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Posted by patrickklepek (3469 posts) -
Yessir, that's my newly mechanized shoulder.

This should, thankfully, be the last Worth Reading I’m writing from my couch for a little while. With the last of my doctor appointments out of the way for several weeks, I should be back in the office with regularity starting today.

It’s been a humbling month.

Humble. That’s the general feeling I had coming out of Sony’s PlayStation 4 reveal event on Wednesday, a company with none of the swagger it had when it announced PlayStation 3 what seems so many years ago. The Cell processor felt paternalistic, a we-know-better attitude from a company that had earned the right to act as if it was on top of the world--PlayStation 2 was a monster. It’s the right attitude for the moment, but the series of features that had me the most interested--network services--were the company’s weakest point during this last generation. There's reason to show caution there.

I’m not surprised there was mostly eye-rolling during Media Molecule’s bit, which happened to be my favorite. The studio didn’t show much of a game, but I had a smile on my face the whole time, and it seemed genuinely interested in trying to do something different. (Hopefully, it doesn’t involve a platformer with frustrating physics this time around?) I didn’t get that feeling with a new inFamous or Killzone, sexed up variations on what I’ve done a million times before. (We didn’t see much of inFamous, but c’mon.)

My surprises on Wednesday had little to do with the games. Actually, the biggest surprise was that Sony allowed Jonathan Blow to verbally tear apart the other games being shown at the event. Blow knew he was at an event full of smoke and mirrors, and promised a game that purposely rejected the traditional ways of impressing. That was surprising (and indicated Sony’s getting on good terms with indies).

New machines mean new games, new worlds, new experiments. It’s early days yet, and we never see the truly magical stuff during the announcement phase. After so long, it’s hard to not be a little impatient.

(Note: The sections in Worth Reading are shuffling for a reason. The TED talks were dropped because I can't currently embed them in the new site, and I'd already dropped off watching them, just like any other resolution. There are no Greenlight games this week because finding anything decent has been an exercise in frustration. Rather than committing to highlighting three games every week, I'll only including the section when it's actually noteworthy. Plus, I'm hoping to transition Worth Reading into a more dynamic response to the week that was, which is why you've got sections on Kenji Eno, PS4, etc.)

Hey, You Should Play This

Not to take anything away from Binary Boy, but I just haven’t had much time to check out many games this week, instead finding myself buried in finalizing features and being patient in exam rooms. Binary Boy is nothing revelatory, but in the press-a-button-to-flip-gravity genre (hopefully you’ve already played VVVVVV--if not, do so immediately!), Binary Boy is a rather enjoyable distraction. I was impressed at the designer finding ways to incorporate the mechanic into boss fights, even if they didn’t really pan out.

And You Should Read These, Too

Skyrim seems like the kind of game where a publisher could easily track and dispute a critic's journey through it.

We’re a few weeks out from the controversy over The New York Times’ review of a Tesla car, in which the critic’s negative review was disputed with data from Tesla. We’ve seen this play out (rarely) in game reviews before, but as as the stakes/budgets for games continue to escalate, the tension between reviewer and creator (marketer?) may grow, too. As games continue to monitor and analyze more player habits, it will do the same for the people slapping review scores on them. I suspect publishers will largely keep its feelings private, having consequences that are largely unknowable to the press or the readers.

"Unless such controversy proves that a critic flat-out lied – for example, criticizing a specific moment without proof that he/she got that far – I’ll rush to his/her side with a giant shield. Critics deserve space to play games at a reasonable pace. To not reach the very end of a massive game (or unlock multiple endings), so long as the criticisms don’t hinge on its total narrative arc. To not always test the easiest or hardest difficulties whenever they prove irrelevant. Quite frankly, to quit playing a game early if its mechanics have been laid bare and its frustrations proven wholly debilitating. So long as those choices match the typical audience of an outlet, and are addressed by the text (which is tough to do with an itty bitty word count), then they’re valid."

This stuff creeps the hell out of me. For a year or so, I’ve been mulling a lengthy piece on addiction. I don’t like that video games use the term “addiction” to describe successful gameplay mechanics, partially because of what it implies about video games and partially for the way “addiction” is interpreted by people who aren’t fans of video games to begin with. Mostly, I worry about what happens when this is harnessed in the hands of our worst design offenders, those happy to take psychological exploitation as far as it'll bend.

