The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for seeing friends and helping friends see the wacky island you live on. Quick, let’s run through some of the weeks and not-this-week’s best games writing.

At The Guardian, developer Rami Ismail wrote about the US travel ban and that, as a Muslim videogame developer, he no longer feels the US is open for business. A lot of developers are going to be effected with GDC just around the corner.

I was born in the Netherlands, the son of an Egyptian immigrant and a Dutch mother, and was raised as a proud Muslim. For the past years, much of my travel to the United States has led to secondary selection, investigation, or interrogation. For all 100 flights I took in 2014, I jokingly created a website that kept track of whether my boarding passes were marked for “random checks” before even reaching airport security. For many of the 1.6 billion Muslims across the world, whether they’re born in the western world or not, this is a recognisable issue with air travel. Many of my Muslim friends calculate an extra 30 minute delay for boarding and transfers.

At The New Yorker, Raffi Khatchadourian writes about the future of interactive films, with a focus on the company joined by Her Story developer Sam Barlow. Barlow features in the article, talking about his next game or ‘game’ or ‘film’ or whatever, but it’s interesting throughout.

Instead, Barlow pulled together a new pitch. Hacking was still central, but it would be explored in the present-day context of groups like Anonymous, and in the murky post-Cold War geopolitical environment: terrorism, drone warfare, cyber attacks. The story centered on a young hacker and her friends and family. Viewers would be seated before a simulacrum of her computer, viewing the world as she does, through chat screens, Skype-like calls, live streams of cable news.

At US Gamer, long-time game journalist Jaz Rignall writes about when screenshots were really screen shots. As in, when a screenshot meant taking a photo of the screen. I missed those days, thank goodness, though when I started writing for magazines in 2005 taking a screenshot of a console game was still a tricky endeavour. On PC we just used Fraps.

This caused logistical problems when taking pictures of certain games. Because of the slow camera shutter speed, it meant that you couldn’t shoot a game while it was moving, because the resultant shot would have motion blur. So you had to pray that the game had a pause mode that simply froze the action, and didn’t bring up a menu screen, or the word “PAUSED.” If they did, you’d have to play the game very carefully and shoot pictures only at junctures where the action slowed down completely.

I haven’t found the time to read this, but Shamus Young is writing or has written an enormous book-length series of articles on all three existing Mass Effect games, including analysis of their story, of BioWare’s changes during its development and, well, have a look what else.

So much of the discussion of Mass Effect focuses on the ending of the trilogy. That seems to be where a majority of the audience checked out and stopped trusting the storyteller. But while the ending is the source of the controversy, I don’t think it’s the source of the problem, and it’s not where the interesting changes take place.

I have been thinking a lot about Fire Emblem: Awakening these past few weeks, and it keeps coming up in conversations as a result. It is an excellent game, as Alex “Edge” Wiltshire explains in this article about its relationships.

Both these characters – and many more – become special through the way the game makes their roles distinct, inflecting battles with additional tactical layers that you can choose to take on, or not. But Awakening offers another way for its characters to find a way into your heart. Take the moment that Virion, the horny toff and dead-eye marksman, saves the diffident great knight Kellam from a strike that would have killed him. Saves like this, or additional attacks, are down to Awakening’s Dual system, in which an adjacent character can help another during attacks or defence, often suddenly swinging the encounter in your favour.

Mr. Wiltshire also wrote for Eurogamer about the many faces of Doom’s afterlife – that is, the many projects which have worked to maintain and revitalise the original Doom over the course of its 20+ years.

Doom runs anywhere, and that’s down to the labours of a community of programmers that have been working on DOOM for nearly 20 years, ever since John Carmack released Doom’s Linux source code for non-profit use on 23rd December, 1997. “Port it to your favourite operating system,” he wrote in its readme.txt. “Add some rendering features – transparency, look up/down, slopes, etc. Add some game features – weapons, jumping, ducking, flying, etc.” Along with some other suggestions, he went over a few of his code’s shortcomings and his regrets, explained Doom’s fundamental workings, and expressed hope that a community would collaborate on an improved version of the game, signing off with, “Have fun”.

Jody Macgregor is a man after my own heart, writing at PC Gamer about the joys of turtling in strategy games. I too miss surrounding my base with an unreasonable number of walls and tesla coils and never, ever attacking my enemy.

Everything changes. Let me put three rows of Tesla coils next to my base and suddenly it’s my favorite place to be. Call it turtling if you like, but if it means I get to have little gates that open and close I am chelonia as fuck. When it’s a viable tactic to create high walls and siege defences, to hunker in a bunker with all your biggest guns, suddenly base-building stops being the tedious thing you’re obliged to repeat at the beginning of every match. If the buildings you lay down are places you’ll have to defend later, it becomes worth caring about them.

Richard Stanton has started a new column at Kotaku which looks at British game developers big and small. The first entry focuses upon shmup designer Jeff Minter, which I enjoyed throughout but particularly for the photos in and around my old barbers.

