The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for returning, after a GDC-enforced absence, to compiling lists of links to the week’s finest games writing. It’s nice to read, isn’t it?

  • Leigh Alexander and Laura Hudson launched Offworld this past week, reviving Boing Boing’s videogame wing as a website dedicated to those people most ignored by most other gaming sites. I am not one of those people, but I’m enjoying it all the same. Start anywhere.
  • Except like many of the items of poorly-translated software floating around the internet in the ’90s and ’00s, it was also deeply weird: You can raise your daughter to be several varieties of sex worker or courtesan, a laundry worker, a widow, a minstrel, a warrior or nearly any number of things, with the reward at the end a flirtatious portrait and a brief blurb on her life. Attaining actual princess-hood, through marriage to a prince, is a punishingly rare outcome.

  • Then read the article linked within the Offworld post quoted above, because you can’t ever read enough about either Princess Maker or Long Live The Queen, excellent games both.
  • The importance of playing as the princess herself is well-demonstrated in the pitfalls of GAINAX’s Princess Maker series. In interface and play style, it is the direct inspiration for Queen: the player sends their princesses to various classes over a set duration so that they may learn the skills to deal with various events and scenarios within the game. In Queen, the player acts for Princess Elodie, but in the Princess Maker games, the player is an adoptive father, often a war hero, blessed by the gods with the charge of a heavenly pre-teen. Player dad has a relationship with his princess. He can buy her gifts on her birthday to increase her affection. He may scold her if she gets too rebellious. In a creepily Pygmalion manner, player dad can mold the princess into a woman that falls in love with her father. Princess Maker games are still great in how many endings they offer and seeing the outcome of your parenting, though few involve your little girl actually becoming a princess: she can be a warrior, peasant, or one of several other occupations.

  • This has been sat at the top of the Sunday Papers GDoc for weeks now, waiting for me to find the time to watch and write about it. Bungie posted a lengthy video which goes deep on the level design of Destiny. I haven’t played the game, but I don’t need to in order to appreciate the effort that went into making its architecture.
  • Did this I link this before? I no longer recall, but it’s still in the hopper so here it is anyway: unless your site is about one thing, it’s about everything. I would add an addendum that would say, even if your site is about one thing, it probably still sounds just like all other the sites that are also only about that one thing.
  • The mix changes; Grantland is some more sports and a little less news and whatever intern is currently writing the “Bill Simmons” column. Slate is a little less sports and a little more politics and Troy Patterson endlessly writing the word “gentleman” into his Mead notebook in cursive while admiring his new glasses in the mirror. New York is a little of everything with some soothing noises to remind New Yorkers that they are very very important. The revamped New York Times Magazine is a lot of the same edited by people who think you can get more sexy Millenials to your website by adjusting the kerning on your font. The Atlantic is a lot of the same plus Ta-Nehisi Coates plus Coates’s creepshow commenters asking him to forgive their sins.

  • This is old, but I only recently saw it. The Manfred Macx Media Diet, which is Warren Ellis picking at bits of Charlie Stross’s Accelerando.
  • Everyone is writing post-mortems about GDC and healing and hope, but if you had to pick one, I’d go for Matt Lees over at Vice. Because I see kinship in his decision to skip the party and have a bath instead.
  • As a man walking around without any real sense of what he was looking for, I seemed to almost exclusively bump into people in bars who also didn’t really know why they were there. Myself and a fellow Brit had both inexplicably traipsed alone across town to enter a writing competition in a semi-awful sports bar. We were joined by two young Americans in ill-fitting suits. One was a software engineer, and the other looked alarmingly like a tiny version of Matthew Broderick.

  • John Harris, erstwhile write of a roguelile column at the departed GameSetWatch, has taken up the mantle again on his own blog. He starts by surveying the changes to the genre while he’s been away (it became suddenly enormously popular) and attempts to define exactly what a roguelike is.
  • Before, the closest to mainstream roguelikes were things like the Mystery Dungeon series, which were a stretch even in their native Japan, or the Diablo games. Now, it seems almost like every other new indie game on the Steam store is tagged roguelike, 108 of them as of this writing. Before our hiatus, Spelunky (one of the best real-time roguelike-inspired games) was a promising freeware creation. Now it’s available for Xbox 360, PS3, Vita, and Steam, has fascinated hundreds of thousands of players with its terrific procedurally-generated gameplay, and has been the focus of many livestreams and YouTube recordings by star players like BaerTaffy and Bananasaurus. That indicates, to me, that the lessons of roguelike games have gotten out to some extent, and even been embraced, and I find that heartening. And ToME, under the name Tles of Maj’Eyal, is there, and ADOM is coming, and Desktop Dungeons has been there for a while! But it’s not enough.

