Friday 20 March 2009

The Week in Videogame Blogging #3

It’s Friday night here in The Future – that means it’s time for another scintillating entry of This Week in Videogame Blogging! Let’s roll.

This week we’re starting with a first for TWIVGB, with Brilliam’s post ‘Hardcore played casually’, which is all about playing “hardcore” games in a casual, pick-up-and-play then forget about, manner.

Next up, spotted via the excellent blog of designer Dan Kline, is Lost Garden’s ‘Taxonomy of Game Design approaches’, which sums itself up nicely.

That Dan Kline guy, he’s one to watch and Michael Abbott, if you missed his comment about doing an interview at GDC, let me point it out for you again to make sure. This week, he muses on the importance of Time in game development in a great thought piece called, well, ‘Game Development: Time’.

Tom Chick and his wonderful Fidgit blog is my favourite new addition to my regular reading, and this week in ‘Resident Evil 5: Stranger in a strange land’ he realises that he accidentally griefed an unknown Japanese player for a good 10 minutes. Whoops.

Duncan Fyfe at Hit Self-Destruct this week writes about the certain strangeness we have come to accept in our game protagonists. Stoic, detached and unaffected by the horrors around them, they are often ‘A Shark in the Sewer’.

Hardly in need of linkage from this humble blogger is Leigh Alexander and the fabulous Sexy Videogameland. This week she writes about the commonalities between games and music, and is pretty convincing in ‘Tunes for thought’.

Iroquois Pliskin got a Twitter! Iroquois Pliskin got a Twitter, even though he said he never would!! Sooner or later, we all cave. I should also point out that he wrote about Burnout Paradise this week and how it solves some of the problems of open world games and racing games all at once. Sounds like a game I should be playing. Seriously though, that twitter thing is totally the more important story.

Two must read pieces this week from the world-destroying Rock, Paper Shotgun. The first ‘Unreal Tournament 3 and the new Lazarus effect’ is another of those think pieces where Alec Meer looks at the implications of the recent steam sale and corresponding player jump in UT3 giving it a new lease on life. If Unreal 3 is Lazarus, does that make Steam Jesus, and Gabe Newell is God? Speaking of Steam, the second is an analysis of the news that Steam is also allowing DLC for any game on its service from now on. Is this a case of opening the floodgates to unlimited DLC ‘Horse Armour’ packs or something else entirely? Read and find out.

While we’re going round the big name sites, Kotaku AU editor David Wildgoose does another ‘Ask me random questions and I’ll have a go at answering them because I obviously don’t have enough work to do here in the Kotaku tower’ piece. Look for his handling of the tough questions like “Don’t you wish you could say what you want to about a developer without worrying about being blacklisted?” They’ve also got a bunch of competitions on, including one which asks that you to write a Halo themed Haiku. Here’s one of mine, because I like to share:

Excuse me Master

Chief, I have these requests:

Save world. Get Girl. Win.

Moving on! More gonzo journalism in games writing this week from the preeminent Mister Jeffries with his piece for Escapist Magazine titled ‘Out of the Internet and Into the Wild’. I really want to know if he made up that whole bit about kidnapping his neighbour’s cat. Actually on second thought, maybe it’s better not to know.

In perhaps the most important piece to make sure you read this week – Michael Abbott of The Brainy Gamer writes about being social, responsible and respectful in our attitudes to each other. Oh, and it’s also about Resident Evil 5’s depiction of race controversy. Honestly not to be missed. In a response post, Rob LeFebvre of Ordinary Swords talks about the same issue in another great post.

Questions: Why have these guys not gotten more love from the Ludodecahedron? In another first for TWIVGB, the good people over at The New Gamer write up a great critical piece on Dead Space. They manage to sum up how I felt about the game but couldn’t be bothered saying in print, writing that:

[The] flaws are small. By themselves they'd be the 1% bad in a 99% great game. But 1% bad becomes 2% bad becomes 3% bad, and they keep adding up until you forget the zero-g sections and the scary resurrecting bat monsters and the tentacle babies. You forget the feeling of helplessness the first time you were overwhelmed by a swarm of bite-sized enemies (the kind that would be pistol-fodder in any other game) because the last hour of Dead Space is, under all the spike-flinging babies, an incredibly boring box puzzle with one box and a single track to push it along.

John Walker, one quarter-ish of RPS also has his own blog. This week he elaborates on his first forays into game development, having been part of the writing team on the Broken Sword: Directors Cut, a re-release of the classic adventure game for DS and Wii that is getting good reviews. It seems to me that this kind of thing is the future – great game critics applying their experience in practical ways.

Last link for the week – the ever indomitable Daniel Purvis of Graffiti Gamer writes about ‘The Fantastical Resident Evil’. Influenced by Left 4 Dead, he asks that for RE6 they dial it back a bit and go for a few less fanciful settings.

Bonus links – I missed a couple last week, so once you’re done digesting this weeks, don’t pass up Nel’s Anderson’s ‘Cost of Realism’ post and Ed Borden’s ‘Far Cry 2: The Next Step In Ultra-Realistic Gaming’, both of which are Far Cry 2 related posts! Didn’t I say they were bonuses?! =D

Till next week intrepid readers.


Daniel Purvis said...

You read a lot man. Some might say, "too much." Keep it up though. Heh. Thanks for the inc.

Ben Abraham said...

Heh, I do try to keep my finger on the pulse of videogame blogging. Now if only someone would pay me to do this sort of thing full time... =P

SnakeLinkSonic said...

Ha, I'll definitely give some of these a reading over the weekend. Thanks for the additions.


Roger said...

You only had six,
But there should have been seven
Syllables, you n00b.

Ben Abraham said...

Ouch. =P