I’ll be traveling for much of today, since it actually takes a damn long time to get from Louisville to Edmonton. So in the meantime, talk amongst yourselves!
Kyle Orland at Ars Technica echoes the musings of David Jaffe:
For decades now, large parts of the game industry have been striving to create games that are more meaningful — games that can speak to the human condition and tell an impactful story that’s deeper than “remember when I shot that guy?” At a DICE Summit presentation today, Twisted Metal designer David Jaffe made an impassioned argument that such efforts have been misguided, and a huge waste of the industry’s time and resources.
Jaffe led off by clarifying that he wasn’t against all kinds of storytelling in games — he had lots of respect for titles like Batman: Arkham City and Skyrim that allow for highly personal, player-created stories that can be as deep as a good novel. He also wasn’t arguing for a return to the Atari 2600 days, where graphics were abstract and most titles didn’t have identifiable characters or environments at all.
But Jaffe did argue vociferously against “games that have been intentionally made from the ground up with the intent and purpose of telling a story or expressing a philosophy or giving a designer’s narrative.” Because no matter how hard we want to fight it, Jaffe said, games just aren’t meant for this kind of storytelling.
Jaffe went on to compare depictions of D-Day in movies to depictions of it in games, and argues that the game player will always experience it in a way that prevents him from fully contemplating the deeper significance of the event. And to be fair, he has a point there, I think. Games will almost always have the player thinking about objectives to complete at least as often as they will make him think about the meaning of the events he is participating in and witnessing, which arguably makes for diluted meaning.
But one wonders if Jaffe’s scope is perhaps too limited — his focus seems to be mostly on AAA titles, and then only on particular types thereof. Within that limited scope, he probably has a point: can we expect Twisted Metal to tell a moving, meaningful, deeply philosophical tale? Probably not.
But what about a game like To The Moom, which despite its short length has reduced everyone I know who has played it to tears? Is that a game that fails to reach its full potential as a vehicle for delivering a meaningful story?
(hat tip: Infinitron Dragon)
On Valentine’s Day, RIFT — yes, the MMORPG — set a Guinness World Record for the most in-game marriages in one day:
21,879 marriages took place on February 14, starting at 9am PST. Marriage was introduced in Rift’s seventh major update, Carnival of the Ascended. Each participating player earned a unique in-game title, “The Avowed,” and quite possibly a nagging significant other.
I…yeah, no, I just won’t comment on this any further.
No Mutants Allowed has posted the first in a three-part document set from the lead designer of the original Fallout, R. Scott Campbell. It purports to detail the genesis of the game that eventually became known as Fallout, and is evidently quite lengthy. Give it a read, if Fallout is one of your areas of high interest!
And if you don’t like it, you support child pornography…or…something.
The legislation would require service providers to provide law enforcement with IP addresses, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and other information on demand.
The bill would also “require ISPs and cellular phone companies to install equipment for real-time surveillance and create new police powers designed to obtain access to the surveillance data.”
Members of the opposition have vowed to fight the legislation. More than 80,000 people have signed an online petition opposing the bill.
Challenged by an opposition member about the proposal, public safety minister Vic Toews cited child pornography as a justification for the bill. Opponents of the legislation “can either stand with us or with the child pornographers,” he said.
Doing fun things by yourself, in which your spouse does not share, is:
The study explains in its intro that marital satisfaction is “lower for those [couples] with high concentrations of individual leisure activities.” That is, doing fun stuff in general without your spouse will lead to fights and unrest.
This study doesn’t prove that gaming, specifically, is to blame for your relationship problems. Couples where one member spends too much time fishing, shopping, drinking, or even volunteering at soup kitchens and building houses for the homeless on his or her own have been shown to experience marital difficulty, just like couples where one person games and the other doesn’t. Since the study doesn’t compare gaming to other leisure activities, it only confirms that gaming makes your spouse angry, like everything else you might do and enjoy alone.
There is one ray of light: while the study found that a married person’s “satisfaction with online gaming” was a predictor of a discontent, the amount of time spent playing games was not.
And if your wife or husband just happens to be a gamer like you, well…heck, you could start up parallel RIFT accounts!
A research team led by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) recently broke the code behind tiny tracking dots that some color laser printers secretly hide in every document.
The U.S. Secret Service admitted that the tracking information is part of a deal struck with selected color laser printer manufacturers, ostensibly to identify counterfeiters. However, the nature of the private information encoded in each document was not previously known.
“We’ve found that the dots from at least one line of printers encode the date and time your document was printed, as well as the serial number of the printer,” said EFF Staff Technologist Seth David Schoen.
I’d ask if they’re kidding me, but I already know they aren’t. At a previous job, we had a Xerox Phaser-class printer, and I remember my boss at the time wondering what the little series of yellow dots that appeared on every image was. At the time, I didn’t have an answer, and neither did Google…but now we know.