The Sunday Papers

Sunday are for getting back to long delayed Numenera campaigns, to refresh your memory about what those people want who did the thing after the other thing happened in the place where we were at. It’s great! You should play it.

  • Simon Parkin continues to do fine work at the New Yorker, writing about Destiny’s unintended critique of consumerism:
  • Video games like Destiny are entire worlds that are governed by the rules and systems that their designers lay down. Because of this, they often take on the systems of the culture in which they are created, in this case, late capitalism. You are thrust into a world, told to work (here, your work is to harvest glimmer, a currency dropped by aliens), and use the fruits of your labor to improve your equipment. These upgrades allow you to work more quickly, more efficiently, or for greater gains. In this way, the ecosystem of investment and yield is established, an Ouroboros that is both irresistible and, by design, never completely satisfying.

  • Polygon write about the three lives of Blizzard, which is full of reflective thoughts from Blizzard employees on what World of Warcraft did to and for the company.
  • Metzen refers to this growth as “the high-class problem of World of Warcraft’s success.” He admits that it was a struggle to hold Blizzard’s culture together as the company transformed into something bigger than had ever been planned. He describes himself as “holding the line” and focusing on “exercising the values of who we are.”

    “Maybe this is too harsh, but World of Warcraft’s success was one of the biggest challenges we ever faced,” he says. “It challenged our character. It challenged our culture, the growth and the complexity, for a team that had been very tight.

  • It seemed to be a week for remembering old game magazines. Over at Eurogamer, Rick Lane remembers PC Zone and Left 4 Dead and the moment when the two overlapped. PC Zone, for those who don’t know, was like PC Gamer except rubbish, less good, poison and awful.
  • I didn’t grow up wanting to be a games journalist. I grew up wanting to write for PC Zone. This is an important distinction. For most of my adolescence PC Zone was the only source of gaming news and reviews that I read, the likes of Steve Hill, Rhianna Pratchett, Paul Presley, Richie Shoemaker and all the other fantastic writers that magazine employed were the only voices that I trusted. I was stupidly loyal to that glossy paper rectangle. I rubbished PC Gamer without ever reading it (I’ve since read and written for Gamer. It’s a great mag but for goodness sake don’t tell anyone I said that). Heck, I even remember the first copy that I bought myself – it had the Nomad Soul on the cover, that bizarre RPG with David Bowie in it.

  • We’re into review season now, which means there’ll be more of those in these pages than normal during the weeks ahead. Over at Eurogamer, Tom “Tom Bramwell” Bramwell delivers his verdict on FIFA 15’s Ultimate Team mode. Insightful.
  • However, FIFA 15 has also de-emphasised the muscularity of last year in places – despite “Physical” replacing “Heading” as a base attribute – so it’s harder for defenders to contain attackers just by tugging on their shoulder, while laying a hand on anyone in the penalty area results in a foul. These things, in combination with the way shooting and heading have been stifled and dribbling has been enhanced, mean that the most common approach by far is fast, technically capable teams. A typical XI usually includes two really fast attackers along with midfielders who can play quarterback to runners further downfield, and while that results in intense, end-to-end football, it is so much more effective than anything else that it also quickly becomes repetitive. Perhaps things will change over time as we learn the game better (and, I suspect, as EA issues the traditional balancing patch), but for the moment it feels like Ultimate Team isn’t encouraging much variety in play style.

  • Obviously Adam’s review was the best, but if you’re looking for more words on Alien Isolation to sate (or whet) your appetite ahead of its release on Tuesday, then Andy Kelly’s review at PC Gamer should do the trick. PC Gamer, for those who don’t know, is like RPS except rubbish, less good, poison and awful. Jokes! These are like jokes.
  • Ripley Junior being an engineer is as good an excuse as any to add a crafting system to the game. Raw materials litter your surroundings and can be taped together to create useful items. As well as the noisemakers and Molotovs, you can make smoke bombs, EMP mines for disabling synthetics, and blinding flashbangs. The effects of these are all temporary, but if you stun an android with a mine, you can whack it over the head with your wrench for an easy kill. Flares can be tossed to lure the alien, and if you toast it with your flamethrower it’ll scream and run away—but not for long. Combining items and weapons in interesting ways, and playing with the enemy AI, gives the game a lot of unexpected depth, and kept it interesting for the entirety of the 25 hours it took me to finish it.

  • Ian Bogost, as previously noted, is on fine form. Here he is at The Atlantic on Future Ennui.
  • I’m less interested in accepting wearables given the right technological conditions as I am prospectively exhausted at the idea of dealing with that future’s existence. Just think about it. All those people staring at their watches in the parking structure, in the elevator. Tapping and stroking them, nearly spilling their coffee as they swivel their hands to spin the watch’s tiny crown control.

    A whole new tech cliché convention: the zoned-out smartwatch early adopter staring into his outstretched arm, like an inert judoka at the ready. The inevitable thinkpieces turned non-fiction trade books about “wrist shrift” or some similarly punsome quip on the promise-and-danger of wearables.

  • I have been picking my way through the archives of the Daft Souls podcast, which is led by Matt Lees but regularly features the like of Quintin, Paul Dean, Jon Blyth, Keza MacDonald and other good eggs. I like the ones where they talk about JRPGs.
  • Obviously you should be listening to Crate & Crowbar, the PC gaming podcast I do with some friends in Bath. John joined us for the latest episode.
  • Over at Amusement Arcade, Rab Florence announced that he’s making a new computer game show – for us. This is mainly just a reminded to go read Amusement Arcade, because it’s Rab, and more Rab is good Rab.
  • I like Pendleton Ward, creator of Adventure Time.
  • And so, Ward confesses, one day during Season Five, unbeknownst to his fans, “I quit because it was driving me nuts.”

    He says this not with sadness or frustration, but with relief. “For me, having quality of life outweighed the need to control this project and make it great all the time.” So he stepped down from running Adventure Time to become simply one of the show’s writers and storyboard artists.

    Asked if he’d ever want to create another TV show, Ward responds with horror: “No, never. That sounds like a nightmare!”

  • Telomere shortening is pretty interesting.
  • This, on a book about the Chilean mine disaster, is worth reading, as is the New Yorker article which excerpts the book, linked within. Our own planet inspires a kind of unknowable cosmic dread.
  • Music this week is a series of Japanese lady indie bands. Try the no-caps tricot, the all-caps SHISHAMO, and the correct-caps Unemployed Drifter.


