The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for cutting hedges and playing The Phantom Pain, so we’d better quickly round-up the week’s best games writing so we have the maximum amount of time available for tactical espionage action.

  • I like YouTube and think there are a great many talented YouTubers and I watch many of them. But this event in London, called Legends of Gaming, sounds horrible. An event at which children could see some of their favourite YouTubers play games, organised by Endemol, Game, and a meat supplier.
  • Despite Mattessons’ involvement, none of the concession stands actually appear to be serving any Fridge Raiders. I wonder if being presented with the reality of the product might diminish from the allure, like we might begin to suspect what a robot has to do with strips of animal. On my way back to the stage I spot a rectangle advertising that it will spit out food if you’re prepared to engage in a cynical marketing ploy. I’m starving. I send out a tweet with the hashtag it wants and I delete the message instantly, as if that somehow absolves me of having ever done it. I actually do this twice, because, like the attendant says, someone rushed in and grabbed something that was probably mine. There wasn’t really a way to tell. Fridge Raiders are terrible. If they were good then Mattessons wouldn’t need this pomp and circumstance to sell any.

  • Thomas Welsh coins the term “mono-game” for the likes of The Witcher, Assassin’s Creed and most recently Metal Gear Solid. These are vast games that encourage gaming monogamy thanks to their variety, but also therefore pose challenges when it comes to designing and discussing them.
  • And mono-games take over all of your gaming time. With varied gameplay styles and complex systems, they offer multiple ways to reward the player. Base building, exploring, leveling, collecting loot, constructing teams or weapons or potions or spell and managing relationships with NPC’s. The mono-game is so called because it is the only game you need to play and the only game you’ll have time to play. Earlier this year we had The Witcher 3, the ultimate mono-game. Just a few months later, it has been equaled – if not eclipsed – by Metal Gear Solid 5. The mono-game is here to stay, and in the battle to combat second hand game sales, it’s the publishers ultimate weapon. A game of such depth and quality that you will never want to stop playing. A game so engaging that you will devote your time to it ahead of all others. A game that will make you monogamous.

  • Eurogamer’s Aoife Wilson writes about Phantom Pain’s Quiet, and why exactly her character design is shit. I avoided reading this last week because of spoilers, and there’s some minor ones in here, but you might be ready for it now. Here’s a quote from Kojima:
  • “I created her character as an antithesis to the women characters appeared in the past fighting game who are excessively exposed. ‘Quiet’ who doesn’t have a word will be teased in the story as well. But once you recognise the secret reason for her exposure, you will feel ashamed of your words & deeds. The response of ‘Quiet’ disclosure few days ago incited by the net is exactly what MGSV itself is.”

  • Let’s stick with Eurogamer for a while. Here’s Christian Donlan on the pleasures of Grow Home, an inventive physics-animated game by Ubisoft that I imagine many people still haven’t got round to playing.
  • If you play enough first-person shooters, something really weird can set in from time to time – something strangely off-putting. In certain games the depth of the environment can drop away after a while, the world steadily losing its tangibility, and you start to realise that, underneath everything – or maybe somehow above everything – you’re just a reticule scudding over the screen, roving and hovering and blasting.

  • And here’s the same man on the same site writing about Just Cause 2, and why Rico Rodriguez suits his game better than most protagonists. This piece has a lovely intro, but I’m not going to quote it.
  • Just Cause 2 demands that you approach its madness with a degree of calculation, but also a certain ability to ad-lib. It requires a willingness to be surprised as well as merely delighted. It wants you to be a killer, yet it acknowledges that you will simultaneously be a klutz, Most importantly, although D.B. Cooper is a crook who endangered many lives, it’s hard not to find yourself rooting for him. He was polite – he even overpaid for his on-board drinks – and cut a dashing figure right down to his flapping trenchcoat and twinkling tie pin. Just Cause 2’s hero, on the other hand, is a hero who often feels like a crook. And that gets to the very heart of this particular game’s greatness.

