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Worth Reading: 04/20/2012

Point 'n click around a tree with a scary spider before reading about Microsoft completely blowing a Hollywood deal and dissecting the word "immersion."

Maybe when the next Monster Hunter's getting released, 8-4 can explain what the deal is to me.

I’m so glad the news about 8-4 teaming up with Giant Bomb was finally announced. I’ve been sitting on those plans for what seems like months now, but the CBS deal happened, PAX East came out of nowhere, and it felt like things would never go public. Phew!

With Vinny in the office and Drew on his way, we’re finally getting the pieces together. Sure, we’re still a ways from being as prolific as pre-CBS, but we’re getting there. I guess that means I won’t be recording any more Quick Looks, but it was fun (?) while it lasted.

Nightmare House 2 is still sitting on my computer, and I’m hoping to finish that off on Sunday night. Did any of you check that out? I’ve noted a bunch of the other horror mods that people recommended, and I’ll get around to those, too. My fiancee leaves for a few days next week, so the time is ripe for me to play a bunch of terrifying games and go to bed shivering and sobbing. Will I finally play Amnesia: The Dark Descent, or come up with yet another bad excuse?

Hey, You Should Play This:

With Machinarium, not only did Amanita Design make a game inspired by old school point-and-click adventures, it made a rather good one. Macinarium was a touching love story (love!), and I’ve been curiously waiting to see what Amanita Design would produce next. Botanicula also involves moving a mouse around the screen and a fair amount of pointing and clicking, but it’s an altogether different type of game. Players are guiding five different creatures, each outfitted with what one might call “powers,” and solving puzzles on a giant tree, in which there is a scary spider eating stuff. It’s weird, but totally feels like the kind of game you’d expect from the studio that produced a robot love story. As of this writing, there’s a wonderful Humble Bundle going on, but it’ll be available on Steam soon, too.

And You Should Watch This And Read That:

I don’t spend much time scrolling through YouTube for video essays (most aren’t any good!), but I’m a fan of Ben Abraham’s commentary, so it didn’t take much convincing to load up his latest work. In “Attention and Immersion,” Abraham points out how “immersion” is an utterly bizarre word to use when talking about particularly engrossing games. Of course, Abraham now has me second guessing every single one of the words I use while talking about the experience of playing games. While “attention” doesn’t seem to rightly encapsulate the feeling we’re all grasping to describe when we get sucked into a game’s world, a conversation about our gaming lexicon is a healthy one.

If there’s an underlying theme to articles featured in Worth Reading, it’s about trying to approach what it means to talk and think about games from a different angle. That said, as a reporter myself, I’m also a fan of a really good story, and learning how the Halo movie fell apart is a good one. Wired has an excerpt from Jamie Russell’s Generation Xbox: How Video Games Invaded Hollywood, in which Microsoft’s arrogance about the Halo franchise caused what should have been a surefire hit to become a missed opportunity for everyone involved. It’s a simple culture clash, but one on such a massive financial scale that you can’t help but chuckle as the wheels come off.

Microsoft were aiming higher — much, much higher. CAA’s deal-making matched the software giant’s aspirations. According to the New York Times, Microsoft were demanding creative approval over director and cast, plus 60 first-class plane tickets for Microsoft personnel and their guests to attend the premiere. It wouldn’t be putting any money into the production itself beyond the fee paid to Garland, nor was it willing to sign over the merchandising rights. To add insult to injury, Microsoft wanted the winning studio to pay to fly one of its representatives from Seattle to LA. They would watch every cut of the movie during post-production. Clearly, Microsoft was entering into negotiations brandishing a very big stick.

P.S. Play Far Cry 2.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
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Posted by patrickklepek
Maybe when the next Monster Hunter's getting released, 8-4 can explain what the deal is to me.

I’m so glad the news about 8-4 teaming up with Giant Bomb was finally announced. I’ve been sitting on those plans for what seems like months now, but the CBS deal happened, PAX East came out of nowhere, and it felt like things would never go public. Phew!

With Vinny in the office and Drew on his way, we’re finally getting the pieces together. Sure, we’re still a ways from being as prolific as pre-CBS, but we’re getting there. I guess that means I won’t be recording any more Quick Looks, but it was fun (?) while it lasted.

Nightmare House 2 is still sitting on my computer, and I’m hoping to finish that off on Sunday night. Did any of you check that out? I’ve noted a bunch of the other horror mods that people recommended, and I’ll get around to those, too. My fiancee leaves for a few days next week, so the time is ripe for me to play a bunch of terrifying games and go to bed shivering and sobbing. Will I finally play Amnesia: The Dark Descent, or come up with yet another bad excuse?