    1. Pich says:

      Japanese indie bands? gotta plug these guys, imo they’re amazing link to

      Also obligatory mention of Toe.

      • phenom_x8 says:

        Maybe Ikimono Gakari can be included, they’re former indie band though…
        But their song still pretty consistent from album to album or single to single (harmonica are one of their unique marks), few of them are used ad as anime soundtrack (such as Hanabi in Bleach, blue bird in Naruto,or Egao in 2013 Pokemon the movie, etc)
        This one is my favourite,Kimagure romantic, energetic, childish, completed by silly dance move that will make you laugh out loud and want to dance, (Youtube link seems to censored many of their uploaded MV and PV)
        link to

        *Kiyoe, their vocalist are 30yrs old now, btw. Born in 29th of February 1984 may become her secrets of youth (I thought she was 19 when I first saw her in 2012, damn)

      • Melody says:

        Sold! I liked Uchu Conbini a lot more than the ones linked by Graham, thanks for sharing ^_^

        Part of it is because their music is more intricate, complex and (Imo) interesting, there is more stuff going on. And in part it’s because, although I wanted to like the 3 bands he linked, they are too “happy” for my taste.

    2. Tei says:

      Its weird that the internet love Shadow of Mordor, and thinks Destiny is a pretty and hollow game. Both games do interesting things and are pretty.

      • GameCat says:

        SoM is a stealthy & parkoury hack’n’slash with quite nice gimmick (Nemesis system) which is some fresh air in AAA games segment while Destiny is more like yet another bland sci-fi shooter.

    3. Melody says:

      Via Critical Distance!

      An article on why Shadow of Mordor is morally repulsive. Really interesting read.
      link to

      Also, Leigh Alexander’s partial list of actual ethical concerns in gaming
      link to

      • GameCat says:

        “[Even Orcs] must not be dealt with in their own terms of cruelty and treachery. Captives must not be tormented, not even to discover information for the defence of the homes of Elves and Men. If any Orcs surrendered and asked for mercy, they must be granted it, even at a cost.”

        I want to play a game where after a battle you must capture remaining enemies to trade them for gold or your own troops that was captured in earlier lost battle.

        • Melody says:

          The sad thing is that I don’t believe many would create that kind of game without attaching a Paragon/Renegade system to it, that rewards you with “goodness points” for being good. It’s really hard to keep intrinsic motivation intact in games when you can always break the systems down and manipulate them to get the ending you want.

          • GameCat says:

            You’re probably right.

            BTW, I would also love to play a game where beign evil makes you rich and powerful and beign good gives you nothing.

          • baozi says:

            Wasn’t Deus Ex like this? I can’t remember exactly because it’s been a while since I played through it, mind. But at least in the first mission the only difference between a lethal and a non-lethal playing style is that your brother scolds you for killing people. I liked that, especially in retrospect. (Or maybe you got extra XP?)

            • HadToLogin says:

              You got more lethal (I think it was lethal) ammo from Armorer if you went non-lethal in first or second level.

        • Wulfram says:

          Well, Medieval: Total War lets you ransom or kill captured enemies IIRC. Think there’s some of that in Crusader Kings too.

          • Gap Gen says:

            Yeah, capturing princes was incredibly lucrative. Well, unless your enemy was bankrupt, at which point the game would just kill them anyway.

        • Andy_Panthro says:

          Mount & Blade: Warband does this to a certain extent, you can capture and sell enemy soldiers for cash, and ransom off enemy lords. There are also certain quests which require you to capture a particular enemy lord to trade for a friendly one (although it’s not really worth it from a gameplay point-of-view, as the reward for the trade is minimal and capturing a lord is tricky).

        • blastaz says:

          Medieval total war 1 like a decade ago,

      • Melody says:

        Oooh, I forgot! Rab Florence on the-hashtag-that-shall-not-be-named. Unfortunately it’s in the link :\

        link to

        • Stellar Duck says:

          A lovely piece, as is to be expected from Rab. More Rab is good Rab indeed.

          But the comments? Also to be expected I guess.

          • Laurentius says:


            Yeah and now everyone should go and read his original „doritogate” piece on Eurogamer and maybe his follow up on John Walker’s blog. This guy is clearly delusional; he barely understands his own writing and his own thoughts, which I give him that he admits openly. To write an article, in which you plan to take a jab at big companies and their PR flaunting moneys and influence to get theirs and instead the only names mentioned in that article are those of his fellows writers that were “fucked over” by smart suits of PR departments. He adds to it be throwing Lauren Wainwright under the bus full of internet hate mongers. Then he takes and offense and leaves Eurogamer because of small and completely sensible changes are “forced” on his article and yes that he “showed” them and wow those companies dudes are not laughing their ass off and still not getting paid in hefty cash. Now he gives advice like “follow the money” etc. Yeah, it is good advice, because he clearly is not intelligent enough or brave enough to do so himself. What a great person Rab Florence is, definitely we need more of him.


            • Kaeoschassis says:

              So I’ve read this comment through several times and, I’m really really sorry, I don’t have even the slightest idea what you’re trying to say. Could somebody less sleepy than me translate, possibly?

            • Gap Gen says:

              It’s possible Wainwright’s bosses persuaded Eurogamer to remove the line, given that apparently legal pressure was applied, and I don’t see a videogame freelancer having that kind of muscle. If this is true, then Wainwright was mainly Streislanded by her own bosses. But sure, it’s true that the people mentioned in the article were journalists and not PR people (although, it should be mentioned that if journalists are being corrupted by PR then it’s the journalists who are doing a bad job and the PR people who are doing a good job, but I guess magazines and sites that do it could be exposed more beyond their footsoldiers).

              Anyway, like you say, exposing the money and PR-induced hype in game journalism is the sort of thing that an anti-corruption movement should be doing, and it’s a shame that gaming leapt onto the seedy slut-shaming train and not one directed at people with actual money and power. Then again, it’s not like it was ever about corruption, no matter what a twitter account claiming to be an illiterate cab driver might suggest.

            • WrenBoy says:

              @Gap Gen

              it’s a shame that gaming leapt onto the seedy slut-shaming train and not one directed at people with actual money and power.

              I think its wishful thinking to say its nothing more than slut shaming. Certainly it would be easier to dismiss if it that were true. Im sure some of the gamergate crowd feel that way but if you look at what people are complaining about it should be clear that its far from everyone and that its unlikely to be a majority.

