Sundays are for being on holiday before Christmas! So just a quick one this week.
As the Warhammer Age Of Reckoning MMO closes down, former developer Josh Drescher writes about how he believes WAR is still everywhere, as so many of the game's team have gone on to work on other leading MMOs, and how many other MMOs have picked up ideas from Warhammer. "If you look around the industry today at pretty much any major MMO being developed in the Western market, you will find WAR there. Sometimes, it will be in the games themselves where concepts and ideas that first showed up in WAR have been “gently borrowed”. Mostly, however, it’s in the people making those games. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a major MMORPG team whose leadership doesn’t feature someone who cut their teeth as a developer on WAR."
CS Story is a completely daft text adventure, in which you try to squeeze in a game of Counter Strike: Global Offensive before some non-gaming friends come over. In order to play, you're going to have to enter the mindset of someone who cares rather a lot about CS:GO. For instance, it didn't take kindly to my opting to uninstall it right away. "Today is a terrible day. You've deleted Counter-Strike: Global Offensive from your computer. You are an idiot. If it wasn't for your extremely fast internet connection, you'd be devastated."
Assuming you've not already used up your Boston Globe online access quota, this story about Continue?9876543210 talks about how the game made author Jesse Singal reflect on his own fears of death. "What does it mean for a video-game character to be faced with nothingness? How should it, and we, respond to this knowledge? But the game is more than just a meditation on mortality. Playing it and corresponding with Oda via e-mail revealed that it also offers a fascinating statement on the act of playing — and making — a meaningful game." As an aside, I find it rather sad that this article is filed under "Television" by the paper, as it has no designated space for games.
The splendid Outside Xbox team have put together a piece on their worst games of 2013. And they rightly pitch this as those games that were so bad they couldn't stop playing. "These are the Xbox abominations that somehow kept us playing - if not until the closing credits, then until we'd recovered from our astonishment. As with a car wreck, you just can't look away, and that makes you a terrible person."
As someone who's lived with anxiety disorder for many years, this article by Rhodri Marsden on Short List really struck home. It is precisely my experience, up to and excluding meditation, which I would find far too inward-looking to be even vaguely helpful. "If your girlfriend is half an hour late arriving at a party, the correct procedure is to make a mental note, carry on enjoying your evening and think about calling her in 20 minutes to check she’s OK. But this common-sense approach was not for me. Having failed to reach her on the phone, I sat sobbing with friends as I assumed she was dead. Mown down in cold blood by a juggernaut, she didn’t deserve to die so young."
And for those without anxiety, this piece on the difference between empathy and sympathy is fantastic.
Finally, some music. And in this Christmas week it can only be this.