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Worth Reading: 11/30/12

A big ol' installment of Worth Reading after a one-week break that includes the most realistic toilet simulator you've ever played, butts, stories to make you cry, thoughtful pieces on #1reasonwhy, and an assortment of other nonsense.

I will try to convince myself it's okay that I'm playing this at 20 frames-per-second or whatever. Argh. Shut up. I know. I know. I know.

Thanksgiving came went without a big ol’ purchase of PC parts, but it’ll be soon, promise. I know, I said that before, but but but. I'm just waiting on something to clear up before I can hit buy, and I finally learn what a headache it is to own and maintain a PC. Plus, watching Far Cry 3 on a PC versus an Xbox 360 has been...painful.

Then again, I’ve gotten used to dealing with the minimum. My Xbox 360 is launch era machine, makes noise the equivalent of a space shuttle, and only has 20GB of space to work with. I do not go back to old games often, though, so I don’t have a problem with having a single game installed to the hard drive at a time, with only a handful of Xbox Live Arcade games. Memory management is just a quirk I’ve gotten used to, though I wouldn’t exactly get upset if that Xbox 360 finally bit the dust and I was forced to upgrade. I might as well deal with it and wait for the next console. (If you feel like red ringing, though, it's okay!)

That’s all just part of my cheapish nature, which both works for and against me. I would probably be happier with a quieter Xbox 360, but I’m usually playing with headphones on, so...eh.

Worth Reading is bigger than normal this week because I was actually collecting material for one during the Thanksgiving break, even if I knew I would ultimately have no time to put it together. I’m starting to feel like this feature needs a bit of a shake up, only because it feels a bit routine at this point, so if you have any suggestions...

Hey, You Should Play These

Another situation where the less said the better. Just make sure to follow the developer’s instructions and have the appropriate spaces noises (which I converted into an MP3 and now have on my phone--seems great for naps on flights) while playing through The Message. It won’t take you more than a few minutes, start to finish, and you’ll want to immediately go back and see the other options when it’s all over. The Message does a terrific job of setting a grim, disturbing mood for the state of the emotional state of planet Earth, and by the end, well, you’ll understand why.

(The Message was part of Fuck This Jam, which leads me to...)

The above three are selections from the recent Fuck This Jam game jam, where participants made games in genres they hated. I don’t know if that’s actually what happened in most instances (though the enormous amount of faux football games in the database does suggest otherwise for some people), but it doesn’t really matter, since Fuck This Jam resulted in a whole lotta awesome nonsense. Rather than just including one, I plucked three from a quick overview of the submissions, but if you have some favorites, send 'em over with a link, and I’ll highlight another set.

(And, yes, that’s really all there is to Totally Accurate Toilet Simulator. What, you wanted more?)

And You Should Read This, Too

Simon Parkin files what might as well be (for now) the definitive piece on the Hot Coffee scandal that nearly brought down Rockstar Games, even if Rockstar itself chose not to comment. (Sam Houser did talk about with author Harold Goldberg for a book--read his comments at Wired.) Parkin dug up a series of incredible emails from within Rockstar through legal filings, and it paints a very detailed picture of the reasons why sex mini-games became a thing in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, what prompted the company to remove them, and how they were discovered.

But the commercial imperative was clear: fail to make the cuts and the potential audience for GTA: San Andreas' could be restricted by the ratings board. The question now was how to extract the explicit material without breaking the wider game's functionality so close to release. An emergency meeting was called so that the senior managers could discuss a solution. During the meeting Houser explained: “You can't always take a thing out of a game."

When I finished reading Jenn Frank’s piece about her mother’s recent death, I cried for two reasons. One, it’s a heartbreaking story told with such vivid and breathless detail that one cannot help vut feel crushed. Two, I haven’t found the will to write something about my own father. Writers have an itch, and there’s something about being a writer that compels you to write about your experiences. Maybe you think you can help others by talking about what most people will not, maybe it’s an ego thing related to talking about yourself, or maybe it’s just a form of catharsis that comes very natural. Whatever the case, I don’t know when I’ll end up doing the same for my own experience, but Jenn’s story is special, sad, and soul-crushing. We all have to say goodbye, even if we don’t really mean it.

My game ended quickly. “Well, okay, that’s that,” I said, putting the phone down and fumbling for something else. “Remember my story? My story came out in the magazine. Um, in August.”

I opened a chapbook in front of her, and she touched its pages, and then she took the magazine from me and shut it and kind of massaged its cover with her thumb. Then she dropped the magazine into the folds of the bed and reached for my hand, and she took my hand and squeezed it.

And squeezed it again. And then I cried, and she squeezed my hand another time, and I looked up and right into her eyes, which were wet and meaningful and so clear, and her face was obscured by the breathing mask but her eyebrows were furrowed the way they always are when I cry, and I apologized to her for hurting her and for being so sad, and I looked down again at our clasped hands, and then I folded myself in half and cried into both our hands.