              Making this claim once could be a result of ignorance. To keep repeating it over and over despite near constant contradiction smacks of panic, frankly.

              As it happens games journalists have a certain degree of power within the gaming sphere, as its within their power to control the narrative. The regular misrepresentaion of gamergate is a good example.

            • FunkyB says:

              My opinion on gamergate was formed from its proponents on reddit, not the journos :) The utter shitstorm that found the tiny subreddit I moderate because we posted a ‘gamer is dead’ article has genuinely made me self-censor since. We’re now a gamergate-free zone. Ironic.

            • Martel says:

              I believe what Rab is trying to say is denounce the hate and start your own movement for what you believe, don’t accept hate as a byproduct of your movement “cuz internets”. Especially when the primary focus of said movement (the non hate-filled parts) is guilty by association, you can’t expect outsiders to allow you any leeway there.

            • WrenBoy says:

              Ignoring the, possibly unintentional, mischief in that idea, there is as least as much hatred in the movement against gamergate. Why does this not seem to cause the same kind of moral panic?

            • Baines says:

              Anyone who tries to make a movement about corruption, cronyism, hypocrisy, and the rest will probably get labeled and dismissed as part of GamerGate by the anti-GamerGate crowd, anyway.

              Even if you could somehow manage to stay separate, you’d get lumped in and dismissed the moment that you dared mention certain topics. (And to avoid certain topics might get you lumped in with the other crowd.)

            • RobF says:

              “there is as least as much hatred in the movement against gamergate”

              Yes. On the one side you have people arguing for inclusivity in games and the widening of the market and better conditions for humans.

              On the Gamergate side, you have people hurling abuse because some people wrote some articles about gamers and also women exist.

              It’s not gained any traction because the idea that there’s “as much hate” is bollocks. But whatever.

            • WrenBoy says:


              On the one side you have people arguing for inclusivity in games and the widening of the market and better conditions for humans.

              That and death threats, bomb threats, threats of physical violence, doxxing, harassment, racism, varying degrees of bullying and online vandalism. Maybe you are more of an end justifies the means kind of guy though?

            • Muzman says:

              The suggestion that women and feminists at large on the internet have not endured enough crap to explain their anger is ignorant at best. It may be mis-aimed now and then, but no it does not cause me any moral qualms in sum. The people who decided they were the enemy and should be hounded off the net do, because their logic and reasoning and actions are wrong. Simple.
              This hashtag business was driven by those people from the word go. The two main videos that spread the story in the first place are slut shaming sexist screeds. They had the chance to be passionately but intelligently critical of corruption and incestuousness, should it exist, and they blew it. They couldn’t help themselves but to play to the gallery and go for the cheap shot. The recent State of the Union post leads, Leads!, with the takeover of games journalism by ‘SJWs’ who ‘hate their audience’ and other utter BS mantras in its explanation of the issues.

              Fellas, you may wish with all your might this was substantively about corruption (of which hardly any can be found of any note) or integrity or whatever. You might cling to that one little nugget of righteousness in all that stew and tell yourself that’s the whole. But by its own hand, from day one and just about every day since this movement has told us what it cares about and how it intends to conduct business and for that it can go to hell. Any unsavory things it accidentally discovers under rocks it kicks over will not save it.

            • Donjo says:

              In Topsy Turvy land birds swim in the oceans, trees make books out of humans and the tree societies live in a hollow earth. It’s a very confusing place for the angry and the stupid.

            • RobF says:

              Dude, yer all complaining that a few people wrote some articles you didn’t like. No gaters have had to leave their homes in fear for their lives and endured constant harassment. No-one who isn’t a gater is currently playing mock-military-ops on the internet and trying to ruin people’s livelihoods because a few people wrote some articles they didn’t like.

              No non-gater is doing this: link to or has a forum full of stuff like this: link to

              Come back when you exist in some sort of reality that doesn’t rely on trying to pretend a bunch of gamers are being oppressed and their videogame toys taken away from them whilst they’re attacking women, minorities, journalists or whatever. Or as you preferred to put it yesterday, “the right kind of victims”

            • Synesthesia says:

              I’ve recently discovered that pretend war document at rogue star, and that is INSANE. My god, it’s full of wizards.

              Seriously though. it made me feel physically ill. I can’t believe how much hate can coalesce in a single place, and move in such an organised manner. It depresses the shit out of me.

            • WrenBoy says:


              Regarding the phrase “the right kind of victims”, that’s the second time you’ve reacted weirdly to it. You realise it means the kind of victims you value, right? As opposed to the wrong kind of victims, who get ignored? Its a well known turn of phrase. What exactly did you think it meant?

              Of course there are gamergate victims who are being targeted for harassment. You just don’t care about certain types of victims. I guess it helps with the cognitive dissonance.

              As to the rest if your post, you appear to be shocked by an organized boycott. The forum you linked seems to be involved in this. What is objectionable about it? The fact that you disapprove of its aims or do you find boycotts in general objectionable?

            • RobF says:

              Yes. I absolutely realise what it means.

              You might well realise what the words mean, you clearly don’t understand the cost and effect of what Gamergate are doing to people right now. Because if you did, you wouldn’t dare trot that out and your attempts at minimising what people are doing under that banner is embarassing to watch.

              There’s a reason it’s being called a harassment campaign. It’s because that is exactly what it is.

              Shall we have a recap?

              link to

            • WrenBoy says:


              I guess I was giving you the benefit of the doubt then because if you know what it means then this

              they’re attacking women, minorities, journalists or whatever. Or as you preferred to put it yesterday, “the right kind of victims”

              is a bald admission that you don’t care about any other class of victim and when you say the harassment of gamergate supporters cannot be compared to the harassment of women, journalists or whoever is polically useful, you are explicitly stating that while the type of abuse may be identical the class of victim is not.

              Is that what you are actually saying? If not what did you mean by “the right kind of victim”?

              And to be clear, the harassment against people involved in gamergate is on level which would infuriate you were it directed at right thinking individuals. Doxxing, death threats, threats of violence. People are claiming to have been fired because harassers have also targeted their workplace. This is actually driving people out of their jobs by harassment, not a perfectly legimate boycott campaign which you are unreasonably upset about.

            • RobF says:

              Nice try dude but no. It’s a movement born from a blogpost by a bitter ex, it’s a movement that inherited their hashtag from Adam Baldwin tweeting a video about the blogpost from the ex, it’s a movement that from the off has engaged in the continual harassment of women in development and in journalism.

