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Worth Reading 08/09/2013

A new set of weird games to learn of, stories to get jealous and frustrated about, and your regular dose of miscellaneous.

Starting next week, these idiots will be yapping at you live on the front page, at least until someone pulls the damn plug.

Just as soon as I think I have this recording video from your computer thing down, something else pops up.

While recording Worth Playing earlier today, it refused to capture my browser, randomly switched the resolution, and generally forced me to pull my hair out. It all looks fine now, except my webcam is in a different position and varies in size during each game because there’s no way standardize this stuff and there sort of is but I don’t use it well and I’m sorry and aosijdafpsijdfaposijf.

Anyway.

The morning show comes back next week. We kick off at 7:30 am PST / 9:30 am CST / 10:30 am EST. We’ll (hopefully) be doing it twice a week, and the plan right now is Monday and Friday. We might even have a guest on Friday to discuss something that was going to be a feature on the site, but instead morphed into a segment on the morning show instead. We don’t have many guests on the Bombcast, but since we’re already recording the morning thing over a Google Hangout, it makes sense to bring in other people when it makes sense. We’re already starting to plan something that is going to go well beyond the 30 minutes it was meant for, aren’t we?

My anniversary is this weekend, and it’s crazy to think it’s been more than a year since the events of last summer. 2012 and 2013 were quite a whirlwind for Patrick Klepek, and I’m okay with that. It would be nice if the next year could balance out the bad news with the good news, though. It’s hardly a guaranteed thing, but I was asked to submit a pitch for a regional TED talk out here in the midwest. I’m still mulling over my topic, but I only have a few days before I need to submit my pitch. Who knows if it’ll get picked, but it’s an honor to be asked.

Hey, You Should Play This

And You Should Read These, Too

It would be just grand if Tevis Thompson could stop writing columns for Grantland. His ability to connect the dots between experiences that have seemingly nothing to do with one another is remarkable. Thompson takes up The Walking Dead: 400 Days (the latest Faces of Death feature is coming, promise), Sorcery!, and Depression Quest with one fell swoop in this latest piece. Thompson explores the relationship between player character and player, and ties that into the larger debate happening in games about the lack of diversity in our game characters. It’s a shame more people aren’t reading Thompson’s pieces over at Grantland. Let’s change that.

"But every time a game explores another subjectivity, both the medium and the player expand. I had never played as an abused child until The Binding of Isaac. I had never played as a transgender woman in transition until Dys4ia. I had never played as a person struggling with depression, even though I’d actually been one, until Depression Quest. Each of them spoke to me in the unique language of video games, evoking empathy through agency, and more are coming out every day. We will soon say: I escaped my abusive parent, or I experienced the frustrations and hopes of hormone replacement therapy, or I survived depression (and still fight it every day). This is what it’s like. You are not alone."

I wanted to throw up after reading this. I’ve long objected to the design of many social games, and it’s sickening when the psychological logic driving the design is broken down to its essential elements. This is the furthest thing from skill and fun, and at what point does this begin to constitute gambling and catch the attention of the outside world? These games are straight up tricking people, and I’m going to start exploring a story I’ve been kicking around for a while. I’ve heard what social games focus tests are like, and the metrics companies look for made me uncomfortable.

"A coercive monetization model depends on the ability to “trick” a person into making a purchase with incomplete information, or by hiding that information such that while it is technically available, the brain of the consumer does not access that information. Hiding a purchase can be as simple as disguising the relationship between the action and the cost as I describe in mySystems of Control in F2P paper.

Research has shown that putting even one intermediate currency between the consumer and real money, such as a “game gem” (premium currency), makes the consumer much less adept at assessing the value of the transaction. Additional intermediary objects, what I call “layering”, makes it even harder for the brain to accurately assess the situation, especially if there is some additional stress applied."

If You Click It, It Will Play

Satoru Iwata Sounds Awfully Like Steve Jobs Here

“If I was to take responsibility for the company for just the next one or two years, and if I was not concerned about the long-term future of Nintendo at all, it might make sense for us to provide our important franchises for other platforms, and then we might be able to gain some short-term profit.

What I believe is that Nintendo is a very unique company, because it does its business by designing and introducing people to hardware and software - by integrating them, we can be unique. And because we have hardware and software developers in the same building, they stimulate each other.”

