REVIEW: Doublefine’s review embargo for Broken Age

The first thing to say is that the graphics for this review embargo are just super. Why, it was almost like a REAL LIFE EMAIL.

NOMNOMNOM

Here’s the short version: Double Fine, the developers best known for Tim Schafer, have finished the first part of Kickstarter-funded game Broken Age and sent it out to backers. These backers may include members of the press or even people with blogs. Any ‘reviews’ were not allowed until 24th January. EMBARGOED.

I’m sorry, what?

This minor saga annoyed me, and the discussion around it annoyed me, and when I tweeted about it people seemed to think I was just sniping at Double Fine. I don’t think anyone has this dog by the right leg.

Embargoes are a simple transaction. A developer or publisher agrees to show you what they’re working on, and in return you agree to keep the secret until a mutually-agreed date that works for both parties. Embargoes are not a one-way deal; you agree to them in exchange for access or information that is not available to the public.

NOM NOM

What we have in the case of Broken Age is something different. The promise of Kickstarter, as I see it, is to remove the middlemen. To take away the publishers and restore a direct link between the creators of a product and its audience.

This is especially important when it comes to a company like Double Fine. Let’s be under no illusion about why it went to Kickstarter to fund Broken Age; it was the only way to get the project off the ground. Publishers wouldn’t back an adventure game, but nostalgia-fuelled fans would.

And they did back Double Fine Adventure, as it was then known – not to the tune of $400,000, the original target, but to a whopping $3.45 million. Not bad, and even better when you consider that Double Fine subsequently said that wasn’t enough and split the game in two.

Point is that Broken Age was crowdfunded, which is another way of saying it was paid for by individuals. That’s awesome. And upon the game’s release to these individuals, Double Fine tried to tell them they can’t write about it.

Wow.

To be clear about this; I don’t think Double Fine is evil. Not in the slightest. But this is fucked up yo, because the implication is that Double Fine regards the people who funded Broken Age as customers rather than backers. One of the reasons Kickstarter is attractive is that it slightly changes that power dynamic between creator and audience – yes I’ll fund your thing, but I get some kind of acknowledgement for that, whether it’s a tweet or a t-shirt.

Attempting to force an embargo on the people who’d paid for this game to be made shows that Double Fine disagrees. It shows that Double Fine regards Kickstarter backers as customers who pre-ordered, and perhaps even a slight inconvenience, rather than the whole reason Broken Age exists at all.

DOUBLE AGENT?

I once met Tim Schafer, in EA’s UK offices around the time of Brutal Legend’s launch. I’d played the game and hadn’t enjoyed it, so I didn’t really want to make small talk with the creative mastermind, and I imagine Schafer was just thinking about when he could possibly get away from this awful place. We both sat in a small airless room for a few minutes and exchanged about ten words total, avoiding eye contact, waiting to be called forth by the PR machine and play our parts.

Pretty awful. And when I saw Double Fine Adventure’s Kickstarter that memory bubbled back up in its grey entirety, and I thought ‘at least he doesn’t have to go through that misery again.’ The schedules, the embargos, and those meeting rooms with windows looking onto buildings.

But maybe I misread the situation. Maybe Schafer really really likes that shit.

At the time of writing Double Fine has decided this was all a terrible mistake, and withdrawn its attempted embargo. Which obviously will affect the final score.

BROKEN AGE REVIEW EMBARGO – THE VERDICT

Pros

Pre-empts potential dissent

Looks just like real life!

Gives the marketing department something to do

Cons

Is Stupid

Didn’t work

Smells like bacon and oppression, man.

Double Fine’s Broken Age review embargo receives 3 out of 18. 

The night they switched off Halo 2

This is something I wrote a while back about the evening that Bungie switched off Halo 2’s matchmaking servers. The best console shooter of its age, by a distance, I spent many many years in the curving loops of Midship and mastering the angles of Lockout. What a game.

lockout

Even now, Halo 2 is the most important Live title Xbox ever had: the ultimate proof of concept. It dominated online, sold hugely, and established the best matchmaking system out there at the first time of asking. And on April 15, 2010, it was turned off.