              It is a movement claiming to be about journalistic ethics whilst failing to find one single ethical breach that’s real or worth a shit. It’s a movement that has driven women out of videogames already and continues to harass them even when they’re no longer writing about games. It is a movement intent on driving more women out of games, obsessed as it is with the concept of “social justice warriors” ruining their games. It’s a movement that justifies itself by saying it was attacked first in a series of “the gamer is dead” articles which, if anyone read the fucking things, anything negative said about a certain subset of gamers has been proven true by those operating under the banner of Gamergate. The ridiculous thing here being the articles were discussing how much more vast and wide the player base is for videogames but willfull misunderstandings, any excuse and some chinese whispers later.It is a movement that is leaving people scared and afraid and a movement that is aggressively proud of this.

              You do not get to pretend you are victims in all of this. You do not get to pretend this is a consumer boycott when it talks in terms of operations and the enemy and attacking feminist institutions whilst pretending this is some sort of legit peer review, or rather you do get to do all these things because you are doing those things. But it’s transparant as all fuck whilst Gamergate continues to visibly harass my peers. To anyone looking in it is abundently clear this is a harassment campaign because it is just that. People can’t even tweet most of the time without being descended upon by random sock puppets haraunging them and saying “we don’t condone harassment” and calling someone a bitch 3 tweets later.

              I don’t want your benefit of the doubt. I want you to stop.

            • WrenBoy says:

              So what did you mean, Rob? If you actually believe that some victims are inherently more deserving of others then at least have the courage to own it.

              Could you please be specific about why the victims of death threats and harassment shouldnt get to be victims? Do you think they had it coming, Rob?

            • RobF says:

              Give it up, dude. It’s not gonna wash.

            • WrenBoy says:


              Its not a complicated question. Either you believe that harassment is just as reprehensible when its directed against people you don’t identify with or you think that its only bad when its directed against someone you do identify with.

              Why can’t you answer this plainly without handwaving about blog posts and the presumed origins of the movement? Is it because your answer shames you?

            • WrenBoy says:


              The suggestion that women and feminists at large on the internet have not endured enough crap to explain their anger is ignorant at best. It may be mis-aimed now and then, but no it does not cause me any moral qualms in sum.

              You appear to be saying that harassment and death threats are ok as long as they come from feminists and are not aimed at feminists. Can you explicitly confirm that this is your position?

            • DrollRemark says:

              -) Tries to defend GG.

              -) Ignores relevant points for the sake of nitpicking.

              -) Pretty much validates criticism in doing so.

          • blind_boy_grunt says:

            reply fail, @WrenBoy if that wasn’t clear ;)
            oh ffs, get a grip. You are not the oppressed few, you are like the bully that starts crying after someone hits back. Or do you really not know when that harassment started? No harrassement is justified but that you are so surprised is…surprising. The victim complex gamergate people have is astounding.

            edit2: for whatever the harassement actually is you are talking about, because all i have is your words.

            • WrenBoy says:

              To be clear, I don’t consider myself a victim of harassment so I am certainly not claiming to be a victim myself. At the same time, I have never harassed anyone either, I don’t see how I can reasonably be called one.

              What I am trying to say that if the anti gamergate crowd assume, not unreasonably, that the more unpleasant actions of a minority of their members doesn’t reflect on them as a whole then the same should apply to anyone supporting gamergate.

              Now if course if you are of the opinion, and it seems some people are, that the extremist actions of a minority of a movement do reflect on the movement as a whole but that those gamergate scum had it coming then thats another story. I guess that is somewhat consistent but its only fair to spell it out. At least we will understand each other.

              I don’t mind giving examples of harassment but don’t really see the point if everyone is of the opinion that any harassment is justified as long as its against the right people. Is that your opinion?

            • blind_boy_grunt says:

              you are somehow wanting to provoke everyone into saying it’s ok to harass gamergate people. What i was saying is:
              a, gamergate started with harassment, gamergate never dissasociated itself from that, it started in that.
              b, anti-gamergate is not a movement
              c, there are always extremists and i could “forgive” gamergate for that, but c.a: look at a, and c.b: gamergate doesn’t seem to be able to communicate their goals and motives besides saying they are harassed too and attacking people

            • WrenBoy says:

              There us certainly a counter movement against gamergate. You are the only person Ive seen deny this. Apart from that I honestly don’t see the relevance of anything you are saying.

              At least not with regards to what is literally my only point here, ie what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. People, yourself among them, are essentially saying that abuse against certain types of people doesn’t count.

              I’m certainly not trying to trick anyone into saying anything they don’t mean. I’m actually surprised at how difficult it is for people to criticize harassment from what they see as their own side.

            • derbefrier says:

              Wren you have stumbled upon the dirty little secret about these liberal activists groups. They will never admit it as they feel they have to hold onto the moral high ground at all costs but what you discovered is true. Many of the people knowingly or not hold themselves to a different set of standards. For example when sarah palin was getting dissed all over the media, being called a slut etc.. Were where the femminsts? Nowhere because the dirty little secret of the hard left is that you can do whatever you want and not be called out for it as long as you tow the party line and as soon as you bring up that hypocracy you arte met with replies like those here. Complete and total denial people have been pointing this shit out for years and years but you are talking to the “do as I say not as I do” crowd. Itss a futile effort. The super ego is too strong to break through

            • blind_boy_grunt says:

              “People, yourself among them, are essentially saying that abuse against certain types of people doesn’t count. ”
              Oh my. I was trying to explain something to you. Like physics: action and reaction, i was neither condoning nor condeming anything, i was just surprised that you are surprised. But i also said: “No harrassement is justified”. So what exactly do you want me to do, spell it out again? Maybe it helps if you say it with me? Harassement is not ok. Have you said that? You know i actually was interested what gamergate stands for, what their plans are, what you are so god damn upset about(especially rps) but for days there has been no answer to that. Just rethorics.

            • RobF says:

              You appear to have confused “counter movement” with a bunch of people wanting you to fuck off and to stop harassing them.

              And if you’ve done none of that harassment yourself, good on you but you don’t get a pony for the bare minimum of human decency. You also don’t get a pony for supporting a movement that is entirely founded and fuelled on continued harassment, no matter how many times you try and goad people into saying what you’d like them to say whilst doing your level best to ignore what they are saying.