"Silicon Valley is hardly discouraged. Companies here believe that online gambling will soon become as simple as buying an e-book or streaming a movie, and that the convenience of being able to bet from your couch, surrounded by virtual friends, will offset the lack of glittering ambience found in a real-world casino. Think you can get a field of corn in FarmVille, the popular Facebook game, to grow faster than your brother-in-law’s? Five bucks says you cannot."

If You Click It, It Will Play

Kickstarter Has Promise, Hopefully Developers Don't Screw It Up

  • There Came an Echo not only has Wil Wheaton, but one hell of a promising prototype.
  • Riot, a incredible looking riot simulator (yup!) that appears to take visual cues from Sworcery.
  • People tells me Ascension is the shit, but I'm LTTP. I suspect fans are psyched for Ascension Online.

Kenji Eno Passed Away This Week, Learn About What We've Lost

People Are Making Surprisingly Amazing Artwork in the Ol' Miiverse

Tweets That Make You Go "Hmmmmmm"

@jasonkill exposing people to raw probability to train better intuitions is one of the most important things that games do

— Michael Brough (@smestorp) February 21, 2013

Most Were Positive About PS4, Here's Some Contrary Opinions

Far Cry 3's Writer Tells IGN His Story is Immune to Criticism

Other controversy surrounding Far Cry 3 centers on race – Jason Brody, a young, white male, reclaims the island for a group of dark-skinned natives who couldn’t do it without him. Their leader, Citra, falls in love with him rather than any other tribal warrior; in one of Far Cry 3’s two endings, he is the only man worthy of impregnating her. Hay refers me to Yohalem and “the idea of being self-aware” when I ask him about what, if any racial implication exist within Far Cry 3.

Nothing concerning race occurred to me while reviewing Far Cry 3. When I tell this to Jeffrey Yohalem, his immediate response is, “That says something about you, doesn’t it?” He elaborates, “When you approach a work you approach it with an angle. All of us do. It’s human,” and Far Cry 3 aims to “show your angle. On some level you can look at it and yourself and go, ‘huh, that’s interesting that I felt this way.’” In his eyes, those who perceive elements of racism, or even race, are “interested in these issues,” and project their concerns onto the material they’re consuming.

Oh, And This Other Stuff

Staff
#1 Edited by EarthBowl (164 posts) -

Fantastic article!

#2 Posted by Coafi (1481 posts) -
#3 Posted by SirOptimusPrime (1946 posts) -

Oh god that bold font is still terrible.

Other than that, great article Patrick. Currently investigating Depression Quest, and I know it's going to make this a really, really long night.

#4 Posted by familyphotoshoot (653 posts) -

That video of Rapha breaking down his match is a classic. It's insane how much they have to keep track of in their heads.

#5 Posted by GaspoweR (2802 posts) -
#6 Posted by Draxyle (1791 posts) -

I didn't care much for a majority of the games they showed at the Sony Conference (I own a PS3 but I don't think I own a single first party title except Journey if that counts), but seeing them give Jonathan Blow some actual stage time gave me great hopes. One thing Sony did right with the PS3 was attract a lot of interesting third party and indie talent to make some wholly unique experiences. I'm glad that they're sticking to that, because I don't think Microsoft cares nearly as much.

I wish the Media Molecule thing actually gave us a game title or some sort of idea of what they were presenting, but color me intrigued.

#7 Edited by Gaff (1650 posts) -

@patrickklepek:

It’s been a humbling month.

Humble. That’s the general feeling I had coming out of Sony’s PlayStation 4 reveal event on Wednesday [...]

Nice segue.

#8 Posted by cbarnes86 (545 posts) -

@coafi: That is an amazing image! Mind if I use that for my avatar on this site?

#9 Edited by Rayeth (1021 posts) -

Sad to hear that Tricky is so down on the PS4. The announcement left me hopeful, rather than pessimistic. Sure maybe Sony is putting out a bunch of games that we've seen before, it's a console launch. The launch games are nearly always crap. The stuff that was my favorite about this generation (games like Braid, Journey, Super Meat Boy, P4:G, etc) had nearly nothing in common with games that were shown in huge shows like the PS4 reveal. The best games of the next generation haven't even been dreamed about or at best are a twinkle in a young developer's eye. There is no reason to be subscribed to the world is falling outlook unless you simply like being snarky, sad and/or depressing. If anything this change gives developers the chance to finally come out with new IPs, which I think is something everyone has been clamoring for. Yet now that they are finally here, the sky is falling and we're all doomed? There is nothing but promise ahead.