No other last-generation game had its legs: when Microsoft announced the impending closure, everyone had the same thought. Got to play Halo 2 again. The end of Live support may not have been a good thing for the remaining playerbase, but it did at least let everyone make plans for the funeral – without such a prompt, it’s doubtful many would have gone back at all. This was a chance to say goodbye.

Marty O’Donnell’s score starts up, its notes finally achieving the poignance they’d always suggested. The old loading screens, wireframe backgrounds with blue marines, and as alwways you’re into a match surprisingly quickly. Hit the Double Team playlist for a warm-up, face up to Nomad Pr0phet and Mr Supreme 69 on Lockout, & it’s all coming back.

Soon we’re playing Tower of Power, a mad variant of the Ascension map: one team has a tower with a mounted gun, the other has a lot of open ground to traverse and shotguns. The lucky gunner nearly always has a field day. There’s time for a sudden death win in CTF on Zanzibar, a few custom games of zombies, and an extended Warthog run on Coagulation. A familiar Halo 2 thing happens: it’s much later than we think.

Tired and emotional, we notice Bungie’s got in on the act, staff members cropping up in matchmaking, the ‘Did You Know’ boxout between matches full of arch messages (“I am your father! Use voice masking to add at least 10 years to your online persona.”) and ultimate n00b tactics (“Dual wielding. When all else fails, circle strafe.”) Team Slayer on Midship for the last time, no looking back and both teams know it.

Both reach 40 kills, both get cautious. The real reason Halo’s multiplayer design surpasses its competitors is right here: it’s a game that rewards teams rather than individuals. The persistent levelling of a COD rewards regardless of the success and failure of the team – Halo 2’s persistence is in one number indicating your level, one that can go up and down.

Every kill, every death counts for something. Team Slayer games are the first to 50, and even new players understand that when your opponents get close, your lot have to be a little more cautious. Halo is very rarely two loose alliances running at each other just trying to rack up kills.

And back on Midship, it’s over. Not with a neat sword slice, or a typical dual wield, or even up-close and personal with the shotgun. It’s a sticky that seems to hang forever in the air before landing with a sizzle on the floor, just as an enemy turns the corner. Blind luck, really. But sweet as a nut all the same.

In the end we had to switch off, because there could have been as many last games as we wanted – the deadline didn’t quite fall like an axe. I later learned that some of the truly hardcore had stayed on for weeks. Every player will have had a different Halo 2, and a different ending. For us, it was Midship and a fluked sticky. That’s the way Halo 2 arrived, and the way it went out – not with a whimper, but a bang.

 

Tagged

Some of the old Papers, Please

This must be the worst blog in existence. Which is surprising because I recorded myself playing some Papers, Please after doing the same with Spelunky (and much enjoying it) – which led to the realisation I was BORN TO BE A BUREAUCRAT.

I don’t know what I’m going to do with this new knowledge.

Tagged

Seamus Heaney 1939-2013: Finders Keepers

"Sure it's water."

“Sure it’s water.”

My first job was a little unusual; from around 2004-2007 I was Arts Officer at The Wordsworth Trust in Grasmere, working under the late Dr Robert Woof. The job title is a little nebulous. What it meant was I booked and ran the Trust’s contemporary arts program, a huge year-round series of poetry readings, exhibitions and residencies. Robert was one of the greatest people I’ve ever met, and he was insistent on one point; the WT could not depend on Wordsworth alone, but had to continually make itself relevant by helping to pay and promote today’s writers and artists.

I say this only as background because Seamus Heaney, of course, did not need promotion in any sense. He was great friends with Robert, and any time he’d visit was An Event. The first time I met him was at the 2005 opening of the Jerwood Centre, the WT’s research complex, and by that time Heaney was a Nobel Laureate and perhaps the most well-known poet in the English language, hence the affectionate nickname deployed by many contemporaries: Famous Seamus. As with almost everything, Professor Heaney thought that was a great laugh.