“I wore myself out there, basically. I spent two years trying and it became very wearying because we’d steel ourselves to make a game, you’d sit down, you’d make a game, you’d try to build up the enthusiasm, make it as good as you could, you’d put it out there, only get beautiful reactions and reviews. All the user reviews for every single one of our games are 4.5 stars out of 5 for everything. And yet still you’re making nothing, 50p at the end of it. By the time I’d done that about nine times I was broke, and I was just, like, completely exhausted emotionally and physically from it all really.”

The latest Killian Experience video, on how to hack Overwatch, is as good as ever.

I also enjoyed Cool Ghost’s look at Phantasy Star Online, a game I had heard much about but never played or watched before.

Music this week is this cut-together collection of background music from the 1960’s Spider-Man cartoon, which Alec linked me to. Top stuff.

From this site

101 Comments

  1. macndog says:

    The touted muslim ban is not a muslim ban, it is not worded as such and is simply enforcing the order on countries that obama decided upon, if it was banning muslims indonesia would be on the list for sure, due to it’s massive population of the muslim religion.

    Resisting trump is very important but misrepresenting facts like that just makes the facists look correct, which must be avoided at all costs.

    • Sin Vega says:

      Of course it’s not worded as such. But in law we have concepts like “de jure” versus “de facto” for very good reasons. Don’t be so naive.

      • ColonelFlanders says:

        This is nothing to do with naivety. This is to do with critical thinking. I’m sorry but you’re the naive one if you’re taking this at face value. The countries with the highest Muslim populations are not on this list for one, and for two none of these countries’ nationals have been involved in any terror attacks on US soil. I personally think the Muslim reason is a distraction from true motive; what that is remains to be seen, but somehow I don’t think it’s a coincidence that none of these places are particularly friendly with Russia or Putin.

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          casusbelli says:

          Iran is a staunch ally of Russia, along with Syria, if you consider the Assad regime. The criteria for the ban seems to be middle eastern Muslim countries who reject American hegemony or with whom the US has no alliance or considerable business interests.

          • ColonelFlanders says:

            Oh shit I forgot about Iran, that would be my bad. The Syria situation is a bit more complicated though, since peace talks have just fallen apart (well a month ago anyway).

            Personally I think it’s madness to believe that what we see in the news should be taken at face value. In my limited experience it seems that every publicly taken action is either a disctraction, or some clecer bait and switch to piss us all off while what’s actually going on can have attention drawn away from it.

        • Jimbo says:

          The true motive is to reduce the risk of the US suffering similar Trojan Horse / Daesh Flying Column attacks to Europe. Whether people think this is a fair or even effective way to go about achieving that is a different matter, but I’m not sure why some grand conspiracy would be required to explain the obvious motive.

          Any attempt to reduce the likelihood of such an attack is of course going to disproportionately affect Muslims because it’s Islamic countries and cultures (some, not all of them) which are producing these Jihadists. The intent is to ban Jihadists and the time for pretending the correlation with Islam doesn’t exist has long gone.

          The Obama administration obviously didn’t pull these countries out of a hat: they deemed them to be the most likely sources of such an attack. Or at least the most likely sources excluding countries they had other reasons not to upset. The Trump administration ultimately chose to go with the exact same list for the same reasons, and for the added benefit that they could use the fact it’s ‘Obama’s list’ as some limited political cover.

          I’m not sure if Trump or his supporters particularly care about it being called a ‘Muslim Ban’, but it’s plainly a misleading description given the vast majority of Muslims aren’t affected by it. The term is being used solely for effect. A description like this would never be considered accurate in any other context. If I said you can drink whatever you want as long as it isn’t vodka or whisky, you couldn’t reasonably describe it as an ‘alcohol ban’.

          (note: not all of the above specifically aimed at who I replied to)

          • Shiz says:

            If the true motive is to reduce the risk, wouldn’t it make more sense to ban countries with an actual history of terrorism? Like egypt and Saudi. I agree that muslim ban might be a misnomer but let’s not fool ourselves here, this ban exists to satisfy the right wing or uninformed trump voters while not shitting on america’s biggest middle east trade relations

      • Ham Solo says:

        Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Indonesia and Egypt make up 50% of the world’s muslim population. Neither of them are banned. link to en.wikipedia.org
        So it is not even a “defacto muslim ban”.
        Nobody talks about the 16 muslim countries denying israeli citizens entry as “anti-jew ban” or antisemitic.
        link to dailywire.com

        • pepperfez says:

          I think lots and lots of people do? Accusing Muslim-majority states of anti-Semitism isn’t unheard of in Western politics.

        • Sin Vega says:

          I didn’t call it a “de facto muslim ban”, thanks though.

          • ColonelFlanders says:

            But clearly your post is ambiguous enough that it could be taken that way. You’re welcome.