  • Over at Offworld, Riley Macleod writes about the queer masculinity of stealth games, and how they differ from real bodies and those in other, more straightforward action games.
  • The bodies in stealth games are different. In most cases the biggest fantasy they embody is having astonishingly reliable knees; otherwise they tend to be smaller, “weaker”, not necessarily good at fighting. Sam Fisher has gray hair; Volume’s Rob sounds like an emo teenager pretending to know what band is on stage to impress his friends. Without the bombast of shooter bodies to draw your eyes to explosions, stealth bodies are often adorned with little nuances: Garrett’s hands dance over the edges of paintings and the wheels of safes; Mark of the Ninja’s ninja swoops, dangles, slides, and crouches with luxurious elegance.

  • PC Gamer published their yearly incitement for commenter rage, the Top 100. These lists are good for people who don’t know PC gaming well and want to get involved, good to track the shifting tectonic plates of opinion about certain games over years, and good for prompting discussing – if you have a sense of humour about it. Which not many do. Here’s the first comment: “The stanley parable doesn’t qualify as a game. It’s just hipser avant garde artsy fartsy junk. No wonder 2015 PC gamer likes it.” “I’m going to hang myself, cheers.” concludes another.
  • Every year, the international PC Gamer team puts its heads together to hash out a list of the hundred PC games you need to play. This year, we’re stressing ‘play’. With a handful of exceptions, every game on the list is one that you can access and enjoy today. Where that’s not the case, it’s because that game is special and we feel you should know about it anyway. The hope is that you’ll read through this list and discover a classic that you’d never otherwise have played.

  • If you’re at PC Gamer, you might also enjoy this piece by Phil Savage about the joys of defibrillating soldiers in Battlefield. Medic is always the best class in Battlefield.
  • Battlefield medics—or medically-focused Assault players in later games—have a slightly different, albeit equally unhealthy way of viewing their team. I’ve always liked the Battlefield games for awarding points in a way that encourages objective-focused team play. That does, however, result in some unintended consequences. For the Battlefield medic, other soldiers aren’t ‘players,’ or ‘valued teammates.’ They’re mobile score deposits that can be mined for great reward.

    I was away most this week, so this will have to do. This week I have been catching up with last year’s Slow Club. Start here.

    72 Comments

    1. Christo4 says:

      I think Dark Souls franchise also kinda counts asa mono-game.
      For me anyway, I’ve been spending a lot of time over DS1 and 2 finishing the games with different builds, challenge runs, PvP (which is DS2 is so much fun) etc.

    2. Kollega says:

      Regarding the Just Cause 2 article, it’s an interesting point that Rico is one of the few open-world game protagonists who can concievably be interested in things like building Jenga towers out of cars or hanging people by their left foot off a nearby streetlight.

      I think a perfect sandbox screw-around game protagonist would be someone fitting the alignment of Chaotic Neutral with a dash of Chaotic Stupid, for example a mercenary with a petty streak and no obligations to anything besides their own profits. Which, incidentially, was done in Mercenaries (really, who would’ve thought?), and those games are basically more down-to-earth analogues to Just Cause.

      Sigh… I do wish someone made a game that’d basically be “Mercenaries IIIIN SPAAAAAACE!“. The series’ military porn angle would really shine if crossed with a weird-and-wonderful sci-fi environment.

      • GWOP says:

        I think the guerrilla factions helped in portraying Rico’s chaotic nature. Rico was freeing the nation from the grasp of dictator with the help of… conniving communists, malevolent mafiosos and racist rabble-rousers. If Rico’s emergent nonchalant violence wasn’t a dead giveaway that he doesn’t give a fuck, then the people he keeps company with according to the narrative sure is.

        • LionsPhil says:

          Also the fact he’s an agent sent in to destabilize the government of another country by causing terror chaos, including to civilian targets like petrol stations and water towers.

          One of your assassination mission targets is a colonel who pushed for distributing polio vaccine. There are a couple of others who are working in the interests of the people, and are popular for it, under this terrible, repressive regieme you’re here to knock over. Or were, until you crashed a burning jeep into their face.

          You are not exactly a good guy in that game.

          • GWOP says:

            And lest not we forget, we are working for The Agency, which has quite the track record – from training and funding El Salvador death squads to ousting Iran’s democratically elected president and installing a dictator.