Though that was the first time I met Heaney, it was only the latest connection in a long line between himself, the Trust, and more importantly Robert. On this occasion Heaney wasn’t doing a reading alongside the opening, which Robert cunningly realised was a chance to book him in for the next year’s program – and Heaney agreed this was an excellent idea. It soon turned out that the opening of the Jerwood Centre came just in time; five months afterwards, in November 2005, Robert died. This was not unexpected, but it was devastating; for me and, I know, many others.

I remember my hesitation in writing to Heaney at the end of 2005, to find out if he’d still come. It felt somehow inappropriate, but I needn’t have been concerned. The Wordsworth Trust’s postcode was LA22 9SH, and the reason I still remember that now is his first reply came back with a big circle around the last two letters – pointing out that this, surely, was fate.

Heaney came to see us and deliver the biggest reading of the year in August 2006, visiting with his wonderful wife Marie for five days and attracting such a crowd we had to move to a larger venue. I remember his turning up on the first day (Marie was getting a train a day or two later) in a cab I’d booked from Liverpool airport. I was horrified to see the company had sent one of the old-school black models, which must have been very uncomfortable for a man in his early sixties to ride in for hours. “Ah well, I’m sure I’ll be comfortable enough now.”

I made sure of it, as did we all. Tagging along with Heaney for the next few days, what struck me more than anything was that he had time for everyone. It didn’t matter where he was – in a restaurant, a bar, walking along or even reading a book – if someone made the time to come up and say hello he gave them it back in spades. He was an incredibly funny man, too, and seemed to rejoice in opening conversations with a one-liner, more than a few of which made me the butt. “Excuse me are you Seamus Heaney?” “Well yer man’s in trouble if I’m not!”

I especially remember, on the day of the reading, my mum coming over to Grasmere from the North-East – she teaches English, and so is intimately familiar with those poems of his on the syllabus. Despite the fact he’d clearly had that conversation a million times, Heaney propped himself up on a wall outside the Jerwood and talked to her for an hour like some kind of softly-spoken saint – and eventually I was the one that had to break them apart.

I’d call him a class act, but that has some implication of artifice and with Heaney there was none. Instead I’ll do something he’d have liked and take the phrase straight from my father; Heaney was a top-class man. A few miscellaneous memories. On his visit to open the Jerwood, we went for dinner at an Italian place in Ambleside – and I can’t quite remember what we all had to eat, because of the four bottles of top-quality red it went down with. God the old man could drink.

At that second reading, the Low Wood hotel totally screwed up the sound system. This was a problem because there was an audience of 300 people and one incandescent boss (mine) who, after ten minutes of amateur fiddling, grew increasingly irritable until Heaney decided he’d take it upon himself to project a little over this long room – and, by merely talking about this and that, quietened the hubbub enough for us to fix the issue and get things underway. From the bottom of my heart I still thank him for that.

I remember, too, on that second occasion watching nervously as he signed what must have been hundreds of copies of his own books over the days. Eventually I worked up the courage to ask if he’d sign my books, and of course he would, but the problem was I had a copy of pretty much everything. So he said that was fine, but I’d better take him somewhere quiet first and get the drinks in. Over what turned into quite a few glasses, he not only signed every book I had but wrote something unique in each one. This is my favourite.

Finders Keepers

One final thing. The Wordsworth Trust is not a rich organisation. Every year it was a battle to stretch our budget as far as possible, and every year we’d just about make it by the skin of our teeth. Robert’s approach was simple, and I stuck to it like gospel. We couldn’t pay a top fee, but what we could do was pay a decent fee, plus all the travel, plus put you up for a few days in the heart of the Lakes. It is interesting who does and does not go for this.

After Heaney’s reading, I wrote to him for one of the last times, thanking him for it all and enclosing a cheque for his travel and the fee. He wrote back enclosing a donation to the Wordsworth Trust, and never cashed the cheque. It is the kind of act that not everyone can afford, to be sure, but even so a special one – giving without expectation. As the man himself put it in a very different context, it is receiving a gift that enjoins you to remember the giver.

