The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for cursing international football for ruining your normal, relaxing weekend entertainment. They are also for roly-polying across computers screen in fits of indecision. Play a game? Which game? Perhaps you should read.

  • Keza MacDonald writes for Vice, asking why drugs are always so lame in videogames. This starts good and gets better.
  • This tone was set by 1988’s ​Narc, a game in which you are a steroid-pumped super-soldier who is literally called Max Force and mows down wave after wave of shuffling barefoot junkies. This game was said to have a “strong anti-drugs message”, because drugs are terribly bad. But ultra-violence? No problem!

  • It’s not uncommon for writers to play a lot of a particular game and, between squinting at the tiny heads on the robots/zombies/aliens/monsters they’re shooting, think ‘Gosh, this reminds me a lot of life.’ This piece on Destiny and human progress by Nathan Ditum has good words and is a good read, though:
  • Of course the reason that early homo sapiens couldn’t become astronauts is that everything we are and have achieved is built on the achievements of others. The defining mechanism of human development, of civilization, is language, and being able to store and pass on our accumulated knowledge through stories. Cox’s beautiful phrase is that writing “freed the acquisition of knowledge from the limits of human memory”, although a recent reddit showerthought post puts it almost as well: “School is meant to bring new humans up to speed on humanity’s progress so far.” It’s a staggering, obvious-once-you-grasp it concept. tl;dr: Not starting from scratch every day is what makes us possible.

    The first thing I thought when I heard this was: “What if dogs could do this?”

  • See also: Ditum’s review of Halo: The Master Chief Collection. I played nowt but the original, but this is a good read.
  • All this is worth mentioning for two reasons: partly to justify the amount of time I’ve spent over the last week looking at walls, but also to give context to the fact that the Master Chief Collection is, above all, an act of curation. There’s something exhibit-like and deeply impressive about seeing Halos one through four lined up in the same menu system – not separated into discrete applications, but linked through a tidy and sophisticated interface that brings everything together and, as far as possible, standardises the Chief’s adventure.

  • I am enjoying this comic with a miserabilist take on Pokémon. What If The Game Was Real is the joke that keeps on giving.
  • Prepare To Die, a poetry chapbook about Dark Souls, by Jess Jenkins.
  • I never read Digitiser, but I have read a lot about Digitiser which is surely just as good. Here’s Paul ‘Mr. Biffo’ Rose poking at a new Digitiser Blog.
  • As I stood there reeling from this cranial hammer blow by the Mallet of Enlightenment, I looked down at my feet and saw what I can only describe as a carrot, bobbing in the horrible brown water like a dead fish. And just like Jesus turned a fish into a load of bread, or whatever, I turned this fish/carrot into a big pile of hope/cash. Splashing around like a wailing lunatic, my fists hammering inexplicably at the sides of my head, I followed the carrot as it was carried along by the “carront” (current). Eventually, it came to rest at the foot of a filthy old ladder, which was all rusted and that. To the average layman this was just a regular ladder, but to me it represented the difference between a life of hope, and a life of staying in a sewer, gnawing away at a dripping fatberg as my only source of supper.

  • I want to read about King of Dragon Pass every day, so here’s HG101’s detailed (but dry) explanation of its wonderful systems.
  • Many events also deal with more mundane parts of Gloranthan life. The clan must often deal with petty crime, drunken fights, marital infidelity, unhappy citizens and natural disasters. Those ‘everyday’ events add a bit of realism to the game’s otherwise magical world.

    There’s also a lot of humor and personality in many of the events or possible solutions to them. An example of the former might be a mysterious curse that causes children of your clan to grow beards, while the latter can arise during the haunted house event when – by using a character with good knowledge of laws and customs – player might be able to take legal action against the ghost and succeed. Little touches like that provided needed comic relief for a generally grim game.

  • Some guy named Nathan Grayson wrote at Kotaku this past week about the efforts Double Fine are going to in order to make Grim Fandango’s re-release. A good example of the problems with failing to archive old game materials.
  • “A lot of it is the mental state you’re in when you’re making a game,” he said, explaining why many studios neglect to keep every last shred of a game’s creation. “You give it your everything, and you’re completely exhausted. On the last day you wrap it up, send off the final build, and then you’re like, ‘Ugh, I never want to see that again.’ So it’s hard to be like, ‘OK, now we need to talk about archiving.’ You try to get the team to take care of that, and it’s like being at a family gathering where you want everybody to take a group photo. You’re like, ‘Everybody get together!’ and they’re like, ‘Shut up, we’re having fun.’ But you’re like, ‘You’ll thank me in 30 years if you just get together and let me take this picture.'”

