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Worth Reading: 11/29/2013

Because if a link to Bubsy 3D won't make you click on something, what will?

Let's cut right to the point, shall we? I'm writing this on Wednesday morning, and both Worth Reading and a review of Tearaway are what stand between me and drinking too much over the next few days.

I will say this. The week that I spent back in the office was truly great, and I hope you enjoyed it, too. The last few months of suburban hibernation with my family has been its own kind of enjoyment, but I've forgotten how much joy there is in constant collaboration with others. I'm finally moving to Chicago this weekend, and that should begin altering the content I'm putting out from this part of the world, too. There are lots of cool people in the city of Chicago, and I'm going to tap into what's here.

Honestly, I can't wait to get started.

(The soaring Oblivion soundtrack by M83 that's playing in my headphones is doing a good job of pumping me up, too.)

Hey, You Should Play This

There wasn’t time for me to record Worth Playing while in the office last week, and I’m away from my computer this week for Thanksgiving. You’ll just have to live with my heartfelt recommendation that you click on a link asking you to play a game called Bubsy 3D, and know that I’m guiding you down the right path. If you’re not convinced, try to remember Frog Fractions.

And You Should Read These, Too

As a company that’s experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in the past 10 years, Nintendo has continued to produce industry-defining works of art over and over again. I don’t feel bad saying that people who have not played Super Mario Galaxy might, in fact, be bad people, and I only say so because Super Mario Galaxy is such a wonderful game. It’s the kind of game that reminds you why Nintendo is Nintendo, and that for a company that often leaves us baffled and confused, every once and a while they pull a video game rabbit out Miyamoto’s hat. And I have to give it to Christian Donlan, as he does a fine job putting why Super Mario Galaxy is such a triumph into words. You’d think that’d be easy. It's not.

“Mario's earned the right to take a few risks, in other words. The series has always been a testament to power of what if? With Galaxy, the whole thing's finally reached the point of why not? Why not? With that kind of thinking, is it really any surprise that you can glimpse the outer edges of a genre in levels like Pull Star Path, where you float weightlessly between cosmic grappling points and navigate a space made from nothing but discarded platforms. You're playing a Mario game in which Mario frequently seems to have evolved well past the need for mere jumping, working on a larger, stranger scale where he can shift between the attraction radiuses of entire planets, and where precision gives way to an exercise in faith. You'll launch yourself into the unknown as paths made from magnetic space junk clip themselves together around you; you'll leap, hoping that Nintendo's designers will catch you.”

This is the kind of feature story any writer worth his salt looks at and goes “damn, wish I had thought of that.” What I found most interesting about this analysis was the feeling that PlayStation 4’s console and controller design feel disjoined, and the design team points out some very specific reasons why it makes that case. Considering these are the designers behind the original Xbox, one might not be surprised to see them drawing this conclusion, since you can’t say the Xbox’s “duke” controller didn't feel completely in line with that hulking green and black box.

“It’s always a challenge to design two functionally apposed objects to look like they’ve been born from the same creator; one a box to be quietly placed, admired, and left alone, the other a controller to be held and beaten into submission. But the controller is the main touch point for the console; and in the future, we believe it will have to do all the talking as consoles disappear into the cloud. Getting the ergonomics right is only half the battle, the other half is to make this handheld device the icon of the brand. Ironically Sony had achieved that with their original controller; although not everyone loved it, it still said ‘PlayStation.’”

If You Click It, It Will Play

Like it or Not, Crowdfunding Isn't Going Away

Tweets That Make You Go "Hmmmmmm"

Oh, And This Other Stuff

  • Brian Taylor tries to put the idea of "crunch" into a historical context.
  • Glitch is no longer a live game, and its developers are giving all of its assets away.
  • Ziff Davis has launched IGN Africa, a sentence that still makes my brain go "wuh?"
  • Jay Margalus says indies should publish indies, and explains why.
  • Simon Parkin's profile of fighting champ Daigo might be old, but check it out.
  • Double Fine paid back its Indie Fund investment in just two weeks.
  • Jeff Vogel explains why we need video game critics, not reviewers.
  • Rami Ismail writes about why he's a feminist, and happy to brand himself one.
  • Kris Ligman talks to Volition about the real story behind its Enter the Dominatrix DLC.
  • Jeremy Parish continues his excellent "Anatomy" series, now breaking down Metroid II.
  • Penny Arcade's Kenneth Kuan responds to criticisms of the company's recent job post.
Patrick Klepek on Google+
122 Comments
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Posted by H8RAID

Gobble-Gobble.

