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Worth Reading: 06/06/2014

Once again, we'll be taking a break next week, but not before a cold, calculated reflection on the importance of Mario Kart's blue shell.

When E3 2014 comes to a close late on Thursday evening, as our final live show cuts to black, I'll have been attending the gaming expo for roughly half my life. I started attending at 14-years-old, and I turned 29-years-old earlier this year.

No Caption Provided

What does one take away from E3?

I just want to sit on the couch and watch it like you!

But more seriously, it's difficult to parse how much E3 has changed since my first attendance in Atlanta, Georgia in 1998. It was a bombastic, loudmouthed show back then, and it's a bombastic, loudmouthed show in 2014. The big game that sticks out in my mind in 1998, though, was Metal Gear Solid. I remember stacks and stacks of crates in Konami's booth, and I watched the MGS trailer loop over and over again, as my dad wondered when we'd finally leave this speaker-filled nightmare.

The biggest difference, to be honest, is my role at the show. This year has been especially interesting, since I put together our nightly live shows. We have roughly 51 guests showing up across the four live shows, which sounds crazy when you add it all up. Assuming everyone shows up--knock on wood--we should have something pretty special for all of you. It was an honor putting together those shows with Ryan the past few years, and I can only hope we have something that lives up to that legacy.

You'll have to tell me, though. I'll see you all next week.

Hey, You Should Play This

And You Should Read These, Too

No Caption Provided

If we are what we eat, we are what we play, too. It should come as little surprise that a generation of consumers growing up shooters would, then, want to make more shooters. That's not the only reason gaming sometimes finds itself in a creative rut with its largest productions, but it's one element, and what's happening at the NYU Game Center might be one element that helps turn that tide. When you realize Journey and The Unfinished Swan both came from designers who spent time learning about game development in an academic environment, the idea of going to school to learn about games isn't so crazy.

"Jenova Chen was a graduate student at U.S.C. when he designed Flow, a video game that was released for the PlayStation 3 in 2007. Five years later, his independent studio, thatgamecompany, captured several Game of the Year awards for Journey, a mesmerizing downloadable game that yields a sensation of personal, even religious, transformation. Its success has instilled a new respect for formal schooling in game design.

“Historically, I’ve always been aware of these programs,” said Alex Lee, an executive producer at Sony’s studio in San Mateo, Calif. “It’s only in recent years that they’ve become meaningful.”

No Caption Provided

It turns out we can have a lengthy discussion about the state of our world through the lens of Mario Kart's infamous blue shell. In Mario Kart 8, Nintendo's finally given players an option to dismantle the blue shell, albeit with some scarcity. Nonetheless, in an equally earnest and sarcastic fashion, Ian Bogost walks us through the state of technology and culture, using the constant that is Mario Kart, and its dastardly blue shell, as a touchstone. Nintendo might not have ascribed this much meaning to its powerful, game-altering item, but I certainly found myself nodding through the whole piece.

"'The Blue Shell is everything that's wrong with America.'

Ok, nobody said that, but you can imagine someone having done. The Blue Shell steals progress from a rightfully earned win on behalf of the lazy and the incompetent. The Blue Shell wrests spoils from leaders' fingers just as they reach for the laurel. The Blue Shell is the cruel tax of gaming, the welfare queen of kart racing. God damn you kids today. We used to have to win a race to win it."

If You Click It, It Will Play

These Crowdfunding Projects Look Pretty Cool

  • A Song for Viggo wants to tell the sad story of a parent who accidentally kills his child.
  • Tormentum hopes to bring horror to the point 'n click adventure genre.
  • Kickstarter has simplified its rules for bringing projects to life on its service.

Tweets That Make You Go "Hmmmmmm"

TowerFall Just Launched on Mac 'n Linux, Here's Some Steam Codes

  • 4MK2C-?3AMX-HE7L4
  • ZR5F7-VIP?V-QE2TN
  • BVWRJ-B?9W0-XTB6Y
  • NBA8X-2YY?A-6CXQC
  • Z2WQL-N?33W-67J7Z

Oh, And This Other Stuff

Patrick Klepek on Google+
71 CommentsRefresh
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Avatar image for t3mplesmith
Posted By T3MPLESMITH

The Cynical Brit is mad, like...really mad.

