Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Links, and a VGBC Update

November's been a rough month for blogging, as my scant output here attests. Not much to report on the games front; still plugging away at Dawn of War II, Deadly Premonition, and Red Dead Redemption. I picked up The World Ends With You from the library, but haven't had nearly enough time to play it; I want to give it a fair shake, but it's not grabbing me the way I thought it would so far. Combat feels haphazard, and the endless tapping to advance conversations, which veer precipitously into "..."-speech-bubble emo territory, gets old quickly. Still, I'll give it another go this weekend and see where I get with it.

Click the image to see Yahtzee Croshaw's very NSFW take on TWEWY.

Despite my busier-than-usual professional and social calendars lately, I do hope to continue to post regularly. The pieces I've got in mind, though, are a bit more long-form in nature and will probably be split up into multiple parts. Of course, I have to have time and energy to write them before I split them up. A notion that inspires only one reaction right now: ...

Apologies are in order, meantime, to all three of you who've been eagerly awaiting the next installment of the Video Game Book Club. I've actually got two reviews to catch up on - one for a StarCraft novel and the other for the latest Mass Effect book. Been dreading writing them, to be honest. The StarCraft book was so comically inept that making fun of it feels redundant and more than a little petty, which gives me pause about this whole endeavor. But fear not: I refuse to let this imposing tome, which rivals The Room in the audacity of its incompetence, dull my snark.

Also, re: the phrase "the audacity of incompetence" - PATENT PENDING, BITCH.

So. Friday links. Without further ado, here's what I rustled up from the great wide ether this week and last:
  • A very funny and insightful post by Margaret Robinson of UK studio Hide & Seek about the difference between - sigh - "gamification" and "pointsification."
  • At Edge, Randy Smith spends five hours with Alan Wake.
  • Wouldn't it be interesting if developers of big AAA games could study this weird proof of concept "game" about the subconscious of a man stood up for a dinner date, and insert that kind of intimate interaction into their grand narratives? What a fascinating way to inhabit a character.
  • Hate to keep plugging the GWJ Conference Call every week (well, actually, I don't), but this episode's time capsule to 1998 was a trip. Had no idea it was such a banner year for gaming.
  • On his blog Flash of Steel, Troy Goodfellow has begun an ambitious, and so far excellent, series of articles examining how the "character" of prominent nations/cultures have been portrayed in strategy games.
  • David Carlton's post about "practice" in games stems from his experience with Rock Band 3, where the idea of pure training modes is a natural fit - but then goes on to make some interesting suggestions about extending that valuable opportunity to refine skills to other game genres.

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