I spent the weekend playing a game, it just wasn't a video game. It was real-life golf.
Honestly, the whole thing experience is a bit like Peggle to me. There's absolutely a deep level of skill required to play well, but most of the time, it feels like anything that goes my way comes down to chance accidents. That may or may not have something to do with me playing two or three times a year and having never taken a lesson on how to hold a club properly, but it's much easier to blame the wind for taking my ball into the woods.
It was not an insignificant amount of golf this weekend, either. It was a full 36 holes, which chewed up more than 10 hours of my weekend. (It's an annual event where we get together with my dad's side of the family to play. Most of them are actually okay.) In the back nine of day two, however, everything started to click. The ball was going exactly where I wanted it to go. A shot from 80 yards out, deep in a sand trap, fell feet from the hole. Golf, like anything else, often feels mysterious and random, but when you're able to exert your will, it's powerfully satisfying.
I should go take a lesson.
You Should Read These
When I consider all the ways your body changes as you get older, the one that terrifies the most is losing my mind. Everything else seems managable, but being unable to trust your own brain...man. Sean Baptiste has been living with this reality for years, thanks to a brain tumor that's been been consistently causing problems. Previously of Harmonix, Baptiste is now at Fire Hose Games, where he manages the studio's community, designs games, and wrestles with his brain constantly forgetting things.
"Baptiste recounts a particular incident where his wife, Maria O'Brien, returned from work at Harmonix to find him walking back and forth in a line, a rum-and-Coke in each hand, and their dogs following along behind him. 'Hi! You're home! We're having a parade!' he informed her. 'I made these for you!'
'I'm trying to hand her these drinks, and she realizes that I've fallen into dissociative sleep. So she tries to get me to sit down in the living room.' Maria leaves his side momentarily to change from her work clothes, but soon hears a commotion in the kitchen. She rushes in only to find Baptiste with his head in the refrigerator vegetable drawer. 'I'm talking to the vegetables. They're telling me things about stuff.'"
Jenn Frank is one of my longtime buds in the small circle that is games writers. She's one of our best talents, our smartest minds, and it was a pleasure to have her on the morning show not long ago. She was caught in the recent crossfire that's engulged much of the debate on Twitter these last few weeks, and she's leaving because of it. The harassment was too much, too personal, and she deserved none of it. They just wanted to push her out. Unfortunately they won.
"Someone recently asked me on Twitter whether--knowing what I know now--I would do it all over again. I got a little distracted, spent a couple Tweets defending the op-ed, but the truth is, yes. Yes, in a heartbeat.
It’s almost ugly to say, but I’m actually grateful to GamerGate. All this time, I’ve felt beholden to video games, and to the people who make them or play them or read and write about them. Maybe it really is a conflict of interests: my own. It’s conflicts all the way down.
And really, my God, I don’t have to do this. I’ve been given permission to move on to another audience. I have faith in my abilities to do something, anything else, without feeling inhibited or limited by my hobby."
If You Click It, It Will Play
These Crowdfunding Projects Look Pretty Cool
- Super III looks like an awfully good puzzle platformer.
- Black Hat Oculus is a two-player stealth game that requires you to work together.
- The Hum tries to imagine the realities and horrors of an alien invasion.
Writing From Giant Bomb's Community, Courtesy of ZombiePie
- Evilrazer discusses how games and Giant Bomb have helped him live through the war in Ukraine
- JadeGL opens up about how she uses video games to remember a friend she lost to suicide.
Many Words Have Been Spilled About This "Gamer Gate"
- Vox has a fantastic summary of the last few weeks, if you're unfamiliar with them.
- Jim Sterling approaches it from the conspiracy angle, and the merits of media issues.
- Laurie Pennie argues the existence of Gamer Gate suggests one side has already "won."
- Simon Parkin contextualizes recent events squarely inside Depression Quest.
- Noel King reports on Gamer Gate, interviewing voice actress Jennifer Hale in the process.
- Morgan Ramsay ran a statistical analysis on games sites for keywords related to feminism.
- Jaya Saxena thinks the floor is made of hot lava and the girls are ruining it.
- Maddy Myers tries to articulate what happens when you dislike a game your friend made.
- L. Rhodes attempts to think through what Gamer Gate proponents are asking for.
Tweets That Make You Go "Hmmmmmm"
The apple brand is now the best example of masstige — prestige luxury goods for the masses. It projects status but is universally available.— David Surman (@davidsurman) September 10, 2014
My love is free with a two-year contract.— Mike Drucker (@MikeDrucker) September 9, 2014
Anyway, my price is two billion dollars. Give me two billion dollars, and I'll endorse your crap.— Markus Persson (@notch) December 18, 2012
*pacing, shirtless* "The first rule of Fight Club is: I'ma Wario. The second rule of Fight Club is: I'ma gonna win."— Chris Person (@Papapishu) September 10, 2014
Roger Goodell sadly will now have to go back to his old job, being the guy in those Playstation commercials— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) September 10, 2014
Oh, And This Other Stuff
- Leigh Alexander explores the weirdness of character creation, and what it says about us.
- Mach X Games writes an open letter to Microsoft about its flawed indie games policies.
- Naughty Dog breaks down how it handles animations for brutal combat in The Last of Us.
- James Batchelor speaks with John Romero about returning to the genre he helped create.
- The Behemoth chronicles the building of its massive, crazy PAX booth from a few weeks back.
- Critical Distance is another weekly collection of amazing games writing that I'd recommend.
- Chris Plante speaks with Peter Moore about launching the Dreamcast 15 years ago.
- Donkey Blog has the backstory on the newest champion in the Donkey Kong scene.
- David Kempe makes the argument Thief should have been given a closer look earlier this year.
- Aevee Bee publishes a story from her recent collection, Ghosts in the Machine.
- A.O. Scott muses on what modern media says about manhood, which probably applies to games.