The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for asking for feedback about the Sunday Papers. See the end of this post.

  • At Zam, Jody MacGregor spoke to be Morgan Jaffit, designer on Freedom Force, about his work at Irrational and his transition to indie and the creation of Hand of Fate.
  • Imagine this: you’re a young game designer in the early 2000s and your first real job in the industry is at Irrational Games’ new Australian studio, answering to the Americans but given a surprising amount of leeway. You’ve been entrusted with writing their new game’s script, which you email over to the States, directly to studio head Ken Levine – already kind of an intimidating legend for his work on System Shock 2 – then wait an entire week for a reply. When it arrives, it’s four words long and just says, “Formatted wrong. Do again.”

  • At Kotaku UK, Keza MacDonald writes about how Dying Light memorialised a 17-year-old who died of cancer.
  • David’s love of video games was something that Janet never really felt like she could relate to whilst he was alive. She knew that it was a big part of her lovely, kind, well-mannered son’s life, and he and his younger brother Howard played a lot together. But in the wake of this tragedy, over the next six months, David’s family and the developers of Dying Light would forge an extraordinary connection. Janet and her younger son, Howard, found themselves welcomed into Techland’s world – and Techland were welcomed into theirs.

  • This is interesting. Graphs showing the distribution of IGN review scores by platform and year. How does the ratio of 7s in 2015 compare to 1996? Go find out.
  • I think there are lots of good examples on PC of free-to-play and microtransaction business models. There are bad ones, too, and many more so on mobile. Eira A. Ekre writes about the problems.
  • Because of this, it has become common for game developers to create systems that monetize the “whales”. What we don’t consider is that perhaps “whales” are such big spenders because we specifically create systems to manipulate them. When developers assume that a majority of gamers won’t spend money, but a small group will spend huge amounts, that small group becomes the focus of their business model. While we could instead try to innovate how we build microtransaction systems, and try to inspire a larger group to pay smaller sums of money, we are stuck trying to get the whales to give us all they’ve got. It’s depressingly ironic that, out of all words we could use, we settled on “whales”. The word is right there, in every design document and marketing strategy, haunting us with parallels to how we will carelessly hunt other species to near-extinction. Because that is what the “whales” become; different; alien; another species; a group we can exploit without remorse.

  • Bad games are often more frustrating than bad films because the interactive aspect makes it harder to tolerate or enjoy their trashier aspects, but Rob Fearon makes a good point in sorta-defense of Ride to Hell: Retribution.
  • I waded a few hours into it and well, how can I put this politely? I’ve known plenty of people over the years who’d see this as their absolute perfect game. I used to drink with folks who I’m sure had this existed 20 odd years ago would have passed it around in the same way they passed around taped off the TV copies of Easy Rider or a tape compilation of Pink Floyd demos or something. The same folks who rolled up to every bar rock gig or (with some overlap) were the dudes playing the bar rock at a gig. It’s the most hairy old stoner biker videogame I’ve ever played and I appreciate it for that.

  • AI and open world game design are two favourite subjects of mine, so it’s nice to see Keith Stuart writing about both at Eurogamer.
  • Michael Cook, a computational creativity researcher at Goldsmiths University has been thinking about this problem for a number of years. In 2011, he began development of ANGELINA, a computer program capable of designing its own games using assets drawn from image search engines. He thinks the future of this genre is about handing creative power to the machine itself. “The most crucial thing I think open worlds need to do is back off the brink of total scripting and hand-design,” he says. “There has always been a tension between handcrafted missions and wild systems that let you invent magic or manipulate local politics. In my opinion, the systems are what bring open world games to life. Games where everything is scripted and static are only possible because the teams are so large and so efficient at making them – but we can’t do this forever, and I don’t think it’ll lead us towards the next generation of open worlds. We need to build more systems in our games, things that players can interact with and break.”

  • You liked Cogwatch, right? The six episode video series had Quintin Smith diving deep into individual mechanics in individual game to explore what made them tick. Well, good news: the series lives on at its new home on Cool Ghosts.
  • You should also be watching their Subterfuge diary series. It’s great.

Hello.

There have been approximately 395 Sunday Papers and December 2nd marks its 8th year as a constant presence on this site. (Here was the first.)

In that time it’s changed very little, while games writing and the community that produces it has changed a lot. So I’m wondering: should the column do something different to what it’s doing now?

I’ve mostly been a custodian for the format Kieron established back at the start, including the “Sundays are for” introduction and the music recommendation outro (but devoid of any failure). I mainly feature the games writing I happen to see during a week, and then (mostly) only those pieces I personally enjoy. That means there’s a lot I ignore. That means there’s a lot I don’t see.

Should we be casting the net wider? Should be create a section where anyone can have their article featured, regardless of quality? Should we feature more videos? Should we do themed issues? Should we feature older articles as well as current articles? Is it time for a new picture of a newspaper in the header? Can I write the intros in first-person? Isn’t my music taste great?

Tell me. Suggest your ideas. Or I’m basically just going to start doing things.

No music this week. Only questions.

128 Comments

  1. Stellar Duck says:

    I’d be fine with themed Sundays and older articles but keep the intro. It’s a comforting presence on a Sunday before Monday rolls around and everything turns pear shaped.

    And please, I beg, not more videos. Videos are death!

    • Andrew says:

      And please, I beg, not more videos. Videos are death!

      Theater is the only type of entertainment for me, thank you very much.

      I get that people who hate videos flock to RPS, but c’mon! You playing video games for crying out loud! Every medium has its own strengths. Ignoring one of them — huge one, I may add — not doing anyone any favors.