  • Road To Eternity: Part 1 is a preview of the documentary of the making of Pillars of Eternity. Which is a lot of ofs. Kickstarter is a great thing if you enjoy seeing how the sausage is made.
  • Speaking of sausage, Steve Hogarty is having lots of sex with men in videogames.
  • Casual groper Haru winds up working in a bar where he is gradually introduced to all of the cartoon men he intends to one-day pleasure using his hands, penis and mouth. An achingly slow plot begins to unfold as it’s revealed that the bar is actually a front for a cool-ass vigilante crime fighting / man-sexing group. It’s an overwritten succession of chapters that delays the filth, but ultimately enhances it with the natural porny frisson of personalities and context. You know, the same reason porn starts with a pizza being delivered or a toolbox being opened. You’ve got to establish a universe (of either pizza or tools) before the smut rolls in.

  • Speaking of how sausage and/or things being made, Patricia Hernandez spoke to some people about how videogame breasts are made (and why they can go wrong). I appreciate the technical detail in this.
  • Are any of these sorts of claims true, I wondered? Plenty of people theorize about why games often feature bad breast physics, but there is little hard information about the actual breast-creation process. After looking into it a bit, I found that many amateur developers seemed to genuinely have a problem figuring out how to tackle breast physics in their games. There are a startling number of forum posts and tutorials where people discuss the best ways to achieve good breast physics online. One person even created a four-part Powerpoint presentation titled “The Quest for Boob Jiggle In Unity.” People have developed specialized tools for other developers to use, to help demystify the enigma that is “how do breasts work.”

  • Unwinnable on fandom and how it has always warped perception and behaviour. I liked the Phantom Menace too, at first, though that was as much youth as anything else.
  • The Phantom Menace was a terrible movie, of course. Yet most of us who stumbled out of that theater that night – smart, well-educated college students, mostly studying in the arts – had no idea. We loved The Phantom Menace. We were in an altered state where our fandom had overridden the evidence of our senses. We hadn’t watched the atrocious, rambling, pointless movie George Lucas had made, we had seen the adventure we had been waiting for almost our entire lives. It was an illusion, a delusion. It didn’t last long.

  • Finding poignancy in simple or broken game systems might be Christopher Livingston’s superpower, and this piece on Cities Skylines for PC Gamer displays it well. What happens when you build a city designed for just a single house? An interesting glimpse at the game’s simulation, and a strange and interesting story at the same time.
  • As I’m scrolling around the map, I suddenly notice a little blue scooter parked at the curb near the house. Its info tag says it’s owned by Oscar Richardson. I’ve got a tenant! The scooter also tells me Oscar works at the town’s incineration plant. That means, essentially, he takes his own garbage to work and sets it on fire. He seems happy about it, though. I click on the house: along with Oscar, there is another adult and two teens. I’ve got a family! Now, to spy on them.

  • I added this next article to my Sunday Papers list before I’d even read it. Why? Because it’s Rich Stanton writing about Devil May Cry. A safe bet – and he’s right about DmC.
  • DmC took some of the best parts of the series’ combat system and used them in building a new one. At the same time this is a much more accessible and visually attractive game than any other in the series – a reflection not just of changing times, but also the fact that it needs new fans. The objection to this on principle is irrational, because the core of a third-person fighting system is scalability – these are games where, for every player, the value is found in the journey from neophyte to master. There is no contradiction between making an accessible fighter and a systems-driven skill game – no less a director than Hideki Kamiya went to enormous pains, in Bayonetta and The Wonderful 101, to offer difficulty modes for first-timers.

    Music this week is Grimes. A question: where can one find more of the grubby hooting that follows shortly after that timestamp-linked video?

    88 Comments

    1. doswillrule says:

      Long Live The Queen just got a free story-expanding update, too. Given that my main problem (beyond the mildly infuriating pen and paper, trial and error stuff at the game’s core) was its paltry length, it is well worth checking out, if only to support more translations of Japanese curios. It and Recettear are two of the more interesting game concepts in recent memory.

      • LogicalDash says:

        The developer of Long Live the Queen is American. I believe she lives in Georgia.

        • Philomelle says:

          She’s actually a Brit. But her first name is Georgina, so I could see why you made that mistake.

      • thedosbox says:

        re: “paltry length”

        This is a game that’s really built around multiple playthroughs – if only to see what other hilarious ways the game has of killing you.