  • Journalists yelled about how great Valkyria Chronicles was when it was originally released, but no one noticed and it didn’t sell. Now they’re having their revenge, writing retros, reviewing the PC re-release, and watching as it finds its audience at last. Here’s Paul Dean at Eurogamer, in a piece from 2012.
  • I have a theory: each Valkyria Chronicles disc holds some special, secret power within it, and that power is the ability to make any PS3, no matter how old, battered or weary, immediately look its very best. It’s like pouring an elixir into your disc drive. Valkyria Chronicles is a very special game and when we look back on the history of this console, when we write our retrospectives and compose our memoirs, we will cite it as one of the finest titles to grace the platform. This is not something I predict. This is something I know.

  • I am enjoying this YouTube channel: ClassicsOfGame. An example.
  • Sam White writes at Kotaku about how different Skyrim is three years after release, owing to its many mods. ‘When Console Gamers Discover TES Nexus’, I’d have called it:
  • It was a long process, sure, and it’s no criticism that Skyrim eventually ran out of stuff to wow me with, but rediscovering the game on PC over eighteen months later was one of the most enlightening and engrossing experiences I’ve ever had with games. Adding mods makes retreading covered ground fun, interesting and exciting again. It’s the closest you can get to having your mind wiped so you can experience the wonder of discovery like you did when you first popped the disc in on launch day.

  • Every new experience is the hardest, learningest for Peter Molyneux. On the difficulty of making mobile games and the unforeseen problems with Godus:
  • Molyneux said the issue of monetisation and content consumption was one that 22Cans was still experimenting with. He added that ultimately however, he learned monetisation needs to be loved like any other feature in a game, and that developers have to get it right.

    “And that has to be perceived as a fair system,” he said. “If it’s unfair, those harsh monetisation techniques won’t work.

  • This is an interesting post-mortem: Super Win the Game is a retro platformer that only sold 900 copies in its first month. Why is that? The article eventually finds its way towards the answers, I think, but the lesson for readers is simply, “selling games is hard.”
  • So, if not the price, what else might have hurt my sales? I can think of at least five off the top of my head. Early October was a notably busy season for games, and launching a no-name indie game alongside the likes of Shadow of Mordor and Alien: Isolation certainly did me no favors. The indie platformer genre feels more than a little passé at this point, and it’s entirely possible many potential customers overlooked it simply by virtue of its genre. On top of this, the game lacks an easil identifiable gameplay hook; its strengths lie in its aesthetic design and solid game feel, and maybe that’s not enough. I also can’t ignore that Super Win the Game is a silly name at best and an objectively bad one at worst, and that may have hurt it. Lastly, for all of these reasons and probably more besides, the game received little to no attention from the press, meaning it launched with low awareness.

Music this week is The Andronechron Incident, the electronic soundtrack to a sci-fi film never released outside Italy.

87 Comments

  1. Anthile says:

    I got one as well: Games reviews are changing from product assessments to tourist guides although it’s a bit on the short side.
    I also found Why are we releasing Defender’s Quest 1 HD as a free upgrade? rather interesting.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      Tourist guides you say? So the journos would be Travel Journalists to Imaginary places?

      -KG

    • The King K says:

      Thanks for the DQ link. Awesome game with awesome support and Lars usually provides some interesting insights into his decisions like this. Or the sales analysis as well.

      Unrelated: I did not get my steam key either, but due to being stupid (lost access to the email I bought the game with) and getting a new key – even though the old one might have been used – was really hassle free.

      If you like Tower Defense games even a tiny bit, get Defender Quest. And if you don’t like them, still get it for the story.

      • Kitsunin says:

        Defenders Quest is, in my opinion, the best Tower Defense of all time. I like RPGs quite a bit more than Tower Defenses so maybe that’s why, but still, it’s great.

    • Wulfram says:

      Hmm, the non-HD version looks better to me.

      • Csirke says:

        He knows the HD version is not objectively better, which is why the old graphics will still be an option. He mostly made the HD version because his pixel art was in a resolution that doesn’t conveniently double or triple to standard console resolutions, and he’s planning maybe a console release. (Source: I follow him on twitter :) )

      • LionsPhil says:

        Agreed, so it’s good he’s doing it so you can play with the new, bugfixed/supported engine yet using the old art.

        What a nice bloke.

  2. ribby says:

    I am enjoying this comic with a miserabilist take on Pokémon. What If The Game Was Real is the joke that keeps on giving.

