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Worth Reading: 12/7/12

A slightly lighter installment, as the whole staff is consumed with Game of the Year. Still, you're welcomed to shoot some bad dudes with ice, explore a LOST-like island, learn how Vice City was made, and plenty more.

These words are literally (literally!) being written during our last-minute planning for Game of the Year video shoots, which is why the introduction is shorter than usual, and, hey, there’s less content.

It’s totally going to be worth it, though. At least, I think so. I have no idea how it’s going to turn out, and I’m won’t tell you what we’re up to, but if you’ve been closely following Jeff’s Twitter feed, you know that we’re actually producing proper scripts. Scripts? Proper?

Just...yeah.

You should be...excited?

My own weekend will be mostly spent on the couch (you know, highly unusual) busting through as many games on my 2012 backlog as possible. With 999’s “True Ending” in sight, I’ll finally get some time with the much hyped Virtue’s Last Reward, and Vinny convinced me to pop in Binary Domain. Maybe I’ll a few hours with FTL, but other than that, I’ve just about run out of time to play new games. Aww.

Hey, You Should Play This

There is nothing secretive or deceptive or transcendent about Ice Break. Honestly, it’s just a fun little browser game with an inventive ice mechanic that will surprise you at least once during the game’s just-long-enough 10 levels. Also, we’re swamped with preparation for Game of the Year awards, which means I’m constantly looking for tiny distractions when I’m too scared to cut yet another great game from my personal top ten list. Stuff like Ice Break does a good job of keeping the tears at bay when an amazing game like Hotline Miami is teetering on the edge.

You tell me you’ve built a game about a person wandering around a mysterious island, conjuring nostalgic feelings about LOST, and you’ve got my attention for, at least, five minutes. Afterward is similar to last week’s The Message, in that your primary task is reading a bunch of text, choosing which path to follow, and then looping back to the beginning and seeing how else it could have played out. Knowing that is how people interact with games like this, Afterward takes this into account in a really interesting way. Afterward comes from a Giant Bomb user, but I can’t seen to find the message where the link came from, so if you read this, make sure and send over your username!

And You Should Read This, Too

Rockstar Games usually keeps its mouth shut, but with Grand Theft Auto V arriving next year, the company is opening up for a little bit. Edge sat down with Sam Houser about the development of GTA: Vice City, which was the last GTA game I played before jumping back into the fray again with GTA IV. I never even finished a GTA game until GTA IV, mostly because my time in a GTA game was always spent blowing shit up. It’s interesting reading Houser break down how influential Hollywood productions were on Vice City, even if the games makes that awfully apparent.

“But the thing that was more of a direct influence was Miami Vice, because it’s a little bit later. Scarface is earlier, like ’83, and it kind of looks it, but Miami Vice was ’84 to ’89, about five seasons, 110 or so episodes, and I’ve seen them all many times. Before you could get them on DVD I bought them off eBay – the crappiest quality VHS copies you’ve ever seen, and I have them all. What blew me away about that series – and Michael Mann is, I think, a visionary film maker – is that each episode was 50 minutes long, and they sort of hit on all the bases in every episode. It was very adult – I remember at the time watching it and thinking that it was very risqué. But it was an incredibly slick show, and when we were first talking about it, everyone was kind of laughing, like: “What are you on about?” And I was like, “No, no, no – it’s so slick”. Just in terms of music alone, when you look at the tracks that Miami Vice used, it’s an amazing list, and Michael Mann would create these miniature pop videos in every show which would be montages. So his use of music in the show was remarkable. A dream of mine and Dan [Houser]’s is to have a montage in a game, actually. We’re on our way; we’ll get it one day – a montage of your experiences set to music. Come on, that’s going to be amazing, right?”

If You Click It, It Will Play

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

  • War for the Overworld wants to make sure we don't forget amazing games like Dungeon Keeper.
  • Dream was a nifty lookin' first-person adventure game on Greenlight, and now it's on Kickstarter.
  • What the hell, guys? How come Bill Nye isn't having more success? Give him your money!