    2. daphne says:

      You link to Grimes the exact week I discovered her music (“Genesis”, “Skin”). Eerie.

      • kwyjibo says:

        Somehow Grimes has turned from weird indie homebrew electronic music to mass produced Vegas EDM bro bullshit.

        • DiamondDog says:

          Well that didn’t take long.

        • daphne says:

          Ya, the linked song is a different sound… probably because I didn’t stray too far from the album work, and the latest album came out in 2012 or something.

          • kwyjibo says:

            I just Googled to see what she was up to now, and her most recent video is link to youtube.com

            Which is a more polished and less naive, but there’s still a homebrew aesthetic and it’s much better than the frat fuck stuff.

        • Frank says:

          Her non-vevo channel uploaded an old-style song in the last week: link to youtube.com

      • soundofsatellites says:

        Her new album’s direction is very much in the dark still, “Go” had quite a bad reception from people so she backpedaled a bit, maybe, dunno? She had always a quility of very simple yet somehow weird pop songs
        link to youtube.com
        link to youtube.com

        I’ve been following grimes since her debut on arbutus records which has themed after the Dune novels (last time I checked both giedi primes and halfaxa were free to dl), and Visions ended being my fav record for that year.

        For some bliss filled pop you can check glass candy maybe
        link to youtube.com
        or blackbird blackbird perhaps

    3. DiamondDog says:

      Not entirely sure what you mean by grubby-hooting, but if it’s that sort of gaudy synth euphoria then you might find some producers on the Night Slugs label you like.

      Girl Unit is a bit of a master at it.
      link to youtube.com

    4. disconnect says:

      I’m guessing the hooting is down in that Grimes track is down to Blood Diamonds so checking out some of his stuff would likely be worthwhile eg. link to youtube.com link to youtube.com

      • disconnect says:

        BZZZT REPETITION OF “IS DOWN”

        • Hebrind says:

          And disconnect, a veteran player of this game we love to play, has buzzed in to challenge himself with repetition, which is a valid challenge in this game that he is a newcomer to, and we’ve loved hearing from him with his challenge in the game we all love to play so much…

    5. Monggerel says:

      I found the new DMC uniquely and singularly unpleasant as far as presentation goes, and the combat (color-coded enemies immune to weapons? a super-mean demon screaming “SAVAGE” at you every five seconds? no actual variety?) didn’t help the impression.
      The series always tried to get by on idiotic charm, and that occasionally worked. What it focused on was the extremely complex and quite excelletn combat, which, while not accomodating to a newcomer, was nowhere near as punishing as something like the Souls series.
      DMC Devil May Cry is juvenile in a disdainful and repulsive way, the colors bleed together into a barrage of red, the environment feels (and deliberately is) hostile to you, the main character is an unpleasant dickhead instead of a charmingly stupid and extremely flamboyant git.
      At least the music didn’t get much worse.

      In conclusion: Revengeance was better.

      Why the fuck am I saying all this? I’m not even a fan of these games and other people made these complaints better before.
      Shit.
      I’ll see myself out.

      • Monggerel says:

        excelletn=EXCELSIOR!

      • Geebs says:

        Everybody making excuses for DmC should be forced to watch the Chip and Ironicus let’s play, wherein Chip takes about 5 minutes to break the style system completely. DmC is ugly, unnecessarily unpleasant and that whole faux mod/punk Carnaby Street mashup thing just makes me embarrassed to be British. The colour coded enemies were total crap and, as has been pointed out ad nauseam, it’s considerably uglier and less imaginative than the much better DMC4.

        Let’s not even begin to contemplate the merest thought that the slightest hint of an implication of comparison to anything by Platinum was frankly ridiculous. Spectacle fighters are supposed to reward player skill, DmC went down the God of War button-mashing path.

        • Monggerel says:

          How fucking difficult can it be to make a good 3rd-person brawler?

          …very. Very very very difficult. No wonder Jedi Outcast remains the undisputed (because nobody talks about it besides myself, and I only talk about it because of an unhealthy obsession with Kylie Cataract’s facial hair) queen of em and it’s actually a first person shooter fed through the grinder and sprinkled with lightsabers.

        • Synesthesia says:

          +1 to all you guys said. DMC4 was so good…

    6. GameCat says:

      Sundays are for sorting 5+kg of used LEGO. It’s my third day. It will never end. :(

      • Martel says:

        How are you organizing them? My daughter and I have been snagging used Lego collections lately and are starting to get overwhelmed by them.

