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Worth Reading: 12/13/2013

Someone needs to tell these San Francisco people that 43 degrees isn't very cold.

As I write this, it’s Wednesday, and I’m in the San Francisco office again. Most of us are trying to spend a few minutes with games we haven’t had time for, as we prepare to begin the annual Game of the Year deliberation podcasts. Right now, Vinny’s scratching his head over Device 6.

I'm sure you're rad, State of Decay. I'll just find out next year.

I’m done about all I can. There are games, such as Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, that would almost assuredly be on my personal list if I could spend more time with them. But for something as personal as a top ten list, I’m not about to assume a game is going to be great from start to finish, especially since there are so many other games that have proven that already to me.

This means State of Decay, a game I would probably also like quite a bit, cannot show up on my list. It’s not that I think beating a game is a requirement for loving it, but a game like Assassin’s Creed takes place over dozens and dozens of hours. At the very least, I shall fight for the sea shantys!

Now, for a few more matches of Samurai Gunn...

Hey, You Should Play This

And You Should Read These, Too

After covering FREEQ, a game that went out of it way to make its design more inclusive for the blind, I’ve become curious about other ways games do and don’t allow those with specific disabilities to play. Patrick Lindsey has a great profile of fighting game player Mike Begum, someone we wouldn’t traditionally think of being able to participate in the competitive scene. Yet Begum, born with a congentital condition called arthrogryposis, has found a way to remain a part of the scene. Lindsey also does a good job explaining what one company, Able Gamers, is doing to change perceptions in the games industry.

“In August, AbleGamers launched the AbleGamers Lab outside of Washington, D.C. The lab works with individual gamers on a by-appointment basis, providing each player with access to ‘cutting-edge assistive technology’ in order to assess and accommodate each gamer’s needs. ‘We would like to have these laboratories and arcades available throughout the country, and eventually the world,’ explains Steve. ‘Our long-term goal is to be able to find more permanent funding…we would like to be able to give anyone who comes to our laboratories the equipment on the same day they visit, much like assistant technology centers do for wheelchair users and those with other mobility impairments.’”

Though I agree with Chris Kohler’s assessment of Nintendo’s situation with Wii U from last week, I’ve always been someone who refuses to count Nintendo out. Nintendo is not Sega, and I don’t expect Nintendo will be throwing in the hardware towel anytime soon. If anything, Nintendo will go down with the ship, and it will be a ship of its own making. Nintendo, like Apple, is a hardware and software company, and to pretend otherwise is crazy. Plus, everyone writes Nintendo off. It’s cyclical. But the company always comes up with something, and though it might not happen again, there’s also every reason to think it will. The company may be a frustrating giant, but it's a patient one, too.

“As a consequence of these things, Nintendo can continue to act and think like a toy company--a huge installed base is desirable, of course, because it makes the firm more profitable, but a smaller yet still profitable installed base is also fine. If Microsoft fails to get Xbox One into a huge number of households, it'll be a major problem, since part of the reason for the system's existence is to extend Microsoft's dominance in the living room; if Sony can't sell tens of millions of PS4 units pretty rapidly, that'll also be a problem, since Sony (like Microsoft) relies heavily on third-party publishers supporting its console, and they won't develop games for a system without a large addressable market. Yet Nintendo cares little about either of those factors, and could be reasonably satisfied with a "third-place finish" that still makes a handsome profit for the firm.”

If You Click It, It Will Play

Like it or Not, Crowdfunding Isn't Going Away

  • Lore is a game that, tragically, was unable to find the funding to bring its ideas to life.
  • Echochamber uses multiple mobile phones to generate a positional audio party game.
  • Read Only Memories looks like a bad ass tribute to old cyberpunk adventure games.

