The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for rolling around on your couch, wondering why you bother to try. Probably best you turn away from my moping and spend your day reading fine works from the rest of the internet.

  • There are no lengths to which Richard Cobbett won’t go for a gag. And this is a good one: Fallen Swindon, a Twine-made parody of Fallen London. You’ll enjoy it more if you’ve played its inspiration, but it’s not necessary.
  • Funny. You don’t remember your Lodgings smelling so strongly of sulphur and brimstone. Do you even own the latest edition of Now That’s What I Call The Screaming Of The Damned? It only came out yesterday! And more pressingly, since when did you have a Lodgingmate with fangs, orange eyes and…

    “Ah,” says the Usurping Devil. “Were these your Lodgings? How unfortunate it must be to be you.”

    He chuckles to himself as he escorts you out of the front door and slams it in your face.

    A moment later, it opens again.

    “By the way, do you have a skillet? It’s for a thing.”

    Richard’s got 99 patrons at the time of writing, which gives you the opportunity to tick that number into triple digits.

  • Over at Kotaku, Simon Parkin profiles Brenda Romero, plotting her career from working on the Wizardry series, through Playboy: The Mansion, to more recent non-digital games like Train. Well worth reading.
  • She’d even re-written the rules for a game called Rolemaster, for her and her friends to use. “It started out as a fix for the ‘encumbrance’ rule which dictates how much weight a character can carry,” she recalls. “It always felt so complicated, like balancing the chequebook. We didn’t want to do all that shit.” Romero’s fix broke some of the game’s other finely balanced systems. “It was very much my first lesson in design,” she says. “You change something in a game then you’ll break something else.” She proceeded to redesign everything from the ground up. “I was very serious about it”. The young girl’s friends “were into it” and the group dubbed the changes “Brenda Law.”

  • Adrian Chmielarz was creative director on Bulletstorm and is now working on The Vanishing of Ethan Carter. He recently spoke at the Digital Dragons conference in Poland about narrative in games and how to do it better.
  • Chris Thursten’s latest Three Lane Highway column is about what it means when a game becomes a sport and why you should care. Did you know that there are zero World Cup games on today, and if so what are you going to do to fix that?
  • There’s an argument that runs along the lines of “why would I watch a game when I could be playing one?” This misunderstands something about sport. If you can watch a sport, you’re almost certainly more intellectually engaged than you would be if you were playing a scripted game. The act of physically participating is secondary, to me, to the stuff that happens in your brain when you watch a set of game mechanics operating in a competitive context. That’s what a sport is: a set of rules resolving into narrative.

  • Quadrilateral Cowboy is clearly the most exciting game currently in development, and developer Brendon Chung’s previous work (Gravityh Bone, Thirty Flights of Loving, Flotilla) clearly makes him one of the most exciting indie designers working at the moment. So why not read Cara’s latest Embed With, which is about Chung and the indie workspace he co-founded.
  • “But instead of the worn neon Bladerunner cyberpunk universe, it is a square, classically Blendo Games-style universe in the vein of Thirty Flights of Loving and Gravity Bone, his previous games. Things are often in sepia tones, cassette tapes lie around, there’s a refined, almost screwball comedy feeling to the game – though the main characters are all women and they do not talk. There is a strong feeling of the working class around Quadrilateral Cowboy, an emphasis on what hands do, make and use. Objects feel solid; when you connect wires to hack something, twentieth-century style, they do so with a satisfying reel and click, the keys of your suitcase deck sound like they respond to your instructions with the whole of their thickness. It’s like you are in a quirky heist movie directed by Hitchcock, but Dr Emmett Brown from Back to the Future has given you your tools.”

  • I am looking forward to GTA V on PC for the mods, for the city walks, and for the multiplayer. This post about a player-created GTA Online biker gang whets my appetite for the latter:
  • “Once you are a Reaper Lord you will participate in missions, meetings, hangouts and attacks on other gangs. The Reaper Lords have current allies and enemies with other GTA Online biker gangs. The Reaper Lords website specifies if they have a cease fire with these other gangs and where their territory is and the status of their relationship, if they are friendly or not. If a rival gang upsets the Reaper Lords, then the members will attack. If anyone, non gang member or gang member, attacks or angers a Reaper Lord the rest of the gang will have their back and kill the offender.”