Hey, You Should Play This:

With Machinarium, not only did Amanita Design make a game inspired by old school point-and-click adventures, it made a rather good one. Macinarium was a touching love story (love!), and I’ve been curiously waiting to see what Amanita Design would produce next. Botanicula also involves moving a mouse around the screen and a fair amount of pointing and clicking, but it’s an altogether different type of game. Players are guiding five different creatures, each outfitted with what one might call “powers,” and solving puzzles on a giant tree, in which there is a scary spider eating stuff. It’s weird, but totally feels like the kind of game you’d expect from the studio that produced a robot love story. As of this writing, there’s a wonderful Humble Bundle going on, but it’ll be available on Steam soon, too.

And You Should Watch This And Read That:

I don’t spend much time scrolling through YouTube for video essays (most aren’t any good!), but I’m a fan of Ben Abraham’s commentary, so it didn’t take much convincing to load up his latest work. In “Attention and Immersion,” Abraham points out how “immersion” is an utterly bizarre word to use when talking about particularly engrossing games. Of course, Abraham now has me second guessing every single one of the words I use while talking about the experience of playing games. While “attention” doesn’t seem to rightly encapsulate the feeling we’re all grasping to describe when we get sucked into a game’s world, a conversation about our gaming lexicon is a healthy one.

If there’s an underlying theme to articles featured in Worth Reading, it’s about trying to approach what it means to talk and think about games from a different angle. That said, as a reporter myself, I’m also a fan of a really good story, and learning how the Halo movie fell apart is a good one. Wired has an excerpt from Jamie Russell’s Generation Xbox: How Video Games Invaded Hollywood, in which Microsoft’s arrogance about the Halo franchise caused what should have been a surefire hit to become a missed opportunity for everyone involved. It’s a simple culture clash, but one on such a massive financial scale that you can’t help but chuckle as the wheels come off.

Microsoft were aiming higher — much, much higher. CAA’s deal-making matched the software giant’s aspirations. According to the New York Times, Microsoft were demanding creative approval over director and cast, plus 60 first-class plane tickets for Microsoft personnel and their guests to attend the premiere. It wouldn’t be putting any money into the production itself beyond the fee paid to Garland, nor was it willing to sign over the merchandising rights. To add insult to injury, Microsoft wanted the winning studio to pay to fly one of its representatives from Seattle to LA. They would watch every cut of the movie during post-production. Clearly, Microsoft was entering into negotiations brandishing a very big stick.

P.S. Play Far Cry 2.

Posted by Kaiserreich

TKTK indeed

Posted by Dallas_Raines

wut

Posted by SuperSonic1305

wut

Posted by CharlesAlanRatliff

I think you mean KTTK 90.7 Power FM.

Posted by ImmortalSaiyan

Surely this was not meant to happen.

Posted by SlightConfuse

trick klepek x 2

Posted by FLStyle

Did Patrick forget to replace this page filler with the completed article?

Posted by Lanceuppercut

Amazing!

Edited by patrickklepek

Sorry about that, the story went live a little early there!

Posted by Tamaster92

I think Patrick just solved ye answer to life guys.

Posted by cuevas

Tricky

Posted by Animasta

why the 2 story limit? Is it just that you don't want to write as much as you do for 1-2 extra articles? still, good work :)

Posted by bkbroiler

Patrick you've got to play Amnesia! Then bring it up on the Bombcast so I can enjoy you guys talking about it. :) It's a fantastic game.

Posted by SeanFoster

I absolutely totally 100% think Patrick plus anyone whose game for it should livestream an Amnesia playthrough. A mini-endurance run I guess.

Posted by Konig2540

@patrickklepek: how have you not played Amnesia yet?! Aren't you a horror game fanatic? Play. Amnesia.

Edited by patrickklepek

@Animasta said:

why the 2 story limit? Is it just that you don't want to write as much as you do for 1-2 extra articles? still, good work :)

Because I want to make sure I've experienced every story I link to, and each is worth the time.

Posted by Tarsier

patrick goofed it

Posted by Slayeric

Patrick, can you tell me about the grenades in Far Cry 2? Any comments about the realness of it?

Edited by Abendlaender
Posted by Christoffer

Alright, Tricky, I'll play Amnesia along with you this weekend. It's been on hold for far to long and I just have to deal with it.

Edited by MarkWahlberg

Wait, why are we playing Far Cry 2? Did I miss something? Because I just started playing it a little while ago, and I never do things I'm supposed to...

Posted by Hailinel

Man, if that's how the Halo movie fell apart, it's really not surprising and actually deserved.

Posted by sirchode

This is probably a clear indicator of my own Hollywood naivete, but Microsoft's "demands" in that excerpt are exactly what I would have expected them to ask for, I see nothing out of line there. Heck, it's what I would have asked for myself if I had a franchise I cared about and wanted to protect and curate. I feel like it's also what anyone in Hollywood should be asking for when a game publisher wants to create a game adaptation of a movie; the creators should be deeply involved.
 
