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The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for waking up and finding a Jim in my front room. And now, while he makes his way the long, painfully hungover road to Bath, I turn to writing a short, painfully hungover Sunday Papers. That being, a weekly round-up of interesting games-related material that came to my attention in the last week presented in a list form, without a pop-song which came to mind first thing in the morning and has proved oddly soothing.

  • Occasionally you hear about something which is so splendid, my only urge is to rip it off. Sincerest form of flattery and all that. Anyway - Ben Abraham started playing Far Cry 2, with one subtle change. If he dies, he's dead and has to delete the save game in the Iron Man style. Clearly, this changes the way the game plays out, and the stories which result and using it as a source of writing rather than just increasing player difficulty strikes me as somewhat fun. Go read here. It's inspired others to follow. Go here or here. When game over means game over, everything changes. What games do you think would make a good experiment for this kinda thing? STALKER struck me as possibly fruitful...
  • IncGamers interview have a great interview with Sean Cooper about his time at Bullfrog, specifically about the ever-awesome Syndicate. Strong stuff. Also worth remembering what Mr Cooper is up now in the field of webgames. Also, him teasing of doing something Syndicate-like as a webgame is just cruel.
  • Larrington pointed me in the direction of this - a Gamasutra Op-Ed from Brandon Sheffield urging developers to actually play some games occasionally. It's one of the things about the industry which is always notable - Jim often talks about how no high-position MMO designer he's ever met has actually played Eve to any degree. When asked, they mention someone on the team has - but it's not surprise that the ideas don't cross over when the people calling the shots simply don't know about them in anything but the most abstract terms.
  • Taking a break from his always entertaining mini-essays on diverse topics, Tei pointed out this little piece on the Conversion rates of Immortal Defence in a comment thread. That being, the percentage of people who play the demo who actually buy the game. For people thinking about the P-word, there's some fascinating stuff. As the developer says, he's no way of knowing whether the drop in conversion rate happening the same time the first actual torrent of the game appears is coincidence or something else. But it's worth thinking about.
  • Sean Sands over at the Escapist on why he's not a journalist and why that's actually fucking awesome.
  • Greg Costikyan at Play This Thing writes about Grey Ranks, the narrativist pen-and-paper RPG where you play teenage members of the Polish resistance during the doomed 1944 Warsaw Uprising. I actually went and bought it.
  • Away from games, into the world of games strictly, but I think somewhat relevant to any net-game, Danah Boyd presents the notes on a speech about the politics of class in social networks, specifically looking at which sort of students go to MySpace and which go to Facebook, and what that actually means. Great piece, in such it verbalises things which we're already aware of, but probably not consciously.
  • So, I roll over, force my disobedient eyes to open and see the copy of Ennis/Snejbjerg's Dear Billy which I'd bought yesterday sitting on the side. In my usual highly impressionable state, I find myself singing PJ Harvey's wonderful C'Mon Billy. Going down to make tea for Jim and I, I need to hear her actually sing it, so lob on the album it's from, To Bring You My Love (Spotify link), which is the perfect level for the hangover - a hangover so sharp that even touching the Lady's copy of the first Mars Volta album makes me physically wince, due to me visualising what it actually sounds like. Anyway, Peej is great, and the low-rolling gait of Meet Ze Monsta reminds me of an awesome BBC performance from back in the day. And now I'm going to sit here and play Blood Bowl until I feel human.


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