Edited by I_Stay_Puft

Man, fell for the old Bubsy 3D link again.

Posted by Video_Game_King

You don't mean the original PS1 Bubsy 3D, right? Because that's the one I'm gonna play.

Posted by Humanity

Man I think "insufficiently considered enthusiasm" is my new all-time favorite phrase to use on game forums.

Online
Posted by Dalai

Dammit Bubsy and that early internet web design!

However, I will give props to Christian Dolan for choosing the right game of the ganeration.

Posted by zerdune

What's so "wuh" about IGN Africa?

Posted by Dooley

That ACIV Black Flag video is hilarious. In my 40 hours I have not seen any kind of bug, especially not that crazy shit.

Posted by Mr_Misery

@zerdune said:

What's so "wuh" about IGN Africa?

Patrick probably thinks Africa doesn't have internet...or videogames.

Posted by MrGtD

I'm not sure what Christine Love is trying to say there. Is she saying Kentucky Route Zero is without substance and isn't interesting?

Edited by Video_Game_King

@humanity said:

Man I think "insufficiently considered enthusiasm" is my new all-time favorite phrase to use on game forums.

I'm more partial to this:

Good criticism can help you see exactly why the game worked (or let you down).

When people say it's the critic's job to point out the flaws in a given work (as if it's their job to be cynical assholes), I'll just show them this quote and tell them to shut their stupid faces.

Edited by Ett

The games AREN'T FREE you pay from them!!

Posted by Abendlaender

I'm a Level 1 ghost

Online
Posted by Larsa

@mrgtd: Yup, it's crazy talk.

Edited by BisonHero

@mrgtd said:

I'm not sure what Christine Love is trying to say there. Is she saying Kentucky Route Zero is without substance and isn't interesting?

Either that (which is factually wrong and makes her a horrible person), or KRZ somehow the first stylized game she has played that has substance? So now it has raised the bar, and she can no longer enjoy stylized games that don't have substance?

It's really ambiguous wording, and I don't think it's a very good tweet. Some of these tweets that Patrick highlights are either bad, or just don't work without the context of whatever the bigger discussion happened to be on Twitter that day.

EDIT: OK, no, I expanded the tweet and sure enough she just doesn't think the game is that interesting except for an aspiring game designer to learn from or something? Yeah, so far that has not been my experience at all. The game has tons of style, and even if it's a bunch of vignette ghost story kinda things without much of a greater narrative, that still makes it really interesting.

Edited by GasparNolasco

Yeah, including women in gaming makes sense, but wanting to include Africa makes you go "huh".

Posted by csl316

Bubsy 3D articles are the ultimate click bait.

Posted by Fear_the_Booboo

@mrgtd: She doesn't seem to like it, which is her opinion and is fine.

That said, KRZ is far from having no substance (but I see why someone would think so) in my opinion. It's probably my favorite gaming-experience of the year personnally (even if there's only two episodes and two small additional scenes that are playable right now).

Online
Edited by alcor741

@mr_misery: I think it's more the Ziiff Davis part. Didn't they explode couple of years ago?

Posted by ICantBeStopped

@zerdune said:

What's so "wuh" about IGN Africa?

Patrick probably thinks Africa doesn't have internet...or videogames.

Do they, besides South Africa?

Edited by planetfunksquad

Jon Blow is awesome.

Christine Love thinking that KRZ lacks substance is not.

