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Worth Reading: 11/30/12

A big ol' installment of Worth Reading after a one-week break that includes the most realistic toilet simulator you've ever played, butts, stories to make you cry, thoughtful pieces on #1reasonwhy, and an assortment of other nonsense.

I will try to convince myself it's okay that I'm playing this at 20 frames-per-second or whatever. Argh. Shut up. I know. I know. I know.
I will try to convince myself it's okay that I'm playing this at 20 frames-per-second or whatever. Argh. Shut up. I know. I know. I know.

Thanksgiving came went without a big ol’ purchase of PC parts, but it’ll be soon, promise. I know, I said that before, but but but. I'm just waiting on something to clear up before I can hit buy, and I finally learn what a headache it is to own and maintain a PC. Plus, watching Far Cry 3 on a PC versus an Xbox 360 has been...painful.

Then again, I’ve gotten used to dealing with the minimum. My Xbox 360 is launch era machine, makes noise the equivalent of a space shuttle, and only has 20GB of space to work with. I do not go back to old games often, though, so I don’t have a problem with having a single game installed to the hard drive at a time, with only a handful of Xbox Live Arcade games. Memory management is just a quirk I’ve gotten used to, though I wouldn’t exactly get upset if that Xbox 360 finally bit the dust and I was forced to upgrade. I might as well deal with it and wait for the next console. (If you feel like red ringing, though, it's okay!)

That’s all just part of my cheapish nature, which both works for and against me. I would probably be happier with a quieter Xbox 360, but I’m usually playing with headphones on, so...eh.

Worth Reading is bigger than normal this week because I was actually collecting material for one during the Thanksgiving break, even if I knew I would ultimately have no time to put it together. I’m starting to feel like this feature needs a bit of a shake up, only because it feels a bit routine at this point, so if you have any suggestions...

Hey, You Should Play These

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Another situation where the less said the better. Just make sure to follow the developer’s instructions and have the appropriate spaces noises (which I converted into an MP3 and now have on my phone--seems great for naps on flights) while playing through The Message. It won’t take you more than a few minutes, start to finish, and you’ll want to immediately go back and see the other options when it’s all over. The Message does a terrific job of setting a grim, disturbing mood for the state of the emotional state of planet Earth, and by the end, well, you’ll understand why.

(The Message was part of Fuck This Jam, which leads me to...)

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The above three are selections from the recent Fuck This Jam game jam, where participants made games in genres they hated. I don’t know if that’s actually what happened in most instances (though the enormous amount of faux football games in the database does suggest otherwise for some people), but it doesn’t really matter, since Fuck This Jam resulted in a whole lotta awesome nonsense. Rather than just including one, I plucked three from a quick overview of the submissions, but if you have some favorites, send 'em over with a link, and I’ll highlight another set.

(And, yes, that’s really all there is to Totally Accurate Toilet Simulator. What, you wanted more?)

And You Should Read This, Too

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Simon Parkin files what might as well be (for now) the definitive piece on the Hot Coffee scandal that nearly brought down Rockstar Games, even if Rockstar itself chose not to comment. (Sam Houser did talk about with author Harold Goldberg for a book--read his comments at Wired.) Parkin dug up a series of incredible emails from within Rockstar through legal filings, and it paints a very detailed picture of the reasons why sex mini-games became a thing in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, what prompted the company to remove them, and how they were discovered.

But the commercial imperative was clear: fail to make the cuts and the potential audience for GTA: San Andreas' could be restricted by the ratings board. The question now was how to extract the explicit material without breaking the wider game's functionality so close to release. An emergency meeting was called so that the senior managers could discuss a solution. During the meeting Houser explained: “You can't always take a thing out of a game."
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When I finished reading Jenn Frank’s piece about her mother’s recent death, I cried for two reasons. One, it’s a heartbreaking story told with such vivid and breathless detail that one cannot help vut feel crushed. Two, I haven’t found the will to write something about my own father. Writers have an itch, and there’s something about being a writer that compels you to write about your experiences. Maybe you think you can help others by talking about what most people will not, maybe it’s an ego thing related to talking about yourself, or maybe it’s just a form of catharsis that comes very natural. Whatever the case, I don’t know when I’ll end up doing the same for my own experience, but Jenn’s story is special, sad, and soul-crushing. We all have to say goodbye, even if we don’t really mean it.

My game ended quickly. “Well, okay, that’s that,” I said, putting the phone down and fumbling for something else. “Remember my story? My story came out in the magazine. Um, in August.”