  • Gav Murphy has been making funny videos at Future Publishing for years, either in partnership with Jon Blyth or on his own. His series, The Real Games Journalist, is great, though I only found it this week just as it comes to an end. Watch two: What Are Games Journalists Really Thinking, filmed at Fanfest, and his farewell, How To Deal With YouTube Trolls.
  • Not done with video? Watch Harbour Master’s short art-documentary. It’s hard to summarise, but it’s about videogames past and future and it has good music. Afterwards, why not real the recent article Harbour Master a.k.a. Joel Goodwin wrote for us about control methods?
  • I wasn’t on episode 49 of the Crate & Crowbar podcast, but Eskil Steenberg, creator of LOVE, was there to talk about his new game EXO.
  • The Indie Game Enthusiast is a good blog to follow if you’re looking for new reasons to care.
  • If you watch the Adrian Chmielarz video above, you’ll see he references the work of Film Critic Hulk. Film Critic Hulk, if you don’t know, writes precise, funny and insightful film analysis in all caps. If you need an entry point, try this recent piece about the work of Michael Bay.

  • Here is what you are going to do about there not being any World Cup matches on today: you’re going to read about the World Cup. Start with the always entertaining Brian Phillips at Grantland:
  • What this World Cup has offered instead, and where it seems most likely to produce lasting memories, is superstars. I can’t remember a tournament that seemed to be more about individual players, both because of everything they have at stake and because of the influence they’ve had over outcomes. When Spain was Spain, as Barney Ronay recently wrote, “the ball was always the star.” In Brazil, we’ve seen game after game turn on individual moments of skill: Neymar pixie-dancing through 14 or 15 defenders, Arjen Robben scything to his left with the inevitability of death, Messi dragging entire defenses across the pitch like someone resizing a browser window.

    Music this week is She Can’t Love You by Chemise, as featured in this short cyberpunk jam game.


    1. dangermouse76 says:

      Sundays are for celebrating being married a year, with roast lamb and a little too much red wine. My wife rocks………………………Games are cool though !

      Edit: Also trying out Harry Potter Quidditch world cup to see if it’s any good for a “friends” themed party ( PS2 ).

      • marina says:

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    2. BooleanBob says:

      I got ninety nine patrons but a Rich ain’t one.

      Sorry. I kind of had to.

    3. Llewyn says:

      Sunday mornings are for watching 190 grown men dressed in vibrantly coloured lycra peeing into grass verges all around you.

      And with the Tour, the British GP and the men’s final at Wimbledon I’m frankly relieved that there’s no football today.

      • DrollRemark says:

        My Malaysian housemate was very confused when the commentators kept referring to the riders’ “natural breaks”. We explained it to her pretty quickly though.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Also impressive crashes in the Grand Prix.

    4. DrollRemark says:

      Did you know that there are zero World Cup games on today, and if so what are you going to do to fix that?

      Watch the Tour de France and the Wimbledon final, obviously!

      • The Random One says:

        I love watching biking. It’s the motorsports you can follow.

        Also I’m certain it has the most flamboyant uniforms, and that’s a pretty high bar.

    5. TillEulenspiegel says:

      It’s sort of amazing how the Luis Suarez drama managed to preempt all the usual hand-wringing about yet another failure of England at a major tournament. I mean, two losses and one draw is their worst World Cup result ever. You can make excuses about a difficult group, you can talk about a half-decent performance in their first game, but that’s still awful.

      England struggled a bit in qualifying as well, and could have easily finished second in that group. Teams like the US, Costa Rica, and Algeria have managed to produce solid team performances despite a lack of star players, while England in the past 20 years never seem to turn up at all, despite having some very good players. It’s a little baffling.

      • mashkeyboardgetusername says:

        (Are we allowed to talk football here?)

        I dunno, England played much better this world cup than the last one, they’ve been nowhere near as awful as in the 0-0 with Algeria in 2010 f’rinstance, which is probably the most dire game of football I’ve ever seen. Still don’t know why they can’t perform as a group greater than the sum of its parts like other teams can though.
        (And I don’t understand why Suarez biting someone is bigger than racially abusing another player, which the press seems to have forgotten about because he’s scored lots of goals since then.)

