In an ideal world, I’d spend more time on Thursdays to prepare Worth Reading, since we’re starting this Unprofessional Fridays feature for premium members. The idea of Worth Reading going up earlier got in my head when Double Fine’s Brad Muir stopped by the office a few months back, and pointed out how he would often by in the midst of his Friday evening activities by the time it went live, and then managed to forget it by the time Saturday rolled around.
Just a brief update on something mentioned a few weeks back: I’ve found a way to speed up my transcription process with an outside service, which means more written features should be appearing on the site. It’s pretty easy for me to connect with a designer on Skype for 30 minutes, it’s finding four or five hours to write up our conversation that gets in the way of everything. Knowing that, if there are some feature ideas you’d like me to tackle, feel free to suggest away.
Getting these transcriptions back reminded me of an aspect of my job that’s really bothersome, too. A feature I’m running next week will be based on an email interview with a prominent developer, a game from last year I really loved. I didn’t want to conduct the interview over email, but the publisher insisted, despite my repeated requests for the opposite. It’s a foreign studio, so there are language resource reasons why the publisher was so insistent. The reason I almost never agree to email interviews has less to do with being worried a publisher will secretly edit anything out and more to do with my experience of knowing people say less interesting things inside a written format.
I still think I can salvage an interesting feature from the interview, email or not, but I was tempted to trash the thing outright. It wouldn’t be the first time, and I doubt it’ll end up being the last, either.
Hey, You Should Play This
- Insult Swordfighting (Browser, Free) by Karza Games/LucasArts -- www.int33h.com/test/mi/
LucasArts’ inability to figure itself out the last few years has been an absolute tragedy. When the company started focusing on retooling its classics with updated visuals, it seemed like it LucasArts was on the right path. (Guess we’ll never get that updated TIE Fighter game, huh?) The update for The Secret of Monkey Island was terrific, and marked the first time I’d played it. It holds up super well! A programmer at Karza Games used the source code for the game and put the insult swordfighting sections from the game online, which means you can play them in your browser.
And You Should Read This, Too
It’s healthy to examine why you like the things you like, and the underlying reasons behind that attraction. If you play video games on a regular basis, it’s impossible to avoid violence. There’s no shame in asking, then, what drives us to enjoy such violence. With games, it’s a little different. There are mechanics represented by violence that can be enjoyable for all sorts of reasons that have nothing to do with the violence depicted on the screen. You can extract joy from being skillful at the task in front of you, and that just so happens to involve blowing up people a bunch.
Wait, pinball machines were banned from New York until 1976? Color me surprised at that revelation, just one of many that came while reading through this wonderful account of the arcade scene’s emergence and eventual decline in the modern era. Laura June has culled together an an exhaustive account of the arcade at its height, and concludes with a look at today’s heroes working to preserve machines that are moving into the rear-view mirror.
If You Click It, It Will Play
Kickstarter Has Promise, And Hopefully Developers Don't Screw It Up
- Yet another prominent developer turning to Kickstarter to funds. This time, it's Gas Powered Games.
- Radio: The Universe has got one hell of a visual style to punch up its gameplay.
- GameTron 1000 ain't gonna make it, but the idea of a game that makes other games is neat.
Yeah, Greenlight Still Has Issues, But Some Games Look Pretty Cool
- Remember that super weird trailer for Potatoman Seeks the Troof? The game's on Greenlight.
- Derrick the Deathfin was more or less ignored on PSN, but maybe it'll find an audience on the PC.
- Brad keeps talking about Kingdom Rush on iOS, but it's also being upgraded for computers.
Patrick's Watching TED Talks As Part of a New Years Resolution, So Here You Go
Oh, And This Other Stuff
- I don't normally link to next-gen rumors, but Digital Foundry is about as solid as it comes.
- It's early days for eSports, and early days for the relationship between journalism and eSports.
- Some indie developers are working on an anti-bullying project, and telling their stories.
- An essay about what it means for parents to use their children to help sell things, including games.
- An examination of what it means for a game to be "fun."
- Th challenges faced by women as they try to enter the male-dominated market of game development.
- This video wouldn't embed, but it's a terrific postmortem on Ultima Online.
- The developer of Dyad writes about how much he loves the source code for Doom 3.
- Who knew it was so hard to make a door?
- Kotaku takes a look at the available research potentially linking video games and real-life violence.
- Six games every libertarian should play.
- Someone tried to imagine what Dishonored would be like as a text adventure.
- A conversation with the developer of Cart Life, which we took a look at on the site this week.
- Have a look at the "deleted scenes" from Deus Ex.