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Worth Reading: 02/24/2012

Yo, weekend! Here's more games you should play, more stories you should read, and maybe even free stuff. Also, there's a crackling fire. I'm not kidding.

If you don't own an iOS device, at least listen to Sword & Sworcery's terrific soundtrack.

Hey, fans of reading and playing. Why not load up Jim Guthrie’s soundtrack to Sword & Sworcery EP: Superbrothers on Spotify, pour yourself a beer, and cuddle close to the virtual 8-bit fire?

Relax.

This week’s installment of Worth Reading in here, and by doing it two weeks in a row, I guess I’m committed. There was a glitch last week, which meant the story never showed up in the database proper. If you missed out on Worth Reading’s debut, click over here.

Worth Reading is for the weekend. Work is over, and there’s free time ahead. Worth Reading is whatever makes sense at the end of the week, be it highlighting some games that didn’t make sense for the other ways Giant Bomb covers games, news you should be aware of, and essays that need talking about.

And potentially other stuff! I’m open to suggestions.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Hey, You Should Play This: 1,000 Amps

Make music an integral part of your game, and I'm sold. Bit.Trip Runner isn't the best platformer, but how the soundtrack interacts with running, jumping and sliding sweeps me away every time. 1,000 Amps, which just launched on Steam for the PC and Mac, plays with similar ideas, though with a much larger emphasis on puzzle solving that leaping from platform to platform. The striking black/white looks great, too, and reminds me of Closure.

Damn, when is that game finally coming out?

As a bonus, designer Brandon Brizzi was kind enough to provide five Steam codes. I’m told there are such things as Steam “bots” automatically snapping up codes, though. That’s a bummer, so I’ll make a request. The first five people on Twitter to say the title of the movie I’m partially responsible for getting made will get DM'd a code.

Note: Codes are gone!

Also, Consider Playing This: The Fourth Wall

Yeah, I’m a sucker for a clever platformer. Games like that are a dime-a-dozen in the independent development community, but some are better than others, and The Fourth Wall has an excellent twist. In The Fourth Wall, the barriers of reality do not necessarily apply. The properties of up, down, left and right do not conform to traditional norms in The Fourth Wall. It’s a game whose tricks are best experienced by simply downloading the game and playing, but imagine this: when you fall into a pit, you die, right? In The Fourth Wall, you fall from the ceiling.

Let me make it simple: The Fourth Wall was made by DigiPen students, is incredibly smart, and it's free.

And Maybe You Should Read These:

The Penny Arcade Report is just one (!!!) of the promising new gaming publications that launched this week, and it’s already an excellent destination for lengthy, interesting stories about games. Ben Kuchera, formerly of Ars Technica, is taking a similar approach to myself, and he’s quickly taken advantage of his freedom at Penny Arcade. This story, based on Kuchera’s conversation with Twisted Metal designer David Jaffe at DICE, is an insightful summary of Jaffe’s approach to everything these days--design, press, stories. Perhaps most telling is the interaction afterwards with Kotaku editor-in-chief and friend Stephen Totilo. “You want to be a fucking reporter? Report this.” It's on.

He is one of the most available developers in the business and does an amazing amount of press. I told him that I often feel bad for him in interviews, as it often seems like reporters are just there waiting for him to say something crazy. It’s as if they’re mentally pushing him to dance for the cameras. “I make a conscious choice not to give into the cynicism of thinking the press is just waiting for someone to fuck up… let’s assume it’s really high, and out of every ten reporters I talk to, eight are waiting for me to fuck up to get yellow journalistic bullshit on the top of their site,” he said. “You’re going to die one day, and you’ll have contributed nothing to the world except you’re an asshole. Fuck you, I don’t care.”

Congrats on launching, Vox Games. And you win this round, McElroy. I’ve been meaning to write a story about Johann Sebastian Joust ever since being introduced to designer Douglas Wilson and playing his wonderful creation during last year’s Big Live Live Show Live! I don’t have to write a story anymore, though, because McElroy crafted the piece I could have only hoped to spin out. McElroy makes the case for why Johann Sebastian Joust is paving needed new ground in games, overlapped with a compelling recreation of playing the game against his roommate.

