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
- 1979 Revolution: Black Friday is a former Rockstar developer shooting for the stars.
- Catacomb Kids suggests the seemingly tired "roguelike" term still has life in it.
- Lisa takes place in a world where women are no longer part of the human race.
Tweets That Make You Go "Hmmmmmm"
Vincegill is evolving. Congratulations, your Vincegill has evolved into Vincegilligan!— Mark (@tole_cover) November 27, 2013
Hard to complain about free games, but Microsoft giving away a garbage platformer and a 7 year old shooter is so weak compared to Plus.— Mitch Dyer (@MitchyD) November 27, 2013
Anyway, I used to believe that it was possible to be interesting with style even without substance; KRZ has single-handedly changed my mind.— Christine Love (@christinelove) November 26, 2013
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.