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Worth Reading 03/08/2013

It's all Hexels all the time in Worth Reading this week, full of the Internet's thoughts on Tomb Raider, SimCity, and plenty more.

This weekend should prove interesting. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate showed up, and it's the next logical step for my pursuit of expanding my gaming horizons.

I’ve had good luck so far. XCOM was one of my favorites from last year, and Fire Emblem: Awakening has a good chance of being there, too, when 2013 winds down (it’s weird to say that). Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan was my first stumbling block, albeit one that wasn’t entirely unexpected. A hardcore dungeon crawler is both not in my wheelhouse and isn’t necessarily a genre I’m all that interested in getting into. I knew the game wouldn’t get covered on the site unless I picked it up, and rather than just pop it in, I wanted to give it a few hours, and have the game open itself up to me. Maybe I’d be wrong? Maybe I’d fall in love? Probably indifference?

You can’t love everything, but you can certainly give it a chance. That’s the driving factor behind playing all of these games that would otherwise fly around in my periphery, and get little more than an eye roll. It’s important to have a better idea why I like or don’t like the things I like or don’t like, especially when it comes to genres that I haven’t visited in ages, and my feelings have crusted into a mass of unknowables.

Anyway, who knows what will happen with Monster Hunter. There’s just as much of a chance that it won’t click for me, but I’ll sleep better knowing that when people ask me why I don’t like Monster Hunter, it won’t come from a place of brushing off the franchise and, instead, from spending some hours with the game.

Hey, You Should Play This

Did you play Mirror’s Edge for iOS? It was one an early games from a traditional publisher on Apple’s platform, and remains a favorite. It wasn’t a first-person platforming affair, but it condensed some of that Mirror’s Edge magic into a 2D platformer. The Button Affair plays around with similar concepts, except dropped into a world of spies and deception. The cutscenes have a charming MS Paint quality to them, and while the mechanics aren’t as twitchy as I’d like, it scratched an itch I’ve had for a long time now.

And You Should Read These, Too

Considering our lengthy Hideo Kojima digressions on the podcast recently, thanks to Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Brett Fujioka’s lengthy look at the designer is fascinating. Fujioka presents a compelling essay about the reasons for creating Raiden the way he is, what it says about the Metal Gear fan base, and the potential motivation behind keeping the Raiden’s central, controversial role in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty a secret from everybody. He doesn’t just piece together quotes Kojima, either--he takes a hard look at the concept of “otaku,” and how Metal Gear’s broader mythology works as social commentary. Even if you don’t buy some of the junk Kojima’s selling, this makes great reading.

“None of Raiden's psychological traits are unprecedented if you look at Evangelion's characters. What's different is that MGS2 directly correlates the relationship between otaku-like groups and the internet. Before the U.S. got the notorious 4Chan, Japan had 2Channel. Like its American successor, anonymous postings were the popular mode of conduct, even when internet anonymity was still controversial. If people could write anything without repercussion, it left room for libel and other falsehoods to stream freely. Bearing this in mind, The Patriots -- MGS2's antagonistic shadow government -- agenda of internet censorship is more easily understood.”

"Gameological Q&A: Not Again" by Gameological staff for Gameological

A bunch of Gameological writers are asked to confess their greatest pet peeves in game design. I wrapped up Tomb Raider earlier this week, and it brought to mind one of mine. Collectibles are a cheap, easy way to motivate players to explore the world in a way they might not do on their own or along the directed path of the story. That makes sense. But I can’t stand collectibles for the sake of content padding. Only the journals in Tomb Raider add to the plot, the rest are hidden objects that stop being hidden when the game hands over a treasure map that makes their locations explicit. It’s even worse when the game implies through a line of dialogue that one of the collectibles, the GPS caches, might have payoff. Unfortunately, they don't. Argh.

