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Worth Reading 07/26/2013

It's raining everywhere, but take shelter with a new Worth Playing, and a whole set of links to keep you warm.

I’ve had a bunch of people asking me if I know anything about Eurogamer’s report this morning about PlayStation 4 developers allegedly not having access to as much of the machine’s RAM as Sony has previously indicated. The short version? No, I don’t.

The long version? I don’t care. The only specs I care about are the ones that determine whether or not I can run a game, and I have never been a person who finds it remotely interesting to get wound up about what is or isn’t inside of my game boxes. I’m always tickled when the technology press gets wound up over Apple’s decision to keep specs private, and nobody knows what’s really inside its devices until they arrive on the market. Cue the teardown from iFixit.com!

It’s not that specs aren’t important, but I can’t stand the conversation around them. People get wound up over what are, in the grand scheme of a potentially decade-long hardware cycle, meaningless differences. To what end? To spend pages spewing vomit at one another! How come we aren’t talking about how boring the launch lineups for both machines are looking? Because we’re become trained to expect garbage, and so we have nothing else to talk about?

Some PlayStation 4 games will look better than Xbox One games. Some Xbox One games will look better than PlayStation 4 games. Lots of PC games will look better than both. I realize it’s the summer and we’re all excited for the circus the fall is about to bring, but c’mon, get a grip!

I’d rather talk about trading cards on Steam. Ugh. Look what you made me say!

Hey, You Should Play This

And You Should Read These, Too

I can’t claim to know much about eSports, and it’s becoming increasingly crazy for me to ignore what is a sector of gaming destined for continued growth. I need an angle, though, and so many of the games played in eSports don’t capture my attention. Learning that the US government has granted P-1 athlete visas to League of Legends players, though, is incredibly interesting. Known commentator (and lawyer!) David Phillip “UltraDavid” Graham has written an editorial about what fans should be considering as this potentially becomes more commonplace, and he pitches a potential future where legislation and regulation become a prominent part of gaming. Consider this a primer for a bigger conversation about the topic with Graham, hopefully early next week.

"Most current legislators, judges, and bureaucrats have little reason to think about people who play video games in tournaments. No American legislatures and few courts or government agencies have had to deal with the competitive aspects of video game play. But Riot’s work in securing P-1 visas for LoL players may signal the start of more direct government involvement, whether at the government’s own volition or at the continued behest of private parties."

A firestorm erupted over Twitter earlier this week over comments by designer Jason Rohrer regarding his soon-to-be-released social experiment in MMO form, The Castle Doctrine. Players have a home, a small family, and a vault that starts with $2,000. You’re tasked with building a trap-filled home to prevent other players from killing your family and taking your money, and you must also go out and do the same. Killing the family is optional, but if the wife escapes the house, she leaves with half of the family’s money. As the title implies, The Castle Doctrine is more than just a social puzzle game, and it raises huge questions about whether playing ethically questionable material brands the player as ethically compromised, too. I don’t think that’s true, as I have plenty of problems with horror films I watch on a regular basis. That said, I don’t blame people for having trouble financially supporting people who create content they find objectionable, and Cameron Kunzelman makes a convincing argument, even if I disagree with it.

"Rohrer was “living in a place where [he] didn’t feel safe for the first time in life.” In this model, Rohrer’s safety and the safety of his family trumps the right to life of another human being. Any perceived threat to him or his family is met with a swift judgment on the offending party–he can kill the dog, he can kill the invader. Despite the fact that human beings are capable of speech and therefore can yell things like “get out of my house” or “fuck you” in order to force a would-be burglar to leave, for Rohrer, none of that matters."

If You Click It, It Will Play

Look, Crowdfunding Isn't Going Away (And FTL Was Pretty Good!)

Tweets That Make You Go "Hmmmmmm"

Finally read that article about how the biggest problem in fighting games accessibility is execution… a few years ago I would have agreed…

— Adam Atomic (@ADAMATOMIC) July 22, 2013

…But after playing online for like 100+ hours I can verify that execution is the easy part. The mind games are the real barrier to entry.