      • Sin Vega says:

        Yeah but I still want to read about games rather than watch videos, much as I’d rather not eat food reviews.

        • LionsPhil says:

          It’s also easier to read bits of design discussions and whatnot during the boring bits of the Grand Prix than it is to try to juggle two videos.

          • JFS says:

            Absolutely. No videos, thank you. I read way faster than I watch. Also, most video “hosts” are obnoxious.

      • Zenicetus says:

        Videos are a huge time sink compared to text. A linked web page with text is random access: I can read a first paragraph and quickly scan down to see if the whole thing interests me enough to read it. That doesn’t work with video. You have to commit to watching through enough of it to see if it’s any good or not, and that includes having to sit through an annoying splash of intro graphics and music before it even starts.

        Unless the video is very tightly edited, the signal-to-noise ratio for good information and commentary is usually worse than a good text article. You can’t get away with too much fluff in a text article without losing people. So my vote is stick to mostly text, as long as there is still interesting text to link to.

        • malkav11 says:

          Yep. Video is consumed at the creator’s pace, text at mine. I vastly, vastly prefer the latter for almost everything that’s not commentary over game footage (i.e., the video form of Let’s Play).

        • Premium User Badge

          BlueTemplar says:

          Video *can* be used effectively to enhance text if it includes links to relevant parts of the video. For YouTube the syntax is to add &t=XhYmZs at the end of the link (with X, Y, Z numbers).

          One of my gripes with Steam forums is that if you just paste the YouTube link, it will embed the video but for some reason erase the timelink. (Linking a link tied to text works fine but is more time consuming… and less “in your face” which is actually good for things like RPS articles).

      • Stellar Duck says:

        The current amount of videos is fine. I ignore them and still have plenty to read.

        I’d just rather that they don’t up the number. It’s fine as it is.

        As a general observation though, videos are a lot less able to transfer information and they take a lot longer to say less than written text.

        They’re also, by and large, not very well edited and generally obnoxious.

        • Immobile Piper says:

          I’d just rather that they don’t up the number. It’s fine as it is.

          Exactly. I enjoy a good video as much as the next person, but I’ve got a youtube subscription feed full of those. I enjoy Sunday Papers precisely because of its somewhat curated written content.

          • Hedgeclipper says:

            This, its a lot more work to find interesting written things over a dozen news sites and thousands of blogs. Video is pretty much all on youtube.

    • Premium User Badge

      Earl-Grey says:

      Agreed, do not focus on videos.

      I recon most people around here have mastered and enjoy the art of reading the written word.
      There is already a very comprehensive site dedicated to those who find it easier to understand brightly colored moving pictures.

    • April March says:

      I… second? Third? Various? that you should not focus on videos. One or two on a given day is okay, but IMO a video should be a lot more interesting than an article to warrant its inclusion in the Papes.

      As for the wider net, I welcome it as long as you have a clear focus on where you’ll be casting it. I don’t think just indiscriminately adding MOAR would increase the column’s quality.

    • melnificent says:

      You really are my Sunday papers. Please no more videos unless it’s something exceptional. Others have expressed it far more eloquently than I. But they aren’t for lazy Sunday consumption but for a complete distraction instead.

      Other than that I enjoy the wide variety of articles so lower quality but wider net is absolutely fine.

      Ps. Please keep the “Sundays are for…” intro it’s a nice line for a gentle Sunday.

      • quietone says:

        It was Asimov who once wrote how would the perfect video eb in the future.
        – It woudl be instantaneous. No load times.
        – It would allow random access almost instantaneously as well (in
        that era of sequential media it was more of an issue)
        -It would be able to play everywhere, with no need for external hardware or power supply.
        – It would be completely private, no peeking above the shoulder, images going directly to your brain. Best of all, those images could be customized by the user as he/she sees fit.
        – It would be cheap enough to be mass produced.
        Yeah, you guessed it, he was talking about books.
        TL;DR: Text is still a million times more practical than videos. I’d prefer text as main media and videos if you want an additional media or in some specific instances.

      • quietone says:

        Sorry, it wasn’t mean as a reply to melnificent. I agree 100% with that post.

    • Lacessit says:

      Just chipping in: Videos are really not what I want from RPS. I like reading things.

    • Traipse says:

      I completely agree; I really like this format, and will almost never watch video links. (Being someone who reads very quickly, I find the comparatively slow pace at which videos dole out information to be enormously frustrating.) Themed issues would be fine, and I don’t mind older articles being mixed in, as long as they’re good.

  2. K33L3R says:

    Maybe a one or two supporter posts? To tease us non-supporters :P

  3. daphne says:

    I think the format is fine. And please do share older articles whenever it suits you — don’t go out of your way to dig up classics, but do share the occasional link that comes your mind. Good writing really is timeless.

  4. TeDeO says:

    I must admit, I love the format as it is. I don’t mind minor changes, but please stay away from video: I am reading a lot of the articles on the train or in short breaks and I don’t want to plug in my headset all the time. There are so many other pages, where I can get good gaming videos from, but RPS is the only site, where i can rest assured, I can always find something in written format. I can seee that some great videos are out there too, but for these, you could create a section in it’s own right.

    • Premium User Badge

      rgronow says:

      Yes – I agree entirely. Some of the prominent sites now seems to have more videos now than written articles.

      I enjoy the sunday read.

      Perhaps, the header picture could be updated! Changed regularly with reader submitted images – humourous Photoshops, fan art etc

  5. subedii says:

    Errant Signal just released a video talking about the Fallout series, and how it’s changed from being about Role Playing characters, for better or worse.

    link to youtube.com

    With a side-order on modern dialogue choice systems, which tend to be a bit nonsensical.

