Man, I miss college.
There's a part of me that misses the late night antics with my friends. That uncanny ability to drown 40z and shots without consequence, and the haphazard way we went about planning our evenings. "Is there a party somewhere?" "We'll find one."
More than that, it's realizing the cliche you'd heard from older friends and family: the idea that college, like youth, is wasted on its participants. I've always called myself a "B-" student. Just good enough to stop myself from being embarrassed with the grades assigned to most of my school work, but not enough to stop myself from enjoying spending the vast majority of my time being an idiot.
(Fun fact: Seth Killian was teaching at my school, and left just before I was a freshman.)
If there was a way to plop 28-year-old Patrick into the same situation as 19-year-old Patrick, I'd do so in a heartbeat. The opportunity to have basically zero real-life responsibilities (for me, anyway--I was lucky enough to have much of college taken care of due to amazing parents) and an opportunity to learn from smart, talented people? In some ways, that's why I find my current work so satisfying. In some small way, every interview that I conduct is trying to make up for all the time I wasted being, well, wasted.
This latest nostalgic trip comes to mind as my wife and I drive to the University of Michigan-Dearborn so I can finally give the TEDx talk that I'll finally stop talking about after this week. (Sorry, I'm talkative when I'm nervous.) I feel this way every time I step onto a college campus, and I struggle acknowledging the aforementioned cliche because it's also disingenuous. I don't regret any of that time, not for a second. That time was formative. The happy-go-lucky years of college teach people different things.
If nothing else, that's where I started dating my wife. Not a bad way to spend four years.
Hey, You Should Play This
You've probably read Tevis Thompson's latest, a scathing critique of modern game reviews as it relates to the abstract but related concept of criticism. If you haven't, do! You might not agree with everything Thompson has to say, but his underlining premise, the idea that we see little diversity of opinion when it comes to gaming's biggest releases, is absolutely true. What he supposes are the solutions to that problem--reviewers being more honest about their personal politics, writers not giving games points for trying, employing more critics with more varied social and economic backgrounds--proves some of the most thought provoking material. Thompson is too aggressive in his approach, especially some of his language ("these boys"), but I look at what he's saying and think "I could be doing better." Can't we always?
"But some of these scores no doubt look ridiculous to anyone familiar with most reviews. The very outlandishness of my numbers points to how ingrained our pitiful review scale remains. It speaks to how easily we submit to the tyranny of the perceived majority. It’s the same kind of thinking that leads to the many ridiculous sacrosanct positions held by the gaming community. To say you consider Ocarina of Time not a great Zelda or find Half-Life 2 overrated or prefer Metroid to Super Metroid, as I do, demands an explanation. It invites skepticism of not only your opinions but of your very motives. What’s your deal? You’re just trolling for clicks. And why should I listen to you anyway? You didn’t design the game. You don’t represent the average gamer. You’re just some vocal minority."
Game writers, you have discovered my new cat nip: Chicago. Fortunately, this piece by Charlie Hall would be worth highlighting anyway. When people ask me what I'd like to see more from in games journalism, it's this. This feature, a deep dive into the surveillance state emerging in the windy city, doesn't have much to do with whether Watch Dogs will or won't be a good game, but it's a fascinating god damn story. It should be interesting to anyone who finds Watch Dogs interesting, and especially if you find its premise implausible. It's also made me way more paranoid about my impending move downtown...
"Many cities in the world have done the same, but what makes Chicago unique is the integration of public and private cameras. Iconic buildings like the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) and the Hancock Building have voluntarily connected their surveillance systems to the OEMC, as did more than one thousand Chicago businesses like Boeing. Even individuals were encouraged to connect their personal cameras to the city's Operation Virtual Shield.
Polygon has found estimates that suggest as many as 24,000 cameras are now connected to the OEMC Operations Center at 1411 West Madison on Chicago's Near West Side, the same facility bought and paid for by Homeland Security in 2007. If there is a real ctOS in Chicago, then it lives in the "OC." That single room has become a vital part of the day-to-day management of the city of Chicago."
If You Click It, It Will Play
Like it or Not, Crowdfunding Isn't Going Away
- CastAR, the augmented reality project that Valve scuttled, is getting a new life on Kickstarter.
- SCALE asks: what if the size of your world and everything in it was in your control?
- I don't know what Dinosaur Battlegrounds is about, but it's called Dinosaur Battlegrounds.
Tweets That Make You Go "Hmmmmmm"
#rysefacts FACT: Crunch is necessary to make good video games. FACT: If you don't like it, there are a hundred 19yos q-ing up for your job.— Alex May (@psychicteeth) October 15, 2013
#RyseFacts: Our crunch schedule culls weaker devs to ensure that only the most physically enduring, resilient devs work on Ryse 2— Patrick Miller (@pattheflip) October 15, 2013
Optional objective of the year pic.twitter.com/HwR4aRjBXq— Jon Blyth (@disappointment) October 17, 2013
Oh, And This Other Stuff
- A developer rails against free-to-play design at a free-to-play conference (!!).
- A spoilery look at how Beyond: Two Souls destroys immersion in its opening moments.
- Speculation suggests paid apps are a thing of the past on iOS. Nintendo's hesitation is justified?
- Raph Koster on digesting criticism and learning to balance hope vs. real-life experience.
- Cara Ellison provides the most interesting writeup of Just Dance you'll ever read.
- Cameron Kunzelman leverages dialogue from GTA V to deconstruct Rockstar's process.
- Nathan Grayson finds out why Double Fine turned Spacebase DF-9 into a real boy.
- Simon Parkin wonders whether Dark Souls II signifies the series "going soft."