Posted by Brodehouse

Once again, there is a difference between games criticism and games reviewing; the audience and their expectation. Someone reading criticism wants a discussion around a game, someone reading a review wants advice for how to spend their time and money. What absolutely has to stop now is the idea that this is a zero sum game, and that reviews need to become criticism in order for criticism to exist. Both audiences can be served, you write criticism, someone else will write a review. Stop trying to force the person writing the review to write criticism, stop trying to force people who want purchasing advice that what they really need is a deeper understanding of the industry.

I remember when most of the people involved in gaming were nerds who wanted to enjoy games and not suffer abuse for it. Now it seems we're relentless busybodies unhappy that other people want other things.

Edited by Gold_Skulltulla

FYI the Eurogamer writer on that Mario Galaxy piece is Christian Donlan, not Dolan.

Nice post.

Posted by zerdune

@zerdune said:

What's so "wuh" about IGN Africa?

Patrick probably thinks Africa doesn't have internet...or videogames.

Yeah, that's sad that Patrick can sometimes be that ignorant.

Posted by fisk0

You don't mean the original PS1 Bubsy 3D, right? Because that's the one I'm gonna play.

I saw that in a store two days ago, was strongly considering picking it up, but didn't.

Edited by Y2Ken

@zerdune said:

@mr_misery said:

@zerdune said:

What's so "wuh" about IGN Africa?

Patrick probably thinks Africa doesn't have internet...or videogames.

Yeah, that's sad that Patrick can sometimes be that ignorant.

I would have thought it's more that Ziff Davis, a company that earlier this year closed down 1UP, UGO, and GameSpy, as well as laying off a bunch of IGN staff (supposedly to "focus on their core brands"), are now opening a separate branch of IGN specifically for the African market.

It's good to see that market get recognised (although personally I've never really been one for region-specific sites, I use the US versions of most sites more than the UK ones just because they tend to have more content), but it's a strange move from that company given their other actions this year.

It's possible I'm mistaken, but that would be my guess for Patrick's confusion.

Posted by theinnkeeper

@y2ken said:

@zerdune said:

@mr_misery said:

@zerdune said:

What's so "wuh" about IGN Africa?

Patrick probably thinks Africa doesn't have internet...or videogames.

Yeah, that's sad that Patrick can sometimes be that ignorant.

I would have thought it's more that Ziff Davis, a company that earlier this year closed down 1UP, UGO, and GameSpy, as well as laying off a bunch of IGN staff (supposedly to "focus on their core brands"), are now opening a separate branch of IGN specifically for the African market.

It's good to see that market get recognised (although personally I've never really been one for region-specific sites, I use the US versions of most sites more than the UK ones just because they tend to have more content), but it's a strange move from that company given their other actions this year.

It's possible I'm mistaken, but that would be my guess for Patrick's confusion.

Perhaps we should just go to the source?

@patrickklepek Could you clarify your statement about IGN and Africa?

Edited by zerdune

@y2ken said:

@zerdune said:

@mr_misery said:

@zerdune said:

What's so "wuh" about IGN Africa?

Patrick probably thinks Africa doesn't have internet...or videogames.

Yeah, that's sad that Patrick can sometimes be that ignorant.

I would have thought it's more that Ziff Davis, a company that earlier this year closed down 1UP, UGO, and GameSpy, as well as laying off a bunch of IGN staff (supposedly to "focus on their core brands"), are now opening a separate branch of IGN specifically for the African market.

It's good to see that market get recognised (although personally I've never really been one for region-specific sites, I use the US versions of most sites more than the UK ones just because they tend to have more content), but it's a strange move from that company given their other actions this year.

It's possible I'm mistaken, but that would be my guess for Patrick's confusion.

I hope that's what he meant but this is what they said they would do. IGN is one of those "core brands" and opening another region specific site is "focusing on core brand". Nothing surprising about it. Right now they have another half a dozen region specific sites planned.

Edited by Xeiphyer

That AC4 video is incredible!

Posted by beard_of_zeus

I'm a Level 1 ghost

Awwww snap, how did you level up your ghost?

Posted by PerfidiousSinn

@mrgtd said:

I'm not sure what Christine Love is trying to say there. Is she saying Kentucky Route Zero is without substance and isn't interesting?

Since every game dev loves KRZ I'm just assuming it's positive.

