The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for drawing polygons then rotating them in code, for no good reason. Best justify the time that’ll take by first gathering the week’s best writing about videogames.

  • Star Wars: Galaxies was a fascinating game at launch, one which treated the world of Star Wars as a real place and went to great pains to offer more than simply a power fantasy. That’s why people still remember it so fondly and also, I suspect, why it never found lasting commercial success. Raph Koster, one of the game’s designers, wrote this past week about how they dealt with the game’s Jedi problem. As in, how do you make a multiplayer game where everyone wants to be the game-breaking superhero class? I’m fond of one, unused solution, quoted below.
  • Every player would have a special character slot available to them, distinct and parallel from their regular character. This character would be locked into one profession, one class: Jedi. They’d start out weak as a kitten though, untrained in combat or anything, and with barely any Force abilities at all. Luke without womprat-shooting experience maybe.

    Although the design wasn’t done yet, we knew that the game would be classless. So this pathetic Force Sensitive character would be able to gain better Force powers by earning Force XP by using the Force. They could also go off and learn other skills. But either way: if they died, that was it. They were dead. Reroll. Start over. It was that dreaded word: permadeath.

  • Time magazine has named Anita Sarkeesian as one of the 100 most influential people.
  • Anita is a feminist for the digital age, using modern tools and platforms to engage thousands of people who want to hear her thoughts and respond to the challenges she raises. A lesser person may throw up her hands and unplug her game console, but Anita is determined to ensure that video games are inclusive and representative of everyone who plays them. As her detractors grow increasingly unhinged, we have proof that her efforts are working.

  • I missed George Buckenham’s rules for making games until now, but found them more interesting and loose than most similar attempts. Rules are best when they feel liberating. Buckenham is the maker of Punch The Custard.
  • Try the stupid/simple solution first.
  • The easiest way to be beautiful is to be consistent.
  • It doesn’t matter if what you’re making stops being a “game” halfway through. Or even if it never starts as one at all.
  • Sometimes you need to slog through it. But you’re basically useless at design when you’re slogging. So take a break!
  • What you make matters more than how well you make it / Your life is finite.
  • We posted about this separately earlier in the week, but in case you missed it, you should read Paolo Pedercini’s transcript of the Art History of Games keynote he delivered in 2013. It begins by skewering the “Are games art?” question, but is most interesting for the examples it uses throughout.
  • And I believe the most interesting art now happens outside of the white cube: net art, social practice, creative activism, performance.

    These practices are rarely mentioned in the Art vs Games discourse because we are obsessed by museums, and yet they have a lot of things in common with games and play.

  • In Feelings machines: games that capture a moment, Leigh Alexander’s picks at the work of ceMelusine, who “makes small, simple virtual spaces that feel as unknowable and vast as the human heart”. Good words, interesting games and videos wot were made by Alice inside.
  • On this martian highway you pick up passengers, alien-like creatures with polygonal, indistinct faces, and you have the kind of conversations you’ll wonder later if you simply imagined: On the universe and your place in it, on your state of being one of nearly infinite lives dangling from the crepe of existence. The passengers fade away — they feel like relics of hours or days ago, suddenly, not simple minutes. Glitchhikers does a wonderful job of capturing the transience of time.

  • I heard this piece described to me before I had read it, and if I had been asked to guess as to its author, I would have got it right. Rob Fearon writes, Every indie developer should read this.
  • Being a hobbyist does not make your work inferior. Being a hobbyist does not mean you are playing at being a developer. Being a hobbyist does not mean you are of less worth or less serious about what you do.

    There are no videogame tourists. There is no minimum level of required commitment. You don’t have to make games to support yourself making games.

  • Obscure modding communities are a delight and they don’t get much more tucked away than this. A group of dedicated fans have been working to keep MVP Baseball 2005 alive, and Grantland tell the story of the people who add new players, old players, commentary and more.
  • Under the hood, that’s the same game: same engine, same animations, same announcers (Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper), same pitching mechanic. But “new coat of paint” doesn’t begin to cover the cosmetic upgrades. The Dodgers and Rockies have switched Triple-A affiliates, just as they did last September. The rosters are populated with the latest players, all of whom have up-to-date portraits in the menu screens and look like themselves in action, even though many of them hadn’t been drafted or signed when the game was released. The menu and walk-up songs are recent. The stadium is a decent facsimile of Marlins Park,1 which opened in 2012, and the Marlins’ uniforms look like this, not like this. Kuiper pronounces “Clayton Kershaw” as if English is his fourth language, but still, he says it — no mean feat, given that Kershaw was a high school junior when the broadcasters were recording their lines.

    EA hasn’t touched the series since 2005, so none of the game’s new content comes from MVP’s maker. It comes from a collective of people like Bloyd: a loosely affiliated community of modders who devote their free time to keeping MVP current, coordinating their efforts via forum posts and private messages at a virtual clubhouse called MVP Mods.

  • Tale of Tales tell the story of the inspiration and genesis of their next game, the first-person romance Sunset. It’s interesting mostly because of their adherence to a storytelling formula more usually subscribed to by films and novels.
  • This is why Sunset consists of 44 sessions: one for each plot point. According to the formula, in the first act, the protagonist must be an “orphan”, somehow separated from their community, different, maybe an outcast. Since our story needed to serve a first-person game, we immediately ran into the question of who the protagonist is. The player character is obviously the most important one but since they are controlled by the player, we can’t force their story arc too much. So we decided to focus on the unseen owner of the apartment as the primary character in our three-act story. Although, Angela and Gabriel do find themselves in a similar situation, so they share this role a bit.

  • Paste Magazine’s Todd Harper attended the Different Games conference and wrote about his experiences there. I am glad this exists.
  • Comparatively, the central aim of Different Games is to focus on supporting people who love games and who are “different” in some way. It’s a conference where the safe space policy rotates regularly on big screens across the venue. It’s a conference where the first day’s opening remarks included the organizers sharing a conference-wide policy for politely but firmly calling out problematic language. You haven’t lived until you’ve heard con organizer Mariam Asad demonstrate the signal – which had its origin in the planning committee’s meetings – by gleefully imitating a game show buzzer into a mic for a crowd of grinning attendees.

  • As John continues to explore whether he still thinks Deus Ex is the best game ever, James Morgan sings the praises of a particular part of the game, Tonnochi Road. I like writing that focuses closely on a single level or area of a game.
  • The options seemed limitless because the limits were unknown. It was all to do with perception. No person, organisation or game system was telling you what to do – you simply had to read the situation, listen to the different perspectives and figure it out for yourself. It was choice, but not such binary, signposted choice as we have come to know in the post Mass Effect age. Of course the variables were limited, the response scenarios pre-programmed, but it was that subtlety of design and the obfuscation of its edges that allowed Deus Ex to transcend its technical limitations. In the end it felt less set piece and more social sandbox. In other words it just felt more real.

    Music this week is Japanese ’90s punk band The Blue Hearts. Start here.


  1. Rig says:

    Oh man, that Jedi article got really painful to read by the end.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      Seriously gutting. Never even played SWG, but I followed its rise and fall kind of loosely. Never knew any of that story.
      There’s a lot to be said here about devs vs publishers but I eh, it’s all obvious.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        Oh wow. I was REALLY sleepy when I wrote that. Not even sure what that second bit was meant to read. Hopefully the gist came across though. The linked piece was the best example I’ve seen of why the money-counters shouldn’t be allowed so much influence over the dev process.

    • pepperfez says:

      All MMOs are, from a step away, deeply tragic.

    • Stargazer86 says:

      SWG was my very first MMO, back in the day. I remember spending a year or two on those forums before the launch, getting hyped, excited, thinking off how cool all these features would be and forming a community around the game.