    Just to point out that this is a typical nuzlocke comic and many like it can be found- just sayin :P

    The original nuzlocke can be found here, though the drawing is pretty low quality at least in the first season: link to nuzlocke.com

    • Kitsunin says:

      Eh, not really. From what I’m seeing, it’s a comic based on the idea of “what if pokemon were realistic, like, people sent their kids out to fend for themselves while making critters fight each-other is totally acceptable” as opposed to “what if I made a funny comic based on the idea of doing a challenge run in pokemon”.

      • Rizlar says:

        It’s clearly based on the same hard-mode rules as the Nuzlocke comic, and quite probably directly inspired by it.

        But I did find more pleasure reading It’s A Hard Life, the tone is more serious, it seems to take the setting extremely seriously. Hadn’t heard of either of these before though!

        • Kitsunin says:

          Sure, the author says as much in the faq. Still they aren’t rules any more than “if you get hurt to the point where your body stops functioning, you die” is a rule in life in the context of a story, and so I disagree with the thought that Hard Mode invented the idea, it was too obvious to patent.

          A much better way to word such a thing would be “If you’re interested in this sort of thing, there are many similar comics…” I dunno “this is a typical nuzlocke comic and many like it can be found” comes off as a bit abrasive, especially when from what I’m seeing, It’s a Hard Life is thoroughly different than any other pokemon comics.

          • Rizlar says:

            Yeah, I agree that Hard Life offers something different, from what I’ve seen I think it’s much better than the Nuzlocke one. But it’s clearly riffing on something Nuzlocke established (assuming the Nuzlocke comic was indeed the first). There is nothing at all wrong with taking a concept and running with it, like the Ditum quote in this very Sunday Papers says: “everything we are and have achieved is built on the achievements of others”.

          • Kitsunin says:

            The Nuzlocke topic made me curious, so after looking around, now I’m reading In Black and White. As a similar idea, I like it more, personally, as it relies less on the idea that most people are practically insane (which is logical judging from the early games) and talking pokemon. It has a consistent tone which seems like a very reasonable idea for how pokemon battling could exist in a world where people actually act like people.

    • GameCat says:

      This comic is about “what if Charmander’s scratch move could rip open the Bulbasaur guts and let him bleed to death”…

      • Premium User Badge

        keithzg says:

        And also apparently “how soul-crushing can it be if the comic just suddenly starts throwing error pages rather than comics after link to itsahardlife.smackjeeves.com ?”

        No, seriously, after that page every other page I try to go to (via the “NEXT” link or via the dropdown list) was giving me an error message. Now it’s back for me, without reloading my browser or even the page per se, so . . . huh. Welp, back to reading it!

  3. Melody says:

    I tried reading the Paul Rose – Digitiser blog, but this is what I see:
    link to awesomescreenshot.com

    :\

    • Lacero says:

      if you follow the rabbit hole you find the new site.
      link to digitiser2000.com

      he moved it on the 14th, a shame a big blog like rps copies the link just before that. I guess someone at rps can fix the link if they’re reading this on a sunday.

      • LionsPhil says:

        It’s a shame people are so terrible at setting up redirects and making URLs actually persist.

        This goes septuple for systems which do not make it easier than falling over your own feet to do this.

      • BooleanBob says:

        Not games related, but the inside story of the Pudsey the Dog film is a fascinating read.

    • kwyjibo says:

      Digitiser was the best.

      Who didn’t read Digitiser? Time to hand in your badge Graham, you secret American.

  4. smokiespliff says:

    Perfect music for Sir, You Are Being Hunted :-)

    Thanks Graham

  5. Premium User Badge

    Hodge says:

    Classics Of Game is the best.

    • bonuswavepilot says:

      Agreed! It has a few unexpected kicks right in the nostalgia too – couple of titles in the series which brought sudden and vivid recollections of things I would have never expected to see again – Net Yaroze titles for the original Playstation from magazine coverdisks!

  6. Biggus_Dikkus says:

    In Witcher 2. Geralt have drug inducing dream with shlongs and giant cock/hen

    aand the had Fisstech in both witchers

    • Turkey says:

      I think that shows that beneath his self-serious facade, he’s always thinking of puns and wordplay. Thankfully it seems that he keeps them all to himself.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Eponysterical.

  7. jnik says:

    I thought System Shock had a reasonable drug system. It’s not the thoughtful reflection of real-life drug use that the article seems to be looking for, but as a part of the game system it’s great: value-neutral, benefits, downsides (mostly consisting of “change the palette” tricks, but still).