        • Werthead says:

          This argument has always been a little thin. The Arab League imposed a travel ban on Israel back in 1949, so it’s not a new situation at all. It’s also eroded over time (from 22 to 16 countries) and has been justified because Israel is militarily occupying the territory of three countries (two of whom don’t care much and have open relations with Israel, but still).

          But still, it is regularly criticised by the USA and other western countries, and the position is that the Arab League formally recognising Israel and normalising relations has to be part of any long-term peace settlement in the region. To that end, it’s something that those countries are constantly criticised for.

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          Harlander says:

          You wanna know why America gets more stick about its human rights violations than other, often much worse countries?

          Put simply, it’s because you’re supposed to be the good guys.

      • kament says:

        Remember when Mass Effect and its ending would be hottest topic discussed in the comments? Good times.

        • Nauallis says:

          Lol, yeah. I noped right out of the comments this weekend when I saw the top thread was political argument. Went back to Civ. Ironic, I know.

    • Monggerel says:

      Rami Ismail is Dutch so his country is definitely not on the “official” list, which means if he’s getting fucked over, the ban really is a blanket rule.

      • Pharos says:

        I must have misread the article because I didn’t see where it said he was banned from entering the US.

      • lylebot says:

        Note that Rami said he was tracking his “random checks” in *2014*. People of Muslim descent did not exactly have it easy under Obama either. Trump [tried to] formalize and make more stringent policies that to one extent or another were already informally in place.

        (Note: I consider myself to the left of both Trump and Obama politically.)

    • phenom_x8 says:

      I’m not very much into politics, or anything … But as an indonesian Muslim myself, it’s trully hurt my feeling. As a muslim, we belief our brotherhood are not just limited by blood-relation or even nationality,way more than that. Muslim are one body, when the other parts of the body being hurts, we felt it also. It hurts me when my fellow muslim being treated unjust for something that they cannot choose itself eventhough my country are not affected by it.
      What Rami said in his article are representative of what my feeling as a muslim, because islamophobia are real,especially by certain government. I hope this problem can be resolved ASAP

      • fray_bentos says:

        The unfortunate reality is that Islamophobia will only go away when people stop killing in the name of “Islam”. The words “Allahu Akbar” never did invoke as much fear in many as they do now. Until that disease is stamped out then the fear will continue.

        • malkav11 says:

          It’s not really about terrorism, although terrorism’s certainly not helping. I mean, the Crusades happened -long- before terrorism was even an identified concept. It’s pretty straightforward bigotry.

        • Sin Vega says:

          Islamophobia will only go away when people stop killing in the name of “Islam”.

          Like how racism went away when black people stopped killing in the name of blackness, and homophobia went away when gay people stopped killing in the name of gay. Obviously.

        • phenom_x8 says:

          Killing in the name of Islam only allowed in the stage of war to defense ourselves, not to inflict terror or fear like what many all of us know today.
          Killing are strictly forbidden in Islam, because when we kill one lives without the appropriate reason, it is like we kill all lives in earth, and in reverse, if we saves one lives it is like we save all lives in earth. The punishment for killing in Islam is an eye for an eye (Qisas Law) , it means that if we kill someone, we must be killed also after a trial, except if the victims relatives forgives us which is much more better for both.
          All that I said is mentioned in Qur’an / Kor’an, so a muslim must obey it, if there’s someone killing another in the name of islam not in the allowed circumstances like what in the Qur’an said, there’s something wrong with their real intention.

    • ButteringSundays says:

      The coolaid is real with this one.

      • ColonelFlanders says:

        Wow, even when people agree with popular opinion of an asshole like Trump they can still get shat on by the same side. No wonder the left failed to get any traction this election.

        • Cinek says:

          Failed to gain any traction? No wonder people say that rightists are delusional. FYI: they won the popular vote. By ~3 million votes.

          • ColonelFlanders says:

            I know the popular vote was won. Shame that’s not how your system works though isn’t it. Rrgardless the entire democratic party was a total shambles throughout the whole campaign; what we should be arguing in this case is not ‘how did Trump win’, but ‘how the fuck did the democrats lose’. I mean really, Clinton was obviously not good enough (realistically she should have roundly thrown him out the top of his stupid golden tower), and the DNC decided that she was definitely the best choice? Really? There were no better options than one of the least popular Dem candidates ever? No one likes her; she’s a fucking lizard, I honestly can’t fathom what the DNC was thinking putting her up against this guy. This election might have been a farce but the left are equally to blame for dropping the ball as anyone else.

            By the way don’t take this as an admission of my right leaning views – if I was any further left I daresay I would have flowers in my hair. But ‘we’ have to get to grips with the fact that we lost this one, and maybe take some steps to figure out how to fix that, rsther than blindly assuming what we’re being fed is actually the motivator for the action.