    • RedViv says:

      It is a good one.
      Beware of spoilers, if you care about the main quest in Bethesda games.

  6. A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

    The format’s great, I enjoy it as is. Older articles are definitely fine by me. I suppose one bit of feedback is I love the more obscure articles. The weekly links to a Guardian or Eurogamer article are deserved but a bit ‘obvious’, if you know what I mean. That my just be me though, I’ve usually read their stuff already. Easy to say though, quite how you dig out more obscure gems hiding in amateur blogs and such is beyond me!

    Themed weeks initially made me cringe but…yes, maybe I could see that. A week dedicated to the best writing past and present on a game like Dark Souls, or the science behind compulsion in games, that sort of thing. I could dig that, but would worry about the other stuff we missed!

    And videos is a no from me, just because Sunday Papers is something I come to when I have a quiet moment to catch up on it, usually on the phone, usually to avoid watching the garbage I’m being forced to watch on the tele. So videos are no use as I won’t watch them.

  7. Premium User Badge

    Lexx87 says:

    I’m another who likes the current format and gets a lot out of it.

    I’m all for more videos (such as the Cool Ghosts stuff, which is excellent), and a new header would be fine but it catches my eye if i’m scrolling through or looking for the Papers themselves.

    My biggest issue is with the UI experience of the site, but that’s another discussion and something I know they are working on because I emailed Graham about it. While drunk, with grammar all over the place, sorry Graham.

  8. Premium User Badge

    Dorga says:

    Formatted right. Do again

  9. kikito says:

    I call them “addicts” instead of “whales” in my mind. That gives an interesting spin to those marketing articles.

    • roothorick says:

      It’s striking to me to hear mobile app devs use the same term that has been used to talk about F2P MMOs since before the paytunnel approach was a thing. Based on what those MMOs are doing and the fact that they get the same distribution patterns in their revenue, frankly, addict isn’t the right word.

      I’m talking about games where they hand you the game, the entire game, free, no strings attached. They made a point of building an experience that can be enjoyed to its fullest without you paying a cent. The cash shop offers all manner of cosmetic items, and various convenience items that may let you skip out on the risk of one item enchantment, teleport around without paying transport fees (in ingame currency), etc. Nothing in there automatically hands you more levels; sure, there’s XP boosts, but they usually boost the wrong thing, giving you minimal improvement. There’s no significant benefit to progression from anything in the cash shop, As such, if you’re hopelessly addicted to the game, there’s no clear path from your addiction to your wallet.

      And yet, 0.1% of their playerbase is more than half their revenue. “Whale” does seem like a derogatory term, but “addict” doesn’t work either. Smokers don’t buy six new T-shirts every time they go down to the C-store to pick up smokes.

      • Hedgeclipper says:

        “Smokers don’t buy six new T-shirts every time they go down to the C-store to pick up smokes.”

        I bet a smoking whale would!

      • El Mariachi says:

        The term originates with casinos, where “whales” is the behind-the-scenes term (you’d never call them that to their faces) for the very big spenders who get extra personal attention and complimentary services lavished on them even though the price of those fancy meals, liquor, limos, suites, prostitutes, etc. would be utterly insignificant to anyone dropping enough money at the tables to qualify for them.

  10. caff says:

    I like it as it is, but maybe you could get the other RPS writers to do a week every now and again?

    This week’s set of articles is great – I love developer interviews and game breakdowns. And I’m doubly happy because I’ve found out the Hand of Fate developers are doing a sequel :)

    Jokey videos and music at the end are fine in my opinion – although I preferred Jim’s taste in music to yours :)

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      Agreed, it’s not a dig at you Graham, I do have a similar enough taste to be interested in the stuff you post, but if ever so often we got a different perspective I think it would be nice (and you get both a day off, and a set of things to read that you might not have heard of otherwise).
      tl/dr Graham great! Other people, also great! Bit of both, even grater!

      • Premium User Badge

        phuzz says:

        Having a dyslexic moment, is ‘greater’ even a word? It’s stopped looking like one to me.

        • Llewyn says:

          It is, and it is the word you intended to use.

          Though you did typo it as ‘grater’ originally, which is also a word (as in a thing for grating cheese etc) – perhaps that’s the cause of the nagging feeling?

  11. Thurgret says:

    I spend no small amount of time reading the comments on the Sunday Papers. An edit button would undoubtedly improve my Sunday Papers experience.

    Also, sometimes, so would a short list of links to cool stuff, without even needing an excerpt from the text or a description longer than a word or two.

    Finally, the newspaper picture is faintly disconcerting, now that I examine it: the handle on that mug is turned the wrong way to be of practical use to anybody.

    • Thurgret says:

      An edit button would have enabled me to note that my comment was somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but rereading it, I’m not sure it would come off that way without it being explicitly said.

  12. Sui42 says:

    I do think the net could be cast a little wider. I tend to see the Sunday Papers as a pretty ‘lightweight’ curation compared to the more dense offerings at Critical Distance. I also enjoy a lot of thought provoking Kill Screen articles but never see them listed here, etc

    Regarding videos; why are people offended at the thought of videos being included? Whether you like it or not, there ARE interesting and intellegent videos out there. It’s your choice to watch them or not, but making sweeping declarations like ‘RPS should never post videos because i personally don’t like them’ is just selfish and silly.

    • malkav11 says:

      It’s not that there’s never intelligent videos, it’s that most of the time even the most cogent and thoughtful presentations would be far quicker to digest and more easily referenced by being presented in text with accompanying images and maybe the occasional short in-line clip where video is really necessary.