    And Defender’s Quest…man. GoG had it on sale. I downloaded and played a great demo. Lars posted in the GoG forums that if anybody bought it there, he’d send us the Linux version, no problem. So I spent some ridiculously tiny amount of money, my demo progress carried over, awesome. Then free upgrade. Absolutely no problem dropping $15 for the sequel preorder. Which got me ANOTHER copy (that I still haven’t managed to give away). And now apparently another free upgrade to the original. I understand his position that not everyone can afford to be that generous, but man, talk about making the customer feel like a king.

  8. subedii says:

    Apparently Sega are very happy with Valkyria Chronicles PC-side sales:

    link to blogs.sega.com

    Yesterday, Valkyria Chronicles released for PC via digital download, and during its first 24 hours on sale blew all forecasts and predictions out of the water.

  9. corinoco says:

    Drugs in games? I live in Austfailia, the land that forced everyone in Fallout 3+ to use ‘Stimpaks’ instead of ‘morphine’ and ‘buff out ‘ instead of ‘speed/heroin’ because our censorship board of morons went apeshit. In a game set 800 odd years in the future where you could dismember people with bullets in slow-mo.

    We now import our morality directly from Texas, in very small boxes.

    Funny that I have Far Cry 3 in all its glorious mushroom induced trip pines, though it could have been way better if I could have raided enemy camps in full tripping out my eyeballs mode.

    I think our censors really only look at physical media, they haven’t yet grasped the concept of electrodownamaloading from the intertubenetworkamanottheNBN thingy, thus things on Steam, Origin and Ubi all get through.

    They never said anything about Syndicate back in the day either; I don’t think they even looked at games back then.

    • dontnormally says:

      It has always been Stimpacks and Buffout in Fallout. It has nothing to do with being in Australia.

  10. RARARA says:

    The piece is a few weeks old, and I know people are tired of the subject at hand repeatedly cropping up… but Film Critic Hulk’s take on gamergate is one of the most emotionally exhausting and ultimately cathartic articles I’ve read in a while. In fact, his take on ‘truth’ versus ’emotional truth’ is something we all should consider, not just ‘gaters.

    link to badassdigest.com

    • bill says:

      I imagine it would be good, but I just can’t face reading about it all again.

      • TheLetterM says:

        You may want to read it then. Like you, I am now instinctively flinching away from anything with the #GomerGut tag, but the essay is not really about #Gobbledygook. It’s about the frustration and helplessness felt by anyone who sees the innate ridiculous in the situation. All-caps aside, it’s actually quite good and makes me feel a little less sad, at least.

  11. subedii says:

    Ooh, Richard Cobbet just released a piece on the legacy of Half-Life 2. For all the time that’s passed (November 16th, 10 year anniversary today, good grief), it’s easy to forget just how it influenced the FPS and gameplay design that subsequently followed.

    link to pcgamer.com

    One thing that sprang to mind for me is the opening segment of City 17. I remember back when Modern Warfare came out, and I read some people saying that the city under oppression there was how HL2 was supposed to show it, with people being executed against walls and the like. But that all stuck me as just too “in your face my aren’t they evil”.

    HL2’s City 17, when you first entered it, had a citizenry that felt oppressed but in a believable fashion. Worn down by shortages, oppressive rules and perpetual surveillance. At the mercy of the overbearing Overwatch forces, barking compliance and instructions to Citizens with the threat of arbitrary arrest or punishment for reasons they could never fully predict or understand. It felt like a place, and you could understand the people wanting to fight it.

    When I first read about how HL2 was going to be set in post-soviet style Easter European city, I didn’t really understand the reasoning or premise. But seeing it in play, I could understand the decision fully. The old Soviet style architecture, big looming and impersonal, and all the baggage that goes with it, really worked for what they were trying to portray. It’s not an explicit story, but it works because it’s told through setting, actions and behaviour. Not radio logs.

    Yeah today it might ring a little too on the nose, but as FPS’s go, I’m hard pressed to find other examples where the city and it’s people felt so well realised. Usually what you see is dilapidated and depopulated war-torn settings with someone yelling “Ramirez! Man that turret!”.

    • unit 3000-21 says:

      HL2 had the best rust stained concrete textures. That, plus the tower blocks in Route Kanal, made me feel at home.

  12. bill says:

    Everyone seems to agree that Valkyria Chronicales has awesome gameplay if you can ignore the massive thematic clash between the war and the teen drama that’s going on in the story.

