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Worth Reading: 02/01/13

Things are just all over the place this week. Weird games, serious articles, YouTube confessionals, and plenty more.

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This was a topic I planned to bring up on the next Bombcast, but I’ll toss it your way ahead of time.

I’m playing Fire Emblem: Awakening, right? It’s a good kind of stressful, and a satisfying step forward into my understanding of strategy games, based on my experience with XCOM. Everyone told me to play the game with permadeath switched on, despite the introduction of a casual mode, where soldiers just “faint” and come back after the battle is over. Fire Emblem had permadeath before permadeath was cool, or became a hardcore player’s badge of honor. Against my natural tendencies, I turned it on.

So far, I’ve only “lost” one of my soldiers. I should have lost a bunch more, but Fire Emblem doesn’t overwrite your save each turn, so you can turn off the machine, reload a save, and pretend nothing happened. I’ve done that a few times, and probably will do that a few more times before my time with the game is over. Thing is, am I playing it wrong? Is restarting a chapter undermining the whole point of embracing the concept of permadeath? To some extent, I’m forgiving myself for just coming to grips with the game’s mechanics, but at some point soon, I’m only doing it because I can’t grapple with failure.

It feels wrong, so it probably is. Soon, I’ll just have to give up on the concept of saving everyone, and if that means I’m left with a weak group of soldiers and can’t finish the game...so be it?

Hey, You Should Play This

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Do you want to have a similar experience to last week's Unprofessional Friday, where Vinny and Ryan (tried to) pilot a real-life aircraft? How about with a fraction of the effort? Crashed Landing has you covered. Players are tasked with piloting a lander, and doing so with control over four different thrusters. It’s much, much harder than one would imagine, which is why there’s an “autopilot” switch (P) that engages all four at once, making navigation manageable. I’m wouldn’t go so far as to describe it as easy, since the later stages require some seriously squirrely manipulation to avoid destruction. I cannot even imagine what it would be like to try and pull it off with full control. Good luck?

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Another one in the pile of...well, just play it. Did you like Barkley Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden? Okay, then.

And You Should Read This, Too

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Video games are a convenient scapegoat for the violence in media debate because video games do a pretty terrific job at glorifying violence. Not all of us may come to these video games because of the violence, but it’s there, and what does our obsession with violence say about the medium, or at least its perception? Anyway, the always excellent Simon Parkin has filed this disturbingly enlightening report about the relationship between gun-focused video games, the money companies pay for the rights to include specific guns, and the reason gun manufacturers are more than happy to work with publishers to make this happen. That should disturb us. It disturbs me.

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We have nearly closed the book on THQ as the company, but there are more stories to be told about what happened and why. MCV managed to get in touch with many of the companies who picked up the pieces from the now-defunct THQ, and why each piece appealed to them. There are a few choices quotes from former president Jason Rubin, who (rightly) attributes THQ’s demise to terrible decisions made prior to his arrival. There is only so much you can do to save a shambling corpse of a game publisher, and THQ was exactly that when Rubin showed up. (Audible sigh.)

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

This Kotaku Quote From Splinter Cell: Blacklight's Creative Director Bums Me Out

Our lead writer on Blacklist is Richard Dansky. When I called him, I said, 'Hey Richard, we're making Splinter Cell six, do you want to write it for us? And his first question was, 'Do I need to come up with a story that's gonna require Sam to take out 800 guys?' And I paused for a second and I said… 'This is sad, Richard, but I think so. We can talk about it, but I think at the end of the day… we want it to be more and more "ghost," [to have non-lethal options], but yeah, at the end of the day, it's just Sam Fisher and bad guys and maps, right?'

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+