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Worth Reading: 01/11/13

If you can't slam with the best, then jam with the rest.

Some of my favorite times of the year are when games finally slow down. There used to be a time when games industry had a lengthy period of silence after the holiday rush, but video games eventually figured out what Hollywood has already been doing for a long time, and discovered ways to make money all year round. Games will soon pick up again, but for a few weeks, we have relative tranquility.

Such breaks serve a few different functions.

For one, it gives me a chance to properly reflect on the games I played in the year before, and evaluate whether it was time well spent. I often (yearly) wonder whether spending hours and hours making sure I've played everything "important" serves a purpose, and possibly just detracts from my ability to digest, enjoy, and truly understand what I play. In fact, that has to be a factor, but with our game of the year discussions, it always a necessary part of the job.

Secondly, there's an opportunity to play stuff I just wouldn't have time for otherwise. Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden came out five years ago, and there is no serious reason to be playing it now, except to exercise my guilt over not having played the canonical sequel to Space Jam. I mean, I've sent a request to interview those guys because the sequel's actively in development, but still, it's mostly an indulgence. It feels like we're kindred spirits.

And finally, I enjoy taking a break from video games. Read books, watch movies, catch up on TV shows. Spending some time with other media is a good practice, and helps provide perspective on your medium of choice. For you, me, and anyone else on this website, that's video games, but the rest of entertainment has much to teach us.

Hey, You Should Play This

I don't have a good reason for having written off Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden years ago. I feel bad about it. I feel dirty about it. Having grown up in Chicago during the Michael Jordan era, knowing the biggest players in 90s-era basketball wasn't something you knew because you were interested in basketball, it was sheer cultural osmosis. You could not avoid Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Charles Barkley, Vince Carter, and others. Naturally, when Space Jam came out, it was a huge fucking deal, and I'm not ashamed to say I actually really love that movie. It's so stupid, and that Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden treats its events as canon in our reality is too much and exactly enough.

Just trust me on this one. Gorogoa is one of 2012's IndieCade winners, and for good reason.

And You Should Read This, Too

More than anything, I've been continually impressed by how Polygon has managed its lengthy feature output. If I had access to a giant pile of money to throw at reporters who know how to find interesting stories, this is exactly what I would do with it. Discovering the not-that-interesting-but-totally-interesting history behind Total Carnage's final screen fills in a meaningful historical gap. Besides being a watchdog for consumers, this is what gaming reporters should be doing more of, and it's what I want to do more of, too. I tip my hat to you, Matt Leone, Russ Pitts, and Polygon.

"That's the real story that would piss people off," Turmell says. "Because a lot of people would collect those keys, and then still fail, and go back and play it again, and go back and play it again. The standard [Williams] response was that you were too good at the game, and that you were beating the levels that had keys too quickly, and you didn't give a chance to the computer to loot drop enough keys for you to collect. So then people were trying to milk different levels. It was a bit of a mess."

It's been interesting to watch the rise of personalities from YouTube and other non-traditional sources. There's still a way to climb the ladder the traditional way, but going forward, if you aren't good on camera, you're going to have something really special to offer the world with your written words. As these personalities grow in importance and relevance, it's increasingly become possible to make money as one, too. Such roads are full of exploitation and danger, and if you're thinking about heading down it, this examination of Machinima's practices is worthwhile.

But a recent string of high-profile disputes is prompting comparisons between YouTube networks and the exploitative Hollywood studios of the 1930s and '40s: Both convinced young and naive talent with little leverage to sign contracts that leave them at a disadvantage. For networks, that means contracts that bind creators to them indefinitely, demand rights to their content in perpetuity and take large ownership stakes in any resulting businesses.

Internet and intellectual-property lawyers say that a rash of public disputes between networks and their talent suggests a serious problem in the emerging industry. Although two of the largest networks, Machinima and Maker Studios — both based in L.A., both darlings of venture capitalists — have been accused of some of the worst practices, investors remain undeterred.