      I played for a year and then quit.

      But I had no idea the sort of issues they were going through on the back-end just trying to get the game to WORK, not to mention dealing with corporate overseers and a rigidly controlled licensed product. I remember the Holocrons. I remember the Jedi skill grind. I remember the lack of questing content. It’s fascinating to see just WHY all those things occurred and the reasoning behind decisions made.

    • ffordesoon says:

      Yeah, no kidding.

      Galaxies, like the original DayZ mod, was always a fascinating proof of concept that never quite worked – in my relatively limited experience, anyway. I remember being one of the beta testers and digging it more than I’ve dug any MMO before or since, in spite of all the roughness, and I remember when the game hit and felt like another phase of the beta test. I remember finding myself uninterested in playing it until the “full game” arrived, and then meaning to get back to it when people started reporting the fun times they were having.

      When they announced the NGE, I was like, “Wow, maybe this is the time to get back in!” And then it hit, and… oooooooof. I don’t think I ever got past the NGE tutorial, because it felt far more like what we now call the theme-park MMO. As stupid and fundamentally un-SW as running across an endless expanse of Tatooine desert looking for things to blast felt, at least that was a choice I made as a player. Getting railroaded through an Exciting Tutorial Dungeon with Iconic Franchise Characters in it felt so… fanficcy.

      To hear that the game they could have delivered with more time was indeed the game we all saw in the wonky amorphous blob of systems that shipped, that there was even a lot of that stuff already in the game that they had to cut for time… It kills me. And “We need a Jedi by Christmas…” AUGH.

      I never wanted to be a Jedi. I wanted Jedi to exist in the game, I wanted to know that I could somehow become one, but I didn’t want to be one. Because they’re Space Wizards, and wizards in computer games are either so overpowered that they’re the “default” class or underpowered enough to fail to deliver on the fantasy of being a wizard. Actually, Jedi are worse than that: to borrow D&D terms for a moment, they’re Space Fighter 20/Rogue 20/Wizard 20s, with none of the compromises typically inherent in multiclassing. Making them a class like all the other classes is like letting players select a nuke as their starting weapon. How many people will pick pistols or assault rifles over a goddamn nuke?

    • Anthile says:

      Palpatine did nothing wrong.

  2. MadTinkerer says:

    “Anita is determined to ensure that video games are inclusive and representative of everyone who plays them. As her detractors grow increasingly unhinged, we have proof that her efforts are working.”

    I really don’t hate Anita Sarkeesian. Sometimes she makes good points. Not always. There’s a lot I disagree with. But I don’t hate her. I’m not even mad that she’s influential. When she gets outright slanderous, it just shows how prejudiced she is and how weak her position is. I completely sympathize with those that get mad at her (when they’re getting mad for something she actually did), because slander is not nice. I also sympathize with her somewhat because all of her slander seems to be sincere in that she completely believes the slander is true (despite no evidence), and it’s not nice when others yell at you for telling them what you sincerely believe. But I don’t hate her personally.

    Some of her supporters, though: them I’m starting to dislike. Quite. A. Lot. Making up lies about other people because they don’t agree with Anita Sarkeesian enough doesn’t actually support her or the “movement”. That sort of thing, I’m starting to hate just a little bit.

    And it’s sad, because this shouldn’t have been a “movement” at all. Making it into one effectively drew a line in the sand, but then got redrawn and redrawn as the slander (sincere or otherwise) and rumors circulated and multiplied. It didn’t need to be a “movement”, because people are more generally reasonable than Anita Sarkeesian thinks they are. All she needed to do was analyze video games and not try to make things personal. Then, if things got personal, not try to make it about her. But the opposite of those two things happened. Which shows that in her mind it always was about her and her movement and not the games, gamers, or developers. I don’t hate her because that’s what she wants those who disagree with her to do.

    Now, eventually the “movement” is going to break up (as all things do in time), and when it does will games seem less sexist? But more importantly: is making games less sexist worth all the slander? She got her start because seriously guys: like music and moves and comic books and novels, some games are inappropriate in their depiction of female characters. But fixing that with all those presumptuous (sincere) lies is counter-productive. The sincerity of their beliefs is going to prevent them from understanding what they’re doing until it’s too late.

    Some day, when her movement is broken up completely and everyone has moved on, I will joke about how some female character in a new game wouldn’t expose her midriff in battle in real life. And then someone will accuse me of being an Anita Sarkeesian supporter. And I won’t get mad, I will just sigh.

    • RobF says:

      You know it was a bunch of scary people on the internet who made it about Anita not Anita, right? Like…

      “All she needed to do was analyze video games and not try to make things personal”

      That’s exactly what she did and some people on the internet turned on her and then we’re where we are now. (Spoilers: it’s not Anita and what she does that’s the problem)

      • Karrius says:

        Everyone knows that if somebody makes a game about physically attacking you, it doesn’t count as “personal”. But disagreeing with people, well, now THAT’S personal…

        • ribby says:

          someone made a game about physically attacking Anita Sarkeesian? :( :( :(

          Gosh… Guess she’s more influential that I realized, then.

          • April March says:

            They did it before her Kickstarter had even ended, as I recall. The threat that her analysis might come to exist was all that took.

        • Synesthesia says:

          It only took one sentence to annihilate that argument. Have an internet.

        • Mman says:

          Pretty much; saying she’s the one who made it personal is incredibly gross when she was flooded with hateful and personal garbage almost the moment her kickstarter went up (and before she even made any content).

          • Reefpirate says:

            Right, so her critics are limited to people who make violent games with her face and people who send rape and/or death threats? For a while there I was thinking the discussion, that she was interested in starting, was a little more nuanced than that. Good to know that it’s as simple as neanderthals vs. Anita. Saves me having to think about the whole thing.

          • Mman says:

            I was only commenting on that statement and nothing else, so I’m not sure what you’re even talking about beyond getting oddly defensive about someone saying that the people sending death and rape threats are awful.

          • Reefpirate says:

            “Oddly defensive”? Oddly in what way? Like I’m secretly pro-rapist or something?

            That would be just like ‘those people’, right? First they’re talking about video games and women, next thing you know they’re just rape rape rape all over the place!

            I took it as a given that everyone here is understood to be anti-harassment, anti-rape, anti-rape threats, anti-death threats, anti-killing, anti-tasteless game design, etc. Or do I have to type that out every time I post something?

          • Mman says:

            No seriously how in any way could what I said (that it’s the harassers who made it personal) be even remotely taken as a statement that everyone who has criticisms of Anita’s work must be someone who’s harassing her? I can only assume you’ve completely misinterpreted what I said.

      • Reapy says:

        Well went into this whole thing about it all and deleted it because its kinda not worth disagree with the view of most game journalists that she is quoting holy scripture since they have the loudest voices.

        The issue I had with everything is that while being a long term gamer the thought of women getting into the gaming space has always excited to me, so I guess I don’t understand why when I read most the writing about all this I am suddenly a women hater and I don’t want women around and am actively trying to keep them away from my games.

        I wish the narrative was like, hey, we are sick of the ‘sexy female’ as the only game character in games, here are some examples of great female characters from other media types that would work really well in games. Hey, women are sick of the game structure of XYZ maybe we should try out this other games type, here is an example of a game design that would work i think.

        Because at the end of the day I want games, I want variety, I’m sick of consuming the same type of media and I would like to see games continue to push in new directions, but this negative narrative about game developers and gamers being assholes who don’t want this has really been astounding and just downright wrong.

        The few times I have seen an example of a positive female character they describe the ‘female that acts like a male’ which I keep seeing repeated as also a negative so I’m not even sure what a ‘healthy’ female character looks like. Thing is I still and always will love the ‘sexy, powerful famale’ fantasy trope, I don’t want that to go away, I just want to see a lot more variety like male characters have.