He has me cornered in the kitchen when the game's guiding tempo of classical music spikes. We both lunge at each other's off-hands, but his wingspan far outmeasures my own, ensuring that his blow connects a half-second quicker. I fall to my knees in disgrace as the tip of my Move goes red, and his glows a sequence of victorious neon hues. I'm exhausted, and grinning. “We're going to need more controllers,” I say.

--

Friendly reminder: this is not a three-day weekend. Aww. See you Monday!

Patrick Klepek on Google+
96 Comments
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Posted by patrickklepek
If you don't own an iOS device, at least listen to Sword & Sworcery's terrific soundtrack.

Hey, fans of reading and playing. Why not load up Jim Guthrie’s soundtrack to Sword & Sworcery EP: Superbrothers on Spotify, pour yourself a beer, and cuddle close to the virtual 8-bit fire?

Relax.

This week’s installment of Worth Reading in here, and by doing it two weeks in a row, I guess I’m committed. There was a glitch last week, which meant the story never showed up in the database proper. If you missed out on Worth Reading’s debut, click over here.

Worth Reading is for the weekend. Work is over, and there’s free time ahead. Worth Reading is whatever makes sense at the end of the week, be it highlighting some games that didn’t make sense for the other ways Giant Bomb covers games, news you should be aware of, and essays that need talking about.

And potentially other stuff! I’m open to suggestions.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Hey, You Should Play This: 1,000 Amps

Make music an integral part of your game, and I'm sold. Bit.Trip Runner isn't the best platformer, but how the soundtrack interacts with running, jumping and sliding sweeps me away every time. 1,000 Amps, which just launched on Steam for the PC and Mac, plays with similar ideas, though with a much larger emphasis on puzzle solving that leaping from platform to platform. The striking black/white looks great, too, and reminds me of Closure.

Damn, when is that game finally coming out?

As a bonus, designer Brandon Brizzi was kind enough to provide five Steam codes. I’m told there are such things as Steam “bots” automatically snapping up codes, though. That’s a bummer, so I’ll make a request. The first five people on Twitter to say the title of the movie I’m partially responsible for getting made will get DM'd a code.

Note: Codes are gone!

Also, Consider Playing This: The Fourth Wall

Yeah, I’m a sucker for a clever platformer. Games like that are a dime-a-dozen in the independent development community, but some are better than others, and The Fourth Wall has an excellent twist. In The Fourth Wall, the barriers of reality do not necessarily apply. The properties of up, down, left and right do not conform to traditional norms in The Fourth Wall. It’s a game whose tricks are best experienced by simply downloading the game and playing, but imagine this: when you fall into a pit, you die, right? In The Fourth Wall, you fall from the ceiling.

Let me make it simple: The Fourth Wall was made by DigiPen students, is incredibly smart, and it's free.

And Maybe You Should Read These:

The Penny Arcade Report is just one (!!!) of the promising new gaming publications that launched this week, and it’s already an excellent destination for lengthy, interesting stories about games. Ben Kuchera, formerly of Ars Technica, is taking a similar approach to myself, and he’s quickly taken advantage of his freedom at Penny Arcade. This story, based on Kuchera’s conversation with Twisted Metal designer David Jaffe at DICE, is an insightful summary of Jaffe’s approach to everything these days--design, press, stories. Perhaps most telling is the interaction afterwards with Kotaku editor-in-chief and friend Stephen Totilo. “You want to be a fucking reporter? Report this.” It's on.

He is one of the most available developers in the business and does an amazing amount of press. I told him that I often feel bad for him in interviews, as it often seems like reporters are just there waiting for him to say something crazy. It’s as if they’re mentally pushing him to dance for the cameras. “I make a conscious choice not to give into the cynicism of thinking the press is just waiting for someone to fuck up… let’s assume it’s really high, and out of every ten reporters I talk to, eight are waiting for me to fuck up to get yellow journalistic bullshit on the top of their site,” he said. “You’re going to die one day, and you’ll have contributed nothing to the world except you’re an asshole. Fuck you, I don’t care.”