        • Kollega says:

          I wonder what will be done with Rico’s character in JC3. As LionsPhil noted above, Rico is definitely not a good guy in JC2, and his blowing things up is done for no real reason (for 80% of the story, he has no idea what foreign powers want in Panau, but keeps messing up the country because clearly those foreign powers must be up to no good) – but in JC3, Rico is apparently doing the whole burn-the-country-to-the-ground-to-depose-a-despot thing for personal reasons rather than because Uncle Sam said so. It’ll be interesting to see how that will be handled in the game.

    3. Geebs says:

      When I were a lad, we had only one game between ten of us and we had to walk 20 miles uphill both ways to find a black-and-white television to play it. And we didn’t have an aerial cable, we had to wave the computer at the television and hope the interference caused it to appear superimposed on a sufficiently wide bit of Bruce Forsyth’s chin. And we called ourselves lucky!

      In other news: excessive classification ruins everything. Can’t we just call them “highly polished games not made by UbiSoft”? Please?

      • LionsPhil says:

        Yeah, I guess that writer is suffering from youth or amnesia if he thinks this is some new publisher ploy, because “a game that dominates your time above all others, overriding the modern attention-deficit desire to channel-hop” isn’t even slightly novel.

        Also I’m not sure we need a fancypants term for “really good games”.

        If only MGSV didn’t have third-party DRM. :(

        • Geebs says:

          Come to think of it, something like Assassin’s Creed works better as a “mono-game” – it lasts about as long as a bout of glandular fever, and the level of enjoyment is pretty much the same.

        • scannerbarkly says:

          I find it especially weird to talk about MSGV that way when MGSV is designed to perfectly support the concept of episodic play and time investment. Everything is segmented off from everything else. Since the game launched I have found myself playing 1 mission or Side Op a day, everyday, almost always at the same time.

          While I like the articles concept, the writer doesn’t appear to be commiting to a design concept that becomes indicative of a “nano game” and it just seems to be a case of “these are games I played a lot of in a short time, so they are this thing I say they are”.

      • Baines says:

        Silly, but fairly true.

        Most of the games of my youth were games that you’d play for a month or more.

        The common reason was that we couldn’t afford to buy as many games as people can afford to buy now, but we got around that by sharing game cartridges with friends. And we still might spend one or more months playing, well, pretty much anything almost exclusively (until a friend went “Hey, you need to play this” or some title that we were waiting for had just come out.)

    4. slerbal says:

      ‘“I’m going to hang myself, cheers.” concludes another.’

      I hope that wasn’t a cry for help! It saddens my how everyone seems so angry/extreme on the internet. I know why, but seriously it is just an article. Agree, don’t agree or don’t read if it is going to make you incandescent. I swear people are addicted to outrage.

      (But that is just my personal anecdotal opinion!)

      • Geebs says:

        I found it cheered me up to assume those posts are just an enthusiastic auto-erotic asphyxiation practitioner, trying to enhance their enjoyment of the article.

      • Sarfrin says:

        How will you know it’s going to make you incandescent unless you read it?

        • Horg says:

          Generating controversy is what top 100 lists are designed for.

          • pepperfez says:

            Ehh, I’d put that in maybe the Top 5 Reasons. Not #1, though.

            • Horg says:

              I disagree with your opinion which is therefore wrong. I shall now spend the next 6 hours surgically dissecting every minute detail of your post on a public forum of obscure notoriety.

      • GWOP says:

        The list is worthless. They have Dark Souls in #57, when it is common knowledge that Outcast Is The 57th Best PC Game Of All Time.

      • melancholicthug says:

        That is literally the only reaction that made sense, in context. I mean, Alpha Centauri in 93rd place?? If my gun had ammo I’d shot myself.

        • slerbal says:

          You make a compelling point. Sadly the only gun I have is a water pistol :-P

          • Hedgeclipper says:

            At least you can shoot yourself (remember to change clothes after so you don’t catch cold).

      • JFS says:

        You have not seen rage and controversy until you’ve seen the current German migration debate. That Top 100 is child’s play. People are ending friendships, insultung and sueing each other over here over Facebook comments.

        • slerbal says:

          Well that is a real world issue, so even if I try not to get worked up over it I can understand why people might. Games are just games (and I say that as a games designer as well as a fan :)) – i is one of the things I like about them.

