Posts Tagged ‘The-Escapist’

The Escapist: Hard Times

It's not on the PC. But it's on the PC monitor.

The Escapist runs my article on the future of inaccessible and difficult videogames. Where now for men who like to feel pain? basically. I start like this…

“The Pickford brothers were completely bewildered. What Rare had asked was unprecedented, strange and curious. They’d never heard anything like it. Who’d make such a request?”

And ramble off, as always. And since I quoted Ste Pickford, he’s done a quick response to something I’ve overlooked – which is a subtle and true point regarding narrative. Also, in the editing, a misunderstanding crept in, which will hopefully be fixed in a bit. If there’s a bit which makes you go “huh?”… well, I’ll explain it in the comments thread rather than messing up the permanent RPS record. It’s the DXIW/KOTOR bit. I know. They’re not hard. That was the point.

Footprints: The Fall of Mucky Foot

I worked on all sorts of feet-based puns for this, but decided that like my own, they stunk.

The Escapist’s Post-Mortem issue is live. I contributed a piece about Mucky foot, describing the birth and descent of the makers of Urban Chaos and Startopia. It’s quite the story. This does the VH1 Behind the Music approach, talking to the four primaries and them recalling all the inspired and foolish decisions they made, with the benefit of hindsight. It also includes details on games which you probably won’t be aware of (Their Punisher? ER Tycoon?). There’s a mass of other material specific to Urban Chaos and Startopia which I’ll spin into Making Ofs down the line, but this sad and human story’s enough to be getting on with, yeah?

And while you’re there, Nick Pirocanac’s examination on the incredibly resilient Allegiance community is well worth a read and Erin “EASpouse” Hoffman’s tale about Black9’s cancellation is so enormous that I may have to write about it later. People occasionally ask me why I don’t go into development. The idea of spending years of my life on something then this happening is Reason No 1.

Generation Games

This wonderful 1958 video, in addition making me wish there was a game that used that art style, reminded me of the idea of “futures lost” within gaming. A few years ago I wrote an article for The Escapist that grazed that issue, without ever capturing it. Consequently I was inspired to update and modify the piece for RPS. Read on, and then perhaps share some of your own thoughts on the subjects of both the games that educated you, and the games that gave you hopes for the future.
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The Computational Side-Effects Of Gaming

It had entirely escaped my attention that I recently wrote something for The Escapist. It’s interesting, because I say word stuff wot read good. Like this:

What if games could do something practical while they entertain us? What if by playing games you weren’t simply entertaining yourself and others, but adding to the grand sum of human knowledge? This is the idea behind an ongoing academic project entitled “Games With A Purpose.” The project, which focuses on the work of a young assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon, Luis Von Ahn, has one specific objective: to create games with useful computational side-effects.

You can read the entirety of the piece just here. The conclusion is moderately lacking in lustre, due the original one having been cut thanks to an “editorial overlap”, aka some other bugger writing the same thing a couple of months earlier. Bah.

Yahtzee On Net Fame

I am King Photoshop

Russ Pitts of the Escapist interviews various Internet Youtube supa-dupa-stars on their awesomeosity. While The Guild’s Sandeep Parikh is chatted with it’s (perhaps predictably) Zero Punctuation’s Yahtzee who gets centre-stage. But predictably doesn’t mean undeservedly, and I was amused to see a little more about his reception at GDC this year, which I’d already heard about in snippets delivered by GDC-veterans.

“…Croshaw did have his moments of celebriphobia at this year’s GDC, where even a short trip down the hall inevitably resulted in more than a few handshakes and requests for autographs. One woman had been clandestinely following him around all week, finally accosting him on his way to the airport to show him her sketchbook. He had a beguiling manner about him, she said, showing him how she’d captured the jaunty tilt of his hat with pencil and ink. The experience was jarring.”

What Yahtzee does next is the interesting one. The smart money, I suspect, is on him ending up doing the Erik and Chet Old Man Murray thing and turning developer love into being a lovely developer. In a more traditional mainstream way than his indie stuff, obv.

The Virtua Corps: Rossignol at the Escapist

Jim is away today. Don’t be sad. He left something for me to post later and until then you can get your Rossignol fix over at the Escapist, where they’ve just published his Virtua Corps article. It’s about hardcore Solder-Sim fanatics online.

One of the finer pleasures of being a journalist who spends too much time in the depths of PC gaming is the number of encounters you have with the platform’s various subcultures. Over the past five years, one in particular has fixed me with a mixture of dread and amazement: It’s the community that surrounds the hardcore soldier sim.

Idle, completely pointless and completely unprovable boast: I was the first person who started referring to the whole sub-genre as Soldier Sims. I’m all about the morning neologisms, me, even if they’re not really very clever at all. Anyway – read the rest of Jim’s article over here.

Let Me Be Your Fansy

Pre-empting my Rainz was a Patsy JFK/Lord British feature idea, The Escapist has an interview with Fansy the Famous Level 5 Bard, the infamous old-skool Everquest Griefer.

Grief not yet thee be griefed.

For those not aware of Fansy’s infamy… well, get to the page, already. In short, on the original hardcore PvP Everquest server – i.e. anything goes – he found a loophole which he abused in such a dramatic way to make the developers pretty much change the whole world just because of him. Anyone beneath level 5 was invulnerable in PvP. So he headed out into the wilderness, and dragged back enormous chains of monsters to pound on everyone else, while maintaining a faux-naif personality in all OOC chat. Which he then shared with us in the aforementioned website. In any other server, he’d be a monster. In a place devoted to beating on people… well, he’s a little like the guy who would walk into Arkham Asylum in Gotham City with a portable Nuke strapped to his chest (While laughing). Yes, crazy. But – at a distance – a kind of admirable crazy. JohnH in the Escapist Comments thread sums Fansy’s achievements succinctly: “In a world made for griefers, Fansy succeeded in becoming the Grief King, and doing it in a way that brought to them a bit of that all-too-scarce commodity, karma. The real stuff, not governed by any game-tracked variable.” Anyway – read the interview.