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Worth Reading: 10/11/2013

It's been a long week. You deserve the weekend. Crack open that beer, and click away.

This doesn’t have anything to do with video games, but I can’t stop listen to Lorde’s “Pure Heroin” album. She’s only 16-years-old? Jeez.

The second week of Shocktober has come to an end, and I’m pretty proud of what’s been filed in support of the best month of the year so far. I had bigger ambitions for what might be on the site, but I also underestimated how much work it would be to balance that with other responsibilities. It doesn’t help that I’m supposed to give that TEDx speech next weekend, an event that distressingly hangs over my head every day. At this point, I just want it over with. The inevitable is stressful.

An interview earlier this week caused me to lose some sleep, but only because I’m not used to talking with film directors. I can do a game interview in my sleep, but everything else is slightly outside my wheelhouse. But it’s not enough to be good at what you’re already comfortable with, and that’s an easy way to creative stagnation. Publishing non-gaming material on the site has been really enjoyable, and I’m considering ways to keep that up even when Shocktober has come to a close. What? Not sure. Your thoughts are welcome.

Have you been enjoying your horror flicks so far? I’d hoped to file a series of dispatches this month to provoke discussion, but I haven’t watched nearly as many movies as I wanted, and one of them was a late night repeat viewing of Martyrs because my brother hadn’t seen it before.

“This movie is fucked up," he said.

He’s right. He fell asleep halfway through, though. That ending, man? It’s way, way worse.

Hey, You Should Play This

And You Should Read These, Too

Sometimes games are subversive, sometimes players are. Not every game successfully allows for players to have true agency when defining their play style, often because one style is more successful than others. But what happens when you disagree with what the game is asking of you, even if you’re not rewarded for it? Steven Strom decided to play Killzone: Mercenary without killing anyone, which is definitely an option for players but not one that seems very obvious from the violent-prone narrative. Strom points out how this enhanced some aspects of the story, too:

"Consequentially, I also fought fewer enemies, as there were no alarms raised to call in reinforcements. Over time, I found this to be a relief. Yes, fewer enemies meant easier objectives and greater rewards, but also meant a clearer conscience. As the first Killzone to humanize both the ISA and the Helghast, the impetus to think of my targets as more than fodder made me uncomfortable in the role I filled as Danner. A mercenary is meant to kill for profit, but even as I profited, minimizing casualties became my priority. I was forced less often forced to think about what each enemy NPC – characters that weren’t simply in it for the money – might be doing had they not been thrust into war; what they might have done if I hadn’t intervened."

Big shocker: Clive Thompson is a smart dude who says smart things. Gameolgoical, which is properly folding into The A/V Club going forward (a smart move), has a short interview with Thompson, an avid game player. Would you have guessed he’s into bullet hell? Not me. But what struck me about his conversation with Drew Toal was his thoughtful response to a question about about whether or not video games are a good thing for us as a society:

"So there has been this attempt over the last 10 years or so by people like me, who grew up playing video games, to sort of argue that these are good things. That they’re not horrible experiences for kids. They’re not going to turn them into robots or violent monsters. And one of the first lines of attack was to make a counter argument, that games increase your spatial awareness and all these things. I’ve always regarded that as not only beside the point, but maybe a bad point. Art shouldn’t have to justify itself on the level of how it improves our lives. It’s intended to be a metaphysically, or spiritually, or culturally interesting and thoughtful and entertaining and troubling experience, and that’s what games do when they’re really good."

If You Click It, It Will Play

Like it or Not, Crowdfunding Isn't Going Away

  • A horror game where the main protagonist is in a wheelchair? That's The Last Cargo.
  • The Long Dark is a post-apopcalyptic game without zombies or monsters. Well, except humans.
  • Cosmic Star Heroine is well on its way to smashing its Kickstarter goal. Good for them.

Tweets That Make You Go "Hmmmmmm"

Oh, And This Other Stuff

67 Comments
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Edited by wemibelec90

@patrickklepek: Man, that Crytek interview really threw me off when I read it the first time. My first impression was one of slight disgust. In retrospect, it's possible they weren't serious from the tone of the interview. Like you, I can't seem to tell if they were joking or not. Some clarity from either the company or the interviewer would be nice.