-- Computer & Video Games

Like it or Not, Crowdfunding Isn't Going Away

Tweets That Make You Go "Hmmmmmm"

Oh, And This Other Stuff

Patrick Klepek on Google+
89 Comments
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Posted by Bishop113

@mrmazz: It covers the thief part, the ignorance bit I admit is unfounded but I think there's a strong likelihood that she hasn't played many of the games she is criticizing in the video as well as past examples where she shows ignorance of a character or game she's criticizing such as in her video on Bayonetta where she claims that Bayonetta removes her clothing in order to perform attacks using her hair and claims it makes no sense, where I know that her clothing IS her hair and I haven't even played the game before. Not that bayonetta is any better a character knowing that fact lol.

As for spreading false information aside from the above example, Anita skews every character she discusses as being a helpless worthless woman in need of saving by a man, I consider this false information. Here's a good video, from a lady, regarding this part of Anita's videos.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJihi5rB_Ek

Posted by Dunchad

I don't really understand the point of Sarkeesian's videos. I mean, the message that I get from them is this: "There are too many games with male protagonists saving damsels in distress and I believe it to be harmful to how society views and treats women.". Or something along those lines. That is, she wants more games that subvert those tropes we're all used to.

But doesn't that mean, that what she is really saying, is: "Hey Developers, you need to make games that do this and this and this, but not this or that.". Isn't that a bit weird? If you allow me a bit of hyperbole - it's like walking up to Monet and telling him that maybe he should stop with the impressionism stuff and try out some surrealism instead.

It's fine to critique the games that you don't like. But to ask creators to capitulate and create only things that suit your purposes is something totally different. But maybe I misunderstand her intentions. If awareness is all she is after, then I suppose she is succeeding in that.

Posted by Set

At this point, all I care about in gaming right now is Virtual Reality.

Posted by ManicMyna

I'm sure that not publicising that feminist bullshit merchant would help to see her leave a slime trail back to the rock she originally oozed out from underneath & thus returning to being an internet nobody

Posted by geekbot

That is one fine typing game there. It literary had me gushing with excitement! :b

Posted by bgdiner

Great read, Patrick. Nothing like coffee and great articles to cap off one's morning.

Edited by Levio

I found depression quest entirely unrealistic.

There were no options to buy lottery tickets in hopes of a big win, complain/troll on internet forums to pass the time, or to buy a gun and kill yourself.

I'm glad they inserted the "adopt a kitten" option though, that's true that people sometimes turn to pets.

Posted by clumsyninja1

Love some Greg Miller, that guy is okay. Also, pretty funny...

Posted by Sidewalkchalk

I just wanted to say that the woman doing the Damsel in Distress videos is DEAD WRONG about "pre-existing stereotypes" when comparing the guy and girl in Spelunky.

LOOK AT THE GUY. All guys are supposed to have chiseled features? Abs? Look at this..

She was on point until railing against Spelunky. There are SO many bigger, better examples. I think she makes some good points, but I think she's much more just view-baiting.

Posted by strings19

This is related to the Jeff G blog

My problem with almost any (console) multiplayer game is the lack of proper filters for skill level. Jumping into Battlefield 3 last week with a PS+ account was not a fun experience, when teams of maxed out players are killing me while I am trying to get my bearings. The same when I tried Last of Us and was playing against teams of players with body armour.

I don't think they should let me win just for playing, but are there any ways to make this better? Could the systems in Starcraft and LoL work in shooters? Didn't Halo try this?

Edited by 4f3f4324f342

@skanker:

Here’s the problem

I hate porn, but I am going to use it as an example

Is a playboy magazine sexist? It portrays women has overly sexualized objects its a fantasy... But men want to buy it. If women stood up and said we demand playboy change as it is reinforcing negative women stereotypes this would be ridiculous. Playboy is a magazine targeted towards males. you are free not to purchase this magazine.

Same goes with video games, they are allowed to have male protagonists because they are targeted for males. This isn't a case of the evil patriarchy trying to keep women down but simple supply and demand. As the gaming demographic is changing to become more equal so to are games changing (the latest tomb raider, mass effect, skyrim etc).

Also, Anita’s list of demands are unreasonable.

She lists Spelunky as a game that reinforces the damsel in distress issue with females. when presented with a male damsel in distress she dismisses this as its "not reinforcing male stereotypes"..... Wait what? So you can't have a female damsel in distress whatsoever... even if you have male damsels? this isn't equality this is blatant sexism, she wants all damsels to be male and that would fix the issue?

She needs to give more positive examples of what she wants in a game

Posted by posh

good lord i just remembered why i don't read comments on giant bomb

Posted by 4f3f4324f342

@posh said:

good lord i just remembered why i don't read comments on giant bomb

Remeber its Patrick who brings it up, not the community... if he stopped posting Anitas silly videos the discussion wouldn't turn this way

Posted by Marokai

@dr_zox said:

@posh said:

good lord i just remembered why i don't read comments on giant bomb

Remeber its Patrick who brings it up, not the community... if he stopped posting Anitas silly videos the discussion wouldn't turn this way

It's just blatant click/comment bait at this point, particularly since, even if you agree with Anita, she's not saying anything new or thought-provoking at this point.