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            Gassalasca says:

            Games are art. Art is a real-world issue. Art is more important than people.

            • Josh W says:

              Things would probably be a lot easier if that were true.

            • Josh W says:

              eg. people’s welfare stubbornly refuses to be subjectively defined by me.

    5. GWOP says:

      I dunno why people keep insisting that Quiet’s design is just part of the wacky charm of Kojima.

      The Fulton mechanism is wacky. Capturing and brainwashing enemy soldiers like they are Pokemon is wacky. Giving you a robot arm with teleportation powers referencing a mecha series he was never allowed to finish is wacky. Because no other games would do that.

      But female fighters in bikinis thrusting their arse at you? That’s just the standard sensibility of dime-a-dozen Japanese fan-service games/Korean MMOs/Evony ad campaigns.

      • Sarfrin says:

        Yeah but it’s because SPOILER frog making parasite thingy, so you feel ashamed of your perverted response and that makes it not yet another cliched representation of women at all. Apparently.

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          Grizzly says:

          No that just makes it furry porn.

        • Innocent Dave says:

          Yeah, it feels like Far Cry 3 all over again.

          The stuff I’ve been reading about Quiet has so far stopped me getting the game, but I’ve seen a few promo shots around where she’s wearing actual clothes. Does anyone know if this means there’s a model of her in proper combat gear somewhere in the game’s files, that could be swapped in using the model swapper mod that came out last week? Whilst that would only solve some of the massive issues, it might make the whole experience tolerable enough to enjoy the rest of the game.

          • laiwm says:

            There’s an outfit that dresses her sensibly that you unlock later on – it’s more expensive than anything else I’ve developed up to this point, *and * it incurs a significant cost every time you deploy with her. The game basically punishes you for making it less embarrassing to play, so I’d recommend the model swap if it’s possible. The outfit does spoil a relatively minor plot point, but i find it hard to believe anyone wouldn’t have seen that “twist” coming tbh.

          • scannerbarkly says:

            You can unlock actual clothes for her. Or, because internet, you can download a mod that replaces her model with Ocelot, which is fucking hilarious quite frankly.

      • subedii says:

        Yeah I feel as if people specifically want to find a deeper meaning to “justify it” it even though the answer is, well, flipping obvious really. Kojima wanted a girl doing stretches in a bikini.

      • ribby says:

        Why shouldn’t Kojima have his bikini-girl?

        • GWOP says:

          Where did I say he can’t?

        • ribby says:

          But I do appreciate that the article isn’t saying “sexy characters wearing skimpy clothing is BAD AND EVIL but contains actual legitimate criticism and explains how Quiet fails to be a sexy character

          It doesn’t present an opinion as an objective truth the way many articles do.

          • ribby says:

            Darnit… How do you edit comments… Forgot to put the ” after ‘EVIL’

            I guess you didn’t. My bad :)

          • GWOP says:

            No one ever writes an article claiming it’s the objective truth. It’s the strangest reservation to have.

            • GWOP says:

              By article I meant video game think pieces. That it’s an opinion is implied.

            • Slaadfax says:

              True enough, though there are sure a lot of people who fire their objective opinions with such… we’ll go with “enthusiasm” that one could mistake them attempting to create fact.

              This sort of writing gets a rise out of readers, equally from those who vehemently agree and disagree with the discussion points, which generates a lot of ad revenue but tends to create a lot of nasty arguing.

              A more nuanced discussion is always welcome, and that tends to start with writing having a nice level of nuance. Objectivity is a lovely thing to strive for, though of course without some stitches of subjectivity, we’ll be reading something on the level of a dictionary.

              Not that any of this actually applies to the writing in question: more to the nature of internet-based writing in general.

      • pepperfez says:

        I don’t know that I’d call it “charm,” exactly, but the uniquely Kojima thing about Quiet is how maniacally serious her presentation is. Kojima: “But once you recognize the secret reason for her exposure, you will feel ashamed of your words & deeds.”
        The secret reason is she’s a frog or something.

      • Urthman says:

        The wacky part is imagining a world with all that technology but no fabrics that allow oxygen or UV to pass through them.

      • Wowbagger says:

        Jehuty, Jehuty, Jehuty the mech who’s hard to get.