Congrats on launching, Vox Games. And you win this round, McElroy. I’ve been meaning to write a story about Johann Sebastian Joust ever since being introduced to designer Douglas Wilson and playing his wonderful creation during last year’s Big Live Live Show Live! I don’t have to write a story anymore, though, because McElroy crafted the piece I could have only hoped to spin out. McElroy makes the case for why Johann Sebastian Joust is paving needed new ground in games, overlapped with a compelling recreation of playing the game against his roommate.

He has me cornered in the kitchen when the game's guiding tempo of classical music spikes. We both lunge at each other's off-hands, but his wingspan far outmeasures my own, ensuring that his blow connects a half-second quicker. I fall to my knees in disgrace as the tip of my Move goes red, and his glows a sequence of victorious neon hues. I'm exhausted, and grinning. “We're going to need more controllers,” I say.

--

Friendly reminder: this is not a three-day weekend. Aww. See you Monday!

Posted by CoolYetiDance

AWESOME!

Posted by Animasta

IF A SERIOUS GAMING NEWS STORY ISN'T FROM GAMASUTRA IT AINT WORTH READING

or giant bomb, obviously, but I don't really like the the penny arcade report because... they're pretty UNDER PAR.

Posted by Swoxx

yay

Edited by Droop

I'll be getting my iPad back soon. Finally I can play Sword & Sworcery!

Edit: But for now, the soundtrack will do.

Posted by drag

Encourage users to throw up any additional, exceptional bits of game writing they have seen this week? I won't stray into self-promotion but I'm sure the rest of you have seen some interesting stuff lately. Link link link.

Posted by Ferros

I really like this feature. Keep it up Patrick.

Posted by mrfluke
@Ferros said:

I really like this feature. Keep it up Patrick.

@CoolYetiDance said:

AWESOME!

Posted by Oni

The PA Report has been exceptional thus far. It's quickly found a place on my hotbar. Jaffe's right, Kotaku is a fucking cesspit.

Posted by MisterMouse

can't DM patrick on twitter... because he doesn't follow me.

Posted by Milkman

Wow, that Penny Arcade article on Jaffe is crazy. That argument with Totilo is intense. I want to listen to a podcast where Jaffe just gets one of his "haters" in a room and tells them to fuck off for an hour.

Posted by Mikular

@Animasta said:

they're pretty UNDER PAR.

BOOM.

Posted by thebigJ_A

Oh, hey Sunday Papers, fancy meeting you here.

Mostly kidding. It's one of my favorite things to read on RPS, but maybe you could tone down the direct copying? Putting the music at the beginning instead of the end isn't quite enough.

Posted by I_smell

I might be playing The Fourth Wall right now if they didn't go fr that boring generic art-game aesthetic

Posted by the_OFFICIAL_jAPanese_teaBAG

I enjoyed last week's edition and I enjoyed this one too, thanks Patrick!  

Posted by Mento

You're a trendsetter, Patrick! Keep it up! Next we're going to see a news show on TV presented by people in hotdog suits.

Moderator
Posted by BulletproofMonk

You guys should listen to that Jaffe/Totilo argument. It's pretty crazy.

Posted by Scodiac

The PA Report piece on Jaffe was a great read. I'm looking forward to more from Mr. Kuchera. Also, Jaffe is awesomely honest and open in interviews and I appreciate the hell out of that. After reading some of the things he said in that interview I just felt compelled to say "Fuck yeah!"

It was great.

Posted by JimmyPancakes

Like this series a lot, looking forward to reading these. Read the Joust one earlier in the week and thought it was great.

Posted by Rawrnosaurous

I didn't realize that the new vox site was up with the Mcelroy's, let me go take a look.

*comes back*

Oh, jesus that site is horrendous! How are you expected to navigate that mess?

Posted by IkariNoTekken

Another great article Patrick.

I have the S&S soundtrack playing right now and I'm about to test out that amazing looking 8 bit fireplace and after that, The Fourth Wall. I'm also now thinking about jumping on steam and getting 1,000 amps.

Posted by RadixNegative2

Yep, David Jaffe is still great. I hope Giant Bomb have him as a guest more often like they did at E3.