If You Click It, It Will Play

Kickstarter Has Promise, And Hopefully Developers Don't Screw It Up

Yeah, Greenlight Still Has Issues, But Some Games Look Pretty Cool

  • Dunno if Chasm will be any good, but god damn does the animation in this game look great.
  • Constant C has a gravity-manipulating gimmick that might not be more than just a gimmick.
  • I Get This Call Every Day is certainly...unconventional.

Not Everyone's a Fan of VP Joe Biden Meeting With Industry Leaders

Patrick's Watching TED Talks As Part of a New Years Resolution, So Here You Go

Oh, And This Other Stuff

Patrick Klepek on Google+
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Posted by patrickklepek

Some of my favorite times of the year are when games finally slow down. There used to be a time when games industry had a lengthy period of silence after the holiday rush, but video games eventually figured out what Hollywood has already been doing for a long time, and discovered ways to make money all year round. Games will soon pick up again, but for a few weeks, we have relative tranquility.

Such breaks serve a few different functions.

For one, it gives me a chance to properly reflect on the games I played in the year before, and evaluate whether it was time well spent. I often (yearly) wonder whether spending hours and hours making sure I've played everything "important" serves a purpose, and possibly just detracts from my ability to digest, enjoy, and truly understand what I play. In fact, that has to be a factor, but with our game of the year discussions, it always a necessary part of the job.

Secondly, there's an opportunity to play stuff I just wouldn't have time for otherwise. Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden came out five years ago, and there is no serious reason to be playing it now, except to exercise my guilt over not having played the canonical sequel to Space Jam. I mean, I've sent a request to interview those guys because the sequel's actively in development, but still, it's mostly an indulgence. It feels like we're kindred spirits.

And finally, I enjoy taking a break from video games. Read books, watch movies, catch up on TV shows. Spending some time with other media is a good practice, and helps provide perspective on your medium of choice. For you, me, and anyone else on this website, that's video games, but the rest of entertainment has much to teach us.

Hey, You Should Play This

I don't have a good reason for having written off Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden years ago. I feel bad about it. I feel dirty about it. Having grown up in Chicago during the Michael Jordan era, knowing the biggest players in 90s-era basketball wasn't something you knew because you were interested in basketball, it was sheer cultural osmosis. You could not avoid Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Charles Barkley, Vince Carter, and others. Naturally, when Space Jam came out, it was a huge fucking deal, and I'm not ashamed to say I actually really love that movie. It's so stupid, and that Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden treats its events as canon in our reality is too much and exactly enough.

Just trust me on this one. Gorogoa is one of 2012's IndieCade winners, and for good reason.

And You Should Read This, Too

More than anything, I've been continually impressed by how Polygon has managed its lengthy feature output. If I had access to a giant pile of money to throw at reporters who know how to find interesting stories, this is exactly what I would do with it. Discovering the not-that-interesting-but-totally-interesting history behind Total Carnage's final screen fills in a meaningful historical gap. Besides being a watchdog for consumers, this is what gaming reporters should be doing more of, and it's what I want to do more of, too. I tip my hat to you, Matt Leone, Russ Pitts, and Polygon.

"That's the real story that would piss people off," Turmell says. "Because a lot of people would collect those keys, and then still fail, and go back and play it again, and go back and play it again. The standard [Williams] response was that you were too good at the game, and that you were beating the levels that had keys too quickly, and you didn't give a chance to the computer to loot drop enough keys for you to collect. So then people were trying to milk different levels. It was a bit of a mess."

It's been interesting to watch the rise of personalities from YouTube and other non-traditional sources. There's still a way to climb the ladder the traditional way, but going forward, if you aren't good on camera, you're going to have something really special to offer the world with your written words. As these personalities grow in importance and relevance, it's increasingly become possible to make money as one, too. Such roads are full of exploitation and danger, and if you're thinking about heading down it, this examination of Machinima's practices is worthwhile.

But a recent string of high-profile disputes is prompting comparisons between YouTube networks and the exploitative Hollywood studios of the 1930s and '40s: Both convinced young and naive talent with little leverage to sign contracts that leave them at a disadvantage. For networks, that means contracts that bind creators to them indefinitely, demand rights to their content in perpetuity and take large ownership stakes in any resulting businesses.