        • GameCat says:

          I have classics bricks in two cardboard boxes, plates in plastic bags and some smaller elements in 2 plastic containers for screws, nails etc.
          More detailed sorting in these containers: slopes, curved slopes (also arches), moveables (hinges, turntables etc.), minifigs, minifigs accessories, flat plates, transparent bricks (including car windshields), details (smallest bricks), wheels, others.

          • Martel says:

            Thanks, that sounds a bit like what I was thinking of doing. I wonder if this is a good time to just build a Lego build-table with built-in storage. Not that I have woodworking skills

    7. Mr Coot says:

      Cities Skylines with one house. Great read. Both awful and hilarious. Bit worried about playing it now, for fear of the onset of existential angst from following the residents too closely.

      Re: Long Live the Queen. Love that game. Above anything else it gives me hope that we have actually progressed in respect of attitudes towards gender and gender roles – not in the game’s subject matter – but in the way it is consumed as a game by gamers. I see blokes playing it, genuinely laughing and enjoying sharing stories about awesome saves from certain death by their princesses. Min-maxing it (lol!) In short, treating it no differently to any other rpg-ish story game. That would’ve been unthinkable in my teens.

      • caff says:

        Yep it was amusing :) but most importantly it highlighted that the game engine works very well. My blind assumption these days is that game developers are lazy when it comes to large scale stuff – but this article shows that the devs made an effort.

    8. AbsoluteShower says:

      ‘people most ignored by most other gaming sites’

      How ignored are they though? OR to put it another way, how are they served any different from the rest of us?

      This idea that Alexander will provide something different rings hollow to me, most writers fall along the same liberal spectrum of opinions regardless of background.

      Now, if she hires someone more Conservative, then she’d have actual diversity.

      • souroldlemon says:

        I never noticed that but it might be true. However, I’m a bit confused by why quality of games journalism should depend on political opinion.
        I guess you’re claiming that thinking people and educated people, who are not above having fun with video games, are more likely to be liberal.
        I’m going to combine causation, correlation, and reverse implication and better myself by trying to be more liberal.

        • AbsoluteShower says:

          If quality of games journalism doesn’t depend on political opinion, then why should gender or race make a difference either?

          “I guess you’re claiming that thinking people and educated people, who are not above having fun with video games, are more likely to be liberal.”

          What? No. I can’t see where you got that idea from.

          What I was saying is that her site is going to sound the exacts same as the sites she previously wrote for. Worse in fact, as Alexander does NOT respect dissent.

          • Jamesworkshop says:

            I think you have the audience confused with the creators
            “website dedicated to those people most ignored by most other gaming sites”
            (the aforementioned audience)

            gender/race is nothing like politics, my politics is subject to debate while being male is not a subject open to opinion.

            not sure where anyone said that the quality of someones work was a function of the adjectives used to describe someone. “Quality” wasn’t even in question to begin with.

            more to politics than just liberal/conservative, why leave out authoritarians or fence-sitting syncretics

            • Jamesworkshop says:

              not sure how we can tell what politics a games journalist or reviewer has, what would it look like if the person was apolitical and didn’t vote for example?

            • AbsoluteShower says:

              Politics is kind of a catch-all term there, not voting preference per se, but also views on social issues.

              As for the perspective argument, I don’t think this new site is actually providing a new one as of yet.

            • Jamesworkshop says:

              maybe we should list these things when writing articles or commenting on them, tumblr style

              Jamesworkshop – White, Cishet, Neurotypical. Male, I prefer he/him/his as pronouns.

            • AbsoluteShower says:

              AbsoluteShower – Plumbingkin.
              Temp/pressure typical
              I prefer pump/hose/head as pronouns.

          • Wulfram says:

            It’s more a matter of perspective than quality. If all the articles are coming from the same place, then they don’t really give a complete picture.

            Though I do agree that conservative voices are under-represented in gaming journalism.

            • malkav11 says:

              Conservatives aren’t very widely represented in journalism of most stripes. I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions as to why.

            • Arren says:

              Now now, malkav11 — their Murdochian networks of reactionary propaganda have been suppurating for decades. Conservative persecution complexes are reinforced in all their drear irony. Tradition is fetishized, daft dog-whistles standing in for the slurs and outright supremacism of yesteryear.

              That’s one “stripe” of journalism*. And as conservative demographics glacially shift from the senescent, we can count on gaming’s equivalent of Fox News** metastasizing in the not-too-distant future. Oh, joy…..

              * (for certain values of “journalism”, that is)
              ** (or the Daily Mail, for you Brits)

            • malkav11 says:

              It does depend on what you’re willing to describe as journalism, for sure.