      But I don’t object to the occasional video being included anyway, as long as they’re clearly marked (ideally with a runtime listed), so I don’t click through to something that looks like an interesting article and then go “oh…it’s a 20 minute video instead of a 2 minute article, no thanks”.

  13. mavu says:

    I vote for keep it, and I don’t think it would improve by including more articles.

    In the vast ocean of content that the internet is, i very much appreciate someone filtering it for me. Especially if its an actual person doing the filtering, and not a misguided inept algorithm.

    • Premium User Badge

      particlese says:

      I don’t mind most of the other stuff, but yes, please keep the selection personal!

  14. kwyjibo says:

    Carry on doing the same thing. I want something curated, not a crap shoot of all things published. Consider casting the net a bit wider to take into account non-gamey but tangentially relevant stuff, like this essay in Aeon about Skinner Box design.

    link to aeon.co

  15. Premium User Badge

    yhancik says:

    8 years already? Gosh!

    I don’t think the format needs radical changes, because it’s working marvellously well and remains relevant.

    You seem concerned that your subjective selection is limiting, but I think that’s one factor that keeps the Papers good. How to broaden the selection though? Have other RPS writers send you suggestions? Have them occasionally do the whole selection?

    I think the “open to anyone” section is already in the comments, and I guess you’re probably sometimes picking some links from there. Maybe we could have a Sunday Board dedicated to sharing links to feed the Papers, but that could easily get difficult to manage. (I like how Andy Baio approached that with Belong.io, but that’s an entirely different thing link to wired.com )

    I’d rather see great older articles than average newer ones, as long as there’s a balance. You might even reserve a slot for one Quite Older Article; I think it’s always interesting to look back, either to something that feels radically different form today, or on the opposite, still extremely relevant.

    This could apply to themed issues as well, but in addition of the Sunday Papers, not instead of them.

    Either way: keep up the good work!

  16. DeepSleeper says:

    No, you’re fine. Keep doing the thing. Excellent job.

  17. Scrape Wander says:

    I personally love TSP and read it faithfully 52 weeks out of the year. I wouldn’t specifically change anything about it, but if you want to ADD an entirely separate Sunday Papers (say, call it Deluxe or somesuch) which adds a themed section, I’m fine with that too. I don’t mind opening the newspaper and heading straight to a special section.

    But overall, TSP, don’t change a thing!

    • thedosbox says:

      Not sure if it’s got something to do with my missing supporter status (as in it may still be posted, but I can’t see it), but I miss the Pipwick Papers.

      Agreed with other commenters that the focus on text rather than video is about right.

      And I much prefer Kieron’s taste in music.

      • thedosbox says:

        Test. Just tried entering my “order seller id” to see if that changed anything.

  18. Reivles says:

    I’ve long been a fan and don’t think you need to get radical on it. That said, regarding your change musings…

    Video: I’ve no objection to having some included, as a separate section though would be ideal – I love having a curated shortlist of videos worth watching for when I’m wearing headphones at the gym! – but it’s a different form of consumption to the quietly thoughtful articles that characterize the page, so separating them would make telling them apart all the better.

    Dedicated topics sound good but almost as a dedicated subsection – unless it’s so topical as to be flooding the intended anyway, I’d hate to see a perfectly valid article get cut one week (and inevitably forgotten the next) in the name of a mere ‘theme’…

    Old texts? Sure. Bonus authors? Very yes! I absolutely adored pip’s take on the duration, and would love to see almost a rotation of ‘guest’ (or even just others in the team) curations alongside yours.

    Heck, maybe that’s one of the themes.

    Can RPS sustain two Sunday columns, I wonder? One regular, one theme/guest/pip one each week would be tops.

    Heck, I’d sign up to be a supporter just to read it!

    • Premium User Badge

      Graham Smith says:

      You know, Pipwick Papers happens regularly in the Supporter system still ;)

      • welverin says:

        As a non-supporter, probably not.

        I’m only aware of it because she mentioned it in some other posts comments.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        Gasp! That means I’m no longer a supporter! I hadn’t noticed!

        Rats! Payday ought to be soon. I want Pip Papers!

      • melnificent says:

        My supporter status lapsed around the time the daily support articles stopped being daily (it was in an article laying out the times and things for articles). Is there any chance of daily supporter posts again?

      • RedViv says:

        Hang on. *looks at avatar on site*


        SO THAT IS WHAT WAS WRONG.

        Are you not sending reminders once the Supporter status runs out? I did not receive one. Goodness.

        PREPARE THE MONEY CANNON, MINIONS.

        • Premium User Badge

          particlese says:

          CANON PREPARED
          AWAITING ORDERS
          [or whenever I get to my computer with the USB canon fuse lighter]

          *cues 1812 Overture*

      • Premium User Badge

        Thirith says:

        Since I have paid to be a supporter but it doesn’t seem to be active: when it says in my profile that I’m registered as a premium user, is that the same as being a supporter? It also says that my premium membership expires (present tense, not past) in October. I’m a bit confused here…

      • Premium User Badge

        phuzz says:

        Yeah, an email to remind me to re-sub would have been useful, I’m not sure how long it was before I realised I wasn’t seeing any Supporter stuff, and when I tried to check it was kind of confusing if I was still subscribed or not.

        • SpiceTheCat says:

          Indeed. I was only reminded to resub by this very comment here. Ta, phuzz.

          Also, on topic, TSP is fine as it is. A larger net would be nice, I suppose, but as this is one of my reason-to-subscribe-to-RPS columns, I’m rather happy with it as it is.

      • Premium User Badge

        particlese says:

        Aha!! I also wondered where it had gone, as I forgot to renew like the others here. Getting on that as soon as I’m home.

