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Worth Reading: 01/25/13

A short week comes to a close with your usual dose of weird games you ought to play, articles you might want to read, and plenty of other nonsense.

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Wild week, huh?

I didn’t plan for back-to-back features on zombies, that’s the way it worked out. I also don’t usually publish an article separate from Worth Reading on a Friday in an effort to cleanly spread that material out. Thankfully, my ability to outsource a rough draft of my interview transcripts (I always double check ‘em) means I’m able to turn around features much faster than ever before, and this reflects that. I’ve already got a few that should be out the door next week.

“Eight Women, Eight Responses, and One Dead Island Riptide Statue” generated quite the firestorm, which anyone could have predicted that a mile away. When a story generates a forum thread before it’s even gone live, it’s going to provoke a reaction. Hopefully, my commitment to spend 30 minutes responding in the comments was worthwhile, as I’d like to do that more often, even for features that aren’t going to explode. With my ZombiU feature, for example, there was plenty of material that didn’t make it into the piece, and that's a place where I reveal more than what was published.

Many of you suggested some feature ideas last week, too, and I’ve taken notes. Someone proposed a look into the speedrun community. It reminded me how I went down really deep down that rabbit hole an afternoon at the office, and never followed up. There's something really compelling about watching people straight up break games.

All that said, let’s turn down the heat a bit and enjoy the weekend. See you guys next week!

Hey, You Should Play This

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The first time someone told me “hey, pay attention to the games Adult Swim is producing on its website,” it was hard to take them seriously. Then, you start running down the seriously bizarre, interesting, and seriously fun list of games (full list here) they’ve commissioned, and it’s a different story. It's...crazy. Westerado is one of the more ambitious games I’ve seen Adult Swim commission, an overhead, relatively open world 2D western action game. Our expectations for what is possible with web games grows every single day, and Westerado is a game I’ll be returning to over the weekend. Great visuals, fun soundtrack, weird story, and a lovable ability to pull a gun on anyone.

And You Should Read This, Too

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It’s over for THQ as a publisher, and it’s hard to imagine how much of that is Jason Rubin’s fault. It was just too late. The now former THQ president has only given a single interview about his tenure at THQ since the asset sale took place this week, and while the interview is hardly exhaustive, you get the sense Rubin truly does regret what happened with Vigil Games. Darksiders II was not the hit THQ needed to financially stand on its own, and Vigil Games was years away from releasing a new game. The other studios and franchises picked up in the sale had games ready to roll, while purchasing Vigil would be purchasing potential. Here’s hoping folks land on their feet.

The best example of this is Vigil’s title, codenamed Crawler. When the teams got together recently to show each other their titles, Crawler dropped the most jaws. It is a fantastic idea, and truly unique. The fact that nobody bid for the team and title is a travesty. It makes no sense to me. If I weren’t barred from bidding as an insider, I would have been there with my checkbook. I’m sure that’s little consolation to the team, but that’s a fact.
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The media is, too often, laser focused on what’s ahead. There are plenty of reasons for that. One, the audience is also excited about what’s ahead. Two, the relationship between game publishers and media is one that necessitates talking about what’s ahead. Three, there’s more potential in generating traffic for what people are interested in right now. But there’s so much for us to learn about what’s already happened, and I’m really curious to see how Jeremy Parish’s “Anatomy of a Game” project pans out, in which he’s dissecting tons of old games stage-by-stage.

The seventh block along Castlevania III‘s alternate path brings us to the end of Sypha’s route, and the game marks your arrival at Castlevania proper by swapping out the standard regional map for a castle floor plan patterned after the first game’s stage map. In case you had forgotten about the way the journey diverged several levels back, the new map shows hints, partially obscured, of a route down beneath the castle. “You’ve missed something,” it declares. Another neat detail to nudge the player to explore the game in greater depth.

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

  • Rocketgirl just might be the most absurd thing I've seen on Greenlight so far (in a good way).
  • BoneTown just might be the most absurd thing I've seen on Greenlight so far (in a bad way).
  • And Project Temporality just looks cool.

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+