The Sunday Papers

Have I got news for you? Yes, and it's all fucking miserable.

Sundays are for getting back to Game Maker after too long away. But first, tight words on the many games we haven’t had enough time to play yet ourselves.

  • Dominions 4 is brilliant: a turn-based strategy game about warring gods which contains tremendous variety, and which is therefore an excellent candidate for a prolonged game diary. Tom Senior at PC Gamer has just started one – or rather, previously started one in the magazine and it’s now appearing online.
  • There are dozens of nations, and even more types of god. The warring deities aren’t invisible, hands-off types, either. They have corporeal forms and abilities that you define for yourself at the game’s outset. Your god can be a dragon that excels in fire magic, or a giant white bull that happens to be an expert necromancer. One of the godly forms you can use is simply a pile of haunted old bones. The form the god takes informs its stats, magical ability and how it moves around.

    I’m going to win Dominions 4 as a giant stationary hunk of rock. Or try to, anyway. I could have been a monster riding a giant grey ape. I could have been one of three dragons. I could have been lots of things, but none have the charm and comedy sprite of the noble, silent obelisk.

  • Over at Gamasutra, Leigh Alexander introduces Ledoliel, an iOS game about alien diplomacy. It sounds wonderful.
  • It’s exceptionally clean, stylish, from the monochrome palette to the way the screen turns red with failure messages like “Elnashivec lays flies in your hands, killing you.”. And it’s simple to play with: Basically, the offworlders each have three personality traits (greedy, wise, pestilent; sadist, childish, evil), and you have a selection of “devices”, and it’s about offering the right things for the right traits, in the right way.

    Using only your devices, your best guess about the alien’s traits, and the verbs SAY, TOUCH and GIVE, You just have to survive as many interactions on as many tiny planets as you can. I can discuss things like “mansion” “food” “kitten”, and have them either warmly received or coldly repudiated. I have touched an alien’s food, talked about drugs with it, and offered pain. I have been told it feels accepting toward me. And I have had brambles invoked in my throat, bolts shot in my heart, needles fed into my throat.

  • Jenn Frank’s article about Destiny – about how game design impacts relationships and can force any bystander into unwelcome roles – is insightful:
  • Later, Ted tells me there is no “pause,” not in the sense where games often have a “pause.” He isn’t even playing multiplayer; he is on a solo mission. “I can’t put the game down,” he explains to me, helplessly.

    This, I do understand.

    I am not angry with Ted. I am furious with Destiny, however.

  • Nathan Ditum has started blogging again, which is good news for those who enjoy smartly written film criticism and meditations on the past. There’s this about a visit to his childhood home, this about David Lynch and the Twin Peaks re-release, and this about videogame places and memory, which I’ve quoted below:
  • What were the things I really wanted to write about? One of them was about playing Doom for the first time in over a decade, and how the fluent thrill of running automatically through corridors and killboxes impressed on my memory through endless repetition was interrupted by a sudden, wordless urge not to approach a specific doorway. As the memory was excavated and solidified, as surrounding shapes and landmarks oriented themselves into forgotten familiarity, I knew there was something hidden behind the door. The feeling stayed with me because, I thought, it seemed so much like walking into a real childhood scene, a once-inherent geography that lights up dormant corners of memory and belonging. And that’s exactly how it did feel, when we reached my grandma’s old flat in the Stockwell Park Estate: it wasn’t clear which block was hers, and then it suddenly was, it was this way, under this bridge and above this car park.

  • Back over at PC Gamer, how Game Maker is being used to create more hit indie games than people realise, and why there’s still a perception problem or false assumptions about low-barrier game making tools:
  • But even so, GameMaker to some degree still carries a stigma—a problem that largely stems from confirmation bias. “There’s nothing about many great GameMaker games that’s particularly technologically advanced,” Francis said. “The problem is that if something looks good, people don’t ask themselves how it was made. They just see a game. But if they see something really crude that was made by a complete amateur, and then they find out it was made in GameMaker, that’s the perception that sticks.

  • A visual tour – lots of screenshots plus contextualizing commentary – of Snatcher. It’s what Kojima did before [as wilynumber13 pointed out in the comments, after the first] Metal Gear, and there’s lots of familiar cyberpunk-y style in its old, still-beautiful sprites. Worth remembering.
  • RPS comrade Dan Griliopoulos has been both games journalist and games PR. When he offers up a basic marketing and PR plan for indies, it’s best to listen:
  • PRs are expensive and best placed when dealing with large numbers of large visible media targets who don’t move around much. Their careful mixture of quartermaster and pimp is appropriate given the industry’s origins in wartime propaganda departments. They’re best when using their extensive contacts or cold-calling relevant media to place stories. Using them for an indie campaign is like building battleships when you’re fighting insurgents.

  • How can journalists be objective when writing about dead children?
  • “I can’t get these images out of my mind,” said Snow, describing a small girl he met in hospital, “terribly crippled by shrapnel that had penetrated her spine.” Was that objective, some asked?

    Well, I admit it: I have been losing my cool. During the week, I decided that it didn’t make sense for me to write about Gaza any more. I was no longer interested in sitting calmly at my desk turning out more apparently ordered sentences, purporting to run smoothly from one solid proposition to another. At times, I feel shut down by the sheer horror of it all, encased in some bitter despondency, unable properly to process the frustration.

  • Related.
  • “My tears pale into insignificance compared to those of the people in Gaza, who are suffering intolerably,” he said. “But we have now reached a point of such profound tragedy that tears are more eloquent than words.”

Music this week is Velour by Darius. But, I am in the market for some instrumental, electronic, doom-heavy music. Ambient or dancey, recommendations in the comments please.


  1. Gap Gen says:

    Tom Francis used to write strategy diaries for PC Gamer so I get confused when people talk about Tom Senior and keep thinking that there’s a younger Tom referred to as Tom Junior who also writes for them.

  2. JFS says:

    I hope bringing up Gaza here doesn’t turn out a bad idea.

    • Metalfish says:

      I’m sure people will realise complex situation is complex before saying anything. Now excuse me while I weep impotently in the corner!

    • rei says:

      It’s not exactly controversial to oppose genocide.

      • asclark says:

        But genocide has a very specific meaning as the actual or attempted destruction of a race. It doesn’t mean just lots of deaths, however tragic they are, and you demean the word and the various actual victims of it by using it in the Gaza context. There is a people undergoing genocide in the Middle East today by the way: the Assyrians.

        More generally in regard to Hamas, just war theory requires that even if your war is otherwise just, you must have the capacity to win it before engaging. Hamas patently do not and instead launch their inept rocket attacks from schools and hospitals in an attempt to have children killed and make Western observers cast aside objectivity and enter into a rage-state in which critical thinking is cast aside. I fail to see why an aggressor is more moral just because it’s totally useless at fighting.

        • Beybars says:

          The Assyrians aren’t suffering from genocide, they were merely forced to displace. They were given several options one of them included exile and they chose the latter. Those who are being killed on a grand scale are the Shia in Iraq.

          As for genocide in Gaza, I think it qualifies as a war crime no matter which way you look at it. Over 1600 civilian dead, a third of them children is by no means collateral. Either the IDF are the worst shots in military history or it is deliberate. A means of collective punishment by the IDF against the Gazans for freely voting for Hamas, so much for supporting democracy in the Middle East. Not surprising if you read the opinions of the most hardline of Israeli politicians who openly advocate for genocide in Gaza.

          link to

          And that comment that Hamas is deliberatly firing from civilian areas just so it has more photos of dead children echoes Netanyahu’s “telegenically dead” comment which by itself echoes Goebbels “sending out the pitiable” quote regarding the oppression of Jews, and just as disgusting. Here’s an idea maybe the IDF should stop playing into Hamas’s hand and stop giving them such fantastic PR material of dead babies piling up? The sad reality is the IDF has no moral scruples when it comes to killing innocent civilians children or adults alike.

          From an ex-IDF soldier

          link to

          “In the morning we identified four men, aged 25 – 40, with keffiyehs, standing outside the house talking. It was suspect. We reported it to intelligence, specifying the house they were about to enter. Intelligence passed this on to the Shabak (Israeli Security Agency) who reported that this was known as a Hamas activist’s house. This is automatically acted upon. I don’t remember what we used – whether it was a helicopter or something else, but the house was bombed while these guys were inside. A woman ran out of the house holding a child, and escaped southward. That is to say, there had been innocent people inside.”

          Also from an ex-IDF soldier

          link to

          “In July 2002 the Israeli air force dropped a one-tonne bomb on the home of Salah Shehadeh, the head of the military wing of Hamas, in Gaza. You don’t have to be an expert in air combat to imagine what’s left of a home hit by a one-tonne bomb. Not much. That bomb killed not only Shehadeh, but also 14 civilians, including eight children”

          “Homes of Hamas members have become legitimate targets, regardless of the number of people within their walls. Unlike in 2002, no one bothers to justify or make excuses.”

