Category Archives: 2011.06

Roundup of Unusual Size: Vivisectioned

(fanart by horrormove @ deviantArt)

Had a splendiferous Skype conversation earlier today with Julian Williams (professional lesbian) and Fireholly (MGS2 high priestess). The latter sent me a hand-sculpted Wheatley necklace which arrived today so tonight’s extra-SMerchantly header image is all for her.

Videogames

Stories like this from the ludodecahedron give me hope: the artist for Extra Credits, out with an injury, prompts donations in the tens of thousands from viewers. This comes in advance of their newest video release (done before the artist’s injury) on race representation in games, and if you want a little extra burst of heartwarming, read the comments following the video. Also, they’re about to reach $60k USD already.

Over on The Border House, guest blogger Miss Haitch write on sexuality in Fallout: New Vegas.

A round up of opinions on the Brown v. EMA decision. Mine isn’t featured? Bah!

Last but certainly not least for tonight’s gaming section, K Cox’s second installment on The Gamer Gaze actually went live yesterday, but it slipped through my feeds somehow! You should really be reading it.

Hacktivisim

In a column at Make, Cory Doctorow compares DDoS attacks to traditional forms of civil disobedience and protest.

Curios

We must all get stoned: animals get high too. On a more sobering note, and following on my nigh-insatiable Richard Dawkins kick as of late, the good professor has a new blog up on Boing Boing about animal suffering.

I… can’t say I want this for a wedding cake either.

Roundup of Unusual Size: An interview with a famous Tormenter and another tribute to Eden.

Someone needs to invent a longer day so I can get more done.

Videogames

Emily Short, writing for Gamasutra, delivers an incisive critique of Christine Love’s don’t take it personally, babe, it just ain’t your story. Also from Gamasutra, and quite apropos for those readers joining me in the Planescape: Torment Play-Along, here’s an interview with Mr. Chris Avellone.

A call to arms for the games industry to step it up following Monday’s SCOTUS decision. This is a perspective I quite appreciate. Of course, I enjoy Michael Abbott’s more circumspect approach as well.

A nice lulzy video that’s as true as true can be: Duke Nukem Forever is offensive to women! Also bringing the funny tonight, Rock Paper Shotgun announces it’s gone free-to-read!

Really great long (long) article on perspective and Portal 2.

Matthew Weise at Outside Your Heaven has an audio interview up with Ken Levine that’s worth a listen.

And over at The Border House, Tami Baribeau tackles the idea that the games you play can make you a bad feminist.

That annoying, pretentious Dead Island trailer has won an award at Cannes. Guess it’s time to eat my hat.

Lastly, another utterly fantastic Child of Eden article, this one a commentary from Jane Pinckard of UC Santa Cruz.

Film

Oh man.

Roundup of Unusual Size: How not to write a college paper on videogames and other valuable advice.

Oh, we be Tormentin’ in the mornin’, and Tormentin’ in the eeeevenin’…

Videogames

Writing in Gamasutra, Leigh Alexander contends that we can do game violence right. Elsewhere on the site, Eddie Cameron writes about the illusion of player immersion.

Blending my love-hate relationship with videogames with my love-hate relationship with academia, Darius Kazemi instructs us on how not to write an undergraduate paper on games.

Yo dawg, I heard you liked Travis Touchdown so I made a Travis Touchdown cosplayer demo No More Heroes Red Zone for you so you can watch Travis Touchdown playing Travis Touchdown.

Gamer Melodico’s Dan Apczynski has my favorite take on the Brown v EMA case so far, by presenting it in verse.

The folks at College Humor take on female armor design. Could apply to other media, I suppose, but role-playing fans will recognize it best. In a similar vein, these Hark, a vagrant strips.

Proving once again that EVE is most interesting as a study of politics and economics, the game’s developers have arranged a meeting with leading players to head off a planned player boycott.

Lastly, an oldie but goodie videogame creepypasta (I don’t know if I want to play this or it would wig me out too much):

Film

I’m not sure what to make of this. Erm, sort of a robotic, English version of District 9? Because we can only talk about racism and class when we make the oppressed another species lol.

The Dude wants to bring you The Giver.

What if the cast of Lord of the Rings were hipsters? Bad things. Bad, obnoxious things.

Curios

The Mary Sue lists their ten favorite badass gay characters.

I think if I ever get married, I’d want cake toppers a little less… phallic.

Your (semi-)daily awwww: a tiny long-haired chihuahua herding sheep.

Roundup of Unusual Size: My childhood love affair with a maligned CGI movie is finally vindicated.

…Hello! Happy Monday. How are the kids?

Videogames

Let’s get the required news out of the way first. The US Supreme Court sided with the game industry. Game industry crows this validates games as free speech. I’m still scratching my head on why this industry makes use of its protected free speech the way it has, but more on that tomorrow.

Over on Critical Damage, Brendan Keogh has a lovely ramble/compare-and-contrast on Child of Eden and Rez.

And now for a few fantastic Mass Effect pieces on race and gender that seem to naturally go together. First is this critique of the asari from Retconning My Brain. Next, a pair of pieces from Two Whole Cakes’ Lesley Kinzel, on queerness and whiteness/maleness respectively.