        I always thought the avatar TV series did a great job having a variety of female character body types and tropes, I thought that a lot of games could aim for that same character variety.

        Really though I think character is only a surface thing in gaming (outside of RPGs and adventures) and I would really like to see what is the game ‘flow’ that a female would maybe enjoy more than guys. I think flow is inherent in everybody, but maybe women tick differently and the standard ‘FPS zone’ men like isn’t applicable or appealing to most women? I dunno, would love to see a new type of game flow I haven’t experienced.

        I guess its like, when is the damn conversation going to go positive and put creativity into it to start outputting something besides focusing on us all being a pack of drooling rapists that hate women?

        • pepperfez says:

          Ain’t nobody calling you a rapist (Unless you’re literally a rapist, in which case, Shame On You). Settle down.


        • ribby says:

          It never will be positive…

        • JimThePea says:

          You shouldn’t’ve deleted it, if you believe there’s a culture of shouting down anyone who has any minor criticism of Anita Sarkeesian, all the more reason to speak up. If it came from the same positive place as what you did write, then we definitely need more of it!

          I don’t 100% agree with anybody, I don’t even 100% agree with myself, so of course there’s stuff that I don’t agree with Sarkeesian on, and that doesn’t get me any closer to agreeing with anything said or done by those morons under the GG banner. But there’s never been a lot of room for nuanced discussion in comment sections, especially when issues are this charged.

          On what you did write about, I think there is a lot of variety out there, you’re just not going to see as much in the world of AAA games, they’re less likely to take what they see as risks, like unique female protagonists and games that aren’t sequels. The indie scene has come a long way in the last 5 years, one person can make a game that reaches hundreds of thousands of people despite having weird gameplay and a challenging story, that’s where the future of gaming is. Maybe we’ll see them influencing AAA games more and more, but it won’t happen overnight.

        • Sin Vega says:

          the view of most game journalists that she is quoting holy scripture

          Most game journalists I’ve heard from think she’s a mediocre critic, and her work isn’t incredible but it’s a good thing that it exists. The vicious little cowards that went after her and continue to obsess about her are exactly why she’s influential. It’s not because games journalists idolise her. It’s because she’s a pretty unremarkable commentator who got treated like shit because she was a woman who dared to speak up.

          There’s a big difference between idolising someone and trying to stop a mob from stoning her to death.

          • Wytefang says:

            I don’t think she was treated badly because of her views but more because of who she was, what she represented, and how inaccurate much of her agenda seemed to be. That and no one could really understand and see why anyone else should have even cared about her poorly formed and in many cases ill-supported opinions.

    • blind_boy_grunt says:

      Wow. That was dumb. In general i try/enjoy engaging people with who(m) i disagree, but this was just too much. You probably truly believe that you are being reasonable (in math once the premise is false you basically can correctly proof anything you want (or something). Your post feels like that).

    • eggy toast says:

      Anybody who cares about any gamer gate besides the online store is a crazy person and you should do your best to ignore everything they say. Thats why I gave each post in this tree a look of incredible condescension but didn’t read a word.

    • Frank says:

      Yeah, maybe if you keep repeating the words “slander” and “lies” enough, it will magically become descriptive of what she has done. As of now, in the world I live in, she has produced some well-made videos dissecting gender in video games; and an army have — from even before the release of the first video — made a mission of harassing and discrediting her. Have fun with that.

      • EhexT says:

        Ignoring her being (knowingly or not) factually incorrect in several instances, because you think the narrative that she’s oppressed and harassed (which is true) can’t handle her (also existing) faults and errors – that’s more than a little sad.

        • RobF says:

          In the grand scheme of things “someone made a slight mistake in a YouTube video” is never really going to be up there, man.

          • EhexT says:

            When the entire shtick is about pointing out how other people are making mistakes and how that makes them terrible and they should feel bad it’s pretty fucking major though. Being a little wrong is no big deal – UNLESS your entire livelihood and fame consists of shouting how other people are wrong. Then it’s a really big deal.

          • Mman says:

            “When the entire shtick is about pointing out how other people are making mistakes and how that makes them terrible and they should feel bad it’s pretty fucking major though.”

            Good thing she hasn’t done that then. Criticising things is not the same as criticising the people who make or consume those things (even if they are the ones who can make change happen).

          • RobF says:

            “When the entire shtick is about pointing out how other people are making mistakes and how that makes them terrible and they should feel bad it’s pretty fucking major though. Being a little wrong is no big deal – UNLESS your entire livelihood and fame consists of shouting how other people are wrong. Then it’s a really big deal.”

            Dude, they’re bare bones feminism 101 “look, here is a thing that happens in videogames” videos. They’re about as bland and inoffensive as it’s possible to be, rarely raising themselves above elementary, never mind so much as saying boo to a goose. If you think they’re designed to make you (or anyone for that matter) feel terrible as a person, you’ve got a pretty low bar for what makes people feel terrible and a warped view on the content of the videos.

            That you have to exaggerate to such an immense degree in order to make your point stick would be funny if it wasn’t the sort of shit that keeps getting people dogpiled and snowed under a pile of abuse consistently.

  3. Fenix says:

    Thanks for the The Blue Hearts link! I only knew them because of the song Linda Linda which I didn’t like, which in turn made me not check them out proper :/

    • Premium User Badge

      SoundDust says:

      Ditto, thanks!

      Music for me this week has been obsessing over the new Go! Team album. Best pop record I’ve heard in years.

    • blind_boy_grunt says:

      because japan and punk made me think of this video and i had a good time (again): link to (not japanese, obviously).
      but yes, thanks for the blue hearts link.

  4. ribby says:

    Copying a good comment from the anita sarkeesian thingy.

    “waged by entitled male gamers who fear change in an industry that is evolving while they seem determined to remain 15 forever.”

    Because no women will ever disagree/dislike anita? right?

    link to

    link to

    link to

    link to

    link to

    link to

    The narrative that the media and Anita presents is ridiculous and I cannot believe she’s getting away with it :/

    I’m beginning to wonder the same thing about Gamergate… The more everyone insists that they’re just a hate group and just hate women and are all misogynistic, the more I start to question and doubt that. And you get things like this which makes the whole Anit-GG thing seem crazy:

    link to

    • ribby says:

      I need to some hefty googling so I can make an informed decision on this and not be so uncertain

      • pepperfez says:

        I agree with this as a general attitude towards life.

        • pepperfez says:

          Are replies borked here? I was pretty sure this was a reply to ribby above.

          • pepperfez says:

            The answer is Yes, replies are borked.

          • ribby says:

            I don’t think they are- your comment seems to be replying to my comment… But I have noticed replies to comments not appearing as replies before.

            I’ve now got about 20 tabs open and already my resolve is wavering. Ah well, I’ve started now

          • ribby says:

            My first impressions though are that GG started out as a negative thing, as it seems to have been based on misinformation, (ie there was a rumour that someone was sleeping with someone else for favourable reviews). Whilst the principals were correct (ie that you shouldn’t be able to do that sort of thing) the ways in which many GG-ers responded to the issue was pretty repulsive, not to mention sexist.

            However as an overall movement it appears GG is now really about ethics in games journalism. In any group (particularly one made up of people who regularly use the internet- some of whom are pretty terrible people) there are going to be awful people who take things too far, say awful things, have pretty repulsive beliefs and focus on the wrong aspects. You can see it with feminists, you can see it with Anti-gamergaters heck you can even see it with atheists or members of religion. But there also seem to be many reasonable Gamergaters. TB supports the movement because it advocates a subject he has been talking about for years before GG began.