— Adam Atomic (@ADAMATOMIC) July 22, 2013

(within reasonable bounds of course - there are games/characters where execution eventually becomes a barrier)

— Adam Atomic (@ADAMATOMIC) July 22, 2013

memorizing canned combos, as hard as that is, is WAY easier than developing a philosophy and then implementing it and keeping your zen cool

— Adam Atomic (@ADAMATOMIC) July 22, 2013

The pages if a novel are like the bars of a cage: they allow us to see life's tigers and monsters up close, without danger.

— Simon Parkin (@SimonParkin) July 24, 2013

The same is true of video games. They allow us to assume the role of people who don't share our beliefs, values or systems of behaviour.

— Simon Parkin (@SimonParkin) July 24, 2013

In games we can play as the thief, the killer, the pervert or the plumber because we can distinguish what is play from what is earnest.

— Simon Parkin (@SimonParkin) July 24, 2013

Oh, And This Other Stuff

Patrick Klepek on Google+
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Posted by Antlions

No mention of SGDQ?

Posted by Kazzenn

Goddammit Ryckert.

Posted by MrMazz

Continues to be my favorite feature on the site.

I sit patiently waiting for the inevitbale complaints that Scoops is forcing his anti-sexism agenda on us by embedding that video on his weekly feature.

Edited by Pr1mus

Ludonarrative dissonance is the most grating term i can think of. I can't stand to read or hear those stupid words and the discussion that usually goes with them... but mostly just the words themselves. Fucking hate them!

Also Steam cards are great, i made a dollar today by selling 3 Tomb Raider cards. What's not to like?

Posted by cooljammer00

I remember when Rogue Legacy was still not out yet, people on Twitter were calling the developers on Twitter bigots and homophobes and spreaders of homophobia because of the gay trait in the game. Even though the devs outright said "Gay doesn't do anything in the game. We want to say that gay people can be heroes too.", people kept insisting they knew "what the gay trait really did" and how they were finding it offensive. And this was when only the demo was out!

I'm not sure if they were trolling or not, but looking at their Twitter pages, it didn't seem so. It seemed the devs tried to make an inclusive statement about the queer community and had people pre-emptively jump down their throats about it. It was the worst case of attacking a game before its out and claiming a game was overtly offensive when it wasn't trying to do anything of the sort.

Posted by redelectric

At the risk of sounding contrarian, i kinda feel like the "asshole" post is well...being dismissive of people's personalities. I mean, to equate someone saying dick-esque things with someone who legitimatley has/had mental and emotional issues is a bit of a stretch, but it also places a hugely negative label on people who's social mores an/or their upbringing differs from the 'norm'.

Now i may be reading it differently, or perhaps missing what the gentleman's intended message is, but it sure seem like shaming an 'asshole' to conform to on particular stricture of the current revision of the social contract, instead of taking a moment and perhaps trying to understand where the other is coming from and what they are trying to communicate.

Could be just me though.

Edited by PimblyCharles
Posted by Slab64

Jenn Franks Animal Crossing review that is linked above is great. As is anything she writes. She is becoming one of my favorites.

Posted by muttjones
Posted by iragequit

I just read way too much about CRTs.

Posted by CarlosDanger

@cooljammer00: Although I agree with what your saying the gay trait actually makes it so that outside of boss room the male statues give you mana unlike how other characters without the trait get chicken legs from the male statues.

Posted by cooljammer00

@cooljammer00: Although I agree with what your saying the gay trait actually makes it so that outside of boss room the male statues give you mana unlike how other characters without the trait get chicken legs from the male statues.

Hmm....that's a little worse. They should have made being gay allow you both mana boosts from the male statues and health boosts from chicken. Gay people like chicken too! In a way, it'd be better to be gay.

Posted by sissylion

@cooljammer00: Is there a heterosexual trait?