Mass Effect was inspired by Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. So I’m not the only person in the world who loves that movie, okay? So there.

Let’s chase that with a truly excellent and thoughtful piece from Jason Hawkins on the poetic nature of PlayDead’s Limbo. Elsewhere, Leigh Alexander opines on how to design good female characters for games. And at You Have Lost, we have a critique of Portal and accessibility.

Digging through some bookmarks, I unearthed a few links I meant to share from several days ago but which slipped through the cracks. Let’s rectify that! First, this fun visual comparison of generic white male protagonists from IGN. Next, a post from Glamgeekgirl provocatively titled “…that all game characters are created equal…” And Mitu Khandaker partakes of Rock, Paper, Shotgun’s Gaming Made Me series with her reflections on Everquest.

Finally, to cap off tonight’s gaming section, Quintin Smith’s Journey of Saga series promises a gaming Citizen Kane. Enjoy yourself.

Fandom

The fans are rockin’ it tonight, let me tell you. First up, an article from GameSetWatch on Operation Rainfall, a fan-driven effort to prod Nintendo to localize some long-anticipated JRPGs. Next, czech this amazing Katamari Damacy mod for Minecraft. Also from The Escapist today, we have word of a listing Firefly MMO getting a boost of fan-power.

Lastly, Doctor Whooves is getting his own Doctor Who animation mashups now. Yes. Just yes.

Animation

Dear cosmos, look at her hair! The first trailer for Pixar’s Brave has finally been released. Do we really have to wait another year for this?

SCIENCE!

Hey! I’m not socially inept after all! I’m just more evolved than you!

Poor mayflies… :(

Curios

True friendship is stealing your friend’s bicycle over and over again.

GQ knows you have a burning question and the only cure is more cowbell: what exactly is middlebrow?

Should math be taught in schools? Teach the controversy!

For My Bronies

Guess who’s a closet Brony this week. Go on, guess.

Roundup of Unusual Size: Mazels and all that.

New York: still cooler than California.

Videogames

Joystick Division’s Dennis Scimeca argues there is a difference between criticism and review, and one of them is much more difficult to accomplish.

And over at Wired Underwire, Lore Sjöberg comments humorously on the Duke Nukem PR flap.

SCIENCE!

American accents are more robotic than British or New Zealander accents, and a new study suggests that robots with local accents will get a warmer reception than their evil American overlords.

Curios

Not to turn this into a gossip rag or anything but Neil Patrick Harris is getting married!

Hacktivism

LulzSec stopping before it runs out of steam? What a novel concept.

Roundup of Unusual Size: Hey there Gabe Newell, what’s it like in New York City…

Congratulations to New York are in order! Have some Kirk vs Kirk to mark the occasion.

Videogames

Brandon Sheffield is a busy little bee. Besides reigniting the spark beneath Insert Credit, he’s also got a new feature with Yu Suzuki up on Gamasutra.

And you thought you’d heard the last of the #ApocalyPS3. Not only is PSN still down in Japan, but a new lawsuit contends that Sony laid off a significant contingent of their net security staff just before the hack.

Lastly from Gamasutra tonight, a new opinion piece from Mike Diskett on game A.I..

On the heels of great fan musical tributes like “Hey There Keanu”, some denizens of 4chan’s /v/ board have composed this song for Valve dev Gabe Newell.

The best part of videogame blogging is when a real discussion gets going. After Extra Credits vlogged about the role of the player in modern games, they were engaged by Thomas Grip, lead designer for Amnesia: The Dark Descent, culminating in this fantastic conversation. Go have a read!

Emerging from outside our normal sphere of gaming blogs, feminist geek culture blog The Mary Sue has a fantastic long-form essay on Chell and representations of gender in videogames.

Speaking of Portal, you’ve heard that Portal 2 is getting dev tools for schools? It won’t be long before a whole generation of school children will love and loathe Portal 2 with the same deep-seated nostalgia as our generation look back on Oregon Trail. Funny thought, isn’t it?

Animation

This is some surreal muscle-bound princess animation right here.

SCIENCE!

Your DNA has cheat codes. Finally, a way for Gameshark to stay in business.

Cory Doctorow over on Boing Boing delivers with the link roundup to a three-part history on ELIZA, the first chatbot.

Curios

io9 Always answers the hard-hitting questions. Like what AU fanfic of your favorite sci-fi scientists doing tech support would sound like.

More Singularity debate? Seriously? Dear Sagan in cosmos! It’s a hypothetical technological projection! Why is there this much kerfuffle?

Roundup of Unusual Size: Harmony, harmony, oh love!

Try to guess which link below makes me happiest tonight. Go on, guess.

Videogames

In for a bit of hairsplitting? I know I am. And it seems Lewis Pulsipher is as well, using his expert blog at Gamasutra to attempt to define gamer and game-player.

Great news out of Valve today: Team Fortress 2 has gone free-to-play.

Found by way of The Mary Sue: videogame character design flowchart!

io9 has courteously excerpted the bits of an interview with William Gibson where he credits cyberspace to videogames.