"I can’t stand games that make you mash buttons to perform a simple action. You know the kind: You have to turn a valve or pry away the cover to an air vent, and the game puts a prompt on screen with a throbbing button icon, inviting you to hit the X button a thousand times. I suppose it can be mildly effective at times, when time is of the essence, but in most cases, it’s the lowest form of busywork. For all their good points, the Arkham Batman games do abuse this gimmick, as does Asura’s Wrath (to the point where it’s almost hard to mind anymore). But my “worst example” is Dark Void, for personal reasons. I was playing through a prerelease demo of Dark Void with one of its producers, Morgan Gray, and we were having a fun conversation about pet peeves. I complained about this particular design trope, and I didn’t hold back. You know how the story ends: Not 30 seconds later, one of those throbbing X prompts popped up on the screen, and I just let out a quiet groan. Gray was an awfully good sport about it, though."

If You Click It, It Will Play

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

  • Empire Eden is one good looking 2D action game.
  • In Pulse, the only way forward is to utilize the sound around you.
  • Some folks are still trying to bring Homeworld back.

Tweets That Make You Go "Hmmmmmm"

For those worrying about how you’ll play always-online games, like Sim City, decades into the future: the answer is piracy.

— Mark Brown (@britishgaming) March 7, 2013

Piracy offers the all-encompassing archive of discontinued video games. Heck, you can play Bandai Satellaview games thanks to SNES emulation

— Mark Brown (@britishgaming) March 7, 2013

All those games that have been removed from the Xbox Live Arcade servers? You can pirate them. I wouldn’t worry.

— Mark Brown (@britishgaming) March 7, 2013

Hexels is a Nifty Art Program Helping Artist Make Beautiful Stuff

(If you're interested in seeing more, make sure to follow http://madeinhexels.tumblr.com.)

Lara Croft is Back, And People Have Thoughts About It

SimCity's Launch Has Prompted Some Iiiiiiinteresting Articles

Oh, And This Other Stuff

Patrick Klepek on Google+
158 Comments
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Posted by Miniexadoor

yay!

Edited by SexyToad

Polygon updated their review of SimCity, it's at a 4.0 now.

Edited by posh

good job on including the link to that cool femfreq video. glad to see the users haven't put you off posting that kind of stuff

Posted by Hassun

Little error there with the tweets.

Posted by Rox360

.

Brilliant. Absolutely fantastic.

Didn't Polygon double down on their review and finally settle on a score of 4.0 for SimCity, by the way?

Posted by RE_Player1

@sexytoad said:

Polygon updates their review of SimCity, it's at 4 now.

Wait they updated it again? Always felt they were a joke of a website but now this just seals it.

Posted by SharkMan

get ready for the comment fights

Edited by Malarkain

Not that it really matters, but I believe this Worth Reading is out on Friday, March 8th, not Thursday the 7th.

Edited by RadixNegative2

I feel like I now understand the devil after watching that SimCity 3000 video.

Posted by ErinIsADrunk

The Button Affair is awesome. Nice to see it highlighted.

Edited by ninjaculate

@msavo: Why is that? They have had a policy from the beginning of changing scores if the circumstances change. The original review said "if EA delivers on its promise of keeping the servers online, then this score is appropriate." They then updated to reflect the state of the game.

Posted by darkmagus517

I would really like to hear what all the GB crew think about the whole "tropes vs women in video games" topic since most of them (like myself) have lived through and played a majority of the games in question.

Posted by mrfluke

Oh boy...

I see about 3 things here that will potentially cause some rowdy comments, let's see what happens over the course of the weekend.

Posted by C2C

Wow, AX was within GX the entire time. Mind Blown!

Edited by tater3698

hexagons are shit!.....o wait thats not what everyones going to argue about....

Posted by shatteringlast

I for one loved Adam Sessler's review of God Of War.

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Posted by CollegeGuyMike

That SimCity 3000 video is extremely unsettling to me for some reason. Maybe it's the music...?

Posted by el_stork

I love this feature. Still playing bombermine from last week.