Tweets That Make You Go "Hmmmmmm"

Some Great Features Celebrating DOOM's 20th Anniversary

You know, Here's Samurai Gunn Steam Codes

  • 4ZIVC-Y79EA-?87KE
  • ZVA0I-JLWRM-?4YRV
  • T5825-WDZGL-?0NXE
  • H06KR-0MM4J-?WJEY
  • 8BV2W-T4BB3-?VLWH
  • LEGP8-VZKI9-?RLPN
  • 8G25A-KL6QV-?97RD
  • L4ZX8-7K6FM-?YDQ2

Oh, And This Other Stuff

Patrick Klepek on Google+
84 Comments
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Posted by Roxasthirteen

Awesome! Thanks for Samurai Gunn Patrick, looking forward to playing it with some friends over the holiday.

Edited by crazyleaves

@patrickklepek Thanks for the code! You got a big 404 in there though!

edit: I grabbed the first one.

Posted by rmanthorp

Ah damn those codes go fast. I already have the game was trying to give it to a friend. 404 error? Oh and no Bombin'?

Moderator Online
Posted by Confirm4Crit

I swiped the bottom code. Happy weekend err'one. :D

Edited by Pax

Wow, I wasn't expecting game codes but I managed to snag 8BV2W-T4BB3-?VLWH. Thanks, Patrick!

Edited by FunkyS

Cheers for the code Pat, I got the 3rd one for other duders out there.

Edited by Coldman

Literally all of those codes are taken already

wtf people

Posted by Icemo

Got the second key for the samurai gunn. Thanks!

Posted by Fracture

Codes are gone anyone reading past this point.

Posted by mnzy

The thing about Broly from the AbleGamers article is, that he's also just really good. It's incredibly inspiring to me.

Posted by EuanDewar

ratchet and clank 3 is one of my absolute favourite games ever

Edited by Popogeejo

How do you even redeem steam codes? I tried googling this and it just talked about my steam wallet. I tired the store page and didn't see anything about codes and the Steam How To's don't say a thing... I've probably missed out now but it'd be nice to know for the future. I'm an idiot. it's the fucking wallet.

EDIT

Oh, and great article as usual Scoops. Sorry for overlooking that.

Posted by nicknacknob

That Doom pixel painting...wow...

Edited by Hassun

Error is probably because worth playing isn't up yet.

Posted by porr

GOD DAMMIT I'M TOO SLOW

Edited by Y2Ken

I'm a big fan of Broly. That guy is way better at Street Fighter than I could ever hope to be. It's damn inspiring to see someone excel at something they love regardless of obstacles.

In terms of Game of the Year stuff, I'm currently in the middle of working my way through AC IV as part of my big list of "games I need to finish/play before I listen to GotY or compile my own list + awards". I played Brothers last weekend as part of that, and... damn it, Brad. I still don't know where that game fits in with regards to my personal favourites, but it was an incredibly concentrated and satisfying experience. One I would happily recommend to almost anyone. It's not particularly difficult either, so I'd say as long as you are somewhat used to a controller you can enjoy it.

@euandewar Agreed, Sir, that game is a wonderful thing!

Posted by TheManiacsGnome

@popogeejo: Bottom right, Add a game and then activate a product.

Posted by coaxmetal

Yo it got down to like 36 here thats pretty cold. For SF.

Posted by Ghost_Cat

Aw, I actually took the time to read your article! Snoozed on the codes there.

Posted by iAmJohn

Since we know that it was Gamespot who wouldn't run the Democracy 3 ad, any way you guys could elaborate on whether this is a directive from CBSi or not? Would you guys, being part of the same family, not be allowed to advertise the game either even if you wanted to? It seems like a policy that no human worked on.

Posted by broL4W

I've played against Broly quite a few times online, and I proceed to get destroyed every single time. He's very good

Posted by Nicholas

Good stuff once again, Patrick. I always look forward to Worth Reading.

Also, @patrickklepek, Should the second paragraph start off with "I've done about all I can." instead of "I'm done about all I can." ?

Edited by alwaysbebombing

Thanks for the awesome read, Scoops!

If I say rougelike enough in the mirror. Will it kill me in my sleep?

Oh and an edit on something I forgot to mention. As a Political Science major, I can't believe that Democracy 3 was denied advertising space. In no way is that a political ad in ANY capacity. Unless promoting the idea of a Democracy is considered "political ad?" I really don't get that whole thing.