  19. Moose says:

    I’d actually like one or two video links a week.

    The current format is great but people are exploring interesting topics in video as well as written pieces and I don’t really know where to go for those. The odd link to a an excellent video in addition to articles would really help me to find interesting videos on a par with the writing usually suggested, something I usually struggle with.

    • Moose says:

      Alternatively, you could spin the video stuff out into a similarly put together “Saturday Morning Telly” article which might allow you to experiment a little more with the format while keeping SMP as it is.

      • caff says:

        I like this idea!

      • Canadave says:

        I like this idea too. I’m subscribed to both Super Bunnyhop and Errant Signal on YouTube, but I’m sure there’s a lot more interesting content out there that I’m missing, thanks to the signal-to-noise ratio being quite high on gaming videos. It’d be great to have curated selections, maybe even once a month to pick out particularly interesting content from prolific creators?

      • Premium User Badge

        phuzz says:

        Good idea. I can’t always watch video, so a round up of good video and separate round up of text would work best for me.

    • Moose says:

      I feel a bit of an arse replying to my own comment a second time but I’ve been thinking about this some more and I do like the idea themed editions but possibly done similarly to how newspapers do it, i.e. Supplements.

      Papers do food supplements, education supplements etc, a themed supplement to the Sunday Papers monthly which looks at a particular subject or works to a theme (Christmas…?) would be good and something I’d enjoy.

  20. Blastaz says:

    Like the format. New articles are better s it allows any discussion to feel more timely. However if there are two or three articles in one week on one topic you could then link a really good older article to provide context.

    I feel that if you decided to link themed older articles (the bestest best pc games writing?) then you would have a great column for eight weeks or so before running out of good ideas. A weekly round up should be for life!

    • Blastaz says:

      Oh, also, another no to videos.

      If you want to cast the net wider/post things you disagree with then feel free.

  21. welverin says:

    Should we be casting the net wider?

    Yes, try and get the rest of Team RPS to give you suggestions when they come across something that strikes their fancy.

    Should be create a section where anyone can have their article featured, regardless of quality?

    No, quality should be the primary concern.

    Should we feature more videos?

    More: sure, so long as it doesn’t take over. There should still be a greater number of articles than videos 3:1 would probably be a good ratio.

    Should we do themed issues?

    No.

    Should we feature older articles as well as current articles?

    If you find something of interest, but don’t go searching for them.

    Is it time for a new picture of a newspaper in the header?

    No, if you really want to go, for it. It’s fine how it is though, no need to change it.

    Can I write the intros in first-person?

    I say keep it the way it is, but write it however you want.

    Isn’t my music taste great?

    Sorry, but no. I can’t agree with that. Do keep them coming though, it’s all stuff I’ve never heard of before and every so often you mention something I do like.

  22. Chorltonwheelie says:

    It isn’t broken. Don’t go fixing it.

  23. heretic says:

    I really like what are you playing this weekend post to see what everyone at RPS is up to, maybe Sunday Papers should have other staff suggesting things (maybe they already do), but having their own blurb on it would be cool :)

  24. Zankman says:

    Just wanted to point out the saddest/most depressing bit of news from today/yesterday, which does, in a way, related to this website…

    You can debate with me whether it is topical or not, relevant to RPS or not (I think it is: It has to do with a RPS writer and RPS endorsed the entire series of articles, including the problematic one), but, either way, a fair amount of people have read/seen what I am about to reference and thus might (and should) care:

    Does anyone remember the S.EXE series of interesting and quality articles that graced this website for a while (written by Cara Ellison)?

    Which then, unfortunately, ended in poor taste and on a sour note when the author decided to write about and interview a certain male pornstar, where the *first* issue is that the man has nothing to do with video games (not even a casual gamer)… And the second one, you know, that the man is a male pornstar and part of the mainstream porn industry (read: nothing positive)?

    Remember how people were reacting to said article with “great stuff” and whatnot, while a few others that called into question the incredibly dubious nature of it and its subject were mocked?

    In my most “I told you so” moment to date (unfortunately), one in which I simultaneously question myself as to how naive, gullible and bad at judging character people can be, I reveal the “news” to those unaware: The “fine gentleman” in question has been outed today as a rapist – of his co-star and supposed friend, no less.

    What a fine figure to end an otherwise interesting and quality series of articles by a legitimately good author.

    What a perfect figure to represent the author’s effort into delving into and divulging the often complex topics of sex, sexuality, how those play with video games and, finally, of course, feminism (explicitly stated or not). Truly appropriate, especially in the modern social climate of pushing towards an egalitarian status.

    Fine figure indeed.

    Meanwhile, all of us with even a minimal amount of ability to judge character and intelligence to call out the (mainstream/widespread) porn industry as something very, very bad, nah… We were “haters”, bigots and sex-negative people (I take someone calling me that as an insult).

    Fuck this Earth.

    P.S.: This is not meant as an insult to Ms Ellison or anyone else. I’m merely, cynically and depressingly, wondering as to how naive and gullible people can be – I was hoping less so than how evil others can be.

    • Radiant says:

      Why you bringing up old shit?

    • Distec says:

      The article in question was pretty fluffy compared to the usual output of that column. But I think the OP just wants to whine about porn.

      • Zankman says:

        Not “just”, though, it is a part of it. More people need to realize a few things.

    • john_silence says:

      I can only agree with the sense of bewilderment and concluding sentiment, although I’d phrase it rather as “Fuck everybody on Earth.” Back to my sex-negative cage now.

      • Zankman says:

        Not sure what you exactly mean.