I last read Heaney only a few days ago, when some half-remembered line from Death of a Naturalist sent me in search of my dog-eared old copy. One would like to think of him up there, but Heaney was more than anything a poet of the Earth. So I hope he’ll forgive me for raising a glass in his memory rather than offering a prayer. And I hope you’ll agree that the reward of a life well-lived is in itself – or, at the very least

               heaven enough,
To be going on with.

                               (To Mick Joyce in Heaven, District and Circle)

Finders Keepers

Resident Evil 6: up-close and monstrous

Resident Evil 6 is a very simple game, really, which is why I think it’s provoked such differences of opinion. It has one ambition, which is to be a mainstream action game, and in this it succeeded – in some parts, magnificently so. But the fate of such a well-loved series is expectation. Many folk don’t want a straightforward action game from Resident Evil – they expect something more… well, surprising. I’m not arguing with that perspective, in fact I think there’s a lot to be said for it. But for my part, I had a blast.

I am luckier than most, of course. I reviewed Resi 6 over a blissful week, holed up in a dark attic with beer and cigarettes, blasting my way through wave after wave of monsters. I wouldn’t argue it’s a forward-thinking game, or any kind of progression for the series. But if you want uncomplicated blasting action, it delivers in spades.

One area of Resi 6 that I think didn’t get the credit it should have was the monster design. This is probably because it has some real red flags – specifically, the zombie types that owe a lot to Valve’s peerless Left4Dead series. Unoriginal as these were, I actually think the designers did a superb job in giving them a Resi flavour. And outside of them, there are some truly brilliant designs – my very favourite being the grotesque Lepotitsa.

These are photographs of concept art from the Resi 6 working environment. I’m sorry that a couple are blurred, slightly skewed, or have camera flashes on them – but I think they’re pretty interesting to see regardless. Enjoy!

Ustanak. This ugly chap is a kind of mecha-tyrant that chases Jake. For some reason, the combination of stringy hair and scoured pate freaks me out.

The Needler. Ranged enemies aren’t common in Resi, which is what can make this such a nightmare to deal with – ESPECIALLY when it’s human-controlled in Agent Hunt.

Invisible enemies in games generally suck. But this one was handled very well, I think, particularly in the way Resi 6 handles the build-up.

Speaking of which, these are concept sketches for just that build-up. In-game I don’t remember it being quite so toothy.

Really sorry about the focus on this one, got a close-up for the next shot tho – this is the snake picking off one of Chris’s team.

EXXTREEEMMMME CLOSE-UP! Of all the horror cliches, being attacked from above is still the one that makes me go ‘brrrr’ a bit inside

The Fly is one of the weaker enemies in Resi 6, in terms of how you engage with it. But I think the design’s wonderful – look at that hand at the bottom.

The Ogroman (where do they come up with these names?) looks a lot different to this in the final game, and not all for the better. It’s a bit more exagerrated in its features, but I prefer this more understated and pallid interpretation

Leon’s first encounter with the ‘Whopper’, and you’ve got to love that name. These artists are amazing, aren’t they?

The Whopper in action. These turn up a few times, and it’s a kind of running joke they get stuck in a few places. Resi 6 has a sly streak of humour running through it, one of the things I most enjoyed.

This is the Shrieker, which dies in the most awesome way if you pop its throat. Love the detail on its spinal column, and the visualisation of its dysmorphia from various angles

The Lepotitsa, one of my favourite Resi 6 moments. The concept of this enemy, and its various characteristics, is matched perfectly to the situations in which you encounter it.

Wish I had a few more, particularly of the other bosses, but this was what was on the walls. Hope you enjoyed! 

Let’s visit Capcom HQ!

Video games, eh?

It’s good to remind ourselves why we love them. And so I thought it would be nice to share some photos I took while visiting the Osaka HQ of Capcom. This company is one of my all-time favourite developers, responsible for more great games than almost any other thirdparty, and I was lucky enough to go there during the development of Resident Evil 6.

