This column is doubtless more ironic given my far tamer thoughts on the Xbox One – and console wars in general – I shared with Ben Hoyt just a few days ago. But then E3 happened, and E3 changes everything. Sony is ascendant in the court of public opinion, though by the time I hit “Publish” that could have changed. In a way, though, this Culture Clash column is about a different, subtler clash of cultures than the usual gaming world/nongaming world: gamers who watch and gamers who don’t. All the major companies in this business depend on the majority being gamers who don’t – consumers who don’t follow the industry, don’t study trends, and don’t make decisions based on complex topics like DRM and licensing. Those are the ones who line up in their thousands outside of Best Buy each new console release; those are the ones who move the product, and because they don’t watch, because they don’t care, those are the ones on which Microsoft and Sony alike depend to move their products. Gamers who watch are suspicious. Gamers who don’t may not realize what they’ve put their foot in until all the GameStops shut down. Enjoy!
Friends, put down the controller and don your finest headphones. Come, sit by my fire.
Perhaps this should be “Tap vs. Ben,” or “Tap vs. Not-Tap,” since 47Games’ Ben Hoyt is not technically on the Tap-Repeatedly staff, but we don’t have a category for that and I wouldn’t want Ben to think we’re excluding him. He has, after all, contributed a Celebrity Guest Editorial for us, and we did recently do a fun podcast on the Mass Effect trilogy and Halo, er, quadrogy. The dude is an honorary staff member, and opened up some time to contribute slightly more than half a discussion of Microsoft’s May 21 Xbox One announcement – a lucky thing, since coverage of all the new consoles has been somewhat scarce around here. Now we have an honest to god game designer weighing in (one who’s shipped an Xbox 360 title or two). Suck it, IGN!
…a delightful, charming, fantastic tale with some clever puzzles and a well-realized fantasy world.
So maybe you’ve heard the news. Nintendo doesn’t seem to want people to make Let’s Play videos of their games anymore. If you do, Nintendo would like the ad revenue from its copyrighted content.
You may think this is fair. The core content, after all, is Nintendo’s. I, personally, do not think this is fair. I love me some Let’s Plays. And for numerous reasons: they’re a great way to do long-form critique of a game; they’re a great teaching tool; they’re often entertaining in their own right; and, gosh darnit, a lot of times they inspire me to buy the game.
I almost left a much longer comment on this fantastic Gamasutra piece talking about the history and pedigree of the Let’s Play. But then I realized that there was no better way to say screw-the-man than making this a full post, and sharing some of my favorite LPs with you right here. So join me below the jump for the happy links. Or check out, just for starters, the LP Archive and browse to see if your favorite game is there too.
After the amount of yammering on I’ve done about Star Trek games, I would be remiss to not review Star Trek: The Video Game, based on JJ Abrams’s version of the franchise and bridging (some of) the gap between the 2009 movie and this year’s Star Trek Into Darkness. The game was described at E3 as a “bro-op,” alluding to the highly cooperative nature of the Kirk-and-Spock-centered gameplay the game intends. To adequately explore this, I called on my friend and fellow Trekker Kristine Chester of Fanboy Comics to help protect New Vulcan from Gorn invaders.
Brandon Sheffield, Senior Contributing Editor at Gamasutra and Editor Emeritus of Game Developer magazine, has announced in a recent op-ed that it’s time to retire the word “gamer.” This meme comes up once in a while – don’t call them games, don’t use the word gamer, etc. – always with the same basis. It’s derisive. It minimizes the medium and the hobby. Yadda. These articles, including Sheffield’s, usually leave something out, though: what “gamers” should be called, if they can’t be called “gamers.”
This month’s Culture Clash column is inspired in part by a chronic affliction of mine: every twelve months or so, I undergo a strange frenzy of attention-paying to the work of Ice-Pick Lodge, the inscrutable Russian developer of Pathologic, Cargo!, and The Void. The studio’s website rarely sees substantive updates, but nevertheless I always tend to find something new there – though it rarely is anything about their activities. This time around I found a series of papers and lectures on game development, the translation quality of which was… quite poor.
Still! I like that stuff and it formed the basis of what I have to say in this month’s column. Despite it making complete sense to me, I have a feeling this is one of those installments that will make the eyes of other readers cross. Like Penny Arcade’s Twisp & Catsby comics, I try to only do that once a year or so. Enjoy!
Now you’re thinking with portals … proverbs, and a light show.
Here’s the first article in a planned few-parter on shooters. Think of it as a preamble. To keep my ambition in check for this first installment, I’ll just talk about two shooters in particular that have piqued my interest.