    As that kind of thing tends to annoy me no end, I think I’ll have to wait for a sale. The gameplay does sound lovely though.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      The real problem was that the people who like that kind of game mostly are on the PC not consoles.

      • sinister agent says:

        Also, I took one glance and took it for a jrpg, which I find utterly dreadful to play. Also, platform exclusivity, which is idiotic. I’d have probably bought it by now if it was originally out on PC.

  13. SomeDuder says:

    Another reason why Super win the game wasn’t a hit is because, to the regular onlooker and player of videogames, it’s just another one of those “Haha, look! It’s an ‘ironic’ videogame about older videogames! Haha, nostalgia and irony suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuure are great! Haha!” games that are somehow getting sold on Steam. The stuff that tries to profit from old classics while offering no novelty, passion or sincerity on their own.

    I don’t mind it tanking. Sure, it’s a shitty situation for the developer, but come the fuck on, how many “ironic” games does it take to prove that you are a terrible hipster.

    • JimmyG says:

      I partly know what you mean about the referential aesthetic — the look of it — though you sound pretty callous. I felt something tugging at my tearducts when I read that he’d sold 2 copies on the Humble Store in one month. I also don’t see what’s “ironic” about an earnest retro-styled game. Maybe if it were full of jokes and meta-stuff … but this seems like straight-up homage, inspired too much by the source material and not enough by the creator. There’s no deliberate irony there that I can see, other than the rather commonplace irony that an old-looking game is being released today.

      He says in the breakdown that he saw himself in the Braid and Super Meat Boy echelon, but each of those games — and Spelunky, and Shovel Knight, and Fez, and Cave Story, and any indie platformer success we can name — has a thematic individuality, equal parts visual and mechanical, that Super Win the Game seems to lack. It leaves a big hole in the game, and that hole is big enough for a lot of interest to fall through. And on this note, right around the middle of your comment, I can say that we see eye-to-eye.

      Besides that, his postmortem shows that hindsight is clearly 20/20. $12.99 was too much to ask, a coverage embargo wasn’t a good idea, and those tantalizing but unannounced personal bits meant to surprise players probably should’ve been used as a selling point to get them in the door to begin with.

      “Selling games is hard,” like Graham said, but I think Pittman’s problems came from what he was selling, not how he was trying to sell it. The lesson I see is “making a game is hard, and making a notable game is harder.” And because of all that, I think all the guy needs for his next game is a good creative partner. To make a simplistic comparison, the article reads like he’s a Tommy Refenes without an Edmund McMillen.

      • AngusPrune says:

        I think mostly it’s just a case of unrealistic expectations. It’s all very well to look to the smash hits like Meat Boy and Shovel Knight, but you always have to live with the sure and certain knowledge that that isn’t going to be you.

        The fact of the matter is that selling 1000 copies in the first month is actually not too bad going for an indie platformer. When you’re working on these things, you need always be mindful that you’ll be selling about 4000 copies at full price over the lifetime of the game, and that’s the budget you have to work with.

        Granted he made some mistakes in marketing the thing, but this is a fairly mild failure in realistic terms. If he can’t pick up and carry on from here, it suggests he made serious mistakes in the planning and budgeting phase of the project.

    • Jalan says:

      Retro City Rampage falls more into that category than Super Win the Game, I’d say, and it by comparison has held better sales despite initially having a higher price (though not much higher) and a lot of issues that forced such a huge overhaul to the game itself with the recent update.

      Having You Have to Win the Game free to everyone and then expecting players to go “Hmm… I’d pay for an upgrade of that experience” was, as he mentioned in the article, one of the bigger detriments to its being received warmly.

    • Shuck says:

      It sounds like there was some novelty and passion there, but ironically that novel element was the bit he actually withheld revealing. But there is absolutely an over-saturation of the indie platformer, and in particular the retro indie platformer, gaming space. Not only are there a lot of such game being made, but there are the original games that are all available in various forms, including free in emulation. On top of that it was a length that the target audience would largely consider too short, and at a price point that was unwarranted, given that it didn’t obviously distinguish itself from the mass of similar and cheaper (including free) games (including his own previous effort).
      He doesn’t mention how many people downloaded the original free game – a 1% conversion rate to paying players would have been the most he could have realistically hoped for, assuming players of the original were aware of the follow-up game and didn’t have their retro-platforming itch taken care of by the original free game. It doesn’t sound like there was sufficient effort made to keep the original players informed, at least.
      I’m frankly surprised he got as many sales as he did, given that he made a game in a completely over-saturated space without distinguishing it in any way.

