Friday, August 07, 2009

Friday afternoon tidbits

This weekend, I'll be nominating 25 games for a master ballot of the best games of the decade. It's harder than I would have expected. For one thing, there's a lot I haven't played. Looking through some lists on the interweb, I see possible contenders like Silent Hill 2, Eternal Darkness, and Beyond Good and Evil, and feel like I dropped the ball. (To be fair: I was dead broke during those years.) What's even crazier is how long a decade is. They were still releasing N64 games in the year 2000! That's also the year Deus Ex came out. Seems wrong, doesn't it?

-As a farewell to Hit Self-Destruct, Ben Abraham rounded up some tributes to Duncan Fyfe and posted them on Critical Distance. Part 1 has entries from L.B. Jeffries, Matthew Gallant, and me; part 2 features Nels Anderson, Eric Swain, and Ben Abraham; part 3 has Michel McBride-Charpentier, Michael Abbott, and Alexander Peterhans. Some wonderful observations here about Duncan's work. It's too bad that he died. (Oh, he only quit blogging?)

-Simon Parkin has written the definitive piece on Tim Langdell, the litigious head of alleged software publisher The Edge, a company that hasn't released a new game in almost 20 years but has made a healthy business in suing other people who use the word "edge" in their products.

Ironically, Langdell has a seat on the board of the International Game Developers Association. Corvus Elrod has been leading a charge to have him removed. The extent of my knowledge of the entire situation is limited to what you're reading right here, but it certainly seems like a hell of a drama. I'll be interested to see how it unfolds.

-Elysium at Gamers with Jobs makes a point I sometimes try and fail to: good graphics are an important part of a game. The issue isn't technology, it's imagination. Creative and inventive art direction is an asset for any game. As Elysium says, "Dazzle me, game developers and art designers. Show me something I’ve never seen before, whether set in the scale of the galactic or mundane. Stop wasting time seeing if you can pack a few dozen more polygons into the architecture of a bus stop and instead paint the unexpected." Games can show us new worlds in a way that books and movies never could. Why don't they?

-There's a bonus track for fans of the Big Red Potion podcast I was on earlier this week, in which we muse about the rigorous standards of secrecy regarding upcoming video games. It is pretty surprising -- video game companies guard their secrets better than the government does.

-Given the news of a gunman targeting women at a Pennsylvania gym, Brinstar's post about misogyny in gamer culture was especially timely. For reasons I don't understand, a large number of people in this country believe that there's no such thing as bigotry in any form, but if there is, the only victims are white men. (Many of these people are United States senators.) The level of hostility toward women and minorities in this country is shockingly high, all the more so because the perpetrators act so aggrieved. They actually get mad at the real victims of discrimination.

You know what else is bullshit? I go to the Huffington Post, where they've been following the Pennsylvania shooting pretty closely: "PA gunman targeted women," "PA gunman left behind online diary detailing hatred of women," etc. They helpfully linked his diary, too, in which he discussed in detail his desire to bed 20-somethings, and his frustration that he couldn't, which logically meant that he had to kill them. (And then ended up killing a few 40-somethings instead.)

To the right on the HuffPo homepage, in the "most popular" box, was a headline trumpting "Vanessa Hudgens NUDE pictures!" Vanessa Hudgens is the 20-year-old star of Disney's High School Musical films. No, we're not sending mixed messages or anything.

Do I have a solution? No. This world is completely fucked. If I ever have a daughter, I'm going to feel so goddamn guilty for what she'll have to go through. [/soapbox]


Anonymous said...

Not to nitpick, but it's actually the International Game Developers Association, not Independent.

Mitch Krpata said...

So I knew even less than I wrote there! Thanks for the correction.

Gary A. Lucero said...

So Mitch good graphics matter but voice acting is optional? I don't think so...

shMerker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
shMerker said...

How much of a coincidence is it that after you mentioning nude pics of Vanessa Hudgins, a gunman's desire to bed 20-somethings, and how the world is "fucked" and that I got an ad for Trojan condoms from your RSS?

Ben Abraham said...

I made the Independent/International mistake once too. Maybe there should be an "independent" developers association!

Oh, and yeah, we're a melodramatic bunch aren't we. Goodnight, sweet Prince Duncan, &tc! I think LB Jeffries summed it up best on his blog:

Part of the reason Duncan Fyfe quitting bothers a lot of people isn't just losing an interesting writer, it's that the bastard actually quit. WE ALL think about quitting.

Anonymous said...

"They were still releasing N64 games in the year 2000! That's also the year Deus Ex came out. Seems wrong, doesn't it?"

Creepy detail: Deus Ex, released, as you said, in 2000 features a New York skyline in the opening level. A New York skyline minus the Twin Towers.