Posted by Sergeant_Stubby

"What the fuck are you? A fucking Therapist?" Jaffe is awesome

Posted by TentPole

Kotaku is the fucking worst.

Posted by ckeats

Goddammit I love these posts. Please always continue them.

Edited by Kesselrun

.

Posted by heatDrive88

Nothing like a good Friday afternoon dump. Of news.

Posted by MrSlapHappy

Cool stuff, I think I will check out that Jaffe thing.

Posted by UltimAXE

I read that PA David Jaffe piece early in the week, and, yeah, it's good stuff. Jaffe is such a fascinating man, and this is coming from someone who isn't that big of a fan of his games (well, I love Twisted Metal and hate God of War, anyway).

Posted by csl316

Big fan of Ben Kuchera, so I'm looking forward to reading that.

And Jaffe made a dumb joke in that Gametrailers interview... I can't believe it's been blown out of proportion.

Posted by Humanity

I can see why Jaffe is so frustrated as he's trying to have a real conversation with the guy and he's giving him this HR runaround talk instead of being honest for 5 minutes.

As for the article itself, I'd rather they just post an audio clip or a conversation transcript like they even mention. I don't particularly care for that sort of prose writing of "I shuffled my papers and took in the scenery as Mr. XYZ continued his relentless assault on XYZ" I just want to know what they asked Jaffe and how he responded, I don't care how bright or dark the room was.

Edited by Alex_Carrillo

I wish Sword & Sworcery was the mobile game revolution people seem to have tricked themselves into believing it is. It's pretty, and it sounds nice, but that's really all I can really say to compliment it.

EDIT: That Jaffe interview is AMAZING.

Posted by pingolobo

About David Jaffe: I never visit Kotaku. Aren't they the ones that posted to big spoilers in Batman City? To hell with them I say. I don't agree wit Jaffe's views on video-game story-telling but I do admire him and love the games he makes. I can't believe Kotacu posted such a shameless article on him just to make a headline.

Online
Posted by clank543

Downloading the Fourth Wall now. Platformers have always had a stranglehold on my life. If I can't jump to a ledge, I am damn well not interested!

Posted by Polypinoon

GiantBomb is the bomb, totally checking out the Fourth Wall.

Posted by siddarth0605

God Damn i love David Jaffe. Although I have never played a Twisted Metal game i still respect that man so much. That was a great article and one that I think paints him not in a better light but a more honest and truthful one.

And also fuck kotaku. its just a website for people who want to be on a soapbox rather than actually have meaningful discussions about games

Posted by Napalm

@Scodiac said:

The PA Report piece on Jaffe was a great read. I'm looking forward to more from Mr. Kuchera. Also, Jaffe is awesomely honest and open in interviews and I appreciate the hell out of that. After reading some of the things he said in that interview I just felt compelled to say "Fuck yeah!"

It was great.

I seriously want to be that dude. To be ballsy enough to go up to somebody and say, "you know what? Fuck you. You got your facts wrong and you painted an evil picture. Recognize you fucked up and reported false accusations."

@BulletproofMonk said:

You guys should listen to that Jaffe/Totilo argument. It's pretty crazy.

It's insane, but it's so amazing, and it shows Jaffe in his environment. Nothing's staged, and he goes for it and calls a piece of shit out on his bullshit.

@Oni said:

The PA Report has been exceptional thus far. It's quickly found a place on my hotbar. Jaffe's right, Kotaku is a fucking cesspit.

Amen to this, so hard. God, I may not like Twisted Metal but goddamn, Jaffe is amazing.

I knew I spoke not highly of the Penny Arcade report, but I was wrong. Dead wrong.

Posted by Asmo917

Add my name to the list of people who love David Jaffe. Even though I may not love God of War or Twisted Metal (they're okay in my book but not favorites), I will play anything he's involved with in a leadership position because I know I'm getting something he's put his heart and soul into. I don't think you can fake the kind of passion he appears to have for his work, and the fact that he's willing to be so public and so outspoken in a time of ultra-controlled marketing makes me want to support his work. I also trust that even if I don't love the final product, it's going to be interesting in some way.

