The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for looking. Scrabble around your brimming shelves until you find it down the back of your Gamecube games. A lighter, still full. Flick it on and hold it underneath your monitor till the heat warps the plastic, the frame cracks, and liquid crystals start to dribble on to your desk. Trepanning is the only way to get the madness out.

  • Mark Johnson is working on Ultima Ratio Regum, an ambitious procedurally generated 4X roguelike. Before that, he once tried his hand at making a living as a poker player, and he writes excellently here about the power games have when you invest in them fully. It’s a story about losing.
  • Along with roguelikes, poker was my first experience of playing something where there was something “at stake” every time you play – not the three minutes of a Counterstrike game or the rankings of a 1v1 competitive ladder, but many many hours of focus and concentration, effort, study, and (in poker’s case), money. The experience informed my contemporary opinions about game design, the value of roguelikes (and other games with an “arcade mentality” such as shmups), and the importance of being able to lose. This is thus the story of the most crushing defeat I suffered in poker, why after that hand – now three years ago – I haven’t played a single hand of poker since then, and also the benefits (and risks) of taking play a little more seriously than normal.

  • RPS fellow Brendan Caldwell wrote earlier this year about lottery scratchcards, and the correct way to scratch. I’m reading this now for the first time, and it feels to me very British.
  • Firstly, you must buy a scratchcard only as an impulse, when buying other things. Arriving one day at the checkout, with your hands full of milk, bacon, chilli-coated peanuts, you will glance absent-mindedly at the stand of colourful cards and be immediately shaken with the intense feeling that you are alive and that nobody can stop you from winning everything. Although, that is not to say you feel confident. This is a feeling more wistful and playful in nature than confidence. It stands to reason that what you are feeling is a sense of fatefulness. If you are an atheist, this is the closest you will ever come to detecting providence in your life. Put down your milk for a moment.

  • It seems to me that Ian Bogost has been on high form this past year. Perhaps it started here, with his piece on Gone Home from September of last year.
  • Everything fits together so well in Gone Home that the experience creaks and bends like the old house itself. Environmental storytelling is difficult because anything less than ontological fullness breaks the immersive promise of a lived-in world. And for the most part, Arbor House is empty, furnished to a minimum, the same sideboards and books, the same fixtures and accessories repeating from room to room. Bioshock‘s Rapture drew power mostly from its visual style, its intricate art deco design effectively suggesting that a drugged-out Objectivist civilization once lived within it. But the empty, ruined world has become too common in games, and Gone Home suffers for the sins of its predecessors.

  • US Gamer asks: what if the Dreamcast had won? Or rather, what if it had survived; how would games be different, how would the Xbox have fared, and so on. Can’t get enough of these tributes.
  • Yet the system has its fervent supporters — some in spite of its short life, others because of it. Brendan Sinclair of sister site Games Industry is one such enthusiast. “Dreamcast was the best,” he gushes. “It was my golden age of gaming. For a year and a half, I was treated to the most incredible, bizarre, and eclectic experiences of my gaming life. For the first time, I had disposable income to spend on whatever games interested me, to import them if need be. And with Sega getting increasingly desperate in its last days as a hardware company, it took all kinds of risks with its content. I haven’t enjoyed this hobby as much before or since. I doubt I ever will again.”

  • See also: Sega are still weird, and making an arcade game which uses real sand.
  • Back with US Gamer, Ian Dransfield makes a long profile of Star Citizen’s Chris Roberts, charting his stories history in and out of games.
  • Remarkably, this tinkering-and ignoring the teacher-didn’t get him into trouble. Instead, it got Roberts his first paycheck: “The next year, the teacher of that class became the editor of The Micro User.” He remembered that me and my friend were in the back of the class trying to make games, so he called up and asked if we’d like to write a ‘game of the month’ for the back of the magazine. In the old days they’d put a game of the month in the back of the magazine that you could type in in BASIC.”

  • Tony Coles asks, where did all the strategy go? Which seems like a less pertinent question with Rainbow Six: Siege, Due Process and Intruder all on the go, but I like hearing the loving descriptions of games gone by.
  • This unique reporting angle added a certain contemplative air. After all the bullets had been fired and all the baddies were on the floor, radioing in the remains gave a real weight to your judicious carnage. I’ll never forget the attention to detail either; after sorting out a nasty bank robbery, a criminal that was previously writhing on the floor had gone still when I came to report him in. The audio sample coldly announced “this one’s bled out”. This kind of detail underlined the respect that Sierra had for the real-world SWAT discipline, and concurrently lead to you playing with the same degree of respect for procedure, even if the shout button was just too fun to spam (but could defuse an angered bystander without having to chuck in some CS gas). You weren’t a soldier, but a police officer, and the urge to subdue with minimal force (and maximum points) became a moral quest. No other FPS has gone to such lengths to engender restraint.

  • Kill Screen talk to the British Library’s first interactive fiction writer-in-residence, Rob Sherman. Rob wrote games like Black Crown (which Adam interviewed him about) and The Spare Set. He also wrote an article for us about game inventories, and another which is on my desk for later publishing.
  • Sherman’s involvement with the museum mimics a bit of the competition’s spirit, as a digitalized exploration of the Library’s physical source materials. “The British Library is really willing to try out lots of different things because it has this vast body of inspirational material. The entire sum of knowledge of being British—or as close as anybody has come to it. So they’re thinking, ‘Well, what can we do with this? How can we make all of this stuff relevant to new people telling new stories?’”

  • This comes recommended: text of a talk given by Jim Crawford, creator of Frog Factions, about how and why to make games more mysterious.
  • You need to be careful that you don’t provide answers that are worse than leaving the question unanswered. Think about how you felt after seeing a magic show versus how you felt after you found out how the trick was done. Magic tricks imply bad secrets, by design. This is how they stay secret. If the secret was awesome then you would get a thrill from telling your friends about it, rather than a groan.

  • I haven’t linked Crapshoot in a while, and Future Wars seem a particularly perfect entry in Richard Cobbett’s series. Lovely art.
  • And by “glory”, I of course mean “more crime”. Should you try to get into the nearby town in your future clothes, two monks beat the crap out of you. So, you need a disguise. Luckily, it’s about this time that an unfortunate passer-by decides it’s time for their yearly bathe and gets undressed for a swim, leaving their clothes where any old time traveller could just swoop in like a greedy magpie and leave them stark naked in the woods without so much as a moment of regret or sympathy.

  • Edge and Nathan Ditum look at the growing overlap between cinema and games, not in terms of adaptations, but in films like Edge of Tomorrow borrowing the language and grammar of their playable counterparts.
  • I find it interesting but not particularly significant that the props, scenery and action beats of games have become more prominently than usual in our popcorn cinema. The toy-town simplicity of Transformers and Battleship, the Heinlen-styled exploration of real and simulated action in Ender’s Game, and even the exhaustively referential irony of Scott Pilgrim – this is all so much surface. What would be more remarkable is a structural, rather than visual acknowledgement of games in cinema – perhaps even the incorporation of elements which assumed familiarity with the structural conceits and conventions of games. This is where we inch closer to Edge Of Tomorrow.

    Music this week should be Kate Bush, whose live show I went to see, but instead here’s TOO MANY ZOOZ, whose experimental brass-house beats I’ve been propelled by all week.

    166 Comments

    1. Anthile says:

      My favourite article this week: The Curious Case of Far Cry.

      Also, sundays are for listening to long tracks about serial killers:

      • KenTWOu says:

        Like Far Cry 2 article, don’t like Far Cry 3 article.

      • qrter says:

        While reading the introduction, I hit the bit that says..

        Far Cry is an important franchise, and though it has its flaws, it is one that demands to be taken seriously – it was one of the first franchises to be a true genre-hybrid (open-world, FPS), and therefore its impact cannot be understated.

        Now, I think Far Cry 2 is a fantastic game, with an intriguing ‘heart of darkness’ hidden under all the shooting and killing, but saying Far Cry as a whole is an important franchise..? Oh god no!

    2. JFS says:

      I heard Kate Bush was quite good and half the world was there, including tons of VIPs. Is that so? Must’ve been quite the event. It’s still ongoing, isn’t it?

      • El Goose says:

        I haven’t been myself, but my uncle has and from what I hear it’s quite the spectacle, very theatrical staging. I understand that she mainly eschews her hits (although Running Up That Hill and Hounds Of Love both get played) to focus on two suite like compositions she’s done, The Ninth Wave from side 2 of the Hounds Of Love and A Sea Of Honey from Aerial. Both of these contribute to the theatricality of the event, as they have loose storylines that are acted out by Kate Bush and the others, including her husband and son. All in all sounds enormously exciting, although perhaps less engaging for more casual fans who might not know some of these compositions. It is still ongoing, I believe it finishes on the 1st of October.

        • JFS says:

          A friend of mine flew to London to see it. He was very happy about it, with the exception of Wuthering Heights not being performed. I find it interesting that she’s putting up a sort of musical/opera thingie for her return to the stage. Still quite the artist!

      • morbiusnl says:

        saw it last week, was great. being a big Kate fan Im happy she left her hits at home and played what she (and her fans) liked. Show is being filmed this coming week.

    3. Viroso says:

      Played and beat Gone Home last night and spoilers spoilers

      spoilers spoilers spoilers spoilers spoilers spoilers completely missed the father’s abuse story. spoilers spoilers spoilers spoilers spoilers spoilers

      Even though I found everything to clue me in. I mean, I noticed something was weird but I was never able to spoilers spoilers spoilers connect kennedy assassination (1963) with the height marks (12 year old terry, 1963) in the secret part of the house, the toy in the dark room, the marriage problems, his obsession with JFK when working at Oscar’s study and eventually overcoming that problem when moving his workplace somewhere else and writing about himself instead of 1963.