If after the console launches and nothing works and all the promises are shown to be lies, then the sky is falling rhetoric would be appropriate (For instance, if you are talking about the Vita currently). This is also a great reason to never buy anything at launch (hello RRoD), let the company prove they aren't full of it first, then put down money. Until then at least try and look on the brighter side. =)

#10 Posted by dr_mantas (1792 posts) -

That x-ray looks like it was taken in the 80s...

#11 Posted by Icemo (642 posts) -

PS4 doesn't compress coal into diamonds. I'm very disappointed at Sony.

#12 Posted by MildMolasses (3213 posts) -

Wow, that Buzzfeed article is terrible. How did that get published?

#13 Posted by fenixDG (9 posts) -

That bold font is impossible to read.

#14 Posted by patrickklepek (3469 posts) -

@rayeth said:

Sad to hear that Tricky is so down on the PS4. The announcement left me hopeful, rather than pessimistic. Sure maybe Sony is putting out a bunch of games that we've seen before, it's a console launch. The launch games are nearly always crap. The stuff that was my favorite about this generation (games like Braid, Journey, Super Meat Boy, P4:G, etc) had nearly nothing in common with games that were shown in huge shows like the PS4 reveal. The best games of the next generation haven't even been dreamed about or at best are a twinkle in a young developer's eye. There is no reason to be subscribed to the world is falling outlook unless you simply like being snarky, sad and/or depressing. If anything this change gives developers the chance to finally come out with new IPs, which I think is something everyone has been clamoring for. Yet now that they are finally here, the sky is falling and we're all doomed? There is nothing but promise ahead.

If after the console launches and nothing works and all the promises are shown to be lies, then the sky is falling rhetoric would be appropriate (For instance, if you are talking about the Vita currently). This is also a great reason to never buy anything at launch (hello RRoD), let the company prove they aren't full of it first, then put down money. Until then at least try and look on the brighter side. =)

Not down. Just not flipping out over a hardware reveal.

Staff
#15 Edited by Spankmealotus (278 posts) -

The article by John Teti had some good points even if it was disturbingly negative. However he completely ignored the ways it was talked about how Sony has tried to make it much much easier to develop and publish on the new system. Making for a much better place for indie developers than ever before on a console. I for one am excited for it to be easier for people to put games on a major console.

#16 Edited by Efesell (494 posts) -

That bold font is really a strain on the eyes.

#17 Posted by cooljammer00 (1541 posts) -

And even Pachter is wrong a lot of the time.

#18 Posted by Video_Game_King (35994 posts) -

@patrickklepek, did you call the Castle of Mammon number? If not, your journalistic integrity demands it.

#19 Posted by Pr1mus (3808 posts) -

All the tweets in that NYT articles are from people that should be promptly ignored.

#20 Posted by wolfskind (55 posts) -

[...]the controversy over The New York Times’ review of a Tesla car[...]

The New York Times claimed an almost universally negative reaction to the reveal by the tech press.

Ah yes, journalism. :P

#21 Posted by CaLe (3910 posts) -

Stop bold font. Quake video interesting.

#22 Posted by Pr1mus (3808 posts) -

Also stop using bold text until it's fixed. It's unreadable.

#23 Edited by BeachThunder (11694 posts) -

Oh god that bold font is still terrible.

No it's not, I think it's pretty easy to read - especially that part about Far Cry 8.

@patrickklepek - have you checked out Actual Sunlight? (Another game about depression).

#24 Posted by MindChamber (345 posts) -

The quotes are illegible., someone needs to fix that

#25 Edited by darkjester74 (1568 posts) -

Hi @patrickklepek, have you had a chance to check out the Dreamfall Chapters Kickstarter? Really interesting, seems pretty successful, and promises to revive a beloved franchise. Check it out! :) http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/redthread/dreamfall-chapters-the-longest-journey

#26 Posted by BagronkeN (85 posts) -

Giant Bomb is Skynet. @patrickklepek is the first of the cyborgs. We are all doomed.

First they take our eyesight with the bold font. Then they take Berlin.

#27 Edited by Deathpooky (1374 posts) -

The "why didn't we see the box!" PS4 responses are strange. Especially people claiming that not showing the box is a horrible sign or otherwise signals the end of Sony. You'd think gaming reporters fresh off of the terribleness of the Wii U at launch in fulfilling its promises would realize that just seeing a box (or anything else) is irrelevant until you get it in a room playing games. Sony had promises - no more, no less - and a box or specs wouldn't change that.