Edited by Wrenchfarm

Yeesh, I hate to be THAT guy, but does nobody else remember The Haunting: Starring Polterguy for the Genesis? Preeeeety much the same game as Poltergeist up there. Like, exactly the same game.

Here, check out a bad LP - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWQHaH6I0iw

Posted by SpudBug

It really is gross how bad the f2p stuff has gotten. I wonder if people will eventually just get sick of it and stop falling for it. Probably not. I have to wonder though, how many of the "whales" they talk about spending so much money on the facebook games and browser games are just people who are for whatever reason bedridden or handicapped and can't leave the house but have disposable income. Like why home shoping networks thrive.

It's gross to think that so much development attention and time and money is going towards tricking a vulnerable group of individuals like children, not making quality games. It especially makes you feel bad when you see not just the shitty companies like zynga or kingcom but companies like capcom, namco, sega, etc getting interested in it. Hopefully the talent isn't stuck there making that shit forever.

Posted by oueddy

@posh said:

good lord i just remembered why i don't read comments on giant bomb

As soon as:

  1. Anything mentions Anita Sarkeesian or Feminist Frequency or non straight/white/male issues
  2. Patrick posts anything

Its not worth reading the comments, for your own sanity as a normal human being.

Posted by meteora3255

@player1: Tom Bissell (semi) regularly writes for Grantland as well. He did a really good interview with Ken Levine on BioShock Infinite and his approach to writing games not to long ago.

As a basketball fan I go to Grantland almost exclusively for Zach Lowe who is the best basketball writer I have found, but when they do games coverage it is generally top notch.

Posted by Nicked

I don't think I agree with that Grantland article. He's got some really good ideas but doesn't take them far enough in his argument. Is "empathy through agency" much different from empathy through reading a book or watching a movie? Moreover, I don't think games accurately convey "what it's like" to experience abuse. We might say "I escaped my abusive parent", but "I" didn't, "I" was playing a game. I.e. even though there's a linguistic difference between the "I" of the player and the character of Master Chief, we still understand the dissonance there. I guess what I'm saying is that if I kill someone in The Walking Dead, it doesn't weigh on my conscience.

Maybe I'm taking Thompson too literally, but it doesn't seem like he has a strong argument beyond "games can evoke empathy". This is true, but he tries to fill it with immense portent and, for me, comes up lacking.

I'm all for diversity of player characters in games, but I don't think men have a problem playing as female characters. Tomb Raider sold pretty well. People love BG & E and Mirror's Edge. There are problems with diversity in video games, but to say that playing as another gender is some totally esoteric thing seems fallacious. It's not that we have trouble empathizing with our opposite gender (male or female) in any media, but that in games specifically there isn't a lot of diversity.

Like I said, I think Thompson has some good ideas, but the argument he makes is mostly empty. Playing Depression Quest makes you no less alone than reading The Bell Jar or whatever. Games evoke empathy, but art evokes empathy. This is a tautological and overly simple argument.

Posted by Skillface

@marokai said:

@dr_zox said:

@posh said:

good lord i just remembered why i don't read comments on giant bomb

Remeber its Patrick who brings it up, not the community... if he stopped posting Anitas silly videos the discussion wouldn't turn this way

It's just blatant click/comment bait at this point, particularly since, even if you agree with Anita, she's not saying anything new or thought-provoking at this point.

How dare Patrick post something that people are interested in having a conversation about! What an ass!

Yeah you guys are reaaaally just proving the original quoted comment with these responses. It's not the discussion itself that is the problem, it's the amount of blatant misogyny and "FEMINAZI" idealism on this site and in its comment sections. It's apparent everywhere, and Patrick just takes the flak for it.

Posted by mrpepin

@oueddy said:

@posh said:

good lord i just remembered why i don't read comments on giant bomb

As soon as:

  1. Anything mentions Anita Sarkeesian or Feminist Frequency or non straight/white/male issues
  2. Patrick posts anything

Its not worth reading the comments, for your own sanity as a normal human being.

you got the "issues" part right.

Posted by shonuff

thanks for the weekly kotaku round-up patrik.

Posted by TheCheese33

Ugh, I need to stop reading the comments on these stories. The misogyny and sexism present in our community is too depressing.

Edited by ICantBeStopped

Is there enough news in video games to talk about twice a week?