I opened a chapbook in front of her, and she touched its pages, and then she took the magazine from me and shut it and kind of massaged its cover with her thumb. Then she dropped the magazine into the folds of the bed and reached for my hand, and she took my hand and squeezed it.

And squeezed it again. And then I cried, and she squeezed my hand another time, and I looked up and right into her eyes, which were wet and meaningful and so clear, and her face was obscured by the breathing mask but her eyebrows were furrowed the way they always are when I cry, and I apologized to her for hurting her and for being so sad, and I looked down again at our clasped hands, and then I folded myself in half and cried into both our hands.

Some Thoughtful Words From Others About This Week’s #1reasonwhy Hashtag

If You Click It, It Will Play

I Don’t Know About This Kickstarter Thing, But These Projects Seem Pretty Cool

Valve Just Launched Greenlight, So Here’s Some Games That Don’t Look Terrible

  • Famaze isn't promising much more than what it's selling as a retro puzzle adventure, but it works.
  • Point Perfect tries to think of some more inventive uses of the mouse as an input device.
  • People keep convincing me zombies are okay. Zombies does that. (Also, the soundtrack is baller.)

Oh, And This Other Stuff

Patrick Klepek on Google+
111 CommentsRefresh

Avatar image for siroptimusprime
Posted By SirOptimusPrime

I thought I should come back to say that Dear Esteban is quite amazing.

The ending... so poignant.

Avatar image for tennseven
Posted By TennSeven

Great read on that hot coffee article. I had no idea that R* had initially blamed the modding community for the actual content. A very unfortunate decision that has tarnished my opinion of the company.

Avatar image for dagbiker
Posted By Dagbiker

@crcruz3 said:

@clush said:

@Sammo21 said:

Wait? You think its a pain to build and "maintain" a PC? Lol, Patrick...that's cute.

I know right. This isn't the 90's anymore, PC's and windows have come a looooong way. I NEVER have any trouble with my PC, in fact I even recently replaced my mainboard, processor, videocard and memory, all at the same time, booted the thing up and it just works (edit: without reinstalling windows I mean!). All you got to do is make sure it downloads and installs updates automatically and regularly (default setting) and you're good. I can't even remember the last time I played a game on PC that didn't 'just work' out of the box.

Try Fallout 3 GOTY on Steam, it doesn't work well with multicore. I had to read a shitload of forums to make it work.

I like my PC, but you cant just expect to play every game out of the box like you can with a console. Even just playing Planetside 2, I get errors sometimes. Granted, I am running 2 monitors from the same graphics card, and playing a video in openGL on one, while playing on the other.

Avatar image for aleckz
Posted By aleckz

Goodness, I look forward to reading these articles every Saturday when I open. Thank you very much, Patrick. <3

Avatar image for crcruz3
Posted By crcruz3

@clush said:

@Sammo21 said:

Wait? You think its a pain to build and "maintain" a PC? Lol, Patrick...that's cute.

I know right. This isn't the 90's anymore, PC's and windows have come a looooong way. I NEVER have any trouble with my PC, in fact I even recently replaced my mainboard, processor, videocard and memory, all at the same time, booted the thing up and it just works (edit: without reinstalling windows I mean!). All you got to do is make sure it downloads and installs updates automatically and regularly (default setting) and you're good. I can't even remember the last time I played a game on PC that didn't 'just work' out of the box.

Try Fallout 3 GOTY on Steam, it doesn't work well with multicore. I had to read a shitload of forums to make it work.

Avatar image for zzzellyn
Posted By zzzellyn

The toilet simulator really was everything I expected.

Avatar image for krabonq
Posted By Krabonq

Ugh... stop trying so hard to be edgy and pushing this reasonwhy crap already, please.

Avatar image for lauriboy
Posted By Lauriboy

@CaLe: For a few weeks now I haven't had more than 5 hours of sleep per night due to my cortisone medication. Last night I woke up after one hour of sleep. After reading all of reddit, 9gag and giantbomb I saw the song you linked. Slept solid 6 hours after listening. Thx, duder! :)

Avatar image for clush
Edited By clush

@Sammo21 said:

Wait? You think its a pain to build and "maintain" a PC? Lol, Patrick...that's cute.

I know right. This isn't the 90's anymore, PC's and windows have come a looooong way. I NEVER have any trouble with my PC, in fact I even recently replaced my mainboard, processor, videocard and memory, all at the same time, booted the thing up and it just works (edit: without reinstalling windows I mean!). All you got to do is make sure it downloads and installs updates automatically and regularly (default setting) and you're good. I can't even remember the last time I played a game on PC that didn't 'just work' out of the box.