        But, yes, the planet itself is not at fault.

    • metric day says:

      That was such a loathsome interview, and everyone chiming in pretending he said anything remotely interesting at any point made me vaguely ill.

    • Jalan says:

      I was stunned to see he had someone in the games industry get involved in his pseudo-amateur style web video series.

      I was shocked, but not really surprised, when this recent news came to light though.

    • thelastpointer says:

      I know I’m in the minority here, but I always found S.EXE articles stupid and, amusingly, immature. Very underwhelming stuff from a series that was supposed to explore the subject a bit more deeply than games usually do. It turned out to be giggling about dicks in Skyrim, so I stopped reading.

  25. Radiant says:

    Gillen had a wider reading list then most of the other sunday papers collators.
    I’d prefer a return to that with more articles from the further reaches of the web with less emphasis on the stuff we’ve already come across because everyone is looking for games news in the same places.

    • Caelyn Ellis says:

      Agreed. I may be a little biased due to being a writer with a tiny readership myself, but I like the Sunday Papers for highlighting stuff I wouldn’t have read otherwise. Links to Kotaku and Eurogamer? Not so much.

      • Hedgeclipper says:

        While I half agree I am happy to have someone else reading through K and Eurogamer to let me know about the one article worth reading this month.

    • Radiant says:

      Actually as an extra example of my large ego. Let me tell you what you should do with the rest of the site.

      RPS collective used to write articles that likely wouldn’t be commissioned elsewhere.

      Not just because pc gaming is/was niche.

      They were looser, more fun mostly because they seemed like they were written by people using rps as an outlet, as a side gig but also because each post was personal, each post had a lot of the writer in it.

      Not just talking about the neptunes pride long form series but you could tell on nearly every post who wrote it.

      This rps as rote news outlet is kind of dead behind the eyes.

    • Zenicetus says:

      As a counter-argument, there may be some here (like me) who only read other gaming sites for the occasional review comparison, and not for general gaming commentary. RPS is the only one I read daily for that. So the occasional link to eurogamer or whatever is a curated filter for something I wouldn’t know about otherwise.

      That said, a wider cast of the net that didn’t include the major gaming sites sounds good, and I doubt I’d lose much in the way of interesting links.

      • malkav11 says:

        You are not alone. I don’t regularly read sites like Kotaku or Eurogamer or the Guardian, so RPS links when there’s something particularly interesting are welcome.

  26. zipdrive says:

    Should we be casting the net wider?
    Why not, let’s see how that works out.

    Should be create a section where anyone can have their article featured, regardless of quality?
    No, quality should be the primary concern.

    Should we feature more videos?
    I’d rather not, as I can’t watch videos at work, while I can read articles. Same on mobile connections.

    Should we do themed issues?
    No.

    Should we feature older articles as well as current articles?
    If they’re good, yes.

    Is it time for a new picture of a newspaper in the header?
    I don’t care.

    Can I write the intros in first-person?
    I don’t care.

    Isn’t my music taste great?
    I don’t know. I’ve been reading for years and haven’t tried a single tune. I’m not here for music.

  27. Frank says:

    For videos, I like the suggestion of a separate spinoff, “Saturday Morning Telly”.

    I like the idea of themed issues, maybe with a guest editor who is some sort of an expert, or a panel of such. I’m totally for featuring older articles.

    Anyway, I’ve been a fan of the Papers since the beginning and am interested to see where you take it.

  28. Baines says:

    It seems the questions about the Sunday Papers itself have dominated the comments, so I’ll try talking about the news inside this edition instead.

    Two things immediately stuck out on the IGN review graph, perhaps because it defaulted to 2004/05 and 2014/15 being active.

    First, there was a pretty wide upswing in 8’s between 2014 and 2015, almost +10%. The only similar jump I noticed was 96 to 97, which was slightly more than +10%, which was part of IGN shifting to the higher end of the scale.

    Second, IGN seems to fall in and out of love with 9’s for multi-year stretches, in an 11-12 year cycle. Starting in 1996, they immediately started increasing until they peaked in 2001. The decline started, bottoming out in 2006. The rise started and set a new peak in 2012, and 9’s are currently declining again.

    Looking some more shows that IGN prefers 8’s to 7’s. Only six years show a lower percentage for 8’s than 7’s, and only one year (1996) shows a significant difference. (The years with higher percentages of 7’s are 1996-97 and 2006-2009.)

    It might be interesting to look at review scores versus console releases, to see how or even if scores rise and fall as systems age. That, and to try to look at review scores versus scandals, incidents, and the occasional public outrages to see if scores react. But there most likely isn’t enough data, and is too wide a variance it what data there is, to really draw conclusions in such matters.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      I think the most damning statistic presented in the graph is that their mean value of review scores over 2 decades is 7.5. It’s proof that review scores are effectively meaningless as a truly exceptional game will never be awarded 11 or 12 out of 10.

      • Premium User Badge

        Skabooga says:

        Well, the distribution of scores does appear to follow a normal distribution with a little bit of skewness to the left, so it might be possible to extrapolate an informative metric from this data. Essentially, 7.5 is the peak of the distribution, and + or – one standard deviation would bring you to 8.5 or 6.5, and + or – two st. dev. would get you to 9.5 or 5.5.

        Which is what people have already noticed and commented on; nice to see that collective experience of games ratings matches empirical distribution so well.

  29. Dances to Podcasts says:

    Needs more failure.

