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The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for listening for the distant horn blasts of the approaching army. But while you wait for death on the windswept battlements of the final wall protecting your kingdom, why not read some interesting game-related links?

  • Polygon present the story of Octodad: "During college, I discovered that I really ... wanted to work on games, but became increasingly insecure about the quality of my work. ... My level of anxiety reached its peak right before I started working on [the first Octodad]. It was to the point where I wasn't able to sleep at night because I was terrified of not being successful. ... I was worried that I'd be revealed as a fraud, that I never should have been picked for this [DGE] team in the first place and I didn't have anything meaningful to contribute."
  • Interesting article on Candy Box.
  • Some news about Valve's ongoing consultations with devs over the evolution of Greenlight: "According to TomB [Valve] the limited amount of games going through the process now is due to "limited resources." Chet [Valve] stated that their new strategy of greenlighting titles in smaller, yet more often batches should actually increase the amount of titles being greenlit. This appears to be one of Valve's greatest concerns. Alden [Valve] acknowledge that it is important and stated that they have "a bunch of people working on it." However, you have to deduce that increasing the flow within the current system is only a temporary solution."
  • Why Naughty Dog's Rich Lemarchand became a teacher: "We’re very lucky in academia that we have complete freedom of thought and practice in the games that we make," Lemarchand enthuses. "We don’t think about how we’re going to monetize this game. And that means that we can really focus on the artistic aspects of game development. For example, the games that have come out of [this class] have been incredibly varied in terms of the approaches to the player, to controls, the representation, the integration of sound and music, even the question of what a game is. It’s just a big creative free-for-all and I find that tremendously exciting."
  • Boardgames - Dudes On A Map: "Risk (and Diplomacy) set the standard. Map of the world, pieces abstractly representing units of military presence or force, production of said pieces, and an impetus to claim territory either neutral or contested in order to increase resources and the ability to field larger armies and exert more control over the map. These fundamentals are largely the same today in even the most divergent examples of the genre, with a multitude of variations and mutations employed to either reduce or increase detail. Player interaction- both on board and above aboard- tends to be high as the core actions described are those of conflict and contest."
  • Mr Yang does a Let's Play for the first part of Half-Life.
  • Both this piece about the problem of videogames as a medium for expression and this response to it seem deeply problematic to me. I haven't had time to properly formulate a response to it, but it might come as a part of something I am writing in defence of a range of criticisms of games. Soon. Probably.
  • Monaco's Andy Schatz on Kotaku talking about how best RPS readers are: 'While we were beta testing Monaco, we asked players to take a quick survey on the game. We asked them what they liked, what they didn’t like, what confused them. We also asked them to rate the game from 1 to 10. We wanted to find out which beta key giveaways were bringing in our most passionate users. We generally found that the highest proportion of 9 and 10 ratings came from RockPaperShotgun and Reddit users. Our lowest ratings came just after we did a giveaway via Destructoid."
  • Fascinating article on "old school" D&D: "To put it another way, Dungeons & Dragons has become a game preferring combat to role-playing. It favors prefab characters acquiring new skills and powers over a character that the player comes to identify with; a character whose development determines the course of the game. In the wake of this, a small but mighty band of mostly middle-age gamers has tapped into a larger current of nostalgia that (like vinyl records and analog synthesizers) is trying to recapture the interactions with ideas and people that digital media have all but made obsolete."
  • Lovely write-up from our PS2 evening.
  • 2013, the year of Cyberpunk.
  • This piece about ancient words really made my week.

Music this week is the video for Bibio's À tout à l'heure. A bit less dread-blast doomy than I usually go for, but ah well.

If you find a link during the week that you think is interesting, you can mail me (link at the top of the post) or poke me on the Twitters.

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