And over on The Escapist, the Extra Credits team’s latest vlog tackles game reviews.

Lastly, this is my spine melting with happiness: possible 3D for Child of Eden. All my dreams are coming true.

Animation

Pixar’s upcoming Brave is looking more curious all the time. The Mary Sue has the newly released character art of its four leads.

Film

One of my favorite features on the AV Club is their series of primers for the beginning film enthusiast. As someone tasked with her sister’s comprehensive film education this summer (she claims it’s the only way to get laid in Los Angeles), I am definitely bookmarking their latest on Robert Altman for future reference.

Curios

Jezebel gently reminds us that if god does exist, it’s not likely he cares about your child’s beauty pageant.

Leave it to Charlie Stross to start an internet argument about the Singularity. I’ll just leave this here.

Roundup of Unusual Size: Get mad!

I can’t stop looking at it.

Videogames

Kicking off with Gamasutra, Jeffrey Matulef has a riveting piece on the unusual health mechanics in Sword & Sworcery. Over among the member blogs, Alan Jack produces a few barbs about comedy and horror in gameplay and Seth Gorden looks to the role of action in the RPG.

ROUS regular Joel Goodwin sends his latest Where We Came From installment our way, this time speaking with Steven Furnell.

Fantastic piece tonight from Jonathan McCalmont over on Futurismic: how videogames get conversations so dreadfully, dreadfully wrong.

Everyone is all a-twitter about the return of Insert Coin under Brian Sheffield. And what better way to kick things off than with a totally tubular games journalism manifesto.

None too fond of Child of Eden? Don’t worry, there are other descendants of Rez to be happy about.

Fandom

I’m the one who’s gonna burn your house down! With the lemons!

Roundup of Unusual Size: Kotaku is classy as the night is long.

(source: ponibooru)

Happy Summer Solstice! Bust out the candles and sacrifice some livestock, it’s time for tonight’s link roundup.

Videogames

We begin as we often do at the mother of all gaming sites, Gamasutra. Tonight, Christopher Totten treats us to a new feature on tapping into human survival instincts to design game levels.

This has been bandied about before on GamePolitics and among various other pundits in the past but it bears another mention: there is a correlation between rise in gaming and a decrease in crime. I’d question whether that immediately creates a causal link, but it’s a nice talking point the next time your mom tells you you’re going to grow up to be an angry killer.

Man, I wish I was in the UK right now. There’s an entire Child of Eden STORE there.

Lastly, a bit of industrial revolution-scented bootstrap success story to lead off with for the night: a prosumer who was hired for his dream job at MediaMolecule.

Television

Russel T. Davies goes out on a limb to assure fans that Captain Jack Harkness likes the ladies too.

SCIENCE!

So apparently our eyes are capable of sensing magnetic fields. We just can’t.

Curios

Here is a thing I’m sure many of my fellow games journalists out there would have an interest in: how to do a vanity search when you have a common name.

FAIL

Oh, Brian Ashcraft. Stay classy.

Miss USA hopefuls at their finest! Let’s ask them if they think evolution should be taught in schools.

And, because I want to give everyone nightmares tonight so I, by comparison, will sleep remarkably well:

I For One Welcome Our Synthetic Pop Star Overlords

…Better start running, y’all. Soon she’ll link up with Skynet.

Roundup of Unusual Size: Mirror stages and glitterbombs.

Sherlock fanart by viaestelar @ deviantArt. Not related to tonight's roundup at all, but I mean, magic sci-fi Sherlock Holmes.

I am famished. I don’t know about you, but not having any news on Sunday always makes me overindulge on Monday evenings. Let’s get right to it.

Videogames/Tabletop

The father of Dungeons & Dragons is getting his own memorial, so now there’s at least one reason to visit Wisconsin.

This is kind of sweet, even though I’m sure we’re all quickly getting Duke Nukem fatigue. Someone turned in their 10 year old preorder, and got it honored. With honors.

Here’s a neat long-form article via Gawker network’s better half on sex in interactive media.

Another long-form critical piece, but a very different take on sex– namely, representation of gender. K. Cox of Your Critic is in Another Castle has the first part of a series up on Laura Mulvey, the male gaze, and videogames.

Rounding off tonight’s selection of denser articles, you know that anything that combines Kinect and Lacan is going to be good.

And now your dessert, deliciously schadenfreude-flavored tonight. First, GameSetWatch presents a video clip roll of the worst of E3. Second, remember that guy who tweeted in a hissyfit about Duke Nukem Forever‘s negative reviews? Color me shocked that he was fired.

Reading/Writing

There’s nothing like a hilarious and vitriolic author-on-author throwdown. Through the ages, even!

SCIENCE!

Flashcard-like memory retention, sayeth Jezebel? Sure, okay.

Something for the New York locals, via Alasdair Williams: the new Picturing Science exhibit at the NYC Natural History Museum.

Curios

Your late-breaking Twitterage story of the night: Twitter likes Fairfax better than you.

And as long as we’re shattering your happy illusions tonight, your car door clunk is a lie.

But cheer up, everyone, it’s not all frakked. Glitterbombing, for instance, is always hilarious. Juvenile, but hilarious.

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