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Worth Reading 08/09/2013

A new set of weird games to learn of, stories to get jealous and frustrated about, and your regular dose of miscellaneous.

Starting next week, these idiots will be yapping at you live on the front page, at least until someone pulls the damn plug.
Starting next week, these idiots will be yapping at you live on the front page, at least until someone pulls the damn plug.

Just as soon as I think I have this recording video from your computer thing down, something else pops up.

While recording Worth Playing earlier today, it refused to capture my browser, randomly switched the resolution, and generally forced me to pull my hair out. It all looks fine now, except my webcam is in a different position and varies in size during each game because there’s no way standardize this stuff and there sort of is but I don’t use it well and I’m sorry and aosijdafpsijdfaposijf.

Anyway.

The morning show comes back next week. We kick off at 7:30 am PST / 9:30 am CST / 10:30 am EST. We’ll (hopefully) be doing it twice a week, and the plan right now is Monday and Friday. We might even have a guest on Friday to discuss something that was going to be a feature on the site, but instead morphed into a segment on the morning show instead. We don’t have many guests on the Bombcast, but since we’re already recording the morning thing over a Google Hangout, it makes sense to bring in other people when it makes sense. We’re already starting to plan something that is going to go well beyond the 30 minutes it was meant for, aren’t we?

My anniversary is this weekend, and it’s crazy to think it’s been more than a year since the events of last summer. 2012 and 2013 were quite a whirlwind for Patrick Klepek, and I’m okay with that. It would be nice if the next year could balance out the bad news with the good news, though. It’s hardly a guaranteed thing, but I was asked to submit a pitch for a regional TED talk out here in the midwest. I’m still mulling over my topic, but I only have a few days before I need to submit my pitch. Who knows if it’ll get picked, but it’s an honor to be asked.

Hey, You Should Play This

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Worth Playing 08/09/2013

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And You Should Read These, Too

No Caption Provided

It would be just grand if Tevis Thompson could stop writing columns for Grantland. His ability to connect the dots between experiences that have seemingly nothing to do with one another is remarkable. Thompson takes up The Walking Dead: 400 Days (the latest Faces of Death feature is coming, promise), Sorcery!, and Depression Quest with one fell swoop in this latest piece. Thompson explores the relationship between player character and player, and ties that into the larger debate happening in games about the lack of diversity in our game characters. It’s a shame more people aren’t reading Thompson’s pieces over at Grantland. Let’s change that.

"But every time a game explores another subjectivity, both the medium and the player expand. I had never played as an abused child until The Binding of Isaac. I had never played as a transgender woman in transition until Dys4ia. I had never played as a person struggling with depression, even though I’d actually been one, until Depression Quest. Each of them spoke to me in the unique language of video games, evoking empathy through agency, and more are coming out every day. We will soon say: I escaped my abusive parent, or I experienced the frustrations and hopes of hormone replacement therapy, or I survived depression (and still fight it every day). This is what it’s like. You are not alone."

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I wanted to throw up after reading this. I’ve long objected to the design of many social games, and it’s sickening when the psychological logic driving the design is broken down to its essential elements. This is the furthest thing from skill and fun, and at what point does this begin to constitute gambling and catch the attention of the outside world? These games are straight up tricking people, and I’m going to start exploring a story I’ve been kicking around for a while. I’ve heard what social games focus tests are like, and the metrics companies look for made me uncomfortable.

"A coercive monetization model depends on the ability to “trick” a person into making a purchase with incomplete information, or by hiding that information such that while it is technically available, the brain of the consumer does not access that information. Hiding a purchase can be as simple as disguising the relationship between the action and the cost as I describe in mySystems of Control in F2P paper.

Research has shown that putting even one intermediate currency between the consumer and real money, such as a “game gem” (premium currency), makes the consumer much less adept at assessing the value of the transaction. Additional intermediary objects, what I call “layering”, makes it even harder for the brain to accurately assess the situation, especially if there is some additional stress applied."

If You Click It, It Will Play

Satoru Iwata Sounds Awfully Like Steve Jobs Here

“If I was to take responsibility for the company for just the next one or two years, and if I was not concerned about the long-term future of Nintendo at all, it might make sense for us to provide our important franchises for other platforms, and then we might be able to gain some short-term profit.

What I believe is that Nintendo is a very unique company, because it does its business by designing and introducing people to hardware and software - by integrating them, we can be unique. And because we have hardware and software developers in the same building, they stimulate each other.”

-- Computer & Video Games

Like it or Not, Crowdfunding Isn't Going Away

Tweets That Make You Go "Hmmmmmm"

Oh, And This Other Stuff

Patrick Klepek on Google+