            So it surprises me that the general media has taken such a stance to Gamergate, almost without exception. They always mention the death threats and vitriol that some GGers spew at those they dislike, but neglect to mention that those who support GG, such as TB, have been subject to exactly the same sorts of behaviour.

          • blind_boy_grunt says:

            out of interest, what are the things gg unearthed that they/you are so, so angry about? Besides the things you agree are sexist.

          • RARARA says:

            Go to Kotaku in Action and see how many of the posts in the front page are about ‘ethics in video games journalism’ and how much of it is just an aggregation of a list of people saying negative things about GG and whining about SJWs. Go on.

            The movement was started off by an aggrieved ex and propelled by the likes of 4chan, Yiannopoulos, and and fringe nuts like Baldwin and Aurini. There’s a reason why it attracts so many uncouth MRA types and condemned by eveyone from Joss Whedon to Tim Schafer. After driving women out of their homes and industry, you can’t just claim that it was never about misogyny. It’s like the KKK claiming they aren’t a hate-group.

            The press can show concern over integrity. See how several sites changed their policies in light of Doritosgate – which came from a place of genuine concern.

          • RobF says:

            It is and always remains a roving hatemob. Sorry to disappoint.

            Total Biscuit deciding to affiliate himself with their cause is not the most ringing of endorsements for either, I’m afraid.

          • RARARA says:

            Yeah, TB is one of internet’s biggest manchild.

            Like here, feeling ‘attacked’ over Jim Sterling posting an article about transphobia. And he tells other people to grow a thick skin.

            link to

          • Distec says:

            I think I’m missing some wider context here. I’ve read the article Jim linked to and his ensuing convo with TB, but I don’t see what’s so terrible or hypocritical in that dialogue.

            That said, TB does need to divorce himself from social media shitstorms if he’s going to be consistent. Although it seems like many people have a hard time not being stupid on Twitter.

          • James says:

            @Distec, TB now takes twitter rants to Soundcloud audioblogs that he just tweets links to, it took him a while, but he’s realised that twitter is an arse to do anything but get in a shitstorm with the dark parts of social media.

          • Distec says:

            Indeed he has. I think he’s made some slips here and there, but he’ll typically admit it.

            It’s a little amusing to see how much hate TB gets here; just some “icky, gross, manchild”. These critics seem largely unhinged, and I get the sense there’s a lot of sour grapes because he’s not using his position to promote some socially conscious tripe.

          • jalf says:

            You mean like calling games journalists alcoholics?

            LIke saying that death threats against female game developers aren’t credible unless you’ve actually been killed?

            Or claimed that racism isn’t a thing that exists in the UK?

            Or that games with political messages are “regressive”?

            Blamed victims of harassment, saying they should know better?

            Or hey, how about the fact that blatant transphobia, or the fact that he consistently agrees with fucking gamergate of all things

            Yeah, totally reasonable guy.

          • James says:


            *Through megaphone with the sound of helicopter blades in the background*:

            Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to back away from the debate! You need citation to proceed!

          • Distec says:

            I agree with him that that part is accusatory, or certainly sounds like it. On its own, I’m not too fussed over it. But this mindset that some inaction on my part has left blood on my hands seems to crop up a lot as of late. I think it’s about as helpful as the popular usage of “manchild”; not really helpful at all.

            As for the “alcoholics” bit; was definitely low form. But Leigh doesn’t seem to have any trouble shitting on people over Twitter either, and she seems to get a pass quite frequently on that. I’m not going to expense any sympathy towards people who seem more than happy to wade knee-deep into Twitter’s bullshit.

            If you’d like to to substantiate any of those claims with more detail – as opposed to just rattling off some list of TB’s alleged slights (particularly the transphobia) – that would be good. I don’t necessarily agree with his stance on politics in games, but I don’t think you’re giving it a fair shake either. At the very least, it’s no less insane than the polar opposite view that “all games/art are political” that gets espoused frequently.

            Here’s my beef: every time I read some post, or get pointed to a storify about how TB is some backward, regressive monster and look into it myself, I usually find it’s either not particularly objectionable or not as bad as it’s being portrayed. I don’t particularly care for TB’s content in general; it strikes me as kinda bland and I much prefer reading versus the video format. But I haven’t seen anything to warrant the vitriol he brings out in others. Apparently disagreeing about things that every normal person on the fucking planet does makes one a deeply objectionable person.

            I’m really tired of this attitude in general, everywhere. I’ve had enough.

          • RARARA says:

            Totalbiscuit is a 14 year old’s idea of a smart man. Remember when he made a ‘provocative’ introductory rant with no point or aim whatsoever in the SA forums (complete with boastings of going to law school and having an IQ of 155) and got reamed accordingly? Good times.

          • Mman says:

            “I get the sense there’s a lot of sour grapes because he’s not using his position to promote some socially conscious tripe.”

            It’s more like the opposite; if he focused on the pure gaming stuff no-one would have much of a problem with him, but as soon as he talks about a social issue outside of his channel (which suggests a certain self-awareness) he always ends up saying something ignorant, cringe-worthy or hypocritical (like saying politics based games are a regressive concept when he’s really liked stuff like Papers Please).

          • pepperfez says:

            “Politics” means things other people care about that I don’t care about. That simple fact makes the Lazy Pastry’s position totally consistent.

          • James says:

            You drew that conclusion from one quote (without explaining how it’s context aids your argument) from a twitter coversation in which two grown men disagree on a thing, have a confusion of communication, and then resolve it for the purpose of getting on with their respective lives. No insults, no bigortry, nothing particularly controversial, just two people debating (whilst making the mistake of using twitter to do said debating).

            I wish to know how you reached your conclusion from what we have both read. I see mature people having a discussion with a hiccup half way through, you see a hypocritical ‘manchild’ – please explain your reasoning fully.

            I also rarely hear TB talking about growing a thick skin for more than business reasons – I’ve never heard him suggest that you ought to grow a thick skin for personal altercation, he usually tells people not to give others a hard time, but to be prepared for people to ignore decency, be pricks and call them a manchild etc.

          • RARARA says:

            I called TB a manchild because he derailed an article obviously important to a lot of people with one of his tedious semantic arguments, along with a good bout of “What good does talking about it online do?” and “Other things are really important” arguments. Calling the article ‘accusatory’ just because it asked people to stop letting trans people die?

          • Muzman says:

            for ribby, in case replies don’t work

            I would credit that some of them are at least trying to do these things. But the well is still poisoned by obsessions with the phantom cabal of SJWs. That’s still the primary ‘ethical lapse’ people are worried about; being identifiably SJW and not sufficiently pro gamergate.
            To borrow a line from Eco: The Masons/ Illuminati/Communists/SJWs/Rosicrucians are everywhere. A feat made easier by the fact that they don’t exist.

            That and an obsessive hatred of all things Gawker, and the IGF, and their affiliates. Same as it ever was really. It’s more Kotakugate than gamergate really. And less of a ‘gate and more of a style or hatch. Possibly a trap door.

            If they could successful divest themselves of, well, all the drivers and obsessions that made the thing what it was in the first place, they might have something. But not as yet.

            In any case, I think that at best boils down to a couple of guys running a scandal screamsheet about games journalism. One of severely limited appeal and hard to base a movement around.

          • Baines says:

            The problems with the whole “poisoned well” issue are that:

            1) While a well of such extent exists, no one can come near anything even remotely related to the subjects that were in turn related to what poisoned the well without being drawn into the well itself. Broad fields are poisoned by association, or even indirect association.

            2) There are too many people who see benefits from keeping the well poisoned.

          • April March says:

            OK, I’m trying to type a reply to ribby’s long GG post, but Horace only knows where it’ll end up.