          It’s not about Hamas firing rockets from where, even tho I doubt they would risk firing rockets from civilian areas infested with informants who would give away the positions immediately, it’s about the IDF’s and Israel’s moral bankruptcy. Not surprising considering the rampant racism in Israel link to

        • acheron says:


          • Dances to Podcasts says:

            -1 Starts off pretending to be objective and educational, ends in bias.

          • asclark says:

            Bias how? Is it not an objective assessment of the facts that Hamas have consistently failed to achieve their military objectives and that they lack the manpower and material to successfully prosecute a war? (And just as Israel is supported by America, Hamas has historically received plenty of support from Arab nations and Iran. Egypt turning on them is a novelty.)

          • Dances to Podcasts says:

            Your usage of the term aggressor is, as pointed out below, quite uneducated. And your complaint about the media even more so. Not to mention that you seem to think of this as a war between two factions on equal footing…

          • asclark says:

            My argument was precisely that it is not a war between two factions on equal footing – that is exactly why Hamas’ war is not just as they cannot hope to win it.

            Hamas has published media guidelines precisely with a view to manipulating Western observers and did commence this round of fighting. Therefore even if you disagree with me, I’m hardly uneducated.

            Or is the whole purpose of education that, if one has imbibed a sufficient quantity, then one will inevitably hold precisely the same view as everyone else on everything? Hardly the classical definition!

          • Gap Gen says:

            I assume Hamas are playing the long game, and are hoping that the geopolitical forces in the Middle East will eventually shift away from Israel, which given the turbulence of local policy and a reduced willingness of the US to become involved isn’t completely impossible. It certainly doesn’t expect that it can “win” this current confrontation militarily in terms of defeating the enemy forces in the field (and neither can Israel, for that matter), so much as achieve more nebulous goals like reducing international support for Israel and maintaining political independence from Israel (for which it was successful when Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005).

            Regardless of whether Hamas is successful or just, I don’t think people are lining up to support Hamas itself as being morally just in its military actions (I’m certainly not); rather, both sides are careless when it comes to civilian casualties, and as the industrialised democratic state that has caused the vast majority of civilian casualties, as well as effectively ghettoising the Palestinian Arab population in the long term, Israel has faced the most criticism in the West. Certainly thanks to the missile shield, warning systems and the inaccuracy of Hamas’ rockets, Israeli casualties have been very limited, and the main impact has been economic and disruptive to daily life – Israeli civilian deaths have been lower than normal road traffic deaths for the country over the same period (roughly 5/week going by Wikipedia). While it’s probably true that Hamas stores and launches its rockets in built-up areas, Israel has also employed human shields in its past operations: link to – propaganda and media handling are being employed by both sides, after all.

            Again, I don’t believe many people in the West are supporting Hamas, or demanding the dismantling of the state of Israel. Rather, they deplore the human cost of the ongoing conflict that is chiefly being borne by the Palestinian Arabs.

          • jonahcutter says:

            It is a war. An asymmetric one.

        • shaydeeadi says:

          Hamas have to be seen as taking action though, being the elected party for Gaza and all that means they need to (and be seen to) do all they can to stem the invasions and settlements. I fail to see how Israel can justify the responses they have used, when they have a laser point defense system that shoots most of the rockets out of the sky and a miniscule level of civilian casualties compared to Gaza where they have basically flattened entire towns as a response to a few dozen rockets.

          The way I see it Hamas have given Israel the perfect excuse to do remote groundwork for their next expansion. They will probably claim all this newly barren land for themselves and shrink Gaza even further. Israel have been doing this to them for 70 years and they won’t stop at the final stretch.

          • asclark says:

            The Gaza settlements were abandoned several years ago – the Israeli government took a lot of flak from the settler movement for forcing Israelis to leave Gaza. Settlement in Gaza is not some inexorable process which must be stopped – it has already. The Israeli withdrawal was supposed to give Hamas enough of a propaganda win to feel able to make peace however this was rejected, and not by the Israelis. Settlement cannot therefore be the motive for the current rocket attacks.

            As regards Israeli airstrikes, these only occur when the Palestinians attack, and cease when they stop attacking. They are occuring at the moment because the Palestinians are attacking. Again therefore, these cannot be the motive for the current rocket attacks.

            What, then, is that motive? A desire to emulate ISIS? A callous decision to sacrifice Palestinian children as human shields in order to delegitimise Israel? I don’t know, but the usually alleged reasons fall logically flat.

            Arafat was offered everything the Palestinians wanted at Oslo and flung it back – this being the land which Israel has only gained as a result of defensive wars, such as when invaded by six Arab nations with more armour than was flung at Russia at the commencement of Barbarossa.

          • Beybars says:

            “The Gaza settlements were abandoned several years ago – the Israeli government took a lot of flak from the settler movement for forcing Israelis to leave Gaza. Settlement in Gaza is not some inexorable process which must be stopped – it has already. The Israeli withdrawal was supposed to give Hamas enough of a propaganda win to feel able to make peace however this was rejected, and not by the Israelis. Settlement cannot therefore be the motive for the current rocket attacks.”

            And did Israel pullout of the West Bank? Gaza and West Bank aren’t separate entities they’re both Palestinian territories, Hamas existed as a reaction to illegal Israeli occupation same as the PLO, the Israeli pullout from Gaza only reinforced Hamas’s position that only through armed struggle can someone liberated occupied territory.

            Saying that pulling out of Gaza was for the sake of peace is misleading considering the majority of Palestinians are still under military occupation in the West Bank and constantly being harassed with forced home eviction, illegal settlements and racist settlers.

            “As regards Israeli airstrikes, these only occur when the Palestinians attack, and cease when they stop attacking. They are occuring at the moment because the Palestinians are attacking. Again therefore, these cannot be the motive for the current rocket attacks.”

            No not really, that’s one fine way you have of justifying the mass killings of innocent civilians and blaming the victim while exonerating the executioner. 3 Israeli teenagers were kidnapped then murdered, afterwards Netanyahu and the Israeli society goes on a frenzy which resulted in killing Palestinians in the West Bank, several arrests of previously released POW which had nothing to do with the teenagers, merely to exact revenge, home destruction and finally the murder of a Palestinian boy by burning him alive without any impunity. Again West Bank cannot be separated from Gaza.

            “What, then, is that motive? A desire to emulate ISIS? A callous decision to sacrifice Palestinian children as human shields in order to delegitimise Israel? I don’t know, but the usually alleged reasons fall logically flat.”

            ISIS and Hamas are ideologically opposed, one is Muslim Brotherhood the other Salafist movement, one is backed by Turkey and Qatar the other by more fundamentalist forces. Hamas already said they would accept a ceasefire with Israel if they Israel would accept a two state solution based on the 1967 borders. But you will never ever find a single Israeli government that will concede to the 1967 borders and dismantle all of the illegal settlements hence no peace.

            “Arafat was offered everything the Palestinians wanted at Oslo and flung it back – this being the land which Israel has only gained as a result of defensive wars, such as when invaded by six Arab nations with more armour than was flung at Russia at the commencement of Barbarossa.”

            Ridiculous, and total disregard for history, neither Oslo 1 nor Oslo 2 promised a full withdrawal from the West Bank or a fully sovereign Palestinian state with control over all of it’s territories and let’s not mention the right of return for the Palestinian refugees which was not given, even then Arafat signed both agreements, only for it to falter after the Israeli far right assassinated Rabin and all subsequent Israeli government abandoned the agreement. Instead of a cessation of settlements what we now have is a West Bank riddled with illegal settlements and settlers.

            Bottom line is, Israel does not want peace, Israel wants the status quo to become an official reality, the Palestinian will get a piece of land riddled like Swiss cheese with illegal settlements with no standing army and no control over it’s own land, sea or air. Until there’s an Israeli government, which will never happen, willing to concede the 1967 borders there won’t be any peace, and let’s not talk about the Golan heights.

            All lands that were captured by the Israeli offensive in 1967, Israel attacked in 1967 not the other way around, it’s only pretext was for the sake of a pre-emptive strike, a flimsier excuse that Bush’s pre-text for the 2003 Gulf war. 1973 war was for the sake of recapturing the lands conquered by Israel.

          • asclark says:

            The West Bank remains in contention, though we should note that fairly major Israeli figures such as Ehud Barak have proposed withdrawal from most of it. At any rate, even if Palestine is a unitary state, that’s an issue to discuss with the elected government in the West Bank: Fatah. None of that calls into contention whether withdrawal from Gaza was for the sake of peace. In addition if the people who argue in English for the 1967 borders didn’t turn around and argue in Arabic for total destruction, the Israelis might feel less paranoid about withdrawing to these borders, given they are significantly less defensible.