      Still spoilers spoilers. After finding out how all the pieces fit together, that put a new light in Sam and Terry’s relationship and it meant for her to run away, to “exorcise” Oscar.

      • JFS says:

        Huh? I totally missed that as well. I confused the people’s names all the time, anyway, even though there aren’t that many. It’s really difficult to “know” them when you never really meet them.

        • Premium User Badge

          gritz says:

          If there’s one thing this game is amazing at, it’s using the environment to build characters you will never see or speak to.

      • Premium User Badge

        gritz says:

        ***GIGANTO SPOILERS***
        link to clockworkworlds.com

        This blog post does a pretty good job of connecting the dots into a workable theory. The game never comes right out and explicitly states things, but drops hints to let you to make your own inference.

        It reminds me of the way the books and a few dialogues in TES3:Morrowind let you interpret your own theory about what happened in the game’s history. So few game settings are willing to hand that power to the player.

      • a_console_pheasant says:

        I also played through Gone Home last night for the first time, you aren’t by any chance recovering from a nasty lung infection are you?
        -possible spoilers-
        Jokes aside, I found one of the most interesting things about the game to be its aggressive intertextuality, which the Bogost piece touches on, but doesn’t fully explore. From my notes – “There are many stories in this game – This narrative has embedded intertextuality. Quite subtle – RE: ‘The Menstrual Cycle: A Novella’ (itself a narrative within a narrative within the text of the game)”
        This is interesting, because the fabric of real life is quite aggressively intertextual itself. In being unabashedly referential, the game provides a very compelling simulacra of real experience, and this convincing-ness allows the player to really inhabit the world in a way that not many games can touch.
        The intertextual aspects of the game I’ve identified in my notes are;

        -References to the horror genre and its storytelling devices in games and movies

        -90’s American pop culture, especially The X Files and Riot Grrrl/Punk Rock (The Wipers weren’t a riot grrrl band, but they were from the Pacific Northwest, so that’s a nice touch [given the themes of abuse and empowerment in the game, finding the Gits badge facedown on the floor was an actual gutpunch, at least for me]) (who puts Beetlejuice and Robocop on the same vhs tape? The Dark Crystal and 2001? Regular people did [and do] stuff like that all the time, and the incongruity was a great touch, very similar to coming across a stranger’s detritus and thinking “what the hell? who would do that?”)

        -with the -Shock games, in the form of the devices of the living environment and the dead audio logs

        -with itself, as Sam’s journal, which is drip fed to you through the course of the game even though the character you play as does not find it until the actual end of the game – This allows the journal to inform the text of the game even as it unfolds experientally, and creates an intratextual (essentially the game becomes intertextual with itself, muy meta!) narrative without it becoming hokey, which is quite a feat and one of the most exciting thing that the game manages to pull off. To me, anyway.

        -and of course, the game engages the Stephen King novel 11/22/63 which purports to be the story about a time traveler who works to prevent the assassination of JFK, but is actually the story of a horrible crime of familial abuse.

        If anyone noticed any others, I’d love to hear them. I managed to avoid much of the critical work around this game for this long, and now I’m a bit unsure where to start. Suppose I’ll start with my own notes and keep working my way out from there.
        Cheers.

    4. tr76 says:

      you got to see Kate Bush live? I truly, truly envy you.

    5. Spacewalk says:

      Reading things like that Eurogamer piece is why I started drinking.

    6. jalf says:

      For Brendan’s piece, listen to the spoken version instead. It is mesmerizing.

      • tciecka says:

        Hey, thanks!
        The audio really brings the piece about scratch cards to life! What a lovely thing!

    7. Shieldmaiden says:

      I hope this isn’t too cheeky, but I’d like to engage in a little shameless self-promotion and offer my scribblings on diversity in Guild Wars 2 for the consideration of the esteemed Sunday Papers readers. I have just started writing about games again after way, way too long and it’d be lovely to think that someone was actually reading it.

      link to shieldmaidenuk.tumblr.com

      • bleeters says:

        I will forever be bitter at how Phalanx armour looks on female norn and human characters.

        Forever.

        • Shieldmaiden says:

          Every time I see a male character walking around with it, I slip closer to darkness. Eventually I will become a being of pure rage and the physical embodiment of oblivion.

      • eggy toast says:

        1420 words to say “boob window bad.”

        Thank goodness you didn’t waste that time doing something fun and or interesting.

        • Shieldmaiden says:

          Actually, it was 1420 words just to post a link to the Ben Affleck “Fictional characters” line from Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back, because it always cracks me up.

          Come on, if you’re going to reduce the entire article down to one paragraph, at least pick the right one. :D

      • vash47 says:

        Wow. You’d be a great addition to the RPS staff, man! You have to be non-cisgendered, though. They need to meet their diversity quota.

    8. Premium User Badge

      Lexx87 says:

      I’ve no idea what the madness of that intro was about, but I loved it.

      Graham 4 ever

    9. Gilead says:

      Really nice selection of articles this week. As a result I’ve now got an unusually large number of open tabs to investigate over the afternoon, and will probably not get everything done that I wanted to. I will eventually glance at a clock and realise it’s too late to begin anything and I have to work on Monday, so I might as well spend the evening watching Youtube clips. You monster.

      • islisis says:

        agreed. selections like this make me wish it was sunday everyday (or, at least sunday a little bit longer… almost over now in here in japan)
        particularly, sunday+sega+dreaming=win
        and yes, i will track down that arcade title seen also, once more info is found. the first true sandbox game ;)

    10. Blackcompany says:

      What is it with Far Cry 2? Is it just romanticizing the past? Or is it the sharp contrast created by how bad the FPS has been since that game released? Everyone hold FC 2 up as some sort of paragon of the genre when the truth of the matter is, it was pretty terrible from a game play standpoint.

      Sure, its theme, minimalist writing and world building all meshed nicely. It was sort of like the Dark Souls of the FPS world. Or would have been, if it was at all playable as a game. Which it wasn’t.

      Remember those checkpoints? The ones that constantly respawned in minutes, and where the enemies always chased you down no matter how fast you breezed through? Those alone were enough to kill the game for any reasonable person. But that was not the only – or the biggest – problem with the game.

      No, that honor goes to the malaria. I dont know whose idea that was but I do know they should never be allowed to contribute another idea to video game development. Ever. As the article today states, attacks from malaria occurred every 30 minutes – just often enough to make you wonder whether you really had time for, well, (my own words here) playing the game AT ALL. Literally everything you tried to do at any point in the game was interrupted by some screen blur and a prompt to take a pill.

      A difference exists between Far Cry 2 the concept, and Far Cry 2 the game. And while I think the concept is one that is heartily worthy examining and that I would like to see implemented in more games – correctly, this time – the actual GAME that is Far Cry 2 is pretty bad in places. So much so that I think we need to mind the romanticizing and be more honest about how good – or bad – a game it actually became when it left the showroom floor for public consumption.

      • Terragot says:

        The Idle-Thumbs chaps are mates with the director of that game, so they are constantly praising the game.

        Whilst the ideas in Far Cry 2 are compelling enough – and anyone of them could work really well – how the design of these ideas are executed doesn’t deliver the ideas justice, and actually makes them appear as bad ideas. The developers failed to heed the classic mantra ‘The value is not in the idea itself, but the execution of that idea.’

        For example, and this was spotted by a listener who wrote into the pod-cast, the player weapon’s jamming and breaking mid-combat forces the player to constantly adapt to circumstantial change. The problem with this is it’s not consistent with the enemies in the game world – none of their weapons break or jam. This gives off the impression that the game mechanic is just out to spite you, rather than a law of the game world.

        Disclaimer, I love Idle-Thumbs and I think they’re a bunch of really smart chaps, I just disagree with their faultless perceptions of what I think was a poorly designed game; Far Cry 2.

        Edit : Also, agreed with the Malaria thing. I’ve a little sister with the condition and they did a botch job of handling what that disease does to a person. What on earth were they thinking? Imagine if it came out today, would the player be able to contract Ebola?

        ‘Hold F to stifle a disease that has killed countless persons.’

        • jasonisme84 says:

          Malaria is obviously horrible, but so is killing people. I’m not sure I understand how you could take offence at a virtual malaria gimmick without being more bothered by the whole premise of virtual killing for fun.

          • Geebs says:

            The problem isn’t that FC2 trivialises the worldwide impact of malaria, it’s that the ‘malaria’ in the game bears no relation to how the disease works, the ‘pop a pill to make severe bout of malaria instantly vanish’ thing is nonsense, and it might as well have been a particularly nasty case of tennis elbow, mechanically speaking.

            The thing that’s annoying about Far Cry 2 is that they deliberately made the mechanics shitty in order to make some half-assed point, when it could so easily have had made the same political points while still being a good game. It’s like wiring up your toilet seat to the mains: sure, life is pointless and we’re all going to die, but can’t we have a nice, satisfying shit while contemplating that fact?

            • eggy toast says:

              So because no one you know has a chronic joint injury, that is Ok to make light of and assume is trivial to treat, whilest your personal perspective on malaria puts it out of bounds.

              Sounds fair to me!

            • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

              Geebs’ point isn’t that it’s OK to treat malaria that way, it’s that the point the others were making was not that it isn’t OK to treat malaria that way.

        • Stellar Duck says:

          I’d say it’s a bit of a stretch to say they’re mates with Clint Hocking.

          To my knowledge he’s been on Tone Control (which was great) and that’s it.