        Jehuty, Jehuty, Jehuty, but you can win him yet!

    6. Premium User Badge

      Hodge says:

      Love Slow Club! Here’s another one.

    7. Melody says:

      That Mono-game article is ok, but I was hoping it’d go more in depth into the idea.

      For instance, I dislike the idea of mono-games, because they want me to only play that game, whereas I value variety and being exposed to different ideas. I’d rather have 10 smaller, more unique games than one giant thing.
      On the other hand, investing in one game for a long period of time can create an attachment that smaller games can’t. Then again, that attachment can be detrimental when you want to move on, and you feel like you’re throwing away so much of your investment (happens often with MMOs, when people don’t like the game anymore but don’t want to throw away what they spent hundreds of hours accumulating).

      So yeah, there’s a lot that could be said about the idea of mono-game, and I wish that article explored it more fully. As it is, it’s more of an article on MGSV than on the idea of mono-game.
      I’m blaming you, Graham! :D
      (joking)

      • Josh W says:

        Yeah, I was thinking that a monogame might be summarised as a game where when you get bored of playing the game, you can go play the game instead.

        Or: Games that pay attention to people’s need for variety and allow people choice in how much they swap activities.

        Probably what we need most is definitions for exactly what we are swapping when we change from one bit of a game to another, changing from tense perfectionist combat to chaotic scramble to zen balancing game to tourist to adventure game puzzler to emotionally intelligent dating-game conversation trees.

        That’s not actually drawn from any particular game, unfortunately, but still, what is that? Different moods? Circuit training for different bits of the brain? I’m sure someone in cognitive psychology or philosophy must have come up with a phrase for it.

    8. Premium User Badge

      Andy_Panthro says:

      Surely the ultimate mono-game is GTAV? You can fly planes, race cars, rob banks, play golf and so much more. You can even buy businesses (although this bit could use some fleshing out), or spend your days exploring and collecting things. Include the online element, and the only limit is getting bored with the setting/characters.

      • SMGreer says:

        Yeah GTAV feels more encompassing of the idea, a massive game that does EVERYTHING.

        In fact, despite the sheer length and amount of content, The Witcher 3 for example, is surprisingly focused. There’s hundreds of short stories in it, sure but it never veers from casting you as Geralt of Rivia, monster hunter for hire. There’s recurring themes and idea too, binding the massive experience together.

    9. LexW1 says:

      Riley Mcleod’s piece on the queer masculinity of games is very interesting and well-written, and pretty much everything he says chimes with me.

      Except I’m cis-straight, so I’m not really sure that, aside from the stuff about private spaces and locks and so on (which was fascinating and certainly doesn’t reflect a cis-straight experience), that there’s anything queer or alternative at all about that masculinity.

      I mean, these sort of stealth or quasi-stealth games are, for the most part, more popular than macho space-marine-type games.

      Further, if you look back through how men’s bodies have been shown artistically through human history (rhyme not intended), they’re far more towards the Adam Jensen mode than the Marcus Fenix mode, which is a very exaggerated, very American view of masculinity. It’s notable, I think, that most of the great stealth games and game series are, of course, not from America – they’re from Europe or Japan for the most part (or sometimes Britain).

      I mean, David Gandy (a straight dude) reflects more what most straight British guys I know aspire to (ironically most of my gay friends are more of the bulky, bear-ish kind), and David Gandy looks pretty much exactly like Adam Jensen – I’m hardly the first one to notice this:

      link to fc05.deviantart.net

      I guess all I’m saying is that the body he describes a “stealth body” is, at least in Western Europe, very much the normal cis-straight aspiration (pretty sure that most of the world is similar in that cis-straight men aspire more to Jensen than Fenix).

      It’s really thus an America-RotW issue.

      • Michael Fogg says:

        The Thief series is a queer classic. Remember that time when Garret had to carry Basso the Boxman on his back all the way out of Cragscleft?