Basically, yeah. Including homosexuality as a trait implies that every character who doesn't have it is heterosexual, and adds a whole layer of heteronormativity that shouldn't be there. And that doesn't even bring up the fact that "gay" is lumped in with a bunch of joke traits like "nostalgic."

Rogue Legacy's gameplay looks really interesting to me, but that and the dyslexia jokes have left a taste in my mouth so sour that I don't ever want to play it.

Edited by TinyGrenade

Is it appropriate to be a fanboy about the fact that Patrick included the article I wrote about Rogue Legacy here? And to be so glad to see people talking about it? I've always loved this feature of GB and to be the smallest part of it is incredibly humbling.

Also, everything Jenn Frank writes is amazing.

Edited by jakob187

Patrick, don't you go plastering a picture of Rumble on the front page and then just link it to some crap about the US government declaring esports a "professional sport." I was REALLY hoping that you would rebel against Brad and start playing League!

Posted by ch3burashka

@muttjones said:

@cooljammer00: Is there a heterosexual trait?

Basically, yeah. Including homosexuality as a trait implies that every character who doesn't have it is heterosexual, and adds a whole layer of heteronormativity that shouldn't be there. And that doesn't even bring up the fact that "gay" is lumped in with a bunch of joke traits like "nostalgic."

Rogue Legacy's gameplay looks really interesting to me, but that and the dyslexia jokes have left a taste in my mouth so sour that I don't ever want to play it.

Looks like you got the "butthurt" trait...

Edited by mrfluke

oh i disagree about the launch lineup of games on both systems looking entirely boring now. thats a bit extreme to say. i mean, i get where your coming from, but there are still a few promising games on both systems.

Dead rising 3 could be promising same with project spark (i believe thats this year?), and Knack looks like a good throwback. and it wouldnt surprise me if killzone shadowfall is actually good, killzone actually has some good fiction that sadly hasnt come through in the games.

Edited by MarkWahlberg

I haven't actually read anything about what the deal is with Castle Doctrine, and at this point it seems like it's better not to bother because it's going to be one of those conversations where you end up hating everyone.

Edited by sissylion
Posted by Fobwashed

Thanks for another hot list of stuff to check out.

Aireal seems like a cool idea but seems like it'd be a really hard sell to devs and consumers alike. It reminds me of that smell generating tech from a long time ago =\ I'd love to try it out but I doubt I'd buy it.

Edited by churrific

A bunch of cool videos this week. Whoever did that EVO moments video though, extra kudos to them. It was well done. For a major competition, I like how the majority of that highlight reel is just crowd reactions. Haha it's like PAX with a 10x level of passion.

Posted by ch3burashka

@ch3burashka: Good one, bro. Really zinged me.

God, I hope so - I spent dozens of minutes on that one.

Posted by 4f3f4324f342

Ugh, I am sick of Patrick and his feminist position of gaming... It's all half truths, I have never met anyone who was against girl gamers, and if they are they are usually against people in general.

So Guys like to sometimes hang out together without females... its not sexist as girls sometimes like to hang out without guys around.... ugh...

I think Guys need to start complaining about being hasseled for being women haters when most arn't.

Posted by AMyggen

@dr_zox said:

Ugh, I am sick of Patrick and his feminist position of gaming... It's all half truths, I have never met anyone who was against girl gamers, and if they are they are usually against people in general.

So Guys like to sometimes hang out together without females... its not sexist as girls sometimes like to hang out without guys around.... ugh...

I think Guys need to start complaining about being hasseled for being women haters when most arn't.

Not to start this discussion again, my position as a male gamer is that if a lot of female gamers feel discriminated against (and they do), they probably are. And it's a problem. I have a lot more patience for "the feminist position of gaming" (whatever that means) than the Reddit crowd who dismisses the whole problem.

Online
Posted by 4f3f4324f342

@amyggen: There is a lot to unpack about this statement so I am going to post a blog about this. The problem is the half truth... Women are victimised Men are not. There is a lot wrong with gender stereotypes in any form of media but to stand up on a soap box and claim that women are the only victims is misleading.