          I also disagree with you and find that Far Cry 2 is the best of the games. Far Cry 3 was a pile of boredom to me as it took everything I liked about FC2 and tossed it out the window and replaced it with inane collection mini games and AssCreed tower climbing. Opinions! :P

          • Terragot says:

            That’s true. Whilst I feel Far Cry 2 had interesting ideas poorly executed, Far Cry 3 had no interesting ideas at all. It just surrendered itself to the Ubi-format.

            • KenTWOu says:

              Far Cry 3 is all about emergent gameplay, It just did what Far Cry 2 did with emergency and improved it in every possible way. Devs polished and fine tuned all its systems so well so the game could generate ridiculous situations which are not possible in a heavily scripted linear shooters. I could spend several hours telling anecdotes I’ve seen and experienced during a single walkthrough. And every anecdote was unique and memorable for me. You see tons of icons on the map like in any other Ubi game, I see another place where cool things might happen. Or they will happen while I’m getting there because of me, because of randomness, unpredictability, systemic nature of the game. As an overall game Far Cry 3 wasn’t as consistent as Far Cry 2 and its single player campaign sucks, but gameplay wise it was brilliant.

          • qrter says:

            I agree, FC2 is the only really good game in the series. I’ve never had any real problems with the gameplay, although I did bump up against the refilling checkpoints when I started my first game (yes, I’ve played the game many, many times), but then I adapted (it’s not that hard to bypass refilled checkpoints if you get a grip on the driving mechanics and plan where you want to go, or if you use the rivers – I’m not excusing the refilling checkpoints btw, just saying they are manageable).

            The thing I liked about FC2 is that it made me feel uncomfortable playing the game. I liked how it made me realise slowly that I was playing as a very bad man, without stating it outright.

      • asthasr says:

        Agreed. The first Far Cry felt like a tech demo; at the time, I had no inkling that this would become a staple series, and I still can’t really understand it. I guess the problem is that the original Far Cry came out at roughly the same time as Half-Life 2, and felt like a pile of poo in comparison, whereas the later ones have been concurrent with a much less inspiring slate.

        • Kempston Wiggler says:

          Wow, we’re on different planets as far as views on which was the better game. I’ve played Far Cry so many times I can’t even remember. I’ve played Half Life 2 twice, and have no wish to ever go back. You call Far Cry a tech demo – I call HL2 a “plot demo”….aaargh that game winds me up so much I can’t even think straight now. I’m going back to Far Cry to relax.

          • asthasr says:

            The thing about HL2 versus Far Cry is that Far Cry promised to be an open world game… but wasn’t particularly open. HL2 was linear, but every scene felt well-composed, while Far Cry’s scenes just seemed to happen (and not necessarily in a composed way). I actually stopped playing FC at a point where a cyberdemon-thing killed me right at a checkpoint. Literally, I could not progress, no matter what I did. Frustrating and, frankly, stupid.

      • secuda says:

        Hehe remember at one point when i burst through a enemy checkpoint with a car and i jumped out before a hill and saw the car just went off in to the space… kinda wierd moment.

      • Muzman says:

        When people hold forth on the magnificence of Far Cry 2 I can usually only think they must not have played Stalker.
        Granted they are quite different in a lot of ways. But also some such people have played Stalker and couldn’t really get into it.
        Most of their complaints are actually true, but I endured all of it for the general greatness of the world and all the things that can happen in it. This should hold true for FC2 as well, but I can never quite hit that point where I have come to grips with controls and mechanical feel enough to enjoy the game’s other aspects. Where with Stalker I did and even came to enjoy its slightly weird take on the FPS.
        It’s sad because I appreciate how impressive much of what FC2 is doing on an intellectual level. But I feel no real urge to play it no matter how long I spend with it.

        • qrter says:

          Sorry, but I love both Far Cry 2 and STALKER (the first game).

        • pipman3000 says:

          far cry 2 is shit no matter what game you compare it to, at least stalker doesn’t cover your screen in a piss yellow instragram filter every 30 seconds or sic the african terminator on you every time you pass a checkpoint if anyone is thinking about getting far cry 2 after reading that article don’t you dare! get bad rats instead its way better

    11. Revisor says:

      There was an interesting interview with Dan Vavra.

      If you don’t have a gay character in your game, you are homophobic, if you do have gay character in your game, you are homophobic, because they don’t like the character. If women in your game look good, you are sexist, if they look bad, you are sexist, if you can fight with them, you are misogynistic, if you can’t fight with them, you are using them as objects, if you don’t have any women, because there is no correct way how to have them, you are misogynistic.

      It’s a witch hunt and it’s affecting my artistic freedom.

      • Shieldmaiden says:

        Wow, he really is the embodiment of white male privileged entitlement, isn’t he?

        • Shazbut says:

          No!

          • Jackablade says:

            He doesn’t seem like the most pleasant of fellows, but that quote there pretty much nailed why games so rarely stray from white male characters – everyone else has political baggage no matter how you handle them so it’s a hell of a lot less trouble to go with carte blanche man.

            I generally think that we need a bit more room for game devs to try stepping outside our comfortable character archetypes and screwing it up without being hassled too harshly by critics. The only way we’re going to learn how best to handle more sensitive characters and situations is if we have a chance to fail and learn from our mistakes. Not to suggest we get a free pass to ride rough shod over whatever sensitive archetypes or themes we like of course. Just… I don’t know. I guess a more constructive approach from critics and bloggers could see more varied characters and themes find their way into more mainstream titles. Right?

            • Shieldmaiden says:

              I’m a huge advocate of trying and not getting things quite right. I think it should be applauded and highlighted and held up as infinitely better than just not bothering at all. That said, I can’t, off the top of my head, think of any examples of genuinely well-intentioned inclusion in games being widely denounced. Sure, there’s criticism, but good criticism comes from a place of wanting to make things better.

            • jalf says:

              that quote there pretty much nailed why games so rarely stray from white male characters – everyone else has political baggage no matter how you handle them so it’s a hell of a lot less trouble to go with carte blanche man.

              Because omitting or ignoring those characters has no political baggage at all?

              You can’t just “opt out” of being political. You can’t just say “I put this character in my game but it doesn’t mean anything”. Of course it does. Even if you go for the “safe and noncontroversial” choice, that just means “I’m in favor of the status quo”. If you think white male characters are “carte blanche”, that means everyone else is not. It means that you see one group as “normal”, and everyone else, blacks, women, gays, anyone who isn’t a straight white male, as abnormal. That is one hell of a political message.

            • Distec says:

              Some pretty loaded presumptions there, jalf.

            • MartinWisse says:

              That’s a bit dumb. Sticking to white male characters is of course a political decision too, but more importantly, you shouldn’t expect cookies just because you do include a woman or a person or colour; a bit of diversity should be the minimum required. It’s not a safeguard against criticism.

              Because of course people like this Dan fellow seem to expect that just to half ass some diversity in their games is good enough, that they shouldn’t be expected to actually think about their characters if they’re not white blokes. Yeah, in that case you will be criticised if you do and if you don’t. But that’s not the critics’ fault: it’s yours for being shite at actually creating proper female characters.

              And really, it isn’t that difficult to write more diverse characters: just think things through.

            • P.Funk says:

              “Because omitting or ignoring those characters has no political baggage at all?”

              You must be kidding jalf. Of course you can do this and get away with it. Its the passive approach that happens when you’re trying to MAKE MONEY and not start a bloody crusade.

              I’m not going to defend an apolitical stance but honestly deciding to take the path of least resistance because its likely to damage your sales the least and create a response thats the most easily navigated with shruggable noncommittal statements is hardly sinful and honestly what do you expect?

              If you want games to be courageous advocates for change then you better start hoping for a world that doesn’t run on money and shareholder dividends and the pressure to make money and is instead about just doing something beautiful for its own sake. Usually thats sneered at as some indulgent lefty pipe dream. Alternatively we could have a culture that isn’t a total shill for corporations and actually breaths on its own, again a crazy lefty pipe dream.

              What world do you think you actually live in?

          • Distec says:

            Bah, this comment is misplaced.

        • Grygus says:

          Aren’t you making his point for him?

          Name-calling is neither compelling argument nor educational. It is pointless antagonism, and on this topic he will be subject to it no matter what he does. It does seem to me a legitimate complaint, assuming one doesn’t want to be called names. Even when you’re right, there are wrong ways to express that fact, not from some patriarchal order’s view of How Things Should Be, but from the standpoint of encouraging dialogue between disparate viewpoints, which is a necessary ingredient in civilization. I imagine that a less lazy approach would be much more useful for everyone involved.

          That said, it seems self-defeating to worry about the audience’s perception of the artist, which is bound up in all sorts of factors utterly unrelated to the work itself. Create your art, listen to the reception of the piece, and ignore the human predisposition to assume that knowing almost nothing about someone grants them complete knowledge.

          • pepperfez says:

            No, his point is, “People talking about representation in games are crazy and hate everything, so why bother?” Hating that attitude is quite a different thing. Because he’s telling me, a person concerned with how women and minorities appear in games, that I’m dangerously irrational, and I’m gonna call bullshit on that.

            • Emeraude says:

              Main issue I think is that he seems to be conflating all criticisms with one faction, when in truth there are several, somewhat overlapping but still very distinct.

              Still, regardless of that, it’s a good example of how people on the receiving end of that ongoing process can feel about it. Which is the main value of the piece.

              He’s right that there is something apparently irrational about glorifying the rise of the indie scene as allowing creators to produce whatever they want free of external constraints borne from mass-market economical pressure – to have their own unique voice – while demanding that they surrender themselves and their work to a new set of nebulous external constraints.