Avatar image for cassus
Posted By cassus

I like racing sims. I like mario kart. I will ALWAYS choose something like mario kart when playing with friends than a sim title. Playing skill based racing games means I'll win. I will win every time. EVERY TIME. And no one else will see me past the first lap, I'll be gone. And as the laps go by everyone spreads out more and more, and the only times you see anyone is when they've gone off the track..

Mario Kart is all about racing, not winning. Kart games are 70% bumper cars and 30% racing. iRacing and forza/gt etc are not games you play for shits and giggles. You play those for the same reason you play ArmA, you want authenticity. Rubberbanding and powerups have no place there. Most racing is a solitary thing. Kart Racers were made to combat that very thing. Passing eachother, that's fun. Seeing the dude in front's tail lights slooowly but surely getting further and further away from you... while you're running steady smooth laps... That's a nail biting 25 minutes, but yeah... That's not "fun". This works equally well as an analogy in reverse for how the "fuck the poor!" tactic basically spoils the fun for one and all as well.

I would also like to say.. If you're playing mario kart to win it is very likely you're just too fricken competitive to have fun. That happens.

Avatar image for video_game_king
Posted By Video_Game_King

@xbob42 said:

Why would you defend not having an option?

Because it's probably not as easy as simply adding a "make game run at 60 FPS" switch in the options menu.

Avatar image for divergence
Posted By divergence

There was a brief period of time in the 90's I wanted to go to E3. Now I look at expos like this one and not want to be anywhere near them. I love games and I'm a nerd, but this is where the game industry seems to ooze so much of its dorkiness in the front of the public it makes me wince. Remember Mr. Caffeine? Just shoot me.

I hope 2014 gives us some good games in the second half because so far it's been pretty bleak on the new systems. Guess these things aren't really going to hit a stride until next year.

Avatar image for pyrodactyl
Posted By pyrodactyl

@xbob42 said:

@pyrodactyl said:

And arguing for such a feature totally misses the point of console games and really outs him as an ''arrogant PC master race smug''. People who pay for AAA games, console gamers, inlarge don't want to have to think about what option to choose for the optimal experience. They trust game designers to make the choice between visuals (the order, uncharted, heavy rain, etc) or 60 fps (burnout, COD, etc). If you want a choice, play on PC, end of story.

I think this line of thinking is total arrogant bullshit.

You don't want to go into the options? Fine. Don't.

Why the hell would you assume no one else would? Why would you defend not having an option? What benefit do you accrue from that logic? The idea that you can talk for all of console gamers as though they're some sort of hive mind in pure agreement with each other is far more arrogant than anything TB is saying -- which is just advocating for a better experience for consumers who prefer a smoother experience to a prettier one.

So you don't see how an option that downgrades the visual quality could impact sales negatively even though it would cost more money to implement? The narrative of your game would immediately turn into ''why is there an option to make the game look worst?'' and then ''why can't you do 60 fps and great visuals?'' and then ''so this game is garbage huh?'' and then ''or is it this console that's crappy?''. All great bullet points in a marketing push...

Avatar image for xbob42
Posted By xbob42

And arguing for such a feature totally misses the point of console games and really outs him as an ''arrogant PC master race smug''. People who pay for AAA games, console gamers, inlarge don't want to have to think about what option to choose for the optimal experience. They trust game designers to make the choice between visuals (the order, uncharted, heavy rain, etc) or 60 fps (burnout, COD, etc). If you want a choice, play on PC, end of story.

I think this line of thinking is total arrogant bullshit.

You don't want to go into the options? Fine. Don't.

Why the hell would you assume no one else would? Why would you defend not having an option? What benefit do you accrue from that logic? The idea that you can talk for all of console gamers as though they're some sort of hive mind in pure agreement with each other is far more arrogant than anything TB is saying -- which is just advocating for a better experience for consumers who prefer a smoother experience to a prettier one.

Avatar image for nettacki
Posted By Nettacki

So, does everyone hate watchdogs because it's not the best thing in the world? That's the only explanation I can think of. I played it, and I really like it. Sure it's a bit linear, and it sticks to a lot of the tropes of other sandbox games, but it's fun as hell. I'm seriously not getting why there's this big backlash against it.

It's the usual backlash against the hype that made the game look way better than it actually is.

