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Worth Reading: 04/17/2014

We've returned from another brief hiatus with a fully stacked edition of your weekly set of games, commentary, analysis, and more.

Another PAX is over, and another PAX has been announced. It's not PAX Chicago, but San Antonio will have to do. Weirdly enough, despite being in the midwest, that's actually farther for me to travel than PAX East.

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(For the record, I have no idea if we'll be at PAX South. We haven't had a single conversation about it yet.)

This event was definitely the most stressed I've ever been for PAX, largely because I decided to finally step up and have a panel of my own. I've been mulling what would make sense to do outside of the Giant Bomb panel for years, but nothing ever quite made much sense.

The original plan was to do a much longer version of my TEDx talk from last year about Internet discourse, and incorporate the feedback I'd received in the months since and the material I'd cut due to time. That might have been worthwhile, but it didn't seem like the best use of the very public opportunity.

I know that I can put butts in seats. I know that people will show up and sit down, no matter what I have to say. That's power, and I do what I can to wield it responsibly. Part of that is elevating the platforms of others, and introducing the world to new people. Depression Quest designer Zoe Quinn was the first person that came to mind, and she agreed almost immediately. I was thrilled to have her on stage with me, and she kicked ass.

And weirdly enough, the comments have been mostly civil! Seriously! Good job, everyone.

As for me, I'm just happy to not have another speaking engagement scheduled for a good long time!

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Worth Playing: 04/17/2014

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And You Should Read These, Too

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Even though Irrational Games is no more, there's still plenty to talk about when it comes to the studio and its history. It's a complicated, emotional one, and we'll probably be hearing the different sides and interpretations for years to come. Simon Parkin has come out of nowhere with this extensive analysis of BioShock's development, and the struggles the team had to make what's regarded as a modern classic. The management difficulties we've heard about regarding Ken Levine and BioShock Infinite seem to have their roots in the original BioShock, though Parkin's report paints a rather intimate and empathetic portrayal of Levine's actions, a man torn between two worlds.

"Not every aspect of the game evolved so effortlessly. At one point the team needed to create a demo for the American video game magazine Game Informer. The magazine was set to run a BioShock cover story. 'The pressure was on to create something that would impress, and our deadline was looming,' says LeBreton. 'In a level review, there was some discussion of how an AI should be presented in the short demo. Someone mentioned System Shock 2's evasive cyborg ninjas as a reference point. Ken threw his glasses down and yelled: 'I don't want to hear anything about any f***ing cyborg ninjas!''

When Paul Hellquist, lead level designer on the project tried to interject, Levine screamed: 'Shut up!' 'This stunned everyone into silence,' recalls LeBreton. 'This was still early in my time at Irrational, and I wasn't sure what to make of it. Other folks were upset, but in a way that indicated this was something that had happened before.'"

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The NFL might be in offseason mode, but Jon Bois isn't. The same writer and humorist behind the Breaking Madden series has returned for the playoff-bound NBA with Y2K. In Breaking Madden, Bois found a way to turn Madden on itself, and he accomplishes a similar task here. Bois' attempts to have the infamously terrible 76ers find a way to an unwinnable season, which is hardly as simple as missing a few shots. No, Bois must make a team of nightmarishly terrible basketball players, paid athletes so atrocious that it's difficult to imagine how they put on pants. Come for the hilarious GIFs, stay for the sharp commentary.

"There's a lot to consider here, but my favorite thing is that the Sixers held the ball for two-thirds of the game. That's what happens when you take all a team's tendencies away. They'd just hang out at the perimeter, dribble in place for 20 seconds, and chuck up a garbage shot with the shot clock expiring because the game demanded it."

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A Few Reports Direct From PAX East's "Diversity Lounge"

  • Lexi Leigh felt it was a step in the right direction and came away with a positive outlook.
  • Royel Edwards was less positive, and wondered if it was just a token gesture by PAX.

Story Bundle Currently Has a Spectacular Bundle, Here's Some Codes

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Patrick Klepek on Google+