Avatar image for jillsammich
Edited By JillSammich

Aw, the Jenn Frank article had me tearing up a bit. Great piece of writing. Very touching.

@DEFE: This... I have both of my parents still alive, but I live very far away from them. Just thinking about losing them makes me start to well up.

Avatar image for freedomtown
Posted By FreedomTown

@Sammo21 said:

Wait? You think its a pain to build and "maintain" a PC? Lol, Patrick...that's cute.

Dude, it is crazy hard to maintain a PC! You gotta.....you know.....you need to.........run the automatic update program! And like......make sure the fan is cleaned once a year or something insane like that.

Oh, and obligatory #1reason mention, almost forgot.

Avatar image for jasonefmonk
Posted By jasonefmonk

The Hot Coffee read was excellent, thanks Patrick. It's the one of biggest social problems in North America, and it's sad to see it holding games back from their potential.

Avatar image for bbqbram
Posted By BBQBram

@FengShuiGod said:

It's nice to see the merits of a poem judged by everything except its aesthetics and intelligence.

The Allen Ginsberg reference is wasted on crass rambling of anecdotes. Like someone using beat to lend power to their agenda without grasping anything about beat. Beat is cadence and true expression of the moment first, here it is statement first in a contrived form.

Didn't expect to vent about poetry on giantbomb today!

Avatar image for alexparham
Posted By alexparham

i agree, that was one of the best reviews i have ever read, haha

Avatar image for defe
Posted By defe

Aw, the Jenn Frank article had me tearing up a bit. Great piece of writing. Very touching.

Avatar image for jasondesante
Posted By jasondesante

I love the glass is half empty mentality "heres some games that dont look terrible" :D brighten up trick

Avatar image for yeah_write
Edited By yeah_write
Avatar image for equitasinvictus
Posted By EquitasInvictus

That was a really good article on the whole Hot Coffee incident; I was never aware of the entire story behind it until now, so I definitely thought it was well-done.

Avatar image for ebe
Edited By ebe
Avatar image for jaybelevee
Posted By jaybelevee

:)

Avatar image for mrdowntempo
Posted By MrDowntempo

Wolfire's Desperate Gods from the Fuck this jam is pretty interesting too.

Avatar image for philipduck
Posted By PhilipDuck

Far Cry 3 has been running fine on my 360.. When you install and run it doesn't seem to have a problem holding up the FPS, i probably dropped once when I was in a shop but apart from that hasn't locked up and has been a treat! :p

Avatar image for nekroskop
Posted By Nekroskop

Just get the guys from Tested to build a PC for you, Patrick.

Avatar image for astiaks
Posted By Astiaks

Well, as long as the xbox works it shouldn't be replaced. Also, if you are running games like Far Cry 3 on 20 fps, then your rig probably makes alot of noise too. But just as you mentioned, headphones always save the day in such situations.

Avatar image for sammo21
Posted By sammo21

Wait? You think its a pain to build and "maintain" a PC? Lol, Patrick...that's cute.

Avatar image for tomcostello
Posted By TomCostello

Stop mentioning #1reason why you attention seeking asshole.

Avatar image for tandooricactus
Posted By TandooriCactus

Great stuff as always Mr Klepek. Looking forward to a full compliment of the Bomb crew on the cast this week.

Avatar image for vickydog
Posted By vickydog

Ya!

Avatar image for procrasturbate
Posted By procrasturbate

Thanks for this Mr. Patrick. This is some excellent reading material.

Avatar image for brendan
Posted By Brendan

@trolipo3 said:

@Landon said:

@Soapy86 said:

Well, The Message was a total waste of six minutes.

It took you 6 minutes to read all that? It took me around 3.

it took me around 2.

Took me 30 seconds. No wait! 20. Now wait! 5. It took me zero seconds to read that Message.

I win.

Online
Avatar image for glots
Posted By Glots

Had to give Zombies a go, since it didn't cost much. Few of the songs are a bit "meh" but most are a good enough reason to replay certain levels again and again. The game itself isn't bad either, a good timewaster if something.

Avatar image for deano546
Posted By deano546

Thanks for the link to the binding of Isaac postmortem Scoops, I found it fascinating.

Avatar image for fattony12000
Posted By Fattony12000
Avatar image for trolipo3
Posted By trolipo3

@Landon said:

@Soapy86 said:

Well, The Message was a total waste of six minutes.

It took you 6 minutes to read all that? It took me around 3.

it took me around 2.

Avatar image for legendarychopchop
Edited By LegendaryChopChop

Great to read a positive story about Mass Effect and I'm glad you linked it here.