Edited by biggiedubs

For anyone who's missed it in the last couple of days, the Battlefield 4 community has been searching for a Megalodon shark that may or may not be hidden in of the new maps. On first look it sounds like crazy people clutching at straws, and to a certain point it kind of is, but there is a bunch of evidence that at least circumstantially points to a big shark being out there.

No luck on the shark so far, but there is something hidden in the files somewhere that *could* be equally as cool. I'll just say, fans of DINOSAURS should definitely look into it.

Edited by MonkeyKing1969

Well, to be fair...our friend Patrick is a bit dodgy. And, yes, I should take stock of my life too, it being the end of the year and all. Thanks GB, I feel like this has been helpful.

Posted by Gaff

I'm actually kind of okay with that 404 error.

Posted by Fistfulofmetal

I've played State of Decay for a bit and I'm convinced that it's a pretty terrible game that simply uses things like 'open world', 'survival', 'zombies', and 'loot' to mask how bad it is.

Posted by GunstarRed

I have been obsessively revisiting the Ratchet games over the last few months (strangely I just finished UYA again last night) and that video commentary is super interesting. It manages to explain how they ended up making a big open arena shooter like Deadlocked/Gladiator.

I love how even the developers think the default inverted horizontal camera controls are crazy.

Posted by VargasPrime

Holy wow, that "Lore" game on Kickstarter.

Man, that is certainly... something.

Posted by LordKorax

He's talking about all the characters in Reach, because you don't play as Master Chief (who only exists in the game as an easter egg).

Posted by MikeLemmer

Love the Roguelike article. The "discovery-through-comparison" angle makes sense, and anything that helps people discover old cult classics like that is a good thing in my book. I think Rogue's creators would rather have their game referenced like this for years, rather than cutting the label from any game that isn't "strict enough".

Posted by drakesfortune

I don't think Nintendo made the Wii U thinking it would be as big a flop as it's been. They also aren't "happy" about coming in third place. If the Wii U were second or first place, they'd make a bazillion dollars more.

Imagine a world where Nintendo makes a console that is competitive, in terms of power, with the other systems. That coupled with their first party stuff. Man. It's crazy how they make mistake after mistake after mistake. They've been trying to catch that magic since the Super Nintendo, and they failed with N64 due to the cartridge limitations/game prices, they failed with the gamecube probably due to no DVD support, or maybe because PS2 had a DVD drive, failed with the Wii because of a supreme lack of power, and again with the Wii U for the exact same reason. They couldn't get 3rd party support with Wii because it was such an inferior machine to PS3 and 360, and then they beat their heads against the wall and made the same bloody mistake right over again. I don't get that company. They could rule it all if they just stopped being so obtuse about the video game market.

Edited by umbaglo

Someone needs to tell these San Francisco people that 43 degrees isn't very cold.

I know, right? It's currently -25C where I am (roughly -13F for Americans), and this is a warm day.

Posted by NmareBfly

Fuck yeah, Gridrunner++. I played the living crap out of that game back in the dark ages of.... what, like a decade ago? Good on Minter for making it free, and it's just as fun as it always was. The video doesn't seem to be up yet so I dunno what Patrick talks about but here are some things to note for any of ya'll, because Minter games always have some neat intricacies:

-The first sheepie is the most important, because it lets you shoot backwards.

-You're invincible for maybe a second after grabbing a sheep, so you can use that to steer through obstacles with a wrist flick.

-You can save yourself from dying by steering your blown up debris into a sheep. Combine this with the above and the fact that your debris maintains momentum to get out of sticky situations.

-You can see how far you are into the level with the number of glowing snakes in the background, and there are particle effects that shoot from your ship to the sides whenever an enemy enters the field.

-Buy Space Giraffe on Steam.

Posted by Igottadeuce

All colors are just rougelikes.

Posted by flameboy84

Dammit way too slow for steam codes! Also Worth Playing not working :(

Posted by ThePhantomStranger

I heavily disagree with Robert Yang's tweets as procedural games have a greater opportunity for a realized world that functions based on rules then authored content can. All of the interviews for No Man's Sky indicate that they're depending on a realistic simulation, or at least a consistent one, to dictate the varying worlds.

