I've now realized why most of Giant Bomb's content isn't on a strict schedule: people expect, rightly, for you to stick to that schedule.
The Molyjam experience is still processing. We haven't done much coverage of the event because that wasn't the plan. Giant Bomb, thanks to CBS, had access to resources that could facilitate the game jam, and because I've been looking for new ways to engage with San Francisco's development community, it was a good fit.
In any case, we'll be checking out some of the games soon, and I'm spending time thinking about how we can plan similar events that involve the Giant Bomb community within the Bay Area. Hmm.
I'm writing this on the plane to PAX East in Boston, where most of my time will be spent talking with folks like you. I missed PAX East last year, and while getting up at five in the morning wasn't how I wanted to spend my Thursday, it's gonna be a blast.
If you're there, please say hi.
Hey, You Should Play This:
Part of the reason I co-organized the Molyjam was to get a better understanding of game jams. There was some confusion in the comments of my story earlier this week, which is understandable. Not every Molyjam game is worth playing, but all of them have interesting stories behind their creation, and a few of them are truly remarkable. Breaktris is one of them, in which the team looked at this ridiculous tweet from Peter Molydeux: "Imagine being able to launch a missile in Battlefield and have it hit your online friend's car in say Burnout Paradise? This is the future." Realizing exactly that would be far too ambitious for 48 hours, but in the same vein? That could happen. What the team presented on Sunday night was a combination of Tetris and Breakout, in which the lines cleared in Tetris produce blocks in Breakout, and the ball from Breakout can wreck havoc on the other player's Tetris game.
Also, You Should Read These:
- Kickoff: Madden NFL and the Future of Video Game Sports by Tom Bissell for Grantland
I wasn't making a game during the Molyjam, so there were long stretches where I had…time on my hands. Much of that time was spent catching up in archived Instapaper articles (if you don't have that for your phone and computer, fix that), and one of them was Tom Bissell's excellent look at the development of Madden. Interestingly, Bissell isn't much of a football fan himself, and instead focuses on the stories of the people who, year after year, build yet another Madden game. There's fascinating insight into the team's struggles with pleasing multiple audiences, the role of John Madden these days, and what considerations are being made for the future of the franchise. Even if you don't play Madden NFL (hell, I don't), it's very much worth reading. Ugh, I just said that. Sorry.
- The Great Big Puzzle Box: A Close Look at Dark Souls’ Ingenious Difficulty as Witnessed by One Dead Guy in Sen’s Fortress by Chris Dahlen for (his blog) Save the Robot
Another one from the archives is former Kill Screen editor Chris Dahlen's lengthy essay on Dark Souls. This is required reading if, like me, you could do nothing but shake your head at the people crazy enough to spend hours playing From Software's punishing dungeon crawler when Demon Souls was originally released. Granted, I actually did spend a few hours with Dark Souls, and enjoyed my time with it. I played long enough for the appeal to become apparent, but I never grasped what about that experience made some sink so damn deep. Dahlen does an excellent job of articulating the appeal of Dark Souls, and how certain, deliberate design decisions on the part of From Software make it such a fulfilling dare of a video game.