      • aoanla says:

        Yeah, I responded to the original author on a similar comment: basically, ‘stealth game’ masculinity (both physically and behaviourally) is already one of the ‘classical’ masculinities – the ‘skilled/expert’ male. As opposed to the ‘hulkingly powerful male’ archetype that Marcus Fenix types exemplify, the skilled/expert male is physically adept, but more through precision and skill than sheer power, and also relies on his wits and knowledge to defeat foes.
        Classically, this is just Odysseus vs Achilles – and historically (except in rather testosterone poisoned societies), it’s smart guy who has been more popular and successful.

        • Josh W says:

          That’s a good straightforward summary. Masculinity has existed for an awful long time, in a lot of cultures, and even within the cultures we have most continuity with, there’s been a massive amount of variation.

          On the other hand, defining masculinity more broadly and more inclusively is not necessarily something that excludes it from being queer (to the small extent I understand it); queer seems to be almost more of a direction than a place, about people going beyond their familiar definitions of gender and sexuality, and in that sense someone can come to the place you think of as home, and experience it as getting to know a foreign land.

          That’s possibly almost literal in this case, if you think about the physical distances involved; chatting from random different places in the world via the internet it’s more surprising that we don’t find our different takes on masculinity unusual.

      • scannerbarkly says:

        It’s not and there isn’t. People are just getting really weird about straightness and gayness and trying to imply some kind of weirdness about both.

        I find these articles tend to be written by people (and I could be wrong) who don’t know much about how human bodies actually work. Size becomes and indicator of power when actual power is more a combination of nuanced technique and central nervous system condition via repeatedly performing actions over, and over and over.

        I guess the only real thing to do is what you did, break things down culturally and focus on the medium. Apparently straight guys all want to be big giant hulks and all gay guys want to be real svelt and such, which kind of bangs against my real world experience where the fast majority of guys who want to be anything end up with a body that is suited to task at hand and supports that task. BUT, that’s not talking about sexuality and such so I guess it’s not as interesting right now.

        • JFS says:

          I would also guess that there’s at least as many well-defined hulky types in the gay community. Check out any type of CSD photo gallery.

      • Premium User Badge

        Aerothorn says:

        I had the same response/confusion to this article – there’s a lot to be said about how masculinity is dealt with in stealth games, and he says it, but he never successfully establishes why this is inherently ‘queer.’ It almost seems like an invention to get the story more traffic than the story otherwise would have.

        • scannerbarkly says:

          Yeah, I know some folk will probably think it’s not cool to say it but I agree with you. There is nothing inherently gay or straight about any particular bodytype. Before injury and illness struck me down I spent a lot of my time ( a LOT ) in gyms, training for different sports or just for my own personal goals. The vast majority of people look normal, some look really big, some look really lean and muscular despite having an average frame. The “queer” look being described as the stealth game vibe is something I normally associate with sports like swimming, the lighter weightclass of boxer, gymnastics etc. Things where power is important but being able to repeat actions for a long time under duress is also important.

          Some of the biggest dudes I know, the guys whose main focus is muscle growth above all else, just happen to be gay. So the article kind of clashes with me a little bit because it feels like the writer is getting confused between bodies they find attractive and bodies that are somehow gay and then getting even more confused by thinking the bodies of the stealthy protags are either more achievable for people (they are not) or somehow more attractive to gay people which seems like a massive transference of the things we like to fuck defining our orientations.

          I don’t know, I would love to talk to the author if I am honest. I find the article really interesting but also a little confused and confusing.

          • Horg says:

            The author is not suggesting that the ”stealth body” is ”gay” in that sense of queer. The usage in the title is a double entendre. Firstly, he’s saying he finds the ”stealth body” unusual (traditional use of queer) in a medium of entertainment that tends to focus on grotesquely swole macho figures for the protagonists power fantasy. Secondly, he’s using queer in the sense that the author is writing from the perspective of a trans man. It’s a word play, nothing more.

            • pepperfez says:

              More than just ‘unusual,’ ‘queer’ here also means ‘subversive of the norm.’
              The typical video-game-man’s body is made to dominate and control space, to perform and be visible and respected. Those are also typical of hegemonic Western masculinity.
              Stealth games, meanwhile, make those things either impossible or dangerous. They require inhabiting a marginalized person unable to directly resist the system that excludes them, meekly slipping away from threats like the author did outside a bar.

              At least, that’s my off the cuff read. The stuff about body types didn’t resonate with me, but then again I’m het-cis and oblivious to a lot of things.