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

  • Kentucky Route Zero will be one of the most talked about games after this year's IGF Awards.
  • Against the Wall was featured in a previous Worth Reading, but now it's going for it on Greenlight.
  • Sokobond is another IGF entrant. It won't blow your mind, but it's a hell of a good puzzler.

Oh, And This Other Stuff

Patrick Klepek on Google+
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Posted by patrickklepek

These words are literally (literally!) being written during our last-minute planning for Game of the Year video shoots, which is why the introduction is shorter than usual, and, hey, there’s less content.

It’s totally going to be worth it, though. At least, I think so. I have no idea how it’s going to turn out, and I’m won’t tell you what we’re up to, but if you’ve been closely following Jeff’s Twitter feed, you know that we’re actually producing proper scripts. Scripts? Proper?

Just...yeah.

You should be...excited?

My own weekend will be mostly spent on the couch (you know, highly unusual) busting through as many games on my 2012 backlog as possible. With 999’s “True Ending” in sight, I’ll finally get some time with the much hyped Virtue’s Last Reward, and Vinny convinced me to pop in Binary Domain. Maybe I’ll a few hours with FTL, but other than that, I’ve just about run out of time to play new games. Aww.

Hey, You Should Play This

There is nothing secretive or deceptive or transcendent about Ice Break. Honestly, it’s just a fun little browser game with an inventive ice mechanic that will surprise you at least once during the game’s just-long-enough 10 levels. Also, we’re swamped with preparation for Game of the Year awards, which means I’m constantly looking for tiny distractions when I’m too scared to cut yet another great game from my personal top ten list. Stuff like Ice Break does a good job of keeping the tears at bay when an amazing game like Hotline Miami is teetering on the edge.

You tell me you’ve built a game about a person wandering around a mysterious island, conjuring nostalgic feelings about LOST, and you’ve got my attention for, at least, five minutes. Afterward is similar to last week’s The Message, in that your primary task is reading a bunch of text, choosing which path to follow, and then looping back to the beginning and seeing how else it could have played out. Knowing that is how people interact with games like this, Afterward takes this into account in a really interesting way. Afterward comes from a Giant Bomb user, but I can’t seen to find the message where the link came from, so if you read this, make sure and send over your username!

And You Should Read This, Too

Rockstar Games usually keeps its mouth shut, but with Grand Theft Auto V arriving next year, the company is opening up for a little bit. Edge sat down with Sam Houser about the development of GTA: Vice City, which was the last GTA game I played before jumping back into the fray again with GTA IV. I never even finished a GTA game until GTA IV, mostly because my time in a GTA game was always spent blowing shit up. It’s interesting reading Houser break down how influential Hollywood productions were on Vice City, even if the games makes that awfully apparent.

“But the thing that was more of a direct influence was Miami Vice, because it’s a little bit later. Scarface is earlier, like ’83, and it kind of looks it, but Miami Vice was ’84 to ’89, about five seasons, 110 or so episodes, and I’ve seen them all many times. Before you could get them on DVD I bought them off eBay – the crappiest quality VHS copies you’ve ever seen, and I have them all. What blew me away about that series – and Michael Mann is, I think, a visionary film maker – is that each episode was 50 minutes long, and they sort of hit on all the bases in every episode. It was very adult – I remember at the time watching it and thinking that it was very risqué. But it was an incredibly slick show, and when we were first talking about it, everyone was kind of laughing, like: “What are you on about?” And I was like, “No, no, no – it’s so slick”. Just in terms of music alone, when you look at the tracks that Miami Vice used, it’s an amazing list, and Michael Mann would create these miniature pop videos in every show which would be montages. So his use of music in the show was remarkable. A dream of mine and Dan [Houser]’s is to have a montage in a game, actually. We’re on our way; we’ll get it one day – a montage of your experiences set to music. Come on, that’s going to be amazing, right?”