Posted by GaspoweR
Edited by MrGtD

@patrickklepek, that Wind Waker breakdown is for the original GameCube game, not the Wii U remaster. You can tell from having the map up on screen and the GameCube buttons on the UI.

Posted by Gold_Skulltulla

+1 on that Eron Rauch Dwarf Fortress post

Posted by Parsnip

Yeah, that technical breakdown of Wind Waker is for the original GC version. And it's pretty old too, I remember seeing it a while back.

Posted by LiquidPenguins

that polycount thread is for the original windwaker, not HD

Posted by TurboMan
Edited by dcorapi

400 Lux

Posted by TurboMan

Also, for the love of God, could it ever be possible that Jeff Green would work for Giant Bomb?

Posted by Crembaw

Oh wow, that Crytek stuff is really gross. Like at the VERY MOST, shit like that should be DLC for all the creeps and weirdos...and even then, it'd probably be crossing some very uncomfortable lines. But from both a coherency-of-vision angle *and* a human decency angle, just dress them like the serious soldiers they (supposedly) ARE.

Posted by Video_Game_King

The protagonist is only in a wheelchair? Fuck that. Give me a horror game where the protagonist is a wheelchair. How much more vulnerable can you feel when you're a wheelchair in a building with no elevators?

Posted by Usernameandemail

Sucks about Gameological merging. They have a really great small community there and the AV Club community is pretty average.

Edited by patrickklepek

@parsnip said:

Yeah, that technical breakdown of Wind Waker is for the original GC version. And it's pretty old too, I remember seeing it a while back.

Woops, thanks!

Posted by theinnkeeper

Not at all surprised about the Crytek article. Despite how distasteful it is, it makes sense. I wish the world didn't work that way, but it does.

Edited by mrcraggle

I'm surprised you make a presentation look as bad as that these days.

Posted by ReCkLeSs_X

Hire Jeff Green.

Edited by Saganomics

@video_game_king said:

The protagonist is only in a wheelchair? Fuck that. Give me a horror game where the protagonist is a wheelchair. How much more vulnerable can you feel when you're a wheelchair in a building with no elevators?

And since this is a horror game the wheelchair protagonist would have to be laying on its side, with one wheel still spinning.

Posted by jimmyfenix

I will follow Jim sterling's advice !

Edited by ProfessorEss

That Clive Thompson interview (it's almost a speech) is great.

The blowing off steam at the arcade really hit home. I spent many a lunch and evening whippin kids' asses in Mortal Kombat (1) still in my shirt and tie from work :P

I feel the same way he does about games too. Doesn't matter if you're playing Farmville, CoD or Amnesia it's all the same if yer gettin' what you need from it.

Edited by Rabalais42

I wish you guys would hire Jeff Green. Please? For me?

Edited by bunkerbuster05

That Rift/Volgarr video was hilarious. I still can't believe Brad said that.

Posted by cooljammer00

What am I missing here, that Crytek put busty women in their game? Or that they justified it by saying "the world is a mysterious place and people want different things!"?

Edited by TheElliotBee

Typo on the first line, "I can't stop listen to Lorde’s “Pure Heroin” album."

Edited by afrofools

Hey everyone, look. I found something ironic!

Someone needs to filter their adsense for sexism... or not because they'd rather have the money that their perverted, sexist audience provides.

Edit: AdSense targets ads to the person viewing the site based on their browsing behaviour within the range of ad categories that the content author chooses. It's a double-irony. Ad bot logic: Male? check. Gamer? check. Interested in objectifying women and 'male only' stuff? Somehow checked even though I am not sexist. Maybe AdSense was testing the waters.

Posted by MrMazz

As always my favorite piece of content on this site

Edited by ThreeEyedSloth

@patrickklepek:

Mike Selinker is a card/board game designer, not video games. Just FYI. He designed "Axis & Allies", "Stonehenge", and most recently, the really, really good "Pathfinder Adventure Card Game."

Edited by Jaxley

Wouldn't it be amazing if Jeff Green came to work at Giant Bomb?

Edited by SL33TBL1ND

@patrickklepek: I actually attended that lecture by Ben Abraham. Really surreal to see it show up here.