Some Thoughtful Words From Others About This Week’s #1reasonwhy Hashtag

If You Click It, It Will Play

I Don’t Know About This Kickstarter Thing, But These Projects Seem Pretty Cool

Valve Just Launched Greenlight, So Here’s Some Games That Don’t Look Terrible

  • Famaze isn't promising much more than what it's selling as a retro puzzle adventure, but it works.
  • Point Perfect tries to think of some more inventive uses of the mouse as an input device.
  • People keep convincing me zombies are okay. Zombies does that. (Also, the soundtrack is baller.)

Oh, And This Other Stuff

Patrick Klepek on Google+
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Posted by patrickklepek
I will try to convince myself it's okay that I'm playing this at 20 frames-per-second or whatever. Argh. Shut up. I know. I know. I know.

Thanksgiving came went without a big ol’ purchase of PC parts, but it’ll be soon, promise. I know, I said that before, but but but. I'm just waiting on something to clear up before I can hit buy, and I finally learn what a headache it is to own and maintain a PC. Plus, watching Far Cry 3 on a PC versus an Xbox 360 has been...painful.

Then again, I’ve gotten used to dealing with the minimum. My Xbox 360 is launch era machine, makes noise the equivalent of a space shuttle, and only has 20GB of space to work with. I do not go back to old games often, though, so I don’t have a problem with having a single game installed to the hard drive at a time, with only a handful of Xbox Live Arcade games. Memory management is just a quirk I’ve gotten used to, though I wouldn’t exactly get upset if that Xbox 360 finally bit the dust and I was forced to upgrade. I might as well deal with it and wait for the next console. (If you feel like red ringing, though, it's okay!)

That’s all just part of my cheapish nature, which both works for and against me. I would probably be happier with a quieter Xbox 360, but I’m usually playing with headphones on, so...eh.

Worth Reading is bigger than normal this week because I was actually collecting material for one during the Thanksgiving break, even if I knew I would ultimately have no time to put it together. I’m starting to feel like this feature needs a bit of a shake up, only because it feels a bit routine at this point, so if you have any suggestions...

Hey, You Should Play These

Another situation where the less said the better. Just make sure to follow the developer’s instructions and have the appropriate spaces noises (which I converted into an MP3 and now have on my phone--seems great for naps on flights) while playing through The Message. It won’t take you more than a few minutes, start to finish, and you’ll want to immediately go back and see the other options when it’s all over. The Message does a terrific job of setting a grim, disturbing mood for the state of the emotional state of planet Earth, and by the end, well, you’ll understand why.

(The Message was part of Fuck This Jam, which leads me to...)

The above three are selections from the recent Fuck This Jam game jam, where participants made games in genres they hated. I don’t know if that’s actually what happened in most instances (though the enormous amount of faux football games in the database does suggest otherwise for some people), but it doesn’t really matter, since Fuck This Jam resulted in a whole lotta awesome nonsense. Rather than just including one, I plucked three from a quick overview of the submissions, but if you have some favorites, send 'em over with a link, and I’ll highlight another set.

(And, yes, that’s really all there is to Totally Accurate Toilet Simulator. What, you wanted more?)

And You Should Read This, Too

Simon Parkin files what might as well be (for now) the definitive piece on the Hot Coffee scandal that nearly brought down Rockstar Games, even if Rockstar itself chose not to comment. (Sam Houser did talk about with author Harold Goldberg for a book--read his comments at Wired.) Parkin dug up a series of incredible emails from within Rockstar through legal filings, and it paints a very detailed picture of the reasons why sex mini-games became a thing in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, what prompted the company to remove them, and how they were discovered.

But the commercial imperative was clear: fail to make the cuts and the potential audience for GTA: San Andreas' could be restricted by the ratings board. The question now was how to extract the explicit material without breaking the wider game's functionality so close to release. An emergency meeting was called so that the senior managers could discuss a solution. During the meeting Houser explained: “You can't always take a thing out of a game."

When I finished reading Jenn Frank’s piece about her mother’s recent death, I cried for two reasons. One, it’s a heartbreaking story told with such vivid and breathless detail that one cannot help vut feel crushed. Two, I haven’t found the will to write something about my own father. Writers have an itch, and there’s something about being a writer that compels you to write about your experiences. Maybe you think you can help others by talking about what most people will not, maybe it’s an ego thing related to talking about yourself, or maybe it’s just a form of catharsis that comes very natural. Whatever the case, I don’t know when I’ll end up doing the same for my own experience, but Jenn’s story is special, sad, and soul-crushing. We all have to say goodbye, even if we don’t really mean it.

My game ended quickly. “Well, okay, that’s that,” I said, putting the phone down and fumbling for something else. “Remember my story? My story came out in the magazine. Um, in August.”