          • Billtvm says:

            Clintons 3m majority is singularly due to the state of California. If we exclude California, Trump won the popular vote in the rest of the country.

          • Koozer says:

            If you exclude everyone who voted for Hillary, and everyone who didn’t vote, Trump won with 100% of the population behind him. Incredible!

          • Baines says:

            The pessimistic view of American politics is anyone who can be elected doesn’t deserve to win, and anyone who deserves to win can’t be elected.

            As for Hillary, it isn’t really necessarily that Democrats thought she was a good choice. It was more that she was the only choice they felt that they were given. Bernie Sanders was an alternative, but the head of the DNC, DNC staff, and several journalists all worked to actively discredit Sanders in favor of Hillary, helping make voters believe that Hillary was the best chance to win the election. The sabotage was leaked (by Wikileaks) after the primaries, but by then it was too late, and the DNC simple apologized to Sanders.

            And then almost the same thing helped Trump win the election against Hillary. In the months before the election, journalists treated Trump as a joke instead of a viable candidate. They talked about how unelectable Trump was, and used faulty polling data (the accuracy of election polling had been questioned for years) to support their beliefs. Several liberal journalists actually stated that they felt it was their fault, as well as the fault of other liberal journalists, that Trump was elected. They’d spent so long telling the public that Trump was going to lose in a landslide (and even kept that story going after people had started voted) that many liberals didn’t bother to vote, while potentially driving a greater number of conservatives to go out and vote.

        • ButteringSundays says:

          This is not a partisan discussion.

          Just because you perceive yourself to be on someone’s side doesn’t mean you haven’t drunk some coolaid. I’m not here to coddle you.

          There’s mention of critical thought up thread; if you believe this ban isn’t intended to target Muslims then you, as has been pointed out, are being naïve. The list compiled by the Obama administration was not done so with the intention of banning entry to their passport holders, for a start. It’s pure deflection.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      Yes, we shouldn’t misrepresent the facts. Which is why it’s essential that we call the Muslim ban what it is.

    • gwop_the_derailer says:

      ” “I’ll tell you the whole history of it. So when [Trump] first announced it, he said, ‘Muslim ban.’ He called me up. He said, ‘Put a commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally.’ “ – Rudy Giuliani, White House cyber security adviser

      • pepperfez says:

        But, see, they decided to lie about that later, so we have to accept that their later lie is the truth. American politics!

    • jalf says:

      Trump calls it a ban. It targets muslims. It makes exceptions for Christians. It was struck down by multiple courts as being illegal because it discriminates against a specific religion.

      If it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck it is a muslim ban.

      • skeletortoise says:

        Correct me if I’m wrong on this one, but I believe what you’re referring to is the fact that christian refugees can possibly get an exception? Which, given that they’re a minority faith and often the first and worst recipients of genocidal and brutal treatment by whoever’s doing the oppressing, makes it a lot more understandable of a provision. I think the result there is good, even if Trump’s motive is suspect.

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          subdog says:

          There are muslim minorities facing the same threats (notably the Yazidis who have been American allies against ISIS) that are not being given the same priority.

          • skeletortoise says:

            Well if everyone was being given the same priority it wouldn’t really be priority, would it? I’m not crazy about any of this, but it’s a fact that Obama gave Muslims a hugely disproportionate priority as refugees, despite the fact that Christians were more vulnerable. Yes, some people will be specifically hurt by this, but it’s not as though America took in more than a tiny fraction of available refugees in the first place.

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            Jekadu says:

            Gonna need a source on this one. Regardless of what you just said, religious tests in the US are simply not allowed to the best of my knowledge.

          • skeletortoise says:

            To the best of my knowledge it wasn’t captured in any form of formal policy, but the numbers make it pretty hard to believe it just happened by chance. I don’t really buy into preference one way or the other, but it seems to me particularly vulnerable minority populations have at least as good a claim as the majority.

            link to cnsnews.com

        • pepperfez says:

          That’s not actually the case in general. Daesh, for instance, have been particularly brutal to those they deem apostates (that is, Muslims who don’t support Daesh). Much of the opposition to Assad is Muslim (unsurprising in a majority Muslim state, of course), and in general repression in Syria is politically, geographically and ethnically based, not religiously.

          • skeletortoise says:

            Perhaps my understanding is out of date. I was speaking more in the general case of the past couple years than specific knowledge of the current threats. I guess it’s not particularly easy to quantify who’s most vulnerable moment to moment.

        • gwop_the_derailer says:

          So surely that should include Shia Muslim minorities in Sunni majority regions, and vice versa?

