The Sunday Papers
Words for reading
Sundays are for scrubbing the oven because you're moving out and that thing is filthy. At the next place, you promise yourself, you'll clean it more regularly while living there so you don't end up in this position for a fifth time. Ack! Let's put it off by reading some fine writing about videogames.
- Beware the spoilers in this Alien: Isolation interview with writers Will Porter and Dion Lay, but if you've played it and you're interested in how it was written and how its world was developed, there's good stuff inside.
- Joystiq and Massively have closed down, prompting remembrances and round-up posts and more. Here's Massively and here's a good place to start forJoystiq.
- Vlambeer's Rami Ismail writes on Polygon about the state of the industry. It gets better once it moves past the marketplace stuff:
- This is a couple of weeks old now, but hey, I was away. Also it has pictures of Pip with a stocking on her head, I think? It's Brendan reviewing Out of Dodge over at SUSD:
- I love this interview with Dead End Thrills' (and friend of RPS) Duncan Harris over on Kill Screen, because Duncan is very matter of fact about the nature of what he does.
- Double Fine: now better at making videos than they are at making games? Discuss. Or just watch the lengthy playthrough of Doom with John Romero. I started here; you might want to start at the beginning, I don't know.
- This is interesting, on the curation and maintenance of online communities and on the ways in which they tend to fail. Personally I don't think any website should have more registered users than Dunbar's number.
- Simon Parkin is on strong form at Eurogamer in his Sunless Sea review.
- This Marc Maron podcast with Paul Thomas Anderson is good.
- Cara's Embed With… series has come to an end, at least until it's published in book format. The final entry, in Australia, is worth a read.
In 1999 I spent a short while living in North Carolina, which is where – standing six deep in a chaotic McDonalds queue – I saw a sign that read ‘Why not ask about our orange drink dispenser?’.
It stuck with me because it was nonsense on so many levels, not least the fact that the term ‘orange drink’ was so brilliantly vague. But why would I care? Why would the people about to sell me a burger care? Who thought that question should even be prompted in me? The answer: most likely a dull meeting in a corporate boardroom far, far away (light years, one might say) from the ground-level consumer.
We don’t talk about that. We want to — no, need to — let people to know what game development is like, show them what game development is like – but we’re only willing to do it in the proudest possible way — we want to be Starbuck, not SpaceX. Coffee drinkers want to know what beans their coffee is made out of, whether it was prepared in an environmentally responsible manner and that the barista is a professional with a decade-long passion for the heavenly fumes of a perfectly prepared Grande Latte.
Out of Dodge is a game that understands one of the golden rules of the criminal genre: a botched heist is a good heist. As four outlaws on the run from a job that went terribly wrong, there is room here for hi-jinks, comedy, seriousness and treachery. It is a short, one-shot RPG from Jason Morningstar of Fiasco fame and it has a dastardly fun set up: you arrange four seats in the shape of a car (or use an actual real-life moving car), get in and argue about what went wrong while you speed away from the crime scene with a bag of loot much lighter than you expected.
There's something about games, this all-consuming hobby, that makes gamers want it to be a surrogate for all the things they don't have to time to learn, excel in or really enjoy. That's why you see games compared to books, movies, fine art, sports, photography... There's this desperate search for validation that's really just games trespassing on other artforms, as if to say, “Don't worry that you never read or flunked your art degree, you can be anything if you just keep playing games.” That's a gross generalization, obviously, but it's the source of all the resentment when some self-professed “game photographer” pretends they're Ansel Adams.
What I’ve seen again and again is that a hardcore knot of the community become hyperactive on the board, and this begins to inhibit new users from posting. A classic example, from the Points Of View boards, would be that someone would post saying they think Bruno was being a bit harsh on Strictly with his judging. A regular would immediately reply along the lines of “yes we’ve done this topic to death, there’s a thread from the last series here.” It’s not a welcome. It’s an intimidating conversation killer.
Okay, says Sunless Sea, more gravely now. When the money runs out and you're 50 miles from home and the food is gone and disease is everywhere and your engines finally sputter out, in the darkness as you hear the monsters rounding, will you cook and eat your first mate? If you don't, your girl back home may never know whether her heart was already broken before it was broken.
Originally from Melbourne, Christy moved to Brisbane for a Digital Writing Residency and stayed. She is now a Senior Lecturer in Games at the SAE Institute Australia. She’s probably the best all-rounder I’ve met, in terms of the fact that Christy can turn her hand to virtually anything. She was primarily interested in comedy and theatre in the beginning, and she’s really a writer-designer-director. She has worked on award-winning pervasive games, film, digital and theatre projects.
I was away and had no access to music! Erm, um, Girl Talk released a free EP a few weeks ago and it's pretty good.