Posted by irishalwaystaken

Polygon's score is now 4, you duplicated the tweets,there is another interesting piece that kind of goes well with this one ( you may have posted it before), on how Kojima may have hidden meanings in more of his work http://metagearsolid.org/reports_mgs4_kojimaVSmgs4.html , leaving torment out of the kickstarter thing is a little weird and the femfreq vid isn't really worth watching as its just pretty boring, doesn't really tell us anything we don't know, has some outright lies and logical fallacies, and is just reguritating (in places, literally word for word) Wikipedia and tvtropes.

Edited by iragequit

That girl's story was touching.

Posted by Efesell

The Tomb Raider GPS caches do end up leading to something, albeit another Document that mainly seems to serve as some foreshadowing for future projects.

Posted by MrMazz

Man at first I was going to make a snarky comment in the vain of Patrick Haters (of which I am not), for the Sessler God of War review. WOW I'm actually pretty offended at that trophy....seriously that's just to far even for Kratos.

Good batch of links this week Patrick.

Edited by Jace

It's almost like I knew he'd link the Anita S. video. Too bad he's already married or they could wage the war on logic together, happily ever after.

Posted by jeffrud

@jace said:

It's almost like I knew he'd link the Anita S. video. Too bad he's already married or they could wage the war on logic together, happily ever after.

Dude, what the fuck are you even talking about?

Posted by PirateNipple

I am in love with this Hexels program and now I will spend all weekend making wallpapers with it

Posted by clumsyninja1

what...not David Tenant's Doctor. Matt Smith is is the WORST!

Posted by MistaSparkle

NOOOO!!! I had pretty much the same idea as the guy making the hexel stuff, but I never actually made anything worth while with it :/ Oh well, he's done more/better stuff than I would have done anyway lol. Looks great!

Edited by notdavid

While we're on the topic of shitty trophy names, I was playing Enslaved a while ago.

After Pigsy sacrifices himself by blowing up the Leviathan, a trophy called "Smoky Bacon" pops up and totally kills the mood. It fucking sucked and actually made my experience worse. Sony still refuses to allow the option to disable trophy notifications.

Posted by fauxical

Hexel is surprisingly cool and I am thinking about upgrading to the pro version. Thanks for the heads ip on that, Patrick.

Edited by ichthy

I'm looking forward to Patrick's thoughts on MH3U.

Edited by BaconBits

Hexel is just what I needed, thanks Patrick.

Edited by MarkWahlberg

Judging by the still in that video, Journey ends in a rave party. Why have I not played this game yet. God dammit.

Posted by Anjon
@jace said:

It's almost like I knew he'd link the Anita S. video. Too bad he's already married or they could wage the war on logic together, happily ever after.

I love how you ignored the entire rest of this article to focus solely on the Anita video posted innocuously amongst a batch of equally engaging content, armed with your witty retort towards an argument no one started. Your Anita Sarkeesian senses are surely tingling this day.

Edited by Redhorn

Sessler's review was excellent, thank you for that.

Predictably, most of the comments for that video on youtube's page are, like in this one, dominated by entitled males angry that someone would impugn their right to sardonic enjoyment of violence against women.

Posted by rebgav

@sexytoad said:

Polygon updated their review of SimCity, it's at a 4.0 now.

So it's a 9.5 if you can play it but it's a 4 if you can't? It's so good that even if you buy it and spend the next four days in queues it's still a 4/10?! How does that even... I don't....

They could change the score everyday and their review wouldn't become any less irrelevant.

Posted by ronindrummer200

@patrickklepek Thanks for the excellent worth reading! That pokemon yellow video BLEW MY MIND! It is the most literal "Inception Level deep" I've seen in a good while. The background on that is fantastic and ties into the interest of speed runs that has been going around.

Edited by bybeach

The MGS2/Kojima article (and where it goes), and then as an interesting after-read, the Creepiest Review of TombRaider.

Talk about scripting in your own reality...lol.

Sessler, heard about that guy lots and have read him, pretty damned articulate.