    • skeletortoise says:

      Just tossing some support your way, bub. I think the best way to consider this policy is, if the tables were turned, how would you think about the ban then? Say Islamophobic policies were actually supported by the left and Trump tried to institute this travel ban as more of a centrist move in an effort to reach out to people across the aisle. I speculate he would probably be mocked as a well meaning but ultimately ineffective or inexperienced leader. “This purported Muslim ban, doesn’t even call out muslims by name! It only affects seven countries, failing to account for top three biggest muslim populations!” I imagine if this exact policy were instituted by a Mitt Romney or John McCain, there would be much less commotion about it (although that would also be because it might be implemented competently). Whatever Trump does just has some particular magical sheen to it which makes it more unsavory, regardless of its actual substance. Because specifically impacting muslims is probably a higher priority of this act’s INTENT, people react as though it actually does it more than it does. It’s why I have such mixed feelings on it. As it is, just because it fails to handle legal resident and people who actually support us in fighting terrorism, it deserves to be protested and criticized and removed.

      • pepperfez says:

        It doesn’t do anything positive (outside of reinforcing that the US is a hostile power for everyone but well-off, white Christians, should one consider that a positive). There’s no actual reason for this measure right now except that Trump ran on xenophobia and is now delivering. Just as blocking travel across the Mexican border would increase the number of undocumented Mexicans in the US (because net immigration into the US has been negative for a while), this is an expression of ascendant racism and nothing else.

        • skeletortoise says:

          Well yeah, I think we’re mostly in agreement (see my lower comment). I mean, I do imagine that an improvement in security may come about from this, but probably not just because it was so poorly executed and it wouldn’t be worth the national or international credibility hit either way. My main point here is that it’s really just not that despicably evil and cruel of an order, more likely due to incompetence and legal constraint than the President’s motives, and under any other President who hadn’t said the things this one has said it wouldn’t be generating half the controversy it is. And again, that’s assuming the hypothetical President actually implemented the order competently.

          • Dances to Podcasts says:

            “I do imagine that an improvement in security may come about from this”
            Could you explain this hypothetical improvement and how it’s worth the real damage this is doing?

          • skeletortoise says:

            Dances to Podcasts:

            Is it worth my effort if you can’t be bothered to read more than 30% of my initial comment?

            Me: “and it wouldn’t be worth the national or international credibility hit either way.”

            Anyway, as for security improvement: Less people coming into country from foreign countries, less potential threats to the country. Especially if those countries are known for having lots of people involved with terrorism, which is how Obama assessed them when he labeled them all as “countries of concern”.

    • Bull0 says:

      “The sign says no HomerS. We’re allowed one!”

      Also, your (wrong) justification is fairly moot now since the muslim ban has been overturned.

    • onodera says:

      Even if Rami Ismail wasn’t a proud Muslim, as he says, but an atheist, he would still be discriminated against because of his name (online) and his looks (in person). It’s very disheartening to be shoved back into the box by the stereotypes people around you hold.

    • thedosbox says:

      The intention is clear from their own words:

      link to independent.co.uk

      link to twitter.com

      • skeletortoise says:

        Yeah, but the point is that just intending it to be a Muslim ban doesn’t automatically make it so. Trump, as he so often does, is trying to have it a number of ways. In his estimation, he’s winking at his unsavory base, throwing a bone to security conscious conservatives, and using a legal smokescreen to not appear bigoted. In execution… David Frum said it nicely: “The Trump White House had incurred all the odium of anti-Muslim religious test, without any attendant real-world benefit.”

        • pepperfez says:

          But there wouldn’t be any real benefits of an absolute ban on Muslim immigration; it was only ever part of the program of ethnic cleansing his gang of white-Christian-nationalist henchmen is working on.

          • skeletortoise says:

            Assuming such a policy could really exist and be generally effective, I think you could argue whether it would have security benefits or not. Regardless, I think it does blatantly violate American values, if not the constitution, and should not be considered at all.

        • thedosbox says:

          Yeah, but the point is that just intending it to be a Muslim ban doesn’t automatically make it so

          While you are busy arguing a semantic point he’s accomplishing his intent (pending resolution of the court imposed stay) – namely a stop to any muslim immigration (or even tourism), and stoking of anti-immigrant sentiment among his base (as hypocritical as that may be).

          His attack on the judiciary is just another step in establishing

          • skeletortoise says:

            You’re the one begging for a semantic argument when you flippantly call this a muslim ban as if it’s so clear cut. And thanks for reminding me – I almost got so distracted by this comment section that I forgot to drive up to DC and single-handedly stop Trump.

            I may be a bit out of the loop, but is he massively trying to widen the scope of this order? Because, as I understand it now, (a) the longest provision in this order only lasts 4 months and, again, (b) it only applies to seven countries.

            Also, I wouldn’t get so hung up on Trump’s “base”. I’d be surprised if more than 20% (being generous) of the country would really call themselves a solid Trump supporter. I think people are too quick to assume people take the ideas of authority as gospel, especially when distrust of politicians is as old as time.

        • thedosbox says:

          Responding here as RPS’ comment system is terrible.


          You’re the one begging for a semantic argument when you flippantly call this a muslim ban as if it’s so clear cut.