            • scannerbarkly says:

              Got ya, and thanks. I know a lot of folk but truthfully don’t know a single trans person outside of the internet, so I kind of lack the osmotic insight that I can need to understand stuff from time to time. I appreciate you taken the time to reply. :)

    10. Premium User Badge

      Hammer says:

      I am extremely glad that Privacy Badger blocks the comments section of PC Gamer. I’m not sure it’s meant to, but dammit if that isn’s a bug I can get behind as feature.

      • ffordesoon says:

        I would genuinely like CommentBlock more than AdBlock. Ads are often intrusive and irritating, but at least I know that content creators I like are getting paid when I’m forced to take them in, and they can usually be skipped or ignored. A shitty comment can ruin my mood for the rest of the day, and that’s if I can muster the willpower not to actively waste a couple of hours of my time responding. The ability to opt out of that shit would be a godsend.

        I would, of course, whitelist the RPS comments section, as the discussions here are generally rational and productive. Some people do get a bit stroppy about articles that contain Wrong Opinions, but I rarely see a comment that makes me want to punch, and said comment is usually deleted pretty quickly. That’s nice.

    11. Anthile says:

      I believe at this point top-100 lists don’t quite cut it anymore these days. It should at least be a top-250, if not a top-1000.

      • Frank says:

        Eh, I’d rather go the other direction. There are only like 50 games that I think are any good at all, including console games.

        These lists just get crowded because folks (1) have terrible taste and (2) think series like Mass Effect 1-3 and Doom 1-2 deserve distinct entries.

    12. thedosbox says:

      If any of you haven’t played Grow Home, you really should give it a go. Despite being a Ubisoft game, it does not require Uplay.

      • Urthman says:

        Grow Home is my favorite game of the year. It makes climbing and jumping and beanstalk-riding and gliding and catapulting and jetpacking all feel dynamic and exciting and it does a great job of making you feel like you’re doing it all very, very, way-too-far-up high in the sky.

        The robot’s procedural animation is hilarious, and the whole style of the beanstalk, floating islands, silly animals, and the kindly condescending MOM comments, are all just incredibly charming. I was grinning constantly while playing the game.

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          basilisk says:

          What I particularly loved about the game was its sense of progression, which is really quite amazing. It’s not just the plant that grows, the entire game world and your skillset does as well, from very humble beginnings to something quite majestic. Wonderfully done.

      • Josh W says:

        That is exactly what I was going to ask. Brilliant!

    13. Hypocee says:

      I mean, 90% of my gaming time for the past three years, much to my surprise, has been FTL. I have hundreds of hours into it and it’s long since become undeniably my most-played, favourite game in my life. I guess intent at design time enters into any attempt at definition?

      I can’t begin to hunt this down – I don’t even remember whether it’s from Crate and Crowbar or the preceding PCG(UK) podcast – but discussing trends at maybe Gamscom there was a line that stuck with me: ‘Every game coming out is massive, except for those that are infinite.’

    14. Premium User Badge

      zigguratvertigo says:

      Ah, lists though. They reduce things to clickbait, but they open discussions that otherwise just wouldn’t happen. I’m a bit older than the guys writing that piece, and this comes through in the games that I played while the world was wonderful not being the games they are praising to the nines. Fair enough. Their take is still a valid thing. There is an element of documenting history in these things, but mostly what is it that buzzes loudest for you now. An entertaining read was what it boiled down to. Pretty good.

    15. Uninteresting Curse File Implement says:

      Regarding monogames:
      Surely, gaming habits depend on the gamer himself? I can only speak for myself, but the percentage of my free time occupied by any one game depends only on how engaging it is.
      And that is not a function of how much different crap the developers could afford to stuff into the package.
      And really, have there been any examples of “gameplay-modes-that-are-not-what-the-game’s-really-about” that are super worthwhile, and not filler, distraction?
      What are some good, positive examples of time spent:

      -not sneaking in a stealth game?
      -not acting in an action game?
      -not cruising around and icing fools to some sick tunes in a GTA-like?
      Something like Skyrim comes to mind where all gameplay modes are about equally important, but let’s be honest, they are ALL equally lukewarm there.