Avatar image for lenzeppel1n
Posted By LenZeppel1n

So, does everyone hate watchdogs because it's not the best thing in the world? That's the only explanation I can think of. I played it, and I really like it. Sure it's a bit linear, and it sticks to a lot of the tropes of other sandbox games, but it's fun as hell. I'm seriously not getting why there's this big backlash against it.

Avatar image for l4wd0g
Posted By l4wd0g

TotalBiscuit is kind of a dolt.

Avatar image for video_game_king
Posted By Video_Game_King
@r3dt1d3 said:

Reading way too into mechanics that are primarily used as throwaway jokes and trying to use them as an example of societal change is something that would impress no one outside of Tumblr.

Since when were jokes incapable of being serious? Or communicating more serious messages? And since when was author intent the end-all, be-all?

No healthy relationship anywhere in the world works as an "open relationship" as the author is describing. It doesn't matter if you're straight, gay, or some other designation. Denying reality is unhealthy and not to be encouraged.

This feels more like a dodge than an answer. Why don't relationships work that way? What makes them unhealthy? The simple fact of being more open than other relationships?

Denying reality is unhealthy and not to be encouraged.

Also not a fan of this tactic. Really not a fan of this tactic.

Avatar image for r3dt1d3
Posted By R3DT1D3

@video_game_king: I would say both composition and grammar were pretty substandard.

Reading way too into mechanics that are primarily used as throwaway jokes and trying to use them as an example of societal change is something that would impress no one outside of Tumblr.

No healthy relationship anywhere in the world works as an "open relationship" as the author is describing. It doesn't matter if you're straight, gay, or some other designation. Denying reality is unhealthy and not to be encouraged.

That more specific enough for you?

Avatar image for kain55
Posted By Kain55

Jon Bois' article on killing the NBA is one of the greatest things I've ever read. I laughed, I cried, and I felt moments of true despair. That was fantastic.

Avatar image for klragrmndfvrarg
Edited By klragrmndfvrarg

@cinnase7en: I think calling him a piece of shit is a bit over the top but I get where you are coming from, I stopped following him a while ago for that reason.

Avatar image for bgdiner
Posted By bgdiner

I'm sad to say it, but I'm getting less and less excited by the arrival of each Worth Reading as the weeks go on. The content seems to be getting more politically-charged, and while I usually enjoy reading pieces regarding the importance of political correctness in gaming, I just don't find the majority of them as interesting as I did more casual reads. It might be that most of them are simply not well-written; it seems like many of these politically-charged pieces focus on trivialities to make a point that is loose at best. At this point my favorite Friday reads come from the GB forums' Community Spotlight, where the community's articles are engrossing--probably because their topics of choice are close to heart, and not intended to broadcast some little-evidenced political message.

Don't get me wrong--I'm not advocating a total retreat from the kind of journalism that seeks to make games more equal and open to all--but I want to see better articles if they are to be featured. I don't deny the fact that games can be sexist and racist, but very little of what the political articles I've read on Worth Reading really seem to do more to me that rant on some topic, ignoring what they want in favor of some journalistic agenda. I do believe that Patrick is a fantastic journalist, and I'm glad that he doesn't shy away from the "deeper" articles, but I think there just isn't enough well-written critical content out there to be featured on Worth Reading, at least from the sampling I've seen on it. I'd much prefer him to discuss these themes on his own--like the kind of work we saw with the PAX Depression Quest panel--than feature rants on them on Worth Reading.

I've been coming to Worth Reading since it started, and I'll probably stick around for Patrick's introductions and the occasional interesting piece--the Blue Shell piece was a lot of fun to read--but it seems like the article has become saturated with awful political pieces, and for that reason, I'm disappointed.

Avatar image for scorch
Posted By Scorch

So Mario Kart is basically the American dream except with the blueshells people are actually temporarily embarrassed millionaires.

Avatar image for hef
Edited By Hef

I know the point of kids reacting is for them to be kids, but holy shit that black girl made me cringe

Avatar image for mr_creeper
Posted By Mr_Creeper
Avatar image for video_game_king
Posted By Video_Game_King

@likeassur:

It helps to dissuade the notion that feminism is snarling at the jaw toward any media that doesn't depict women as glorious demi-beings. (Strawman, I know, but perhaps I hit at the truth, regardless.)

