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Blogged Out: Escaping,  Begin ning,  Myst ing Up

Blogged Out: Escaping, Beginning, Mysting Up

September 9, 2005 | By Jim Rossignol

September 9, 2005 | By Jim Rossignol
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More: Console/PC, Indie

Welcome to 'Blogged Out', the regular column that looks at the world of developer blogging and the conversations being had with the community at large. This week we visit Greg Costikyan (again!), Jamie Fristrom, and self-mythologizing Londoners, The Triforce.

- The busiest developer blog of the week was Greg Costikyan's, which carried responses to his forthright discussion of the games industry published in last week's Escapist. A few people agree, others are hurt, still others disagree with Costikyan's attacks on the current state of the industry. One of the most thought-provoking responses, however, was from James Wagner Au, who suggested that Greg might like his theoretical indie game designers to build their games in the versatile scripting language of virtual world Second Life, as some had done in Second Life's 'game inside a game' development competition. With all this talk of gaming and what the future holds for the independence of developers who don't want to work in a 'product' factory, we do rather wonder if anyone will think to buy Darwinia. It's not even a little bit corporate, you know...

- Jamie Fristrom's blog this week contemplates his attitude towards recent linear action adventures. He asks why it is that critics have been so harsh on Eurocom/EA's Batman Begins. "I guess Batman Begins is what happens when you take gameplay testing to its final extreme," says Fristrom. "They rarely let the player ask, "What am I supposed to do now?" Intrusive widgets appear on your heads-up display and tell you which buttons to press at what time. It's one of those games that plays you rather than letting you play it. And in so doing, they've somehow crossed over the line from Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, the linear game that everyone loves to Batman Begins, the linear game that everyone (except me, because I loved it) feels ambivalent about. It's a very fine line!"" Fristrom goes on to ask whether this might be an early sign of the death of a linear action adventure. "One day soon we'll be down to open-environment sandbox games and FPS's and nothing else," he says. But is that such a bad future to anticipate? Perhaps it depends on just what developers are able to achieve in those sandbox games.

- Finally we link, with some trepidation, to the Not Really Work Safe website of three London-based games industry bloggers, The Triforce, who in turn highlight what is almost certainly the best headline to emerge from the adventure game industry this week. It's about the end of Myst's development studio, as written by UK-based games news website C&VG: "Lack of Green Makes Cyan Blue." Pun-makers of the world, we salute you. The Triforce also have some fairly forthright opinions on media coverage of the UK launch of Sony's PSP, hyperbole and all.

[Jim Rossignol is a freelance journalist based in the UK " his progressive games journalism has appeared in PC Gamer UK, Edge and The London Times, to name but a few.]

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