  14. Monggerel says:

    Pretty sure MGS 2 is the most genuine if bewilderingly stupid look at a day (But do you know which day it is?) in the life of the contemporary information addict. Wish more games toyed with the idea of that particular ailment.

    Also, I recently learned that game is available for PC and so’s the first one. Huh.

  15. lomaxgnome says:

    I get a half dozen indie platformers in bundles every month, many of them quite good. Why would I pay $13 for one? I’m sure he’ll see a decent bump in sales when he does a Steam sale but honestly, of all the over saturated markets for him to venture into, he picked the absolute worst one.

  16. wyrm4701 says:

    Every Peter Molyneux interview I read has me more convinced that he’s talking about a secret version of Godus that no-one else has seen yet. I’ve played it, and that’s one of the most plausible explanations I can come up with for his overwrought accounts of contemplation and toil.

    Other explanations include:

    – Godus is intended to be played with a peripheral that converts several amphetamines, sedatives, and hallucinogens into aerosol format, and releases them in combination according to a complex system of incentives. Peter Molyneux prepares for interviews by making heavy use of this device.

    – 22Cans is a performance art group, making a broad statement on the toxicity of consumer culture with a byzantine work that spans several industries over many years. In addition to Godus, they send agents provocateurs into Nascar interviews and are responsible for Prawn Cocktail Pringles.

    I’m open to other theories, mind.

    • Caiman says:

      I figured Peter Molyneux lives in a parallel universe where Godus is actually good, and occasionally rifts in space time open and we can hear his excited blather. I’m still trying to figure out how our version of Godus sucks compared with the parallel universe version, but perhaps that’s from another parallel universe where Godus is fucking terrible, and we’re stuck in the intersection where we experience the horrific result. Somewhere in another universe people are playing a brilliant version of Godus where Molyneux is crying all the time and despairing at how disappointed in it he is.

  17. Joshua Northey says:

    “Journalists yelled about how great Valkyria Chronicles was when it was originally released, but no one noticed and it didn’t sell.”

    People noticed fine. It was released for the wrong system as almost its entire audience was on PC. You don’t cry about how a hunting rifle rack for BMW’s isn’t selling. The PC gaming community was really interested at the time.

    Most people are not going to buy a second or third gaming system for a single game no matter how good.

    • Reapy says:

      Bingo! I wanted to get this game in 2008 but I didn’t own a ps3, nor had any plans to. It was also a time when PC gamer’s apparently didn’t exit and consoles were where it was at, supposedly.

      /waiting for it to go on sale

  18. malkav11 says:

    My frustration with the Halo Master Chief Collection is that it seems like a perfect opportunity to bring the series back to PC (and, ideally, digital distribution that includes Steam) without some of the baggage they’ve tried to use it to force down our throats in the past. But they’ve been quick to deny any plans to actually do so.

    I don’t know that I care a -huge- amount because Halo never impressed me as much as it apparently impressed many console-primary gamers, but if I’m going to get anything out of it it’s going to be on PC where I can use mouse and keyboard controls. (It may be the series that made the FPS work on consoles, but “works” and “is actually enjoyable to play using that control scheme” are very very different things.) And I kind of want to at least give it a whirl.

    • Jalan says:

      Remember when everyone’s hopes and dreams started soaring when someone dug around and found a Halo entry in SteamDB?

      Microsoft is the king when it comes to helping everyone become reacquainted with bitter disappointment.

      • malkav11 says:

        To be fair, it’s not completely out of question that they’re just stonewalling until a PC version is close enough to being ready that they feel comfortable announcing it, or whatever the hell it is that keeps Rockstar insisting stridently that no PC version of the latest GTA is coming until they announce that, in fact, the latest GTA is coming to PC.

        • Jalan says:

          Look at how much time they’ve had to make that a reality though. If this were Valve, we’d all be “oh that Valve, and their Valve Time!” but this is the company responsible for one of the most widely used operating systems in the computing world – it’s a company that’s stopped short of going with the motto of “Who needs to be bigger than Jesus when we’re already God?”

          • malkav11 says:

            I mean specifically in reference to the Master Chief Collection, which is just barely out on Xbone. I think we had to wait, what, a year or two for GTA IV and we’re going to end up waiting a year and a half-ish for GTA V? So it could still happen. In theory.