        However, I’m mainly replying to you to post this summary of England’s world cup in 6 seconds:

        • Fenix says:

          “nowhere near as awful as in the 0-0 with Algeria in 2010 f’rinstance, which is probably the most dire game of football I’ve ever seen”
          I don’t remember that one, and I’m not English, but as an Italian watching last World Cups Italy vs. New Zealand game was such a dire experience I think it qualified as psychological and physical torture.

        • fish99 says:

          They played well in one game, and that was just going forward. And they defended badly in all 3 games. The one thing you can normally rely on with an England team is good centre backs, decent keeper and good full backs, but they don’t even have that anymore. It’s … scary.

          Basically the only good football they played was when Sterling was playing #9 behind Sturridge. Then the genious that is Roy Hodgson put Sterling on the wing because the press told him to play Rooney at #9, and that was that, world cup over.

      • sinister agent says:

        Please, let’s not ruin one of the best tournaments ever by wasting time talking about bloody England. They went out ages ago, and good riddance to the boring bastards.

      • LennyLeonardo says:

        I prefer to think of it as the rest of the world’s BEST world cup result ever.

    6. yhancik says:

      Oh, so there’s a ball contest going on? I wasn’t aware of that.

      • RedViv says:

        There are far too many balls people are obsessing over right now. It’s fascinating.

      • Fenix says:

        We get it, [most] Americans don’t care about football. We don’t need every single one of them to remind us every time there’s a big event.

        • Jeroen D Stout says:

          I for one would not mind to not be reminded of the event, every time there is a big event.

        • dE says:

          I’m not an American, but I can appreciate that you don’t like to be reminded that other people couldn’t care less about the FUSSBALL. Personally, I don’t have anything against FUZZBRAWL, but I really don’t understand why people enjoy amateur acting so much?

          Personally, I would appreciate it if all of you SHOCCER Lovers could just stop insisting I must absolutely be informed about every fucking minute detail of your asinine sport of rich dudes chasing a ball while acting like glitched out videogame physics at the slightest provocation. If you could do that, I’d be happy to shut up about not liking that one event with more emotional Drama and less action than Bollywood. Until then, I’ll happily mock your interest.

          • Fenix says:

            No ‘SHOCCER Lover’ insists or cares about you being reminded of it, that’s advertising and PR. Like it or not, the World Cup is a big deal to a massive amount of people, so obviously companies and the media likes to capitalize on it.

            Comparatively, during Super Bowl time the internet gets swarmed with superbowl related stuff; youtube ads, google logos, twitter posts, etc. while the superbowl is relevant to only a small fraction of people compared to who the World Cup is relevant to, yet you don’t get as any people whining and mocking and being all “LOL HANDEGG” as you get Americans threatening to block everyone that posts about the World Cup on twitter.

            • dE says:

              So, a not that healthy dose of Anti-American Sentiments mixed in with a skewed perspective. It’s funny that you found it necessary to instantly attack people that just don’t enjoy the world cup.

              People brought Tongue in Cheek, you brought full on rage filled fire with the ugly head of nationalism rearing it’s head.

            • malkav11 says:

              If it makes you feel any better, I am an American who also doesn’t give a flying fuck about the Super Bowl and wishes everyone would shut up about that too. But that’s not the pointless sporting event everyone is mysteriously enthralled with at the moment.

            • The Random One says:

              For what it’s worth, I do my part to bring the LOL HANDEGG anti-American comments to a fitting proportion.

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              kfix says:

              I am Australian, and therefore am genetically required to show contempt for both the round-ball divers and the ridiculous over-muscled over-padded show pony yanks, none of whom match our manly men who crash into each other without benefit of helmet and without writhing for five minutes if another player approaches within a metre or so.

              However, I have far more sympathy for Fenix’s argument here – “rage filled fire”? Really? And how is it nationalism to hate Americans? The whole world can unite in that, which is the opposite…..

          • Lawful Evil says:


        • Koozer says:

          Surprise! Some Englishmen couldn’t care less either. I would happily ignore it if it wasn’t on the news every 10 minutes, in every advert for every product ever conceived, and discussed regularly by the majority of the closest 60 million people.

          • CookPassBabtridge says:

            And as for the tennis, why do they always employ some cockney as umpire who keeps calling everybody “love”? It drags the whole image of the sport down.

