Video Game Deep Cuts: It's VGDC Issue #100!
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.
This week's highlights include neat analysis on Six Ages & King Of Dragon Pass, the battle for Manchester Cathedral in Resistance revisited, and lots more.
As you might have worked out from the title - this is the 100th newsletter, and 100 weeks since I started sending them out! Thanks to everyone who has supported this little endeavor and told their friends.
I am - I freely admit - a voracious reader/viewer of content. So this has been a great way to ultramarathon the Internet's writing about video games weekly (keeping my brain & knowledge of trends in shape!) while passing along some of the fruits to you. And long may it continue..
Until next time,
- Simon, curator.]
Why Competitive Gaming Is Starting To Look A Lot Like Professional Sports (Andrew Webster / The Verge - ARTICLE)
"As e-sports continue to chase mainstream popularity, traditional sports organizations have steadily joined the ranks. Now, some of the biggest professional e-sports leagues in the world are starting to look a lot like the NBA or NFL. That includes big-money owners, a structured schedule, and things like minimum salaries and other benefits for players."
Two Researchers Challenged a Scientific Study About Violent Video Games—and Took a Hit for Being Right (Alison McCook / Motherboard - ARTICLE)
"In 2012, a prominent voice in the debate over the potential dangers of shooter games published a study titled “Boom, Headshot!” which suggested that playing violent video games helps people become better sharpshooters in real life. It was a controversial finding, and one that didn’t sit right with everyone."
‘League of Legends’ Developer Gears Up for Next Big Game (Brian Crecente / Variety - ARTICLE)
"Nine years after launching international mega-hit “League of Legends,” the company behind the most played PC game in history is planning its next creations. Each of which, Riot Games’ co-founder Marc Merrill told Variety, will be the same sort of fan-driven ultra niche title that made its initial game such a spectacular success. [SIMON'S NOTE: this is basically Riot making fun of themselves for STILL not launching a second game. But... soon?]"
How Six Ages and King of Dragon Pass explore the politics of myth (Edwin Evans-Thirlwell / RockPaperShotgun - ARTICLE)
"It wasn’t till some way into development of Six Ages: Ride Like The Wind that designer David Dunham realised he was making a game about climate change. Like its 19-year-old predecessor, the seminal King of Dragon Pass, Six Ages is set in Glorantha, a fantasy universe originally cooked up by Greg Stafford, and sees you raising a community in the wilds after being expelled from your ancestral homelands."
Satoshi Mitsuhara On The Joys Of Running HAL Laboratory And His Friendship With Satoru Iwata (Ollie Barder / Forbes - ARTICLE)
“Our “Inutamago” logo, with “inu” meaning dog and “tamago” meaning egg, is quite symbolic because the dog is a mammal and doesn't lay eggs. However, it is looking after these eggs, that means you don't really know what is inside those eggs. That implies that whatever comes out of these eggs is completely unknown and utterly surprising."
Don't Break the Chain: Maintaining Productivity on Your 19th Game (Jason Rohrer / GDC / YouTube - VIDEO)
"In this 2018 GDC Independent Games Summit talk, developer Jason Rohrer (Passage/Sleep Is Death) presents tested techniques he's used over the past 12 years, working alone, to ship 18 games."
Tomba! – 1997 Developer Interview (The Playstation / Shmuplations - ARTICLE)
"In these interviews, former Capcom developer and Makaimura (Ghouls ‘n Ghosts) creator Tokuro Fujiwara discusses the making of the Tomba! series at his new studio, Whoopee Camp, and his stance on the fundamental pleasure of action games with reference to the broadening audience for games and the contemporary trend towards 3D graphics."
Inside the Battle to Take “StarCraft II” Back From Its Korean Overlords (Will Partin / Variety - ARTICLE)
"The specifics shift – “Dota 2” has China, fighting games, Japan, and “League,” South Korea – but, for a variety of reasons, waxing and waning in intensity as esports has taken root across the world, East Asian players have often had an edge on their Western counterpoints. Even so, this rivalry is longest and, perhaps, felt most acutely, in “StarCraft,” where South Korean players have set the bar for the game that made esports modern."
The Californian sent to save Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl from development hell (Robert Purchese / Eurogamer - ARTICLE)
"In a restaurant somewhere in sunny Los Angeles County, 13 years ago, two old friends were having lunch. Wine and conversation were flowing. They remembered how they'd met at LucasArts in the 90s. They weren't there to talk business but they did because video games were their bread and butter."
Your responses to ‘Gaming’s toxic men’ (Colin Campbell / Polygon - ARTICLE)
"Last week, we published an article that sought to explain the proliferation of toxicity in gaming spaces, most especially from angry men. The article was heavily shared on social media and through other outlets. We asked you to send your comments and criticisms to us, and you did so. Here is a selection of responses emailed to us by some of our readers, expanding on the piece, offering personal experiences and giving cogent criticisms."