Avatar image for likeassur
Posted By LikeaSsur
Avatar image for likeassur
Posted By LikeaSsur
@video_game_king:
@video_game_king:

Avatar image for pxabstraction
Posted By PXAbstraction

I normally like TotalBiscuit a lot and he's the inspiration for my own YouTube work but his warpath about 60fps or nothing is what gets PC gamers the stupid "PC gaming master race" reputation. It's very easy for him to say that all games should be 60fps when he runs SLI Titans (a fact he will remind you about in basically every video where he talks about graphics options.) I've played games either on console or on PCs that can't maintain 60fps in the highest fidelity mode for years and I have no problem with it. I'm not everyone of course but neither is TB. I'd rather a game maintain 30fps steady than have it unlocked but leaping all over the place. Consistency is key for me and a lot of people I know, not just always having the theoretical maximum possible. Would I prefer it if everything was 60fps? Sure. Does everything have to be 60fps to be enjoyed? No, that's ridiculous. If developers instead chose to lower graphical fidelity in order to always maintain 60fps, then he (along with a lot of reviewers) would be whining that games don't look good enough and "What's the point of next-gen hardware?" but because they choose to focus on fidelity, now the frame rate isn't good enough. He has the money to basically throw power at the problem until it does away, most of us don't and I think it's pretty arrogant to say game developers who put fidelity first are ruining games for others. But then again, we're all talking about it and TB can probably afford another Titan from the ad revenue so joke's on us I guess. :)

Avatar image for video_game_king
Posted By Video_Game_King

Sonic is the personification of the blue shell.

Except for the part where he can catch up to Mario.

Avatar image for pyrodactyl
Edited By pyrodactyl

@treulosetomate said:

@pyrodactyl: The point is, on a PC you can chose between high graphical fidelity at the cost of some frames per second and higher framerate at the cost of graphical fidelity. Console games don't offer that choice, but there is no good reason why they shouldn't. He may sound like an arrogant PC master race smug, but his points are valid.

A feature like that would require more dev time since the only games that would ''benefit'' would be console exclusives because people who really care about that play multiplatform games on PC where the choice is already there. Also, putting a feature like that would be admiting there is some kind of problem with the core game. Yeah, putting a toggle for 60fps and a graphical downgrade begs the question: ''why can't I have visuals AND frame rate''. This kind of question is a marketing departement's worst nighmare.

And arguing for such a feature totally misses the point of console games and really outs him as an ''arrogant PC master race smug''. People who pay for AAA games, console gamers, inlarge don't want to have to think about what option to choose for the optimal experience. They trust game designers to make the choice between visuals (the order, uncharted, heavy rain, etc) or 60 fps (burnout, COD, etc). If you want a choice, play on PC, end of story.

Avatar image for basketsnake
Posted By BasketSnake

Sonic is the personification of the blue shell. Lifeless. Empty...yet blue with spikes.

Avatar image for video_game_king
Posted By Video_Game_King

@r3dt1d3 said:

First of all, it was written by someone who would fail High School writing.

Composition or grammar?

Second of all, most of the content was reading way into things that weren't even close to the intentions of the developer.

So?

the author is talking about how great it is you can "romance" whoever you want and nothing matters to the other characters and then implies that's how real life should be.

Why not?

Avatar image for r3dt1d3
Posted By R3DT1D3

The blog on Saints Row and heteronormativity made me facepalm quite hard. First of all, it was written by someone who would fail High School writing. Second of all, most of the content was reading way into things that weren't even close to the intentions of the developer. Lastly, it comes off as extremely unhealthy when the author is talking about how great it is you can "romance" whoever you want and nothing matters to the other characters and then implies that's how real life should be. Overall, I struggle to understand why this was highlighted other than the wishful thinking of the title. I can't even sure Patrick read it before linking.

With all that negativity out the way, I really enjoyed the Jon Bois, Tim Colwill, and Richard Moss links.

Avatar image for monkeyking1969
Edited By MonkeyKing1969

"...Ubisoft Game is the story of Main Character, a gruff or sassy white man who is really good at parkour, killing, and killing while doing parkour. One of the most iconic features of Main Character is the way he dresses — Main Character’s sense of style and flair really comes across in his tailored outfit, which makes him look distinctive and features a number of clear symbols that can be easily used in marketing and merchandising."

"...Nintendo Game is the story of Main Character, a mustachioed sassy white man who is really good at jumping, squishing, and squashing while jumping. One of the most iconic features of Main Character is the way he dresses - which has not changed in 20 years — Main Character’s sense of style and flair really comes across in his tailored outfit, which makes him look distinctive and features a number of clear symbols that can be easily used in marketing and merchandising."

