn’t take long to get frustrated by the fiddliness of the time units, having to equip soldiers before every mission, the size of the maps and the sheer randomness by which I could get killed. It’s something I can definitely imagine my younger self getting obsessed with, when time a low-value currency and I my only window to the outside world was the TV. But now, I massively enjoyed the more tightly designed XCOM remake, which had a rather good balance of absolute terror and being able to be in control, at the cost of fully procedurally generated maps and somewhat passive enemies at the beginning of each round. I still wish for multiple bases though.

            • bills6693 says:

              Xenonauts, which has been in early access forever but is apparently coming out at the end of this month for good, at last, is meant to be like old-timey X-COM but a reimagined version, so with more modern mechanics and elements too, while staying true to the original design. I am looking forward to its release because I too want an X-COM game like I’ve heard it was, but made in the modern day with modern ideas and mechanics.

          • Laurentius says:

            Tbh I don’t even know what are you talking about ? What are these archaic elements? Anyway each to their own.

            • bills6693 says:

              For example play through the original HALO campaign. Its an enjoyable game, sure, but I feel pacing etc has come a long way since then (although that said, campaigns have since gone even furthur backwards)

              And a lot of it is just mechanics and difficulty. For example a lot of older games are ‘hard’ but only because they are unfair towards the player, as back then they couldn’t always simulate and process all the things needed. Now a lot of games can be hard but in a fair way, and I think play a lot better.

              I agree with what the above poster (that you replied to) said mostly. It really is just a few older games that I do enjoy and go back to, most of them I don’t really enjoy just because as detailed and in-depth as they are, they also have outdated mechanics. Its a shame, but also highlights the good things that have come about and why ‘reimaginings’ are often actually pretty good, although always some people don’t like them compared to the original.

            • Laurentius says:

              Yeah, Halo is 2001 game and campagin pacing, a lot of people (me included ) thinks Mass Effect 2 has pretty bad pacing, so i don’t really know what this has to do with game being new or old. Unfair difficulty ? But care to give some examples ? As i said each to their own, but this “archaic elements’ is so vague that is for me even hard to take seriously. I can list, right of the bat 30 games from the ninties, that i enjoy replaying and only archaic elements i can name is graphics and sound.

            • sinister agent says:

              Halo had terrible pacing even at the time. The number of literally identical corridors they pasted together in interminable rows was ridiculous, and really undermined an otherwise entertaining shooter.

            • malkav11 says:

              Sometimes it’s technical limitations. Plenty of older games don’t allow you to save at all, expecting you to beat them in a single sitting or not at all. Sometimes it’s a lack of modern conveniences, like autosaves, automapping, intrinsic controller support (for games that play well with controller), etc. Sometimes it’s changes in convention, like a lack of mouse support, key layouts way outside the now standard WASD format, limited lives, etc. And sometimes it’s just dumb decisions that people (mostly) know better than to make today.

              There are quite a few games from the past that I will swear hold up even today, particularly ones that do things that never really got emulated, but they can certainly be a pain to come to grips with nowadays, and not just because early 3D makes me want to gouge my own eyes out.

            • Mman says:

              “Halo had terrible pacing even at the time. The number of literally identical corridors they pasted together in interminable rows was ridiculous, and really undermined an otherwise entertaining shooter.”

              Pretty much. I found Halo’s level design (although it also has a couple of great ones too) so bad at the time it almost managed to single-handedly ruin the game for me, so I find using it as an example of how games have moved on to not especially work.

              Ironically I’m more willing to accept it now because in the end I’ll take repetitive corridors with actually meaningfully challenging gameplay over repetitive corridors with no meaningful gameplay (which is the general direction of the genre since ~2008)

            • Baines says:

              Wasn’t the story that Halo 1’s repetitive level design was because Microsoft decided the game needed to be longer, so Bungie copied-pasted corridors to extend the game?

            • Laurentius says:

              I see what you mean but it’s just i don’t see it in these old games I replayed recently. Here is the list of older games I played last couple of months : Master of Magic, Master of Orion 2, Transport Tycoon, Little Big Adventure 2, One Must Fall 2097, Sensible World of Soccer 96/97, Goblins 3, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, Tie Fighter CD, Ignition, Loom, Prehistorik 2, Dyna Blaster ( ok, technicaly these last two don’t have save function but codes, yet spelunky also force you to play a lot in one sitting to make progress so…), Fallout, Piball Fantasies, Tyrian 2000.

