Try to imagine a world without What I’ve Been Reading. Oh, does it look a lot like the normal world? Well, I guess that’s to be expected. In any case, here’s what I claim to have read this week.

  • Just like a bad hangover, the Internet woke up last Sunday morning to discover that the upcoming Fez II had been cancelled after embattled Fez creator and Japanese-game hater Phil Fish had gotten into a Twitter war with game “journalist” Marcus Beer, better known at the time as the Annoyed Gamer (and now better known as the asshole who got into a Twitter war with Phil Fish and drove him to cancel Fez II). As is usually the case with controversies in the video game industry, hotter heads cause the blow-ups, and cooler heads write the subsequent thinkpieces. One such cooler head is Owen Good of Kotaku, who argues that Twitter is not a great place to have a “locker room” talk. Look, I know it’s easy to be cynical and say, “Internet shock jock says dumb shit. News at 11.” But the fact that there exists a system that enables Beer, Fish, and their behaviour degrades the quality of video game discourse. Dismantling that system would be tantamount to banning Twitter, which is never going to happen, so the best we can do is to educate people involved in the video game industry on how to deal with that system. Let this be a teachable moment, not just another typical “controversy” in the world of video games.
  • Modern art can be weird when taken out of context, especially when place in “retrospective” galleries. Glen Coco of Vice felt that weirdness at the recent Tracey Emin retrospective, and his reaction was to say that he didn’t “get” art. Yikes.
  • Microsoft has had problems with its messaging recently. It hasn’t been able to get its Surface tablet lineup off the ground, and its Xbox One press conferences were nothing short of disastrous. Over the past few months, they have reversed their stance on almost everything related to the Xbox One in an effort to make it seem less like an evil box of DRM and more like a more expensive PlayStation 4 with a useless camera attachment. Ben Kuchera of the Penny Arcade Report explains why this strategy is bad for Microsoft: the company is terrible at explaining the benefits of its hardware to consumers.
  • It’s a well known fact that many corporations are basically run by a cabal consisting of Mr. Burns, the Koch Brothers, and a literal blood-drinking vampire. But companies are usually more subtle in their evil than outright lying to you. Sometimes they aren’t, though. J.F. Sargent of Cracked shows us that many companies aren’t above telling outright lies.

Well, that’s enough linking for one week. Stay tuned for whatever I post next week.