I’ll separate out the photos of Resi 6 concept art and put them in a different post, for convenience’s sake. Here we’ll get a look at the building, the devs, and the most awesome merchandise room in the world.

It may look nondescript, but this… this is a MAGIC FACTORY

Capcom’s front door!!! I know!!! XD

This was the Resi 6 development floor. Look at them beavering away.

Another shot of the devs – at the back, you can see a reference mannequin for the BSAA troops

They actually have the Resi typewriter!

I’m giving you another angle on this sweetass setup, because I know you want it

OK. Those of you with no patience for toys had better beat it. Here comes the good shit. 

A Fryuit machine?

You KNOW you want to insert a coin in this bad boy

OK, loads of games. we get it Capcom. SHOW US THE TOYS

I hate this meme, but sometimes you’ve just got to say shut up and take my money

Yep. Dante, DMC3-style. They’ll never better him.

DMC3’s Virgil. He knows Dante’s the boss. Loser!

What the hell, why not let Virgil share the spotlight for a moment.

How could you say no to such an attractive salesperson?

Stop the world: Capcom have invented this.

If you don’t realise why this shit is awesome, you don’t dig Monster Hunter. Get orf moi land!

Monster Hunter Kitchen?!? I’ll drink to that!

OOS A GOOD BOY THEN

I SEE… YOUR SOUL

Your eyes do NOT deceive you, fucking GOLD AND SILVER MEGA MAN!

GOLD MEGA MAN, I SAY!

Hope you enjoyed them! I’ll whack up the Resi art soon enough, keep an eye on the old twitter. 

Apology and Retraction

The following relates to tweets made on the evening of Wednesday 10th October.

In a moment of anger at Future I said many things that I should not have. I retract them in full and they should not be repeated or reported as fact. I apologize to Future and all parties referred to directly or indirectly in my statements.

If you see anyone referencing my now-deleted tweets, please point them here.

I will be making no further comment on this matter.

 

The Echo Chamber, and feeding the animals

I wish

 

One of the most common disagreements within games journalism is about whether companies should be referred to as singular or plural. Valve is a great company. Valve are a great company. Is Valve a singular entity, or a group of people? Clearly it’s both, with each somewhat defining the other. But that doesn’t quite answer the question.

I always come down on the side of the singular, but I understand why others don’t. Especially now. The other night on twitter I went on a rant about Future Publishing, something reckless that has subsequently given rise to much commentary, and a pretty eye-opening Neogaf thread. My motivations were simple and ignoble: I’d been treated badly by some of the company’s employees over the past year or two, it had happened again recently, so I thought “I’ll show them.” It’s strange how the majority of the time, twitter feels like bitching to your mates – and then something like this shows you it’s anything but. 

Am I proud? Time was when I dreamed of becoming Edge’s editor, rising through Future’s ranks to be in charge of the magazine I’d loved since I’d first clapped eyes on it as a spotty 14 year old. Instead I left Future on the verge of a nervous breakdown, having worked myself to the bone as part of an editorial skeleton staff, reaching a stage where I literally couldn’t get out of bed in the morning. The company just didn’t advertise for new people until it was far, far too late, and one can only guess at management’s motivations for this. But three people ran the editorial side of Edge and Edge Online over this period and did an incredible job, I think, even if it’s not one they ever should have had to.

I’ve deleted almost all of the tweets from the other night, and obviously people have been asking why. Backtracking? Simple cowardice? There’s an element of both, of course, but far more important was my shock at how one man’s unverifiable ranting had turned into evidence for a narrative that people had already decided on.

I have seen and worked with bad people. Bad journalists, bad ad-men, bad managers, and not just at Future. As a percentage of the number of people I’ve worked with, however, they don’t even register a single digit. The vast majority are nothing like this. But what I failed to realise is that when you talk about bad apples, people think you’re talking about the barrel. There is already this suspicion that games journalism is totally corrupt, with every score available for sale, and I fell right into the trap of adding grist to this mill.