Posted by Slab64

HIRE JEFF GREEN NAO

Posted by djou

@patrickklepek Curious what you think about the Long Dark. This concept looks awesome, but I didn't kickstart the game solely because I don't think they will be able to create the game for the $200k they are asking. My decision is based on your writing about crowdfunding in general. This looks like a campaign to fund a prototype or demo, not a full game. You don't involve a veteran staff like this along with Jennifer Hale to create a low budget game. They are not being transparent about it at all and I foresee them returning to 2nd kickstarter or going early access, if this campaign is successful. I'm not surprised that its not funded yet since they are promising a game beyond the scope of the budget.

Posted by Lyfeforce

That Crytek interview... Yeah, I'm not sure what's going on there besides some really careful tiptoeing around the gender debate.

Edited by ninkendo

What's the difference between me and you?

Pokemon

Posted by SatelliteOfLove

Non-gaming stuff occasionally, when there's something real good, or its from a game maker.

@killess Killzone: Someone's done a FFT that way: no one except the Lucavi demons and other "boss" characters became crystals (ie, died for real). Every round had to end before the first enemy down croaked.

Edited by MonkeyKing1969
Posted by Mr_Creeper

I believe the album title is Pure Heroine, not heroin. Kind of a big difference. :v

Posted by masterpaperlink

Giantbomb needs some staff, it would be perfect to have jeff green on the podcast (though he seems like he could run his own dam website)

Posted by nnotdead

I just listened to a Larde song, and it just seems like something you would like. Where you really into O.A.R or Dave Mathews when you where in college? The dots just seem to connect.

Patrick offended video was great.

Posted by fisk0

It's kinda crazy how expensive Mr. Gimmick is here in Sweden (the Scandinavian countries seems to be the only place outside of Japan where it was released), a complete copy seems to go for upwards of $1000, while the cartridge alone at least seems to go for around $300, I kinda wonder what made it such an collector's item?

Edited by PandaBear

"Consequentially, I also fought fewer enemies, as there were no alarms raised to call in reinforcements. Over time, I found this to be a relief. Yes, fewer enemies meant easier objectives and greater rewards, but also meant a clearer conscience. As the first Killzone to humanize both the ISA and the Helghast, the impetus to think of my targets as more than fodder made me uncomfortable in the role I filled as Danner. A mercenary is meant to kill for profit, but even as I profited, minimizing casualties became my priority. I was forced less often forced to think about what each enemy NPC – characters that weren’t simply in it for the money – might be doing had they not been thrust into war; what they might have done if I hadn’t intervened."

What a load of wank! I'd love to see how he got past the section with the Helghast bodyguard where you have to team up with him during an escape attempt. I'm not being reductive here, you really do have to kill people to save a young boy, and the man you're working with is killing his own countrymen. THAT is worth exploring, not this shit.

I mean there's little to no context about the Helghast and ISA war... and Danner... fuck, you're character has so little agency in the world. He's another led by the nose avatar that BioShock brilliantly deconstructed years ago. A silent protagonist is fine, but when they start making decisions, WORLD CHANGING DECISIONS, I want to know why! What is MY reason for fighting? THAT question is never answered. I really like Killzone Mercenary a lot (in Brad's words, it'll be one of my top 10 games of the year), but this just sounds like an author projecting their thoughts onto a game and writing a bunch of philosophical shit hoping someone would notice how smart he is.

Even the comments on his own page same much the same thing.... the game is called KILLZONE for fucksake!

You want a wanky, bullshit review that over analyses a game... and yet remains brilliant and entertaining? Go here...

Edited by garnsr

Why is liking boobs misogynistic? Wouldn't the desire to see women being hit and shot and blown up and mutilated and whatnot be misogynistic? What is the real fate of women in combat areas through history? Are we going to start having female characters get raped when they fail a mission in order to be inclusive and realistic? I think there's more than just men wanting to feel powerful keeping female characters from being in games.

Edited by TruthTellah

Exhibiting games is a bit like exhibiting literature. It's difficult to convey what truly makes them unique and artful without having someone experience them for themselves.

Posted by Andy_117

"Why not delete your friend's Pokemon X/Y save data in two weeks' time for the ultimate scary prank?"

Oh dear god.

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