              Gamergate is a harassment campaign. Any consciencious human being who looked at what is being done under the gamergate banner would want to walk away from it. Be that person not the one you’re being here. You’re making videogames less safe for humans otherwise and there’s no need for any of it.

            • WrenBoy says:


              I’ve asked you a simple question several times and instead of answering it you’ve jumped into a different thread and told me to fuck off. Then you start talking about me needing to be a better human being.

              Maybe you should calm down a little and then try being the change you want to see in the world?

              While you are here though, and for the nth time, do you think death threats and other forms of harassment are acceptable against those in the gamergate movement? If not are you ashamed to be a voice against this movement?

            • WrenBoy says:


              This was the part of your comment that I found confusing,

              “you are like the bully that starts crying after someone hits back”

              That reads to me as though you are saying, yes its unjustified but its totally understandable why people would be doing this to these bullies. How is saying that about people who happen to have some ideas in common with some harassers not victim blaming? Have you ever said similar about Alexander for instance? That maybe it was unacceptable but sometimes a bully like herself get a bit of a push back?

              In any case, that is a side issue given youve now repeated several times that any alleged harassment is unjustified. Why does your criticism of the movement not make you on some level morally culpable for the failings of those who happen to also criticise it? Or maybe it does. Maybe you do feel culpable?

            • blind_boy_grunt says:

              i’m a bit confused are you saying you feel culpable or you feel not?

            • WrenBoy says:

              My position has consistently been that its unreasonable to feel culpable for the actions of a small number of assholes who happen to share a small number ideas with me.

              What about you? Do you feel culpable for the small number of assholes who share a few of your ideas?

            • blind_boy_grunt says:

              So are the preliminaries done now? You almost exhausted me.
              “You know i actually was interested what gamergate stands for, what their plans are, what you are so god damn upset about(especially rps) but for days there has been no answer to that. Just rethorics[sic].”

            • WrenBoy says:


              Well to be fair I’m working quite hard to get an answer to a question I’ve been asking several people. I’ll answer your question in the optimistic hope you’ll answer mine.

              The main way that gamergate has succeeded in alarming me is the cliquish nature of the gaming press coupled with a shared ideology. I don’t have any issue with any given publication having their own values and judging games by their politics. I read RPS as I agree with their outlook on most things as it happens. Most but not all, which I don’t find particularly wicked of me.

              What’s worrying is that enough of them have essentially identical beliefs and they are so close to many in the Indie scene who are part of the same clique and share the same beliefs.

              The reason I find this worrying is that it logically becomes more difficult for an Indie developer who is not part of this clique to get press attention. This has two problems. One is that there are voices who either by design or by chance are being unfairly silenced. To be clear some people will always be unfairly silenced that’s not the issue. The problem here is that its not by merit and its not random, ie a particular class of voice has less of a chance of being promoted. The second problem is the temptation for savvy developers to curry favour with this clique which causes a vicious circle.

              Given the nature of the industry there’s not much you can do about it accept admit there is a problem and make at least some token effort to prevent it. It doesn’t have to be perfect as long as people can reasonably think their is no serious problem.

              What gamergate has made clear is that there is no recognition of a problem amongst the gaming press. Instead their is an assumption that any outlook other than theirs will make the world worse. They are happy to ignore reality in their opinion pieces in service of what they see as making the world a better place. This is hubris and its wrong, even if a lot of their beliefs are fairly sound. It also makes the Indie gaming scene a less interesting place.

              Currently some Indie devs are worried that they are being purposefully ignored because of their political views. Others are being actively sabotaged and allegedly forced from their jobs.

              That’s my main concern. The other is the related but more easily solved issue of people such as Leigh Alexander abusing the power their job gives them. That just shouldn’t be tolerated.

          • blind_boy_grunt says:

            edit:replying isn’t my strong suit
            you know i’m not part of an anit-gg community? You seem to identify as gg. That’s a difference, i speak only for myself so your question makes not much sense. But if you have to know, sometimes i do, sometimes i don’t. For example i think RobF missunderstood the “right victims” remark and i almost said something, but i definitely would have said something if i felt we were together in the same movement. Because he would have missrepresented me by proxy.

            The other issues you put forward come down for me(correct me if i’m wrong) that you don’t feel representd by the gaming press and that you don’t trust them. I get that. But do you realize this thing here started as 5 dudes writing a blog (and some would say didn’t get much further). Why don’t you start your own thing too, something that really represents you, you seem to have the numbers. Heck youtubers started not that long ago with nothing and are now huge. There is no obligation of the press to represent your world view, that’s your job. What i get is that you want a fair representation of gamergate. But have you seen 8chan? you make it very hard to be sympathetic to your cause. Where someone has to beg not to attack neutrals “focus people!”, and that’s almost the most benign thing in there. Those are the people we hear.

            “Currently some Indie devs are worried that they are being purposefully ignored because of their political views.” How much of that is actually something more than a feeling? And if it actually happened can you not see how people might be wary of someone donning a hashtag that started so incredibly toxic. But none of that has happened before gamergate right? That just makes it a self fulfilling prophecy.

            “The second is the temptation for savvy developers to curry favour with this clique which causes a vicious circle.” That one made me laugh, you know that works both ways? And how do indy developers curry all that favours, it can’t be money and not all of them are… ah let’s not go there. But why aren’t the big developers the ones with the money as much a target as indys?

            “What gamergate has made clear is that there is no recognition of a problem amongst the gaming press.” This might be true but what solid accusations has gg brought forward? You are mostly talking about feelings (which i’m not belittling) and issues that started after gamergate, indys that don’t get coverage because of their gamergate affiliation.

            I hope i haven’t missunderstood you too much, i find this interesting.

            (But on Leigh we won’t see eye to eye, like ever. I’ve read her articles often enough and not read them often enough to know i have no strong feelings towards her, yet i don’t see the problem)

            • WrenBoy says:

              that you don’t feel representd by the gaming press and that you don’t trust them. I get that.

              I feel reasonably well represented actually. RPSs politics are not too far from my own in many respects. I dont agree with everything they say but I usually see where they are coming from at least.

              Its dangerous to believe that your beliefs are so correct that you can essentially ignore reality to promote them though. Its even more dangerous when everyone you know agrees with you.

              If noone represented my exact world view I would be happy enough as long as I can doodle in the margins from time to time. That’s under the assumption that political differences between different publications means that I can safely assume that some cool new game gets picked up by some decent publication even if its “problematic”.