  30. Viral Frog says:

    No videos ever. Unless the video comes with a transcript written out under the embedded video. I’ve stopped visiting numerous websites because they only post videos and no transcripts. How am I supposed to quietly read articles at work when the only thing available is a video? :P

  31. Geebs says:

    Probably my fault for not bothering to read sites that do this more regularly, but I love it when you link stuff directly from devs, whether it’s tech articles or post mortems. It’s like reading an interview with a favourite band, with the added bonus that most game devs are much more cogent about their work.

  32. Ace Rimmer says:

    Should we be casting the net wider? Should be create a section where anyone can have their article featured, regardless of quality? Should we feature more videos? Should we do themed issues? Should we feature older articles as well as current articles? Is it time for a new picture of a newspaper in the header? Can I write the intros in first-person? Isn’t my music taste great?

    No.

    (Well, maybe a wider net wouldn’t hurt, but that’s about it.)

  33. Premium User Badge

    geoffreyk says:

    I used to read many gaming websites, but RPS is now the only one I have in regular rotation, and as a result, occasional links to Eurogamer or the Guardian (highlighting particularly worthwhile content) remain valuable to me, even though I can see why they’re lower value to the more active readers out there.

    Others above have explained pretty well the downsides of video, and so including high-quality/high-interest videos is not a bad thing, but please, explicitly flag them as videos so that I can avoid the disappointment of reading the little synopsis, wanting to go read that article, and getting prompted to play a video instead. 90% of the time, I’m reading RPS in a context where I can’t reasonably watch a video, and most of the rest of the time I just don’t want to. (Not sure if you guys get statistics on out-going links, but I’d actually be fascinated to know the difference in clickthrough between a link identified as a video and one that is not.)

  34. WebFusion says:

    I wouldn’t mind seeing guest “Op-Eds” now and then. While I love the format (and it’s part of my Sunday routine), as a long-time pc gamer, I DO think some of the finer points of the genre that are important to a ton of folks are getting overlooked in favor of the “macro” side of things (new games coming out, the biggest news).

    I’ll give you a perfect example:

    Several years ago, Valve made a change to how they treat Community-run servers in Team Fortress 2 that has drastically affected a number of gaming clans/communities that had been supporting the game for 5+ years at that point. The net effect of that change has been to essentially guide the vast majority of new TF2 players AWAY from community servers, and onto their own (poorly run, unmoderated, overloaded, and basically just bad) “official” servers.

    Even Fletcher Dunn himself has said in the past that Valve’s servers offer a poor experience to new players, yet they continue to “double-down” on adding new features that drive more and more traffic away from communities, effectively destroying the “culture” that made TF2 great in the first place.

    Those are the kinds of stories that directly effect a huge swath of pc gamers (TF2 is still one of the top 5 games played on Steam), yet they seem to get little to no notice by the gaming press – perhaps because it is so hard to get Valve to say anything to anybody (?)

  35. john_silence says:

    Only answers then.

    Should we be casting the net wider?
    Mmmh, it already feels as wide as is appropriate (wow what I just wrote). Keep it gaming-centric is what I’d mantra, but not in that ghastly reductive “walking simulators aren’t games” way. I echo the appetite for posts sourced straight from dev blogs.

    Should be (sic) create a section where anyone can have their article featured, regardless of quality?
    Nope! Keep it edited and high-quality, thanks, there’s the rest of the Internet and RPS’ own “More from the web” ads for the random crap.

    Should we feature more videos?
    In video-themed issues then. It seems many like me tend to read RPS in a context where it’s not OK to play sound or grab for headphones.

    Should we do themed issues?
    Video-themed issues perhaps? Otherwise yes, themed issues would be great but in addition to the regular Sunday Papers.

    Should we feature older articles as well as current articles?
    The current formula is fine, where the majority are recent and a 2013 article will happily find its way in the Papers if it’s relevant and went relatively under-the-radar.

    Is it time for a new picture of a newspaper in the header?
    Sure why not have your fun.

    Can I write the intros in first-person?
    Yes I can.

    Isn’t my music taste great?
    It is. Finding a link to Necro Deathmort on RPS a few weeks after discovering them myself was… eerie.

  36. Premium User Badge

    teije says:

    RPS is the only gaming site I read regularly (besides the CRPG Addict’s blog) so I appreciate links to anything interesting – whether Eurogamer or what have you.

    Links are always good and every week I find at least one article worth reading, so keep on doing what you’re doing. More links wouldn’t necessarily be useful to me – I like that this list has been “curated” by you guys.

    And this week, the article on AI and open world design was great – thanks for calling it out.

  37. Premium User Badge

    Serrit says:

    I really like the current format, and appreciate it as a chance to get a wider view of things in the gaming-verse (I also like it when you include a few things that aren’t directly gaming related). The music link is always welcome too, again just for an easy excuse to try something different recommended by people/a person whose writing/work I enjoy and respect.

    I still prefer text-based articles to video, as it either keeps my ears free for my own choice of audio accompaniment, or can read it in places where sound isn’t welcome (and I don’t have headphones).

    I think the length is about right too – the problem with linking to more stuff is I either spend more time reading it (and thus even less time actually playing games), or ignore articles that still look quite interesting and get anxiety about that.

    Anyways thanks for all the previous columns – very much a key part of my Sunday learning and entertainment!

  38. colorlessness says:

    Agree with all the people saying please not too many videos. I wouldn’t be opposed to the video spin-off idea proposed above though.

  39. hoverpope says:

    I really like the structure and the articles you do now – there are always things to read and I can always just skip any video posts. This is one of my favourite recurring round-ups, with The Morning News and Toast dailies. That they’re your personal picks make it a more interesting, unpredictable selection.

  40. Premium User Badge

    alison says:

    I pretty much love it exactly how it is. RPS is the only gaming site i read, so i like getting a curated round-up of the best of the rest. On a good week, the articles from here last me through my Monday commute, both to and from work.