Posted by AMyggen

@dr_zox: Let's agree to disagree for now, I don't want to start this argument again. Now I'm gonna get drunk, so see you later (I'd appreciate if you could maybe PM me the link to your blog post or something, if you write anything).

Online
Posted by steelerzfan101

Wow, I never would have thought that a game like The Castle Doctrine would spark such a social debate. I thought that the points brought up in this debate would just be merely overlooked.

Edited by GaspoweR

@churrific: It's in the last few frames of the video mainly it was mostly done by 1Up alum (particular in the Game Videos site) Richard Li which I should probably also tell @patrickklepek as well unless he already knows about it too. Hehe! I know he does EVO moments videos every year since 2011 and they're all good. You can find high quality videos of the stuff he's done here including the previous years he did EVO moments as well as the small transition videos that were aired in between games during Finals day (which come to think of it it's incredible he was able to pull of these videos within a day):

https://vimeo.com/user2230089/videos/page:1/sort:date

Here's are some of my favorite vids:

Edited by jimmyfenix

@mrfluke said:

oh i disagree about the launch lineup of games on both systems looking entirely boring now. thats a bit extreme to say. i mean, i get where your coming from, but there are still a few promising games on both systems.

Dead rising 3 could be promising same with project spark (i believe thats this year?), and Knack looks like a good throwback. and it wouldnt surprise me if killzone shadowfall is actually good, killzone actually has some good fiction that sadly hasnt come through in the games.

This. Also the games havent even come out. By the end of the year Patrick can be right or dead wrong.

Posted by Parsnip

What is a Man?

Posted by Gelf513

Honestly, I'm actually really excited about some of the launch games this holiday. I think Knack looks really charming, and I love the killzone games. I know they'll be on current gen as well, but I'm also pretty psyched for watch dogs and AC IV.

Posted by bananaz

That Castle Doctrine discussion is pretty interesting. But I think Cameron should play it. The question I have is whether Castle Doctrine reifies or critiques the gated-community mentality. It can be read either way. I presume you can't exactly win the game. I also find it interesting that your home's safety depends on raiding other houses. That looks like an implicit critique to me, an exploration of selfishness and othering.

Posted by mrfluke

@mrfluke said:

oh i disagree about the launch lineup of games on both systems looking entirely boring now. thats a bit extreme to say. i mean, i get where your coming from, but there are still a few promising games on both systems.

Dead rising 3 could be promising same with project spark (i believe thats this year?), and Knack looks like a good throwback. and it wouldnt surprise me if killzone shadowfall is actually good, killzone actually has some good fiction that sadly hasnt come through in the games.

This. Also the games havent even come out. By the end of the year Patrick can be right or dead wrong.

true, but i still think its a bit extreme to make absolutes like that though,

i think stuff like ryse and killer instinct with how middling the preview coverage has been on those games (which i think ryse can still be alright providing the story and the multiplayer is good), and the general reception that killzone has (which i get that one) kind of casts a bit of a generalization on the launch lineup for both systems.

also i think a bit of it is the growing distaste patrick has with AAA games.

which sooner or later, i think hes gonna have to draw the line on when a game is just simply not for him vs calling it "garbage"

if nothing else, both still will have the interesting downloadable games.

Posted by Cuuniyevo

@parsnip said:

What is a Man?

One who chooses.

Posted by DriftSPace

@parsnip: A miserable little pile of secrets!

Posted by Morningstar

Thakns for the links Patrick, always have some good stuff to read thank to this weakly feature.

Edited by Sergio
  • You are a human piece of shit, Dan Rykert. I love you. Go fund his latest stupid thing, okay?

This is a fund my ego project. It's sad that a lot of game journalists who are friendly with Dan even mention it as if it's a good thing.

Everyone is free to fund whatever crowdsourcing project they want, but this is beyond stupid. I can only hope people don't listen to Patrick in this case. Suggesting that people should go fund it is equally stupid. I didn't fund the Penny Arcade podcast thing, but this is worse than that.