            • Hematite says:

              They tried an umpire from the West Country, but shouting “fifteen, my luvvverrrrr!” didn’t go down well on TV.

          • The Random One says:

            I’m a Brazilian. Rede Globo, our largest TV channel, bought the rights to broadcast the World Cup, and now essentially became the World Cup Channel. Their evening news programme, which is the most watched news programme in the country, now essentially goes like this:

            – Ten minutes of world cup news
            – Commercial break
            – Five minutes of other news (usually two two-and-a-half minutes long segment)
            – Five more minutes of world cup news
            – End.

            It used to be a lot longer, but the network squeezed all their programming so they can broadcast all World Cup games live. And one of those two-and-a-half minutes long segment was about one of the largest Brazilian parties officially choosing its candidate for the presidential election this year. (Two other, smaller parties, had made their choices the same day and were briefly mentioned at the end of the segment.)

            • DarkSaber2k says:

              Congratulations, your news has essentially become every British news show ever,

            • fish99 says:

              That’s a bizarre and horribly inaccurate statement DarkSaber2k, since A) BBC news doesn’t have commercials and B) I’ve never seen football occupy more than 5 minutes on any 30 minute news broadcast here (except maybe in very rare circumstances).

              Honestly our news is probably as good as any in the world for getting a lot of world news stories in there, for the depth of coverage, and for the number of different stories covered. Heck, Channel 4 news and Newsnight have probably barely mentioned the world cup.

              It sounds like you only watch ITV and C5 news.

        • teije says:

          After 20 years of caring about and following sports (especially ice hockey, being Canadian), I’ve now just moved on and ignore it all blissfully. Not giving a shit about a bunch of old billionaires employing a larger bunch of whiny, entitled mercs with no loyalty to their team or fans has been surprisingly easy to do.

          • fish99 says:

            Across all walks of life most people have very little loyalty to their current employer when a better offer comes around. Why should sportsmen be any different?

        • Distec says:

          I don’t think I care for you going straight for the “American” assumption. Why do people do this? I can’t go a day online without reading something that goes like “I don’t like what you’re saying, you must be a stupid Yank”.

          You don’t seem very classy.

          • Fenix says:

            Based on my personal experience +90% of people complaining about World Cup coverage on the internet are Americans.

            • JFS says:

              Which isn’t really astonishing, seeing as Football is basically the world’s most popular sport. Except for in the US. And then you gotta save your self-esteem. It’s Festinger meets Tajfel/Turner at its best.

        • SkittleDiddler says:

          We Americans prefer to think of it as “not caring about a sport run by one of the most corrupt organizations on earth, played by some of the most pompous milksops in athletic events” instead of “not caring about soccer football”.

          • MacTheGeek says:

            As soon as we Americans start ignoring the Olympics, this argument will begin holding water.

            Truth is, “we Americans” ignore footy because we’re not all that good at it, and we’d rather pretend that the things we’re not good at are unimportant. But boy, we do love us some Olympic medal counts, right?

            • SkittleDiddler says:

              True dat.

            • sinister agent says:

              Nah, Americans ignore football because americaball and baseball and to a lesser extent basketball occupy that cultural space instead (also of help: big business interests like it less because there’s less room to cram adverts in than American sports with more regular breaks). The USA football team is an above average one, and has been for decades.

      • Raiyan 1.0 says:

        Foot-to-ball really is something rather niche (and honestly I don’t see it ever catching on), so its main international events tend to be obscure.

        But here’s why you should feel smug for not being excited about this game.

    7. Raiyan 1.0 says:

      Along with the excellent Film Critic Hulk article, here’s a video-dissertation of the layers of depth, parallax, movement, character and environment involved in the visual exercise that is Michael Bay movies.

      He is a slave to his techniques.

      • Raiyan 1.0 says:

        Here’s another one about the most thematically bizarre G1 episodes.

      • Noumenon says:

        Thanks, neat link.

      • zontax says:

        Another fun Micheal Bay related thing I saw recently: Watching three transformer movies at the same time

        • Raiyan 1.0 says:

          “Fun” in the loosest of definitions.