            So: you know that GG started out as a negative thing. From that prism, it’s not difficult to understant why it’s still considered a hate movement, even if it’s no longer like that (a claim I do not believe for a microsecond). If you support GG, knowing its history of harassing women and others, then one of those three is correct:

            1) You agree with that stance and would harass women yourself.
            2) You are neutral with that stance and don’t think death and rape threats are such a negative thing that you wouldn’t associate with people who do those things in the name of something as minor as perceived ethics in a field that’s a step above paid editorials.
            3) You disagree with that stance, but would rather associate with those people than risk losing the momentum of a movement you believe in.

            All three options are, in my opinion, execrable. Anyone who has legitimate complaints should have cracked down on its problem-causing members, or even created a new movement, divorcing themselves from GG and starting anew. The fact that they didn’t do that means they are cowards, or rather, that they do not have in fact legitimate complaints and are only trying to find a way to legitimate their anger at the fact that games they don’t like are becoming famous. So I don’t think GG could or should regenerate themselves; it’s like opening a Ku Klux Klan daycare.

          • Distec says:

            In regards to separating this kind of criticism from the GG movement, I think you’ll find it’s a nice idea that few individuals actually want to indulge. People who make some of the same arguments without the hashtag or any other affiliation inevitably end up being called GGers any way (or sympathizers, or enablers, or shields). You see this all the time where somebody gets accused of “outing” themselves as a member or arguing in GG code for some ulterior, nefarious motive. Developers like Adrian Chmielarz – who is not part of GG but hasn’t been persuaded that female representation in games is a critical issue – get accused of being covert supporters all the time. It is extremely difficult to create distance from Gamergate when these arguments so frequently get tied back to it.

            I’m also sure inane statements like your KKK comparison will prompt a nice fat “fuck you” in return, rather than any constructive breakaway.

          • blind_boy_grunt says:

            “I found some comments insisting that GG started before the whole Zoe Quinn debacle”
            i think it started with some celebrity(someone from the tv-show firefly) after zoe quinn.
            “the fact is that it began with an opinion that it was wrong for someone to sleep with a reviewer for a +ve review.”
            The Zoe Quinns thing bores me, because it just shows that you didn’t do your homework. In the blog of the guy, the last entry of the whole debacle was: Zoe Quinns did not sleep with anyone for a review(of that FREE game i have to add). But nobody cared because it was not about ethics and certainly not the ethics of that “movement”.

          • ribby says:

            link to

            ^This is too funny

            Aw shit I’ve been sucked into clickhole now… Goodbye rest of the day

          • ribby says:

            But he apologized and admitted he made a mistake… At least he showed maturity in that

          • ribby says:

            In reply to April and holy crap are replies messed up!

            Tbh I don’t care about ethics in games journalism to support GG. What I care about though is people making broad generalizations… “Men can’t be sexist”, “All MRA groups are hate groups” “feminists haha, more like feminazis” “GGs are misogynists” . I guess you could say I’m anti-extremist rather than pro or anti GG.

            Here’s the narrative that I’m finding.

            During my ‘research’ (googling) I found some comments insisting that GG started before the whole Zoe Quinn debacle… Even if that is false, I sort of see what you’re saying about not continuing something that has its roots in a negative incident but the fact is that it began with an opinion that it was wrong for someone to sleep with a reviewer for a +ve review. The way it developed from then was pretty bad, with many people harassing Quinn (and I’m pretty sure it was a false accusation by an ex who she cheated on, anyway) and generally behaving poorly. It took a while for those who were actually interested in games journalism to drown out the assholes.

            As for a history of hate speech and harassment? You could say the same about plenty of groups, including feminism.

            link to (protest against a talk about male issues, such as rising suicide rates)

            And this woman wants to subjugate men and use them for breeding and slave labour in the name of a more progressive society. link to

            There are terrible, awful people in every group whose views and behaviour are not an overall indication of that group’s opinion

          • ribby says:


            But the same kind of overblown mythos exists surrounding GG. The idea that they’re all white and male and hate women for one thing
            link to

            This bunch seem normal and fun. But they’re probably secretly evil sexist scumbags just putting on a normal front . Or members of the Illuminati. Or lizards.

          • ribby says:


            Bravo man… I’m pretty sick of it too.

            Why do people feel the need to look for people to hate?

          • ribby says:


            I have repeatedly said that the accusations against Z.Q (just realized that those are awesome initials) were false… so you haven’t been reading my comments properly… I get that it’s long and boring but don’t criticise me if you can’t be bothered to read what I’m saying

          • Muzman says:


            In the spirit of the debate at present, where nothing is really gmrgte, I doubt that meetup is really gmrgte and bet none of those people ever did anything for “the cause” as such except retweet something. That is how the whole thing had anything resembling large numbers anyway, it turns out. Someone shouts “These people are saying gamers are all white middleclass and hate women!”. Not strictly true. But people not really knowing anything about it say “Wait. I’m a gamer! Down with this sort of thing! #grrr”

            It’s true you could say people should stop trying to label it altogether, but I still think it’s broadly correct to say that it’s because of reactionary white males that gg is the thing that it became. They just succeeded in making it out to be a ‘war on all gamers’ to broaden its appeal and support. People can pick and choose which bits they care about. Like TB for instance. He’s a “supporter”, but only really of the tiniest publicly acknowledged bits of the manifesto. Gives them long winded advice on how to move forward along that line etc. I bet he couldn’t stand a long conversation with some of the true believers, as they can spin anything into the secret SJW cabal that controls everything. (I can imagine him trying to delicately steer them back from the brink in order to keep the conversation open). That’s why he’ll retweet their propaganda at face value, not getting involved with the weird origins of their “mascot” and the specific reference her colour scheme is making (That’s also the most baffling thing “People are saying we’re sexist!. But we’re not sexist! See? We drew a picture!” I…don’t…even…).
            It’s a pick n mix movement.

            Lately it’s become more complex to identify who or what is behind trolling in general. Some of it is organised, but less than originally thought. Some of it just crops up out of shared sentiments. In that sense gg probably can wash its hands of a lot of stuff that went down. But – and here’s where I get in trouble for a harsh comparison. I can’t really think about another one though – when the neo nazis march down the road and say all sorts of stuff, they go home peacefully. Then the kids down the street go and stone the black family’s house. When the preacher gets up and says gays are against god and might send us all to hell, he goes home quietly without saying anything specific. Then it’s the liquored up guys in the pickup truck that go and knock down the front wall of HIV testing place.
            They all say “But we never told anyone to do these things! That’s terrible” afterwards. And they’re correct.
            To my mind what we have here is the internet version of that and I feel quite comfortable saying that for a while there,GG was the embodiment and populariser of broadly anti-feminist and anti-women sentiment on the internet. To effect and fallout that not even they can fathom too, most probably.

            It could all be a tremendous coincidence and gg is completely innocent, I guess. But for groups whose conversation is often so message based and PR based, filled with subtle publicity maneuvering and military psy-ops language, they could have seen this was a bad trip and opted out early, I think. Created the games journalism watchdog and had nothing to do with everything else swirling around this. But they didn’t, or did a really terrible job of it. I suspect, even in the most well meaning interpretation, they couldn’t resist the attention. So if they want that famous brand hashtag they can wear its maelstrom of an origin and all the pain some people will forever associate with it.

            I’d also have more respect for the more noble goals if as a movement they were actually ignited by something, y’know, real. Like real corruption was unearthed or something and then everyone got mad. Not post hoc dirt digging done mainly to justify essentially anger over a conspiracy theory. That would make it easier to not go looking for some sociological explanation for the whole business. I could look at the clear wrong that was found and say yes, that is at least understandably annoying. Now whatever they might dig up (nothing big, really) still has that stink of a bunch of paranoids looking for a reason to be paranoid.