            • RobF says:

              Yeah, this all seems quite like a reasonable response to a site set up to represent women and minorities in games more and not a honking great embarrassment at all.

              I know, let’s not treat more people being given the opportunity to have their work discussed in games who for many systemic reasons are forced to the margins despite some profoundly creative and interesting work being done in their spaces, let’s not do that. Let’s introduce more *ahem* traditional views because fuck me, you’re all really claiming that the conservative viewpoint, the very much media normal, is under represented and has no sway in games journalism now? Despite, a few notable outlets aside, media empires being ran by conservatives and libertarians and more than willing to defend the status quo of videogames when called for?

              Like, the moment IGN published their “no really, stop looking for racism in Far Cry 4, won’t you think of the business” stuff didn’t clue anyone in that this stuff is normal, accepted and pushes back hard against anyone trying to think a bit deeper on videogames? Like you haven’t read the comments sections that lambast women and minority writers when they speak up? Enabled by a media that has been perfectly content with spending years trotting out “it’s just a game” and pro-industry tattle, questioning nothing of how videogames work both as entities and as industry leaving us with shit everywhere to mop up, leaving is with an aggressive pool of idiots without even the barest fundamental clue of how the lines of production work in videogames and happy to wallow in that?

              We need more conservative viewpoints in games,p for diversity? Not women and minorities?

              It’s alright, guys. I think the “traditional” thinking straight white dude is more than catered for.

              Oh. And it’s not that Leigh “doesn’t like dissent” because fuck me, you’re talking about a human being here. It’s that she doesn’t have to listen to bullshit whining from people and they can’t stand that for some reason. And TBH, I don’t blame her either.

            • DrollRemark says:

              *applauds Rob*

            • qrter says:

              RobF nails it yet again.

            • joa says:

              That’s nonsense – basically all writers on gaming websites subscribe to this liberal ideology. You don’t have to read for five minutes before you encounter some incongruous liberal preening — “look at me guys I’m anti-racist and anti-sexist, look how morally superior I am!”

              I wouldn’t have any problem with it if it was sensible and intelligent and if they actually seemed to genuinely believe what they say (like some of the writers on this site [not John]). But it mostly seems a desperate attempt to signal their membership as part of the new ‘in-crowd’ or even to get laid (here’s a tip guys: it won’t work).

              So yeah, some diversity of opinion would be welcome. I don’t mean tedious conservative dinosaurs, just open-minded people who have no time for unquestioning dogma.

            • ffordesoon says:

              @Joa:

              Even ignoring the inherent flaws in your argument and taking it as read, I… don’t really see what you’re asking for. If there are games journos who are disingenuously performative in their anti-sexist and anti-racist pronouncements, what do you want to see done about that, exactly? Because the only implicit argument I can see here is “Give racism and sexism a chance, guys!” Which is a… unique… perspective.

            • AbsoluteShower says:

              It’s nonsense to go from Conservative viewpoint to Murdoch media hate spewing.

              ” It’s that she doesn’t have to listen to bullshit whining from people and they can’t stand that for some reason. ”

              That seems to be her very own major problem, is that people often don’t want to listen to her angry whingefests,and she throws a strop about ‘straight white males’. Im a bit disappointed to see people here fall into that trap of thinking that we are well served just be cause we are straight white males.
              Does IGN aim towards you? Yes, are you happy with it? Clearly not. And neither am I, it and many sites like it are not for me.
              We need better journalists, one thing Alexander isn’t. I don’t like seeing needless division in games, and that’s what she represents. I’ve no problem with intellectual writing, what I do have a problem with are echo chambers full of pseuds whose response to any criticism is default ‘straight white male detected!!’ defensiveness. It’s not healthy to keep walling off sections of gaming.

      • Monggerel says:

        EXISTENCE DEFINES CONSCIOUSNESS
        AND THE HISTORY OF HUMAN EXISTENCE IS THE HISTORY OF MATERIALISM, DEFINED WITHIN A FRAMEWORK OF ECONOMICAL DIFFERENCE AND SUBJUGATION PROPAGATED THROUGH CUSTOM MORE THAN THROUGH ANY LAW
        AND SO IT IS THAT THE LUDENPROLETARIAT MUST ACQUIRE THE MEANS OF PRODUCTION

        See, I can contribute to the discussion as well!
        Just not very practically mm

        • AbsoluteShower says:

          That would be an ecumenical matter.

        • Mr Coot says:

          What’s the ‘Ludenproletariat’ when it’s at home? Something to do with Luden Dare? Lumpen Dare? Enquiring minds, &c.