            • pepperfez says:

              I don’t think there really is a demand that indie devs “surrender themselves and their work to a new set of nebulous external constraints,” though. A lot of indie games do explicitly take on social issues, but that’s because a lot of indie devs really care about social issues. The only real new demand anyone is making of all developers is to think about how women and minorities are represented in their games. Calling that demand unreasonable makes a lot of people the people making it grumpy.

          • Shieldmaiden says:

            I don’t think pointing out that someone is acting in a privileged and entitled fashion is name calling. It’s an observation, not a value judgement. Privilege is intrinsic and is usually invisible to you until someone points it out. He talks about maturity and decries the old days when games journalism was about asking how many guns you had (which, from what I can gather, is exactly what we’d return to if the GamerGate crowd got their way,) yet seems unable to separate really, really basic cultural critique from censorship.

            Criticism is about pointing out how things can be improved. When you release a creative work to the public, you are opening it up to critique. You can choose to take that on board, or you can choose to ignore it completely. In a way, part of the role of any creator is to criticise your criticism, especially if you’re producing commercial works for mass consumption. The clunky controls of Resident Evil are a good example. Some say that they’re just bad, some say that they heighten the tension by removing the ease with which an average video game player could despatch traditional, slow-moving zombies. I’d wager that the various Resi development teams have been arguing about it for years.

            In a lot of respects, actual video game criticism is crude and underdeveloped. We’re still at the stage of, for example, pointing at a game with a cast of six white dudes and asking “Do they all need to be white dudes?” It’s important, because right now, the answer is usually no. It’s being done with little thought and, in the vast majority of cases, with a little extra effort, some of those white dudes could be changed to non-whites or non-dudes without altering the “artistic vision” one jot.

            At the same time, it would be a revelation if a developer turned around and said “Yes, it’s important that all these characters are white and of the dude persuasion, please allow me to explain why.” It would mean that a developer had actually given the matter some thought and there’s a chance those white dudes are going to be actual characters and not a bunch of slight variation on generic, bald, grunting spess mareen with no discernible human emotion. Incidentally, “It’s set in medieval Europe” is not a legitimate reason for all your characters to be white dudes.

            I tend to have a charitable view of humanity. My assumption when seeing yet another game that has all the diversity of Hitler’s birthday party guest list (yep, just Godwinned my own post, deal with it, ;)) is that the game was probably made by a team mostly consisting of white men who didn’t really think about it. No agenda, no misogyny, no racism, just a bunch of normal people doing what they know. I’d like to think that, if it were pointed out to them, they’d say “Oh crap, yes, you’re right. I’m afraid that it’s too late in the production process to do anything about it with this title, but we’ll try and do better next time.” Guess what? That’s exactly what the role of criticism is.

            • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

              ^^ Nailed it precisely.

              Every time I see people complaing that ‘there is no way you can do diversity right’ I remember the comments section to an RPS article about Dragon Commander, in which someone complained about how in the game you had to play as a dude dragonman* and take a wife. That comment was followed by lots of responses saying that, while that is indeed what happens in DC, the game is very aware that it’s a sexist trope and plays with one’s expectations in a lot of ways. I haven’t played the game yet but I saw many people arguing for DC that I often see panning other games for sexism in these ‘ere comments. So from that I think DC did manage to treat female characters in a satisfactory way, even though a cursory examination of its structure wouldn’t suggest it.

              Bottom line: if you are being called mysoginistic when you can hit women in your games and when you can’t hit women in your games and when you don’t put women in your games, maybe it’s not because people cannot be pleased at all**; maybe it’s because the problem with the women you put in your games go beyond whether or not you can hit them.

              **Though, of course, it’s impossible to please every single person who will play your game, so technically people cannot, in fact, be pleased at all.
              * Dragon Commander is a man. I mean, he is a dragon man. I mean, he is not a dragon. He is just a dragon commandeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeer

            • Shieldmaiden says:

              I really like your post just for the Trogdor reference. :)

              I still reckon that when diversity is done really, really well, people mostly don’t notice it. Which is sad, because it means the people doing a good job don’t get the recognition they deserve. I mean, when was the last time you saw someone discussing gay marriage in Fable?

            • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

              Maybe diversity is like gameplay, in which if it’s well done you don’t notice it.

              The difference is that if you always want to play as a grim white dude in every game you play, you’ll still notice gameplay done badly.

        • DonkeyCity says:

          His point exactly – if you don’t discuss how inclusiveness influences your game you are hiding behind straight white male privilege, if you do discuss how inclusiveness influences your game you are blinded by straight white male privilege. If you will only accept answers as reasonable if they provide you with confirmation of the position you already hold, you aren’t really having a conversation.

          • Shieldmaiden says:

            He’s not hiding behind his privilege. Privilege isn’t something you generally use, it’s something you have. It’s possibly to be aware of your privilege and to use it to your advantage, but that immediately makes you a massive arsehole in most situations. The fact that he has privilege is what allows him to make those arguments about artistic vision and to dismiss the viewpoints of others because he has spoken to some women and they seemed happy. Does “We have several women in our team as well and I hope that they are happy and treated like anyone else.” seem like the words of someone who has a solid grasp on the gender dynamics in his own company?

            I guess the best example of privileged viewpoints on equality is when someone expresses a sentiment along the lines of “Well, we have laws in place that make it illegal to discriminate against people. We don’t need to do anything else, everything will fall into place and the law will punish those who don’t.” Pretty much everyone who says something like that will be white, straight and male, or have some other privilege that insulates them from disadvantage, such as being wealthy or upper-class. When you’re on the top of the heap, it’s easy to say “It’s all fair on paper, let time sort it out.” People in that position don’t have to deal with everything from sexual harassment, to police profiling, to simply not being able to turn on your PC and play as a character who looks like you.

            That said, privilege is a difficult concept to get your head around, especially if you have a lot of it. It’s why I get frustrated at some of the more aggressive radfem types who seem unable to hold a civil conversation. I get the anger and the frustration, but ranting at a (quite possibly poor and disenfranchised) white guy about all the amazing advantages he has really doesn’t help. I find it much better to frame it as a bunch of disadvantages you don’t have to deal with.

            • pepperfez says:

              I agree with you in all substantive regards, but ‘radical feminism’ is a distinct set of (dubious) theoretical claims, not just being unpleasantly aggressive in discourse.

            • Shieldmaiden says:

              Yes, you are quite right. I’m transgender, so I’ve had my fair number of run-ins with radfems of a certain persuasion. It’s just been my experience that the really shouty, aggressive “feminists” tend to fall into one radfem camp or another. The quotes are there for the same reason I’d describe the Westboro Baptist Church as “Christians.”

            • pepperfez says:

              Ah, gotcha. Sorry to tell you what you already know.

            • Baffle Mint says:

              The problem with the concept of “privilege” is that a lot of people want to use it as a cudgel, a way of beating people they don’t like into submission.

              As I understand it, your “Privilege” is the stuff that benefits you but that you didn’t earn; Say, being white instead of black in a racist society; being male in a sexist society, whatever.

              It doesn’t mean that every single white guy in the USA is better off than every single black guy in the USA; it just means the black people have to deal with certain kinds of bullshit that white people don’t.

              Everybody has these privileges; You might be a black man, but you aren’t a black woman; a straight black woman doesn’t have to deal with the same stuff as a lesbian black woman, who doesn’t have to deal with the same stuff as a homeless lesbian black woman, etc. etc. etc.

              Being born in the USA instead of, say, a communist dictatorship is a kind of privilege.

              But look, since everybody has it, there’s a real need to not beat on the people who have it. If you just say “Wow, he really is the embodiment of white male privileged entitlement, isn’t he?” then all you’re using the concept for is name-calling; nobody’s going to read that and reflectively consider the ways in which they’ve benefited from luck rather than skill.

            • Shieldmaiden says:

              I’ll be admit that I wasn’t making the most constructive comment in the world, but in all fairness, it was an off-hand post in the comments thread of a website, not an actual attempt to engage with the views he espoused. In my defence, I was referring to the fact that his answers were very much the epitome of white, male privileged responses, rather than off-handedly dismissing him because of his whiteness or maleness. I did manage to squeeze out two, in my completely unhumble opinion, semi-decent posts on the matter in this very comment thread, which I think, after almost a solid of month of extreme bullshittery around gender and gaming, is actually quite good going.

            • Muzman says:

              It’s worth noting that technically Radical Feminism is merely the one that involves the theory/perspective/whatever that society is still patriarchal, underneath all the laws we make for equality and so forth, and in need of reform.
              That’s really it. Hold to patriarchy theory more or less? = Radical feminist.

              So it’s a pretty broad group. Arguably an entire “Wave” and half. It makes no particular bones as to how this might get done. For some it’s a purely theoretical, critical position.
              So the pejorative tag isn’t much good at doing any actual sorting. By the colloquial use of ‘radical’ as meaning bomb throwing anarchist type you’d have to end up saying that there are radical radical feminists.

            • Shieldmaiden says:

              Sometimes I think there’s a lack of vocabulary there. The only commonly used descriptor of a particular feminist mindset I’ve seen is TERF, which is trans-exclusionary radical feminist.

            • Muzman says:

              Yeah there absolutely is. The various subtle schisms don’t really bother to label themselves very often. I’ve heard to people not really encouraging doing such things for fear of diluting the movement, when the core is similar enough.
              That particular one, trefs, is still such a weird one to me. I mean we’re talking about the outer pointy ends of the gender bell curve where life is tough enough already, and we need to take a hard line on this? Really? But I don’t need to tell you any of this. Seems mostly like theory in service of other phobias; techno- and relativism phobia among them.

