It’s Suuuuunday! Another edition of What I’ve Been Reading, served piping hot on the plate that is your computer screen, follows after the jump.
- Love it or hate it, it seems as if Metacritic is here to stay. Mike Rose of Gamasutra summarizes the problems with the review aggregator site. It’s interesting to see both journalists and developers lashing out at it. Hopefully, this gets readers to start taking indexed review scores with a grain of salt.
- Last week, I expressed concern over the decision of the developers of the upcoming video game Smite to include various Hindu goddesses as playable characters. Now, The Border House has weighed in on the issue. I can’t say that I agree entirely with the article – the discussion of race is particularly misleading and irrelevant – but I agree with its overall message. This is pure cultural exploitation, plain and simple, and this wouldn’t be happening were Hinduism less tolerant or less concentrated in one area of the globe. The cynical, paranoid part of me thinks that this entire controversy was cooked up for the sake of publicity. I certainly hadn’t heard of Smite before reading of the controversy. In any case, the developers have gotten what they wanted: more people talking about the game.
- Hey, guess what? Sometimes I link to sports articles too! Louisa Thomas of Grantland writes about women’s tennis and the state of women’s sports in general. There’s been a lot of talk how the current women’s tennis scene just isn’t as interesting as the men’s one at the moment. I’m not going to argue that point, because, to be frank, I agree. But what bothers me is that people are looking at this one point in time and concluding that women’s tennis is inherently less interesting, that it’s inherently a worse sport. One need not look back much further than a decade to discover a time when men’s tennis was dominated by the boring serve-volley game while women’s tennis was producing some of the most memorable matches in the history of the sport.
- EA-bashing seems to be all the rage with gamers these days. I’m no fan of the company, but sometimes whiny gamers need a reality check, like this one provided by Dorkly.
- Gamefront is pretty much the rusty toilet of gaming sites, what with their piss-poor reporting and their enthusiastic support for the idiotic Retake Mass Effect movement. However, Jim Sterling, one of the most thoughtful voices in video game criticism these days, writes columns for them, so I’m forced to link to the site. I apologize. This week, Sterling weighed in on the controversy surrounding the decision to make the villain of the upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops II a “messiah for the 99%.” While I can see how this could potentially be offensive, I’m willing to give it a chance. To those who are condemning the game having only seen the trailer for the villain, I advise them to wait until it comes out before they judge; if it turns out to be a bunch of bullshit capitalist propaganda, then by all means, tear it to shreds. But we can’t possibly know how the story is handled before we know the actual story.
- The Supreme Court of Canada recently released a raft of copyright rulings, most of them in favour of consumers. Peter Nowak has the rundown at CBC News. This is a good day for Canadian consumers, and with any luck, it’ll set a precedent that other nations will follow. Any organization that wants to charge licensing fees for listening to song previews deserves nothing but contempt.
- Ben Kuchera of the Penny Arcade Report examines how some game studios are avoiding the traditional hire/fire cycle of development. I’m all for supporting studios that adhere to the philosophy that game development is a career, not a job. Game development simply can’t support the same production cycle as the film industry. The development cycle is too long, and unlike Hollywood, game studios are spread out all across North America and the rest of the world.
- Is Wikipedia male-biased? Torie Bosch of Slate examines the issue. Apparently, the creation of articles on subjects of interest to males is often encouraged, while articles on topics of interest to females, such as the one about Kate Middleton’s wedding dress, are regularly marked for deletion.
- It seems as if you can’t hop into a multiplayer game these days without some variant of “faggot” or “cunt” being lobbed in your direction. Sam Killermann – awesome name, by the way – wants to change that. In an interview with The Mary Sue, he explains his plans for an initiative called Gamers Against Bigotry. I don’t know if it’ll work, but I’m willing to voice my support for it.
Anyway, that’s it for this week’s roundup of thinkpieces and other random articles. Feel free to chime in with a comment below.