            The murder of the Palestinian boy in revenge was of course reprehensible and the Israeli government has, you will note, investigated, made arrests, and the alleged killers are being brought to trial. Assuming they get the same sentences as if they’d murdered an Israeli, which I don’t doubt however am willing to be corrected if the future does not pan out this way, then I’d say justice was being served.

            Said revenge killing by extremists has nothing to do with the investigation into the original kidnappings.

            I’m aware that Hamas and ISIS are ideologically opposed; this is why in view of the recent prestige gained by ISIS a strong position is required from Hamas. Given it is conceivable that ISIS will finish up in Northern Iraq and Syria and swing down through Jordan into the West Bank and ultimately Israel, Hamas need to accrue their own prestige to prevent losing everything to the Salafis in the event of this occurring. There are pro ISIS elements within the ideological marketplace Hamas competes within in Palestine as well as competing movements.

            Apologies re Oslo; I ought to have stated Camp David and I am willing to accept you are correct there. Camp David, which I was thinking of, proposed to give up the entire West Bank less 3% and to compensate with equal land in Israel, to give up East Jerusalam entirely, the holy sites, and to allow some right of return.

            I don’t think 1967 was such a ridiculous pretext as you claim given Egypt had fully mobilised on the Israeli border…

          • Wednesday says:

            Edit:actually, never mind

        • Lemming says:

          Interesting point, if you think of Hamas as the aggressor, which five minutes research would put into question. If I hold a loaded gun to your head and you bat it away, are you the aggressor?

          • Wytefang says:

            I think the research would prove something opposite of what you’d like to believe.

            Or have you forgotten who initially killed the other country’s citizen, igniting all this furor? Oh that’s right, it wouldn’t support the whole “poor Hamas terrorists, they were just defending themselves” theory.

          • HadToLogin says:

            Wasn’t that an argument Bin Laden used when 9/11 happened?

          • Raiyan 1.0 says:

            Wytefang, the Israeli govt officials have said that the killings were the work of a lone cell without the knowledge of Hamas leaders.

            link to

            The Israeli govt merely exploited their deaths by using it as an excuse to arrest hundreds of civilians (killing a few), former POWs and Hamas leaders, leading to a resurgence in rocket attacks. They use every little excuse they can get to attack Palestine because they know Gaza can’t hit back.

          • Taidan says:

            Also Wytefang, I’ve seen it stated in several places that the killing of the three Israeli teens was actually a tit-for-tat response in itself to this event, which happened shortly before: link to

          • Wytefang says:

            The key part of both of your comments is “I heard” – the issue is that very few people seem to have a grasp on exactly what really happened.

            The only things we do know are what the respective governments say about things. And I find that informative, to some extent. Over the years the Palestinians and Hamas have made it clear they hate Israel, don’t agree that they have a right to exist and especially not where they are. Since Israel is already in place, at this point, it’s time for people to grow up and put away the anti-zionist rhetoric.

            Furthermore, Hamas isn’t some island apart from Palestine and they ARE a known terrorist organization. I’m confused how any sane, intelligent, moral human being could feel sympathy (at all) for them or somehow believe that they’re in the “right” here. It’s patently ludicrous.

          • Lemming says:


            Gee, that changes everything…wait no it doesn’t, because no single event (and seriously, the idea that killing a single citizen, as wrong as that is, is enough to justify a sustained rocket attack on civilians) is justifiable for the systematic eradication of an entire people.

            Hamas are terrible, but they are a result of Israel’s aggression. They are all Palestinians have as a means of defence. Israel are full mobile army with an Iron Dome rocket defence system, air force and nuclear arsenal. Force a people into desperation and you get a desperate response. Israel’s actions are utterly indefensible.

        • MeatGrowBrain says:

          If you really are so naive to think that the Israeli governments stupid behaviour stops when Hamas stops launching rockets, read this article. link to

          If you can’t be bothered to read it, then just take this one fact from it; in 2013 fewer rockets were fired from Gaza than in any year for the last decade.

          • asclark says:

            But this is 2014 and the rockets resumed then with a vengeance, didn’t they? And that’s when the current war began.

          • MeatGrowBrain says:

            Yeah because as you’d understand if you read that article, Hamas kept to the prior ceasefire agreement and Israel didn’t. If you demonstrate to people that you won’t stick to diplomatic agreements don’t be surprised when they turn to violence.

          • asclark says:

            I did read your article, prior to my previous comment indeed, and the chief motivator even per the article appears rather to be the Sisi coup in Egypt than Israeli intransigence.

            Two points in addition:

            1) The incursions by Israel during 2013 are stated with no sources cited. Therefore I cannot come to my own conclusion as to whether or not they were a) regular and aggressive or b) occasional and in response to specific factors.

            2) The author appears to lament the Fatah emphasis on development. He appears rather to prefer that the Palestinians of the West Bank also throw their own lives and those of their children away on quixotic attacks on Israel,

            “The real barrier to a West Bank uprising has not been, as Hamas has claimed, Abbas’s collaboration with Israel. It has been social and political fragmentation, and the widespread Palestinian acquiescence that national liberation should come second to the largely apolitical and technocratic projects of state-building and economic development.”

            He may be writing in the LRB in the persona of the dispassionate cool-headed Western intellectual, but his solution appears to be to incite war and to prefer Palestine to remain poor so that the sense of victimhood is kept alive.

          • MeatGrowBrain says:

            So you’re for bread and land? It’s better to live on your knees than die on your feet? We should give up on democratic representation and freedom for the sake of a slight increase in economic prosperity? Yeah I disagree with that and I’m not surprised that many others do too.

          • Raiyan 1.0 says:

            The incursions by Israel during 2013 are stated with no sources cited. Therefore I cannot come to my own conclusion as to whether or not they were a) regular and aggressive or b) occasional and in response to specific factors.

            Here’s a list of Israeli incursions from 2012 to 2014.

            Interesting tidbit.

            Of the nearly 120 Israeli cease-fire violations during this period the New York Times reported on 17 of them. Additionally, most of these stories (eleven) came either during the first week of the cease-fire, when the issue was still fresh in readers’ minds, or since the escalation on December 20th. That means for the bulk of this period, during which Israel committed 87 cease-fire violations and causing some 91 Palestinian casualties over nearly a one year period there were only six stories on the topic. This represents a systematic failure to cover Israeli cease-fire violations.


        • Raiyan 1.0 says:

          Considering the institutionalized racism that’s being spearheaded by the Israeli government, it’s hard to argue that race isn’t a pertinent issue to these attacks.

          The height of (sad, sad) irony was reached when right wing Jewish Israelis started wearing Neo-Nazi insignias.

        • P.Funk says:

          Tell the Irgun that war against a greater power can’t win you your homeland.

          • jonahcutter says:

            And the Irgun were often termed a terrorist organization, using similar tactics for both operations and recruitment that the organizations we today term terrorist also use.

            Irgun, along with other Jewish paramilitary groups, eventually became the foundation for the IDF. A terrorist organization as part of the basis for the formal military of a state power. Arguably similar to the process Hamas is going through now.

            A lesson for both sides, perhaps.

          • P.Funk says:

            Indeed. To this day even the Israeli government officially recognizes the Irgun as a terrorist organization. This means that some of the most important and influential early Military and Political figures in Israeli history are effectively recognized as terrorists by their own government. When celebrations of the anniversary of the King David Hotel bombing come up public celebrations of them are controversial affairs.

            The Irgun are a salient example of the duality of the consciousness we assume in our societies; the embodiment of that tired expression ‘one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter’. Disconnecting oneself from such biased perspectives is the key to becoming truly objective and sadly is something the vast majority of people fail to do. I find it most unsatisfying when I find that the side I find myself arguing for in many things often contains just as much ignorance and prejudice as the one I’m against.

            I’ve come to the not so radical conclusion that sides are nothing but trouble, yet people thrive on them. It renders complex issues relatively simple for them.

        • InternetBatman says:

          “I fail to see why an aggressor is more moral just because it’s totally useless at fighting.”

          That’s just the point for me. I many people use genocide is an inaccurate term for unjust warfare (which it is not). Very few people argue that Hamas is moral; but now Israel is acting just as immorally as Hamas.

          When the a side in a conflict is wantonly and knowingly killing civilians by the hundreds to save the lives of tens of troops, it is obviously an unjust tactic. The fact that Israel and Hamas are showing the same disregard for the lives of civilians in Gaza makes Israel look as bad as Hamas.

          “Well they did it first” is not exactly a spell-binding defense of unconscionably bad acts.

          • PopeRatzo says:

            “Aggressor” might not mean what you think it means, in this case.