              Anyway, language in the whole area is a muddle when it encounters the public as often as not. It does make me sigh to see arguments where feminists are throwing academic language at people like they’re supposed to know the discourse around it. ‘Misogyny’ itself is one – one side often describing some subtle cultural force and the other quoting back the dictionary and saying “I’m not one of those! How dare you!” and usually down hill from there. It’s a pity.

        • strange_headache says:

          He’s so privileged for having suffered the abuse of an authoritarian communist state. Even worse, he’s white so let’s completely dismiss anything he says, because it just doesn’t fit with my views.

          If you want to criticize somebody that’s absolutely fine, but don’t dismiss an argument based on broad generalizations, stereotypes and ad hominem attacks.

          Dismissing someone’s views based on his skin color or his gender is in itself a type of racism.

          • pepperfez says:

            Dismissing somebody’s argument for being a crappy argument, however, is forever within bounds.

            • strange_headache says:

              Doesn’t invalidate what I said in any shape or form.

          • Shieldmaiden says:

            Point out that someone’s views are typical of someone in possession of certain privileges is not the same as dismissing them because they have those privileges.

            • strange_headache says:

              You don’t know this guy, you don’t know his situation and his background, sou you can’t even know if he is privileged. You just assume that he’s privileged because he says something you don’t agree with, therefore dismissing what he says. You are generalizing, based on a person’s color or gender, that’s what I call racism.

            • Shieldmaiden says:

              He is white and he is male. Thus he has white privilege and male privilege. I’m white, I have white privilege too. Privilege has a quite specific meaning in an anti-oppression context. If you’d like to know more, this piece is quite good. link to everydayfeminism.com

              If you’d like to discuss things further after having a bit of a read on the subject, I’d be happy to oblige. :)

            • strange_headache says:

              “He is white and he is male. Thus he has white privilege and male privilege”. That’s a nice generalization and I’d really love to live in a world where things were that simple. Because certainly important stuff like social and political environment, legislation, social mobility and all that other nonsense doesn’t matter. He’s male and white, he’s privileged, let’s ignore that fact that he had to live under the heel of an authoritarian state.

              I don’t know where that simplistic notion of privilege is coming from, but I’d be much obliged if you could point my way to a peer reviewed social study of said phenomenon instead of a blog. Thanks :)

            • Shieldmaiden says:

              Okay, one last try. Privilege, in an anti-oppression context, which I’m sure just a little effort on your part would aptly demonstrate is a widely-understood concept in academia, is a set of advantages (or lack of of disadvantages) which are inherent to belonging to a given group. These advantages and disadvantages are the result of how society perceives given groups. Talking about privilege does not imply judgement nor place blame. You cannot stop being privileged (in most cases. Arguably a transgender person is giving up their cisgender privilege and possibly their male privilege and/or heterosexual privilege when they transition.) It does not make you a bad person.

              So when I say that that he has white privilege and male privilege, I’m saying that he has a specific set of advantages, or things that he just doesn’t have to deal with, because he is white and male. That doesn’t mean he has had an easy life. I’m not saying that his views are invalid or making any assumptions about his individual experiences. I’m saying that he doesn’t have to deal with the inherent disadvantages of being black or female.

              I struggled for a long time to get my head round the concept. As someone who came from a poor family and has struggled with many problems for most of my life, the idea that I had some kind of special advantage was totally alien. It made me defensive and angry.

              Some people will use others’ privileges as an excuse to be dismissive. I agree, it’s very unpleasant. However, at no point have I done this. I just pointed out that his arguments were very typical of someone possessing his privileges. Some of them were arguments that I would have agreed with a few years ago, when I was possessed of considerably less empathy and self-awareness than I do now.

              Again, if you wish to continue discussing this after you have acquainted yourself with the concept of privilege, I’d be happy to. Otherwise we may as well be attempting to communicate in different languages.

            • pepperfez says:

              That’s not a generalization, that’s a definition. ‘X privilege’ is just the factor of belonging to favored group X. It doesn’t have anything to do with any other factors of your life. And when you don’t belong to a particular disfavored group, it’s often harder to sympathize with their complaints. E.g., people in developed liberal democracies not understanding the difficulties of those under repressive regimes.

            • strange_headache says:

              I have read the blog, but I’m still waiting for my scientific study. According to Merriam-Webster this is the definition of privilege:

              priv·i·lege
              noun \ˈpriv-lij, ˈpri-və-\
              : a right or benefit that is given to some people and not to others

              Certainly, in many situations white men can be defined as privileged, but you can’t generalize. You can’t say that every person that is white and male is privileged because it depends on many other social and political factors. What you are doing is called “inductive fallacy” and logically wrong.

            • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

              They are not using the dictionary definition of the word, they are using a specific definition of the word that applies in the specific context they are discussing. They have rather sufficiently explained to you what is both the context and the defintiion of the word.

            • strange_headache says:

              1. You can’t change the definition of a word to fit your narrative
              2. It’s pretty much the same definition as given on the blog
              3. Learn what an inductive fallacy is

            • elderman says:

              @strange_headache

              Re: peer reviewed study. Not my field, but this seems to be a good start.
              link to nathanrtodd.netfirms.com
              Knock yourself out.

            • Geebs says:

              Couple of thoughts on the use of the word ‘privilege’ in this sort of context; I hold no qualifications to have an opinion on this, so it’s perfectly OK to tell me to go fuck myself:

              Given that, in internet vernacular is almost universally misunderstood, and given that it always causes this precise debate:
              – maybe a word with a less loaded common meaning would be better? From a nerdly point of view, ‘permissions’ would seem to be a better analogy
              – telling people to go educate themselves on the meaning of a word you’ve used yourself after they’re already outraged may be valid, but it’s never productive

              That, in addition to the fact that its inter-use is hugely biased towards hugely tetchy people using it in reference to superficial characteristics of people they’ve never met but are unfavourably disposed towards, and given that it immediately Godwins any argument, maybe it’s not helpful to use it outside of the context of academic circles where everybody knows what’s being discussed.

              For my education: although Shieldmaiden says that it’s a neutral word, in the contexts I’ve seen it used it’s always deployed to criticise somebody else personally; however, could you correctly use it to describe the social situation of somebody who is disadvantaged by the traditional criteria?

      • Acorino says:

        guy sounds clueless.
        artists have freedom, but also moral responsibility.

        • Blackcompany says:

          Actually, no…artists do not have a moral responsibility. Not to represent minorities or majorities; not to represent one gender over – or even equally to – another. Certainly not to try – and mostly fail – to ‘correctly’ interpret modern social trends regarding morality and equality and adjust their vision to fit these trends.

          Because that is where an artist’s loyalty lies: To their vision. First and foremost and above all else, an artist has a responsibility to their vision. To compromise that responsibility is to compromise the vision, and water it down until it is lost and the portrayal of same lies dormant and unfinished due to artistic compromise on behalf of social trends.

          Artists are loyal to their desired creations and the visions that inspire them. If artists were beholden to some wider set of morals imposed from outside, Dickinson would have stopped writing poetry after her first for our sake and Chaucer would have proclaimed proudly on the cover of his works that his real purpose was not entertainment but the curing of insomnia by means of the written word. Rembrandt might have painted some dudes in his pictures now and then – see, it works both ways – and Picasso would have gone through a Red period following his blue phase just so he could equally represent both portions of the color spectrum equally.

          And yes, for those who dont understand it, this is a bunch of hyperbole and exaggeration designed to draw attention to the argument through borderline metaphor. Of course it is. But the point remains: Artists are beholden to their vision, not some external force such as social equality. To claim otherwise is to compromise artistic integrity.

          • GameCat says:

            There’s only one thing you should want from any artist – good art.
            But what’s that art about – it’s up to artist.

            • Geebs says:

              More to the point, what you want out of any artist is just art; after that it’s up to you to decide whether it was any good or not.

          • pepperfez says:

            He has a moral responsibility not as an artist, but as a decent human being, to consider how his actions affect vulnerable people in society. Not to become a full-time activist or anything, but to recognize their perspectives as genuine. He fails at that when he throws up his hands and decides they’ll never be satisfied so why bother. Frankly, that’s more offensive to me than whatever he puts in his games.

            • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

              Your morality, Pepperfez, maybe isn’t his. Next time you make a creative work, I bet you won’t expect to see Dan Vavra giving you a list of ways he finds it “problematic”

            • blind_boy_grunt says:

              ” I bet you won’t expect to see Dan Vavra giving you a list of ways he finds it “problematic”
              so what if he does, how is anothers freedom of expression tampered with? The guy from the article doesn’t defend his right for expression but his right to feel good about himself. But if all it takes are opinions and questions to take that away from him, maybe, just maybe he also knows he isn’t really on the “good” side.

            • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

              And you don’t find worrying about who is “really on the good side” a depressingly juvenile thing to be doing? EVERYBODY thinks they are on the good side. I, for example, am convinced that I am on the good side and that “privilege checking” is a self aggrandising, self indulgent, academically and theoretically bankrupt way to make ironically privileged people feel good about themselves. Many other commenters on this website are presumably of the exact inverse opinion, which I guess is their privilege (no pun intended). No-one can prove themselves right, and throwing about the old-as-the-ark “decent human being” crap is just a way to inject pseudo-objectivity into a field of interest that has none.

            • pepperfez says:

              Well, sure, but is his moral stance really that women and minorities ought to be excluded from games? Because if it is, I’m confident in calling him a jerk who shouldn’t be listened to. That’s a moral stance, but most of us agree it’s a bad one.
              That probably isn’t his stance, though! He probably thinks (or at least would identify as thinking) it’s important to make gaming an inclusive hobby, as long as it doesn’t force him to lose control of his work. Which I agree with, as do basically all the people talking about diversity and representation. We just want people in games (developers, writers, publishers) to acknowledge that games aren’t made in a vacuum and that thinking about how social biases affect them might make games better, more interesting, and more welcoming. If he thinks about it, decides that his game needs an all white/all male cast for some reason then OK, but he’ll have to deal with criticism the same as if he decides it needs a checkpoint-based save system.

            • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

              Yes, I see that as being reasonable, though the desire not to think about women and minorities within the context of writing a video game hardly makes him a social pariah. What if he’s a passionate Christian, as I am? I can see why you would not like some parts of that system of morality, but you must understand that sometimes these ideas are relative. You can’t expect a hardline Christian to make a game extolling homosexuality, for example. It’s not going to happen.

            • blind_boy_grunt says:

              oh i don’t disagree with you, at least the first part. Hence the quotation marks for “good”.
              That’s what i ment with he wants to feel good about himself, he wants to believe what he does is the good and right thing. He just wants the “mean people” to shut up so he doesn’t have to reflect on anything. It just feels so whiny.

            • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

              OK, sorry BBG, I think I misunderstood your message earlier. I confess to having missed the quotation marks around “good”.

            • strange_headache says:

              ” If he thinks about it, decides that his game needs an all white/all male cast for some reason then OK, but he’ll have to deal with criticism the same as if he decides it needs a checkpoint-based save system.”

              I can agree to that.

        • Steve Catens says:

          Anyone suggesting that art has some inherent responsibility to be moral, please consider that that would require us to designate some sort of moral arbiter. Do we want religious leaders or politicians imposing their ideas of morality on art? Historically speaking, no.

          As sympathetic as I am to the goals of some of these arguments, I’m always struck by how often they end up in a place that is largely indistinguishable from any number of other efforts to impose a set of values on other people’s art, by people who also sincerely believed they were working in the interests of morality or the good of society.

          Art is the expression of ideas. Implying that artists have some sort of greater responsibility than anyone else to express only “moral” ideas is far more problematic than any of the issues you hope to address by doing so. By all means though, continue to express your own ideas in opposition of other ideas you find troubling.

          • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

            This is probably the best post I’ve ever read on RPS. Thank you.

          • Baffle Mint says:

            Anyone suggesting that art has some inherent responsibility to be moral, please consider that that would require us to designate some sort of moral arbiter. Do we want religious leaders or politicians imposing their ideas of morality on art? Historically speaking, no.

            You realize that you’ve pretty much just demolished the entire concept of morality, right?

            Why would judging the morality of art be different from judging the morality of anything else? If I say, “Cheating on your spouse is immoral” does that somehow mean that I’m saying we should make cheating illegal? That we should set up some political or religious conclave to judge cheaters?

            If moral judgments require the creation of untrustworthy authorities to carry them out, then aren’t all moral judgments suspect?

            And if some moral judgments can be made without the creation of these moral authorities, why is art the exception? Why is a moral criticism of art more likely to lead down the slippery slope to authoritarianism than a moral criticism of anything else?

            In my own moral system, it’s difficult, if not impossible, for art to be immoral. I disagree with a lot of political criticisms of art, but the idea that somehow making a political criticism is the same as calling for censorship is ridiculous.

            The idea that you can’t judge art is even more ridiculous; your response to a piece of art is almost certainly going to involve judging deficiencies in the artist’s vision. I don’t like Michael Bay’s Transformers. I think it’s a terrible movie, but I have enough respect for Bay to imagine that the movie is the result of decisions he made in an attempt to realize his vision. I just think his vision was not so good.

            • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

              You’re basically agreeing with him backhandedly.

              Personal morality = fine
              Absolute, universal morality = bollocks

              How is Vavra going to know who’s morality is supreme? Yours? Mine? John Walker’s?

            • Steve Catens says:

              Baffle Mint:

              The idea that you can’t judge art is even more ridiculous

              I agree that idea is ridiculous. That’s why I didn’t say it, and encouraged people to continue to express their own ideas in opposition to ideas they found troubling.

              I did say that I find the implication that artists have more of a responsibility than someone else to express only moral ideas (as apparently defined by the OP’s moral values), highly problematic.

              As for the rest, I think you were taking my statement about establishing a moral authority more literally than was intended. I wasn’t speaking about the literal formation of a government agency to arbitrate artistic morality–although people have done precisely that with predictable results.

            • pepperfez says:

              How is Vavra going to know who’s morality is supreme? Yours? Mine? John Walker’s?

              If he got to the point of considering that making games is an act that can even have a moral valence, I’d have a lot less to criticize.

            • joa says:

              Everyone realises that works of art can make moral statements — but people seem to use the morality of a game as a point of criticism, i.e. this game disagrees with my personal morality therefore it’s bad.

              At least when critics talk about novels and films, they are able to make a distinction between the aesthetic qualities of that work – how well the writer achieves their vision – and whether that vision sits comfortably with their own personal morality (which it may often not).

              Certainly anyone is entitled to like or dislike a work based on moral grounds, and they are entitled to talk about that – but I think an author is also entitled to say, “well it’s meant to be like that, deal with it”. Can’t we appreciate that some creators have a different point of view to us – and appreciate the aspects of their work we enjoy, and accept that some parts are simply not for us?

            • pepperfez says:

              but I think an author is also entitled to say, “well it’s meant to be like that, deal with it”.

              The issue is when developers (or any artists) try to have it both ways: Claiming it’s expressing their personal views and then getting upset that some people don’t approve of their personal views.

              I mean, I can’t imagine any developer would agree to the statement, “Women and minorities ought to be systematically underrepresented in games.” If they did, they would be excoriated and deserve it. But continuing to make games that systematically underrepresent those groups is making that same statement. So if you don’t believe (and you probably don’t), make your games stop saying it.

            • joa says:

              That’s exactly my point though — in the case of other, non-gaming works, people are able to see past their own personal objections to the moral content and appreciate things on another level. Certainly people talk about the issues of sexism or prejudice brought up in a film, for example, but they usually don’t use it as a way to degrade the work and demand the author change in the future, unless they have a puritan sensibility.

              If you had told Stanley Kubrick you thought A Clockwork Orange was sexist, he wouldn’t take you very seriously. The film is meant to be like that – and people are able to see past that and appreciate the aesthetic qualities. Why can’t we have that kind of discourse around games too?

            • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

              This particular thread is going squarely towards Philosphy 101… Abort! Abort!

      • RARARA says:

        I don’t remember anyone screaming ‘Sexism!’ over Mirror’s Edge even though Faith is pretty, or Dominique Pamplemousse even though the protagonist is ugly, or SR3 even though you can beat up entire gang of prostitutes, etc etc. He’s setting up strawmen and knocking them down like a pro!

        • Shieldmaiden says:

          Ssssssh, don’t question the hyperbolic generalisations and total lack of understanding of the roll of criticism in society.

          • RARARA says:

            The bar has been set so low to what counts as inclusive that you can just hop over it, but he’s pretending he needs to limbo under it.

            • pepperfez says:

              And then he’s throwing a fit and kicking the bar out of his path, then stomping off in the other direction.

        • Emeraude says:

          Faith isn’t pretty though. Hence the very real negative comments I’ve been hearing about the upcoming sequel “prettifying her up” (“tarting her up” I heard, even) with which I tend to agree really.

          SR3 managed to defuse any potential criticism – the very real criticism its predecessor rightfully experienced – via absurd-ism, so I’m not sure it’s a good example of anything.

          Dominique Pamplemousse is protected by two things: it’s so niche no one cared enough; it was made by a single woman, who can be considered part of the crowd being criticized here by Dan Vavra (even if he’s picked the wrong target methinks).

          Regardless of where you stand in that whole mess (and I don’t know where I do myself so far; I tend to think the whole “Gamergate” thing is about the middle class, the intelligentsia, the bourgeoisie, call it what you will, in the process of appropriating a form of popular culture and the old guard that made it and for which it was made being pushed into irrelevance and pushing back) I don’t think you picked the right examples.

          • Geebs says:

            Chattering classes be chattering.

            It’s pretty easy really; care about offending people, don’t care about people who get offended on others’ behalf. The latter can be avoided by staying off Twitter.

          • RARARA says:

            Faith wasn’t pretty? Man, the interweb has some high standards. Anyway, I’m looking at the designs of old Faith and nu-Faith, and the only difference I can find is a new jacket. Care to point out how they are ‘tarting her up’?

            SR3 avoided criticism not through absurdism (how do you explain complaints about DNF?), but through inclusivity. When it came to being absurdly eroticized, they pumped up the sexuality of both sexes (BDSM outfits not being exclusive to women, being able to increase your bulge size, etc).

            I used Dominique Pamplemousse as an example because… I can’t think of any mainstream major female characters that aren’t pretty, let alone be criticized for being ugly. Care to provide a few examples that hold up his point? Considering it’s such a raging issue that it’s impeding his artistic freedom.

            • pepperfez says:

              This discussion of Japanese beauty standards (WARNING: KOTAKU CORRUPTION ALERT) is the one I remember, but there have certainly been complaints about her looking too tough. I’ll leave it to your imagination whether those came from the same people criticizing the state of women in games.

            • RARARA says:

              Ah, yes – infantilizing her looks and giving her bigger boobs with trace amount of nipples. I would swear it’s parody art without the context.

              Y’know what, I would be okay with it if they were catering to the Japanese market when it came to male character designs as well and makin em real pretty.

            • Premium User Badge

              basilisk says:

              Not that it matters a whole lot, but I’d just like to point out that it’s deliberately unclear what Dominique Pamplemousse’s gender is. The script plays with the ambiguity quite a bit, and it doesn’t seem Dominique him/herself wants to identify with any specific gender. I dare say that should be read as a statement of sorts.

