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Worth Reading: 06/15/2012

It's time for something a little less stressful than Amnesia. You know, gene manipulation.

This was my face around 1:00 am last night, as the credits finally rolled on Amnesia.
This was my face around 1:00 am last night, as the credits finally rolled on Amnesia.

It’s with a huge sigh of relief that I’m able to announce that I’ve finished Amnesia: The Dark Descent. The game had such a profound emotional impact on my psyche that I’m going to table most of my thoughts until I’m able to write them down for a separate story next week, but a great weight has been lifted off of me.

Naturally, a teaser for Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs was released today. The nightmare begins anew!

I’m guessing the next Amnesia will conveniently arrive for Halloween, but before then, I’m trying to fill in my own horror gaps. I’ve never played Eternal Darkness (I know, I know), so a copy of that is coming via eBay next week, and I’ve had a few recommendations to play Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth.

There’s also the other games from Amensia developer Frictional Games, the Penumbra series. All of them were on sale recently, so even if they don’t live up to the hype of Amnesia, I’m curious to track the evolution of that studio in reverse. I know they have combat, which sounds iiiiinteresting? Dipping into Penumbra lines up with my desire to play the deeply flawed I Am Alive this week. I Am Alive isn’t a good game, but we can learn much from bad games.

Are there any not-so-great games that you’ve been able to appreciate, for one reason or another? Chime in.

Hey, You Should Play This:

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You might remember Cipher Prime's Auditorium Duet as one of the few Kickstarter projects I’ve highlighted on Giant Bomb. I wrote about it because it seemed likely to not get funded, but in the final hours, it did. This is not about another foray onto Kickstarter for Cipher Prime, but another game that’s absolutely worth your attention: Splice. It doesn’t have anything to do with the just okay 2009 horror film, but they do have a common theme. In both the movie and the game, it’s all about genetic manipulation. In one case, you’re left with a horrifying creature, but in Cipher Prime’s game, there’s a serene, relaxing puzzle game. Players are tasked with dragging and manipulating microbe sequences to line up with a set of patterns, and the sequences become understandably more complicated. It’s rather beautiful, too. We’ll do a Quick Look of this next week, but I wanted to give you guys a heads up for the weekend.

And You Should Read These, Too:

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Given the response to Anita Sarkeesian’s Kickstarter, I’m torn on the anonymity question. Imagine what would have happened if Blizzard had gone through with its plan to out everyone on its message boards? The benefits of anonymity are clear, but are the consequences worth it? I’m used to having everything about me in the public eye, so maybe I’m just used to it, but we all know the vast majority the people who make up the assholes of the Internet wouldn’t act like that if they actually had to associate their name with their commentary. I’ve taken a smug satisfaction from the outing of racists on Twitter, situations where users apparently forgot they weren’t anonymous. In a Facebook world, I wonder if anonymity on the Internet is a dying idea, an idea eventually swept away by the courts.

New government proposals say victims have a right to know who is behind malicious messages without the need for costly legal battles. The powers will be balanced by measures to prevent false claims in order to get material removed. But privacy advocates are worried websites might end up divulging user details in a wider range of cases. Last week, a British woman won a court order forcing Facebook to identify users who had harassed her. Nicola Brookes had been falsely branded a paedophile and drug dealer by users - known as trolls - on Facebook. Facebook, which did not contest the order, will now reveal the IP addresses of people who had abused her so she can prosecute them.
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The past has lessons, and I’m glad Michael Abbott is here to tell us about them. Video games are not the first medium to experience a glut of sameness, and while the “I’m tired of shooters” meme seems to rear its head every E3, that criticism felt especially poignant this year. I’m not tired of shooters, I’m just tired of these shooters, and Abbott found an analogy with the western genre in film. For more than a decade, the western dominated the cinematic landscape, and disappeared for a few key reasons: “1) Genre fatigue and homologous products; 2) High cost of production; 3) Public outcry over violence; 4) Narrow target audience.” Sounds awfully familiar, huh?

History could prove prophetic. The second wave of Western filmmakers (Sergio Leone, Sam Peckinpah, Clint Eastwood) turned our deep familiarity with the genre in on itself, addressing existential questions and examining the nature of violence. These films were radical departures from the Hollywood formula, not because they rejected the familiar settings or the guns or the hero/villain dichotomy, but because they made these the very subjects of their scrutiny.

Oh, And This Other Stuff:

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