            • benkc says:

              I have no idea what archaic elements the above poster may have meant, but here’s my example. I love Master of Magic, always have, but after having played more modern games (where, by “modern”, I mean “anything as recent as Alpha Centauri”) going back to MoM and having no concept of borders or territory really bugs me. Enemy wizards can march troops right up to the edge of my cities, and occasionally even attack my units, without declaring war or me having any way to tell them to get out of my territory. Similarly, I sometimes accidentally step near one of their cities (perhaps one I didn’t know about) and they are likely to at least threaten me, if not declare outright war.

              The diplomatic options are similarly limited — though that sadly seems to be something that modern games are regressing to!

        • Raiyan 1.0 says:

          Ah, Homeworld 2 and Nexus: A Jupiter Incident – lovely space strategy games with terrible difficulty scaling.

          • bills6693 says:

            Ah nexus, I got partway through that and for some reason stopped but really should go back to that. What I played of it was really good, even though it was not all the way in.

            • Gap Gen says:

              Nexus is a great concept but the balancing needs polish (and the story and voice acting need to be put in a bin and set fire to). A lot of it rests on shield-breaking, so if you don’t invest enough in shield bubbles then you can’t do much. The later game is actually a lot better, with bombers and lasers being more effective. It was apparently Imperium Galactica 3 before they scaled it back due to budget problems, and it’s a shame to imagine what it might have been as the battle engine for a 4X game.

    7. bills6693 says:

      Glad to see Amplitude on here showing how early access can be used well, to actually make a great game rather than just as a pre-release funding method.

      I have to say I enjoyed Endless Space although always found the combat a bit odd, and I am absolutely loving Dungeon of the Endless after discovering it at Rezzed (which is for some reason not mentioned even though, just like Legend, its in early access using the G2G platform)

    8. Zenicetus says:

      Good interview on the Amplitude early access for Endless Legend. My quick take on the current EL build:

      The game is far from feature-complete, but what’s here is working very smoothly on my system. Like Endless Space, they waited until the basic engine was working well before going to Early Access. I wish more devs would do that.

      Only half the factions are in, and there is no Diplomacy yet (AI faction just attack on sight). Balance needs a lot of work. No multiplayer, and AI is still pretty raw, even on the basic strategy level of defending its cities and building proper army stacks. The AI wasn’t terrible in Endless Space, about average for a contemporary 4X game. So it will probably be okay when EL is finally released. Right now it isn’t putting up much of a fight.

      You only have a few unit types in your faction’s army, which at first glance looks very limited compared to most other 4X games. However, they’re meant to be templates you upgrade with gear over time. I think of them a bit like the different ship hull sizes in Endless Space, that can be tricked out in different ways. You can also fill in gaps with units from assimilated Minor factions, which helps a bit. This design with very few visually distinct units in your army may not appeal to someone who likes a huge variety like in Total War games, or even AoW3. On the other hand, it’s a good approach for a small studio that doesn’t have a huge budget for 3D modeling and animation. It might get boring seeing the same few unit models after a while, but I haven’t reached that point yet.

      I like what they’ve done with the fantasy theme. Some factions have a loose similarity to classic Tolkien/D&D tropes, but they have an alternate universe feel, almost a sci-fi edge. It might even be sci-fi masquerading as fantasy, based on some of the faction designs, and the still-developing back story. It’s different, anyway. One faction will be designed by the players, with the final three candidates being voted on now.

      I’m having some fun with the early access build, but now that I’ve seen the basics, I think I might put it away until they get Diplomacy and the trading system working.

    9. AngelTear says:

      I found this via Critical Distance. It’s a “Guide to gender Design”, with extensive discussion about gender, fictional characters, and why some things may be problematic, and it starts from the very basics of it (lexicon for instance). It’s a huge read, and not meant to be consumed in one go, but I’m certain it is of great interest for anyone who is interested in gender issues in gaming.

      link to

      • steviebops says:

        I was expecting a more helpful,academic piece. The tone is the usual really, condescending and combative

        • SirMonkeyWrench says:

          I found it kind of pointless, nothing that hasn’t been said before, but expressed in a unnecessarily vast quantity of writing.