          • blind_boy_grunt says:

            i really don’t get what you want to hear? Your initial links are all about anita sarkeesian. Do you really need a whole movement against one woman making youtube videos?
            The whole thing started in shit, you and i can agree there. But it has yet to move anywhere, so for anybody looking in from the outside it looks just like at the beginning.

          • ribby says:


            I see what you’re saying there. Yeah I suppose you’re right. (Although the comparisons were a little ridiculous, yeah)

          • ribby says:

            also @Muzman and for some reason ‘ribs’ just made my day xD

      • ribby says:

        Hey wait a second… What’s wrong with Totalbiscuit? He’s a reasonable dude

        @blindboy_grunt And I think it’s game devs paying for favourable reviews, that sort of thing. I think I watched a video by the aforementioned TB where he was talking about this

        link to (I /think/ it was this one)

      • ribby says:

        It certainly started with misinformation. Due to heavy censorship the ZQ thing was, right from the start, tricky to piece together and as a result rumours started to fly and then some people started being shitty.

        Pretty sure that the GG # really took off due to an article speaking out against a whole bunch of anti-consumer articles claiming that the ‘gamer’ was dead.

        But where I disagree is that I would argue that GG has certainly moved somewhere. It has addressed the problems of harassment that some of its less savoury members took part in at the beginning, taken pretty effective steps to prevent that, and it now seems to be a genuine discussion about games ethics. Why judge it in its present state on something that it once was? That seems stupid to me, and pointless.

        As for the Anita thing, I was simply reposting a comment about the falseness of this statement: “waged by entitled male gamers who fear change in an industry that is evolving while they seem determined to remain 15 forever.”

        Which is a similar example of a false narrative supported by the media and no more true than it is to say that GG is all sexist, or that feminists or MRAs are all sexist.

        • RobF says:

          Dude. Stop pretending you’re somehow naive about what Gamergate is whilst posting a load of Gamergate rubbish.

          It’s embarrassing and you should stop.

          • ribby says:

            Did you miss the bit where I said i was going to do some researchin’? I no longer think myself naive. Now I’m a freaking paragon of knowledge.

            And I really hate the way you’re dismissing all that I’ve said as nonsense with zero explanation. Just because you don’t like what I’m saying you’re gonna stick your fingers in your ears and go “la la la gamer gate nonsense la la la”.

          • RobF says:

            (You’re not fooling anyone)

          • ribby says:

            False narratives”, “anti-consumer articles claiming that the ‘gamer’ was dead”, “Anti-gamergaters”

            As I said, I’ve listened to stuff by those for and against GG so it makes sense that I would use the language I’ve heard in their videos. You can make me out to be anything you like if it helps you dismiss my argument without even trying to engage with it. Heck, if it helps you not to think of me as a real person and so avoid reasonable discussion, I also have two heads and eat kittens.

            Now do you have anything sensible to say or are you just trying to troll me?

            Of course you haven’t. You already seem to have made up your mind about what kind of person I am and apparently you’ve decided that I’m the kind of person that you hate, so of course everything that I have to say must be lies. It’s all part of a big conspiracy.

            You really suck

            Also for the record those articles /were/ called things like “gamers are dead”!

        • Mman says:

          ” It has addressed the problems of harassment that some of its less savoury members took part in at the beginning, taken pretty effective steps to prevent that, and it now seems to be a genuine discussion about games ethics. Why judge it in its present state on something that it once was?”


          The only reason it isn’t even worse at this point is that GG has been sufficiently ostracised that it’s mostly confined to it’s echo chambers. Egging on harassers is literally one of the only things it even does anymore. Just a few days ago they flooded a anti-harassment tag related to Zoe Quinn with more libel and hate about her. To make things worse GG actually had something legitimate going on by posting harassment they had received there, but instead of making a point about stopping that kind of thing altogether it was obviously just a dick-waving point scoring exercise for them, and those posts were surrounded by just as much hate and libel, with no attempt by them to call it out (in fact, they were made the top comments)

          • ribby says:

            Mman… Really? I thought that one of the only things they did anymore was try to stop people harassing others under their hashtag.

        • blind_boy_grunt says:

          “She also talks about her life as a target in the online culture war known as Gamergate, waged by entitled male gamers who fear change in an industry that is evolving while they seem determined to remain 15 forever”.
          aka the visible part of gamergate, aka as harassement and rape threats.
          But let’s say they changed and stand for something. You yourself can’t be bothered to watch the link about failures in gaming journalism you provided (i can’t be either 30 minutes without any links or an abstract?). So to me that part of gamergate is at best nebulous, at worst ficticious. I can get that they have a vague sense of dissatisfaction with the gaming press. But that is basically all there is to it.

          • ribby says:

            Why not just look up the GamerGate # and see what people are discussing? Why hasn’t one of us done that yet? XD

            Actually I have to crash now but that might solve this argument very quickly

            Also screw you RobF (you’re right you are touchy). I’ll admit I was probably somewhat biased towards GG since I vaguely follow TB and was aware that he’d given the movement some modicum of support, but I really didn’t know the story. I never felt like it was worth getting into before, but as exams draw closer procrastination levels seem to increase

          • RobF says:

            You’re still not fooling anyone.

          • RARARA says:

            @RobF: I’m guessing he’s part of yet another military jargon-filled infiltration program. GG tends to have a lot of those.

          • RobF says:

            Lord only knows but I’ll never cease to be amazed that they don’t realise that no-one talks like this outside their little enclaves.

            “False narratives”, “anti-consumer articles claiming that the ‘gamer’ was dead”, “Anti-gamergaters” are not things that people talk about in respect to games outside of GG. It’s only an SJW and a Socjus away from bingo. People don’t have a stash of gamergate/anti-feminist/anti-Sarkeesian videos just conveniently hanging around ready to plop into comments sections (with special guest star, the right’s very own Hoff Sommers). And nobody who isn’t an MRA or a Gater tries to draw an equivalence between them and feminism because there is none.

            But sure, it’s just some dude doing research on Google right now. Rrrrrright yeah.

          • blind_boy_grunt says:

            because you told me to look.

            link to

            link to

          • blind_boy_grunt says:

            na, i shouldn’t lie, i didn’t even look for these. I was looking for a youtube video of Drakkhen by Chris Kluwe(the football player) and there on his twitter were the reteweets. I think you could find much more if you give it a try. Happy hunting.

          • ribby says:

            Sorry what happened here? Someone thought that the term Swatting was a silly term?

          • blind_boy_grunt says:

            interesting reading of those tweets

          • ribby says:

            Well clearly something has happened to make someone upset? Involving an unwarranted police visit? I can’t work out if GamerGate is responsible though…

          • blind_boy_grunt says:

            so… i’m done with you. What splinter group of gg did what is not of much interest to me. I was more interested in your reaction. And “clearly something has happened to make someone upset?” is a little bit too much playing dumb for a third party that tries to educate himself.

          • ribby says:

            Okay.. I’m sick of this too tbh. I couldn’t really work out what was going on. I’m not sure what ‘swatting’ is (is it where a swat team raids you without cause?) And I don’t use twitter so I’m having trouble working out what the situation is and who the tweets are replying to.

          • ribby says:

            I’m kind of bored of trying to piece together the truth behind the whole shit-storm and I’m certainly bored of arguing about it. Sorry if I came across as rude at any point in the discussion.

            Also what I was saying two post ago is that all you’ve done is found someone blaming GG for something. You haven’t looked up the # in its current state (though I admit I haven’t either- well I have, but like I said, I don’t use it and so I can’t work out whether the result is an actual page or just all mentions of GG on twitter.