There’s one tweet I especially regret, can’t even remember what it was in response to, but I basically said ‘Future is bent.’ That is an outright lie, and I deserve to be pilloried for it – not just because it’s untrue, and I am telling you now it’s untrue, but because I’d have no way of knowing. I haven’t worked there, in the building, in years. This is a point many people seem to have missed: all of my firsthand knowledge is based on a company from three or four years ago. The management of Future’s games division has changed entirely in that time. Hell, most of the staff in Future’s games division have changed.

Did my motivations give people pause before reporting? The fact I’m a disgruntled ex-employee with a grudge, clearly taking down a bridge with several tonnes of dynamite and all guns blazing? Of course not! One of the most amazing things about this whole affair, which caught me totally off-guard, was that of all the outlets reporting on this, a single solitary one got in touch to try and check the veracity of what I’d said. Do you know who it was? Kotaku. Fucking Kotaku! I have criticised Kotaku in the past for their addiction to lady pictures and Bomberman cakes, but here they were the one place that actually thought it was worth trying to establish the truth of the matter beyond a nobody’s twitter feed.

Neogaf, of course, is a law unto itself, full of wiseass cynics and anonymous authority figures claiming to have insider knowledge of everything. Well, I certainly gave them what they wanted. A friend of mine made a good point about this:

You’re not just poisoning Future’s well, I’m afraid. When people are given license to assume that every opinion is purchased, every editor is a liar or a pedophile, you’re tainting the ground water in its entirety.”

That made me think more than anything else. I don’t regret having a go at Future, because the behaviour of some of its employees towards me has been abominable, and I’ll be damned before I sit down like a good little freelancer and take it. But I do regret failing to make that distinction between the company and them – Future is not a singular entity, but in my anger I treated it as such. And you can’t depend on others to be able to parse those things when you haven’t.

Let me spell it out. Is Future bent? No. Have I seen individuals do bad things? Yes. And to be honest, I’ve just as often seen people TRY to do bad things, and get slapped down by management. 

So draw your own conclusions. But don’t take one angry man’s twitterings as gospel, and don’t mistake score-settling as the truth about score-selling.

‘CVG HATES WOMEN’ – Or, Why I Hate CVG

Yesterday, a review I’d written for the magazine PSM3 was instead published on CVG. This site is one of Future Publishing’s biggest, a videogame news hub with all the trimmings, carrying forward a name with real heritage. Well, for us UK types anyway.

I don’t like being associated with CVG, and I said as much on twitter. This was noted by the site’s staff, who asked me why, and because I didn’t really want a bunfight I just left it there. But clearly I made an impression, because now they’ve decided to post about how rubbish my review is in the comments.

Not nice, is it? Of course I wasn’t the best fit for CVG, I’ve got a fucking brain.

So seeing as the gloves are off, I guess should explain why I was unhappy with my review being on CVG. Of course, Future’s contract with me lets them republish work across their sites, that’s not the problem.

There are three reasons, so let us pay tribute to CVG by doing a numbered list.

1. CVG deliberately misquote developers

Two months ago I visited Platinum Games’ offices in Osaka, and one of the first things said to me was about CVG misrepresenting something their developers had said. I was there for CVG’s publishers Future, so I had to take shit because of their practices. CVG’s writers might recognise the piece that came from this, it’s the one that’s been giving them bylines for the past week.

But don’t take my word for it. Here’s Braid’s creator Jonathan Blow on his experience with CVG, an article called ‘CVG appear to be a bunch of lousy hacks‘. Sample quote: “CVG’s article is a deceptive, manipulative piece of sensationalist crap meant to drive hits by stoking the argument between Sony fans and Microsoft fans. It misrepresents the content of the interview almost entirely.”

2. CVG pull slimy stunts like domain squatting

One of the most incredible things I’ve ever, ever seen in the bubble of games journalism was when CVG, looking at VG247.com‘s success, decided to buy the domain vg247.co.uk and redirect it to CVG’s own homepage.

Wait, what? Yeah, that’s right. Someone at CVG thought it was a great idea to buy up a competitor’s potential future web address, and then redirect it to their site.