If You Click It, It Will Play

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

  • War for the Overworld wants to make sure we don't forget amazing games like Dungeon Keeper.
  • Dream was a nifty lookin' first-person adventure game on Greenlight, and now it's on Kickstarter.
  • What the hell, guys? How come Bill Nye isn't having more success? Give him your money!

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

  • Kentucky Route Zero will be one of the most talked about games after this year's IGF Awards.
  • Against the Wall was featured in a previous Worth Reading, but now it's going for it on Greenlight.
  • Sokobond is another IGF entrant. It won't blow your mind, but it's a hell of a good puzzler.

Oh, And This Other Stuff

Posted by mangopup

yes!

Posted by CornBREDX

Little tiny bit of a Far Cry 3 spoiler there. Was not expecting that. Hmmm.... Maybe it's weird but I am intrigued. Mainly like to see how it's handled. 
 
Anywho, fun to read as usual. I'll go through some of these after I get off work.

Posted by MikeGosot
@mangopup said:

yes!

Wooray! Also, that "Videogame made by woman" list is... Weird, i guess? I dunno, it feels kinda sad that we need to show this to people just to say "Hey, woman work in vidja games too, guys!".
Posted by SirOptimusPrime

Yes, please. However, I feel like there are some Far Cry 3 spoilers in there. Maybe not, I dunno.

Either way, more reading is always nice - I'm interested in that XCOM/Metallica... thing.

Posted by L1GHTN1N

Virtue's Last Reward has better puzzles than 999 and does some pretty awesome stuff with its story, though about 2/3 of the way through I was just using a walkthrough as a few of the later ones get crazy. It's also much better about not making you replay large sections of the game to get different endings by allowing you to jump around all the different choices and options at will, and you can just tap X (or B on 3DS?) to display all the text rather than waiting for it to tick by at a snail's pace.

Binary Domain is also preeeeety good.

Posted by mangopup

@MikeGosot: Yeah, in a better world there shouldn't be a need to have lists like that.

Posted by Deegamah

The Afterward link is broken.

Posted by Phatmac

Glad you're playing FTL Patrick! :)

Posted by TromboneTony

• Far Cry 3's rape scene has been largely overlooked, which the game does a good job of, too.

I'm still trying to comprehend what this sentence means.

Posted by Colourful_Hippie

I didn't even know there was a rape thing in Far Cry 3, but I have a pretty good guess when and what is gonna happen...

Edited by galloughs

I follow Bill Nye on twitter, and this is the first I've heard of that Kickstarter. Too bad I'm diametrically opposed to KS; this project looks like something worth backing!

And oh god, those links got me to accidentally visit polygon! For shame!

Posted by galloughs

@CornBREDX said:

Little tiny bit of a Far Cry 3 spoiler there. Was not expecting that.

How is that in any way a spoiler?

Posted by CornBREDX
@galloughs: I'm sorry I spoke my mind and wrote it down completely innocently on the internet. Does this make you enraged?
Posted by Video_Game_King
An exhaustive list of excellent video games that wouldn't exist without women.

I'm not sure if it sucks that I've only played five games on that list. Well, at least they run the gamut from great (Portal) to average (Soul Reaver) to crap (Digital) to "don't remember in the slightest" (Centipede, River Raid).

Posted by joelalfaro

Still no waking mars, man!

Posted by AURON570

omfg how do you beat the boss in Ice Beak? I'm shooting at it and it isn't doing anything! ugh, probably something silly..

Posted by nnnope

Have you not played San Andreas? god damn...

Interesting stuff here though. Thanks!

Posted by forkboy

I really enjoyed the article on Mass Effect. It's interesting because I'd never even really thought about the female version of Shepard until just before ME3 dropped & everyone was talking about here, simply because I had my own Shepard. But seeing the way it impacted someone really strikes a chord, because even though I can't say I have the same experiences with the game as the writer, I still have this strong attachment with my Shepard, I know what he'd do in most given situations, & why he'd do the things he's done. That really was the strongest achievement of the Mass Effect series, of making the lead character truly yours in a way that few games in this era have. Even an ending that disappointed & didn't really make sense with my character doesn't take away from that fact, indeed it actually highlights how successfully Bioware managed to get me attached to Abaddon that I just know that the ending wasn't right for him.

