Link Compilation vol. 3.14265

Wood Link
Visual pun go!

Alright, it’s been a long while since I did one of these things so why not do another link compilation? After all, I have quite a few interesting things to link to:

Activision is evil. I know that, you know that, we all know that. They continually do the most douchy things they could possibly imagine and then expect to get away with it without their image being tarnished. Well, now we have a new interesting (and by “interesting” I mean “appalling”) look at how Activision works. The piece is centered around the company refusing to have female leads, but the system that leads to that conclusion is what’s most inexcusable. One thing is to want to avoid risks by making sequels and a whole another one is to require from a developer to include a checklist of features because “that’s what needs to be done in order to sell”. And don’t get me started on the focus groups and how they’re manipulated to suit their particular views instead of the other way around.

The comments section of that article however is the most infuriating thing I’ve read in a while. Apparently some of those juvenile idiots are developers (no surprise there) so … yeah.

This comment by Joe Rheaume summarizes the whole thing in a rather amusing way:

Article: Activision says games with female leads don’t sell, but here’s a list of games with female leads that do sell.
Commenter: Why do you want Activision to lose money? Only men are good action stars.
Me: /rolleyes.
Other Commenter: Here’s a list of Action movie heroines that made a lot of money and were awesome
Other other commenter: Oh no! Liberals! I am afraid of vaginas! Games must be sausagefests because they are now. Why do you hate capitalism?

Anyway, let’s change the mood, shall we? Hey look at this random youtube video. And this one! And this other one:

… yeah, I know, it’s awesome.

*clears throat*

Not so long ago, Jesse Schell painted a very very grim picture of the future where game designers would basically morph into the most powerful tools of the marketing business. Basically, we’d have to actually engage with advertisements on a daily basis and not only that, but we’d do so willingly because of the power of achievements and meaningless points that can be converted into fabulous gifts! …. yeah, that really sends a chill down your spine, doesn’t it? But something rings hollow there: it’s assuming that the masses are a bunch of idiots who are easily distracted and engaged in the most meaningless tasks as long as they are rewarded at the end. Even if the rewards are meaningless. Which is true because of the novelty value such a thing would have, but when it wears off… well, it ain’t going to work no more boy. Still, some people are just wired to fall for such traps and even they can get burnt out.

This whole dystopian future is even more unlikely when one considers how human motivation actually works and the possibility that achievements can be ultimately harmful. In fact, if one were to look at what some game designers are thinking and doing as of late, one would come to the conclusion that we are in for some very strange but interesting concepts in the next few years.

On one hand we have Brenda Brathwhite who dumped electricity to further her study of game design among other things and found some very interesting ways of expression involving some very personal and difficult topics. On the other hand, we have Clint Hocking who in this talk muses about (among many many things) the different ways of immersion and how the holo-deck is doomed to remain as pure fantasy just like jetpacks and flying cars are.

On the third mutant hand we have Ian Bogost who basically made a social game that makes fun of social games by making the behind the scenes calculations and motivations apparent to the user. You’re not taking care of your farm, you’re just clicking on a cow.

And finally, on the fourth self-serving mutant goro knock-off hand there’s me, actually reading all of this stuff and getting excited about what the future might hold for us. Sometimes even being inspired by some of these people to finally take a step in the direction I actually want to go, even if that direction is guiding me to a particularly difficult to traverse path.

Source of the image.

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Link Compilation vol. 2

If this becomes a scheduled series of posts, I'll have to get a picture to use in all of them. I definitely ain't going to get a new picture for each new volume.
If this becomes a scheduled series of posts, I'll have to get a default picture to use in all of them. I definitely ain't going to get a new picture for each new volume since there are not enough pictures of chain links on Google Images.

And here we have another link compilation. I excuse this by saying I’ve been, like, really busy: first week of my fourth year at the university, finishing a tech demo of a cockpit game and on top of that recovering from a certain event that I’d rather forget (see previous post).

  • A handy guide on how to use the sniper rifle on Killzone 2. You may need to go to the hospital/circus if you don’t notice anything weird.
  • Infamous’ karma system revealed. By the looks of it, it’s yet another typical game offering good or evil decisions without any kind of finesse or gray spots (eat the babie’s face or give him a lollipop). The writing is not that bad, but it rubs me the wrong way, shoving every choice in my face with a special cutscene before every decision. I doubt it, but if it turns out to be a great game I’ll happily eat the following words: This game is going to be run of the mill at best and absolute crap at worst.
  • EVIL ACTION: EVIL ACT REINFORCES YOUR EEEEEVIL REPUTATION. And you know what scares me? In the comment’s section there’s an awful lot of people psyched about the game.
  • Tim Schafer is finally the star of an adventure game. He needs your help to find some jokes to use at the GDC since, you know, he’s hosting it and people are there to hear jokes (or so I was told). It has all the great and horrible qualities of a typical graphic adventure from the 90’s, and we wouldn’t want it any other way. And by “we” I mean “you people”. (Don’t even get me started on what I’d do differently)
  • “When you look into the mirror, what do you see… a friend? An enemy? Or perhaps both? Do you have what it takes to see your world from a different view? This is the essence of Reflection, a game that will test your mind and your reflexes in a way that you have never experienced before.” This indie game for the DS called Reflection is one of the few games that takes real advantage of the 2 screens. Best of all? It has a PC Demo (27MB). A demo that controls best with an Xbox360 controller. Yep, that’s not confusing at all.
  • The Path continues to be in blogger’s minds. I continue to long for a demo =(
  • Retail was responsible for between 2 and 3% of the revenue of World of Goo. I can’t help but smile and yet I’m not sure if I should be smiling.
  • Sims 3: No Online Authentication! Just regular CD-key DRM! It’s not ideal but at least it’s a huge step forward. Or in other words, furious backpedaling.
  • OnLive: Play Crysis in your Pentium 3! Some people are excited, others are underwhelmed, others point out that previous projects like these have been tried before and failed. Me? I say that the latency/lag is inevitable, no matter how advanced their tech is, so only a few games are going to be actually playable (no quick-time events, boy is that going to hurt them). Even without considering the latency, I say that the server load is going to be so freaking huge that they’ll go out of business if they don’t charge a hefty subscription fee (at least when starting, unless someone like microsoft backs them up with their bottom-less pockets, but I don’t see that happening). And considering that OnLive is supposedly going to be in the same category as the second-hand market and the renting business, it appears that it’ll be the most expensive option out there, with a worse image quality, annoying latency and a limited library. Let me think. Mmmhhh, no, this ain’t gonna work, at least not under these terms. The idea is neat though, maybe in a decade we’ll be able to implement it.

I like this format, it takes only a few minutes to assemble and I can talk about some important subjects however briefly I like. It may not attract as many readers to the blog, given that google gives a lot more importance to entry’s titles (for example, “infamous is garbage” gets me more traffic than “link compilation”) but trying to sum up everything I mention would result in hilariously long titles. Which is not that bad of an idea actually.

Link Compilation

*cringe-worthy pun here*
*Insert cringe-worthy pun here*

Since I haven’t jumped the shark yet and joined the evil twitter community, every once in a while I’m going to quickly mention and link to the different interesting things I found on this giant series of tubes.

Alright, I better stop here before I start continue to link random youtube videos.