Edited by Efesell

The Trophy seems very unfortunate. Not so much the events around it, that's God of War and from the sound of it not even one of the worst things done in the series, but I don't really see a need to turn it into a silly joke.

Edited by Elwoodan

Loved Sessler's review and the 'Sessler's something' that went along with it earlier in the week, and if you would actually watch the Tropes vs Women video you'd find a fair discussion on just how prevalent 'save the girl' is in video games (as opposed to other goals/missions), she's not attacking the games she highlights, and (SURPRISE) discourse of this nature is healthy for any and all art forms. If you disagree, disagree intelligently, ''god I wish she'd shut up'' isn't an argument.

Edited by FrostedMiniWheats

@patrickklepek - Just in case you scan these comments before jumping into Monster Hunter, take note. That is a multiplayer game. It absolutely does not stand up by any standard as a single player adventure. Everything from character progression (all loot based), to the narrative (barely there), to the controls (looong attack animations) are designed around getting three or four like minded people together to hunt down a giant dinosaur or three. I can't imagine that anyone else in the Giant Bomb editorial staff will be playing this but maybe you could track down some community members to play with?

It's not that I'm worried you won't like Monster Hunter, I don't much care for it myself. But I do really want you to continue breaking out of your comfort zone and diversifying Giant Bomb's coverage and I would hate for this to sour you on the whole notion.

Edited by Asky314159

That Pokemon video is really neat. It's super impressive that people have reverse engineered that game well enough to figure out how to do that. Entering your program as data and then tricking the computer into executing it is nothing new, but I have never heard of it being done quite like that. Bravo.

Posted by edgeCrusher

That "creepiest" review of Tomb Raider is great. It's entertaining and informative. That Larry Hester is an A-OK motherfucker. I think it's probably more honest than most of the text surrounding that game to date. The sooner we come to terms with the fact that video games ain't serious business, the healthier our relationship with them will become.

Posted by dr_mantas

@jace said:

It's almost like I knew he'd link the Anita S. video. Too bad he's already married or they could wage the war on logic together, happily ever after.

Oh great, fucking Anita, of course.

I understand your sentiment, and I share it, but it's probably time to learn and ignore Patrick's more irrational beliefs. He's usually savvy and intelligent on most topics, but somehow this one he isn't.

That's too bad, but there isn't enough of a feedback loop and comments like this only egg him on.

Posted by metalsnakezero

Good on you Patrick for giving most games a try that most of the other guys not give time for a proper look.

Posted by machinerebel

Thanks for this, Patrick. Good collection of stuff here. Great work!

Edited by cooljammer00

How old is that Edge article on Max Payne? It says it was posted in March but it talks about the movie as if it hasn't come out yet.

Edited by Hailinel

@posh said:

good job on including the link to that cool femfreq video. glad to see the users haven't put you off posting that kind of stuff

You forgot the part where Anita was able to scam a six figure sum out of Kickstarter backers and Reddit users for this video series that features production values that anyone with video equipment and a computer could put together for a fraction of that cost. That and the fact that there's nothing in that video that hasn't already been said elsewhere and by more reasonable people.

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Edited by jaks

I love that Magnasanti video. Even more interesting is an interview with the insane person that made it:

http://www.vice.com/read/the-totalitarian-buddhist-who-beat-sim-city

There are a lot of other problems in the city hidden under the illusion of order and greatness--suffocating air pollution, high unemployment, no fire stations, schools, or hospitals, a regimented lifestyle--this is the price that these sims pay for living in the city with the highest population. It’s a sick and twisted goal to strive towards. The ironic thing about it is the sims in Magnasanti tolerate it. They don’t rebel, or cause revolutions and social chaos. No one considers challenging the system by physical means since a hyper-efficient police state keeps them in line. They have all been successfully dumbed down, sickened with poor health, enslaved and mind-controlled just enough to keep this system going for thousands of years. 50,000 years to be exact. They are all imprisoned in space and time.

Totally worth a read.

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