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Worth Reading: 04/20/2012

Point 'n click around a tree with a scary spider before reading about Microsoft completely blowing a Hollywood deal and dissecting the word "immersion."

Maybe when the next Monster Hunter's getting released, 8-4 can explain what the deal is to me.
Maybe when the next Monster Hunter's getting released, 8-4 can explain what the deal is to me.

I’m so glad the news about 8-4 teaming up with Giant Bomb was finally announced. I’ve been sitting on those plans for what seems like months now, but the CBS deal happened, PAX East came out of nowhere, and it felt like things would never go public. Phew!

With Vinny in the office and Drew on his way, we’re finally getting the pieces together. Sure, we’re still a ways from being as prolific as pre-CBS, but we’re getting there. I guess that means I won’t be recording any more Quick Looks, but it was fun (?) while it lasted.

Nightmare House 2 is still sitting on my computer, and I’m hoping to finish that off on Sunday night. Did any of you check that out? I’ve noted a bunch of the other horror mods that people recommended, and I’ll get around to those, too. My fiancee leaves for a few days next week, so the time is ripe for me to play a bunch of terrifying games and go to bed shivering and sobbing. Will I finally play Amnesia: The Dark Descent, or come up with yet another bad excuse?

Hey, You Should Play This:

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With Machinarium, not only did Amanita Design make a game inspired by old school point-and-click adventures, it made a rather good one. Macinarium was a touching love story (love!), and I’ve been curiously waiting to see what Amanita Design would produce next. Botanicula also involves moving a mouse around the screen and a fair amount of pointing and clicking, but it’s an altogether different type of game. Players are guiding five different creatures, each outfitted with what one might call “powers,” and solving puzzles on a giant tree, in which there is a scary spider eating stuff. It’s weird, but totally feels like the kind of game you’d expect from the studio that produced a robot love story. As of this writing, there’s a wonderful Humble Bundle going on, but it’ll be available on Steam soon, too.

And You Should Watch This And Read That:

I don’t spend much time scrolling through YouTube for video essays (most aren’t any good!), but I’m a fan of Ben Abraham’s commentary, so it didn’t take much convincing to load up his latest work. In “Attention and Immersion,” Abraham points out how “immersion” is an utterly bizarre word to use when talking about particularly engrossing games. Of course, Abraham now has me second guessing every single one of the words I use while talking about the experience of playing games. While “attention” doesn’t seem to rightly encapsulate the feeling we’re all grasping to describe when we get sucked into a game’s world, a conversation about our gaming lexicon is a healthy one.

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If there’s an underlying theme to articles featured in Worth Reading, it’s about trying to approach what it means to talk and think about games from a different angle. That said, as a reporter myself, I’m also a fan of a really good story, and learning how the Halo movie fell apart is a good one. Wired has an excerpt from Jamie Russell’s Generation Xbox: How Video Games Invaded Hollywood, in which Microsoft’s arrogance about the Halo franchise caused what should have been a surefire hit to become a missed opportunity for everyone involved. It’s a simple culture clash, but one on such a massive financial scale that you can’t help but chuckle as the wheels come off.

Microsoft were aiming higher — much, much higher. CAA’s deal-making matched the software giant’s aspirations. According to the New York Times, Microsoft were demanding creative approval over director and cast, plus 60 first-class plane tickets for Microsoft personnel and their guests to attend the premiere. It wouldn’t be putting any money into the production itself beyond the fee paid to Garland, nor was it willing to sign over the merchandising rights. To add insult to injury, Microsoft wanted the winning studio to pay to fly one of its representatives from Seattle to LA. They would watch every cut of the movie during post-production. Clearly, Microsoft was entering into negotiations brandishing a very big stick.

P.S. Play Far Cry 2.

Patrick Klepek on Google+