What's the problem?

Posted by namesonkel

Far Cry 2 is a great game.

Posted by Tim_the_Corsair

@sirchode said:

This is probably a clear indicator of my own Hollywood naivete, but Microsoft's "demands" in that excerpt are exactly what I would have expected them to ask for, I see nothing out of line there. Heck, it's what I would have asked for myself if I had a franchise I cared about and wanted to protect and curate. I feel like it's also what anyone in Hollywood should be asking for when a game publisher wants to create a game adaptation of a movie; the creators should be deeply involved. What's the problem?

I think the flights and shit are a bit much, especially when it's an outsider coming into their house and swinging their dick around.

Mind you, the Hollywood execs involved are fairly dumb for not gritting their teeth and taking it considering the movie probably would have been huge.

Posted by MisterMouse

Giant Bomb should start a series call Trick or Treat, where patrick goes around playing horror games, similar to what Kessler and Lemon were doing.

Posted by Scodiac

"Immersion" may not be the correct word even though I think it conveys the message people are trying to send while describing a game experience quite well. "Attention" definitely isn't the word to fill it's spot.

That Starcraft example was more about skill and presence of mind than it was about a video game world that draws a person into it's narrative. I guess you could say, "The world and story in this game is so well crafted that it demands all of my attention." Yet, I don't think that conveys how a person is truly "feeling" the experience of the game. No, I don't forget who I am or where I am but I do sometimes feel like I'm a character in the story I'm playing. I dunno, that sounds weird. It's hard to describe, I guess.

When a game is able to make me nearly forget I'm even playing a game I would say that I'm immersed in the experience. It doesn't happen often and it's not always story based games either. Racing games like Forza also feel immersive but only from the cockpit view. I wouldn't say that I'm more attentive while playing in the cockpit than I am from behind the car but I would say I'm more immersed.

Posted by Moonshadow101

On the list of things that I'm not really going to cry over, "No Halo Movie" is pretty high up.

Posted by Animasta

@MisterMouse said:

Giant Bomb should start a series call Trick or Treat, where patrick goes around playing horror games, similar to what Kessler and Lemon were doing.

dude yes. Maybe even get Ryan in there

Posted by Masha2932

I see what you did there Patrick and I agree we should all play Far Cry 2.

P.S.

All this Far Cry 2 makes me miss the idle thumbs podcast.

Posted by Th3irdEye

Don't forget that the Diablo III beta is open to the public this weekend. So, that should probably help you get through two days with no new GB content.

Posted by joelalfaro

Patrick, thank you for featuring Botanicula.

Posted by kpaadet

@sirchode said:

This is probably a clear indicator of my own Hollywood naivete, but Microsoft's "demands" in that excerpt are exactly what I would have expected them to ask for, I see nothing out of line there. Heck, it's what I would have asked for myself if I had a franchise I cared about and wanted to protect and curate. I feel like it's also what anyone in Hollywood should be asking for when a game publisher wants to create a game adaptation of a movie; the creators should be deeply involved. What's the problem?

There is more to the story than that paragraph, I read somewhere else MS wanted Peter Jackson to direct the movie. But he only wanted to be a producer and wanted his "protégé" Neill Blomkamp to dircet it instead. MS wound't have any of it.

Overall it just sounded like MS had no idea how to deal with a major movie studio.

Posted by l3reak

That immersion video made no sense to me, like the guy was autistic or something. Immersion has a perfectly valid meaing that's different than engaging or exciting or attention-grabbing, or anything else. A billboard with a naked woman on it might grab my attention, but it's not "immersive". It's a pretty literal world, what's the issue? It's a feeling of actually being in another world. Am I weird for feeling this? Like, schizophrenic or something?

Posted by bigevil1987

I did play Nightmare House 2, definitely very creepy. Loved some of the use of lighting effects and very effective jump scares. Shadow people in the hallway! Creepy! Also dig the Amnesia mention in the article, love that game, scariest game ever.

Edited by Skanker

Playing Monster Hunter for the first time and stressing out when you have to fight a new large monster is something special, man. I've never felt a sense of relief as strong as when I first killed a Rathian. Shit was tough back when I started out, but not so much anymore. It's still really satisfying to kill them monsters though, mostly because the combat feels awesome once you've figured it out.

That's the deal with the game, brother.

Posted by garbagewrappedinskin

@Slayeric said:

Patrick, can you tell me about the grenades in Far Cry 2? Any comments about the realness of it?

They roll down hills. Wizard.

Posted by Slayeric

@garbagewrappedinskin said:

@Slayeric said:

Patrick, can you tell me about the grenades in Far Cry 2? Any comments about the realness of it?

They roll down hills. Wizard.

*bird noise*

Posted by Brodehouse

Really enjoyed that Ben Abraham essay.

