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The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for hoping that everything is going to turn out okay. I mean, it probably will, but sometimes signs aren't all that promising. Ah well, perhaps there's some optimism to be found in the endless pages of that internet thing. It certainly has a lot to say for itself.

  • Ben Kuchera tries to defend DXHR's boss battles. He's wrong, of course, but it's fun to watch him try: "The world of Human Revolution is violent, and you play the head of security for a very large and controversial corporation. You find yourself going against powerful enemies who would very much like you dead, and while you may be able to slide around most scenes of violence, the way the first boss battle is set up makes it hard to justify a stealthy approach. Imagine the scene in The Phantom Menace when Obi Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn finally face Darth Maul directly. There will be no conversation. There will be no sneaking into a heating duct. They can not go around the Sith Lord, they must go through him. No matter how often a Jedi practices his meditation, there may come a time when the lightsaber has to be his method of communication with an enemy."
  • Just in case you missed it, here's Kotaku's Joel Johnson getting excited about the Razer Blade. A response to that provoked one of my "fuck off with the corruption allegations" rants in the comments on the RPS thread, which makes for fun reading.
  • Geoff over at BLDGBLOG writes about a speculative (imagined) augmented reality project called "Theriomorphous Cyborg": ""a bewildering non-human gaze and the mysterious worlds it may engender" as its starting point, effectively plugging human beings into animal technologies, devices of transformative spatial cognition." It's the world as seen by animals, essentially. I can't believe the reality of projects like this are far off.
  • B 'n' B Gaming remembers Black & White 2: "And then He was stricken by a most grievous horror. His people – Greeks, apparently – were under attack by wrathful Aztecs, most wicked and fearsome. Deklanus, Blessed be His name, could do nought but watch His people perish as their city was sacked and wreathed in fire; His holy soldiers were overcome by the onslaught, whilst the Creature of the Aztec god conjured an epic miracle and sprouted two volcanoes from the ground. Meanwhile, Deklanus, a trained firefighter, mounted a search-and-rescue, hoisting trapped and surrounded Greeks into a portal which would whisk them away to a safer land."
  • Ashley Burch's How Games Save My Life is full of fascinating stories, like this one about a guy who managed to trade drug addiction for games addiction, with obviously positive results: "To my astonishment he told me that after several years of drug abuse; one day he sat down and played a video game at his dealers’ apartment. He didn’t stop until he was booted. He ended up saving a little more cash and bought himself an X-Box. This became his new drug. He said that he could not afford to buy drugs anymore because he buys so many games." Thanks to Ben for pointing this one out to me.
  • Why Female Games Writers Shouldn't Be Ignored. An article on Gamespot Australia about the role of female writers in the industry. It's a correspondence between Tracey Lien and Laura Parker: "At Freeplay I was afraid that had I said something I'd have been dismissed or ignored. I was afraid of being on the receiving end of sexist comments. I was afraid of hearing someone say (or tweet) that I should just suck it down and deal with it, that I'm making a big deal of something that means nothing to them, that no one cares, that my kicking up a fuss was just a sign of my weakness. As a woman, I felt that my gender somehow made me less qualified to speak about gender issues that directly affected me; that people, especially those who needed their views challenged, would be less willing to listen to a woman (yes, I see the irony)."
  • This summart of Obsidian's Five Hard Lessons Of RPG Design is worth a read: "The idea of player vs. character is a false dichotomy. Developers with a traditional tabletop background expect players to be roleplaying when they play games. However, he said, "it will be the player doing the action... ultimately games are about the players trying to accomplish a goal." There is a definite question of "how much are we asking the player, and how much are we asking the character.""
  • Beefjack on the reality vs the science of Deus Ex's augmentations: "Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Eidos Montreal have been consulting with a serious technologist – Will Rosellini, CEO of Microtransponder, Inc., a company that specialises in creating devices designed to stimulate nerve cells and thereby treat a wide range of disorders. And it seems that a great deal of thought has gone into the designs of the augmentations installed into the body of protagonist Adam Jensen. While understandably the developers have sometimes allowed the demands of the game (or the rule of cool) to overrule realism, the ideas behind the implants featured are generally solid."
  • Critical Damage adds to the general noise of games criticism criticism, but it's a good read: "Games criticism is not about how good or bad a game is but about the experience you had interacting with that game. You might scoff and say “But what is the point? Does it help me design a better videogame? Does it tell me if I should buy this game?” No. Well, it might, but it doesn’t have to. Rather, criticism is about what you experience when you play a videogame. There was a talk the previous day about archiving videogames and hardware, and it bothered me that there was no talk about archiving criticism because that is how we archive how a game was experienced."
  • This piece by the writer of the new Conan films is a heartening consideration of what it means to fail: "Unfortunately, the work I do as a script doctor is hard to defend if the movie flops. I know that those who have read my Conan shooting script agree that much of the work I did on story and character never made it to screen. I myself know that given the difficulties of rewriting a script in the middle of production, I made vast improvements on the draft that came before me. But its still much like doing great work on a losing campaign. All anyone in the general public knows, all anyone in the industry remembers, is the flop. A loss is a loss."
  • Indie Stone (Project Zomboid) send us a link to a mod that turns the dialogue in their game into Geordie-speak.
  • This is all too true.

I'd be lying if I said I'd been listening to anything other than Gonzales' surprisingly gentle Solo Piano album. Originally I was listening to it because it seems so out of place for a rapper to make such a thing, but then I was just listening. Now my life is a 1930s bar scene, where I am sat at the bar drinking gin and waiting for the love interest to show up. I'm miserable because I know that I die at the end of the movie. Tsk.

More soon.

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Jim Rossignol