I’ve got 10 links for you this week. That’s right: 10. This ain’t your grandma’s What I’ve Been Reading.
- Earlier this week, a mini-controversy erupted when Xander Davis, an ex-employee of Vigil Games, said that his name had been left off the credits for Darksiders II. Many dismissed his complaints are pure whining; the man got paid after all. But another Vigil Games ex-employee, Andy Modrovich, has now spoken out about the issue, explaining why credits do matter.
- Lance Armstrong has been stripped of his Tour de France titles by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency based on circumstantial evidence. In other news, a man from New York was arrested while walking on the sidewalk yesterday because he “looked funny.”
- Kurt Eichenwald of Vanity Fair has a rather lengthy article about how Microsoft fell behind in the past decade, while companies like Apple and Google surged ahead. He puts most of the blame on CEO Steve Ballmer and the company’s increasingly bureaucratic structure.
- MTV has an interview with Amanda Cohen, Ryan Dunlavey, and Grady Hendrix, creators of Dirt Candy, a vegetarian cookbook/graphic novel. Recipes in comic book form? Sign me up! Cohen is also the proprietor of a restaurant of the same name, located in Manhattan.
- Film Crit Hulk came out in support of the Mass Effect 3 ending. The Internet, being angry, whiny, and petulant, threw a giant tantrum. So he followed up with a far gentler response piece. I’m not in the mood for rehashing my feelings on the ending, so I’ll just say this: Fuck Retake Mass Effect. With a rusty crowbar.
- Recently, “normal guy” Brett Cohen was able to fool a bunch of people in Times Square into thinking he was a celebrity. Drew Grant of the New York Observer has dismissed this as nothing but a stupid stunt. Grant has a point, but he needs to lighten up.
- Max Fisher writes about the social commentary in Korean rapper Psy’s “Gangnam Style.” He explains how the song and the music video satirize the ostentatious “Gangnam” lifestyle. According to Fisher, this kind of satire is rarely seen in Korean culture, much less in a pop-rap hit. However, several commenters on the article have noted that Fisher is mistaken and that political and societal issues have often been the subjects of Korean pop songs.
- Independent RPG maker Craig Stern attempts to nail down a definition of “indie game.” Here it is: “A game that is both (a) developed to completion without any publisher or licensor interference, and (b) created by a single developer or a small team.” A superficially attractive definition, to be sure, but ultimately problematic. Would a game made by a team of two people no longer be considered “indie” if it licensed a generic techno track from a local DJ to use as background music? And at what point is a team no longer “small?” Once it reaches 20, 30, 50 people? What’s even more troubling is that this debate is happening at all. I can understand why one would want a simple term to describe a game that is “independently produced by a small team, licensor-free,” but I don’t see why one needs to co-opt an existing term, “indie,” for that purpose. Heck, as Stern himself points out, calling a game “indie” is often an attempt to apply the positive connotations of the word to one’s own creations. This doesn’t seem much different.
- Charlie Jane Anders and Gordon Jackson of io9 write about how to create scientifically plausible aliens. Maybe silicon-based life is possible after all!
- Unfriendzoned, eh? BWAAHHAAHAHAHAHA! (The first comment and the follow-ups are hilarious.)
And now for this week’s video roundup:
- YouTube channel followthefoot has a video about the games we play in our everyday lives. How many of them do you play/have you played?
- Chris Franklin of Errant Signal analyzes third-person shooter Spec Ops: The Line, which has gained acclaim for its approach to storytelling. I don’t always agree with Franklin, but this video is a must-watch for anyone who has played the game. The part about how the game comments on wider aspects of war culture in our society is particularly important. And seriously, if you haven’t already, go play Spec Ops: The Line.
Well, that does it for this week. As always, feel free to leave comments below.