Completely disagree with him about 'nature' rejuvenating the human brain. Rest and the lack of stress rejuvenates us, not the difference between green fields and concrete roads. City dwellers only associate concrete roads and sidewalks with their stressful responsibilities, and associate pastoral landscapes with rest and vacation. The 'rejuvenating' thing has more to do with the temporary amnesia of time and money that they couldn't get by relaxing with a coffee downtown.

But if I had unlimited time and money, that would be exactly what I did.

Posted by Brodehouse
@l3reak If you actually forget that you are playing a video game, manipulating analog sticks and buttons,and fully believe that you are on an alien planet stomping monsters to death, then yes, that would be immersive and you would be a schizophrenic.

He's completely right that we've co-opted 'immersive' to substitute for capturing our interest and yes, our attention. The phrase "I was so immersed, I couldn't look away" either describes schizophrenia or a poor description. Games provide stimulus, feedback to input. A game can be very stimulating, very attention-grabbing, very interesting... But 'immersive' actually doesn't mean anything unless it means that you forget who you actually are while playing it. You might feel emotionally invested, or involved in a fiction, you might feel a deep response to the events that occur, but unless your grasp of reality is fragile, you aren't immersed. You're only properly stimulated.
Posted by chilipeppersman

great write up. botanicula looks cool too

Posted by ArbitraryWater

Dude, fuck no. Far Cry 2 is a mess.

Posted by Viking_Funeral

@sirchode said:

This is probably a clear indicator of my own Hollywood naivete, but Microsoft's "demands" in that excerpt are exactly what I would have expected them to ask for, I see nothing out of line there. Heck, it's what I would have asked for myself if I had a franchise I cared about and wanted to protect and curate. I feel like it's also what anyone in Hollywood should be asking for when a game publisher wants to create a game adaptation of a movie; the creators should be deeply involved. What's the problem?

Probably the part where Microsoft wasn't putting any money into the project aside from paying Garland's fee, and yet making all these demands. So basically the studio would be taking all the financial risks, but final say in everything would go to Microsoft, a major unknown in the movie world. Plus, they wouldn't even sign over the merchandizing rights. It made the whole thing a huge risk without any control.

Posted by mlarrabee

I think Microsoft played it beautifully.

"If we don't have complete creative control over the game-to-film conversion, you aren't making a film."

I'd much rather no film be made than a disrespectful piece of Hollywood be presented as part of a beloved franchise.

Posted by Eribuster

@ArbitraryWater: It becomes at least a bit better when you play the game as a sniper http://majorslack.com/pc-games-strategy/having-fun-playing-far-cry-2/

As for what's the deal with Monster Hunter, it's as simple loot lust and boss fights. The game is a cycle of fighting one big wyvern (and its attack patterns) after another to get new materials to build new equipment. That new equipment will help towards fighting new monsters to get more materials. Of course, there are some clunky menus and controls to deal with. And perhaps the most difficult of all is understanding how to manage the lengthy animation delays of the player character as well as the monsters.

Posted by Hailinel

@mlarrabee said:

I think Microsoft played it beautifully.

"If we don't have complete creative control over the game-to-film conversion, you aren't making a film."

I'd much rather no film be made than a disrespectful piece of Hollywood be presented as part of a beloved franchise.

You can't expect to get someone to make a movie based on your property and not let the production team set any of the rules. Even in the Harry Potter films, while Rowling had certain say in regards to casting and other elements, she never had total creative control. Microsoft basically wanted a bunch of cogs to work as a good little machine and put out the Halo film that they wanted without exception.

Posted by BPRJCTX

@mlarrabee said:

I think Microsoft played it beautifully.

"If we don't have complete creative control over the game-to-film conversion, you aren't making a film."

I'd much rather no film be made than a disrespectful piece of Hollywood be presented as part of a beloved franchise.

Yes, definitely.

If every other game company who got an hollywood deal, had the balls that Microsoft had, to protect their property and demand creative control, so some fucks over at hollywood land wouldn't shit all over the source material, we wouldn't have the slew of shitty movie adaptations.

They could have just sold away the rights for a quick buck, like every other game company does with this things, but they actually stood by their property and Bungie, the team who created it.

Posted by ArbitraryWater

@Eribuster said:

@ArbitraryWater: It becomes at least a bit better when you play the game as a sniper http://majorslack.com/pc-games-strategy/having-fun-playing-far-cry-2/

That's an interesting article, though it just makes me think it's a subtle way of saying that you have to make your own fun because the game isn't good enough to be fun on its own. Regardless, I sold my copy of Far Cry 2 a long time ago and I just felt like making a flippantly offensive statement as opposed to talking about whatever articles Patrick had posted (along with obligatory indie indie game).

Edited by thebigJ_A

What? You love horror games but you've intentionally never played Amnesia, one of the absolute best!?

Shame on you, Scoops. Shame.

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