Posted by Elwoodan

Really like the play between the Parkin quotes and The Castle Doctrine article.

I guess, what I don't understand, is why the article's writer is so against the home defense aspect of the game. someone breaking into your home seems, to me, a very clear violation of your personal safety, its one thing to attack a person who you think is following you or is up to no good, and quite another to stop a person who has broken into your home. There is no ambiguity there, and I would agree that the person who as initiated the breach of my personal safety has given up their right to personal safety.

The only case I can think of as 'justified' home invasion would be in a life or death situation where breaking in was the only way to save a life, and if your present (and able to respond to someone breaking a window) you should be equally able to respond to furious pounding on the door.

Big thank you to the article's author though, I hadn't really ever thought about this issue in these terms before.

Posted by paulunga

I'm kinda disappointed in the EVO moments video only showing Marvel and Street Fighter.

Posted by SecondPersonShooter

Completely agree with your stance on arguments over specs on consoles, Patrick, and very well said on your part

Edited by zakn

I have liked the Castle Doctrine for a while. I guess I don't struggle with the larger issues in games. I shot Duck without a moments hesitation. I play Eve so I'm heartless and cruel (I do give money to The Angel Project because Sindel is awesome) to anyone that isn't a friend. I'm literally scamming a corp that's in an alliance that we just kicked out of a Region. And I didn't think twice about murdering a dudes wife and taking his stuff in the Castle Doctrine. But thats the game, and thems the breaks.

Edited by Nardak

Sorry Patrick but hardware specs are actually pretty essential when it comes to any gaming related discussion.

Tha hardware specs do define what kind of games one is able to play on the system. Or do you think that for example the discussion about the Wii U specs was essentially "garbage" as you term it.

Maybe Wii U is partially suffering at the moment because the specs for that particular console were set too low when it comes to the standard that people expect of todays gaming machines.

Also just because you think that hardware spec related discussion isnt interesting (or garbage as you defined it) there are plenty of people who are interested in that kind of a discussion.

Also there are plenty of tech related sites on the net. Have you asked from Will Smith if he agrees with your opinion that this kind of a discussion is not useful or productive?

Posted by Livingitlarge224

@nardak: The point he is making is that the two consoles are going to have comprable specs. Quibbling over the insignificant differences in them doesn't mean anything because it will be up to the quality of the game designers & developers to actually get the most out of the hardware. The human element is the interesting part, not the technical. To prove our point the Wii U is more powerful than the Xbox 360 or the PS3 and has done nothing exciting so far. ho hum.

Edited by Nardak

@livingitlarge224: The Wii U was launched far too late in the cycle of the current generation consoles to be a real competitive force. Nintendo was far too conservative and wanted to save cash instead of committing to the next generation console development.

For PS 3 the cell was the thing that made development so difficult for the console early in its life cycle. This led to the fact that most of the PS3 ports were worse than the XBOX 360 ones.

It is a bit silly for Patrick to take the position that technical details of new consoles arent worth discussing. The consoles might have comparable specs on paper but the reality could be quite something different.

People will discuss the technical details on pretty much everything. Just because that particular discussion doesnt interest Patrick doesnt mean that it isnt worth discussing.

Posted by Shivoa
Posted by MrKlorox

Dude who doesn't know anything about pc hardware doesn't care about pc hardware. News at eleven.

Posted by Livingitlarge224

@nardak: He feels the specs won't make a difference in how the consoles sell and he doesn't think it will change the quality of games. He thinks the games are what is important. He is the journalist here and he can choose what he wishes to cover. It makes sense to me. Other people will compare the same three stats back and forth if you like, but at the end of the day if all they release is a couple of good games and a bunch of garbage you can have all the horse power in the world and it won't make a lick of difference. Yeah, sure better specs means there is the potential for better games, but it doesn't mean a console will do well or that anyone will make any good games for it or that anyone will even buy it.

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