Internet and intellectual-property lawyers say that a rash of public disputes between networks and their talent suggests a serious problem in the emerging industry. Although two of the largest networks, Machinima and Maker Studios — both based in L.A., both darlings of venture capitalists — have been accused of some of the worst practices, investors remain undeterred.

If You Click It, It Will Play

Kickstarter Has Promise, And Hopefully Developers Don't Screw It Up

Yeah, Greenlight Still Has Issues, But Some Games Look Pretty Cool

  • Dunno if Chasm will be any good, but god damn does the animation in this game look great.
  • Constant C has a gravity-manipulating gimmick that might not be more than just a gimmick.
  • I Get This Call Every Day is certainly...unconventional.

Not Everyone's a Fan of VP Joe Biden Meeting With Industry Leaders

Patrick's Watching TED Talks As Part of a New Years Resolution, So Here You Go

Oh, And This Other Stuff

Staff
Posted by GrizzlyCrayon

sweet

Posted by MyNameisTingles

Pretty great stuff!

Posted by Brandino

Amazing read.

Posted by Fobwashed

I love strange and obscure behind the scenes and development related articles. Thanks for another fine list =D

Posted by Shaanyboi

The Anamanaguchi video made me think of this...

Posted by rubzo

Shut up and Jam reminds me of my misspent youth with RPG Maker. I remember some real gems being made with the tool, perhaps I should try and root them out...

Posted by Zvarri

I've been mentioned on tele!

Posted by Branthog

I'm a proud early backer of Barkley's Jam #2. Back when it looked like the game was never going to meet its goal. I can't wait.

Posted by EarlessShrimp

Don't forget sewer goblet folks!

Posted by PerfidiousSinn
Posted by Video_Game_King

The strange thing about that Winnie the Pooh game is I'm pretty sure there's an English version available, so why are people flocking to the Japanese version? Is it a simple case of ignorance (IE they don't know there's an English version) or is there something else?

Posted by Robaota

@rubzo said:

Shut up and Jam reminds me of my misspent youth with RPG Maker. I remember some real gems being made with the tool, perhaps I should try and root them out...

Dude YES! Those were some great times. I do remember one that I found that was only partially finished but had custom assets made for the whole thing, inluding music and that. It was based in a dirty-industrial setting, and I remember being very impressed that it also seemed to involve a ton of coding too as it's battle system was left vs right ala Final Fantasy not the default Dragon Quest view.

If someone finds that for me, I will provide a great deal of gratitude and throw a few superlatives your way as well. Promise.

Posted by RandyF

Thank you for rewording the Kickstarter portion. I really hated the way it was worded before. It's much better now.

Although now you've changed the wording of the Greenlight similarly to the way the Kickstarter one used to be. It's not as bad, though. Maybe something along the lines of "These Games on Greenlight Look Cool."

The way you disapprove of a certain service but then direct people to that service really rubs me the wrong way. We're not going to blame you if Kickstarter or Greenlight turn out bad, so you don't need to cover your tracks like that.

Posted by Phoenix87

JJ Abrams reminds me of a young George Costanza with hair.

Posted by Dixavd

Another fantastic choice for a TED video btw Patrick (hope you keep finding/being sent the best those talks have to offer).

Edited by eroticfishcake

Good on you for including Geop's LP of Dark Souls. It's definitely a great LP, especially if you're thinking of getting into DaS.

Also I just remembered that you look a lot like my brother-in-law if you had short hair Patrick and now I can't look at you in the eye anymore.

Posted by EvilNiGHTS

Oh man, my birthday is on the 1st of November and I live outside the US so I got excited when I saw the title of this article.

Posted by Trogd0r2

Man J.J. Abrams reminds me a lot of David Jaffe in the way he talks.

Posted by Animasta

@RandyF: I think you're overthinking this dude.

good stuff tricky

Posted by Ben_H

One of my favourite Youtube trends started because of that Barkley game theme track.  I know  100s of these things but these 3 are among my favourites.
       

