Weekend Reading 10/09/10
What’s this? A consistent, properly timed feature two weeks running? Man, we’ve come a long way. I bid you happy weekend Citizens and trust that, like me, you’ll be kicking back and taking it easy before joining us for a little light Left4Dead 2 tomorrow evening. In the meantime, here’s a roundup of links from around the Web that make for some worthwhile reading. As usual, we’ll be lurking in the comments thread for a bit of a barney afterward.
- The big story of the week is SF Weekly’s in-depth account of casual game developer Zygna. Or rather, Zygna’s ethically dubious development and business practices. If anything it shows just how much money you can make by prioritizing brazenly stealing from your competitors over developing new ideas. The company as a whole comes across as creatively bankrupt, with CEO Mark “I Don’t Want Fucking Innovation” Pincus looking like an absolute cad. Our own contributor Daniel Lipscombe has weighed in on this too.
- Metroid: Other M came out and Abbie Happe at G4TV gave it a 2 out of 5 in her review. Can you guess what happened next? If you said 400+ comments accusing Happe of everything from performing a hatchet job on a game she just didn’t like to having full blown father issues, give yourself a gold star. The Brainy Gamer does an analysis of the backlash against Happe’s review. The takeaway? The biggest resistance to thinking critically about games is often from gamers themselves. Depressing.
- PC Gamer have been dropping a tremendous amount of Valve related content this week, the big show offs. There’s loads that’s well worth reading, but my favourite so far is Tom Francis’ interview with Josh Weier and Erik Wolpaw concerning Portal 2, particularly the co-operative sections. I just watched the co-operative trailer and man, the game can’t come out fast enough.
- This next link is worth including simply because it’s so unusual. Rick Williams, correspondent at ABC, writes about parenting and games. A mainstream news outlet talking sensibly about games and kids (however briefly) is always worthwhile. Williams advocates communication and exercising of parental responsibility when it comes to deciding what games your child has access to. Which is, you know, totally the right thing to do.
- And while we’re on the positive, here’s a story from the Mercury News about developers and researchers working on games to help people improve their health. Which makes a change from games killing us slowly as part of a sedentary lifestyle, I suppose. The article mentions a game designed to aid people in quitting smoking. Knowing several smokers, I’m not sure a game would be much aid to their attempts to quit, but the idea of using games in various aspects of health care to help patients is an intriguing one.
- I just had to put this one in because I think it’s just so damn funny. Remember Jack Thompson? No, of course you don’t. He was a lawyer who tried to make his name (and his fortune, no doubt) crusading against video games in America. I believe it was he who first coined the term “murder simulator”. He went after Take Two, Rockstar and even tried to sue Facebook when some of its users started making fun of him. Thompson was disbarred several years ago for being a terrible, terrible lawyer, but like a raging zombie that just won’t die he’s back, back, back! More accurately he’s trying to get back in the headlines by writing to the U.S. Secretary of Defense asking him to stop the release of Medal of Honor. Jack, there’s a war on, I think the SecDef has more important things to worry about than a video game.