"...Bungie Game is the story of Main Character, a gruff helmeted or face-masked man who is really good at killing aliens, killing, and killing while killing aliens. One of the most iconic features of Main Character is the way he dresses — Main Character’s sense of style and flair really comes across in his tailored outfit, which makes him look distinctive and features a number of clear symbols that can be easily used in marketing and merchandising."

"...Naughty Dog Game is the story of Main Character, a goofy and likeable white man who is really good at parkour, killing, and killing while doing parkour. One of the most iconic features of Main Character is the way he dresses — Main Character’s sense of style and flair really comes across in his half-tucked outfit, which makes him look distinctive and features a number of clear symbols that can be easily used in marketing and merchandising.

Tim Colwill article is pretty boring. It easy to do the "show the meme" or "show the pattern" stories that show that games are games still. But this was really just Fox News level stuff when you think about it...see the flaws, see the flaws...you should feel dumb to like this on any level if you see the flaws.

Avatar image for sergio
Posted By Sergio

@sergio: And yet if it was Aiden's nephew that was murdered, someone somewhere would say there's not enough female representation. My money's on Leigh Alexander.

I think those are two different things. One is a trope, somewhat like damsel in distress, where often the only representation is to be kidnapped or killed off. I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with using that trope. Each author is entitled to tell the story they want to tell. The other is usually dealing with the protagonists we play as. Again, I have no problem with authors wanting to tell their story from the perspective of a man.

Avatar image for video_game_king
Posted By Video_Game_King

@likeassur:

Interpretations of feminism/sexism can vary.

Avatar image for rmack
Posted By Rmack

@ravelle said:

The lightning bolt is way more frustrating than the blue shell, also if you're in the lead enough the blue shell won't make a difference.

I haven't played a Mario Kart since the DS version and I completely agree with you.

Looking forward to picking up 8 when I get some disposable income.

Avatar image for bbqbram
Posted By BBQBram
@sergio said:

@fauxben said:
@sergio said:

@video_game_king said:

These tweets:

  • Chris Hecker
  • Vice Games
  • Aevee Bee

confuse the shit out of me. I can't even parse meaning.

(I would've quoted them if I, you know, could.)

Aevee Bee's is basically talking about the trope where a loved one, usually girlfriend or wife, is murdered. It's basically used as motivation for the male protagonist to advance the story. The tweet basically fills Patrick's feminism quota for worth reading.

"Quota"? Do you really think Patrick sits down and goes "Oh shit, I need to find a feminist article/tweet to staple to this before I can post it"? It's pretty disheartening to see people here assuming that Patrick is trying to fill some kind of quota instead of, you know, actually giving a general crap about this kind of thing and exposing himself to writing/people who discuss it frequently as a result.

It's a joke. Calm down.

This exchange tells me a lot about the proponents of "politically charged video game journalism".

Avatar image for dalai
Posted By Dalai

I kinda want Jon Bois' dystopian NBA future to become reality.

Avatar image for lepruk86
Posted By Lepruk86

I don't think the blue shell is a bad thing, and actually, it does strike me as a pretty convincing allegory for real life, albeit in a slightly different way from how Ian sees it.

In Mario Kart, as in real life, the people who are ahead believe they got there through skill, intelligence and hard work. This simple isn't true. If you can pull into first and get even a semi-decent lead, your victory is practically assured- everyone behind you is caught in a vicious blender of red shells and lightning bolts. Anyone who pulls away from the back is likely to get hit by a rogue shell and dragged right back in. Not so for the player in first. The only red shells he has to deal with are the ones from the driver in second, and due to the way the game gives weaker items to those closer to first, the driver in second will very rarely get a red shell (or any item capable of striking down the first player's by-now formidable lead), and even if someone does end up in second with a red shell or two, it's likely that the player in first has managed to get far enough away that the shell will hit some obstacle on the way. This also makes it easier for the first player to get away in the first place- multiple times I've been in second, hotly on the tail of the player in the lead. We'll all go through an item box, me and first will get trash (which is fair), but then third will get a red shell, and, naturally, hit me with it. All I can do is watch as first pulls further away. Then, next item box, now that I'm in third, I'll get a red shell. At this point, I have to decide whether to hit the guy in second to overtake him- essentially securing the win for the guy in first at this point- or go for the 'good of the people', and attempt an item-less overtake of the guy in second to be within striking distance of the first player. This would maybe be possible, but fourth player got a piranha plant, fifth got a star, sixth got a bullet bill, and I'm being rammed by every one.

