It only took a few minutes into Spookin' With Scoops to realize two things:
- I'm happy this feature is back.
- I'm upset this feature is back.
Those are, fortunately, both positives.
Playing skin crawling games in the dark with no one else around is exactly why the feature was cooked up in the first place. As I briefly mentioned in the video, my reactions are truly genuine; I try to play games that makes me physically uncomfortable. Slender taps into the same sense of abandonment and isolation that made The Blair Witch Project such a defining film for me, and DreadOut is just plain creepy. It might take a few days for the sounds of that wailing woman to fully leave my mind.
Horror media allow you to explore fears in a safe place. When the game is turned off, the world reverts to normal. Sure, there's a lingering sense of creatures with blank faces watching your every move, but that's every day. These games aren't for everyone, but we all enjoy watching others subject themselves to horrible things. Happy to be your tortured surrogate.
Also, I'm hoping to record a premium Q&A video before I jet off to Iceland, so if you want something answered, shoot me a PM on Comic Vine: patrickklepek. Also also, if you happen to be in Iceland and are going to EVE Online's FanFest, send me a note! Drew and I will be there, and we're lookin' for hangouts.
Hey, You Should Play This
- Safety Instructions by Pippin Barr (Browser, Free) -- www.pippinbarr.com
You're going to play through Safety Instructions once and come away with a smile. "Oh, it's like Typing of the Dead with cute death animations when you don't type properly." And that's completely true, but don't ignore the suggestion to experience the game a second time once you've "finished" it. Then, don't ignore the suggestion to play it a third time. Each go-round only takes a few minutes, so you'll be in and out in less than 15 minutes, but the writing only gets funnier and more twisted as you go deeper. That's to say nothing about the final, final, finale scene, which had me over the moon. You'll know when you see it.
And You Should Read This, Too
Jorge Albor isn't the first person to write down his reaction to a game (or any piece of media, really) that appropriates another group's culture, but what's interesting about Albor's essay is how it's acutely focused on whether or not he even should be offended. Clearly, Guacamelee! is prompting a reaction from him, but it's a reaction that, at first, is not necessarily positive or negative. Albor thoughtfully spends his words exploring various responses to Guacamelee!'s leveraging of something that is very near and dear to him. He doesn't draw any scathing conclusions about Drinkbox's intentions. It's good food for thought.
"The concept of cultural ownership is strange to me. As far as I see it, the music of Mexico belongs to the world, as all music does. The sights, sounds, and festivities of the small pueblito where my family is from means something special to me. But if I took you there, drove you through farmland and forest, and walked you into the old stone church at the center of town or showed you the worn down arcade cabinet I played obsessively during my stays there, I believe you would fall in love. Culture is unique in that its shareable yet simultaneously subjective."
- " EA v EDGE GAMES, the Aftermath. Thread of the Decline and Fall of Tim Langdell" by phisheep on NeoGAF
I wish I could spend more time following fascinating cases like the resolution of the "Edge" trademark involving the notorious Tim Langdell. Fortunately for the rest of us, NeoGAF user phisheep has been closely tracking the development of the case, and it's absolutely worth crawling through every page of the thread to watch it unfold. If you aren't familar with Langdell, he's caused trouble in the trademark system for various developers, the European magazine Edge, and others through his dubious and troll-y ownership of "edge."
- TTAB Nov 2010: EA moves to have the marks cancelled and have judgment entered in EA’s favour (that would include a finding of fraud against Langdell). Langdell instead voluntarily surrenders the marks (trying to avoid fraud finding), EA withdraws its motion and…
- TTAB Dec 2010: … the Board agrees to cancel the marks ‘in due course’ and dismiss the case without prejudice. Game over? Not a bit of it, Langdell has another trick up his sleeve.
- TTAB Feb 2011: Langdell moves to withdraw his surrender on the EDGE mark because of it being part-owned by Future Publishing (though by then it wasn’t). Future intervened in the case to support that (because it wanted to hang on to its own rights) and …
- TTAB July 2011: ... the Board allowed Langdell to withdraw his surrender, and joined Future Publishing as a defendant. Langdell thought that was a winning move, and gloated about it, but then …
- TTAB Jul 2011: ... Future put in the killer motion to just get the trademark cancelled anyway in accordance with the Federal Court order! EA should have thought of that in the first place.
- TTAB Aug 2011: Langdell countered by trying to withdraw two more surrenders, and for the next couple of months everyone disagreed with everyone else, with Langdell complaining that Future weren’t taking his side.
- TTAB Oct 2011: Langdell moved to pull Future’s EDGE trademark into the proceedings and so try to get Future onside. EA and Future objected to that.
- TTAB Nov 2011: everyone is all out of motions to submit and we are waiting for the Board to decide.
- TTAB Mar 2012: the Board gives Langdell 20 days to appeal in the District Court or the trademarks will be cancelled ...
- TTAB Apr 2012: ... which Langdell doesn't do, instead filing a barrage of motions claiming it's impossible, or illegal, or something ...
- TTAB May 2012: ... which of course, Edge and Future opposed,
If You Click It, It Will Play
Crowdfunding Has Promise, Hopefully Developers Don't Screw It Up
- C-Wars is cyberpunk + apocalypse + RTS + pixel art = something I would like to play, thanks.
- Remember the horror game where you're a two-year-old? It's Among the Sleep, and it looks great.
- Retronauts was (is) one of the best gaming podcasts. Glad to see it's sticking around.
Tweets That Make You Go "Hmmmmmm"
Papers Please made PCGamer's Greenlight list. Thoughtful reader comment: "all these games look like shit" pcgamer.com/2013/04/17/25-…— Lucas Pope (@dukope) April 18, 2013
someday I will make a game that has a grid inventory and a cyberspace layer. I'm not saying I want to I'm saying it's inevitable— Steve Gaynor (@fullbright) April 19, 2013
Excellent Meditations on the What Is/Isn't/Could Be a "Game"
- This whole conversation started when designer Raph Koster wrote a letter to Leigh Alexander.
- Then, Alexander responded.
- The exchange sparked a huge discussion, including a great response from critic Mattie Brice.
- There was another one from designer Robert Yang, too.
- Koster, finally, brought everything full circle with another essay.
Oh, And This Other Stuff
- A collection of reflective essays on the history of women in games.
- Most remix albums are not very good, but apparently this Sonic the Hedgehog one ain't bad.
- A developer who made money riffing on Minecraft responds to his critics.
- Oh my god eff these guys from Super Mario Bros 3. Seriously.
- The Washington Post takes a deep dive look at the economies within video games.
- We didn't run anything when the Boston Marathon massacre occurred, but I get why some did.
- Man, this looks cool.
- A critique of Howling Dogs, a game you probably have not played.
- The producer of Namco Bandai's Tales series reflects on the past 15 years.
- Yeah, Journey came out a while ago, but hot damn if this doesn't summarize why it's still powerful.
- Jeez, awfully complimentary words from Game Developer magazine editor Patrick Miller.