          • Jeroen D Stout says:

            Probably being a Red Letter Media appreciator helps in appreciating the unique pleasure of seeing Rich Evans watch three Transformers films at the same time.

      • Nate says:

        Thanks, that was wonderful. I’m glad I took the time to watch at least one video this Sunday (*shakes fist at Mr. Smith*)

        I think they make or suggest a very good case that what makes Mr. Bay’s films so hard to tolerate is in this absence of emotional or narrative contrast. The explosions aren’t the problem; the problem is that even when there aren’t any explosions, the scenes are given the exact same weight as if there were explosions going on. It’s like hearing a fairy tale read in a monotone.

        Sometimes, I do feel bad for Mr. Bay– he gets the brunt of this, and it’s hardly all his fault, and, as the video shows, he has some serious talent as well. The nonsensical screenplays certainly don’t help, and, in my opinion, JJ Abrams is at least as bad, but it’s always all about Michael Bay for some reason.

      • AngoraFish says:

        Cheers, I learned something about film making today…

      • Arglebargle says:

        A gaming buddy worked a couple of days as an extra in the latest Transformer film. He had a few interesting tales to tell: There were no continuity people at all in the scenes they were shooting. Bay would go off on tangents, completely deviating from the day’s shooting schedule. Etc. Even the crew working the film were privately shaking their heads about the slackassed production work.

        Bay at least didn’t act like the stereotypical asshat tyrant director. Reported to be pretty personable. In this instance anyway.

        But if folks slurp up the slop regardless, there’s no reason to worry about how you spice up the stew.

      • bill says:

        I always had a soft spot for this review.
        link to

    8. phenom_x8 says:

      I;m watching Transformer 4 last week with my sister and her son (my nephew).
      Beside all of the shoddy plot, its pretty satisfying for family entertainment (and quite worth my $6)
      But, there’s still always place for something like this movie (and or game )….

      • Raiyan 1.0 says:

        I dunno, I would rather not kids watch Optimus Prime shooting his enemies in the head point blank while they are begging for mercy. There’s a lot of ugliness in these movies.

        • steviebops says:

          There really is. Optimus is not the wise leader he started out as, and much,much more violent.

    9. Lone Gunman says:

      Sundays are for watching The Tour de France and cycling on the traffic free roads with hundreds of other cyclists :)

      • fish99 says:

        As someone who drives and gets to see the quality of driving on Britiains roads first hand regularly, there’s no way I’d ever cycle on the roads again. I do cycle, but on dirt tracks on a mountain bike.

    10. Dances to Podcasts says:

      “though the main characters are all women and they do not talk”

      Failing the Bechdel Test there. :P

    11. strangeloup says:

      I’d be interested to see how much overlap there is between people who like watching regular sports, and people who like watching esports. The excerpt from the article suggests that there might be some universal element to watching others compete, and perhaps for some people this is intriguing in all forms, and others couldn’t care less.

      In recent times — whether it’s a new thing, or I’ve only just become aware of it, I don’t know — I’ve also seen livestreams of Magic: The Gathering tournaments show up, and there’s clearly a fair audience for those as well.

      • Fenix says:

        As someone that follows competitive Magic the Gathering I can say that a considerable chunk of the pros and audience also follows regular sports. Just by following a bunch of MTG pros on twitter I see tweets about baseball and nba and world cup as much as i see mtg related tweets

      • Horg says:

        As someone who follows competitive DotA, I have very little interest in contemporary sports. I find e-sports much more accessible to spectate, and the format is just generally more entertaining to me. Watching 22 fashion models trying to kick an inflated bladder into a net just can’t compete with high fantasy magic particle effects.

        • Vandelay says:

          I find it a little strange you would say that esport is more accessible to spectate, particularly DOTA. That is not to say that Valve and the community of esport commentators have done an excellent job in in making such things accessible, but the time commitment alone makes me unlikely to be able to watch much more than the odd game here and there. If you look at regular sport, you have football lasting 90 minutes, rugby 80, etc. The Wimbledon final today might have been just under 4 hours long, but DOTA would quite regularly get to that sort of length and not just in finals.