While a procedural technique might kill an interest in lore it does the opposite to realism. In the latest military shooter it is highly unrealistic for your bullets to just pass through your allies but we are willing to accept this because we understand that it's authored content and that breaking from the linear line gives us a void. When I can't kill an npc in Skyrim on the other hand I find it less acceptable because Skyrim operates closer to a set of systems then the almost exclusive scripted shooter.

Posted by joshwent

@patrickklepek When will it be time to change "Like it or Not, Crowdfunding Isn't Going Away" to something a bit more positive?

That phrase was funny when you first started doing Worth Reading, but with as many crowdfunding successes as we've had now, and as many great crowdfunded games get featured by you and the other editors, that "like it or not" sentiment is starting to seem a bit weird.

Edited by Meltac

Wow, that Lore kickstarter.. That is indeed something completely else. If you have the time, skim through the comments-section. There are some really baffling and somewhat hilarious comments and updates from the creator (who seriously needs to work on his grammar, if he's ever to do another Kickstarter-project)

http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2012/12/17/meet-lore-the-most-entertaining-kickstarter-project-of-all-time/

Found this article from Forbes, which briefly goes through what happened too. Mildly entertaining stuff.

Posted by Butano

Heh, I remember seeing that Lore Kickstarter last year. Very entertaining updates and comments.

Edited by Deathpooky

The alternate Nintendo perspective is a good one. To go even further with an opposite view of where Nintendo stands, it could be that Nintendo is the one company that has the modern gaming landscape figured out, while every other developer and manufacturer is scrambling and wondering if they'll survive.

Instead of blowing out budgets on systems and needing to sell tons in order to get an install base and recoup cost in other ways, it usually makes a profit on its systems long-term. Instead of going crazy on art and development costs in games, dumping tons of money and relying on a game being a mega-hit, it relies on good style and design, with the result being great games that don't need to sell tens of millions of copies to be successful and that don't have to augment themselves with ugly microtransactions.

That's not to say lower sales of hardware and software won't hurt them or reduce resources available for future development. And they still have catching up to do in digital and account features. But I'd put them in better shape than a developer that can call a game like Tomb Raider a "failure". A fair amount of people will eventually buy Nintendo systems and buy the first party games, and that's really all they need to be successful. Hell, I've been holding off on the Wii U, but I've got no doubt I'll get it at some point, along with SMB3D World and the rest of the first party games.

Posted by Psychohead

Loathe as I am to look at anything trying to draw attention to PETA, the thing that really bothered me about that Atlantic article was it's assertion that the Pokemon universe is somehow vegetarian. It, uh, isn't? People eat meat. People eat Pokemon meat, even. Hell, Slowpoke tails are considered a delicacy.

I mean, yeah, the game has always been a cockfighting simulator. Noooobody is blind to that. But come on, I thought we'd covered this ground years ago? It's no more sinister than Halo or Street Fighter.

Edited by Sparky_Buzzsaw

Great article on accessible gaming. I studied at an NFB Center for the Blind once upon a time and knew a totally blind kid who was crazy good at SSF2. I'm still not entirely sure how he managed it, but he was remarkable.

Moderator
Posted by NmareBfly

Okay, I'ma talk a little more about Gridrunner++ now that I've watched the video.

The Sheepie Save is one of the most important mechanics in the game, especially on higher levels when shit gets intense. Usually you want to snag the first sheep to get the ability to shoot backwards, then keep your ship above the halfway point of the level and let the sheepies fall past, only skipping down to grab them when you're sure you won't die. There are 9 levels of powerup that give you a longer rainbow trail, more bullets, wider bullets, then finally the flying sheep head thing whose name I can't remember which you can shoot a bunch of bullets into to turn into a flying sheep head of death (that's the 'you can call me b-b-b-baddass' sound clip.) More sheep after that point just give you more points. If you collect sheep after the end of level you get... something. Extra points, I think? It's a score attack game when you boil it down. The first sheep of a level will also give you back everything you had at the end of a previous level, assuming you didn't die.