The ethics of this are incredible, and it’s laughable Future thought they’d get away with it. VG247 made some threatening noises and Future backed down immediately. Someone still owns it though, and I doubt it’s Pat Garratt.

3. CVG hates women

A couple of months ago, I was discussing writing an article on sexism in the games industry with an editor. It never came to anything, because I didn’t feel I had much to add to the debate beyond ‘man-children should grow up, what is this the 1930s’, and I also came to feel that it shouldn’t necessarily be a guy writing an article about the discrimination women in the industry endure.

Now it’s clear I should have been much more aggressive about doing that piece, and said stuff I thought was obvious. Because the sad thing is we still live in a world where a site like CVG thinks it’s perfectly fine to do this:

That’s a 63-page ‘Booth Babes’ gallery from this year’s E3; not only that, here’s the opening sentence that was subsequently removed:

We here on CVG like to use a 10-point review system, but if you’re more simple-minded you could just settle with ‘would’ or ‘not with yours, mate’.”

Just think about that for a second: CVG thought that the problem was with that line, rather than the gallery itself.

Is it not amazing that we live in the year 2012? Stuff like this is the bane of the industry, one of the cancers that has to be cut out in its entirety before it can become a better place for 50% of the population. The world is full of casual sexism, and the only thing it has more of is blokes who think it’s all laugh.

CVG’s editorial motivation behind this, of course, was much more calculated – it will get hits. CVG are not doing stories like this out of naivety, but because they know they can exploit these women in a way that will give their numbers a boost. It is breathtaking to think about the kind of men, and of course they are men, who consider this a winning strategy. ‘Yeah it’s sexist, but it does the numbers.’

I’m not the morality police, but fuck these guys. Sites like CVG do everyone in this industry a disservice, because it’s made by mouthbreathers that think women exist to be perved on. Julie Horup’s contemporary blogpost gave a perspective I can’t, and perhaps if you’re male you should read it.

CVG don’t give a fuck, of course, about gender equality.

That bothers me much more than the misquotations, vg247.co.uk, or a parasitic reliance on the work of others. I don’t want to be associated with CVG because I regard their sexism as old-world scumbag thinking. The kind of people who would publish something like that could only be dickbrains. Why would anyone want to be linked to them?

So that’s why I don’t like my writing appearing on CVG. It’s a shitty site in the first place, and it perpetuates and encourages sexism.

I hope that clears things up!

 

 

UPDATE:

With thanks to John Walker, here’s CVG’s original frontpage for the Booth Babes story.

Ouya Looking At?

There’s an unseen prototype, allegedly

I wrote a Saturday Soapbox this past weekend on the Ouya, the Android games console that dominated the news last week. Something struck me about it as fishy right from the off, and lo and behold today the company has announced it’s seeking more funding. As you’ll see from the end of the Eurogamer article, this is one of the scenarios I though might be lurking behind the crisp pitch.

“There are three possibilities with Ouya. One is that it is an outright scam. One is that its makers are sincere but hopeless dreamers. And the most likely is that this Kickstarter is to impress real investors. The gaming public is being leveraged in the hope that their money can be used to attract even more money.”

It’s hard to call something an outright fraud, because by their nature frauds can be convincing. But I think there’s a case at the very least here that the company behind Ouya has obtained money through misrepresenting what the Ouya kickstarter was for. People thought they were handing over $99 for a console to be delivered in March, it’s as simple as that.

Will they get it? I wish them luck.

Anyway. One thing folk picked up on is that Minecraft and Madden are already on the Android store, so my saying they won’t be on Ouya is wrong. I clearly didn’t make the point well enough – Ouya is a home console, being sold on the ‘TV experience’. Do you really think Pocket Minecraft is what they’re implying will be on the machine, or the mobile version of Madden? This is another example of how Ouya and its supporters are twisting definitions in order to fit a narrative.

This dashboard mock-up owes more to Xbox Live than fresh open-source thinking

Ouya is going to be the name of a famous cautionary tale, mark my words.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.