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Worth Reading: 09/08/2014

The return of Breaking Madden means that everything is okay again.

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Thanks to everyone who came up and said hi at Chicago's Bit Bash festival this weekend. There were Giant Bomb t-shirts everywhere, and it was awesome to be reminded how spread out this community is. We gotta do stuff like that more often!

I had intended for Bit Bash to be the first time I'd go out and shoot something on-location, but I learned the audio was junk. (Long story short, I'd connected a microphone that ended up not working out, and I forgot to switch my recorder back to the internal mic. It will still "record" even if it's not actually picking up any sound.) My wife was kind enough to shoot the whole thing, and I might still try to make something with it. I dunno. Once again, I learned why you have "professionals."

You Should Read These

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While reading Daniel Carlson's piece, I nearly did the commenter thing of closing the tab when he slagged on Marvel's films, especially given Guardians of the Galaxy. But after I collected my breath and realized not everyone has to love Marvel movies, his points started to sink in. Like most of you, I enjoy the occasional blockbuster, whether we're talking about games or movies. The point that stuck out for me the most, however, was Carlson's critique of the open world game, and how, often, what fills them up is meaningless and ultimately pointless.

"Blockbusters are now all about delivering more: more music, more mayhem, more action, more characters, more sound, more explosions. They are altars to the god of sensory overload. Instead of captivating viewers by allowing them to witness action and vicariously feel suspense, blockbusters now seek to replicate that action impressionistically, thrusting the viewer into a hazy experience of what it might feel like to be in the film instead of just watching it.

This, unsurprisingly, has led to some wildly varied movies, but it’s also done some interesting things to video games, too, whose growth has roughly paralleled the development and expansion of the modern blockbuster. The adventure stories that heralded the birth of the modern home video game—Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda—were relatively straightforward action titles requiring the player to linearly progress the plot from A to B to C and so on, until things wrapped up. Super Mario Bros. was even literal about this: You can only move forward, not back. Once you cross the edge of the screen and begin to usher in the world beyond it, you cannot return to the place you left. There’s a pleasing emotional balance here with the blockbusters of the era: Kill the giant marshmallow man, save the princess."

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There were few things that made me laugh as hard or as consistently as Breaking Madden last year. It was hard to imagine how Jon Bois would find a way to top himself, but if his opening argument for the destruction of Madden physics is any indication, you should be bookmarking Breaking Madden once again all year long. To kick off the second season, Bois wants to find a way for this year's top NFL draft pick, Jadeveon Clowney, to top the all-time sack record in a single game. That number is 201. As with all Breaking Madden experiments, it ends with the game wondering if life is worth living, and making Bois feel bad about himself.

"Clowney's out-of-the-box stats in Madden are already pretty impressive, but just for good measure, I've bumped him up to a perfect 99/99 in every category: speed, strength, block shedding, and dozens of others. I've also tooled around with the game's global settings, setting "pass blocking" to zero and "tackling" to 100.

After a couple of test runs, I realized that a little extra finesse was required. It's important that Clowney gets nearly all these sacks, and that he doesn't share them with his fellow Texans, so I edited the rest of Houston's defensive line and pulled many of their ratings all the way down to zero.

This experiment would be far easier, of course, if I turned off the offsides rule. I've done it before. But it's important to me that these are legal, honest-to-God sacks. I want to stress that I left all the rules of American football perfectly intact."

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These Crowdfunding Projects Look Pretty Cool

  • GaymerX is raising funds for its third annual convention, and it's looking good so far.
  • Fantastic Witch Collective is a modern RPG with classic sensibilities about a group of female witches.
  • Pathologic is a remake of Ice-Pick Lodge's celebrated, completely weird first-person horror game.
  • Colorthesia is a game about colorblindness for people who aren't, in fact, colorblind.

Excellence From Giant Bomb's Community, Courtesy of ZombiePie

  • N7 shares his conflicted feelings about the current state of the Resident Evil franchise.
  • thatpinguino examines the growing popularity of lenticular game design, and why it's interesting.
  • VincentVendetta, inspired by the Criterion Collection, decided to create game versions of their box art.
  • BlaineBlaine, playing off of Dan's POG collection, showcases his Japanese Menko/Top Trumps cards.

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