        • Reefpirate says:

          I’d say Just War theory applies just as much if not more so to the Israelis. The ball is in their court to execute this war quickly and efficiently to get it over with as soon as possible. How the conflict has dragged on for 60+ years is a definite stain on Israel’s reputation. Perhaps this time they’ll actually make progress by annexing the territories and alleviating suffering long term.

        • Phasma Felis says:

          A lot of people want to frame the Gaza situation so that, if you’re opposed to the IDF, you must support Hamas. That’s bullshit and I reject it. I support the innocent civilians of Israel and Gaza, and I’m opposed to people who blow up innocent children, regardless of their excuses.

          There are no good guys holding guns in Israel. Just murderers and victims, on both sides of the line.

        • Phasma Felis says:

          Re: “genocide:” What Israel and the United Nations did to Palestine 65 years ago is not obviously different than what my ancestors did to the Native Americans hundreds of years ago, and no reasonable person would say that wasn’t genocide.

          Civilians on both sides of the border have suffered the consequences of that ridiculous, awful partition ever since.

        • PopeRatzo says:

          You know, I really looked hard, and the evidence that Hamas is firing rockets from schools or hospitals is really really thin. And, it’s entirely coming from Israel, without any actual proof.

          I figured with all the schools shelled and destroyed in the past few weeks, there must be just bunches of rocket installations and other military hardware found in the wreckage, and Israel must be presenting this evidence to the world. I mean, Gaza is one of the few places in the world that has more surveillance than London. A mouse doesn’t fart in Gaza without Mossad and the IDF knowing about it.

          Imagine my surprise to learn that there have been no such presentations, no onsite photos of rockets in schools, no proof whatsoever. I see that there were two, old, empty rocket tubes found an an adjacent property to one school, but according to Haaretz, their condition showed that they had not been fired, ever.

          Here in the US, every news outlet has a set of postulates regarding Gaza, and they’re entirely formed from the Israeli-Zionist point of view. I’m really wondering about this. I’m not sure the narrative coming from the US media can be completely trusted.

        • WrenBoy says:

          … launch their inept rocket attacks from schools and hospitals in an attempt to have children killed and make Western observers cast aside objectivity and enter into a rage-state in which critical thinking is cast aside.

          Like a fat man in tight trousers bending over to pick up fallen change, you have overreached yourself here. The thin cover youve chosen to protect your dignity with has split down the seams and your filthy inner self has been exposed to all, gaping and winking as you strain and breath.

          • Big Murray says:

            Overly complex and long-winded ad hominem is still ad hominem.

          • WrenBoy says:

            @Big Murray
            That’s a lot of ad hominems in one sentence for someone who doesn’t know what the term means.


      • kalirion says:

        I don’t know how many Westerners say Hamas is more “morally just” than the Israelis in this situation. However Israelis are supposed to be the “good guys” so they are held to a higher standard. What’s here is the equivalent of if a thug sucker-punched a police officer, broke his nose, and ran away. And the cops retaliated by tracking down the thug’s family and burning them alive inside their house.

    • Wedge says:


  3. Prolar Bear says:

    “Instrumental, electronic, doom-heavy music”? Necro Deathmort. Don’t be fooled by their name.
    Alternatively, Haxan Cloak for more dancey but I guess everybody knows him already.

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      Graham Smith says:

      I know Haxan Cloak, but not Necro. Will check them out now!

    • Jackablade says:

      Ooh, I’m liking that Deathmort track. Must get my hands on a nice high fidelity version. It’s sounds like its suffering rather badly from Youtube’s compression.

      EDIT: Both are great. Why am have I not been made aware of this genre before? It sounds just like the music I had in my head when I was a 15 year old with a pirated copy of Fruity Loops and the musical talent of a cabbage.

      • Prolar Bear says:

        Bohren is great, and I like Sunn too but can only stomach their split album with Boris.
        I didn’t know about the Dale Cooper Quartet, and seeing the name I had to click on the link. It was worth it, thanks.

        The LA Noire OST is in a vaguely similar style.

      • PopeRatzo says:

        I second Dale Cooper Quartet.

    • DrMcCoy says:

      TIL 5 Youtube links land you into the moderation queue.

    • Ostymandias says:

      Graham, Demdike Stare is the stuff you want. If you know Haxan Cloak, you know them already – but maybe not about their latest Testpressing EP. It’s on Soundcloud. Then listen to Raime, they sound exactly like Haxan Cloak

      also i’m interpreting doomy as not necessarily doom metal-ish

      Otherwise go with Muslimgauze (also apropos Gaza), you’ll have too dig because discography is gigantic. Also emptyset if noise is fine. And Klara Lewis ett is basically field recordings filtered through a Basic Channel track. darn dark stuff

      Add something by Justin K Broadrick (Godflesh, Jesu, Techno Animal, et al) and maybe some Porter Ricks or Vladislav Delay for dub techno that strays into a bit rougher aural territory
      And then everything released by Stroboscopic Artefacts. everything

      oh and Vatican Shadow, find his stuff boring but it’s very doom-dub. which reminds me of BARN OWL (one of my favorite bands) who where once described as making doom-dub

      serve with copious amounts of cannabis

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        Glad someone brought up Justin Broadrick. That’s some good, doomy, atmospheric stuff he puts out.

        Eagerly anticipating the new Godflesh album.

  4. Eight Rooks says:

    As far as music goes I’ve mostly been listening to free/very cheap Bandcamp releases, but hey, for what it’s worth, here’s the best of the doom-heavy instrumental electronic stuff I’ve picked up so far this year (specifically from 2014):

    5th Of July – 5th Of July (ambient clicking) (I forgot this one does have vocals, but they’re incomprehensible murmuring)
    Aliceffekt – Known Magye (IDM, ambient-ish)
    Bombardier & Mahr – Absolution (ambient)
    Deleted Scene – Tor (ambient clicking)
    Final Sketch – Rise To Destroy (breakcore)
    Item Caligo – Infirmitas (ambient)
    Pilotpriest – Darknet (synthwave-ish, more melancholy than doom-heavy, but still)
    Speck – Sooner Later (ambient)
    Stazma The Junglechrist – A Giant Skull Made Of Guns (breakcore)

    Most of those are pay what you want on Bandcamp, no minimum, and I liked them all to some degree (Final Sketch and Pilotpriest are particularly awesome).

  5. wilynumber13 says:

    Snatcher came a year after the first Metal Gear, not before. Understandable mistake since people act like none of the games before Metal Gear Solid exist

    • Premium User Badge

      Graham Smith says:

      Huh! Didn’t realise that. Will correct, thanks.

    • Wedge says:

      To be fair, it’s only English release wasn’t until 6 years later on the Sega CD, and wasn’t really seen as it’s modern known iteration until the PC-Engine CD release in 1992.

  6. entireties says:

    >doom-heavy music

    like bohren + der club of gore?

    • Premium User Badge

      Graham Smith says:

      I love Bohren (and I think have shared them in Papers before – they are great), but I’m looking for stuff that’s less jazz/blues and more electronic/beats.

      • smokiespliff says:

        hmm, not so sure it has enough “doom-heavy-ness” but The Field might have what your looking for.
        Here’s a random youtube link link to

  7. Gap Gen says:

    I kinda bounced off Game Maker after trying it briefly – I never got the hang of the scripting language and I guess you need some familiarity of the layout of the tools. Worth trying again?

    • Premium User Badge

      Graham Smith says:

      I bounced off it three or four times before it clicked and I’d accrued enough know-how to start making something. I’m using GML rather than the drag-and-drop, but in either case there’s a fence to climb before it’s satisfying to use.

      Once you get something going though, it’s great.

      • Gap Gen says:

        My issue is that I can code games in Python, C++, etc, but it can be slow to make stuff even with pygame/pyglet, so it would be interesting to know if GameMaker removes a lot of the overhead in that respect. I also know people who are into Flixel, but again never really tried it properly. I will say that one thing that looks interesting about GameMaker/Unity is that if you got serious the cross-platform releasing could be great, as freezing/compiling Python/C++ on multiple OSs is a huge pain in the butt.

        • Sam says:

          Flixel (or rather HaxeFlixel for the post-Flash world) is broadly similar to pygame in what it offers. Just the results are going to perform better and it handles cross-platform without being tied in to Python. Also consider OpenFL (which works through Haxe, and has very little to do with OpenGL) for a lower level thing than Flixel, which provides a very cross-platform API for 2d graphics, sound and input.

          The Indie world doesn’t seem to care about it any more but I think there’s still a case to be made for not tying your attempt at making a living and/or making a large creative work to a piece of corporate owned software. If your game hits a bug in GM or Unity you’re basically stuck. For instance I know that Increpare’s current large project has run against a bug in Unity that had him considering restarting the whole thing in another engine. At least if you find a bug in something like HaxeFlixel you can attempt to fix it yourself or round up someone in the community able to do so.