            • RARARA says:

              @Basilisk: Ah, thanks for that bit of info.

            • Emeraude says:

              Care to point out how they are ‘tarting her up’?

              First “tarting her up” wouldn’t be my own wording for it.
              Then: fuller lips, mascara-ed yes. Disheveled, thicker hair into perfectly thin and straight Loreal hair. Clearer skin, softer features – shadowing used to mask the nasogenien groove and attenuation of the cheek-bones.

              She looked more like a person. She now looks more like a magazine cover icon.

              Before I answer anything on that point, what’s DNF ? (Sorry very bad with acronyms)
              I don’t think the equal opportunity is explanation enough, especially when you factor in the violence – that was generally true of SR2 as well, wasn’t it ?

              Care to provide a few examples that hold up his point?

              No. I don’t think it’s needed to provide any, because there aren’t any as far as I know.
              That being said, I do think Dominique Pamplemousse is a bad counter-example by being relatively unknown/obscure and from who its author happens to be if you do know it. That’s two things you’d have to get past before even attempting the criticism.

              As I stated in another post, there are several factions at play here with various conflicting demands, and I think he’s mistaken in grouping every one of them into one. But that’s how it feels to him. It’s “the crowd of outer demands”.
              There certainly is pressure for beautifying/averaging characters (I’ll never forgive them for removing Mitsuko Nonomura from the Bloody Roar roaster or Vanessa’s redesign in Virtua Fighter), but I’m quite certain it doesn’t come from the same people that wants more diversity.

              (Tangentially related but – whether male or female, I can’t think of that many “ugly” or even average-looking characters in the first place and the first examples that come to my mind of characters being purposefully, consciously (re)designed to be more good looking are males – Basch from FFXII and Raiden from the Metal Gear series – and created for the express purpose of attracting the female audience.)

            • RARARA says:

              (Tangentially related but – whether male or female, I can’t think of that many “ugly” or even average-looking characters in the first place…

              Well, there’s the new bald Max Payne, Kayne & Lynch, every pile of sentient muscle in the Gears of War franchise – basically your typical male power fantasies. As for Snake and Raiden, I kinda already made a point above about aesthetics of Japanese male character designs with Dynasty Warriors.

              On Faith, I still can’t quite make out much of a difference (might be something about me being a dude and not being able to spot differences in makeup), but fair ’nuff about your points.

              And DNF is Duke Nukem Forever (my point was that even though Gearbox wasn’t playing it straight, they still ended up being in the receiving end of a lot of criticism).

            • Emeraude says:

              @RARARA

              Ok, might sound like a cop-out, but I do think for Duke Nukem Forever the issue is – significantly, if not totally – a matter of execution; it’s not enough to aim for humor/absurdity, you also have to do it right. And it’s harder to pull off than many seem to think. DNF didn’t.

              Good call on Kane & Lynch. Tough it is kind of particular case given everything in that game is meant to be ugly. It’s too bad I could never actually like the game part itself, because I do think the artistic direction, and what they attempted to do with the game were phenomenal.

              I know both men and women that totally are into the bald Max Payne look so I don’t know about him being ugly/average (but then if I look at other posts other people seem to think Faith was pretty, so it might be my own attraction wiring not being par for the course).

            • pepperfez says:

              for Duke Nukem Forever the issue is – significantly, if not totally – a matter of execution;

              Most definitely, and I think the same is true for a sizable portion of the games that get criticized for representation issues. That’s one of the things the Tropes videos are, or should be, good for: Showing designers that what they thought was their clever invention is actually old hat and encouraging them to think more about what they’re doing.

          • Stellar Duck says:

            I thought she was pretty.

        • HadToLogin says:

          I have no idea what that Dominique is and SR3 had natural protection since you could play as fat transvestite. And it still was called all those ISMs because there was choice if you want to kidnap hookers or not.

        • MartinWisse says:

          Instead, what you’ve seen is people complimenting Saints Row III for being able to play as whatever you wanted to be, while also criticising it for the kidnap a container full of whores mission. Imagine that, actually being able to be nuanced about a game.

      • Kempston Wiggler says:

        “It’s a witch hunt and it’s affecting my artistic freedom.”

        Lost me right there. The wailing cry of the ignorant attempting to defend their ignorance.

        • HadToLogin says:

          And you called him ignorant if he doesn’t do what you want – good job proving his point.

          • pepperfez says:

            No, he’s ignorant for not knowing what people are demanding.

            • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

              *Some* people pepperfez, some people. You demand progressivism, I demand reactionism. Either way it’s “people demanding”.

            • pepperfez says:

              I mean that the quoted paragraph is a misunderstanding of the ‘pro-diversity’ position. He says that all the criticism of women’s and minorities’ representation is basically irrational, hostile, and impossible to satisfy, and that’s just factually incorrect. If someone said, “A few of us want more women and minorities in games, but the people opposed to us won’t be happy until only white men are shown in games,” we’d call them a loon and/or dishonest. Vavra’s lament is the mirror image.

            • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

              So it’s the generalisation that bugs you more than the sentiment? Again, I find that very reasonable. I have always thought you to be a nice moderate Pepperfez, glad to be ultimately proven correct! :D

            • pepperfez says:

              As have I, Display, the most restrained and anti-radical around.

        • qrter says:

          Yep, that “won’t anyone think of the artistic freedom!!” thing drives me nuts. Huge big strawman, if ever I saw one. No one is saying you can’t make your non-inclusive all white male, all hetero games, just that it would be nice if it wasn’t the overbearing de facto standard.

          You see it too in the comments under the article (approach them at your own peril), a strange kind of defensive hysteria:

          This is what #Gamergate wants in the industry. We don’t *care* what your Race/Religion/Orientation/Etc… are. We just want to enjoy the hobby that we love in a reasonable, open & honest way.

          Nobody is taking your non-inclusive games away, people are just discussing that there are quite a lot of them, and why that is the case.

      • Baffle Mint says:

        I was attacked on the Internet many, many times, because I often tend to say stuff people don’t like, but I never ever had a need to whine about it in a magazine and play a victim.

        He said, in his extensive internet magazine article about people who attack him on the internet.

        The one where he says he’s the victim of a “witch hunt” which is “affecting [his] artistic freedom”.

        Glad he doesn’t go to internet magazines to whine and play a victim.

        I was disappointed to find out that most of what Vevra says in that interview is utter bunk, because I kind of agree with that paragraph you quoted; in modern art discourse you’re kind of caught in a Catch-22 that goes like this:

        Artist: Hey, my game has a great minority/female character!
        Critic: Your depiction of women is sexist and deeply problematic.
        Artist: You know, you’re kind of right, so in my latest game, I didn’t feel comfortable writing minority characters, so I mostly stuck to people who look like me.
        Critic: Your lack of inclusion of women/minority characters is part of the culture’s attempts to erase minorities from the public consciousness.
        Artist:Well, then how should I write minorities into my next game?
        Critic: I’m not here to educate you!

        There’s very much this trend in leftist internet criticism/discussion where the only way people will respect you is if you’re already educated about and agree with them on whatever issue is being discussed.*

        This can also combine with the general internet trend of grabbing one out-of-context thing and yelling about it without knowing anything much in particular about it.

        *EDIT: Thinking about it, this is actually a problem with lots of internet subcultures

        • Muzman says:

          This problem really only matters if the critic in question is the same individual, and then not so much because their weak position would then be obvious.
          Why this really becomes a thing, and everyone does it (more examples than can be counted the past couple of weeks), is the tendency to group people by tone and team and all sorts of things when they react. We think we know what ‘those people’ are like and how they think when they’re actually not the same people and our critics and oppressors are more vaporous than it might appear.

        • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

          Actually, you got the last line wrong in that exchange. It goes like this:

          Critic: Maybe you should find a few people who belong to said minorities, and ask them to participate in your game, or at least engage with them so your next work will be more inclusive.
          Artist: Man! You’re trying to tell me how to do my job and censoring my free speech! It’s not your job to educate me!

          • Philopoemen says:

            But again, it depends on person – my better half is a cop, female, and of non-caucasian background; she routinely gets verbally abused about her gender, sexuality (because all female cops are lesbians apparently), her ethnicity, asked if she’s a stripper (objectified) etc etc. She’s also a massive gamer, and logically, should be the perfect example for someone wanting to include “minorities” in their games.

            Her response to this whole issue? “Harden the up.”

            The point being, even members of these minorities are going have different viewpoints as to how they should be represented. You’re never going to please everyone. Which is what I took from Vavra’s bit.

          • Baffle Mint says:

            No, “I’m not here to educate you” is a meme in leftist internet worlds; I’m certainly not going to argue that every critic does it, I’m not even going to argue that most do, but you can’t pretend it’s nota fairly common real response people get.

            There’s an orthodox leftist way to tell you you’re a bad person for anything you do that addresses issues of race and sex; there’s even an orthodox leftist way to tell you you’re a bad person for asking how to better address issues of race and sex.

            Ideally, you deal with it the same way you deal with any other harsh criticism; you keep in mind that you’re going to get criticism for anything you do, that it’s going to be contradictory because it’s coming from different people, and that some of it is going to come from smart people who should be listened to, and some is going to come from lunatics or idiots.

            It can be a bit harder because these kinds of criticism are aimed as much at you as your work; they’re (often) an accusation not simply that your work sucks, but that it is actively making the world a worse place.

            And contra what some people say, simply making a good-faith effort to address problematic issues absolutely will not insulate you from leftist criticism; and sometimes it really shouldn’t because your good faith effort failed, and other times it should but it doesn’t.