I would PAY for a weekly podcast of "David Jaffe Talks About Shit on His Mind."

Posted by RE_Player1

Kotaku is a piece of shit, I fucking hate everything about that site. Oh yeah, another great Worth Reading Patrick.

Posted by Christoffer

What? Pour myskef a beer? I'm already wasted? I have to read this tomarrow?

Posted by W1SSY

I am really liking these articles. I hadn't heard anything about the Jaffe/Kotaku thing but really found the PA piece interesting. I appreciate Jaffe's candor and I can see how at times that works against him.

Posted by TheGorilla

@Asmo917 said:

Add my name to the list of people who love David Jaffe. Even though I may not love God of War or Twisted Metal (they're okay in my book but not favorites), I will play anything he's involved with in a leadership position because I know I'm getting something he's put his heart and soul into. I don't think you can fake the kind of passion he appears to have for his work, and the fact that he's willing to be so public and so outspoken in a time of ultra-controlled marketing makes me want to support his work. I also trust that even if I don't love the final product, it's going to be interesting in some way.

I would PAY for a weekly podcast of "David Jaffe Talks About Shit on His Mind."

I could not agree more. I love Jaffe for his incredible honesty and passion. I get sick to my stomach when I see him bashed in the press.

Kotaku has some great writers but they also publish a lot of pure trash. I have zero respect for Totilo because of all the garbage he allows on that site.

I really wish The PA Report had a light color scheme. I can't read light on black text for very long before it starts to hurt my eyes and I start seeing sunspots. Hopefully I'm not going blind.

Posted by Nadafinga

Super pumped about Joust, it might make me go out and get the Move again. I sold mine recently.

Posted by simonbuchan
Posted by artofwar420

Feels good man. Nice stuff Pat.

Posted by Daroki

@Napalm said:

@Scodiac said:

The PA Report piece on Jaffe was a great read. I'm looking forward to more from Mr. Kuchera. Also, Jaffe is awesomely honest and open in interviews and I appreciate the hell out of that. After reading some of the things he said in that interview I just felt compelled to say "Fuck yeah!"

It was great.

I seriously want to be that dude. To be ballsy enough to go up to somebody and say, "you know what? Fuck you. You got your facts wrong and you painted an evil picture. Recognize you fucked up and reported false accusations."

@BulletproofMonk said:

You guys should listen to that Jaffe/Totilo argument. It's pretty crazy.

It's insane, but it's so amazing, and it shows Jaffe in his environment. Nothing's staged, and he goes for it and calls a piece of shit out on his bullshit.

@Oni said:

The PA Report has been exceptional thus far. It's quickly found a place on my hotbar. Jaffe's right, Kotaku is a fucking cesspit.

Amen to this, so hard. God, I may not like Twisted Metal but goddamn, Jaffe is amazing.

I knew I spoke not highly of the Penny Arcade report, but I was wrong. Dead wrong.

You just don't interpret what Jaffe's saying. He's TELLING you what he means, there's no need to read anything into it. It's just a lost art in this world and I love him for it, I just wish he made games that I wanted to play, because I respect the way he goes about his business.

Edited by onan

Edit 2: Just noticed you said Griffin was playing Joust with his brother, but the article says it was his roommate. Honest mistake, though, I can't separate Griffin from Justin in my mind either. :)

Unintentional side effect of reading this: Found out Justin & Griffin McElroy have gone on to produce a new gaming-specific podcast at Verge! I absolutely loved the Joystiq Podcast (and Joystiq, for that matter) before it got gutted, so I'm looking forward to adding this new one to the rotation.

Thanks, Patrick!

Edit: including a link for anyone interested.

Posted by MrMazz

PA Report has been added to the Google Reader and ooo more Joust talk huzzah

Posted by Animasta

@FreedomTown said:

You had me till Justin McElroy. Maybe he is a decent writer, but his opinion on video-games are horrible.

much like jeff

Posted by Brendan

I thought I had just totally missed a part of the Penny Arcade website for my whole life when I came across the Penny Arcade Report last week, but it's good to know it started last week!

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