I opened a chapbook in front of her, and she touched its pages, and then she took the magazine from me and shut it and kind of massaged its cover with her thumb. Then she dropped the magazine into the folds of the bed and reached for my hand, and she took my hand and squeezed it.

And squeezed it again. And then I cried, and she squeezed my hand another time, and I looked up and right into her eyes, which were wet and meaningful and so clear, and her face was obscured by the breathing mask but her eyebrows were furrowed the way they always are when I cry, and I apologized to her for hurting her and for being so sad, and I looked down again at our clasped hands, and then I folded myself in half and cried into both our hands.

Some Thoughtful Words From Others About This Week’s #1reasonwhy Hashtag

If You Click It, It Will Play

I Don’t Know About This Kickstarter Thing, But These Projects Seem Pretty Cool

Valve Just Launched Greenlight, So Here’s Some Games That Don’t Look Terrible

  • Famaze isn't promising much more than what it's selling as a retro puzzle adventure, but it works.
  • Point Perfect tries to think of some more inventive uses of the mouse as an input device.
  • People keep convincing me zombies are okay. Zombies does that. (Also, the soundtrack is baller.)

Oh, And This Other Stuff

Staff
Posted by sissylion

Man, I had completely forgotten that Hot Coffee was a thing people got mad about.

Posted by Skyfire543

Thanks, Patrick

Posted by Phatmac
Edited by Phatmac

Would replying to questions from users be something worth adding to worth reading

Edited by CaLe

Can't believe I read that thing about The Message. Now I don't wanna know what Molyneux has put inside the box.

Something you might like instead of the space music:

The eight-minute track is so effective at inducing sleep, motorists have now been warned they should not listen to it whilst driving.

The band worked with sound therapists to get advice on how to make the most effective use of harmonies, rhythms and bass lines. The result on listeners is a slowing of the heart rate, reduced blood pressure and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol."
Posted by SexVicar

So do you slam with the best or jam with the rest, Patrick?

Posted by Salarn

Being dyslexic I was 100% certain for a good moment that 'Filed under' contained 'Super Sexagon', and I thought "What a depressing game that would be where lasting more than 30s was considered a triumph"

Edited by cmblasko

Patrick, thanks so much for including Pro Wrestling X under the Kickstarter shout-outs. Those guys have gone through a lot of craziness over the past 6 or 7 years in order to get to their game to its current state. If you are not familiar with their story, I recommend reading up on it. A piece on the game's tumultuous development could make for an interesting article.

Online
Posted by CharlesAlanRatliff

Definitely going to read that lumpin' Pendleton Ward interview.

Posted by Abendlaender

As much as I love that stupid PSASBR ad, Dexter's voice is just terrible

Edited by morningthief

Patrick, really enjoying this column lately. keep it coming.

Posted by claudius

Started backing the Barkley 2 kickstarter the moment someone mentioned it on Twitter the other day. So stoked. Love those guys' sense of humor.

Posted by FMinus

Oh Peter...

Posted by AngelN7

How can I tell at how many frames a game is running on consoles? that's kinda crazy, people keep telling the console version of AC3 runs at 20-something frames but I honestly can't tell between 30,25,40 frames or whatever unless is really drastic like 30 and 60 maybe is because I don't play games on the PC... and I only have one console so I guess I have no choice anyways Heh.

Edited by ZZoMBiE13

Dear Peter Molyneux:

Posted by Colourful_Hippie

You really need to get on top of shit with that new PC.

Posted by patrickklepek

@cmblasko said:

Patrick, thanks so much for including Pro Wrestling X under the Kickstarter shout-outs. Those guys have gone through a lot of craziness over the past 6 or 7 years in order to get to their game to its current state. If you are not familiar with their story, I recommend reading up on it. A piece on the game's tumultuous development could make for an interesting article.

Noted!

Staff
Posted by FengShuiGod

It's nice to see the merits of a poem judged by everything except its aesthetics and intelligence.

Posted by bombedyermom

Legend of Digital Zelda made my day.

Posted by csl316

That was a quality Family Guy review.  2 out of 10!  As I'm an imbecile that likes pirates!

Posted by Metric_Outlaw

Idk what your missing for your PC, but about a month ago I bought a decent barebones kit on tigerdirect. It came with a pretty good video card and was only missing an OS and a hardrive. All together I spent around $400 and I can play games on it almost all the way up. I usually have to lower the anti-aliasing but it still runs and looks light years ahead of my 360.

Posted by Grimluck343

Legend of Digital Zelda looked like a giant Apple ad.

Posted by RecSpec

Just finished The Message. Goddamnit. I applaud them for it.

Posted by TheHT

Ahhhh, I just can't wait for the next Faces of Death!!

Posted by Chainclaw

Wow, the payoff on The Message was really fantastic. Glad I took the 5 minutes to do it.