          Ah, you’re one of *those* people.

          Trump calls it a ban
          Giuliani calls it a ban
          Sessions calls it a ban

          Yet you want to dispute that it’s intended as a ban. Have fun with that.

          • skeletortoise says:

            “Ah, you’re one of *those* people.”
            One of those subhuman deviants, constantly looking to better characterize objective fact, reporting for duty.

            “Trump calls it a ban
            Giuliani calls it a ban
            Sessions calls it a ban”
            I’m not sure what Sessions said, but I believe just referred to it as “the ban”. And it certainly is a ban on seven foreign countries. And even if he meant muslim ban, what does that matter? Every single line out of Trump’s mouth during the election was apparently either incorrect or a lie, but suddenly he says what you want to hear and his word is unassailable truth. This goes well into my next point:

            “Yet you want to dispute that it’s intended as a ban. Have fun with that.”
            Congratulations, you’ve managed to read the exact inverse of what I’ve actually written! I am fairly confident it was intended to be a muslim ban, or at least give the people who would like one some warm fuzzies. However, and this is key, it still isn’t one. Or, if ‘muslims are banned’ isn’t a binary condition and exists on a spectrum, it’s a very very bad ban, probably a 2/10 on the ban scale. Whether Trump thinks it’s tremendous muslim ban or wants it to be so is irrelevant. I know I didn’t say all this in my direct response to you (I did say it in 2 or 3 other comments very nearby), but I certainly never disputed the intent of the order to you, just its substance.

            “Block”
            What a letdown. My first internet blocking and I just don’t feel like I earned it at all. Well, I appreciate your openness to political discussion and wish you all the best.

            P.S. Just a reminder that I’m actually on your side and don’t like this executive order, but don’t let that get in the way of your charming disposition.

          • skeletortoise says:

            Oh, I realize now that you didn’t say block, that’s just how it looked when I copied the comment. Please ignore most of the passive aggressiveness/bitterness/sarcasm.

          • thedosbox says:


            One of those subhuman deviants, constantly looking to better characterize objective fact, reporting for duty.

            You can continue to be a pedant, but the reality is that it’s intended as a ban, and is being interpreted as a ban by those responsible for implementing it.

            Whether or not you think it is a ban, or has any merit is irrelevant. As would any further discussion on the topic from me.

          • skeletortoise says:

            I’ve never disputed that it is a ban, just what it’s a ban on. I assume you’re saying it’s intended as a muslim ban, which I more or less agree with, and implemented as a muslim ban, which I do not. Am I behind on the news? Has the TSA finally started using their standard issue muslim detectors? The fact is that religion simply isn’t the criteria on which this ban is being enforced. It happens to affect muslims disproportionately, but it affects only a fraction of them. I suppose it’d be hard to quantify exactly how many people this will ultimately effect in its 4 month existence, but it’s not even close to all foreign muslims. In that regard, if it’s a ban it’s an exceedingly bad one. At what point would you be willing to concede this order isn’t a ban on a religion with almost 2 billion members? If it were only four countries? Two? We know it’s not one because there was never a whisper of ‘muslim ban’ when Obama did this to Iraq. At one point does it go from me being pedantic to you bring wrong? I refer to it as a travel ban, because I don’t need to give something an exaggerated scary name to disagree with it. You can call it whatever you want, but if this conversation’s too much for you I don’t know how you’d ever hope to persuade someone who actually agrees with the order.

    • Shuck says:

      “not worded as such”
      Except it’s called exactly that by the president and some of the others who helped draft the order. Also, it explicitly privileges non-Muslims from those countries going forward.
      “is simply enforcing the order on countries that obama decided upon”
      That’s just wrong. On multiple levels. Visas were required for people who had recently been in those countries – Trump’s order entirely bans entry to people who possess passports from those countries, even if they’ve never actually been there (e.g. they got the passport because of their parents country of origin), even if they had already been vetted and issued a visa (treating their valid visa as if it were invalid, thus making legal attempts to enter the US suddenly a crime), even if they had been issued a greencard and had already spent decades living and working within the United States. Also, although the ban was being discussed as temporary, it probably wasn’t intended to be. De facto President Bannon has spoken about waging a war on Islam and returning the control of the United States to “white, Christian culture.”
      “if it was banning muslims indonesia would be on the list for sure”
      Trump has business in Indonesia. The list of Muslim-majority countries where Trump has businesses maps perfectly to the list of Muslim-majority countries that aren’t on the list. So yeah, it’s a Muslim ban – that exempts Trump’s business interests.
      Also, beyond the ban, there’s been extra, incredibly invasive screening (demanding access to social media, for example) added for Muslims from all countries.

