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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+
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Posted by beard_of_zeus

@so_hai said:

"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."

I thought Plus cost you - so the comparison is uneven. Also, the age of the game is immaterial if it's a quality game, don't you think? I don't know which one he's referring to but it sounds contemptuous for no reason.

You only get the free games if you are a Gold member, so it's a fair comparison. I would normally agree about the age not mattering if it's quality, but if you are even remotely interested in shooters and have a 360, I guarantee you've played Gears of War. On top of that, I'm pretty sure every copy of Gears of War Judgment came with a free copy of the original GoW, so this free gesture of Microsoft's is pretty empty, all told.

Posted by InfamousBIG

" disjoined " is NOT A WORD.

Yeah, bro, it is.

Posted by Accolade

I thought the controls in Galaxy made it unenjoyable.

Posted by teh_pwnzorer
Edited by Quid_Pro_Bono

Will there ever be a point where every article on the Internet that has the words "video game" and "woman" in it will not become a fucking circle jerk of "Anita Sarkeesian is a LIAR!!!!"? Because it's seriously draining.

Edited by scarycrayons

Will there ever be a point where every article on the Internet that has the words "video game" and "woman" in it will not become a fucking circle jerk of "Anita Sarkeesian is a LIAR!!!!"? Because it's seriously draining.

It is draining, I agree, but as long as people can't express their frustration on the relevant channels (for example, on the videos or websites themselves), and as long as gaming sites post these kinds of links, then these comment sections are the only places that people can really express their disdain.

It doesn't help that there's an article posted seemingly every week about "women" and "video games". If it's not RPS, it's Polygon. If it's not Polygon, Kotaku will pick up the slack. Until these kinds of articles stop, you'll always get these comments sections beneath the articles in question.

In fairness, it's the articles themselves that are more draining, and the comments sections are just people saying "Please stop doing this, these are ignorant and ill-informed views." You can call it a circle-jerk if you want, and I'm not going to argue semantics or usage of weasel words, but you have to admit that it's a case of most people who have read these articles finding the content disagreeable, and wanting to explain why.

Posted by Wilshere

I think Jonathan is a bit too full of himself. Every creation has its place on the market. He is nobody to dictate what games should be.

Edited by LegendaryChopChop

This Feminist Frequency stuff seems to be nothing but trollbait when it's posted online, for either party. I just have to say that I think she's gone a little too radical in the more recent videos.

I believe her videos have went out of hand with some of the recent assertions, because at first, I saw it as a noble attempt to point out some obvious problems with women in game and mass media (which does have some problems, mostly in the wage gaps), but now, these videos have spiraled out of control to "any single female trait is considered sexist". I don't really want people quoting me or saying I am wrong because that is basically the root of these videos now, and the audience of the videos seems to agree with that sentiment without much in the way of alternating opinions, or seeing another side of the argument.

Video games have been pretty fucking terrible for stories for the longest time, from all accounts, until at least fairly recently, so just using, for instance, "pink = color for girls" is not an offensive jab at women and is more or less just a simple identifier in a game without much story for either party.

And saying that pink is a color used traditionally to embody girls is sexist now? I don't really get riled up when blue is considered the boy baby color because these are things that mean nothing but cultural gender differences, and a ton of women embrace that as something fine. Hardly any of these "hot issues" Anita brings up actually really mean anything worthwhile when it's so obviously just trying to have a reason to complain and assert some holy-than-thou opinion.

People who get so wound up tight about miniscule issues about gender division in games need to actually look at how fucking good, comparatively speaking, we all have it here to how women have it in some countries. As in, they can't go to school, show their faces, their hair, whatever. These videos just reek of first-world problems to me and they're laughable examples to say the least. Obviously there's still a ton of problems and that blows, but when it comes to focusing on the idea of "women being treated badly in video games" it comes off as a little bizarre to me in a world with meaningful problems for women in real life.

Women have huge boobs and exposed tops in games like guys are running around shirtless with a ripped body with a hefty codpiece. Games sometimes just take super easy cuts through the path, also regarding the fact that historically video games are a predominately male hobby, although with the rise of mobile games and the like that is certainly not as male-centric as it once was.

Anyway, in brief, I feel that there's a huge problem itself with crying foul at art as meaning this or that in the world of media, whether it be games, movies, or whatever else. Seldom are things so cut and dry and "good or evil" in terms of what they might mean or the interpretations behind them.

Posted by Krystal_Sackful

If you haven't already, watch ulililia's videos on Bubsy 3D.

Edited by PandaBear

Which part of that Bubsy 3D thing is supposed to be interesting? I get it's trying to be pretentious, but to what end? Frog Fractions felt genuinely bizarre, this feels like it's trying too hard to be relevant.

Posted by Sergio

The design studio that designed the original Xbox and Duke controller reviews the PS4? If the first line isn't, "Damn, wish we had come up with something like that," then their opinion is meaningless.

Edited by Sergio

@themasterds: I had thought Anita's latest video was her best yet, far from perfect, but better. However, I wasn't familiar enough with Dixie Kong, and reading your comment once again confirmed my belief that she's a hack that's given far too much attention by gaming journalists.

Posted by Alyssia

Really enjoyed the Ms. Male Character video in this. Thanks for sharing.