Posted by Psychosmiley999

That message was Fcukin Deep man, like "Deep"

Posted by bybeach

I was just thinking you seem to have a frugal nature, Mr. Kllepek.

Don't you be that way with that damned PC!!! I'm warning you, Starting with the PSU... Spend the MONEY!

800.00.....bah!

Posted by Forderz

Some of those essays had me in tears, Patrick. Why do you show me the path to so many feels?

Posted by Fram

I second the call for a Pro Wrestling X feature - No Mercy was the most played game on my N64 ahead of Goldeneye and Perfect Dark. Would love to hear more about how these guys pursued this project for so many years. Damn though, that kickstarter deadline is fast approaching...

Posted by GreggD

You really should change the header on the front page, considering the story content, and the fact that that's CJ's sister he's got his arm around. Just sayin'.

Posted by LikeaSsur

.............I must be missing something about The Message, because that was a pretty lousy payoff. Or was that the point? If so....I still don't get it.

Posted by Animasta

@csl316 said:

That was a quality Family Guy review. 2 out of 10! As I'm an imbecile that likes pirates!

I also got 2/10 but that's because I want to see FIFA horde mode

Posted by dragonzord

Godus didn't even back Maia which will probably do a better job than Peter will ever do.

Posted by Fobwashed

The Message was pretty fantastic. One day, I will join in on the fun on one of these game jams. . . One day =\

Posted by IzzyGraze

...the toliet one just makes fart noises.

Posted by bigsmoke77

@AngelN7: The difference between 30 FPS and 60 FPS is not that big a deal if its locked at that number. The problem with the Fry Cry 3 on consoles is not that it constantly runs at 30. The problem the problem that it ca't hold it that when a bunch of shit happens are when there is a lot of assets coming on screen and the going off, (i.e. driving through a dense jungle). When this happens the game/engine/console is fighting to keep it at 30 so its jumping all over the place, a bunch of shit happens and the game just drops down to 15 FPS then goes to 20 back to 17 up to 25 back to 15, then to 30. You can notice that part easily, if a PC game is made to use the available power of a GPU and CPU then there should be no problem of the game running constantly at 30 or at 60FPS.

Posted by Aleryn

Good bit of short story on The Message, the end was stupid but hey! the journey was fun.

Edited by Roger_Klotz

This worth reading is totally butts.

Posted by Soapy86

Well, The Message was a total waste of six minutes.

Posted by edgeCrusher

I've got to admit, I've found the "other links" section of these features the most informative and entertaining by far. Good job Scoops.

I'm also impressed by Kill Screen's ability to continually stay relevant in the current games media landscape. My favorite article this week is this one about playing AssCreed3 with actual Native Americans on a reservation. If that shit ain't new games journalism, I don't know what is.

http://killscreendaily.com/articles/playing-assassins-creed-lakota/

Posted by bartok

I wonder if there were any plans to make a game based on Family Matters. I would of made an action/puzzle game in the vain of Lost Viking where you have to switch between Steve Urkel and Carl Winslow to solve puzzles and battle bad guys.

Posted by NekuCTR

Watching someone who only uses Macs, and Apple OS try to do anything technical with PCs is like watching a baby try to fit square pegs into round holes, simultaneously cute, amusing, and frustrating.

Posted by Arx724

God damn the Zombies soundtrack is great. The Message was interesting throughout and the ending was... amazing, in a way.

Posted by DharmaBum

I knew about the obvious "Warm Coffee" achievement but the Statue of Liberty holding a coffee cup and with Hillary Clinton's face never occurred to me. Oh, Rockstar...

Posted by veko

Man, my father died in April and so Jenn Frank's article really hit me. It's so...I don't know. Her talking about how selfish she felt when showing her works to her mom is so real. Regret.

Posted by CosmicBatman

I don't know what I was expecting considering The Message was part of Fuck This Jam.

Posted by beepmachine

Still planning on filming the PC construction? Or was that Ryan?

Posted by ds8k

@Phatmac: There's a typo within three words of the article. Then another in the second sentence of the second paragraph. I understand no one is perfect, but maybe let one of the other guys proof-read these before they go up? Personally, I have a hard time seeing my own typos.

Posted by ShaggE

@bartok said:

I wonder if there were any plans to make a game based on Family Matters. I would of made an action/puzzle game in the vain of Lost Viking where you have to switch between Steve Urkel and Carl Winslow to solve puzzles and battle bad guys.

I've tossed around a hypothetical Family Matters game for a long time, and I've decided it would be something akin to QWOP mixed with a small-scale Red Faction. You'd play as Steve Urkel trying not to destroy everything in the Winslow's house. Meanwhile, Stephan Urquelle would be trying to steal Laura away, AND Carl would be trying to kick you out, so you have to use your destructive clumsiness to your advantage in both cases.

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