              To indirectly answer your other points, I don’t really feel part of gamergate. I’m not participating in boycotts and I’m not active on twitter. Some of the revelations were eye opening though and helped me understand what is wrong with the gaming press. I don’t blame gamergate for making me concerned. I’m grateful that its opened my eyes a bit.

              Except for a couple of extreme examples I don’t have any proof that people were being unfairly silenced, again perhaps even unintentionally. That being said while I’m not certain about what is going on I think that its reasonable to be suspicious given what facts we do know and human nature being what it is. That’s all impacted indie devs are being at the moment also. Even now I don’t know for sure that Warhorse have actually been blacklisted and neither do they I guess. When its reasonable to be suspicious however there is a problem. I see that as a problem that gamergate revealed rather than a problem it caused.

              I guess that’s where we differ.

              Regarding Alexander, the actual gamergate article was only a problem cause it was a coordinated assault so to speak. I don’t have any issue with her articles even though I don’t particularly rate them. What shocks me are her tweets. Some of them are genuinely nasty.

            • RobF says:

              “For example i think RobF missunderstood the “right victims” remark”

              No, no, no. I understood it perfectly. Wrenboy’s claims are to foster the idea that there’s some sort of symmetry here and therefor both levels of “victimhood” are to be viewed as equal. That my bias is because I sympathise with one set of people, not the other. Not that I’m sitting here watching massive amounts of harassment actually take place and that people are fucking scared by what Gamergate are doing and their crime in all this is often “just being a woman on the internet” or “being someone for some vague level of equality”. Like, Jenn Frank who wrote an article about abuse, bullied constantly since then by people under the Gamergate tag. Like the people of Critical Distance who found themselves woven into conspiracy theory jpegs for collecting writing that erm, happens to have a socially minded bent but often is just damn good writing, like anyone on Twitter -afraid- to type certain words because they know what happens next if they do and on and on and on. And, of course, like the academics who’ve contributed papers to Digra, themselves about to be harassed under the banner of what Wrenboy is happy to write off as a consumer protest and lol, no.

              I understand exactly what it was and what it was supposed to gain in this discussion. And that’s why I’m also ignoring his belligerent “answer me” guff on whether I care about gaters being harassed. There is an asymmetry here that makes the question itself disingenuous in the extreme. It distracts from the massive and organised campaign against people working in and around games, against academics. Against anyone who they deem having an ideological or political bent or just happens to be female or doesn’t support their little movement.

              What I think of gamergaters being harassed will not, not for one second, change what’s happening here. It doesn’t matter but trying to make it matter, trying to make that the focus is not something I’m going to party along with. Sorry.

            • blind_boy_grunt says:

              hm your concerns kind of make me want to watch almost famous again, maybe this time i’ll like it.

              Anyway, this won’t change your mind but Alexander on tweets reads to me more like smack talk than genuine sentiments.

        • Vinraith says:

          This whole thing is getting weird, creepy, and cultish. It’s also seeping out of the gaming sphere, which at the end of the day just makes us all look bad.

          link to

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          keithzg says:

          Okay, okay, look. Are the games press too close-knit, too cosy with each other? Absolutely. Are they too cosy with game developers? Absolutely. Do they circle the wagons when they get criticised? Absolutely. You’re right. You’re right.
          . . . But hey – dude – you’re looking for it in all the wrong places. You’re flinging spears at powerless people. Have you never seen The Wire? Follow the money, man. The bad guy will never be some broke indie dev or some minimum wage journo. Follow the money, Jeez.

          But I’m not part of the scene. I’m on the outside of it. I always have been. And it’s a beautiful place to be! You can admire all the lovely work from a distance, and sometimes you can lob a grenade into it.

          I really love Rab.

      • Hirgwath says:

        I feel like Shadow of Mordor is a game about going down to the Uruks’ level. You begin as a student of the Uruk ecosystem (for practical reasons) and you end up as a full participant in it. You get to be a monster too and an agent in the orcish political economy of fear. That’s honestly the appeal of the game for me.

        Yeah it’s gross but it generates memorable stories and characters. The Nemesis System is the difference between killing yet another faceless different-colored dude and killing someone who inspires actual emotions in you. It’s not moral but it is a deeper connection than in other ultra-violent games. Plus the Uruks are quite capable of murdering you as well and forcing you to engage with the consequences. It’s a fairly even playing field of torture and death!


          Video games are in a weird place, culturally speaking, where subtle criticism of extreme violence and its presentation as normality can hardly be separated. People said Far Cry 3 was mindlessly violent until the writer came along and said it was in fact about mindless violence (not saying the game isn’t mindlessly violent, just that it wasn’t out of a desire to glorify violence but rather out of a failed desire to comment on it – or at least I felt the writer was sincere about his goals). Meanwhile I get people now saying that Kane & Lynch 2 wasn’t a horrible game about horrible people, but rather a prototype for Spec Ops: The Line. Who can tell the difference? Well I can’t, because I haven’t played either game.

      • Geebs says:

        It’s as if the creators stumbled upon a relevant commentary about the use of violence and terrorism to force change, but didn’t quite know how to wield it.

        Isn’t it more as if the writer stumbled across the point the devs were already making, mistook it for his own idea, and then wrote a piece about how clever he was?

    4. mashkeyboardgetusername says:

      “[Other game sites and magazines] are rubbish, less good, poison and awful.”
      More coffee for Graham! (Yes, I do know you were joking. And did see the exhausted comments yesterday, seriously dude, have a rest, we genuinely won’t mind. Well, some people would moan, but screw them.)

      Speaking of Crate & Crowbar they’ve started a Dark Souls 2 playthrough on the Youtube channel, in case anyone’s interested. The sword thrust at about 8:25 in the 2nd episode is a particular thing of beauty that I can watch over and over. And have.

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        Graham Smith says:

        Oh, that’s not tiredness. That’s just me keeping up the cheerful baiting of PC Zone and it’s fans, because I worked on PC Gamer. And because we were all friends with the PC Zone chaps and so you had to learn to fake it.

        See also: link to


        • mashkeyboardgetusername says:

          Goats are indeed awesome. I approve.

        • ReV_VAdAUL says:

          You throw darts at a picture of Charlie Brooker though right? That PC Zone alum is just a bit too successful damn him.