          Outside of the time commitment, the rules of esports might normally be fairly simple, such as a beat ’em up is simply knock the enemy’s health to zero, but you then have umpteen different characters and abilities to remember. On a football pitch, you aren’t going to have one player flying around, another throwing a net on the opponents, someone else launching a fireball from their hands and another one biting the other players (oh wait…)

          Personally, a combination of becoming more interested in esports and the Olympics taking place not too far away, has made me realise that I actually quite like sport, after years of dismissing it as dull. It was actually just football that I despised. Unfortunately, that is pretty much all you get over here, outside of the Sky channels.

          • Horg says:

            The accessibility value comes form the huge amount of free and archived content available on the internet. No premium sports packages needed, no season tickets, multiple casters to chose from, etc.

      • malkav11 says:

        It seems like there’s a fair amount of overlap. I enjoy watching people play videogames and hate everything to do with regular sports, so I had assumed that e-sports would be my opportunity to care about something sport-related. Turns out I find e-sports just as impenetrable and dull.

        • qrter says:

          I think it’s because e-sport players play games in that weird, mechanical way that has little to do with how us norms play games. For us a game represents a plethora of strategic choices, a professional knows the couple of options that have the highest strategic value, and will never stray away from those.

          Perhaps it is that we play games for the unexpected stuff, while e-sporty types play a game to be as expected and controlled as possible.

      • JFS says:

        Just anecdotally, I like real-life sports, but I’ve never understood the eSports movement. It doesn’t interest me at all. No overlap in my case.

    12. gwathdring says:

      There’s an argument that runs along the lines of “why would I watch a game when I could be playing one?” This misunderstands something about sport. If you can watch a sport, you’re almost certainly more intellectually engaged than you would be if you were playing a scripted game. The act of physically participating is secondary, to me, to the stuff that happens in your brain when you watch a set of game mechanics operating in a competitive context. That’s what a sport is: a set of rules resolving into narrative.

      I think this is nonsense. People watch sports without critical attention all the time and people play sports/games with critical attention all the time. I don’t understand the idea that hanging out around a television or a tablet with a live-stream is *inherently* more intellectually engaging than running around on the field or pressing the buttons yourself, than being in the moment making actual tactical decisions rather than playing armchair sports pundit (or, in many cases, just gawking blankly until something cool happens and then going HOLY SHIT THAT WAS COOL).

      There’s certainly something to be said for the critical and investigative culture that develops as an essential adjunct to competition; but competition exists in competitive multiplayer games from the word “go.” The transition to sport means organization and advertisement sponsors and, for both better and for worse, standardization of tactical thinking. It doesn’t inherently improve the intellectual state of the game. Watching as opposed to playing certainly doesn’t, either. Watching provides a different perspective born out of not being under pressure to perform. That different perspective is valuable, sure, but it’s not *more intellectual* by any sort of reliable pattern.

      That just seems so … arrogant to me. And it gets worse.

      If you’re capable of following Dota 2 or football or whatever then you know something about the way that systems create drama, even if you wouldn’t frame that knowledge in those terms. That’s really cool, because it makes it easier to perceive the corners that other games cut in the name of providing you with entertainment. When you’ve seen what a game can achieve with a simple set of rules, it becomes far harder for games without the design integrity of a sport to sell you a fantasy.

      So, more than playing games with a variety of rules and more than attempting to design games yourself, the stand-out provider of insight into how “simple rules” (like DOTA’s? or either of the Football’s? or Cricket’s? Yeah, those are *simple*) create drama in games is watching games that have been dubbed sports? Christ, I’m not even sure how to respond to that. It’s just such surreal, arrogant nonsense. Being a sports-fan somehow puts you in a position to understand the inner workings of game design in a way that mere players and designers of games for entertainment cannot compete with. You transcend onto a higher plane of intellectual understanding and see the true potential of game!

      Sorry, that’s a bit over the top, the article isn’t THAT bad but … argh. I don’t like what it says let alone what it merely implies. At all. I don’t have to be snarky and snide to pull the idea that sports are better design than non-sports out of the article. It explicitly says sports have greater design integrity. What the shit? Seriously. Edit: No, the article really is that bad. I take my apology back.

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        kfix says:

        Yeah, I usually like CT’s writing but I think he’s missed with this one. Maybe I can see where he was going if you read sports to include competitive multiplayer, and contrast both with “scripted” games?