      • thedosbox says:

        Ah right, because diversity of political opinion is the only worthwhile diversity.

        /sarcasm

      • Distec says:

        I’m not sure I really need an explicit conservative voice in gaming for the sake of balance or what have you. Having trouble imagining what that would look like, although my gut instinct is “kind of dumb”. We just need a little less strident orthodoxy from some corners. The myth that we’re seeing some sort of conservative backlash to diversity arguments is just that.

        Offworld is a fine development though. And if I feel it’s tainted by Leigh’s offputting influence, then the fringe bonus is that I know where I can largely avoid her.

      • Leigh Alexander says:

        *leigh quietly launches own website for own preference in content*
        *leigh publishes nice article about princess games*

        “angry whinging”
        “throwing a strop”

        did you maybe confuse ‘leigh alexander’ with ‘a mirror’

    9. Badgercommander says:

      Jane Ng of Campo Santo did a youtube version of her GDC talk on The Art of Firewatch, well worth a look: link to youtube.com

      • Premium User Badge

        Hodge says:

        I watched this last night and it’s absolutely brilliant. As if I didn’t want the game hard enough already.

    10. JimmyG says:

      Ian Bogost wrote a pretty good one for the Atlantic that involves systems-driven games, the closure of Maxis, and the identity politics that crescendoed with GamerGate. He more or less says “identity politics:real problems::character-based games:mechanics-based games.” I’m simplifying a lot, but it’s interesting. I’m surprised you guys didn’t include it here.

      link to theatlantic.com

      • Premium User Badge

        teije says:

        Very interesting article, thanks for the link. Not convinced by much of what he says about the changes in the gaming industry or society as a whole, but that’s fine. If we only read stuff we agreed with, life would be dull.

      • Farsi Murdle says:

        He’s not saying issues of representation aren’t ‘real problems’. It’s just mourning the decline in games that involve relationships between people and structures larger than ourselves, expressed via simulation. The closure of Maxis is symbolic of it. Those games still exist, but I think Bogost is suggesting there’s a great focus on representation nowadays and it sidelines other kinds of games (at least among critics/commentators).

        In all the ‘gamer’ stuff of the past few months (and before that), there does seem to be a common dichotomy between artisitic ‘indie’ games and violent bro-shooters, and players-of-games are encouraged to take one side or the other. It’s a false dichotomy, and there are other kinds of games that fall through the cracks of that discourse.

        • TillEulenspiegel says:

          It’s sort of ironic that the artsy indie game scene is HUGE, while other niches are practically dead or just barely reviving thanks to Kickstarter. If you want to talk about games rather than community issues, it’s pretty clear that sexual/gender minorities in particular have a far bigger representation in games-for-them than many other groups.

    11. SuicideKing says:

      Christopher Livingston’s piece was very entertaining, especially since I’ve played Skylines for 11 hours out of the last 24.

    12. Lachlan1 says:

      “I do not care. After The Phantom Menace, my interest in Star Wars plummeted. I played a few videogames, read some comics and, after a while, just drifted on to other things.” This describes what happened to me perfectly.

      • drinniol says:

        I don’t see why so many people should give a shit nearly 16 years on, and they also have no right to complain about awkward dialogue and hokey plots if the like the Clone Wars cartoon.

        • Lachlan1 says:

          I suspect it’s because the Star Wars universe provide a lot of people an escape and/or coping mechanism, which remains a cherished childhood memory. When George took a massive dump on the franchise with episodes 1, 2 and 3 it killed that imagination, at least for me. I never watched the cartoons but, even if I had, I would still have the right to complain about the shitty dialogue thanks very much :)

      • bill says:

        It’s exactly what happened to me too. the Hobbit movies have done the same to LOTR.

        I think age, free time and priorities were also a factor, but Phantom Menace was definitely the beginning.

        • Lachlan1 says:

          For me there’s an analogue here with the early ‘doom clones’ too. There’s an interview somewhere with Gabe Newell where he talks about how other games saw what doom did and, for example, tried to improve upon it by including four-barrel shotgun. He then goes on to say that what he took away from playing Doom was how scared it made him, which influenced Half-life, and everyone loves that game and its sequel. So I think George Lucas misunderstood what made the original trilogy so special and we got the Star Wars equivalent of ‘Redneck Rampage’ or some other largely-forgotten 90s shooter with Episode 1. Also, he probably had to listen to other peoples’ feedback when making the original trilogy and from all accounts he was a right prick when it came to listening to anyone else’s opinion later on.

