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Worth Reading: 06/20/2014

With E3 headed into the rearview mirror, let's settle in and click on things. Lots of things.

I'm still wrapping my head around Nintendo and E3 2014. Has there ever been a show where the company that so clearly "won" the show was also the company struggling in the marketplace?

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Maybe that was Sega during the Dreamcast years, a company producing amazing game after amazing game, yet simply waiting for the PlayStation 2 to come and devour its lunch. It's possible E3 2014 heralds a turning point for Wii U, but if there is one, it's where the Wii U can probably take its status alongside GameCube: a machine worth owning and that sold kind of okay.

Besides the games, though, I have to imagine Sony and Microsoft paid close attention to Treehouse Live. Granted, Nintendo was able to generate an intense amount of interest this year because the company never, ever does anything like that. While it's unlikely a one-trick pony, it's worth remembering there's a shiny newness factor to it all.

Between Treehouse Live and Twitch, one can't help but wonder what the future holds for games media and E3. I don't think Giant Bomb has much to worry about. Talking over the press conferences made better use of our editors than anything we've ever done, and the nightly shows take advantage of developer proximity in a way that remains uniquely ours. The distribution of game information will become even more tightly controlled in the years to come, but we still have our place. I'll worry about it in a year.

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Worth Playing: 06/20/2014

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And You Should Read These, Too

  • "This is Phil Fish" by Ian Danskin

Whatever you think of Phil Fish, watch this video. It's the first time I've included a video essay in this portion of Worth Reading, so far as I know. I welcome this change of page. When we talk about Phil Fish, are we actually talking about Phil Fish? That's what Ian Danskin's essay poses as its big question, and tries to break down the machinations behind and consequences of Internet celebrity. I never thought I'd watch a video that forced me to deeply think about why people hate Nickleback, but, hey, there you go.

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Layoffs are not unique to the video game industry, but it certainly feels like our medium experiences employee turnover at a rate a little faster than others. Whether that's true or not, working on a video game one day is no guarantee you'll be working on another one the next day, and Jason Schreier's collection of layoff stories is simultaneously heartbreaking and insightful. There's even a story about how well one studio handled the bad news, making the transition as easy as possible for employees. Then, there's a story from someone at the center of the 38 Studios storm. Oof.

"Anyway regarding the layoffs. So the CEO decided we no longer needed artists...any artists at all, so he took all 17 of them into his office. There he told them they are all fired, and that they must sign the form on his desk to say that they accept the mutual termination of their contract and are due no severance pay. Now this may have worked if he did it 1 on 1, with a bit of intimidation from his powerful parents, however when there are 17 people in the room? The artists burst out in hysterical laughter and told him there is no fucking way any of them are signing that shit. They then all went to a nearby law firm, got themselves an employment lawyer and sued the company. I'm no longer there, but I hear they got quite a nice payout, 3-4x what they would have been owed in severance."

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  • Sunset is a first-person exploration game about the people on the sidelines of wars.
  • FranknJohn turns your head into your weapon. I'm in.

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