      • iucounu says:

        See, if we looked at books or films or television, we’d see that it’s entirely possible to write female or minority characters into our entertainment without being denounced. What gets you denounced, most often, is simply bad art.

        • pepperfez says:

          But games aren’t art! You can’t criticize them like that! If he puts in enough Graphics and a suitably-sized Gameplay, nobody should complain.

          • RedViv says:

            “What do you mean, the gameplay is awful? It’s artistic expression of awfulness, not awful in itself! Games are totally art!” – same person two days later

      • Michael Fogg says:

        Vavra is a Seriously Cool Guy

    12. LionsPhil says:

      Future Wars was great, even despite some bastard pixel-hunt and timed puzzles. The title music is still burnt into my brain.

      …OK, mostly it was probably just pretty. Cobbett’s criticisms stir memories that he’s quite accurate.

      And one of the things most burnt into memory is “come a little closer”.

    13. RARARA says:

      Ah, Sega.They actually bothered to give proper names to their consoles, like Genesis and Dreamcast, and and their ads were weird. Like painting the gamer as a Jesus figure, ready to rise back when the game restarts.

      • Bull0 says:

        As I understand it, those sucky-eye-tube things are basically how the Oculus Rift works?

        • islisis says:

          i believe that is how to understand it

          and, as partial to Mega Drive as I am myself, i do think this sentiment and little golden reel of marketing is spot on…

          …of course only rivalable by Segata Sanshiro himself ;)

        • RARARA says:

          No, silly. The game’s exe gets its eyes sucked out. You die for gaming’s sins.

      • Gap Gen says:

        I’m gonna wander around the emergency ward, leaning down into the faces of the injured as they lie on gurneys, whispering “reality always hurts” until I’m thrown out.

      • Malibu Stacey says:

        Who can forget the Cyber Razor Cut -> link to youtu.be

    14. thedosbox says:

      Damnit, where did I put those SWAT4 disks?

    15. Emeraude says:

      The Mark Johnson piece about losing highlights a point I never could truly agree with Huizinga. I don’t think there needs anything at stake in play. Hell, a game of pretend can have no stake at all, be all about its own playing. I don’t think you need to care about stakes to be a good/invested player either.

    16. Bob says:

      Brendan Caldwell’s piece on the scratch lotteries was entertaining and well written. I buy the occasional $6 (Australian), about 3.30 pounds. In bold print: You could win up to eight prizes on this ticket..yeah, riiiight.

    17. Fenix says:

      Since no one has said so yet: Thank you for the Jim Crawford transcription, it was brilliant. Easily the best thing I’ve read this week.

      The scratch card piece was also quite endearing.

      • SuddenSight says:

        Jim Crawford’s piece is certainly interesting, but I don’t see eye-to-eye with him on what makes a “good” mystery.

        In particular, I disagree with his opinion that point-and-clicks died because of walkthroughs. Point-and-clicks died because of too much emphasis on “gameness,” which resulted in hundreds of terrible find-the-pixel, guess-the-correct-combination games that had no interesting story and were filled with endless frustration. The resurgence of Point-and-clicks we’ve seen is because of a return to what adventure games do well: tell stories.

        KR0 (which I only just started playing yesterday) is a fantastic example. There are basically zero puzzles in KR0 (well, I can count one so far as of the end of Act 1, but that hardly counts). But the game feels filled with secrets because you don’t get to explore every branch of conversation. And then there is a map with little extras that you only find if you go the wrong way. All of this lovely experience without any stupid frustration.

        For comparison, here is a talk on the same topic by Nicklas Nygren (of Knytt fame). Knytt is one of my favorite games for secrets, for two reasons:

        1) The secrets aren’t really “annoying.” There is no stats screen that says “you missed a secret,” so you never fall into the obnoxious “collect all the things” routine.
        2) The secrets in Knytt tend to be easy to find and execute – if you know what to look for. Almost all of Knytt’s secrets involve a false wall. You just need to know where it is, and walk right through.

        And this is the issue I have with Crawford’s approach: I don’t see spoilers as such a big problem. I rarely play games at launch. I’m rarely part of the launch community. I greatly dislike the secrets in Fez and Braid; they are too obnoxiously hard. It is neat how communities can come together to solve them, but once solved what is left? Nothing. You can’t “avoid spoilers” and “solve it yourself” – the puzzle is too difficult. And you can’t really “restart the community.” So I greatly dislike “community secrets.”

        However, I love subtlety and ambiguity. This is an important difference between shows like Lost and shows like Community. There are tons of subtle nods in Community. But unlike Lost, almost every little joke in Community references something. These secrets are not lost to time. When I finally get around to watching another episode I won’t be walking in a graveyard of mysteries broken. I will be entering a museum of fun references.

        That’s what good secrets do – they build on the game, even after they are solved. The mystery may be gone, but interesting ideas remain.

        And if you want your secrets to be interesting long-term, make sure someone can solve them alone. Your players will voluntarily avoid spoilers if they believe it is worth it.

        • Person of Con says:

          You’ve neatly summarized my biggest complaint about the Dark Souls series. Whenever I feel compelled to play with a wiki open or risk “missing out,” a lot of my enthusiasm starts to go.

        • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

          Haven’t read the piece yet, but I’ve reached the conclusion that in classic point-and-clicks you aren’t actually solving puzzles; your character is solving the puzzles, and you’re stuck doing the busywork for them.

    18. Philopoemen says:

      The Tony Coles/Eurogamer piece sums up my feelings about the decline of the tac-shooter genre. SWAT3 is still the best tactical shooter in terms of realism. SWAT4 was prettier but lost some of the soul. Rogue Spear was another,.

      But some of his also-rans were horrible. Full Spectrum Warrior was a debacle and failed to what it set out to do (the much more awesome Full Spectrum Command was never made available to the public staying a COTS milspec program like Vbs1’s more sensitive modules.) Delta Force ( especially Black Hawk Down) was awesome fun, but putting in the same realm as SWAT or R6 games in terms of being a tactical shooter is a bit of a stretch.

      I used to play SWAT3 a lot in the day, and there was this massive divide between the hardcore “you will use proper tactics” guys, and the casual “DM kiddies” who didn’t quite understand that shooting hostages was a no-no. Those games appealed to a certain for of person, and as e see with the R6:siege, that person is no longer the target market. Such is life.

      • JFS says:

        Even though the person does still exist. Me, for example. I’m not too fond of shooters (or if it must be, they need to be either terribly over the top or have a well-done story), but I really liked SWAT3. Unfortunately, “light simulations” with some realism but not too much complexity baggage are a rare breed. Games like Battle Academy, SWAT3 or Jagged Alliance, where you need to use your brains and orient yourself toward the real world, but not as heavily as to drown the fun.

    19. Arglebargle says:

      Pretty pathetic puff piece on Chris Roberts. If you listen to the ‘World according to Chris’, you’ll always hear about what a genius he is. Talking to folks who worked with him (outside his little coterie of sycophants) you’ll hear a very different story. Vainglory and self-aggrandisement, etc. Pretty sure he was the second most disliked person at Origins.

      • ianos says:

        Cheers, I worked really hard on that puff piece.

        Unfortunately nobody who I spoke to had a bad word to say about Roberts, so I couldn’t include anything particularly negative.

        • Arglebargle says:

          If you just talk to people who work under him now, you’ll get that, of course. If you ask other folks on the record, you will probably get that too. The industry doesn’t like workers who talk out of school. Hurts your chances at picking up that next job. No tough questions asked in the piece, imo. There were no particular questions about some of the major problems Roberts has had getting games out (Strike Commander, Freelancer). Given the ever increasing feature creep in Star Citizen, this could be a serious issue. His Hollywood career included a less than stellar string of awful to mediocre movies. For someone who espouses a love of scripts and writing, they are not very impressive in those realms. Not surprising to me that as his Hollywood thing ended in failure, he suddenly rediscovered his love of games.

          In the last year I’ve talked to ten people, off the record, who worked with him at Origins. None of them have anything good to say about Roberts. The best I can recall was ‘Maybe he’s matured some in the last 15 years.’ Another interesting one was ‘When he talks he absolutely believes what he’s saying, regardless of its relationship with reality.’ ‘He regularly took credit for the work of others.’ And a lot, lot worse.

          Hope that his assembled team is really good, because he’s a much like a figurehead who thinks he’s sailing the ship. I expect Star Citizen to be just as good as his Hollywood production. I’m not going to be watch a Chris Roberts film festival anytime soon though.

          If you want him to clam up, or just lie to you, ask Roberts how he financed the Wing Commander movie…..

          • ianos says:

            I spoke to some who don’t work with him now, they were full of praise. Nothing particularly interesting enough to include, but it was there.

            And while I didn’t Paxman him, I did ask about the failure of the Wing Commander film – and why Freelancer was vapourware of the year and all that fun. He answered however he answered. I wasn’t interviewing him to browbeat the man – I was asked to put together a profile on him, which I did after talking to him for just shy of three hours about his life and career. And I’m happy with how it turned out.

            Out of interest, what was the WC film funding from?

    20. AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

      Interesting thing about Rob Sherman. He’s certainly talented, even if I feel Black Crown fell flat for me. Uh, will you guys ever post the second part of that interview? It must be getting moldy.

      Re: Far Cry, I’d define that series quite simply: “A white guy travels to a lush paradise with a different culture to his own and starts solving problems by shooting people; things do not proceed as one might expect.” I haven’t played the first game, but if it doesn’t fit that, just swap it with the first Crysis.

    21. Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      Huh, the guy who’s making the Aurora 4X game was into professional poker as well, though he managed to make a living from it