Angry Robot

Where Should We Put the “Downtown Relief” Line?

Steve Munro on the possible DRL routes. He doesn’t spend a lot of time discussing where it would connect with the Yonge-University line, which I’m curious about, as Metrolinx doesn’t seem to want it to go to Union for capacity reasons

At 92, Movie Bootlegger Is Soldiers’ Hero


Justice is served, but more so after lunch: how food-breaks sway the decisions of judges

Steven Levy on algorithm-generated news articles

“I asked Kristian Hammond what percentage of news would be written by computers in 15 years. “More than 90 percent.”” (via)

Give Me Centrism or Give Me Death! By Chuck Klosterman


Disgruntled Ex-Googlers Rethink The Way Gmail Works, With

thinking of giving this a shot

Dexter Tops Game of Thrones as Most Pirated TV Show of 2011

“There were 3.62 million illegal downloads of Dexter this year, as compared with an estimated 2.19 million legitimate viewers of the show in the U.S.” Was discussing pirate vs. legit viewership for Mad Men. So since Mad Men doesn’t show up on this list of top downloads, it’s got to be less than 1.7 million, as compared to the 2.5 million legit viewers (not including timeshifting, reruns, Netflix, DVD etc).

Dangerous Gamer vs. Brainy Gamer


A sense of deja vu accompanied my reading of the Blow profile. I mean, we have been having the same discussion over and over again – hell, it even references the Ebert fiasco, which was the last manifestation of the games-as-art cosmic cycle.

But something about the whole form of the article itself seemed familiar, like it wasn’t the first time I have read a profile of the game world’s art saviour, and yeah, it wasn’t. It’s an easy formula:

  1. Bemoan the state of video games; easy targets: sequels, shooting, breasts, space marines
  2. Choose a champion artist-developer
  3. Ignore all other contenters
  4. Profit!

That we are looping through these tropes more frequently is probably a good thing. Many champions are entering the arena! Only one may leave— no wait, we want lots of them!

Will things get better once Indie Game: The Movie comes out maybe?

Press “A” to compare me to film

Good Lord have I done this a million times, compared games to film. And the industry as a whole does it a ton, whether bragging about opening weekends or demanding the Citizen Kane of games to stand up.

On that point, I’d say it’s the Birth of a Nation of video games we want, perish the thought. Cinema’s artistic potential was made manifest during the silent era by D.W. Griffith. He saw that editing was what made film unique, and developed the language of film. So yes, this bit Blow’s talking about:

Blow envisions future games that deliver experiences as poignant and sublime as those found through literature and film, but expressed in ways distinctive to games. “If the video game is going to be used for art purposes, then it has to take advantage of its form in some way particular to that medium, right?” he told me. “A film and a novel can both do linear storytelling, but novels are very strong at internal mental machinations—which movies suck at—and movies are great at doing certain visual things. So the question is: Where are games on that same map?” It’s a question Blow intends to answer.

Games have a different language than film: it’s not shot, scene, montage, mise-en-scene, but levels, rules, mechanics. So art games look nothing like art films – the language of games is too different. (Games are more like sports mixed with architecture, in This Reporter’s Opinion.) Those on the lookout for art games with a checklist they got from the film academy are going to be disappointed.

Or they are going to have to learn to like Metal Gear games.

Blame the Media

Seriously guys I am so goddamn excited by the potential for games to be art. It’s what either justifies or rationalizes – depending on where you’re standing – a cumulatively profound time expenditure. I turned this blog all-games, all-the-time for a couple years there. I have had powerful emotional experiences (Metal Gear, Silent Hill, Final Fantasy 7), engrossingly cerebral ones (Civilization, Sim City, a million strategy games), and marveled at an emerging generation of art games where game mechanics are used to expressive ends (yes, Braid, The Passage, Flower, Sleep is Death). I have seen magnificent systems that allow players to express themselves (Little Big Planet, Minecraft), or allow them to create new social entities that rival small cities (Halo, The Game Neverending, Glitch). I have seen beauty shine out through otherwise mercenary products of focus-testing and sequel-iterating (too many to mention).

So no jagoff in a fancy Atlantic jacket is gonna tell me games are dumb. It just reminds me of white people in the early 90s telling me that rap isn’t music. Maybe it isn’t, to you, yet.

But yeah, exhausted is really well said by Abbott. That’s what it is. It’s all gone on too long, this protracted, 30-year adolescence. And I think the culture around games has gone a little sour, and it turns off a lot of non-enthusiasts. Whenever they glance at games media it’s all screenshots and hands-ons of Space Breasts 6a: Sequel to the Sequel, and not a lot of finding the next Braid.

Articles like this profile don’t help, where a storied and cultured old media crow flies high and low and finds only the one shiny bauble worth keeping. Or this one that examines casual games and finds them “scary” and “stupid”. For someone not familiar with the games world the takeaway, the executive summary, is that games just aren’t ready yet. They are still teething.

I wonder if the coverage changed, if the core games media challenged and encouraged instead of shoveled, if the forays by the cultural elites reported back movement instead of starving artist in the wilderness, might we actually have a movement?

Or will cheap games via download platforms – Steam, PSN, Xbox Live, and above all iOS – make all this hand-wringing obsolete by routing around the Big Game Innustry and letting the indies run away with it all? I mean, this Braid guy is driving a Tesla.

Insert conclusion here.

How SpellTower’s Zach Gage took on Angry Birds, lost the fight, and came out ahead

great game, great story, and a great opportunity for me to crow that I’m actually really good at this game. I am ranked #17 in Tower Mode!

Valve Employee Handbook

I saw this linked to repeatedly but since its a clunky PDF I didn’t get very far. It’s worth it though. Valve has no hierarchy and thus employees are free to pick what they want to work on. Fascinating to read how this might actually work.

24 Hours of Photographs Merged into a Single Panoramic Image


Hitler Playing Video Games


Larry Jordan – Future Features in Final Cut Pro X

How Valve “devalued” video games, and why that’s great news for developers and players

“If you launch a game at $20, and the price goes down to $5, you need to sell four times as many games to make the same money, right? Surprisingly… they don’t just sell four times as many games, they may sell 20 times as many, or more.”

What Amazon's ebook strategy means

interesting take on why publishers hate Amazon so much by Charlie Stross (sci fi author) (via)

How Sony Fell Behind in the Tech Parade

I remember an absolutely bulletproof Trinitron tube TV my parents bought. I loved my Walkman. And I loved so much about the Playstation. But it’s been downhill from there. (via)

The 4-inch iPhone

if Apple ups the screen size on the iPhone, what aspect ratio will they use? (via)

Sam Spade at Starbucks

Manly Tips from Manny

“Put on some shaving gel and shave your face or whatever. Don’t use a mirror unless you’re some kind of loser.”

The Cast of Twin Peaks Endorses a Japanese Canned Coffee

How could I not post this?

PAX East: the story behind the Doctor Who “Girl in the Fireplace” cosplay, complete with a clockwork surprise

there should be an award show for cosplay

An Essay on the New Aesthetic

An x86 PlayStation 4 could signal a sea-change in the console industry

Ars nerds out on next-gen gaming hardware rumours. “The game consoles can be subsidized and sold at a loss because each game also includes a cut for Sony or Microsoft. As long as gamers buy a handful of games, the money can be recouped. Boxes used predominantly for streaming media don’t provide access to that same revenue stream.”

The true story of the inflatable Raptor’s rollerblade crash

behind the scenes of the greatest sports GIF ever. (this must be physical comedy day today) (via)

Skate 3 Glitches

I don’t know why but I found this video impossibly funny.

That is all. (via waxy)