Also, Patrick, LTTP will always mean Link to the Past.

#28 Edited by SirOptimusPrime (1946 posts) -

I can attest to Depression Quest's message. It really, really, really does describe someone going through that. I felt a pang in my chest after every interaction with "Alex" and all of the family moments were... honestly, really hard to deal with. Someone who made that knows what they're talking about, and it shows.

Thanks for bringing it up, @patrickklepek

#29 Posted by GaspoweR (2802 posts) -

@pr1mus said:

All the tweets in that NYT articles are from people that should be promptly ignored.

Ironically, Veronica did work with Sony by hosting Qore once upon a time.

#30 Edited by Firelogic (23 posts) -

You knock Infamous and Killzone now but will your tune change when Microsoft shows off some new Halo or Gears game for the nextbox at their conference? I sure hope it doesn't.

And what exactly were people expecting this early in the year before the launch of the PS4? I personally expected no system specs, no release date, no price, and maybe a picture of the box. I certainly didn't expect them to just give out the internals of the system as well as trot out dev after dev to show off upcoming games.

Some people are acting as if this was their E3 presentation with only a few months before launch. This was just an initial announcement to get people talking about the PS4. Anyone who says they were genuinely disappointed with the event needs to get their heads checked.

#31 Posted by ztiworoh (731 posts) -

@patrickklepek I'm curious if you are going to (or have) played Simogo Games' Year Walk yet? I played through it over the last two days and it blew my god damn mind. My (hopefully) more elegant thoughts on the game, can be found here, if you're curious.

It does things with the iPad/iPhone as physical objects that I've never seen another game do. Seriously, I went in with high expectations and it blew every one of them out of the water.

#32 Posted by Fobwashed (1899 posts) -

On gambling and video games, I was at a Casino last weekend and played a Star Wars slot machine. . . It was garbage. Walking down aisle after aisle of slot machines, apart from having lcd screens (which are actually REALLY nice screens), I'm surprised that there aren't better ones out there. The themes were mostly garbage and it felt like I was walking down a row after row of shitty flash or java slot machine apps. To be fair, 90% of people playing the slots were in their 60's or older who don't give a shit what they're playing, they just want to match 12 different types of cat heads, but as the gaming generation becomes that old gambling crowd, I wonder if slot machines will start to be more gamified or if it'll just always be as it is. Lots of stupid pictures on a fake spinning wheel. Meh.

Oh, and don't go against all you can eat crab buffet. It killed both me and my significant other. We were out of commission for 2 and a half days. . .

#33 Edited by cooljammer00 (1541 posts) -

That Kotaku article from Evan Narcisse has a lot of good points about race in games that make me scared that the article gets shouted down like the articles about women in games.

But yes, he mentioned Sleepy Dawgs as a shockingly good example of handling race in games: the characters in the game are mostly Asian, speaking authentically and in a setting that is fairly accurate, and with a voice cast that was mostly racially appropriate too. Yes, the characters all know kung fu or are triad gangsters, but there was something refreshing about what was being shown: being based off HK action flicks, it's like it was portraying an image Chinese people wanted to be shown as opposed to an image someone else chose for us.

I just wish there was a good Black analog for that. San Andreas should not count. I just started Iron Brigade and picked the Black guy just because I could.

#34 Edited by siamesegiant (12 posts) -

<p> @patrickklepek Will we get something about the 1up closure from you next week Tricky? Sad times, though many considered the golden years to be long past I still had a lot of time for the few, talented guys that were left there. I was wondering what your take on it was, especially considering your history with the site.</p>

#35 Edited by Pr1mus (3808 posts) -

I've read a bunch more about the press and fans' reactions to the PS4 event.

Fans saw a console meant to play games and were treated to a number of announcement and features that makes the act of playing games, updating them and sharing better than before. The fans are happy.

The press saw a lack of detailed specs, no price, no specific date and no actual box. That last one really gets to me. How much time are were they going to spend talking about how good or bad that fucking box looks like? By the sound of it, it looks like months. As if their whole goddamn plan was to write lengthy essays on the design of a box that goes on a shelf. They follow with ridiculous tweets like "worst press conference ever" and "this is Microsoft winning the console war".

That's not journalism, that's sub UK tabloid trash.