          • Gap Gen says:

            Yeah, having an environment that compiles for each OS on one machine is quite appealing; I’ve managed it with a 3-machine setup with pyinstaller, py2app and py2exe, but it’s a huge pain in the butt and often bugs appear that I don’t see on my machine because it hasn’t properly frozen all the modules over or something.

            The main reason I like Python (other than already knowing it) is the number of modules for doing stuff; after using C++ it’s a breath of fresh air to look something up online and finding that someone’s already solved the problem and lets you just download it with pip.

          • DrMcCoy says:

            I’m pretty sure there’s more libraries for C and C++ out there than for Python…

            And I for one have a cross-compilers set up, so I can compile Windows (32bit and 64bit) and Mac OS X binaries on my GNU/Linux machine. Granted, setting those up was quite a hassle. And I guess I need to update the Mac OS X one, because of SDL2 requiring 10.7…

        • Viroso says:

          I’m not someone who knows a lot of C#, but I did start learning and I managed to make some stuff… even if it had no graphics at all. Well, anyway, I did learn the basics of C# and OOP, you know, managing classes, creating objects, handling access, void, virtual, solid, inherited bla bla bla etc etc etc. All the “bureaucracy” of it.

          For a newbie like me it seemed to take extreme effort to manage game states. Something simple as creating a screen and moving out of it was massive labor for me.

          Then I decided to give Game Make a try when it was free, after I found out all the cool games that were made on it I decided to buy it, discounted. Anyway, long story short, Game Maker, to me, removes a lot of that busy work.

          You don’t have to worry too much about who can use what, no time wasted on getting, setting, you don’t have to expose anything or worry about what can be accessed, doing all these things that to me seemed redundant though necessary to create something manageable.

          So I spend a lot less time planning how to structure things and more time planning how to create the mechanics I’m trying to. And I don’t really run into any problems over that.

          The real issue with game maker is that it is slow. Throw too many sprites on screen, draw them too often, your game will easily drop a lot of frames. Another expected problem is that since it does away with a lot of those things I was complaining about, you also lose some flexibility. Also, some issues I still don’t know how they haven’t fixed yet, like not letting you initialize a variable without a value or allow one object to have multiple parents. You can work your way around this but then you’re doing extra work that you wouldn’t on other programming languages.

          • Gap Gen says:

            That’s good to know about the speed, thanks. This is one reason I moved away from pygame towards pyglet; at least in pyglet the sprites are drawn in OpenGL so it’s quite fast.

          • Viroso says:

            You can buy a yoyo games compiler that supposedly increases the speed of the games enormously, but it is like… 400 dollars. So even the pro game maker version comes with this speed problem. I ran into it when I was drawing text using sprites. Each letter a sprite, I dropped the game’s speed a lot. I did manage to fix it though, do it in a more efficient way, still, I don’t think I was using too many draw commands the first time.

            Here’s a video giving you an idea of how slow things can get, using particles

          • Gap Gen says:

            Charging for compilation seems like a shitty move to me, but I guess it’s a business model and devs gotta eat.

          • Premium User Badge

            Ninja Dodo says:

            Your mileage may vary but I have yet to run into speed issues, even on a relatively particle heavy game. I have the YoYo Compiler (included in the Master collection) but I have yet to use it, aside from testing it once when it came out.

            So it’s definitely not required for most purposes.

          • RobF says:

            Yeah, I’ve had the compiler since launch now and I’ve never really found cause to use it and I’m currently throwing a game across to tablets, last gen Sony hardware and the PC without any of them breaking a real sweat. I tend to throw a lot around too because I like large explosions and pretty colours.

            There’s a few gotchas with the speed here and there but you sorta get used to working around them in no time. It’s rare that I’ll ever hit upon anything crippling in the normal course of things.

            Admittedly GM is a bit janky round the edges these days, a result of years of hacking at an already janky Delphi base but it’s speedy as anything to get something running and from brain to screen and with the masses of export modules that Studio offers and how easy the exports tend to be (they really do pick up *a lot* of the grind), it’s a really smart thing. I’m looking forward to when YoYo are finally able to ditch the last vestiges of the Delphi stuff and move onto GMNext proper but in the meantime, it’s still something I’d highly recommend looking into.

        • B1A4 says:

          Have you tried Kivy ( link to )? It is Python-based, quite fast, easy to use and multiplatform.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ninja Dodo says:

      Definitely. I’ve found it very easy to get into and extremely fast, especially for jams and prototyping. Started with drag & drop stuff and gradually shifted to GML. Though it was written for the old version (7) this is still a pretty good tutorial for scripting: link to

      Though bear in mind these things when following pre-Studio tutorials: link to

  8. LeMonde says:

    Music recommendation: Salem.

    link to

    The album King Night is fantastic.

  9. unit 3000-21 says:

    Electronic and doom-heavy? The Body: link to
    I’d also recommend Holden, he may not be doom-heavy, but any reason to share his incredible music is good: link to

    • djocho says:

      +1 Holden. Also I’m enjoying my first listen to Ben Frost’s album Aurora now. Not sure how much doom it has, but noisy electronic with some unease for sure. On bandcamp you can listen to one of the tracks:
      link to

  10. thedosbox says:

    Jenn Frank’s article about Destiny – about how game design impacts relationships and can force any bystander into unwelcome roles

    That was a great read. I try and avoid games that can’t be played in 15 minute chunks as “real life” priorities often intrude. I guess that makes me a “bad gamer” in the eyes of developers who make these design decisions?

    • JFS says:

      I still don’t understand why she’s so against the label “addiction”. It’s the same mechanism. Is it because of the associated stigma? She doesn’t question the “I can’t put this down right now” attitude, which is so wrong – of course you can, at least in the physical sense. What isn’t as easy is the mental effort needed to put it down, and that is exactly a characteristic of addiction. Instead, she blames developers for faulty game design. It’s like scolding the tobacco industry for having nicotine in their products.

      • Gap Gen says:

        Well, she points out that some games do have pause or frequent breakpoints designed in. In any case, the article seems to be mostly about the effect that games have on people, and chiefly her evolving persona as a gamer with no commitments who could play until 5am evolving into a wife (and possibly mother) of someone who seems to feel less pressure to begin to prioritise real life commitments. It’s worth reading the comment in the PA forums linked at the end of the article for some context.

      • Lemming says:

        “. Is it because of the associated stigma? “

        Yes, most likely. There’s no milder word to use, and we need one. Because the typical symptoms of withdrawal for addiction are nothing like what you would associate with someone who’s suddenly unable to play games for a couple of days.

        • JFS says:

          Withdrawal symptoms are only one of six (ICD-10) or seven (DSM-IV, dunno about the newest iteration) criteria for addiction. I know that the notions of computer or gambling addiction are not uncontroversial, that’s why I said it’s the same mechanics. Not necessarily the exact same problem. Still, I don’t think finding better fitting labels does really help with the issue of computer games, internet or modern media in general causing addiction-like behaviour.

    • Eight Rooks says:

      Why would it make you a “bad gamer”, and why would they think that? Should every game ever made automatically come with a pause function no matter what, and be playable in five or ten or fifteen minute chunks or whatever if necessary? I’m not sure that’s the golden rule some people seem to think. I know it’s not explicitly what Jenn Frank’s calling for but my reaction to the article was more “Uh, yeah, you can’t play a lengthy, time-intensive game for hours under those circumstances, pal”. I’ve been in the middle of Dark Souls or whatever, had someone call for me to do something mundane/IRL/practical/whatever and I simply quit out. Why should I do anything else? It’s mildly irritating, sure, but I’m happy enough to go back and do the section again – if I wasn’t, why would I be playing the game in the first place?

      I can sympathise to some extent and I think there’s definitely an argument to be had that more games should try and design themselves around regular folks’ day-to-day lives, but regardless of her intent, the way she finished did make it seem, to me, as if she’s suggesting that Titanfall is automatically better than Destiny, in that sense. And I simply don’t automatically think that’s true. I’m pretty sure that sometimes the only thing you can do – the only thing you should do – is say to yourself “Eh, I’d really like to play X, Y and Z, but I can’t“. It’s not automatically a strike against whatever developers made the game in question. It’s just life.

      • Slaadfax says:

        I’ll admit the tone of the article irritated me a little. She was probably being a bit hyperbolic about it, but she seems like she’d rather be irritated by the game than admit it’s him that she’s irritated at.

        Sitting down and having a nice little conversation with her future spouse can either lead to A) Him realizing that his behavior is somewhat inappropriate if it’s bugging the person he’s committing his life to AND if it’s messing around with familial obligations or B) Her realizing that, if this is so important to him, just weather the storm and let him finish the darn beta. Maybe even throw in compromises of some sort.