      • Jimbo says:

        It’s almost like there’s some correlation between barbaric, war-torn terrorist states and places where Western businessmen don’t want to build hotels :o

        • Shuck says:

          Except that the countries on the list aren’t all war-torn, nor are the countries where business is being done conflict – or terrorist – free. In fact, the countries not on the ban list are the ones that exported the terrorists that have struck within the US…

        • Shuck says:

          Also not to mention the US is suddenly detaining and blocking from entry, without cause, native-born citizens of Canada, the UK and even the US who happen to be Muslim. (Yes, even US citizens are being detained without explanation at borders.) The whole excuse that it’s about preventing terrorists from coming in is beyond nonsense. There’s a reason why the courts blocked it. Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to have stopped the border agents from engaging in arbitrary, anti-Muslim behavior.

    • Zenicetus says:

      I think it’s fair to call it a ban that targets Muslims, whether every Muslim country is listed or not, because there are exceptions being made for Christians from the countries on the list.

      That exposes the religious targeting. Without that, the argument would be stronger that it’s a ban targeting specific countries, and not religions.

      • pepperfez says:

        It’s a tough sell regardless given how much he campaigned on, specifically, “banning Muslims.” The fact that dumb, senile Rudy gave the game away is just confirmation.

    • Premium User Badge

      Jekadu says:

      It doesn’t really matter what the text *really* says. In practice, it discriminates against Muslims and the US is infamously cavalier about respecting people’s rights, especially when it comes to Homeland Security and the like.

      It’s hard to describe just how nerve-wracking it can be to go through Immigration at the airport, and that’s just as someone who used to have a green card but, as a minor, lived outside the country (I have since relinquished it since it seemed to be causing more trouble than it was worth). With the current political climate I’m already seriously reconsidering attending PAX East this year; I would have made up my mind already if I was Muslim or looked enough like what people think a Muslim looks like.

    • PikaBot says:

      The man himself has repeatedly referred to is as such. Don’t carry his water for him.

  2. Ghostwise says:

    The lad writing about Mass Effect should discover the joys of the singular “they”, thus solving his problem. :-)

    • Darth_Pingu says:

      Thim.

    • Palimpsest says:

      Maybe he’s not the one with the “problem”

    • ButteringSundays says:

      Is it about how difficult and complex gender pronouns are? Cause yea our language already caters for it, no idea why people struggle with it.

      • Grizzly says:

        Nah, the piece is about analysing Mass Effect 1, 2, and 3, and how the series changed dramatically starting with Mass Effect 2. It’s literary criticism applied to Mass Effect, which is what makes it so interesting.

        With that criticism is the small problem of what gender Shepard is considering that choice is down to player choice. The author mentions this whilst settling for “him”. It’s only two sentences in a piece that otherwise doesn’t dwell on that in any way.

  3. Kollega says:

    Hoooooooo yeeeeeees. The joys of turtling. I can’t even begin to describe how much I like to play defensively in strategy games – hell, in video games in general. Wave defense modes in shooters, positional warfare in RTS games, you name it – so long as there are gameplay mechanics and a mission set-up that allow me to build a wall of firepower to stop damn near everything my enemy can throw at me in its tracks, I’m a happy space marine/Soviet general/what have you. Supreme Commander was pretty great for it, with its wealth of defensive options (especially the UEF Gatling turret the size of a skyscraper that appeared in the Forged Alliance expansion), Company of Heroes was brilliant in that it let you build freeform field fortifications based on your understanding of actual defensive tactics like kill zones and cones of fire, and provided a few missions where (intentionally or not) you could take your sweet time doing so, and today, turtling lives on for me not in tower defense games (most examples of which are, for me, too by-the-numbers restrictive to allow real creativity in the building of defenses), but in Factorio with its freeform industrial construction and in Infested Planet with its “five space marines against thousands of aliens” gameplay premise. However, I honestly wish a few RTSes came out that would be turtling-oriented; something like an RTS where the focus is the wave defense mode, but the building of fortifications is more freeform than “You kann onlee place ze turrets HIER und ze walls ZERE!” that I seemed to run across whenever I tried a tower defense game. After all, devising the design for your fortifications based on local conditions is actually half the fun.

    Also, this is unrelated to joys of turtling (and oh, what joys they are!), but I feel that a quote from the Richard Stanton article about Jeff Minter is presented out of context; when he’s talking of “50p revenues”, he’s talking about mobile market specifically, but there is no indication of that here. I feel like this is a noticeable omission.

    • ButteringSundays says:

      Greetings fellow Turtler!

      • Kollega says:

        Hello to you too! And as a side note, recommendations of turtling-friendly and relatively modern games are more than welcome – maybe there’s some really great game that’s still waiting for me that I simply don’t know of.

        • ButteringSundays says:

          I tend to try and make the strategy work in every game I play, with varying levels of success, so I’m probably not a good source of recommendations! :)

    • Napalm Sushi says:

      Have you tried Revenge Of The Titans? It occupies the kind of liminal ground between RTS and tower defence that you seem to be looking for, being more purely defensively oriented than the former but more open and organic than the latter.

