Friday 13 March 2009

The Week in Videogame Blogging #2

It’s Friday night in Australia, so the week is technically over for me. Time for another issue of The Week in Videogame Blogging. A touch shorter this week, but we refuse to lower our standards – these are after all only the posts that are most worth reading from the Videogame blogosphere. If there’s even one thing you’ve missed from this list, then my work here is done.

Rock Paper Shotgun lead us out this week with a swathe of posts worth looking at. In ‘Settling for Less’ the sleeping giant of the boardgame industry ‘Settlers of Catan’ is discussed, along with it’s potential playing in digital form. In ‘Should gaming ratings be enforced?’ John Walker postulates that tougher policing of the legal age restriction in games could actually benefit us adult gamers because then those pesky 18+ games could afford to really be 18+. No luck for us Aussies and our lack of an 18+ restricted rating for games, however. A post I’m sure most people would have already read by now anyway, but I’ll link it here to add to this series cachet as a ‘best of’ post series, is ‘What cruel teeth you’ve got: The Path impressions’ which is a lovely entry point to the Indie Game ‘The Path’ which looks set to be a smasher. Lastly, in a rather self-promoting angle, take a listen to the latest RPS podcast and skip to 3-ish minutes from the end for a special contribution from yours truly. I’m not bitter I lost the compo; I’m just pleased at being described as “right ‘fessional”.

Versus Clu Clu Land brings up a question dear to this authors heart in ‘Don’t you wonder sometimes ‘bout sound and vision?’ Yes Iroquois, I certainly do.

The Brainy Gamer drops a new podcast this week which includes an interview with Jenova Chen and Kellee Santiago from ‘That Game Company’ (flOw, flower) . I never knew Jenova Chen was Chinese, but it certainly makes sense that there would be a growing number of Chinese game developers. The most interesting thing I think he mentioned was how culturally detached from much of Western AND Japanese game design he felt, due to his Chinese heritage. He also said ‘I couldn’t do a Madden game, I’ve never seen football!’ Which is probably why he makes games about flowers instead.

This week is turning into ‘the week of the podcast’ as I listened to newly discovered podcast gem ‘The Hatchet Job’ and their intelligent discussion with academic Ian Bogost. While not technically from this week, I listened to it this week and that counts for a first time entry. I played Fallout 3 with it on in the background.

Hit Self Destruct talks about Far Cry 2 this week (a sure fire way to get an easy link from this writer!) with the excellent ‘War Crimes’. While I think Duncan maybe missed the ‘profound’ target a little with this post, it still manages to be quite deep, and the comments thread fleshes the issue out a bit better.

Kotaku AU editor David Wildgoose is starting to build an editorial voice of his own with his link outs and interesting thought pieces. This week he invited reader questions in the post ‘Ask me stuff’ and provided some insightful answers. Never let it be said that at SLRC we eschew the popular just because we’re elitist. Also check out his hard hitting expose on RE5's unlockable costume for Shiva - cause RE5 is totally not aiming for the cheap thrills...

Denis Farr from the Vorpal Bunny Ranch posts about ‘The Aeris Syndrome’, examining archetypes in the Final Fantasy games.

Contrast and compare with The Quixotic Engineer’s discussion of Burnout Paradise’s recently patched-in ability to restart a match in the post ‘Restarting, Downtime & Variety’. If fans screamed loud enough for a ‘bring back Aeris patch’ would it get done? And should it?

Alex Myers, always insightful, writes about engaging with games on a level where everything strips back and you just play the game, in ‘flow/ing/ames’. This quote from Frank Lantz got me thinking:

“…when you play a good game long enough, the surface sometimes melts away and you forget that you are herding zergs or putting out fires or whatever. That aspect becomes transparent and you engage directly with the formal systematic qualities of the game…

And lastly, in what looks dangerously set to become a tradition for the final link on The Week In Videogame Blogging, the gents over at Hardcasual score some 'Hot Scoops' with an interview of Ken Levine on the design of the Big Sister from upcoming title Bioshock 2.

Till next week.


Michael Abbott said...

Thanks for doing these roundups, Ben. I appreciate the links to some of my stuff, of course, but I'm especially grateful for the highlights from writers I enjoy, but don't always have time to read every day. When I go through busy spurts at work, a compilation like this is a welcome time-saver for me. I hope you'll continue them.

Ben Abraham said...

That's certainly the plan. Glad that people are getting something out of them! =)