            We’re not really getting anywhere butting heads like this anyway. Neither of us is backing down so I guess we’re just going to have to agree to disagree (as cliche as that sounds)

    • ribby says:

      dude you can’t really trust a storify story to give a fair, balanced view of a twitter discussion. The thing about twitter and its restrictive character limit is you either have to make vague statements to fit in what you’re trying to say or use a lot of tweets to have a discussion. Which means things get quoted out of context all the time.

      The storify I posted is perhaps an exception because they’re TRYING to make TB look bad by only quoting things that they think show him in a negative light but actually they succeed in making themselves look awful.: link to

      • James says:

        That ‘story’ is a fucking joke. I’d be ashamed of submitting that as some Year 3 homework, let a lone an attempt at reporting.

        • ribby says:

          Which one are you referring to?

          And what exactly do you mean by that?

          • James says:

            Replies being back has resolved one half of that. The second part is that had I written that as an 8 year old kid I would think it was bad, it is a dismal attempt at persuasive writing that makes assumptions left, right and center without premise – the part of me that likes debate and logic had to go cry in a corner after reading that story you linked. I cringe at calling it a story.

    • ribby says:

      dude you can’t really trust a storify story to give a fair, balanced view of a twitter discussion. The thing about twitter and its restrictive character limit is you either have to make vague statements to fit in what you’re trying to say or use a lot of tweets to have a discussion. Which means things get quoted out of context all the time.

      The storify I posted is perhaps an exception because they’re TRYING to make TB look bad by only quoting things that they think show him in a negative light but actually they succeed in making themselves look awful.:

  5. spelunker says:

    Thanks for the link to our developer blog of Tale of Tales’ latest game, much appreciated! It’s really shaping up well; can’t wait for the final release.

  6. spelunker says:

    Thanks for the mention on our Tale of Tales’ article!

    • caff says:

      Oh hi :) Just to say I’d not really heard of you before (though I have played The Path) and having read this article I’m fascinated by both your back catalogue and your future work including the Sunset. I shall be watching carefully!

  7. Cederic says:

    a conference-wide policy for politely but firmly calling out problematic language

    It would help tremendously to know what is considered ‘problematic language’. A safe space is lovely, but it’s a bit exclusionist and thus not terribly safe if you use the wrong words?

    Hell, using the right words these days is almost impossible anyway.

    • pepperfez says:

      That’s the point of the polite call-out: Letting you know what kind of language is or is not cool for your setting. Having someone say, “What you just said is offensive to people” (the model of politely calling one out), isn’t an attack, it’s a piece of information. Because, yeah, how can you know what’s offensive otherwise?

      • Cederic says:

        Politely informing me that you find a certain phrase offensive is a large distance away from blowing a hooter in my face.

        I may need to develop a new hobby, calling out all of the girls in the office on their problematic language.

        • April March says:

          “Boy, I really feel uncomfortable being unable to speak whatever I want to without caring about anyone else’s feelings, but I know that if I call out what everyone seems to think is a good idea I’ll make it obvious that I’m offended by being called out as offended. I wonder if I can rerout my objections so that they’re about the gesture rather than its meaning.”

        • pepperfez says:

          Politely informing me that you find a certain phrase offensive is what the policy you’re complaining about calls for! If you’re assuming people following that policy are all hateful fanatics out to punish you, well, that’s an entirely separate concern.

      • joa says:

        Rubbish. People’s problem with this language policing is not because they want to disrespect people — I’m all for avoiding hurting people with what I say. People’s problem with a lot of it is that it’s completely arbitrary and constantly changing, and often doesn’t even reflect how the group in question actually feel.

        Remember how a few years ago people were saying that ‘disabled’ is offensive and that one should say ‘differently abled’? Well thankfully common sense won out and we’re now back to ‘disabled’ again. The same is probably true of a bunch of words that people will be getting ‘called out’ on with this policy.

    • ffordesoon says:

      Well, that’s the thing about a safe space – if you’re going to be a dick and double down on your offensive language, you’re making the space unsafe for everyone else. Ergo, you’re out of there. It sounds exclusive because it is exclusive. If you can’t keep your mouth shut, you will be forcibly excluded. What I fail to grasp is why that’s a problem when it’s a rule enforced in a relatively small space within an open area where that rule is not enforced.

      Would I be fervently opposed to any federal law that forbade problematic language or discourse? Well, duh. Am I an advocate for free speech? Absolutely. But I think those crying “thought police” over this forget we already have spaces which have defined rules of what is and isn’t socially acceptable, in which the consequences for observing those rules are exactly the same as they are in the “safe spaces” that make certain people roll their eyes. These particular freedom-hating perversions of all we hold dear go by many names: privately owned businesses, parks, schools, offices…

      I think most people would accept that some nutjob who goes to a movie theater and screams obscenities over all the dialogue ruins the experience for everyone, even though he is technically just exercising his right to free speech. But we accept that small abridgment of our right to free speech in exchange for a pleasant viewing experience. Why, then, do “safe spaces” – meaning certain places where marginalized people are allowed to let down their hair and unwind without getting asked the same five questions they’re always fucking asked – elicit such a vituperative reaction from “advocates” of free speech? Is it just the hassle of learning an additional code of conduct to the ones already ingrained to the point of invisibility in their heads?

  8. James says:

    The reply function is screwed, isn’t it? I’m not the only one seeing it?

  9. Geebs says:

    I’m kind of surprised the Platitudes for Making Games didn’t include “be the best you that you can be”. I’m picturing dolphins on the poster.

    • April March says:

      Boy, I hope you never wander next to a suicide hotline.

    • RobF says:

      Make it a manta and we’ve got a deal. Gotta have lasers tho.

      More seriously, probably worth adding some context to the piece. Believe it or not, I’m not in the business of spouting self help hippy bullshit on a whim. Well, not all the time anyway. But you really should believe in yourself, man. *jangles some bells*

      So there’s been an article doing the rounds recently and it’s a perfectly fine piece and all that, it’s on how you can survive as an indie developer, one idea of many on how to float your business. You get a few of these here and there in the same way you get a number of developers who espouse that their ethic is a preferable ethic. Par for the course, anyway. But what irritates and niggles is that these pieces are very often carried from person to person with “every indie developer should read this” prefacing them.

      And, of course, indie dev is a broad church, making games is a broad church but in recent years there is this shift back to the dark old days where hobbyist dev is considered lesser dev, where being an indie dev is about business as much as it is about making games and if you’re not concerned with that then maybe you shouldn’t be here. I’ve seen one famous developer describe people just getting into dev as tourists and the thing is, it does have that knock on effect that people feel less welcome in games. That’s obviously not the intention but that’s what happens. It’s similar to how the indie bubble or too many games argument is kinda unintentionally gross.

      So yeah, “every indie developer should read this” invariably leads to “here is some hardcore nerd business stuff on business yeah” and, well, fuck that noise, right? There’s plenty of people who can and will benefit from that advice and that’s cool but there’s also plenty of people left going “well, how do I fit in now” so yeah, it’s for them. Not that they need me to say it’s OK but to let them know they’re not alone here. That the stuff they do is welcome and valuable and they don’t have to fit with gatekeepey stuff to exist in games no matter how insistent a lot of folks are that they do.

      Yeah, bang to rights that it leans towards dolphin poster stuff but that it’s clearly been something some people needed to hear after a rough eight months or so, I’m cool with that if it keeps just one person keeping on for now.