        • gwathdring says:

          See, as per my post, I can see where he’s going with competition in general. Competition changes the rules. People exploit existing systems and play against each other in ways that put less stress on certain aspects and more stress on others compared to the more static competition of a single player versus a well designed game. It’s less predictable; it changes as players rock-paper-scissors each others’ strategies and styles. That environment creates, explicit or not, a living design document in which a culture of precise, high-level understanding becomes prevalent. People become dynamic experts in the fast-moving field of [insert name of game here] rather than static practitioners of a well choreographed dance (say, a speed-runner or else-wise expert in the play of a scripted, single-player game; though I should note that score attack and arbitrary-objective play can turn such games *into* competition). The game changes as it’s idiosyncrasies are laid bare and exploited. As what was once the pinnacle of skill becomes vulnerable to a new style of play that even the noobs are now learning right out of the gate.

          That’s *cool.* Not every competitive game allows for that, mind, but there is something inherently complicated and interesting and organic about competitive games that pit mind and body against mind and body. There is a unique form of intellectual development that occurs as the design leaves the hands of it’s creators and is re-written by the attitudes, behaviors, and stylings of it’s players, and play redesigns the game from the ground up. Just having commentators, journalists and critics doesn’t necessarily give you that. Just having competition doesn’t give you that–but it comes a lot closer than the former.

      • Imbecile says:

        As a player of games, who hates the lazy superiority of armchair pundits who have never actually played the game in question, I absolutely agree.

    13. dangrak says:

      My brother really liked being in a biker gang in GTAV (Xbox 360) and yet I usually regarded the whole affair with a mocking sneer. He was really serious about it though. I think that he thought there were actual bikers behind the players in this videogame clan. The idea is cool if it doesn’t descend into griefing, which they so often do. The gamers of GTAV could really use a code of morals like that, and it’s nice to have backup when some jerk is going around killing everyone.

      • HadToLogin says:

        “it’s nice to have backup when some jerk is going around killing everyone” – so, all those Moms and other Journalists were right and only jerks play GTA :)

        (Is there anyone who never played GTA like that – just cheat yourself lots of ammo and kill everything in sight?)

        • The Random One says:

          I doubt it, but I’m sure very few people will do that in MP games, where it will affect other people instead of polygons.

          • HadToLogin says:

            Yeah, all those DayZis and Rusties show people don’t run around torturing random people just for kicks.

    14. SuicideKing says:

      More music this week: Blind, by Deep Purple.

      • Geebs says:

        “Guys, I’ve figured out how to make my organ sound like a harpsichord! Listen to this…”

        “That’s……great, Jon. Hey, where’s Ritchie going?”

        “It’s OK, we’ll do the track without him. I don’t think guitars are the right direction for us, you know?”

        More constructively: this is a great album link to

    15. eggheaded says:

      I’ve been waiting on Cara’s look at Brandon Chung after I saw her talking about it during GiantBomb’s E3 show. During Horizon (indie showcase during E3) he finally showed some gameplay and it looks shamazing: link to

    16. bill says:

      The HULK SMASH thing would be great… if the ALL CAPS thing didn’t make it really hard to read.
      His own shtick is his weak point!

      • Jalan says:

        It’d be more tolerable if it weren’t just a bunch of coherent sentences in all caps. Writing in the style warrants dropping a few adjectives and verbs if you’re going for funny, otherwise it’d be better off with being called Captain Caps Lock and His Cruise Control For Cool Movie Reviews.

        Not surprisingly very few of the Hulk parody Twitter accounts grasped the concept either.

      • Niko says:

        Believe it or not, this has been addressed a few times, and it’s not a gimmick. Just try reading it in HULK VOICE, and it’ll make sense… or use link to

      • SuicideKing says:

        He writes well enough, though. Especially this…essay? book?…on


    17. Runs With Foxes says:

      Every time Chmielarz says or writes something, it reminds me that he doesn’t really understand what he’s saying. His mangling of terms in that video is kind of shameful coming from someone who claims to know what he’s talking about.

      I can’t believe a talk like that on narrative gets attention, while the talk on narrative given by a Paradox developer was completely ignored. The Paradox talk was all about narratives emerging from game systems in Crusader Kings 2, which is way more difficult to achieve, way more interesting, and way more relevant to the medium of games. Actually I can believe it was totally ignored then.