    • Turkey says:

      Sega and Microsoft are the weirdest big publishers in the world. Within 10 years they’ll probably just drop a random Halo for digital sale on a new windows or something without offering any of the other games.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      The first Halo actually impressed me a great deal back in the day. I still have fairly fond memories of playing through it – two or three times, I believe, which is rare for me in regards to FPS. The sad truth is, if microsoft had brought the others to PC / not been giant willies, I would probably have bought and played them, and I would be a Halo nut and defend it religiously at every opportunity. But they didn’t, and I’m not. I couldn’t care less if they bring it to PC now. Far too many other good games to spend my time and money on.

    • fish99 says:

      I’m sure a big part of the reason they’ve done the collection is to drive sales of Xbones, so there’s really isn’t much prospect of it coming to PC. I agree it’s a shame though, especially since I have no plans to pick up an Xbone anytime soon.

      I did pick up the redone Halo (anniversary edition) on 360 and while it was fun for a while I didn’t even get a quarter of the way through before moving on to someone else, so maybe we’re not missing that much after all.

      • malkav11 says:

        I wouldn’t be surprised if that played some role in the thinking, but I’ve never understood why they think it will work. I’m certainly not going to buy a whole console just for one game, and if it’s something I want to play on PC I’m not going to get it for console at all.

  19. Shadowcat says:

    It turns out that Sundays are for perusing the 3,700 post thread of doom in the Elite Dangerous forums, resulting from the abandonment of any kind of offline gameplay. I imagine RPS will have an article in the not-too-distant future.

    • wyrm4701 says:

      That goes in my “Why I don’t do Kickstarter” file, thanks! Really, I’d be pretty disappointed if I’d already given them money.

      • sinister agent says:

        Not to worry! You can get in on the beta now. For fifty fucking quid I mean jesus christ.

        • wyrm4701 says:

          Wow, that’s a lot to be asking from the outset – that they’re cutting significant sales features after soliciting that high price is deeply disappointing, to say the least.

    • Premium User Badge

      Andy_Panthro says:

      One of the reasons I backed it was because I wanted an offline mode, just in case the online/multiplayer mode(s) weren’t my cup of tea.

      This is rather disappointing.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      Fuck me.

      Now I regret buying the damned thing.

      It’s decent fun as is but the disconnects are killing it for me. I wish they didn’t already have my money. :(

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        From what I’ve read elsewhere they are seemingly giving refunds when asked, at least to some people. It’s worth inquiring if you feel that badly about it.
        Myself, I don’t know. It’s disappointing, but probably won’t stop me from buying it at some point. Having said that, I can understand people being upset if they’ve already paid for features they’re not going to get, especially when the price is as high as it is.

    • pepperfez says:

      Wow, that’s pretty heinous. I thought that was their big selling point over Star Citizen?

    • Barberetti says:

      Yeah, offline mode was the main reason I put money down for the game. Pretty fucked off at the moment to be honest.

    • malkav11 says:

      Huh. Well, there goes pretty much any chance of me purchasing Elite: Dangerous. Not that I’m a big space sim guy to begin with, granted.

  20. arccos says:

    Narc was a sendup of the War on Drugs of the time, where every game in the arcade has a “Winners Don’t Use Drugs” screen from the FBI, and users were considered hard core criminals to be locked up instead of treated.

    Not much has changed on that front, sadly.

    • Monggerel says:

      But where in the world would Carmen Sandiego get off treating recreational users of chemicals as on par with those who literally cannot walk without their regular hit?

    • Turkey says:

      I’ve always found it kinda fascinating how Americans used to completely demonize youth gangs and criminals in movies and stuff during the 70s and 80s. Looking at it now it’s hard to tell if it was serious or parody cause it’s so over the top and ridiculous.

  21. daphne says:

    Ah, ant-zen is such a veritable gold mine of good music.

  22. gavintlgold says:

    On mobile, there’s a giant ad literally blocking the contents of the article :( I can’t read the text.

  23. BarryK says:

    “Journalists yelled about how great Valkyria Chronicles was when it was originally released, but no one noticed and it didn’t sell. Now they’re having their revenge, writing retros, reviewing the PC re-release, and watching as it finds its audience at last. Here’s Paul Dean at Eurogamer, in a piece from 2012.”

    That’s not even remotely accurate. Journalists certainly didn’t ‘yell’ about how great it was when it was originally released. Most sites buried the game completely in the landslide of ‘bigger’ titles that released at the time. Months and years later they yelled about it being ignored (case in point: the linked article from 2012) but at release they were far too busy with blanket coverage of ‘bigger’ titles. And while RPS and PC Gamer covered the games re-release, virtually no one else gave it the time of day, even the linked Eurogamer wrote nothing about the PC release. Just how many gaming outlets did review the PC release?