Esports sneakerheads: How OWL is bringing street style to pro gaming (Nicole Carpenter / DOTeSports - ARTICLE)
"All players in the Overwatch League wear the same thing: uniform jerseys branded with team colors and logos with black joggers that taper in at the ankle. Sneakers are a way to stand out, and London does. The newly-crowned champions of the Overwatch League’s first season said they’ve got one thing in mind when picking out shoes: Swag."
The 2018 Indie Soapbox (Various / GDC / YouTube - VIDEO)
"In this 2018 batch of microtalks, developers Justin Ma, Rosa Carbo-Mascarell, Adriel Wallick, Davey Wreden, Johanna Pirker, Danny Baranowsky, Frank Lantz, Ethan Redd, Claris Cyarron & Dee Del Rosario take the stage to share what's on their minds in the world of indie game development."
Anatomy of a tabloid Fortnite front page story (Wesley Yin-Poole / Eurogamer - ARTICLE)
"Mainstream media often report on case studies such as these - when normal lives go wrong, essentially. Often, these case studies are bought by newspapers and the journalists who work for them from news agencies who in turn have paid people for their stories. Barbour's online request for negative stories about Pokémon Go. It turns out the author of the Mirror's piece, Matthew Barbour, has form in this regard."
Apple Kills the App Store Affiliate Program, and I Have No Idea What We Are Going to Do. (Eli Hodapp / TouchArcade - ARTICLE)
"Moments ago, Apple announced that they’re killing the affiliate program, citing the improved discovery offered by the new App Store. (Music, books, movies, and TV remain.) It’s hard to read this in any other way than “We went from seeing a microscopic amount of value in third party editorial to, we now see no value." I genuinely have no idea what TouchArcade is going to do."
Retrohistories: The Battle of Manchester Cathedral (Chris Chapman / YouTube - VIDEO)
"In the summer of 2007, Sony became the target of public criticism from an unlikely source. [SIMON'S NOTE: this is all about Resistance: Fall Of Man, and is a fascinating mini-documentary.]"
Hollow Knight and the art of consistency (Alex Wiltshire / RockPaperShotgun - ARTICLE)
"“One of my favourite things in the whole game is that when you slash your little weapon against the cave wall you actually get an impact, with a little recoil and rocks come out,” says Ari Gibson, animator, artist and co-creator of Hollow Knight. “It’s such a small thing, but it changes you from being just a few animations to being a present actor inside this world.”"
The Two No Man’s Skys (Kirk Hamilton / Kotaku - ARTICLE)
"For two years, No Man’s Sky has been one of gaming’s great Rorschach tests. View it one way, and it’s a beautiful adventure through an endlessly fascinating parallel universe. Tilt your head, and it’s a janky hunk of junk built on a bed of LIES."
What Men and Women Consider Hardcore Gaming Are Not The Same (Nick Yee / Quantic Foundry - ARTICLE)
"In our talk at GDC 2018, we explored what gamer motivations would look like if we defined “casual/core/hardcore” gamers using different assumptions—e.g., by self-identification with labels vs. by gaming frequency vs. by specific game titles they play. In this blog post, we’ll focus on the slice by self-identification with labels, but we’re hoping to cover at least one additional slice in a future post."
When FMV Ruled The World And Why It’s Coming Back (Javy Gwaltney / Game Informer - ARTICLE)
"For a brief time, full-motion video (FMV) games were omnipresent. In the ‘90s, the format seemed like the future, with games like The 7th Guest and Wing Commander III promising an unmatched level of visual fidelity due their use of real-life actors, like Mark Hamill and Malcolm McDowell, over polygonal models and 3D animations."
How Crash Bandicoot's Amazing Particle Effects Were Made (Jon Burton / GameHut / YouTube - VIDEO)
"I delve into the Particle System that I designed and used to create the visual effects for Crash Bandicoot, Transformers, LEGO Star Wars and many other Videogames in this episode of CODING SECRETS..."
Minecraft’s head says American employees should get a gap year like they do in Sweden (Leah Fessler / QZ - ARTICLE)
"In an interview, Chiang explains what it’s like to break into one of the most male-dominated industries, how Minecraft earned an equal gender balance among players, and why her commitment to giving employees time away from work pays off tenfold."
[REMINDER: you can sign up to receive this newsletter every weekend at tinyletter.com/vgdeepcuts - we crosspost to Gamasutra later on Sunday, but get it first via newsletter! Story tips and comments can be emailed to [email protected] MINI-DISCLOSURE: Simon is one of the organizers of GDC and Gamasutra & an advisor to indie publisher No More Robots, so you may sometimes see links from those entities in his picks. Or not!]