      • airmikee says:

        I love Episodes 1-3, saw them all midnight release and loved every minute of them as I was walking out of the theater. I know I’m in a small minority, but I had zero expectations walking into the movie, which may be why I’ve enjoyed a ton of movies that most people seem to hate. You’re welcome to not like them, art is always open to interpretation, like and dislike, love and hate, that’s a part of its beauty and amazing awesomeness. :)

        Jar-Jar is a dumb character made for kids, in the exact same way that Chewbacca was made for kids, and both of them were equally disliked by adults, especially those that saw the Star Wars Holiday Special that has endless minutes of wookies moaning at each other.

        The light, fluffy tone of the new trilogy was in stark contrast to the grim tone of the first trilogy, the procedural, free Senate bogged down in negotiations while the darkness arises compared to the darkness overwhelming and snuffing out the last remnants of freedom. As the new trilogy portrays the light being overtaken by the dark, the first trilogy portrayed the light breaking through the dark. They follow each other in a yin-yang type relationship, which I found even more inspiring.

        Sure, Hayden was a whiny crybaby for two whole movies, but he was chosen to play that role because of those qualities, that’s what Lucas wanted in an aspiring dark lord of the Sith. Whether it’s in a gruff voice or not, you find the same infantile crying in the Sith in everything they’ve ever been in, because that’s the way it happens in real life. Osama bin Laden was a whiny bitch that couldn’t accept that even his own people didn’t like what he had to say, so he acted out violently, toppling towers in a temper tantrum. Stalin starved millions because of his childish insecurities about other people living their own lives. Whining and crying by evil people with tremendous power is a staple of life, so when I view Hayden’s acting as Anakin in that light, he actually does a tremendous job.

        I’m not judging your hatred of the movie as a sin, just tossing my two cents into the ring that there are people who thoroughly enjoyed the first three movies, and based on their box office numbers I’m probably in the vocal minority of the silent majority on the topic (compare the all time box office, and all time box office adjusted by inflation lists to see the standing power of Phantom Menace).

        • airmikee says:

          *first three episodes* in the last paragraph, not *movies*. Damn lack of edit. *shakes fist*

          • Lachlan1 says:

            I never said other people shouldn’t like them :) For me there was a significant disconnect between the two trilogies. Say that, even if much of episodes 1,2 and 3 were the same in terms of their dialogue etc, the technology were more similar to the original trilogy it would’ve made a lot more sense. As it was, there were hosts of spaceships etc in eps 1-3 that bore no resemblance to anything in the original movies, and they appeared to be more technologically advanced than anything that existed in the later time period of the original trilogy. So, for me, they just weren’t Star Wars.
            As regards your comment referring to a silent majority…to be frank I think George Lucas could’ve shot a home movie of himself spanking a goat for three hours and the brand ‘Star Wars’ would’ve been enough to get people along, especially for the first episode. As it was, I still saw all three as I wanted to find out what happened (and hoped that they would improve). That is probably closer to the experience of the majority of people (hence their silence ;) and would still account for the box office records.

            • airmikee says:

              I think the biggest disconnect for me is the lack of Darth Vader in the first three episodes. After I saw Phantom Menace the third time with my brother and a friend we had the other two movies figured out, the only variable we saw was how much screen time Vader would get. On that note I was disappointed, but there’d been rumors of a TV series set between the trilogies that would essentially be the rise of the Empire and the near extermination of the Jedi.

              Lucas did make some mistakes, but with as many things as he got right I’m still a fan of the entire series and most of its spinoffs. Star Wars, along with Star Trek, have multi-generation followings that it’s interesting to see the differences, each new incarnation being preferred by varied groups. Baby boomers and GenX preferring the original trilogy, Millenials preferring the new trilogy, and most of the newest generation prefers the Clone Wars and probably the next trilogy along with a new generation.

              I’m so excited for the new series I’ve got all my real life friends and family convinced I don’t want to see it, just so they’ll avoid bringing up the subject so I can go into it with no expectations. Hopefully this little trick works again. ;)

            • drinniol says:

              TBH, most of the disconnect comes down to 20-odd years more than anything else. The teenagers and young people that saw it in 1977 had become too middle-aged and grumpy by 1999 to sit through a movie about a kid missing his mother :)

              The Duel of the Fates is the best-scored and choreographed duelling scene ever and I’ll iPunch anyone who disagrees!

            • joa says:

              I’m not sure millennials prefer the new trilogy. Pretty certain I’m a millennial, and I don’t. I think Star Wars’ strength is in being a somewhat pulpy but very enjoyable romp. In the new trilogy, all the characters are either boring or unlikeable, and the plots dull (does anyone remember what happened in the first one? other than pod-racing).