Posted by Greenshoes

1979 looks like an interesting piece.

Posted by thegoldencat7

Had never seen that Daigo interview before. Thanks for that Patrick. Very interesting.

Daigo truly is the best ambassador the fighting game and arcade scenes could wish for.

Posted by Parsnip

Tweets that make you go hmm because there's no context? Almost all of them, almost every week.

Posted by jimmyfenix

@y2ken said:

@zerdune said:

@mr_misery said:

@zerdune said:

What's so "wuh" about IGN Africa?

Patrick probably thinks Africa doesn't have internet...or videogames.

Yeah, that's sad that Patrick can sometimes be that ignorant.

I would have thought it's more that Ziff Davis, a company that earlier this year closed down 1UP, UGO, and GameSpy, as well as laying off a bunch of IGN staff (supposedly to "focus on their core brands"), are now opening a separate branch of IGN specifically for the African market.

It's good to see that market get recognised (although personally I've never really been one for region-specific sites, I use the US versions of most sites more than the UK ones just because they tend to have more content), but it's a strange move from that company given their other actions this year.

It's possible I'm mistaken, but that would be my guess for Patrick's confusion.

Perhaps we should just go to the source?

@patrickklepek Could you clarify your statement about IGN and Africa?

Yeah i hope scoops was confused about Ziff's Motives and not the whole Africa thing.

Posted by Mechanized

Bubsy 3D was not what I expected. Even though I expected something weird, not that weird.

Edited by tourgen

The AC4 video is amazing! I'm impressed at how well it behaves and recovers to a playable state. Usually bugs like that lead to bad physics thing happening and things just exploding. Some people over there know their business.

"and in the future, we believe it will have to do all the talking as consoles disappear into the cloud."

LOL. Enjoy eating those words. Nomnomnom.

great stuff this week.

Posted by Quarters

Oblivion is one of the best scores I've heard in a LONG time. Stunned that people didn't talk about it much. Honestly, M83 is just fantastic all around.

Posted by bombedyermom

@zerdune said:

@mr_misery said:

@zerdune said:

What's so "wuh" about IGN Africa?

Patrick probably thinks Africa doesn't have internet...or videogames.

Yeah, that's sad that Patrick can sometimes be that ignorant.

Wow guys, put more words in his mouth while you're at it. Oh, and you're pitchforks are plenty sharp already.

Posted by AssInAss

I asked up Christine Love and she just only really dislikes that KRZ focused on the limping main character and doesn't like that pace. I never found that slow pace bothersome personally, just more time to appreciate everything in this illusionary surreal Americana. Plus, the game provides you with other perspectives like the girl in the caves, going into the woods as a kid, or the eagle.

Posted by SilverTorch1

@bombedyermom: No need to be so defensive man. It's just the internet, you should learn to chill out sometimes.

Posted by DevourerOfTime

The weirdest thing about IGN Africa is that it was made before IGN South America. South America is a bigger and faster growing market with a more active development scene.

Posted by BigD145

Wait. So Lisa is The Internet? You have quickly lost my interest.

Posted by DevourerOfTime

@zerdune said:

@mr_misery said:

@zerdune said:

What's so "wuh" about IGN Africa?

Patrick probably thinks Africa doesn't have internet...or videogames.

Yeah, that's sad that Patrick can sometimes be that ignorant.

Wow guys, put more words in his mouth while you're at it. Oh, and you're pitchforks are plenty sharp already.

You're just in denial about Patrick's obviously savage racism and xenophobia against the people of the various nations in Africa.

Quit denying the truth. Open your eyes, sheeple.

Posted by ToyDoll

Lvl 10 ghost.

Posted by evanbower

Cannot figure out what KRZ stands for..

Posted by MormonWarrior

YEAH SUPER MARIO GALAXY Eurogamer's the best.

Also what's with the Bubsy 3D thing? I don't get it. I played through and my mind hurts now.

Edited by Video_Game_King

@devoureroftime:

What about the dissonance between a branch that covers a small-ass country like the UK and another branch expect to cover a continent three four times the size of the United States?

Posted by AssInAss
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