        I sort of have to giggle a little and curse Ted under my breath. As the recent recipient of an squishy, flailing ball of infinite energy, there is no such thing as “cannot pause.” Playing Dark Souls II went just fine, as quitting is always “save and quit,” which preserves your game state with no backtracking and no respawns. Playing something like Dota 2 (which I love to absolute bits) is a rare opportunity. Ditching mid-game pretty much ruins the fun of 9 other people, but if the little one decides to brain herself on the coffee table, you’d better believe there’s not going to be a jot of hesitation.

        Back to the article (somewhat), the really sad thing is that it seems like the game could have been a great duo activity. My wife is a bit of a converted gamer (started her with Portal), and now we’ve played tons of stuff together: Dawn of War 2, Magicka, Borderlands, Guild Wars 2, and so on (“co-oping” adventure games works really well; 2 brains vs. obscure puzzles or pixel hunting is very helpful). Playing together is a little bit more rare these days (see, “Brain herself on the coffee table” in previous paragraph), and good lord I want to play Divinity: Original Sin so very badly.

        • Nate says:

          I loved the article. But my take on it is apparently very different from that of the rest of RPS.

          What I thought was beautiful about Ms. Frank’s piece was its ambiguity, its intimacy, the way Ms. Frank simultaneously loved and hated Ted. It was not, to me, an argument for “please don’t make games without a pause button”– clear from her preference for the Titanfall beta. It was instead an examination of how Destiny’s mechanics affected her relationship.

          I’m sure Ms. Frank, having lived through the experience, is aware of how much responsibility Ted bears. What is unique about her piece is recognizing the responsibility that Destiny also bears. It’s not like there’s an individual agent at fault for every particular thing. Or, if there is, it’s all the fault of the Big Bang.

      • thedosbox says:

        Should every game ever made automatically come with a pause function no matter what, and be playable in five or ten or fifteen minute chunks or whatever if necessary

        I’d say yes in most cases. There are plenty of times where I don’t want to replay a section of a game – especially those with bad checkpointing. Or approaching it from a different angle, what are the advantages of NOT providing the ability to pause a game?

        It’s not automatically a strike against whatever developers made the game in question. It’s just life.

        Just because I don’t like the design decision, doesn’t mean I think they’re bad developers. It just means I won’t play their game.

        • Eight Rooks says:

          Don’t get me wrong, I will happily concede that most games should probably be able to be paused – but I still think that article was somewhat poorly put together. I read the Penny Arcade comment she linked to as a synopsis and no, I don’t agree that the piece carries any sense of being a criticism on game design philosophy in general. I didn’t get any sense of “Why did Destiny have to be designed this way? Couldn’t it have allowed for (whatever)?”, just OH GOD WHY WON’T MY HUSBAND-TO-BE STOP PLAYINGGGGG. “Oh, Titanfall is awesome because you can be done with a match in a couple of minutes.” Uh… okay, I guess? And?

          I don’t object to anyone debating these things, I think something probably ought to be done about them, but I feel this argument, like pretty much any debate, has two sides and she never really touched on the other one. I’m sure her husband’s a lovely guy, but all I got out of that piece was MUST PLAY DESTINY WAAA WAAA WAAA. Seriously, the whole “Text the sitter to explain how the PS4 works” thing didn’t get me thinking about addiction and the feeling you’re being coerced into playing or the gender divide or any such thing; it simply made him sound like an ass, and all I could do was cringe.

          • Gap Gen says:

            Yeah, it sounds like they need to have a talk about it at some point and make their boundaries clear. Then again, it’s possible the article doesn’t do into detail about their relationship, which is fine, although it would be interesting to hear more about the issue without the lens of the game’s design. If the implication is that she’s doing all the housework and admin and he’s playing games, that’s really shitty behaviour, but if it’s just a case of interpersonal communication being blocked from time to time then this is perhaps less of a problem.

          • Big Murray says:

            There’s a completely valid criticism of game design philosophy within it. As you get older, your ability to spend large blocks of time devoted to a single activity become less … but our desire to play these games doesn’t necessarily diminish. It leaves us in a tricky position where it ends up intruding on personal lives, and if one person in a relationship isn’t as committed a gamer as the other … that can lead to problems.

      • Reapy says:

        You summed my thoughts up pretty well here and I heartily agree. I love games to death, but I learned my lesson when I was 17 playing eq and talking on the phone with my gf at the time. I would take 30 sec to respond her questions and she eventually called me on it. Oh, I realized, I was being disrespectful to some I loved.

        Turn the game off, for real, it will be there when you get back. Manage your game choices around your responsibilities at that moment in time.

        It works two ways, your partner has to respect your hobbies too. If you have a 4 hour sat raid block scheduled and free of other responsibilities, your partner should let you be if possible.

        Losing game number 1047462 or dieing for the 472nd time doesn’t matter, upsetting your partner or kids does, it is as simple as that. Destiny doesn’t pause and you can’t handle losing a level? Don’t play it when people are going to contact you, wait till night time, or just don’t play it at all, simple as that.

      • Eight Rooks says:

        Also, the ten-to-fifteen minute chunks thing – this is partly off the top of my head but I’m talking games like the Souls franchise again, where even if quitting out saves (it’s been a while, I can’t remember for certain) you’re not really going to get anything done playing that for five minutes at a time. (At the very least it’s probably not going to feel terribly fulfilling.) Some people would presumably argue that’s poor design because their day-to-day lives don’t permit them the luxury of sitting down in front of a PC or a console or whatever for that long.

        I do not automatically agree it’s necessarily a thoughtless or a heartless or an ill-informed thing to basically say “Tough”. To say “Well, yes, that sucks, and I feel for you, but surely part of the intrinsic appeal of that series is playing it for great long stretches at a time with no interruptions? Even the point? Should developers really stop making games like that because a significant number of people can’t play them in the manner they’re “meant” to be played?”

        Note that this really isn’t intended as a strawman, nor am I trying to be hypocritical – if I’m playing a game like that and someone interrupts asking my help with something important, I quit. I save if I can, and even if I can’t, I quit as fast as practically possible. My first thought isn’t OH GOD WHY CAN’T I PAUSE/SAVE/CHECKPOINT/whatever, or “Why is this game designed like this” – these things are certainly valid questions to ask but they’re just not that important to me compared with talking to a friend or going out or helping my parents in the garden and so on. Doesn’t mean I don’t love videogames any less.

        It seems far more obvious, far more believable, that real life and one’s hobbies and interests and what have you will never completely mesh comfortably and that there will always be times, now and again, when they’re completely incompatible. And that people should accept that. The reason I respond to arguments like this is in large part because it fascinates me – and occasionally has me a little bit worried – that people don’t seem to want to accept it.

        • basilisk says:

          Yes, but I feel it’s a matter of common courtesy. If you’re making a game that’s played in coffee-break sized chunks, do whatever you want, but in any other case, there’s no reason whatsoever not to put in at least a pause function. Including for cutscenes and anything else. It’s like, I don’t know, page numbers in books. They don’t have to be there, and books, in particular short story collections, are perfectly usable without them, but it’s not like the publishers are losing (any significant amount of) money by including them, and they make everyone else’s life easier.

          Saving is a more complicated issue, and there may be in some cases a good technical reason for not letting players save anywhere. That’s okay. But the decision is certainly not going to gain any sympathy if the response to criticism is just “deal with it”.

          I know that gaming is “wasted time”, but I really don’t like it when my “wasted time” is literally wasting my time.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Yes, it seems strange when you can’t pause (although one commenter noted that throwing a fight doesn’t really penalise you that much). There’s a tension between the social responsibilities of games not to destroy lives a-la Everquest/WoW addiction versus the need for companies to keep people playing. I suppose there are niches for “short” games like Portal, longer things like Civ or short-burst games like CS.

    • Hakkesshu says:

      I would prefer the ability to pause, absolutely, but I just don’t understand the sentiment of being angry at the game or developers for making a decision that is probably necessary and realistic. In that article she uses an example of her fiance postponing some task for 30 minutes ’cause he’s in the middle of a match or whatever. Like, how is any of that the game’s fault? If it’s so important, the guy can put down the controller for 30 seconds and go sign the thing and take the hit in the game. That is absolutely on him and no one else.

      I’ve done this so many times myself in the past; letting someone else wait ’cause I’m in the middle of a raid or something. I’m sorry, but that is my fucking fault, and I don’t do it anymore, because I fully realize what a shitty, annoying feeling it is for the other person. I absolutely love games, but there is nothing in any game, ever, that’s important enough to make someone in your actual life sit and wait for you for 30 minutes, growing more and more annoyed. If you can’t let something like that go, you are the problem, not the designer.

      If your life situation does not allow you to play a game that requires a commitment (and I’m not making any kind of judgement here), find something else to play instead of lashing out at someone for not designing a game that conforms to your habits. That is such a monumentally selfish and arrogant perspective to me.