It's like real life- the rich get richer, and attribute it to their hard work, not the fact they're only getting further ahead because they're already ahead. I applied to a job earlier this year, a job that offers great entry-level experience and could truly turn someones life around. However, they required a whole mess of medical checks and forms before you could even apply. Coupled with the suit I had to buy (and I went for the absolute cheapest), the application process cost me £300. There are people who can't afford this. So, they're stuck in dead-end jobs, whilst those who can afford it (which, I feel fortunate enough to be able to say, includes me) get access to this incredible opportunity, which could easily lead to a fantastic, successful career. The rich get richer. Of course, they attribute it to their 'hard work', and get pissed when people try and take it away, but, as someone who is himself extremely privileged, I recognize the danger of this mode of thought. It's the same in Mario Kart- I don't want to brag, but I'm very often in first place, and I say: bring on the blue shell. I wish it happened more. Sure, it's easy to act like it's 'unfair' and taking away from your skill, but maybe if you try and think about it from someone else's perspective, you'd see that things, actually, were more unfair before the blue shell than after. Mario Kart offers a unique perspective into this- we've all had matches where we've been hit by an item on the first lap and never been able to recover. It's an important educational experience.

Fantastic read.

Basically how I feel in life on the opposite end. I am resentful that I am stuck in a job I hate without enough money to move to a job I wanted to do. My back-round is so far removed from what I love, that in order to do it I would have to sacrifice any amount of free time in order to achieve it. My parents aren't computer literate and I had to move out at 16.

The point isn't that I live hard or sleep rough; but that I do not have the knowledge of how to get further than my parameters allow. Something that somebody out in front (in life) already had. Yes, those people work hard, but they still had a strong springboard (like people that get university completely paid for them for example by their parents).

It's like the concept of coming into money. Those in a more privileged state know how to turn money into more money through various deals, savings etc. All I know how to do is leave it in my account which basically accumulates almost no interest.

To bring it back round to your point and MK; Sure, I may get to a little way ahead of the main pack; but never enough to have a true chance at being first.

(On a happier note; in actual Mario Kart I am very good because I spend a lot of my free time gaming; so I can't win in real life but certainly can in games lol).

Avatar image for likeassur
Posted By LikeaSsur

@sergio: And yet if it was Aiden's nephew that was murdered, someone somewhere would say there's not enough female representation. My money's on Leigh Alexander.

Avatar image for mindbullet
Posted By MindBullet

I love Jon Bois so goddamn much. I also liked the SRIV article, and think Aevee Bee's idea would make for a great indie game.

Avatar image for uberjannie
Posted By Uberjannie

Aw, you forgot the fantastic first tweet from CIA, after they have joined Twitter this week:

We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet.

Avatar image for popogeejo
Posted By Popogeejo

Congrats to Tim Colwill for getting featured!

Avatar image for dudeglove
Posted By dudeglove

God that old PAC man footage

Avatar image for treulosetomate
Edited By TreuloseTomate

@pyrodactyl: The point is, on a PC you can chose between high graphical fidelity at the cost of some frames per second and higher framerate at the cost of graphical fidelity. Console games don't offer that choice, but there is no good reason why they shouldn't. He may sound like an arrogant PC master race smug, but his points are valid.

Also some console gamers might not even realize the difference. I've played a lot of TF2 and my framerate is usually above 60 fps. But on a few occasions on larger maps with many player models on the screen my framerate can drop down to something between 25 and 35 fps, and it feels like shit when it happens. If you play a game at 30 fps locked, it isn't that bad and you get used to it. But dropping down from 60 to 30 will give you eye cancer, and you will be less accurate.

Avatar image for ravelle
Posted By Ravelle

The lightning bolt is way more frustrating than the blue shell, also if you're in the lead enough the blue shell won't make a difference.

Avatar image for rinkalicous
Edited By Rinkalicous

I don't think the blue shell is a bad thing, and actually, it does strike me as a pretty convincing allegory for real life, albeit in a slightly different way from how Ian sees it.

