People know my aversion to directly influencing crowdfunding, but there are exceptions to every rule.
Brandon Boyer is the chairman of the Independent Games Festival, and has been instrumental in the independent gaming scene. His fingers are everywhere, even if you can't always see them. He's helped make some of the games you love come alive, and his passion has helped develop a community that is now poised to become a deeply influential part of the industry.
He's also more than $100,000 in debt, thanks to cancer. His full story is on GoFundMe, but the short version: he got screwed. Even though the Affordable Care Act prevents insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, that didn't kick in until this year. Unfortunately for Brandon, he became sick in 2013, and he's now stuck with an enormous bill.
Even if you can't donate, think about sharing the link. And if you're looking for a way to get some games and feel good about helping a person in need, Devolver Digital is running a Humble Bundle with games like Duke Nukem 3D and Shadow Warrior. There are even some movie 'n stuff! You can't really go wrong.
Hey, You Should Play This
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And You Should Read These, Too
- "The Final Years of Irrational Games" by Chris Plante
Damn. Bravo, Chris! The Polygon reporter spent time with a bunch of Irrational Games employees, and came back with this report about the tumultuous development of BioShock Infinite. There are probably more stories to be shared in the future, but there's much to be gleaned about life within Irrational from here. By the end, there's little surprise that big changes have come to Irrational. Possibly the most fascinating bit? How much better the studio seemed to work with deadlines and structure, both of which, ironically, disappeared after BioShock's success. In another universe, maybe things turned out differently.
"Many former employees believe Irrational would not have shipped BioShock Infinite without Fergusson. As one source puts it, 'Rod insulated the team, but also earned Ken's trust and didn't interfere with Ken's creative vision.'
As VP of development, Fergusson served as the practical, metrics-minded foil to Levine's creative method. And according to sources, Levine benefited from the structure and deadlines. One source says Levine actually excelled under restraint; that, given a deadline, he and the studio did their best work."
- "Gambling Is the Next Wave in Online Gaming" by Jon Nathanson
We joke about how the psychology driving some F2P games is no different than gambling, but it's easy to forget Zynga actually partnered to launch an online gambling portal in the UK. Legal reasons are the only hurdle stopping something similar from happening over here. Jon Nathanson's piece walks through some of the legal changes probably coming, and how we might see a domino effect that results in online gambling establishing in the US. He makes a leap regarding the involvement of game developers, but it's not a big one.
"The biggest roadblock facing Zynga, and anyone else, is the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. Originally drafted as a last-minute rider on a port security bill, the UIGEA has been used to prohibit companies from offering Internet-based poker, sports books, and games of chance to Americans. Its passing put an end to a decade-long gold rush in online gambling in the U.S., led by sites such as Bodog, PokerStars, and Full Tilt Poker. A series of indictments, issued most notably in United States v. Scheinberg, showed that federal authorities were willing to prosecute broadly and aggressively on behalf of the UIGEA. In Scheinberg, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara alleged that the founders of PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Cereus (Absolute Poker) were guilty of bank fraud and money laundering as a result of transferring funds to and from players online. PokerStars and two other defendants agreed to forfeit over $731 million to settle the case, and PokerStars was permitted to continue business operations."
If You Click It, It Will Play
Crowdfunding's Sticking Around, And These Looks Promising
- The UnEarth Initiative comes from a bunch of ex-Insomniac Games developers.
- Ashen Rift follows a man and his dog on a quest to save a dying planet.
- Critical Distance is an excellent source of links to wonderful games writing.
Tweets That Make You Go "Hmmmmmm"
I believe the following with all of my heart: "videogame" is one word, not two.— Douglas Wilson (@doougle) March 3, 2014
Okay you guys, the Frog Fractions 2 Kickstarter campaign goes live Monday afternoon. I just thought you should know that.— Jim Crawford (@mogwai_poet) March 5, 2014
We're two years away from consumers being able to pre-purchase sequels to games in alpha.— Fork Parker (@ForkParker) March 5, 2014
why is everybody so dismissive of indie developer Shaq— Garrett Martin (@grmartin) March 6, 2014
For people worrying they made Dark Souls 2 easier: fifty hours in my character died and, in response, the Xbox SCRATCHED UP THE DISC.— Simon Parkin (@SimonParkin) March 6, 2014
South Park: The Stick of Truth Is Prompting Some Great Writing
- Cameron Kunzelman used to love South Park, and tries to reconcile his views with the game.
- Adam Kepler sure makes it sound like this game wouldn't have shipped soon under THQ.
- Jason Wilson writes about what it's like to be a jew playing a game with a, uh, jew class.
Oh, And This Other Stuff
- Operation Bluebird is trying to drum up support for a third Zero Escape game.
- Aevee Bee discusses her favorite games writing and the proper way to do worldbuilding.
- tansuikabutsu translated this Famitsu interview with lots of great Japanese developers.
- Seth Porges profiles a team of Minecraft players turning fan idolization into a business.
- Leigh Alexander pens an emotionally exhausting essay about learning to play Netrunner.
- Nicholas Lovell argues changes to Steam sales have started a race to the bottom with pricing.
- Sophie Houlden shares her thoughts on the experimental Gender Swap game.
- Susan Ardent has a surprisingly emotional reaction to Titanfall's launch trailer.
- Eric Swain hosts a podcast with a roundtable of black games writers.
- Steve Gaynor chats with Supergiant Games about its origins and development philosophy.