  
     
    
  
Posted by Deusoma

A gay dating sim is a great idea, but the awful pun title destroys any inclination I had to donate money to it. :P

Posted by Hailinel

Tim Rogers isn't polarizing. He's just a terrible writer with an inflated ego.

Online
Posted by cannedstingray

holy shit that dark souls lets play. Dude on the controls with the erratic camera was OUT OF HAND!! Made me wanna barf

Edited by Colourful_Hippie

A someone who irrationally loved Space Jam, I need to hurry the fuck up and play Jam: Gaiden

Posted by Phatmac

@PerfidiousSinn said:

Edited by mrfluke

,,,,,videogames

Posted by Asger

Man... I thought Gorogoa was out...

Posted by LordKorax

You left out that ever-important apostrophe. It's "Tales of Game's."

Edited by DevourerOfTime

This thread is now a slam jam thread.

Edited by SagaciousJones

Patrick mentioned that a lot of the sprites are ripped from other games (NBA Jam, MJ's Moonwalker). What he hasn't mentioned is that many of the game's ideas and sprites are borrowed from one SNES game in particular: Michael Jordon: Chaos in the Windy City.

Patrick says he loves how Shut Up and Jam Gaiden is a big ironic love letter to mid 90s basketball, but Chaos in the Windy City is a 100% straight-faced actual video game product from the era. This is a real game where Michael Jordan fights paparazzi with Ice Basketballs on the top of the 'L'.

If you're gonna fall down the Barkley hole, check this one out too. I'm pretty sure it's also canon to the plot of CBSUaJ:G.

Posted by Seroth

Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden is, legit, one of the best Japanese-style RPGs I've played.

Posted by MetalGearSunny

Yeah, that Total Carnage article was pretty cool. I've only recently started reading Polygon, and I have been very impressed.

Posted by MooseyMcMan

Several years ago I came across a screen shot from Barkley Gaiden of the fight against Ghost Dad. I knew then and there that it was a game that I had to play, but that I wasn't ready.

I think I may be ready now. Maybe.

Moderator
Posted by SagaciousJones

Also, a lot of people who play Shut Up and Jam Gaiden are going to miss the joke that comes from this song:

It's pretty much the worst boss theme ever featured in a JRPG and it's played in almost every single boss fight of Blue Dragon. If you weren't playing early 360 JRPGs, you've probably never heard of it. It also happens to be a collaboration between Nobuo Uematsu and Ian Gillan, the singer from Deep Purple, which makes the joke so much better in light of the Pump save point rants.

Edited by Fattony12000

Why have you got an image prominently featuring James Rolfe (aka the Angry Video Game Nerd) when's he's not even mentioned on the article? And in reality, is probably the furthest thing away from a YouTube celebrity (meaning that you have hundreds of thousands of subscribers and millions upon millions of views, for producing utter shit) that you could ever hope to find.

His two YouTube accounts were certainly taken down a few days back, sure, but he uses YouTube merely as a video delivery platform, like you guys!

So, I just went and double checked, and it appears that these channels still yet live!

http://www.youtube.com/user/JamesNintendoNerd

http://www.youtube.com/user/Cinemassacre

Posted by rubzo

@Robaota: it wasn't Kindred Saga was it? http://clanhot.org/forums/showthread.php?tid=184

Posted by heavymetalwaffle

I'm really glad you put that beard cage video in this article. Gets me every time.

Posted by cannedstingray

Just played through that game Gorogoa. took bout ten mins or so. and its friggin fantastic. Definitely worth it. Recommend to everybody

Posted by granderojo

I replayed Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden after hearing Patrick go crazy about it on the bombcast. Played it originally when it came out, fucking great game. I don't know for sure but I really think that Costume Quest was inspired by it, especially when you go back and play the prototype.

Posted by radioactivez0r

I'm not sure I would assign "talent" to Youtube personalities. They are people that for some reason others find eminently watchable.