      • phenom_x8 says:

        Hey PC Gamer aren’t that bad, especially this article :

        link to

        Interesting investigation I Guess, more from RPS to do something like this, please!!!

        • JayG says:

          Made me laugh and I loved PC Zone. I gave up on PC Gamer when they gave Dragon’s Age 2 96 or so. And the best writers were here anyway.

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        kfix says:


    5. rapchee says:

      whoo tricot! they were in london not so long ago link to
      favourite mv though is this one link to

    6. DrScuttles says:

      Also over at PC Gamer, Richard Cobbett’s Saturday Crapshoot has ended which makes us all very sad.

      • daphne says:

        Shit. I’m genuinely sad about this! Why?!

      • Anthile says:

        Truly the end of an era. The ones about Deus, Hopkins FBI or Harvester were glorious.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        A sad day indeed!

        That redesign is not very good either. I can’t navigate it properly and Ghostery seems to break it.

      • RARARA says:

        He’s stopping because I haven’t read the column in a couple of weeks, isn’t it? It’s all my fault! :'(

      • Zafman says:

        I’m quite upset about this. Reading the Crapshoot has almost become a regular ritual for me and I don’t cope well with change. But that’s more of a personal problem.

        They said they were going to improve the website.
        – Bringing disqus back? Well done!
        – Turning the site into something resembling the metro interface? Looks like a mess to me, also makes my old laptop slow down to a crawl. Something to get used to maybe, but so far I’m not impressed.
        – Scrapping the Crapshoot? How is THAT improving the website?!

        I’m a fairly long time subscriber to the printed PC Gamer, but the website has now lost pretty much ALL appeal to me. Until there’s more information about Richard’s next column, I think I’ll give it a miss. Seems like I’m not part of their target demographic.

    7. daphne says:

      There’s nothing exclusive to Destiny in that “unintended critique of consumerism”. — one can substitute Destiny with loot-driven MMOs or Action RPGs if one is so inclined and the piece’s main point wouldn’t be diminished in the slightest. Also, the design of the rules and systems have less to do with the dominant culture than it has to do with human psychology and insatiability.

      On an unrelated note, I feel like there’s something fishy going on with Destiny and some news sites, including Eurogamer. The number of oddly specific (like, discussion of minor patches, changes to engrams, etc) Destiny articles in the past month — well, it’s still going on — is unprecedented compared to any prior game. I can only assume that the site has some sort of extended coverage agreement with the publisher.

      • Melody says:

        I agree with your first point (the article applies to A LOT of other games and could have been written more than 10 years ago to the same effect).
        I don’t entirely agree that it’s based on “human psychology”. Rather, I agree the design is made to exploit certain tendencies like being completionist, and being on top of the social ladder, but the fact that we structure games in that way in the first place (nearly every game in which the word loot is relevant) is driven by the dominant culture in which the game was created.

        If we cared more about other things, like, I don’t know, spiritual growth, or sharing within a community, or what have you, those games probably wouldn’t exist. Maybe we would even see designing those games and appealing to those tendencies as morally reprehensible.

        • daphne says:

          That’s an agreeable refinement. Thanks.

        • Mirqy says:

          I guess where a game has loot, that ‘gotta get more’ aspect will always come out as a handy Skinner box mechanic to keep people engaged…but I think there are plenty of games that do appeal more to spiritual growth – those that tells stories about people, that don’t reward you with any material loot for progressing, walking simulators, games with the confidence to play without feeling the need to compel.

          I have to stop there because that sentence was getting out of hand.

        • iridescence says:

          @Melody Sounds like Ultima IV, not only did it try to reward you for being virtuous but also silently kept track of all the dickish things you did and punished you late in the game. Unfortunately I can’t think of other games in that mold or at least with any kind of depth even compared to this mid-80s game.

      • A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

        less to do with the dominant culture than it has to do with human psychology and insatiability

        There’s an interesting discussion in here somewhere for a Sunday afternoon, it would be fascinating to see how popular videogames looked in a Capitalism free culture. Loot based RPGs and the EVEs and Elites of this world are very much built on a Capitalist framework, but is that a happy coincidence that our psychologies respond to these systems, or because we’ve spent our entire lives in them so our psychology is built from these systems? Chicken and egg, maybe, but interesting you quickly dismissed it as us not our culture.

        • daphne says:

          Yeah, I should note that the dismissal is not intended to be an universal statement — you could say it reflects a personal pessimism :)

      • Premium User Badge

        Arnvidr says:

        I’ve also noticed the ridiculous amount of Destiny coverage. VG247 is the one I’ve noticed. Some of the writers seemed to be genuinely excited for the game though, so it might just be that. I haven’t read any of the articles since its release, so I can’t say if they’re still genuine.

        • Rizlar says:

          Perhaps it’s reflective of this aspect of Destiny: “…the output is familiar—only the grand expense and the quality of finish has the power to, at times, arrest.”

          Like, it’s a major event release, it’s been massively hyped and advertised, it’s the sort of thing everyone is talking about anyway. So it’s naturally going to have lots written about it. But everything I have seen suggests that it’s also very familiar, it’s not really presenting anything new apart from ‘the grand expense and quality of finish’ (and I would say the marketing budget). So then what do people write about?

          The trad game systems involved, the multiplayer aspect (link to or the underpinning economics in that New Yorker article. Patch notes. Minor game mechanics. etc

          • Baines says:

            Yes. If this world didn’t have Bungie’s Destiny, instead having an MMO Borderlands by Gearbox, we’d see similar coverage of said MMO.

            It doesn’t need a publisher throwing money or weight around. It just needs to be something that looks popular enough to draw reader interest, and writer interest.

      • Lacero says:

        I vaguely remember reading something about a philosopher, theodus something maybe, talking about how societies have entertainment that matches their core way of life. He was comparing soviet entertainment to western entertainment I think.

        Sadly in archeology games are mostly ignored or assumed to be the same as current ones. Anthropologists do a bit better but if there’s a big work comparing play in different cultures I’ve not seen it.

        This seems like the website and post that would have someone who remembers this guys real name and might know of an anthropology text about it too. anyone?

      • Donjo says:

        As others have suggested I’d also say that these game systems are a refraction of societal tendencies and overarching methods of organisation that become some kind of ideological foundation for many other aspects of life. Interesting discussion, it’s difficult to compare computer games to other forms of play though….

