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Worth Reading: 05/16/2014

I've got Godzilla on the brain as the weekend approaches, alongside a week's worth of links.

I saw Godzilla last night! It's a worthy re-telling of a classic story, and I'm glad the big guy is back.

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But there is something revealing about the way I prepared for Godzilla: I stopped participating in the marketing. To some degree, you can't avoid the hype train that leads to the release of a movie, game, or other major media event, but huge parts of marketing are participatory. You don't have to watch every trailer and clip that comes out, and you don't have to read the early impressions. I might have looked silly leaping for the remote control to flip past the latest trailer, but I did it anyway.

And I gotta admit: it really paid off. Almost everything in Godzilla was a surprise. The movie was more powerful. It makes sense for marketing to pluck some of the most visual arresting pieces of a work, but it feels like there's little restraint shown these days.

I don't do this for every movie. I mean, not every movie is new Godzilla film. I like participating in the marketing for other movies, I like seeing everything I can. I'm looking forward to Guardians of the Galaxy, but it's not Godzilla--I'll be okay with soaking everything in.

I'm only able to use movies as an example because I don't have a choice with video games. As a writer that often sees and plays games ahead of release, I'm sometimes an extension of that marketing machine. I wonder how all of you deal with that. Are there particularly "special" games where you avoid everything that's out there, making the moment you boot it up all the more special?

Hey, You Should Play This

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Worth Playing: 05/16/2014

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And You Should Read These, Too

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You could do a whole series of stories in this vein. It's one I've kicked around for a long time. Seriously! I've been considering a regular feature on visiting old gaming communities since I was a reporter at MTV News years and years ago. Maybe I should get around to it. But I'm fascinated by what drives some people to stick around with communities long after everyone else has left. This piece gets at the core of what I'd suspect drives most of it: relationships. The game draws you in, but the people prompt you to stay.

"Joshua Rotunda, a designer from New York who has played the game since he was fourteen, says that it’s the high stakes risk/reward dynamic that first drew him in and continues to hold his interest. 'My friend and I began playing at the same time,' he said. 'Shortly after starting, my friend’s character was attacked and killed in one of main city streets by a gang of veteran players. Even though I was much weaker than them, and alone, I attacked the group. My friend quit the game, but I was fueled with the need for vengeance in this little world and drawn in.'"

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And here's a good reason why I never ended up publishing anything about Tomodachi Life. When someone like Christian Nutt writes a piece as emotionally affecting and personally illuminating as this, it's better to simply let this do the talking. If you don't understand why some people were so irked by Nintendo's response to the Miiquality campaign, in which users politely asked Nintendo to consider adding gay relationship options to Tomodachi Life, I really do recommend reading this.

"Why does Nintendo's statement rankle? It speaks to a basic truth of gay life: Straight people don't understand our lives -- that living, for us, is an inherently political act. If you think this is an exaggeration, you've never had to push down a quaver to clearly and calmly say, in an obviously male voice, "my husband" to a customer service phone rep at an insurance company, or had a government official ask which one of the couple is "the bride" when he's filling out a form, only for him to abruptly realize the absurdity of the question when he notices your expression.

Worth considering also is the idea that regardless of whatever the Japanese version supported or did not support, the Western edition of the game should incorporate same sex marriage in the name of cultural adaptability and fairness. I am not unsympathetic to this perspective, of course.

On the other hand, you must also consider the much larger political problem the company would have on its hands if the same sex marriage switch was simply flipped. In considering this, the anarchic, sandbox nature of the game must be considered, too: As the player, you can't really make anybody do anything."

If You Click It, It Will Play

These Crowdfunding Projects Look Pretty Cool

  • Codemaster hopes to teach young people the magic behind programming.
  • Kaiju-a-Gogo thrusts you into the role of a mad scientist with control over a massive monster.

Tweets That Make You Go "Hmmmmmm"

one thing about local multiplayer is scarcity as a virtue, eg. hand-made, slow food, microbrews... SF is very Made in Brooklyn in this sense

— Frank Lantz (@flantz) May 12, 2014

Cops & robbers multiplayer where one of the robbers has dubious low-level superpowers. Such as: can read dog minds. Can turn things brown.

— Brendon Chung (@BlendoGames) May 13, 2014

Microsoft: Where things are absolutely, positively required & are fundamental to your enjoyment of their services until they're suddenly not

— Chris Franklin (@Campster) May 13, 2014

How you know video game special editions have gotten to the point of absurdity: when this table needs to exist

— Lazy Game Reviews (@lazygamereviews) May 13, 2014

I mean, sure, Microsoft is having a rough time competing with a $100 cheaper PlayStation 4. But they sold a certain vision to gamers & devs.

— Rami Ismail (@tha_rami) May 13, 2014

There are a number of developers right now that have bought into that vision: the deal was that every Xbox One has a Kinect.

— Rami Ismail (@tha_rami) May 13, 2014

Oh, And This Other Stuff

Patrick Klepek on Google+