    I really do not like the idea of theme posts. Since there is only one post on Sunday, it makes sense for it to be a diverse one. It would be a shame to have nothing to read because the theme of the week was uninteresting. Also, themes feel a bit tacky to me, like listicles.

    +1 for moving videos into a separate Saturday morning telly column.

  41. headless97 says:

    I would like to see a wider variety of articles, but the high quality of the choices is exactly why I come to RPS every sunday for this. I would like to see more articles, though. I tend to read through these pretty quickly over the course of the week. And if older articles are still relevant and interesting, the content or the perspective might be new to a lot of people, so bring them out.

    I almost never watch the videos, but I understand that others might.

  42. Jac says:

    – No thanks to videos in this column.
    – I actually hate the intro so won’t be sad if it goes.
    – All that really matters is that the links are interesting and related to gaming.

  43. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    I agree with many others here: I think that asking your fellow RPS writers for suggestions would be nice, that I don’t need more videos and that links to older articles are a good thing.

  44. dahools says:

    How about keep the Sunday papers as is, with perhaps more input from the current RPS staff. Without being too strict to a list try and hit a decent dev interview, game blog, game podcast. Keep the music recommendation, you have bad taste but meh… so do others i’m sure somebody will be glad of it.

    Ideas could maybe be a A Single game(s) offer each week with a piece on why that particular game is great and why we should now get it (not just a link to a steam sale with a WIT attatched).

    Also I like not having videos in this link, as like many others a frequently read RPS during the week in places where audio is not suitable with or without headphones.

    If you want more videos how about the Sunday VTs or something not just stolen of celebrity juice off the top of my head where all the links are videos and finish with a music vid too. IT could run alongside the papers or on a different day of the week.

  45. JamesPatton says:

    I like the format. What I want out of tSP is a decent roundup of any thought-provoking bits of writing I can skim through (or read in depth) to stay on top of the world of videogame thinking and have something to do on Sundays. Some articles I read for fun, others because they are thought-provoking and push my thinking in a new direction. Thus far this column seems to have done that pretty well.

    Do you also take suggestions from other RPS staff? If another writer sees an interesting piece I’d also like to hear about it. (I think you already do this naturally though?) You could try out an “Every writer picks their favourite bit of writing this week” format, but I don’t know if that would end up being better.

    I would love to see video suggestions (but linking rather than embedding would be good). I’m lacking a bit in the “interesting gaming videos to watch” bracket.

    DO NOT CHANGE THE HEADER IMAGE. NO. NNNNNO.

  46. honuk says:

    It would be nice for the papers to cast a wider net. The column has been a bit better on this front of late, but too often it boils down to a Eurogamer And Friends proxy. Most people who read this column probably already frequent Eurogamer and The Guardian, and when you stray from those two it is often to columns by writers still associated with those sites. That’s not very useful. The Sunday Papers should be a bit more proactive in introducing readers to ideas and writers they would otherwise be unlikely to find. Make it easier for readers to submit suggestions. Bring in guest hosts who have different perspectives, contacts, reading habits, etc. If you want to do theme weeks, consider having a call for articles.

  47. Agricola says:

    I just want to parrot whats been said “No videos please”
    The whole internet is becoming completely video obsessed. Podcasts are a favourite thing of mine to listen to when running or going to sleep and over the last few years, games site after games site has dropped them in favour of video output. Lets not allow good quality written articles to suffer a similar fate.
    Videos are for the weekdays, when you need it beamed into your eyes quickly. It’s Sunday. I like to spend hours reading a supplement laden newspaper and then spend some time reading RPS’s Sunday Papers. Lets keep it that way please!

    • malkav11 says:

      Videos are the opposite of quick, but otherwise I agree with you.

  48. shoptroll says:

    Format is fine. If there’s a common thread tying all the articles together that’s fine to run with in my book. Same with older articles (and that’s definitely been done in the past I believe) especially if they work well with the other selections or are a bit of a “hey, we missed this when it originally ran”. Everyone’s got a backlog of games these days, why not a backlog of writing too?

    Ultimately though I wouldn’t want to change much with this series. It’s been one of the few mainstays of the site (aside from Alec and John) and has outlasted all the other recurring features to date. So you must be doing something right with it in my book.

  49. TWChristine says:

    link to lotrocommunity.com

    I’ve been enjoying reading this guy’s (Aylwen) posts. He’s a former employee of Turbine and worked on LotRO and sheds some light on the issues that happened behind the scenes. Even if you haven’t played the game, I think it’s still a neat little read.

    • Jalan says:

      A bit depressing to reach the end of that thread and learn that he passed away. Fascinating insights though, brief as they were.

  50. LennyLeonardo says:

    Perhaps saying “I told you so” about actual rape is not the best way to demonstrate your taste and decency.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      This is a reply to zankman on s.exe above.

    • Jalan says:

      Was it really about that though? They seemed to put emphasis toward it being more about his overall character vs. recent events that (seemingly) confirm previous assessments about the man. Perhaps I’ve read it completely different though.

      • pepperfez says:

        You’re reading that comment with super-maximum charity. It’s smug, preening obnoxiousness, reflecting on “how naive, gullible and bad at judging character people can be” by not assuming everyone involved in porn is a monster. Reacting to someone’s suffering with, “I knew that woman writer was an idiot!” is offensive bullshit.

        • Jalan says:

          I really don’t see the last part of that in it (rather the “I knew that…”, not the assessment of offensiveness) but, like you said, I’m probably looking at it all from a view that gives the commenter more benefit than is necessary.