Edited by RecSpec

I was wondering where that damn Winnie the Pooh baseball meme came from. 
 
@DevourerOfTime: I'm game.  
 
  

Posted by tbecker38

Vince Carter in that group? Really? We're the same age, and, sweet Jesus, no. In every possible way, no.

Posted by Darkstorn

I just read through a bunch of the comments on the Biden-ESA opinion pieces (I'm a masochist for the record...)

I come out strongly agreeing with Casey Lynch of IGN, we absolutely need video game industry reps to speak with Biden. The NRA strongly attacked violent video games after the Newtown massacre, and it's a no-brainer that they're going to be at the discussion table. Thus, if the NRA, mental health professionals, the Hollywood lobby, and policy analysts are going to be discussing a significant policy change, then we (as game enthusiasts) need to be there too.

There's really no reason not to get our voices out there, and Kris Graft and Ian Bogost are letting their political beliefs (i.e. anti-government sentiment) get in the way of the objectivity of this situation. I could totally see the NRA blaming games and movies for the recent spate of mass shootings, and if we haven't even spoken with our policymakers in light of recent events then we're sabotaging our beloved medium.

Edited by mdnthrvst

>gay dating sim

Okay awesome

>Kickstarter!

Uhh...

>Here's this astoundingly generic artwork oh and by the way one of them looks like a chiiiick

What?

>"The story is a comedy with a touch of romance, lots of drama, and laced with erotic situations."

If this is the caliber of grammar we're working with, no thank you.

Katawa Shoujo was successful for a reason. It was a community of amateurs, and any hopeful contributor's poorly-written, mediocre content got ripped apart by the collective until it it became good, and if it never became good, it didn't see the light of day. Kickstarter just doesn't engender the same sort of humility. Hopefully these guys'll get their shit together, but it seems doubtful. What are their qualifications for writing fiction - if not gay romance, then anything at all?

The only other Western VN that's enjoyed any degree of popularity - Analogue: A Hate Story - came from the proven creator of the already-fantastic Digital: A Love Story, and she didn't beg for money before she put out.

Maybe I'm reading into it too much, but you just don't seek investment/donations/whatever it is for pure fiction with a description like that.

Posted by l3reak

Wow, that Pooh game. I seriously thought it was a joke game after my first round, and was a bit surprised when I actually hit a ball. Hang in there, it really is possible! Lumpy is a motherfucker, though. Watch the ball's shadow instead of the ball itself, that helps significantly.

Posted by beard_of_zeus

@SagaciousJones: Oh god, you just shored up terrible memories with that Blue Dragon track. Holy fuck, I had forgotten had bad that was. What is the joke in Shut Up and Jam related to this?

Thanks again for the Worth Reading, Patrick. I read that Total Carnage article earlier in the week and it was pretty interesting. I am as impressed as you are with Polygon's long-form articles.

The 999/VLR writer article was interesting, I'm all for learning as much about those games as possible :D Uchikoshi's thoughts about trying to balance forced explanations of plot points vs. just seeding the game with interesting concepts and letting the player's imagination run wild are quite poignant. He is totally right that forcing things can make them seem even more implausible and cause the story to be uninteresting.

That Anamanaguchi video is weird as fuck, but I love it. And I think I'm gonna try that Shut Up and Jam game. From what I've seen, it reminds me of the Penny Arcade 3 game (which I quite enjoyed), but wackier. That might be something you might enjoy, , if you want a short silly jRPG. I think it took me about 8-10 hours to finish the PA game.

Random thoughts over!

Posted by beard_of_zeus

All this bball talk makes me want to watch this commercial a bunch:

Edited by Mykander

Why would anyone lack confidence that a small android device with a HDMI port could exist? They already do exist, you can find at least 2 on Amazon right now. The only thing different about GameStick is that they're building a controller to go with it, and Ouya is building their own store (which is something to lack confidence in) and a controller.

Posted by Reisz

So glad to see a shout out to Chasm, I just voted that up last night, that one hits aaaaaalll the right buttons for me. Thanks as always Patrick.

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