      • Shuck says:

        As a game designer, I have to say there are far too many games made with the assumption that all players can devote 30-60 minute (or longer) chunks of completely uninterrupted time to play the game, and often it’s an unnecessary burden put on the player. Sometimes it’s unavoidable, but all too often it’s more about having insufficient save systems (usually to artificially extend play time through forced repetition of long sequences) or putting the game online for anti-piracy/revenue purposes rather than gameplay purposes. It’s burdensome and dumb and it makes unwarranted assumptions about the types of people playing games and the nature of their time.

    • Melody says:

      My comment may not be 100% related to everyone else’s here, but that’s just my experience:

      I try not to buy or play games that I know I’m likely to find addictive (especially MMOs, Multiplayers, and games that “don’t end”). The reason I don’t do it is that, even though I may enjoy them initially, they will become, in fact, addictive for me, and I will just keep playing them over and over a) over other games that I may enjoy more b) for too much time in general, at the cost of different activities.
      IMO, addictive games are “bad” precisely because, at least for the way I work, I feel like they’re taking away my agency, my self-control, they prevent me from making good decisions about my life and about how to spend my time every day, just because I feel the compulsion to play a bit more, and then more and more. I realize that’s pretty much the definition of “addictive”, but I think it’s worth repeating it.

      Even though I’m not in a relationship and I have no one to let down but myself for playing some MMO for 20 hours a day, I strongly empathized with the article. And it’s probably simply my fault (or his fault, in the article) for not being a “responsible adult with power over herself”, but sometimes, even if only out of frustration, you just want to blame the game and those who made it (often with the clear intention of making something “addictive”, see how many games aim for “addictive gameplay”)

      I love games, I really do, but I don’t want them to take over my life, and sometimes it feels like they are trying to.

      • JFS says:

        Some developers do exactly aim for that, you’re right about that. And I think that’s dangerous. Even the most rational, self-controlled adult is still human and prone to the same temptations and behaviours as everybody else. Making games that appeal to your psyche in a potentially problematic way is ethically questionable, I think. And that’s what the article’s author entirely misses: this isn’t an issue with bad game design or stupid autosave checkpointing. It goes way deeper, and it’s a pity she didn’t explore that.

        • Eight Rooks says:

          Yeah, it’s not that there isn’t an argument to be had about those things, and where you draw the line – how much responsibility rests with the developer, how much with the player etc., etc. There very much is. But if the author intended her article to explore that I’d say she didn’t really do a particularly great job.

      • Stephen Roberts says:

        I strongly recognise with your comments here. Multiplayer games are, for some reason, much more compelling than single player ones. There’s a strange disconnect that happens at the conclusion of a single player game. I go from wanting to play it lots to suddenly not being that bothered about playing it. The desire to play is satiated by the concluding scenes. Sometimes it is not and I might mull about in a new game plus or alternate game mode, or try a different playstyle. I’m not bothered to get all achievements or the like, so I stop playing eventually. Multiplayer, rolling content games are much more difficult to dismiss. That desire to play lingers onward as no conclusion state is reached that says ‘well done, you’re the winner’.

        I am strangely skeptical about the idea of addiction (I think, for example, that the term ‘shopping addiction’ is just a linguistic trick to permit a lack of responsibility). Yet I am very aware of the desire of irrationality that draws me to play games over other responsibilities. I think this could be a trained response to adrenaline and endorphins – other stimuli (getting things done around the house, mowing the lawn, looking into travel advice for an upcoming trip) just don’t seem as attractive and I’ve created a place of near-instant gratification for those chemical cravings.

        I think a paramount thought to hold in your mind is that these things don’t hold any power over you. You hold the power. For every moment you live you are in control of right now, whether that’s during a big argument or when you are going for another biscuit even though you’ve had way too many or when you are going to play a game that you know you shouldn’t because there’s that thing that needs to be done for tomorrow. There is only now, and you are responsible for that one small moment. You know exactly when you are transgressing your own desires because of a compulsion. I do. I can feel the strain between responsibility and desire. I still find it baffling.

    • strangeloup says:

      To be honest, the article puzzled me a little. From my experience of the Destiny beta, one of the things I liked about it was that it did break up nicely into fairly short chunks. Story missions never felt particularly lengthy, and the couple of PvP matches I played weren’t protracted either. (My partner was visiting while the beta was active, but we blocked out some time where he could work on art stuff while I played, both of us undisturbed, and everyone was happy.)

      There are things that concern me a lot more than the lack of a pause feature. The always-online requirement for all modes meant that on a couple of occasions when the server glitched, I lost progress (but, weirdly, not gear or experience) in the story campaign. For me the thing that’s going to make or break the title is whether Bungie’s attitude of extended support and community engagement they’ve shown with the Halo games will win out, or whether publisher Activision’s annualized sequels and endless, overpriced DLC packages will take priority.

    • Geebs says:

      You Won’t Believe How Addictive This Game Is!
      Once You Try This Game, Your Friends Won’t Be Seeing Much Of You!
      Come Into This Game She Is Waiting For You To Play!

    • Deano2099 says:

      Some games, especially MMO/multiplayer type games, require a level of commitment. Just like any other hobby. And that’s fine. But just like any other hobby, it means setting out guidelines with friends and partners that are “I’m doing this at this time”. They’re an oddity because it’s a hobby done at home, and it looks like you are on your own. But that shouldn’t matter, and you’re not.

      If my partner goes out to play netball, I don’t walk over to where she does it to ask her to do something else for me in the middle of it. If I have friends over to play board games, she doesn’t interrupt to ask me to pay attention to her halfway through. In both cases, if there’s an emergency, we might do so.

      Multiplayer games like this are basically the same. And someone just spending the entire weekend playing one (without letting you known in advance), and not dealing with you at that time… it’s really no different to them to just leaving for the weekend to hang out with mates without telling you. In that latter situation, you’d realize there was a problem with the relationship. But because with games, you’re still physically there, it’s different? It isn’t.

  11. Baines says:

    I’m painfully aware of how many games are made with Gamemaker these days. Largely because I tend to end up using PCs that Gamemaker fails to properly support.

    For years, my Windows XP desktop was one of a small percentage of PCs where Gamemaker games flat out would not run. Gamemaker devs knew the issues existed, and promised to look into it, but I probably ended up getting a new machine before they ever fixed it (if they ever did.)

    Later, I built a new PC and installed Windows 8.1. And Gamemaker games appear to have issues with Windows 8.1, and possibly other issues with my hardware as well. Super Crate Box, for example, crashes randomly. Valdis Story had display issues.

    For me, being made in Gamemaker is a warning flag that a game might not run properly for me.

  12. apu-punchau says:

    With all due respect, i think you are well out of line here. if you wish to make an opinion as a journalist regarding the Gaza conflict, it think it will be fair from your readers to expect that you will make an educated one, after studying the situation closely. If you just want to report about the suffering caused by the conflict, i think it will also be fair from your readers to expect a balanced coverage by showing suffering on both sides.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      At least the BBC’s unbiased: link to

      (Seriously, asking for equivalence when there’s such a huge difference in suffering?)

      • Baines says:

        I was going to say that that was even more biased than US news.

        Though considering how Israel acts, maybe it is breaking news. Would anyone be entirely surprised if Israel responded to that broken ankle by blowing up a school full of blind orphans or something?

      • apu-punchau says:

        I am not in the business of comparing suffering, all I’m after is some decent journalistic coverage which is clearly not the case here.

        • aldo_14 says:

          It seems to sound like what you are really after is an article that agrees with your opinion, frankly.

      • Wytefang says:

        So by that logic, the good guys are always the ones who are suffering the most? Interesting albeit somewhat unintelligent take on things…

        • Gap Gen says:

          As I’ve said above, disapproving of the civilian casualties in the conflict, which are being disproportionately inflicted on Palestinian civilians, does not mean you have to support either Hamas or the Israeli government.

          • kalirion says:

            I wish there was a way to implement the following solution to civilian casualties: every time an innocent person is killed, execute the highest ranked officer responsible for the decision which resulted in that person being killed. A suicide bomber kills 100 people in a marketplace? 100 of the highest ranking terrorists responsible for getting him there are executed. Israeli artillery kills 160 Palestinian civillians? Execute 160 Israeli military officers (and if the Hamas were using the civilians as human shields, 160 of those as well.)

            Phase 3: World Peace.

        • Baines says:

          You can have two good sides in conflict, just as you can have two bad sides in conflict.

          Rather than the side that suffers the most being the “good guys” in a black-and-white situation, it is that a side inflicting greatly disproportionate suffering has a rather large strike against being the “good guys” in a situation that might not have “good guys” at all.

        • Big Murray says:

          Nobody’s saying the Palestinians are “the good guys”. The concept of there needing to be a “good guy” in war is a media construct with no grounding in reality anyway.

