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45

The Sunday Papers

Bed then more then again

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Sundays are for getting organised, but that’s not what we’ll do. We’ll instead put our feet up, play games, eat pizza, and let the work come at its own pace.

  • Electron Dance write about Vault The Grave, a Watch_Dogs meme I missed. After visiting your niece’s grave and grieving, the game offers the same floating button prompt above the tombstone as it offers for all low-walls.
  • I don’t want to shake the Gamer Republic out of its “dumb stupor” and realise how awful this moment is. Your average gamer is not even going to clock it aside from a chuckle. The success of the AAA videogame industry proves that players are pretty good at maintaining a Chinese wall between agency and narrative. Every open world-cum-story has the same problem, the promotion of the world as a system. This is business as usual.

  • As people playthrough the first part of Dreamfall Chapters, a few are looking back at The Longest Journey and Dreamfall to remember what worked and what didn’t. This piece is on Dreamfall.
  • There are obligatory action sections with truly sluggish combat just this side of unplayable, and stealth sections that don’t seem to understand what makes stealth gameplay work – and remember, by spring of 2006, Metal Gear Solid 3 was a year and a half old. Stealth had been nailed on consoles. It’s a game that tries to do many things to update itself, and excels at none of the mechanical ones.

  • It was a Metal Gear Solidy week, for some reason. This following piece uses the game as a brief example, but you should read it for the title if nothing else: Why Killing Orcs In Mordor Is More Intimate Than Sex In Mass Effect:
  • But over a decade later, this segment of gameplay still lingers in my mind, inciting my curiosity. I recently bought MGS2 for the Vita; and as an adult I still find the ways you can interact with the guards to be the most compelling part of the game. Yes, almost all of the possible interactions are somehow violent, and the resulting interplay often becomes sadistic. But there’s something else. Something not many games ever achieve:

    Intimacy.

  • Using Metal Gear Solid as something more than a passing reference, Leigh Alexander takes to Vice to celebrate the third entry in the series. This was interesting because I’ve never played it:
  • Metal Gear Solid 3 is about hunting. And eating. It’s a game where you lie in the grass with your knife out and watch the pale green blades flatten in the distance, a rustling of something moving ever closer. You must not be found. You have to hold still for long stretches, the enemy’s footfall incidentally retreating while you think about dinner. While the snake comes within your arm’s reach.

    It’s also about the low ache of human bones and how a big man’s body can break and bruise inside, with deceptive ease. How I have to fix it, with splint and styptic. This big, big man, this military machine – and it’s me who has to dig out the slugs and sew up the holes.

    It’s about how he wants his mama.

  • I’ve been thinking a lot this past week about DmC, the Ninja Theory-made Devil May Cry reboot that wound up fans of the series but which, I think, still deserved more plaudits and commercial success than it received. To learn a little of what it lacked though, it’s worth reading Rich Stanton’s retrospective of Devil May Cry 3:
  • It doesn’t sound like the biggest deal in the world, but it changed the way I thought about fighting games forever; if nothing else, it made me realise how terribly I’d been playing them. The whole point of cancelling is to step outside a combat system’s confines. When Dante swings the frames at the end of the animation are dead time – he’s recovering before the next move. Cancelling lets you circumvent this, and attack again immediately. Using Rebellion and the Royal Guard style I understood exactly that much. Then a friend introduced me to the work of Saurian.

  • Another week, another Shut Up & Sit Down piece worth your time. This is Brendan and Pip on Dog Eat Dog. Bring tissues:
  • Brendan: Dog Eat Dog is one of those rare games we come across that do not necessarily have ‘fun’ as the end goal but, like Freedom: The Underground Railroad, try to impart some wisdom on their way through your life. It is thoughtful and intelligent and just a little uncomfortable. It’s a game with a point to make and it makes it worryingly well. If I were to describe it using SUSD’s internal style guide, “Rulez, Regulationz and Ztuff” I would call it an indie RPG about the colonisation of an island and the resultant back ‘n’ forth between ‘native’ and ‘occupier’. But since I already burned my style guide when it suggested I use ‘paragraphz’, I will have to settle for this description:

    Dog Eat Dog should be taught in schools.

  • The co-founder of Dames Making Games was interviewed by the Financial Post about what the organisation has done, is doing:
  • After our first 6-week workshop in July 2012, we decided to incorporate as a not-for-profit so we could fundraise and better plan our programs and activities without relying on volunteer labor. And here we are, 100 events, 20 workshops, 4 intensive incubators, 120 women speakers, 250 incubator and jam participants later! Our members have made more than 400 games, many of which have been honored at industry festivals such as Indiecade, Boston Festival of Games, Gamercamp and the Game Developers Conference and exhibited internationally.

  • This piece on Ludum Dare entry Terminal will make you want to play what it describes as a horribly broken game:
  • In Terminal we play as a space station operator tasked with organizing traffic around our port. Although this is our job description, throughout the game we’ll only actually deal with one ship, so in the game’s present scenario this means waking the crew of the damaged Cygnus from cryostasis and ordering them via command line to prepare their vessel for docking.

    Fantastic premise. So far so good.

  • We’ll do a proper, round-up Complete Survival Week post tomorrow, but if you missed any of the features that went up over the past week, it’s worth visiting the Survival Week tag page. I’m especially fond of the game diaries, like Adam’s three-parts on NEO Scavenger. What genre or topic should we celebrate next?
  • This is neat.

Music this week is the gloomy dance beats of Carpenter Brut.

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Graham Smith

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