            • drinniol says:

              You, sir, get iPunched for not mentioning THE GREATEST SWORDFIGHT EVAR.

            • AbsoluteShower says:

              Duel of the Fates is well cored, but it’s flippy nonsense.

            • Lachlan1 says:

              “The teenagers and young people that saw it in 1977 had become too middle-aged and grumpy by 1999 to sit through a movie about a kid missing his mother :)”

              I got into it as a kid when the original trilogy was re-released, circa 1996-7 from memory. Phantom Menace was released in 1999 so I was hardly middle-aged (though I was probably pretty grumpy) by that stage.

    13. April March says:

      I hope you never fix the ‘roguelile’ typo, it’s a perfect name for the genre.

    14. PaceCol says:

      I went into a shoe shop this week. 100 meter square floor space, two floors. Half a shelf given to men’s shoes. Those sexist bastards, don’t they realise how many more shoes they would sell if men’s shoes had greater representation.

      • RARARA says:

        I’m sure you’re working towards a point.

        • qrter says:

          I’m less sure, myself.

        • joa says:

          He’s making fun of the idea that women don’t play as much games because there aren’t as much games representing them. Like even if you dedicated half the shoe shop to men’s shoes, they still wouldn’t make up half the sales.

          • Premium User Badge

            Graham Smith says:

            What if men really were in to shoes already but none of the major shoe manufacturers catered to them and the shoe shops still only gave them half a shelf?

            I dunno. Probably people would try to change that and men would start opening new shoe shops.

            • pepperfez says:

              I’VE HAD ENOUGH OF THESE SO-CALLED “SHOE-WEARING MEN” WRECKING SHOE CULTURE. IF THEY WANT TO WEAR SHOES THEY CAN WEAR NORMAL HEELS AND BALLET FLATS LIKE EVERYONE ELSE.

            • joa says:

              Right, in hypothetical world. But the guy’s point was that in the same way that men aren’t interested in shoes that much (beyond having something that looks decent and is comfortable / appropriate for the occasion) so women broadly aren’t interested in games.

              If you ask me women not being into games reflects positively on them — it’s a pretty juvenile hobby.

            • AbsoluteShower says:

              ‘If you ask me women not being into games reflects positively on them — it’s a pretty juvenile hobby.’

              /sarcasm? Or just self-loathing?

      • Deadly Sinner says:

        And the other half was given to women’s shoes. If only gaming had that sort of equal representation.

        • Distec says:

          I am at a total loss as to how I should react to these comments. That I’m reading posts comparing shoes to equal representation in games and can’t tell if if they’re serious or not shows how strange this discourse has become.

          • Mags says:

            Don’t worry, it’s just a somewhat spurious (and slightly sexist) analogy.

    15. derbefrier says:

      I’ll be glad when the roguelike fad passes among indies and they move on to the next one. I am not a big fan, and a lot of games that I would haved loved are ultimately ruined for me because I just repeat the first few hours of the game over asnd over and over and over and over and over and over untill I can’t stand to play it anymore. I like challenging games but I can only repeat the same content so much before the novelty wears off and I get bored and move on to something else.

    16. PikaBot says:

      If only the Unwinnable article had stuck to discussing how fandom and fan excitement can warp one’s experience instead of prattling on for about nine more parts about the author’s frankly bizarre image of fan behavior. I’ve certainly encountered people who act like the people the author describes, but myself (as a fan of many things) and all the fandom people I associate with think that they’re complete blighters.

    17. Snowyflaker says:

      I have to admit that the article regarding Princess Maker 2 and Long Live The Queen was an entertaining read since those kind of games are a guilty pleasure for me. I guess that what makes them attractive to me is the tamagotchi aspekt of it, where you take care of and level a digital avatar and puts them against whatever the game world can throw against you.

      Are there other decent alternatives in this genre or are PM2 and LLtQ the best on offer for the western gaming world?

    18. Distec says:

      The Kotaku piece about politics in games seems like it’s addressing a pretty large straw man. I’ve not seen any large outcry against having political themes or content in a title, or anybody criticizing or shaming developers for it. No, they’re more likely to get a twitter storm for drawing a boob slightly too large.

      Why the author namedrops GG is beyond me; they dislike you, the gaming media. They’re not going after Bioware or Lucas Pope for their political views. They may dislike Gone Home, but they’ve never argued that it shouldn’t have been made. Why do I feel like this article is just an embellished response to some dumb comment TB made?