      • Geebs says:

        Sorry! Shit! Sorry, Rob, I was totally talking about the other, the ‘rules for making games’ thing, piece and hadn’t read yours yet. Thanks for being so polite about it. My chain was yanked because that other piece felt unnecessarily anti- the tech side of game making; and I really do think that a) tech development does play an important role in advancing the form and b) it’s a good thing for developers to acquire transferable skills given the saturation of the market and the much better working conditions in other tech fields if they decide to pack it in or do it as a hobby.

        • RobF says:

          Ahahaha, god I’m touchy today and tired. I still think my words are the stuff of dolphin pictures tho regardless.

          George’s list is a bit more playful when you consider the stuff he does normally. There’s everything from custom controllers to shader heavy ithing games and more. There’s a lot of stuff that couldn’t be made without getting your hands dirty with the tech side of things, out the box or stuff of accessible packages wouldn’t be too much use in the main.

          Which is to say, I suspect he probably wouldn’t disagree with you there.

          • v21 says:

            Thanks Rob! Though, for what it’s worth, the more messing with weird custom tech you do, the more you come to appreciate tooling that makes the straightforward bits easy and reliable.

          • Premium User Badge

            particlese says:

            Hahaa, YES! Definitely the stuff of dolphin pictures, which would normally put me off pretty hard. Graham’s choice of quote caught me by surprise right where it counted, though, so i read your article and found more goodness perfectly suited to my concerns about making games and to my lame excuses for not finding/making the time to continue doing it. The dolphins are easy to repress when the base is good and relevant. And there was a lot in there I wasn’t even aware I was already processing in the background, so for me it was quite useful and relevant. I know there will be no overnight difference in my game making habits, but the encouragement is definitely appreciated and hopefully effective (we’ll see!) with the bubbly layer of hippy/dolphin puree skimmed off the top. ;)

            The think sentiment is right, but I hope that’s also coherent…it’s getting late, and my multi-revision habit is putting me to sleep, so I’m hitting the “Opinion, away!” button now.

        • v21 says:

          (Hello, the author here)

          Yeah, as Rob says, I agree with both of your points. I assume you got tripped on “If you start by building an engine, you’ll never make a game.”? Well, it’s maybe phrased a bit too absolutely (which is always a risk when you write a article with a title like “Rules for making games”), but I still stand by writing an engine first being a really difficult and risky way of making a game. On the other hand, writing an engine is fun, and has many other purposes – practicing low level or graphics programming, allowing you to make stuff that’s really difficult to make with existing tools, or, most importantly, making it easier for other people to make games with a particular format. So please do, if you want to! But my advice would always be to have “make an engine” as an aim in itself, rather than a stepping stone to making whatever game you have in mind.

          For what it’s worth, I wrote it over 2 years ago, and I still pretty much stand by it, and think it’s good advice. I’m… quite surprised by that. Maybe that means it’s just platitudes, or maybe it means I haven’t been stretching myself enough over the past two years.

  10. Premium User Badge

    particlese says:

    Sincere thanks for the “rules for making games” and “every indie developer should read this” article links and to the articles’ authors. I’d already read the former (I suspected due to a link on RPS, but perhaps not), and it’s been stewing in my head in a good way after initially getting a mixed conscious reaction from me (partly because of my desire to build a small, special-purpose engine for the joy of it, and because I know he’s probably right on that account). The latter article was new and more immediately “hmm”-worthy for me, as it addresses/comforts many things I’ve had stewing in my head about game-making for much longer, from the perspective of a game dev hobbyist with too many other hobbies.

    • v21 says:


      But, like I said above, if you want to make a engine for the joy of it, you definitely should! But don't get disheartened if it ends up getting in the way of making the game you 're thinking of making in it.

      • Premium User Badge

        particlese says:

        Okay! ^_^

        I’ve dipped my toes in at the SDL2+OpenGL level, and although there have been lots of quirks and conventions to learn, I have been utterly thrilled by the glorious application of matrix math (physicist here), rotating and moving triangles about with mouse motions and click-and-drags, and adding some rudimentary prodedural motion to other triangles. At this point, I recon the playground goes on as far as one can imagine, which is exciting.

        That said, I know I need to keep the “engine” rule (and others) in my head since, without well-defined goals, I will just keep adding neat things and refactoring until the engine turns into half a minute of storyless Metroid Gear Solid and I turn into an octagenarian. I guess that’s pretty okay, but there are other games I’d like to make, too, when I make the time for ’em. Taken with appropriate perspective and your graciously offered grains of salt (end-of-article and RPS comments), though, the rule allows for programming joyrides while still giving the needed hairy eyeball to unwarranted wheel reinvention attempts. I’ll try to keep the stew warm.

  11. Wedge says:

    I knew about folks hacking the original NES Tecmo Bowl with updated rosters, but had no idea about a 2005 PC baseball title. Considering my lack of a PS4 (and Sony’s stagnant development) I’m kind of interested in seeing what the deal is with this.

  12. Muzman says:

    Let’s see if I go into moderation again, apparently unlike everyone else who uses the g word…

    The thing about TB is he’s kind of all over the map. He’s playing peacemaker, broadly speaking, and not alienating anybody as much as possible. He’s happy to make fun of Ubisofts weak excuses for not having female characters in AC-whateveritwas, the French one, along with his podcast mates. He’s happy to fence with extremists attacking Jim Sterling for being apparently sexist. He’s happy to fence with Jim Sterling about what he sees as pointless activism and politicisation. He’s a bit of a man for all seasons on this subject. This may praise or condemn him, as to your wont.

    • Hedgeclipper says:

      I’d look at his (not really taking a) position more kindly if it didn’t seem to have been deliberately chosen as the option least likely to stop the money hose.

      • Muzman says:

        That’s certainly one way of looking at it.

        (hah. This was probably meant in response to some other thread, probably involving ribby. Good work whoever was trying to piece it all back together anyway)

  13. RARARA says:

    Totalbiscuit is a 14 year old’s idea of a smart man. Remember when he made a ‘provocative’ introductory rant with no point or aim whatsoever in the SA forums (complete with boastings of going to law school and having an IQ of 155) and got reamed accordingly? Good times.

    • Distec says:

      Actually, no. Nobody remembers that SA post from 2007. Because it’s an SA post from 2007.

      • ribby says:

        ^ This. This so very much.

        Are you claiming you’ve never said anything stupid in the last 7 years?? I know I couldn’t make that claim. I know if I went back over all the YouTube comments I made Id find a myriad of conflicting ideas and opinions

  14. Jalan says:

    Over-moderation strikes again. A lot of busted up replies that are now singular comments. Hard to tell who was trying to reply to whom, much less make sense of it all.

    • ribby says:

      I don’t think comments are actually being deleted though.

      • Jalan says:

        Some had to have been, which is why the replies are now scattered into their own separate comment threads.

    • Munin says:

      Given a single mention of Sarkeesian turned the entire comment sphere to the Sunday papers into a Sarkeesianville haters and defenders shitshow I personally won’t complain about any moderation being done. That’s the least of the problems on show.

      Oh sorry, the conference thing also set off a slew of shit on its own.

      • ribby says:

        Sorry for ruining this comment section with an argument that spiralled out of control

  15. ffordesoon says:

    Yes, God forbid a small convention have a code of conduct those attending must follow.


  16. LuNatic says:

    Ah, Time Magazine! It’s like, but because it has a print edition, people take it seriously!

  17. Munin says:

    I really liked the Art History of Games keynote. I’d come across some of the examples mentioned but there was so much good stuff there that I’d never heard of before.

    As an aside, I’ve seen a decent number of works referencing the format of computer games and/or being computer games/game-like in various ways in various art galleries in London. I also like keeping an eye out for Invader, it is surprisingly widely traveled.

    But yeah, the “in conclusion” bit of the keynote is basically on point.

  18. bunionbell says:

    Go Anita!! That is all.