Ryan had a dark sense of humor, and so I consider it his last laugh--a final, tragic cosmic joke--that he passed away on the same day my father did, just one year later. That way, I can never forget. You win, Ryan.
Giant Bomb is different with him gone, and I’m not in a place to really write too much about what happened right now. But it felt weird to start Worth Reading without mentioning what’s happened. I still miss you, buddy.
The first couple of weeks outside of the office have been challenging, even ignoring the emotional rollercoaster we’ve all been on. I suddenly find myself with way more time on my hands, and not much to fill it. My workflow the past two years was considerably different, often depended on working with others, and now I’m coming up with everything on my own. In a sense, it’s freeing. In another, it’s completely terrifying, and maybe I should just reload Twitter?
I was often (rightly) branded the indie guy at Giant Bomb, even if I’m not a fan of the term indie. I knew what people meant, and I always took pride in using Giant Bomb’s megaphone to spotlight strange and different games. Remove the weekly podcast, Quick Looks, and Unprofessional Fridays, and I suddenly found myself with way fewer ways to provide the stuff I love with a way to show up on the site. Sure, I could write about them (and I will), but part of what makes Giant Bomb work is showing these games. To that end, I have recorded myself playing and messing around with the two games I’m recommending you check out this week, a video that will live in and outside this feature when it arrives on Friday. It’s only an experiment, so if you have any suggestions on how it should be changed, I’m always listening.
Hey, You Should Play This
- The Cat That Got the Milk by Ollie Clarke, Helana Santos, Chris Randle, Joe Mann (Browser) -- www.thecatthatgotthemilk.com
- Viscera Cleanup Detail by RuneStorm (PC) -- www.runestorm.com/viscera
And You Should Read These, Too
This is a few weeks old, but I'm still mulling Patrick Miller’s emotional response to a Kotaku story about a member of the fighting game community that was arrested for allegedly hitting his ex-girlfriend. It pissed Miller off, and he waxes eloquently about what the games media gets wrong covering subcultures. I was hit with similar comments from the fighting game community when I published a story about offensive comments made by a player during a Capcom-sanctioned live stream last year, and while I defend my reporting, Miller’s commentary resonated, and I’ll be thinking about it when writing in the future.
"To be sure, we have our own issues with misogyny and homophobia, but they’re complicated. On one hand, there are a fair amount of respected community members who are gender or sexual minorities; on the other hand, we still have a problem with problematic speech and conduct. There is, internally, people who wish for us to grow up and act like mature, respectful adults; I am one of them.
But there are also people who view that kind of thing as the “political correctness" that they seek refuge from. Like me, these folks view the FGC as a welcoming place where they can let their hair down and be among like-minded folks; they haven’t yet realized that their behavior prevents other people in the community from feeling the same way. They will come around, but it takes time — just like it takes time in any other community, game-related or not. We are doing that work on ourselves, and perhaps this weekend was a much-needed reminder that we need to continue."
The standard preview is no longer a useful piece of writing. Giant Bomb stopped doing them long ago, and we only write, talk, or feature games ahead of release when we are particularly struck or have something to say (see: my coverage of The Novelist earlier this week). What we need are more pieces like Evan Narcisse’s take on Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, in which he leverages his personal connection to an element of the game’s setting--slavery--to write introspectively about why he’s interested in seeing more of the game. Narcisse’s article has raised my interest in Black Flag more than yet another damn trailer.
"The reason I'm interested in how video games feature black people in big or small roles is to see how the multiplicity of the black experience gets represented, if at all. And when it's in a series like Assassin's Creed, which prides itself on meticulously researched recreations of past centuries, characters like Adewale and Aveline are chances to see how the present reconstructs the past."
If You Click It, It Will Play
Crowdfunding Has Promise, Hopefully Developers Don't Screw It Up
- Gods Will Be Watching was an impressive game jam game. Now, it's trying to grow.
- If you're interested in supporting thoughtful and independent games writing, support re/Action.
- The latest old school developer to come out of the woodwork is Police Quest developer Jim Walls.
Tweets That Make You Go "Hmmmmmm"
please like things and dislike things and be open about that, but that doesn't mean you have to be dismissive or caustic. What's the upside?— Steve Gaynor (@fullbright) July 18, 2013
like really, if your whole stance is that it doesn't matter that im an asshole, don't write a whole post about how im an asshole.— PHIL FISH (@PHIL_FISH) July 18, 2013
@PHIL_FISH The point was admiration for designers who are uncompromising, which people tend to react to by saying "asshole."— BenKuchera (@BenKuchera) July 18, 2013
Oh, And This Other Stuff
- Two totally different perspectives on a deeply uncomfortable moment from this past E3.
- It's hard to imagine that just now Journey is becoming a profitable game.
- An in-depth look at where Dwarf Fortress came from and where it's going.
- How to better design games with aims towards illuminating grassroots movements.
- Vlambeer's Rami Ismail responds to Double Fine's recent delay by talking about scoping.
- An argument that Don Mattrick moving to Zynga was the right move.
- Possibly the best link this week: an interview with the designer of Erotic Photo Hunt.
- The games we want, the games we deserve.
- Would you like to read what a designer who worked on Amnesia thinks of The Last of Us?
- EVE Online remains really fucking crazy.
- Here's a handy reminder on why video game previews don't really help anyone.
- The story of a person who grew up with violence discovering people who love violent games.
- ESPN breaks down what the NCAA move actually means for football games.
- Simon Parkin, can you please stop being such a good writer? Gosh.
- The quest to create the most insane controller for Divekick continues.