Jim remains in his internetless purgatory for crimes too terrible to mention, so today I'm putting together a quick selection of gaming articles from elsewhere. Starting with...
- Just before Christmas, PC Gamer's Phil Savage took a look at the studies cited by those condemning videogames for the horror that took place at the Sandy Hook school. And found them to be slightly wanting. He also spoke to the author of one of the often cited studies, and heard a very different story. It's a really great piece of work, exposing those who have been misleading with inaccurate reports of their own data, and speaking to those in authority to hear the truth. Frankly, I'm just delighted that someone else in the industry is writing stuff like this, and hope to see Savage doing similarly smart and careful work in response to other controversies.
- The New York Times turned its attention toward matters of women and gaming, on Christmas Day. Helen Lewis summarises 2012's struggles and progress with the subject, with excellent calm honesty. "Clearly, some players enjoy having a part of their lives where they can rant about bitches and kitchens and sandwiches. But they’re outnumbered, and they are going to have to learn to play nice."
- On a similar subject, Victoria Hiley wrote a poem that rather brutally cuts to the heart of the way female protagonists are so often portrayed. And not as the boobs-out, sexbots you more often see criticised, but the geek-safe market-friendly non-threatening every-girl. "I am skilled in the use of all weapons, real and fictional ...but I'm also gentle and love animals. I'm bisexual! I'm mixed race! ...but don't worry, I'm a sort of safe mocha latte."
- Here's a neat little essay from qntm on the nature of Deus Ex's password security, and why realism is independent from entertainment. It's a subject I'd certainly given no thought to whatsoever, so it's great to see the ideas so succinctly put. As he says, "As is true in every aspect of videogames, making a game which is realistic is a goal totally opposed with making a game which is enjoyable to play."
- Emily Gera has created a mini choose-your-own-adventure called, CONGRATULATIONS, YOU ARE NOW A KOTAKU COMMENTER. I imagine it's not particularly comfortable reading for Kotaku, but they also know that factions of their community have a certain reputation. Gera's piece includes a series of genuine Kotaku comments that make her point about the peculiar trend of dismissing female gamers as frauds. "Somebody’s let all these women in and they’re wearing SEGA merchandise they probably bought for £8 down Camden Market. What a bunch of phonies, probably! Yuji Naka would be puking blood over this shit."
- Finally this week, LA Weekly have an excellent (and extremely long) exposé of the contracts YouTube creators are asked to sign when joining networks like Machinima. Young video creators who have found popularity on the site are encouraged to join to make money, but some are now realising they really should have read what they'd signed, with contracts claiming ownership over every video they create for the rest of their lives. And as you'd imagine, there's a backlash taking place.
Some music? I believe that's appropriate. How about Dan Deacon's layering Call Me Maybe 147 times?