Posted by ICantBeStopped

Whoa, the white knights are just as annoying as the people they're annoyed by.

Posted by Norusdog

@mrmazz said:

This is always my favorite piece of GB content outside of the BOMBCAST.

That candy crush piece just is a gut punch. It's showing you all the strings and men behind the curtain and you just feel so helpless about how you get played. Well my mom gets played I don't touch those f2p mobile baby games #ConsoleGamingElite

Patrick I really hope you get into the Giant PowerBombcast just so they'd have to explain pro wrestling nostalgia to you, which is a realy weird thing.

agreed....I can't believe people actually spend money on that crap and it's an obvious nickel-and-dime treatment. Yes companies are out to make money but when the way you do it is so shady and shitty...you should just off yourself.

however, and sorry but....

......I swear to god. That "twit" speak is as bad as l33t speak. Why are people using it outside of twitter? it's stupid as shit and really makes the user look like an idiot.

Posted by bunnymud

@thecheese33: where is the misogyny in the replies? Pointing out that she is stealing content from others off of YouTube is just pointing out fact.

Posted by 4f3f4324f342

@skillface: All I am saying is that either you post these videos and people discuss them and ridicule them or you don't post them and people talk about games instead

Perhaps Patrick should post his articles on sexism in digital media on a different post then it wouldn't dominate the page

Edited by Xeirus

The Ryan memorial link made me tear up all over again... I thought I was over this :/
Miss you dude.

Posted by cabrit_sans_cor

Every gender discussion sounds like This Is Spinal Tap.

"The album cover is sexist."

"What's wrong with being sexy?"

Edited by danm_999

@dr_zox said:

@posh said:

good lord i just remembered why i don't read comments on giant bomb

Remeber its Patrick who brings it up, not the community... if he stopped posting Anitas silly videos the discussion wouldn't turn this way

This is kind of a fucked up thing to say.

I mean, if the community is so immature (and honestly, I don't think it is, but for argument's sake) that even bringing up the conversation turns to shit, isn't that a poor reflection on the community, not the person who initiated the conversation (completely neutrally I'll add, Patrick neither advocates for, nor opposed Sarkessian's video)?

Are we so far gone that we can't simply say and think things like "hmm, I'm not very interested in reading/watching that link", or "I disagree with that and here's a rational explanation of why" or "that's just clickbait". Are we instead people who you simply can't bring up certain topics around, because well, we'll react very badly and silly Patrick simply should have known better.

What would that say about the Giant Bomb community at large? It doesn't seem very flattering to me, and it's almost like the point seeks to infantilise us.

Because at the core of this, I don't get why there's so much outrage that Patrick has linked a video of what people are discussing in gaming on the internet this past week or so in an article designed to summarise what people are discussing in gaming on the internet this past week or so.

I get not liking the videos. I don't think they're very pertinent or useful myself, and they do blatantly mischaracterise things and cherrypick examples, but I continually fail to understand this obsession with decrying even having the conversation, and shitting on Patrick as being the grand instigator for linking to something that's being discussed anyway (even on this very site via the forums).

Posted by gave1

@patrickklepek One thing I have always wanted to see investigated in games like Candy Crush is how the suggested move is actually provided. I have run into situations where I have only one move left and one clear move to finish a board, but the game actually suggests a different move. While the game shouldn't always tell you the "right" or "best" move, it also shouldn't suggest an obviously "wrong" move, thus causing you to fail a level and be brought to a screen to buy more moves. At best, this seems disingenuous or dishonest, at worst, I wonder if it is flat-out fraudulent.

Posted by Beeezer

@gesi1223 said:

I was told to play Candy Crush Saga by a friend of mine, I had better judgement in his ideas of good games before then. The game was fun at first, attempting to play through it without buying any bonuses at all is proving to be way more frustrating than fun. I'm beginning to steer clear of mobile games more and more because of these gross monetization methods.

I'd agree. The fact that you can play the game without buying a single bonus (I played till lvl 70) and still get far shows that at its base level it is still a game. Because of the F2P reasoning, they insist that you buy those bonuses or use their pyramid friend scheme to continue playing. Now a game that is truly rigged for constant payment plans is the browser game, King's Bounty: Legions. That's a game that all but forces you to buy their bonuses. I think it's more of why you should pay for the extra benefits rather than how are you playing this [F2P] game without those benefits.

Posted by jdh5153

Candy Crush is one of the most fun games ever made. Fuck you if you don't like it.

Posted by Tikicobra

I really enjoyed that free-to-play article. Except when I shared it on another site I got an insane amount of hate for it. I guess the people there are alright with being exploited by companies.