          Nobody’s saying Hamas are good. Talk to any Palestinian supporters and the majority of them will say that Hamas are wrong for firing rockets at Israel. But the main point right now is … children and civilians are dying on a massive scale. Stopping that has to be the number one priority for the world, and the fact of the matter is that the ones who are firing the guns which are killing them are the Israelis.

    • P.Funk says:

      Fair and Balanced as a journalistic concept is a modern fallacy, a great lie.

      How do you expect a human to remain objective in the face of that? There are many journalists who simply believe that you do not. Robert Fisk is a prime example. From the comfort of our western lifestyles its so easy to believe that there is a balanced perspective but thats a lie. The blood and the gore is there on the streets and its unmistakable. To try to be “balanced” is to be simply disingenuous. Human beings do not look on these things and take a “balanced” approach. Slaughter of children is not something you can shrug off.

      I find the notion that we should be unbiased offensive. A spade is a spade. A prime example was the case of the children who were targeted by off shore artillery behind a hotel that journalists were staying in. They watched as they children were targeted, children who were playing. They had no weapons, they were doing nothing conspicuous. These journalists also could attest to the fact that there was no Hamas activity in that area for at least 2 weeks because they’d been there that long and had a full view of the spot this happened.

      Whats a fair and balanced take on that? To deny the truth of the situation? That the callous nature of Israel’s offensive allows such blatant murder to occur? There was no military target there. There was nothing conceivable. To take a “balanced” perspective, to deny the only human response any person witnessing it could have, is a lie greater than any other.

      Journalism is about the truth. When it doesn’t do service to it then it is a failure. Fair and balanced is a lie that must die.

    • Premium User Badge

      FhnuZoag says:

      He did give a balanced report of the suffering on both sides. The proportion of his text dealing about Israeli suffering matches the proportion of dead civilians in this conflict that were Israeli.

      About 0.3%.

      Also, I think it says something when

      “How can journalists be objective when writing about dead children?”

      is automatically perceived as an anti-Israeli opinion.

    • Big Murray says:

      Only three Israeli civilians have been killed in this conflict. Around 1000 Palestinian civilians have been killed. Of those, about 250 of them were children.

      The articles are about how journalists can report on large-scale tragedies. There haven’t been any similar tragedies on the Israeli side of the conflict (not downplaying the deaths of those three civilians, but we’re a society which is somewhat battle-scarred to small-scale civilian death in war). Ultimately, the article is balanced in regards to its topic … the article is about journalists and their emotions, not the war.

      • apu-punchau says:

        I would love it for you to come and stay a week at my place at Israel and hear your opinion afterwards. For the last 14 years or so we are suffering daily from rocket launches fired from the Gaza strip. I would like for you to try and calm down my 2 year old baby after i have to wake him every other morning and run with him on my hands to the shelter. I would like for to try and calm down my wife when she has to stop her car in the middle of the highway and seek shelter while rockets are exploding above her head.
        I would like to calm down my mother who has is afraid to go back to her home in case that Hamas has dug a tunnel right under her living room.
        I am not diminishing the Human tragedy in Gaza, and i am sincerely sorry for every life lost during this conflict, but you have to realize that there is more to one side in every conflict.

        • jalf says:

          There absolutely is. But I guess a relevant question is, would you also be willing to stay for a week with a family in Gaza?

          I don’t know how you feel, but personally, yes, I would stay with a family in Israel. I’m sure it would be frightening as you say, but I’m also sure I would come out of it alive. But I would be terrified to stay for a week in Gaza. How about you?

          It is hard to see how you are not “diminishing the human tragedy in Gaza” when you are likening your scared two year old to the hundreds of dead children on the other side of the fence, when the death count among innocent civilian Palestinians, people like you, whose only crime is happening to have been born on the wrong side of the conflict, has long since exceeded 1000.

          You say you are “sincerely sorry”, but are you so sorry that you think those civilian lives should have been spared by the Israeli army?

          Otherwise, it rings a wee bit hollow, don’t you think?

          “I’m sorry we chose to kill so many innocents, but I still think it was the right thing to do, and I believe we should keep doing it”really just translates to “I am not sorry at all”.

          Who knows, maybe you do think this bloodbath is and was wrong, in which case I’m out of line and I apologize. But reading your comments, you haven’t actually *said* so. All you’ve done is gotten upset when people expressed horror at the 1000+ dead civilians without also saying “but on the Israeli side, apu-punchau’s mother and two-year old are scared, so it evens out”. I don’t think it does. I would much rather be scared than dead.

          • apu-punchau says:

            i’m wondering, with all of your well-mannered words, how would you react to rockets being fired directly at your home for the last 14 years ? i’m guessing from your latest reply you would simply turn the other cheek, and i truly admire you for this; clearly you are a better person then me.

          • InternetBatman says:

            How would you react if bombs actually fell on your home for the last fourteen years?

            Honestly, my reaction to living anywhere near Israel right now would be to try to move rather than being caught between two sides hellbent on being the worst.

            My reaction would not be “meh, dead children are collateral damage” as I shot back.

          • Dances to Podcasts says:

            I can’t speak for my well-mannered friend, but I would hope that despite the stress I would still be capable of enough empathy and rational thought to know that no amount of such stress could ever be equivalent to entire families being ripped to shreds.

        • Big Murray says:

          28 civilians have been killed by those rocket attacks in the last 14 years. 264 people die via traffic accidents in Israel every year.

          Again, not downplaying the people who have been killed by them … the rocket attacks are wrong. But do you even want me to tell you the number of civilians in Gaza who have been killed by Israeli airstrikes in the last 14 years? Nobody has ever denied that both sides attacking the other is wrong. But honestly, all the things you’re describing are psychological terrors, having to “calm people down”. The risk of you or your family actually getting killed by one of those rockets is extremely low. And yes, I’m saying that as somebody who doesn’t have to live there … but ultimately, I’d happily come stay with your family in Israel. I’m not at much risk there.

          There are hundreds of children being killed so you don’t have to handle that risk. Are you honestly ok with bombs being dropped on children to stop those rocket attacks?

          • apu-punchau says:

            Yeah, i guess I’m over reacting. I should just sit down quietly and let the “psychological terror”of being fired at every day for the last 14 years just fade away without it having any effect on me or my family.
            Cheers for the tip mate.
            BTW – I wonder how would you have reacted if someone was shooting at you every day; judging from your reply i would say you’ll be dealing with it far better then me.

          • hilltop says:

            It is awful that you have had to suffer for so long. No one should have to endure that and it is distressing to know that people do.

            But you seem to be one sided in your thinking. That is pretty understandable and I am sure I would have developed bias if I had endured the same thing. Hell, I have a biased opinion even without that experience.

            Obviously it is a goal to overcome bias and I can understand that it is much easier to do so if one hasn’t endured the things you have. But the same point has been made a few couple of times here and your response to it has been “I wonder how you would react…”

            My response would be: Not well, but that doesn’t invalidate the argument.

          • Big Murray says:

            While it must seem to you that people are dismissing your plight, that’s not my intention. My intention is simply to ask the question of you … is what you’re going through worth killing hundreds of children to stop? Are you ok with that?

  13. mechabuddha says:

    There’s definitely confirmation bias for Game Maker (and RPG Maker), and that’s largely to do with the stock assets and mechanics. A well designed game with its own assets stand apart, but not necessarily as a GameMaker game. A poorly designed game that rips off the stock assets and mechanics is clearly a GameMaker game, because you see the same assets and mechanics in a ton of crappy games. It’s really easy to identify a crappy GameMaker game but difficult to identify a good GameMaker game.

  14. xcopy says:

    “But, I am in the market for some instrumental, electronic, doom-heavy music. Ambient or dancey, recommendations in the comments please.”

    My recommendation: Gesaffelstein – Pursuit link to

  15. poetfoxpaul says:

    I hope you see this! Ignore everyone else’s recommendations, I’m sure they’re terrible.

    Actress – Ghettoville link to

  16. Big Murray says:

    I enjoyed reading Jenn Frank’s article, but it left me with the uneasy feeling of not understanding her point of view. She explained that she had no desire to play these games after her husband played them so much, but I felt she stopped short of analysing and explaining why she felt that way. Is it just a case of the game being the focal point for some marital stress, and thus giving her bad association? It doesn’t seem like a very solid reason for hating and not wanting to play the game.

    If anything, surely playing the game (as a gamer herself) can only help her understand the appeal more?

    • hilltop says:

      I don’t know. I would have thought it would be a pretty compelling reason to develop an aversion to a game.

  17. hilltop says:

    i really enjoyed this Sunday Papers (Nathan Ditum, Jenn Frank’s article) and the discussion in the comments (some pretty clear expression of both “sides'” opinions re: Gaza, the music recommendations) – I always enjoy the Papers but this Sunday was something special for me.