Avatar image for giovanni
Posted By GioVANNI

butts

Avatar image for graham_nix
Edited By Graham_Nix

Hey Patrick

Sorry for this unrelated question, but I just watched the previous TNT that and heard you guys talking about games you wanted to complete before the GOTY's. I don't know how much pressure you've had from other people, so I hope I'm not obnoxious, but I noticed you didn't mention Virtue's Last Reward. Do you have any plans to finish that before the end of the year?

I feel 2012 has been a very strong year for stories in games, seeing as even several non-indie games had meaningful tales to tell (The Walking Dead, Virtue's Last Reward, Spec-Ops: the Line, etc.) and a GOTY 'best story' discussion would be incomplete without VLR.

Article was great BTW, I have the exact same situation with my 20GB Xbox :V

EDIT: Oh and here are two suggestions for my favorite part of WR, the short games. They both sound like commercials, but the suprising part is that they're both staggeringly good and funny (for pseudo-commercials that is). You'll immediatly see what I mean.

http://www.oldspicesavestheworld.com/

http://www.skrillexquest.com/

Avatar image for quartox
Posted By quartox

I know it was mentioned above but I agree with the above user about including user questions in the feature. I also think it might be interesting in weeks like this past one to have a debate between users who are willing to represent different sides of an argument, possibly moderated by by Patrick, or having Patrick take one side and debate with one or two users. I would have loved to dive into the discussion on women in gaming but was intimidated by the number of comments by the time I read the article (both to read the discussion and join in it). A concise representation of the best arguments would be interesting, though you might have to use something besides the comments section to get the best ideas gathered.

Avatar image for dropabombonit
Posted By dropabombonit

Forgot how I much I missed this feature when it wasn't here last week, great to have some Scoops back

Avatar image for mooseymcman
Posted By MooseyMcMan

For whatever reason, I thought The Message was the game with the toilet at first.

Avatar image for cheebahh
Edited By Cheebahh

Seriously?

Avatar image for thepantheon
Posted By ThePantheon

Sure was a big pain and headache to pay a computer business to build my specced out PC for me, give me a 3 year warranty on all parts and labour, and pick it up from the store. Yep, that's really been a big ole pain in the ass. COME ON PATTY GET INTO THE PC MASTER RACE!!

Avatar image for siroptimusprime
Posted By SirOptimusPrime

There's so much to chunk into here... hopefully we get to see the PC build before the end of the year, but that's more so because you cannot keep playing shit like ~20FPS Far Cry 3 anymore. When you come back to 60, even 30 or 40, FPS it'll be so jarring at first, but damn worth it.

Avatar image for john-luke
Posted By John-Luke

This week's stuff is great, keep it up.

Avatar image for rpgee
Posted By rpgee

Well, Jenn Frank is now officially my favourite video-game related journalist. Tom Bissell was there, and is second, but just doesn't release enough to keep him in mind.

Although now Jon Blyth ranks a good third.

Seriously, the faith and courage that Jenn Frank undertook cannot be overstated, especially in such a public place as the Internet. It's, in many ways, encouraging. That there has been such an positive reaction is perhaps indicative of how the community surrounding games is improving.

Avatar image for cmblasko
Edited By cmblasko

@Sidoran said:

@cmblasko: I was pretty bummed when I looked at their quota, where they are now, and how many days are left. :(

Yeah, I'm right there with you. $75,000 was simply an unrealistic amount; I had a bad feeling about the lofty goal the moment that they announced it. PWX/Wishbone don't have the name recognition or buzz words (Classic RPG! Stats! Roguelike!) needed to generate that amount of interest. Not to mention that they are pitching a non-WWE-licensed pro wrestling game during a time when pro wrestling is not very cool or popular.

What are the rules on reapplying for Kickstarter after a failed attempt? I think they could hit maybe around $30-35k if they gave it another go, and that is certainly better than nothing.

Avatar image for npa189
Posted By npa189

Launch era 360? what are you twelve? not trying to be a dick here, but what self-respectin' video game playin' man is rocking a xbox with a 20gb hard drive? Build a PC already.

Avatar image for visariloyalist
Posted By VisariLoyalist

Can I just comment that the worth reading feature is significantly less interesting given it's a list of links of random stuff. I mean I guess it doesn't hurt to add it as content but I'm just not interested in it at all personally.

Avatar image for michaelfossbakk
Posted By michaelfossbakk

Just got done reading the #1reasonwhy and #1reasontobe stories. It's almost 3 a.m. I'll return to this tomorrow, Patrick.