Supposedly Microsoft is to reveal their console late April if rumors turn out to be true. That's 2 months ahead of E3. It's going to be hilarious when they don't show detailed specs or announce an official date or price either during their reveal and instead wait until E3 for the specifics.

#36 Edited by MrMazz (919 posts) -

Is there an easier way then just going through the archives of the news section to search through all the prior Worth Reading articles? I remember you suggesting a game something about souls and stones...it was a flash game.

Edit: Found it, it was called Soulcaster and was from the 11/16/12 WR

#37 Posted by Maluvin (264 posts) -

I'm trying to decide if my gut reaction to that NYT article is right or not. I don't know how seriously I'm supposed to take an article that puts the absence of contoured plastic as something meaningful.

Also, while I won't pretend to know every gaming journalist out there, I honestly didn't recognize many of the tweeted individuals mentioned. It felt like a cherry picked group of tweets for an author who had a personal bone to pick. The author doesn't even really say anything about the platform or technology which would have been a more useful or insightful thing to do.

I think the NYT article is Worth Reading if for no other reason than to show how dismal games reporting can be.

#38 Edited by Fobwashed (1899 posts) -

After watching that basketball video, I couldn't help but imagine this being done on every basketball machine there by a group of people and shady looking people walking through the chuck e cheese offering to sell tickets for money on the cheap. Does this make me a bad person?

#39 Posted by Grimluck343 (1148 posts) -

I don't really see how that quote shows that Far Cry 3's story is immune to criticism.

#40 Edited by happymeowmeow (201 posts) -

Nice cyber-shoulder, glad you're doing well.

Re: "The Critic and the Cloud" , seems to me like finishing a game should be the minimum requirement. What if movie critics left before the ending, "ah I've got a good idea of this movie as a whole, fuck it." Not practical given the nature of deadlines, etc, I know, but something feels really out of wack when theres a medium who's critics don't feel compelled to see the whole piece before rendering a judgment.

The Witches House is as creepy as you might expect and a bit frustrating in some parts that require trial and error, but without them you'd miss out some of the "gotcha" horror moments I guess.

#41 Posted by Grimluck343 (1148 posts) -

@Pr1mus I bet Microsoft reveals the console with specs in April and saves the games for E3.

#42 Edited by bkbroiler (1605 posts) -

That guy sinking 800 basketball shots incredibly quickly is mesmerizing.

#43 Edited by Pr1mus (3808 posts) -

@grimluck343: That could happen. In which case Microsoft makes an event to look good in the eye of the press and to which the fans will say "screw this, buying a PS4 instead".

Everyday the press gets a bit more disconnected with its audience and crap like that just highlights it. That's why i stick to GB for the entertainment value and their general enjoyment of being alive and go to boring sites that just copy/paste press release to get the latest news. I don't need someone to tell me how everything is terrible all the time.

#44 Posted by Psychohead (140 posts) -

I'm super glad to hear that Depression Quest seems to be making an impact, because I really can't bring myself to play it. Dealing with depression fucking sucks, and I'm hesitant to willingly stir up those emotions. Hopefully, it's doing a whole bunch of good out there.

#45 Posted by OppressiveStink (355 posts) -

@patrickklepek:

Welcome back to the living, Patrick, how did the conversion from normal human to beer-fueled, visual-novel reviewing automaton go? Here's my artist rendition of you after the conversion.

#46 Posted by Moztacular (466 posts) -

No mention of Resident Evil 1.5 being available to play? You're killing me baby!

#47 Posted by SuperLlamaFarmer (19 posts) -

It's kinda interesting that games like Riot and Wildfire Worlds both use quite stylised graphics. I wonder if that's a very deliberate design choice given the subject.

#48 Posted by ErinIsADrunk (160 posts) -

Depression Quest is fantastic. I played it after RPS featured in on Sunday and holy shit is that game intense. The story thread involving your girlfriend hit really close to come as it mirrored pretty much my thought process that eventually led to my girlfriend breaking up with me when I was going through depression.

I don't know if it will help people who have never suffered from depression to understand it a little better. I would hope that it would, but at the very least it was nice for me personally to know that I was not and am not alone in having these feelings. Glad stuff like this exists.

#49 Posted by GreggD (4477 posts) -

After watching Kickhopper play The Witch's House, I can safely say it looks like ass.

#50 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

Bolded font looks like buttholes (the not-sexy kind).