Results tagged “blogs”

Let's use rot13 for game spoilers

ThirteenThis post contains minor spoilers for Fez, but only if you deliberately decipher them.

Yesterday I asked this question on Twitter:

Fez hint request: Jbhyq vg or jbegu zl gvzr gb gel qrpvcurevat gur jevgvat (abg gur ahzoref) nf n fvzcyr pelcgbtenz? rot13.com

I have asked spoiler-class questions about games, films, or books in this format before, usually to little response. In retrospect, it’s clear that I assumed too much in expecting any friend or follower to see it as anything other than gobbledygook. In yesterday’s tweet, I tried an extra step with appending that URL, and to my delight received several nice replies on Twitter and Facebook — as well as a handful of retweets, which I read as compliments on my chosen encryption method.

Some of my correspondents on Twitter chose to adopt the same encoding. “Anu,” advised one reply. “Pbairefvba vf cerggl enaqbz.”

“V’z gbyq gung gur jevgvat vf n fbeg bs zrgn-chmmyr,” countered another, “fb lrf.”

Readings in narrative game history

If you follow Planet IF, you're already all over these links. But if not, you gotta start following two blog-post series that have been rendering early IF and choice-game history into a fine itchy mist of detail and insight.

Interesting Milton Bradley bio

Over at the Play This Thing blog, Greg Costikyan has started to write short and interesting biographies of eminent game designers. He begins with the tale of Mr. Milton Bradley, examining his origins both in life and as a game designer and publisher. Did you know that he is credited with inventing the concept of a "travel edition" game when he produced portable game sets for soldiers during the US Civil War, or that he helped popularize the notion of kindergarten education in the United States?

Simple Sunday Game Design

David McDonough recently posted his 20th "Simple Sunday" Game Design. Every week, he posts a design for a new game that adheres to the following rules:

  1. The entire description and ruleset must fit on one page (more or less).
  2. No extravagant or custom objects, including cards, tokens, boards, or other devices.
  3. Try to be original; keep it simple.
I haven't read through all of them, but he's recently been doing ones where the board is a piece of paper, and the players battle it out in some way by drawing things on the paper. Check out the interesting games Molecule, Hardscrabble, and Penicillin. Many of these are designs that haven't been playtested yet, so feel free to play them and then give him some feedback.

Planet IF blog aggregator

Chris Armstrong has started up a "planet" aggregator for interactive fiction news: Planet IF.

This is simply a site which automatically distributes a whole range of IF-related blogs and news sites, including Brass Lantern, Emily Short's blog, Grand Text Auto, and many others. Bookmark Planet IF, or drop your favorite RSS reader onto it, for regular updates on the text adventure world.

(Nothing directly from me, but that's my fault; I don't have any IF-specific feeds.)

Costikyan on the need for game criticism

Indie-game publisher/agitator Greg Costikyan returns from the recent Game Developers Conference all fired up from a session about game journalism he attended, where he feels he witnessed panelists repeatedly conflating art critiques with product reviews. He ends up writing a lengthy impassioned plea for the game-media community to learn the difference.

Have I made it clear now? Reviews are the inevitable epiphenomenon of our consumer society, writing to help consumers navigate the innumerable options available to them. They can be well or poorly done, but they are nothing more than ephemera. I'm sure the newspapers of early 19th century America ran reviews of the novels of James Fenimore Cooper; they are utterly forgotten, and should be, because by nature they were of interest only to the readers of the newspapers of the time. Contrariwise, Mark Twain's Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses is still considered an examplar of literary criticism.

[...]

Similarly, there would be no point today in writing a review of Ultima IV, since it is long out of print. A useful work of criticism, however, is entirely conceivable: discussing, perhaps, its role as one of the first games to consider the moral implications of a player's acts, and to use tactical combat as a minigame within the context of a larger, more strategic title. Such an article, well-written, ideally with an understanding of the influence of tabletop roleplaying on the development of the early western CRPG, and of the place of this title in the overall shape of Richard Garriot's ouevre would be of interest to readers today, even if they'd be hard put to find a way to buy the damn game. And it might find a place in anthologies and studies of the 20th century origins of the popular medium of the game, going forward into the indefinite future.

The truth is that, for the most part, we don't have anything like game criticism, and we need it -- to inform gamers, to hold developers to task, and to inform our broader cultural understanding of games and their importance and impact on our culture.

We need our own Pauline Kaels and John Simons -- and we need to ensure that when they appear, no one insists that they attach a damn numerical score to their writing, because that is wholly irrelevant to the undertaking of writing seriously about games.

And even in a more proximate matter, we need those drudges called reviewers, despite the meager pay they receive, to think more seriously about critical issues, too. Why should a review of an RTS which doesn't understand the historical evolution of that genre and the place a particular work holds in the spectrum of previously published RTS be considered of the slightest interest?

Yes. Inspiration to start producing The Gameshelf was born over similar frustrations over the game media I had a few years ago (and, for the most part, continue to have). I can only hope that the show and its blog can at least make reaching motions in the direction that Greg is pointing, here.

By the way, Greg's Play This Thing! is a very smart small-group blog about interesting games and related topics. By which I mean, if you enjoy the Gameshelf Blog, you should probably drop this other one into your RSS reader too.

Quick link: Co-Optimus.com

Just discovered Co-Optimus.com, a blog specifically about digital games that have co-op modes. This is the relatively rare (and even more rarely done well) feature that allows two or more people to play a game on the same "side", helping each other tackle the game's obstacles together. A clever idea for a narrow-focused game blog! (Via Wonderland.)

The Gameshelf Blog

Announcing The Gameshelf Blog, a new community of intelligent-if-eclectic game news and discussion. I hope that it will fill out the long and dreary spaces between new Gameshelf episodes with interesting game-related tidbits that share the show's spirit.

I've invited everyone whose name has appeared in an episode's credit roll to join the site as a contributor. I went by memory so it's entirely possible I overlooked you (or your mail client ate the invitation as spam); if that's the case, and you want to help, please contact me!

Yes, it's the same URL that the show has held for years. I quietly replaced the static site with blog software a few months ago, and more recently redesigned it so that a link to the most recent episode will always appear at the top. The blog and the episode videos have separate RSS feeds, too. (Rather, one's a subset of the other.)

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