Every level has different enemy / bomb / zapper behavior. The zapper is the 3d cube bouncing around the background -- when it gets close to the playfield you get indicators for where it'll go off, then when it 'overlaps' and turns into a fuzzier cube for a second it goes off and shoots lighting in a cross shape originating from the overlap point. That touches you, you die. The bombs are the little things left over when you kill enemies -- they usually explode in cross shaped paths that will kill you. Some levels the explosion is huge and lasts a really long time, some levels they're tiny and you can ignore them. I think some later levels have enemies that lay bombs as they move, not just when you die. When you shoot the 'head' of an enemy you have a chance of either destroying the whole thing outright or making it explode all its component parts all over the level, which is a good way to get killed.

Minter games are almost always really good at voluntary risk: reward mechanics. You can grab the sheep as soon as they show up for points and more powerups, or do you forgo the instant powerup for a chance at resurrecting yourself? Do you shoot the head of an enemy to try to get rid of it fast, knowing that it might do the wrong thing and come flying right at you? Should I deliberately die here then get a sheepie save for better positioning? The psychedelia is a distraction that I think sometimes does his games a disservice because it makes them look like they're just a mess, but honestly they're usually tightly wound balls of neat mechanics when you dig in. This is especially the case with Space Giraffe.

Edited by churrific

@mnzy: I hadn't seen that interview in awhile. Yup, still inspiring.

Posted by Popogeejo
Posted by Vuud

I like the idea of a blind fighting game savant a la:

Edited by GrantHeaslip

why I like heavy procedurality in games: kills gamers' obsession w/ lore and realism, ludonarrative dissonance is expected and celebrated

I don't identify with this at all. When I think about the games that I love, almost all of them have a very strong sense of authorship. I want to play crafted games, and thus far, what I've seen of games like Minecraft, Terraria, Cloudberry Kingdom, Spelunky, etc. has felt pretty cold and soulless to me.

My reading of that tweet (and it's possible I'm wrong, because Twitter is a shitty way of communicating ideas with any sense of subtlety) is that he thinks lore is somehow holding games back. It's true that good games can have no lore, but how many great RPGs have no lore? A procedurally-generated JRPG would be super dull.

He's also assuming that ludonarrative dissonance -- a concern I still feel like is largely the domain of the games press echo chamber -- can't be a good thing, whereas the reality is that enforcing ludonarrative consonance would ruin entire genres of games. I'd much rather play a dissonant shooter than a shooter in which you make one wrong move and die. I'm pretty sure most gamers know ludonarrative dissonance is a thing, but thought about it for half a second and realized it's better than the alternative. Why is that term such a pejorative?

@joshwent said:

@patrickklepek When will it be time to change "Like it or Not, Crowdfunding Isn't Going Away" to something a bit more positive?

That phrase was funny when you first started doing Worth Reading, but with as many crowdfunding successes as we've had now, and as many great crowdfunded games get featured by you and the other editors, that "like it or not" sentiment is starting to seem a bit weird.

There's also been some high-profile crowdfunding failures, and a lot of the biggest projects have yet to come to fruition. I've been working my way through 8-4 Play's back catalogue, and they talked up Takedown: Red Sabre in a segment about the then-burgeoning Kickstarter games scene. We now know how that turned out. There was Dark Matter, that Ouya mess, some middling releases like Shadowrun Returns, etc. It's still possible that Broken Age won't be as good as it sounds.

I'm personally still really uncomfortable with the idea of people handing developers money for fairly vague descriptions of games they won't get to play for a year or two. Yes, there are games that could (presumably) only be funded that way, but in a lot of other cases, Kickstarter's being used to fund proof-of-concepts and projects with more ambition than expertise. Some of the projects seem to me like they could have been funded by a publisher or private money, but were put on Kickstarter because it's seen as a wellspring of free, no-strings-attached money. There's a lot of really cynical-feeling stuff on there.

Kickstarter's not going away, but I think the jury's still out on whether or not it's a net positive.

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