In Mario Kart, as in real life, the people who are ahead believe they got there through skill, intelligence and hard work. This simple isn't true. If you can pull into first and get even a semi-decent lead, your victory is practically assured- everyone behind you is caught in a vicious blender of red shells and lightning bolts. Anyone who pulls away from the back is likely to get hit by a rogue shell and dragged right back in. Not so for the player in first. The only red shells he has to deal with are the ones from the driver in second, and due to the way the game gives weaker items to those closer to first, the driver in second will very rarely get a red shell (or any item capable of striking down the first player's by-now formidable lead), and even if someone does end up in second with a red shell or two, it's likely that the player in first has managed to get far enough away that the shell will hit some obstacle on the way. This also makes it easier for the first player to get away in the first place- multiple times I've been in second, hotly on the tail of the player in the lead. We'll all go through an item box, me and first will get trash (which is fair), but then third will get a red shell, and, naturally, hit me with it. All I can do is watch as first pulls further away. Then, next item box, now that I'm in third, I'll get a red shell. At this point, I have to decide whether to hit the guy in second to overtake him- essentially securing the win for the guy in first at this point- or go for the 'good of the people', and attempt an item-less overtake of the guy in second to be within striking distance of the first player. This would maybe be possible, but fourth player got a piranha plant, fifth got a star, sixth got a bullet bill, and I'm being rammed by every one.

It's like real life- the rich get richer, and attribute it to their hard work, not the fact they're only getting further ahead because they're already ahead. I applied to a job earlier this year, a job that offers great entry-level experience and could truly turn someones life around. However, they required a whole mess of medical checks and forms before you could even apply. Coupled with the suit I had to buy (and I went for the absolute cheapest), the application process cost me £300. There are people who can't afford this. So, they're stuck in dead-end jobs, whilst those who can afford it (which, I feel fortunate enough to be able to say, includes me) get access to this incredible opportunity, which could easily lead to a fantastic, successful career. The rich get richer. Of course, they attribute it to their 'hard work', and get pissed when people try and take it away, but, as someone who is himself extremely privileged, I recognize the danger of this mode of thought. It's the same in Mario Kart- I don't want to brag, but I'm very often in first place, and I say: bring on the blue shell. I wish it happened more. Sure, it's easy to act like it's 'unfair' and taking away from your skill, but maybe if you try and think about it from someone else's perspective, you'd see that things, actually, were more unfair before the blue shell than after. Mario Kart offers a unique perspective into this- we've all had matches where we've been hit by an item on the first lap and never been able to recover. It's an important educational experience.

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Posted By hans_maulwurf

I took the TowerFall code in the middle. Thanks a lot.

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Edited By BasketSnake

I always liked what Ryan once said on the podcast (I think): "Get it out there, because content!"

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Edited By zzzellyn

@video_game_king: The Aevee one has been mentioned, but Vice Games is a parody account of one of the Vice twitter accounts. It's a non-sequitur, so if you're confused it mostly did it's job. Personally, I'm a little sad knowing it's just a spoof headline and not reality. Such a beautiful reality it would be.

The Hecker one means that he feels bad for people who can't program and can only interact with computers in the ways that others design. He's saying that because he can program he can change the way he interacts with computers on his own terms (via programming). It comes off a bit elitist, but I can see what he means by it.

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Posted By Hailinel

All is lost.

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Edited By Random45

@milkman said:

The Jon Bois NBA 2K14 article is one of the best things I've ever read.

You were NOT kidding. I would have skipped it if it weren't for this post, so thanks for that. I was laughing so hard I was crying.

Edit: Also want to agree that Totalbiscuit comes off as an asshole in that video.

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Posted By Neonie

@spoonman671 said:

I didn't realize TotalBiscuit was such an ass.

Oh boy have you been missing out.

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Edited By Cinnase7en

@l1ghtn1n: That seems like an exploit that shouldn't be there and will, probably, be patched out.

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Posted By Cinnase7en

@spoonman671: Ya. Just briefly looking at this Twitter feed he has started the process of calling console gamers "peasants". I don't care if it is a joke because I think saying something like that immediately makes you a piece of shit I want nothing to do with.

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Posted By ZironZ

I love reading articles like the Richard Moss one about emulation. With game sites always being focused on the newest games and systems, it is nice to see writing about the people working at the edges of legality to make sure the games of years past are kept alive.

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