      • drewski says:

        “On an unrelated note, I feel like there’s something fishy going on with Destiny and some news sites, including Eurogamer. The number of oddly specific (like, discussion of minor patches, changes to engrams, etc) Destiny articles in the past month — well, it’s still going on — is unprecedented compared to any prior game. I can only assume that the site has some sort of extended coverage agreement with the publisher.”

        It’s probably something as simple as people keep clicking on Destiny stories, so editors keeping commissioning them.

        No need for conspiracy when good old human susceptibility to what’s popular will do.

    8. Wulfram says:

      The New Yorker article is kinda shallow and hackneyed. Congratulations, you’ve noticed that virtual economic systems vaguely resemble real economic systems.

      Though I don’t think Destiny is a particularly good fit. Honestly if it was a communist game, how would it be different? Maybe you’d make things a bit less currency based and instead have people accruing promotions and being assigned gear rather than buying it, but it’d basically be the same thing.

      Maybe in a less materialistic society you’d make the game less loot based and more experience based, but that still wouldn’t change a great deal

      If I wanted to use a game to comment on capitalism, I’d at least look for one where people can blow their hard earned virtual cash on virtual status symbols.

      • BlueTemplar says:

        If it were communist-based, then I guess the focus wouldn’t be on personal progression, but rather on the progression of the common war of mankind against aliens.

        This article is important because we’re sometimes so immersed in the consumerist culture (which is an extreme form of materialism), that we can’t even fathom anything different can, and did exist (I’m not necessarily talking only about communist alternatives here).

        • Wulfram says:

          Strategy games are thus communist, I guess.

          • Gap Gen says:

            It’s quite rare that you get a 4X game where you’re not an immortal dictator at the head of an unquestioning command economy.

            • Premium User Badge

              keithzg says:

              Libertarians just imagine that they’re the Invisible Hand.

        • Premium User Badge

          keithzg says:

          I actually would really like a massive multiplayer game where the playerbase was aligned together against a common foe. It’d probably work best if it was on relatively short cycles, a few months at most perhaps, where the players were all fighting against an encroaching enemy.

          Imagine Quake Wars as a MMO, but perhaps you’re only on the humans’ side. Or hell, you could do both and just have it purely focused on the conflict, and have clear end-states so that on each side people would end up taking more pride in winning it for their faction than leveling themselves up. Although, it might be easier to balance if one side if human and the other AI.

          I actually think this could work. To use the Quake example, you could start with the Strogg invading Earth, and the players have to work together (on both local FPS levels and in a macro strategic level of planning) to try and fight them off. If it went poorly, you’d soon be left with few resources, hiding in remote jungles and underground bunkers as the last remnants of resistance, formulating daring plans and performing small-team raids on massive alien structures that, if they succeed against all odds, might just give the Resistance a chance. If the resistance runs completely out of resources and a fail-state is reached, the game resets. Conversely, if the initial defence went well (or the resistance thoroughly turns the tide), we enter a stage of planning and resource-gathering in which folks are crafting and cobbling together a fully-supplied invasion force, and the fight is taken to the Strogg homeworld.

          People could be awarded medals and other commendations, but the fundamental setup would be as it always is in a total-war scenario: trying to win for your side. You could take the romantic ideal of war and have that as a game, instead of the . . . I’m blanking on a term to call it to contrast with the romantic ideal, but whatever ideal it is to get to the top of a leaderboard for shooting people in the face.

      • Geebs says:

        Accidentally not saying anything about a particular subject is apparently an ‘unintended critique’.

        Here’s the official TL:DR of the entire article: ‘it’s grindy’.

    9. Wytefang says:

      Ah Simon Parkin – yes, yes, buying stuff is bad. Capitalism is bad. Let’s just settle for Communism. That worked out so well for the Soviet Union, didn’t it?

      • Melody says:

        This comment is making my head explode.

      • RARARA says:

        Communism gave the world Alfa-class submarines, though.

      • soulblur says:

        To make it less political but accomplish a lot of the same things, imagine a game where you have “stuff” (gear, whatever) and other people have stuff and this can be shared or traded or what have you. But there is no currency or quantifiable money. How does the game work? How do you value things? Perhaps you just decide to give stuff to he the most appropriate person for it. Or perhaps you give it to the person who needs it the most. Perhaps you hoard it. All options in a money-less society (and small-c communist countries delta with this sort of thing night as well. Cf. Farmer communes in Ukraine pre-Soviet Union).

        • iridescence says:

          Most games are competitive by design directly or indirectly. Making a game economy actually work on a “From each according to his ability to each according to his need” basis sounds like an interesting social experiment but probably would turn into a pretty boring game. Little reason to play if skillful play will not be rewarded any better than bad play.

          [There’s also the huge problem in determining “need” in a game where no one really needs anything to survive and keep playing.]

          • pepperfez says:

            But games like Destiny don’t even give to the most skilled, they give to the longest-playing. It’s not so much a capitalist system as a specifically late-capitalist system of wage-slavery.

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              keithzg says:

              Exactly; it’s a system that Karl Marx and Ayn Rand would be equally horrified by. And anytime you can say that, there’s probably serious issues.

          • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

            This makes me think that the game that actually works as a criticism of capitalism is Killing Floor. The best players get the most money, bad players die and lose all of it, but the game becomes easier if all the players are as well equipped as possible. So because there is no force to equalize, the best players need to give money and weapon to the bad ones to give the players a better chance as a group.

            Killing Floor is therefore deeper than Bioshock. I knew it all along!

      • Josh W says:

        I often think that the more pithy trolling comments are best read as follows:

        “Buying stuff is bad. Capitalism is bad. Let’s just settle for Communism. That worked out so well for the Soviet Union, didn’t it?” – Discuss [20 marks]

        • tigerfort says:

          Bonus marks will be awarded to any candidate writing on both sides of their screen simultaneously, but deducted again if they weren’t using a fountain pen.

    10. captain nemo says:

      Nice read on Left4Dead. I had much the same primal experience with L4D2 – pretty much my all-time favourite game.

      ps; Sad to see CrapShoot end

    11. RARARA says:

      A BLDGBLOG link? It’s like Rossingol never left! :P

    12. Niko says:

      Pendleton Ward is like Notch of cartoons.

    13. Gap Gen says:

      Just clicked on that Pen Ward article and oddly, it seems to be written by Neil Strauss of PUA/”The Game” fame (I checked and it does seem to be the same guy, unless two people by the same name contribute to Rolling Stone under the same byline).