      • Michael Fogg says:

        “In video games, these stereotypes [LGBTQ] often are mapped on characters, which then have to be killed by the heroes to progress in game.”

        [citation needed]

        • El_Emmental says:

          It reminds of the news media during the 90s and 00s, blaming school shootings and youth violence on video games. They were saying things like “for him, his victims were like the coins in Super Mario, he had to collect more and more kills to boost his high-score”, or later saying GTA3 or VC were solely about getting the best “high-score” by raping and killing prostitutes – or the eternal “kids won’t distinguish the virtual world from reality”. Guess what remains of these articles, claims and “studies” these days ? Nothing, everyone forgot about them.

          The same will happen with the sexism-in-video-games topic, all the bitterness and hostility will evaporate, all the “hidden agenda” and paranoia will be gone, only the very few things that brought something to the table will remain. The same happened with violence in video games, the same happened with addiction to video games, we’ll just have to wait a few years for the mentalities to evolve.

          • Gap Gen says:

            I’m pretty sure the media still vilifies games? Not that I’ve picked up a newspaper or watched TV news in ages. But in any case, most media is ephemeral. I’d hope that culture does become less sexist in general, though.

            • Gargenville says:

              It’s calmed down a bit because now the dominant genre of shootmans is the hoo-rah! military kind and obviously killing people is a wholesome and commendable activity as long as you’re wearing a uniform and respecting authority.

              That combined with GTA evolving in a more cinematic direction has taken a lot of heat away from the mainstream at least.

    10. Anthile says:

      It’s a real shame lots of Japanese developers are so isolationist, including the big ones like Squenix. I get it, it’s a big financial risk but knowing that these great or at least interesting games are out there and you can’t play them is devastating. That legendary games like Live A Live[sic] or Mother 3 never made it to the West is hard to understand. Thus fan translators do great work that deserves a lot of respect.

      • bill says:

        On the other hand, a lot pf people tend to fetishize japanese games (and/or other media) and I think the lack of access & exotic image tend to make people give it credit where it isn’t necessarily deserved.

        There are a lot of great japanese games, sure, but they are great because they’re great, not because they’re *japanese*. 90% of japanese games are junk, like 90% of everything. Yet they sometimes seem to get a free pass just because they are weird wacky japanese.

      • Gargenville says:

        We’re at sort of a weird point where the big self-publishing powerhouses are still sleeping on this whole newfangled 21st century publishing malarkey but smaller studios have no problem working with NIS America or Ghostlight so you can get obscure niche things like Cladun and Agarest on Steam but you can’t buy the new Yakuza in English on any platform.

        Like I can walk five minutes from my house and buy a physical European Vita copies of Demon Gaze and Danganronpa (both courtesy of NIS America), deeply niche titles, on a system nobody owns, in a region that historically doesn’t care about stuff like that, but Nintendo can’t be bothered to localize and publish the sequel to one of the most beloved JRPGs of all time on the digital distribution network they fully own and operate.

        I actually think Square are doing better than most because you can at least get some of their English language back catalog on Steam or mobile platforms.

    11. Pundabaya says:

      Man, every time I see ‘Amplitude’ in a gaming sense, it raises hope for a sequel to Harmonix’s excellent PS2 groove-em-up. That is cruelly dashed, obv.

      • Mo says:

        Good news! Today is your lucky day:
        link to

        • El_Emmental says:

          Bad news ! This project is for PS3 and PS4 only, as Sony isn’t supporting them all in that move (by either providing expertise, or funds, or authorization to publish it on other platforms) – and Sony owns the rights to all the previous games.

          Harmonix also don’t believe in their project: they set the campaign to last 18 days only, and not 30 days. They gave some BS reasons (“we can’t wait 12 more days to assign people to projects” – yeah sure, a whole year or two of development and almost a million dollar are at stake, and a week isn’t possible).

          That whole campaign is just a way for them to drum up a PR announcement and see how people react to it, to later use these data (money, visits, number of backers, etc) when pitching publishers/Sony.

    12. Gargenville says:

      The Ubisoft article explains so much about how their games all manage to all feel exactly the same and be profoundly uninteresting no matter the premise or genre. I guess it’s working out for them but man as someone who prefers wonky and exciting over bland competence that purple swirl just screams avoid at all costs.