      • Kollega says:

        I haven’t when it was originally released, and now it should be something like five bucks. In fact, it seems to be on sale on Steam right now. I’ll look up some gameplay videos, and maybe get it if it looks good to me.

    • Leucine says:

      I could well have written your comment myself. Though I would have spoken differently about tower defence as I think, for myself, it’s more that they feel like puzzles to be solved; they lack the dynamism of turtling in RTS games.

      I think it’s the reason I bounced so hard off the second Company of Heroes after enjoying the first so much – the second feels far more pressured and less like you can sit back and fortify. Considering the rise and rise of the likes of SC2 at the time, I can’t help but wonder if it was done to appeal to that crowd.

      That said, I never liked wave defence missions in RTS games, either. Probably for the same reason I never enjoyed Starcraft et al. online: too much pressure to keep doing things quickly. One of the reasons I like to turtle is that I can (usually) take my time in planning things out. I’ve moved more towards turn-based games over the years for that reason but still, I’d welcome a return of RTS games that gave the option of being able to turtle.

  4. rustybroomhandle says:

    Jaz Rignal used to sport the most epic mullet when still working for Zzap. Surely this is something that belongs in some sort of game journalism museum.

    I was not a Zzap reader much, but I did like its review style – one game review with added thoughts from some of the other staff.

    • ColonelFlanders says:

      Crikey that’s made me think of Zzzap! That used to be on CiTV. Neil Buchanan also had a most epic mullet if I remember correctly.

      • ButteringSundays says:

        Oh man the comic strip style show! Used to love that

    • The Bitcher III says:

      I picked ‘Jaz Rignall’s Hairdo’ as my RPS forum name before forgetting the password and the email account I linked it to.

      I figured, if there was one crowd who would get that reference, I’d find them here.

      ’tis also a reference to a ‘famous’ insider poster on another board I frequent, but that’s another story

  5. ColonelFlanders says:

    I hate to be that guy but: in your paragraph about Rami Ismael you should be using affect, not effect.

    • atiaxi says:

      using affect, not effect.

      The way I generally remember this is “Mass Effect” – effect is the noun; if you’re using the verb it’s the other one (‘affect’). This came to mind because ME is actually mentioned later in this very article :)

      (Of course, to be even more confusing, both Affect and Effect have noun and verb versions, respectively, but they’re comparatively rare)

      • ColonelFlanders says:

        Yeah, the English language can be a bugger like that. You can use effect as a verb in the sense of “The Governor was unable to effect any change”. Stupid rules.

        • Landiss says:

          It’s interesting. I’m not a native speaker and that’s really something I would never think could cause people trouble. I guess it’s the difference if you learn those words first in a written form. Same with “your” and “you’re”, which seems to be causing issues to some native speakers, but I can’t even imagine mistaking those two. Of course I have other problems
          (and more of them), so it’s not all that perfect :p.

  6. phenom_x8 says:

    For those who bought Little King Story, a patch(or relaunch) that have been release recently are made by the famous Peter ‘Durante’ Thorman who fix Dark souls and Deadly Premonition PC port, an interesting article about whats wrong with the wii port can be read here:
    link to xseedgames.tumblr.com

    • Bobtree says:

      Very interesting article, though light on details. It illustrates how the original version took shortcuts that messed up the port, and Durante is quite generous not to slam the original developers for that stuff. I always like to see ongoing support like this.

  7. Rao Dao Zao says:

    Turtling is the best tactic. Supreme Commander’s shield generators are one of the best things ever implemented — build an ever-expanding bubble of base with power generators and mass fabricators in the middle, stock up on experimental units and roll out (or pour your money into artillery and watch the enemy base disintegrate with no effort). The only problem with SupCom is its crappy walls, but you can make up for them with walls of turrets. Or walls of experimental bots. Mmmmm.

  8. Premium User Badge

    Ghostbird says:

    There’s a joke to be made about Trump’s racist Fortress America and the joys of turtling, but I think I’m too angry to do it justice.

  9. Frank says:

    Oh man, got my hopes up about Fire Emblem being on PC for a moment there.

  10. Chorltonwheelie says:

    Kinda giggling all the way through these comments. ‘Turtling’ has a different meaning in these parts. Akin to ‘touching cloth’.

  11. Heliocentric says:

    Creeper World 3 is the ultimate form of the turtling experience, fluid opposition rolls over the plains, it will pour into any weak point and tear you apart. But you cannot simply provide a homogeneous force, the hills serve you too.

    And the flood approaches.

  12. mxmissile says:

    Hold on while I grab my popcorn, love all the RPS crying, whining, moaning, and gnashing of teeth. Almost as good as fake daytime TV.

  13. Premium User Badge

    Ghostbird says:

    It’s cool. Getting together to complain is the first step towards getting things fixed – and history shows turtling really isn’t a viable strategy.