Posted by ogto

that harvest moon one is a DOZY (is that how that's spelled?)

Online
Posted by Vigil80

*reads link*

Wait, that's the rape scene that's the problem? Isn't that a bit of a tempest in a teapot?

I could also say that it's suggested that the player character is basically drugged and raped, too. In front of an audience, even. Controversy!

I know these are potentially important issues, and hell, I'll admit maybe I should be taking it all more seriously. But I'm finding it hard to do so. All I know is that so far, I'm getting what I signed up for out of Far Cry 3's story: a visceral tale about primal instinct, revenge, and finding inner power during a crisis.

Posted by DevWil

The Path is not "as unconventional a game as they come".

I'll leave it at that before I get on a Tale of Tales rant. Basically, I'm all for experimentation in games, but they strike me as incompetent and misguided rather than experimental.

Posted by 49th

It's going to be FMV themed

Posted by bushlemon

Thanks Patrick for showing me that dungeon keeper kickstarter. One of my favourite games of all time

Posted by Hieronymous

" a montage of your experiences set to music. Come on, that’s going to be amazing, right?”"

You mean like the end of crazy taxi?

Posted by MrGtD

Well, I never expected to see Frank Howley on here.

Online
Posted by martez87

999s true ending is fucking mind blowing!

Posted by megatronicles

• Far Cry 3's rape scene has been largely overlooked, which the game does a good job of, too.

This doesn't even make sense. Patrick, maybe you should spend some more time bringing your thoughts together.

Posted by SaturdayNightSpecials

Nitrome gettin' theirs. I'm just waiting for them to hit it big on the eShop someday, they make so many cool little games.

Anyway, Doorways looks awful. I assume it interests Patrick as cheese and not serious horror, but I guess you can never tell.

Posted by Brendan

The Gamasutra article on the Wii U is fantastic, thanks for bringing it to my attention.

Posted by dr_mantas

I'm glad the industry didn't go apeshit about rape in Far Cry 3. This means we have grown enough to approach topics like this without fervor. We can even pretty much overlook them.

I'm sure if something similar were to happen in the new Tomb Raider, everyone would act exactly the same.

Posted by Psychohead

@megatronicles said:

• Far Cry 3's rape scene has been largely overlooked, which the game does a good job of, too.

This doesn't even make sense. Patrick, maybe you should spend some more time bringing your thoughts together.

I think what Patrick is trying to say is that nobody has brought up the rape scene, and that the game itself barely brings up the rape scene. Basically, he's trying to say it's strangely understated both in its inception and in the response to it.

I think. It's a pretty tortured sentence. Trying to diagram it would result in something not unlike one of those conspiracy theorist webs.

Posted by Xymox

So no community goty vote/list this year?

Posted by Bourbon_Warrior

Surprised you didn't include this as the free game of the weekend, really scared the shit out of me.

http://www.eriegame.com

Posted by megatronicles

@Psychohead said:

@megatronicles said:

• Far Cry 3's rape scene has been largely overlooked, which the game does a good job of, too.

This doesn't even make sense. Patrick, maybe you should spend some more time bringing your thoughts together.

I think what Patrick is trying to say is that nobody has brought up the rape scene, and that the game itself barely brings up the rape scene. Basically, he's trying to say it's strangely understated both in its inception and in the response to it.

I think. It's a pretty tortured sentence. Trying to diagram it would result in something not unlike one of those conspiracy theorist webs.

I get the spirit, but it does sound very first draft/stream of consciousness. Maybe he should include a flow chart with future articles?