    I just see sites on the whole completely ignoring the title again in favour of blanket coverage of the usual suspects except, this time it isn’t 2008 and on PC there are many other avenues for finding out about games. Valkyria Chronicles on PC isn’t shifting copies because of journalists yelling about how good it is, it’s shifting copies despite sites ignoring it completely.

    • cederic says:

      Valkyria Chronicles may be the best game ever made, but it’s on my “Must not buy” list for the same reason as TW:Rome2 – Sega’s obnoxious licence policy:

      Any and all New Materials created by you and all right, title, and interest in and to such New Materials shall belong to, vest in and be the exclusive property of SEGA and/or its licensors on creation. You waive and agree never to assert against SEGA or its affiliates, distributors or licensors any moral rights or similar rights, however designated, that you may have in or to any New Materials. You also allow other users to use freely any New Materials whilst using the Products.

      To the extent required by law, with respect to any New Materials you create, you automatically grant to SEGA the irrevocable, perpetual, royalty free, sub-licensable right and license under all applicable copyrights and intellectual property rights laws to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, perform, display, distribute and otherwise exploit and/or dispose of the New Materials (or any part of the New Materials) in any way SEGA, or its respective designee(s), sees fit.

      So Sega get the right to commercially exploit any mods I make? No. Fuck that.

      This is PC gaming. We change the games. The games get better for it. Accept that or fuck off back to your piece of shit failed console.

  24. SuicideKing says:

    ExtraCredits is a pretty nice game related channel too.

    And for fuck’s sake Microsoft should have released TMCC on the PC as well. They didn’t even have to port it to x86, in many ways.

    EDIT: Drugs are almost always lame in media.

    • Jalan says:

      Most of the portrayals of drugs in media come from people who clearly have never been addicts or anyone associated remotely with drugs in any way outside of over the counter medicines. Which is fine, to a degree, since the general consensus on most of the hard stuff is that it ruins lives so it lends itself easy to craft fictionalized scenarios around. The day when we get wind of Rockstar or some other big game publisher/developer hiring on a panel of former substance abusers to deliver “the most realistic drug experience in a game” is when we begin to question less the inclusion of cartoonish ultraviolence used to try and halt distribution/etc. and more why they added in a scenario where a lead character is shown walking into an apartment to participate in a gangbang for heroin.

      • MattM says:

        I’ve never been a real part of drug culture despite using alcohol and pot. Philip K. Dick’s “A Scanner Darkly” made me feel like I could connect to it a bit and understand what its like being a user. Not using drugs, but being a recreational user in the process of becoming a habitual user. Its a really sad story, but very worth a read (or viewing, the movie was also good). The story put Dick on my list of favorite authors.

  25. Alex says:

    The Vice article about drugs in games nails it:

    ‘Throughout video game history, drugs and sex have essentially been used by developers to say, “LOOK HOW GRITTY AND GROWN UP WE ARE!!”, imbuing games with the kind of maturity that only 13-year-olds actually believe is mature.’

    • MattM says:

      There are countries that will ban your game (or give it a rating that effectively bans it) unless you depict drug use as purely negative.

  26. AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

    I didn’t read the Destiny’s article yet, but the quoted bit reminded me of an article I’ve read just earlier today on how chimps have many things in common with humans, including what scientists believe is the ability to pass on knowledge to future generations.

  27. kwyjibo says:

    Thought the Vice drugs article was pretty weak. Meanders across lots of titles giving none of them any real depth.

    I generally disdain New-Games-Journalism “the writer is more important than the work” as self-indulgent wank, but Tom Bissell’s GTA IV/drugs memoir gets deeper at what games are about and what drugs are about. It’s still a great read.

    link to theguardian.com

  28. Johnny Go-Time says:

    Lovin’ the Andronechron music!!

    Makes me want to track down the movie.

  29. ProApocalyptic says:

    That Dark Souls poetry collection is actually pretty good. At no point did it give me that shudder of embarrassment on the author’s behalf that I usually get when I read a poem on the internet. The formatting is a little baroque for my taste, but on the whole it was quite the pleasant surprise.

    • Jalan says:

      Once you get past the mound of angsty teens posting their poems all over the internet, you often find there’s people capable of utilizing the medium to write something worth reading, vs. reading and then feeling obligated to go “I know that feeling”/blahblahrandomplatitudeblahblah over.

  30. mattwivs says:

    the andronechron incident is the soundtrack that teleglitch was missing!