Posted by Y2Ken

Really looking forward to the GotY stuff. Thanks for squeezing one of these in, Patrick. The GTA article in particular is super interesting. Also, I'm pretty sure Hotline Miami is going to make my list at this point.

Edited by umdesch4

For those playing Afterward, I didn't think much of it until I had played through it 5 or 6 times, and then it started to get really weird. Thanks, Patrick. I never would have bothered with this otherwise.

PS. As mentioned in the comments, the link is broken. It should be http://afterward-story.tumblr.com

Posted by JohnLivingston

Does the page for that Afterward game not work for anyone else? I really wanna play it!

Posted by Devise22

@JohnLivingston said:

Does the page for that Afterward game not work for anyone else? I really wanna play it!

Yeah not working for me either.

Posted by Slayer78

Thanks for your fine work, Patrick, always something interesting to behold in Worth Reading. Read the interview with that Houser dude, very nice, and now I'm educating myself about Nintendo. Also nice.

Posted by Gordy

Has Klepek seen or mentioned Frog Fractions at all yet? This is GOTY material:

http://twinbeardstudios.com/frog-fractions

Edited by Szmitten

The link for Afterward is missing the colon after http, it should be: http://afterward-story.tumblr.com

Thanks for giving it a try, glad you enjoyed it.

Posted by Dunchad

@dr_mantas said:

I'm glad the industry didn't go apeshit about rape in Far Cry 3. This means we have grown enough to approach topics like this without fervor. We can even pretty much overlook them.

I'm sure if something similar were to happen in the new Tomb Raider, everyone would act exactly the same.

If this is subtle sarcasm, then I think I have to agree. It was a guy that got raped, so it's not that big of a deal. But heaven forbid if the rape is aimed at a woman, we'll have articles coming out of the wazoo.

Not that I agree with depicting rape in games for no reason. Like that article mentioned, it does seem like an afterthought in Far Cry 3. If used well, it can definitely be an effective way to manipulate the emotions of the player - I'm a white knight at heart, so it would work for me at least. But I have no reason to like or care about Keith, so while it's fucked up that he got fucked, it didn't make me want to kill Buck any more than I already did.

Posted by Winternet

I already know how Vice City was made. It was made by the hand of god (or some other divine, absolute, superior, end-all-be-all entity).

Posted by dropabombonit

That Walking Dead video summed up the series pretty well. Haven't played Far Cry 3 yet so the byline for one of them stories was kind of a spoiler

Posted by civid

You should totally go play Pid, it's amazing

Online
Posted by JCrichton

Great stuff Patrick

Posted by TheCheeto

Oh wow! Me and my friends made The Blair Wii U Project (I'm Rob in the video) and I never expected it to show up on here. This is a pretty surreal honor!

Posted by umdesch4

@Szmitten said:

The link for Afterward is missing the colon after http, it should be: http://afterward-story.tumblr.com

Thanks for giving it a try, glad you enjoyed it.

I'm guessing that you're the author/creator then? I'll say that I was pleasantly surprised, and had an interesting hour or so with it. Are you going to write anything about the "making of" anywhere, or write up a set of FAQs? Not that I have any questions I have a burning *need* to have answered, but I'd be curious about what the experience of making a thing like this was like...

Posted by Artie

Don't donate to that Bill Nye Kickstarter:

"FYI: I worked for this company for awhile. The project is almost 18 months overdue, employee turnover is nuts and they've blown through 150k+ already. Their other projects are also way past schedule. We used to get huge grants, but everyone was ridiculously underpaid. Turnover was insane, interns were used as free labor, but they'd leave and we'd have to retrain a new batch every like 3 months. We went through multiple producers in 6 months. We blew at least 4 deadlines in the time I was there. It was supposed to be shipped in March, then May, then August, then November. Now there's a Kickstarter.

That said, everyone below the management level was amazingly talented and hardworking, they were just constantly stymied by insane requests from up top. Maybe a Kickstarter would be good for the project, it'd finally make them accountable to someone. But I doubt it."

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